And joining us now, as she does most Monday, is Cokie Roberts. Good morning.
COKIE ROBERTS, BYLINE: Hi, Renee. Happy New Year.
MONTAGNE: Happy New Year to you. So, Cokie, we seem to be getting the next year, or this new year, right back where we ended in the last Congress, and that's bickering over everything. And as we've just heard, that includes, big time, the president's cabinet appointment of a former Republican Senator Chuck Hagel. Tell us more about what's going on there, a little bit more history.
Steve Inskeep talks to NPR Justice Correspondent Carrie Johnson and Alex Kotlowitz, author of There Are No Children Here, about the jump in the 2012 Chicago homicide rate, and what it means for the nationwide rate.
More than a thousand protesters turned up in the Ohio River town of Steubenville over the weekend, spurred by a blogging and Twitter campaign that's focused on rape allegations involving high-school football players. Social media has taken the case well beyond the small eastern Ohio town, sparking international tension.
Now, today's last word in business is phygital. No, that's not a word describing how you feel about two hours into watching "The Hobbit." This movie's going on and feeling a little phygital. No, it's not a feeling. It's a concept that computer manufacturer Lenovo announced over the weekend at the International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.
Designers and sisters Kate (left) and Laura Mulleavy acknowledge the audience after the Rodarte fall 2012 collection show during Fashion Week last February in New York.
Credit Fox Searchlight, Niko Tavernise / AP
In this film publicity file image released by Fox Searchlight, Natalie Portman is shown in a scene from Black Swan. Fashionistas flipped over the film's forward-thinking ballet costumes by Rodarte, sisters Laura and Kate Mulleavy.
Author Simon Garfield loves maps. His home in London is full of them — that's where they're stocked, hanging on walls and piled on shelves. So when Garfield was looking for a new topic to write about, not surprisingly, maps won out.
His new book is called On the Map: A Mind-Expanding Exploration of the Way the World Works.
Members of the boys basketball team from Dimond High School in Anchorage, Alaska, celebrate their 2012 state championship victory. Psychological research shows that sports camaraderie improves teenagers' mental health.
It's well known that routine physical activity benefits both body and mind. And there are no age limits. Both children and adults can reap big benefits.
Now a study published in Clinical Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science, explores whether certain factors may help to explain the value of daily physical activity for adolescents' mental health.
For the first time since 1994, the Violence Against Women Act has been allowed to expire. The reason? Political gridlock. Weekends on All Things Considered host Jacki Lyden talks to NPR's justice correspondent Carrie Johnson about what happened to the long-standing law, what it means for women and what options are on the table.
"You scratch my back, and I'll scratch yours" is an old and cherished maxim of our republic. In politics, that's called an earmark, aka pork. One member of Congress gets a road or a monument for his or her state in exchange for a vote on the bill in question.
Congress has lived on this since the era of stovepipe hats. The political vogue lately, however, has been to repudiate those earmarks. But with the recent gridlock in Washington, the feeling is that perhaps some of that grease might help ease things.
On one spring day in the early 1970s, writer David Esterly paused to admire a stunning wooden carving inside a London church.
"On the panel behind the altar, I saw these extraordinary cascades of leaves and flowers and fruits, carved to a fineness and fluent realism, which seemed to me breathtaking," Esterly recalled in an interview with Jacki Lyden, host of weekends on All Things Considered.
Once, in an age long past, "epic" was a dirty word.
Way back when I was a young nerd growing up in the Midwest in the 1980s — long before I became a professional writer — histories of magic rings and chronicles of ancient evils were not exactly mainstream fare. Indeed, to publicize one's knowledge of Elvish sword-names and Orcish myth was to contract a kind of voluntary leprosy.
George Saunders' latest book is called Tenth of December: Stories.
It's become commonplace to say that good fiction "wakes us up." The speaker usually means that he — a righteous, likable person, living in the correct way — becomes, post-reading, temporarily even more righteous and likable.
Resurrection, Tolstoy's last and darkest novel, works differently.
It's a shocking and impolite book, seemingly incapable of that last-minute epiphanic updraft or lyric reversal that lets us walk away from even the darkest novel fundamentally intact.
Syrian President Bashar Assad appeared before his people Sunday and delivered his first public address since early June. He remained defiant in the face of the uprising that has raged for two years, describing the rebels as al-Qaida terrorists. Host Rachel Martin speaks with NPR's Kelly McEvers.
The 113th Congress convened last week, and introduced a batch of fresh faces to Washington. Host Rachel Martin speaks with two freshmen members of the House of Representatives, Democrat Ami Bera of California and Republican Rodney Davis of Illinois, about the incoming Congress and what they hope to accomplish.
Venezuela is facing a political crisis. Longtime President Hugo Chavez is being treated in Cuba for a recurrence of cancer and resulting complications. He is supposed to be sworn in to a third term as president this week, but he might not be well enough to attend the inauguration. What then?
Host Rachel Martin delves into the physics behind Roald Dahl's childrens' classic, James and the Giant Peach. Physics students at the University of Leicester calculated that it would take 2,425,907 seagulls to lift James' Giant Peach, making Roald Dahl's number (501), entirely insufficient.
Protesters demonstrate outside a Starbucks coffee shop in London last month. Protests were held at Starbucks throughout the U.K. after it was revealed that the coffee chain had paid almost no corporate taxes for the last three years.
Credit Jacques Brinon / AP
French actor Gerard Depardieu arrived Saturday in Russia to meet with President Vladimir Putin. Putin offered Depardieu citizenship after the actor said he was leaving France to protest a new tax rate of 75 percent on incomes of 1 million euros and higher.
Credit Andrew Medichini / AP
During his New Year's address last week, Pope Benedict XVI decried "unregulated financial capitalism" as a source of global conflict.
Originally published on Sun January 6, 2013 8:17 am
As 2013 begins with wealthy Americans in line for bigger tax bills, they're not alone. Tax fairness takes the spotlight worldwide this year, as cash-strapped governments look to impose more of the burden on well-heeled companies, individuals and institutions, and to catch and punish tax cheaters.
This week, as the U.S. Congress averted a plunge off the fiscal precipice, British Prime Minister David Cameron sent a letter to leaders of the Group of Eight countries that make up about half of the world's economic output.
Troupe member Philipp Egli says the genius of Mummenschanz lies in simplicity. The most beautiful pieces, he says, start with black space and some people on stage.
The Swiss troupe Mummenschanz isn't a band of white-faced pantomimers. The experimental group uses costumes and masks in their witty, wordless performances. The troupe is marking its 40th anniversary with a five-month tour.
Mummenschanz's original founders (from left) Andres Bossard, Floriana Frassetto and Bernie Schurch.
John Underhill waters flowers at a makeshift memorial for shooting victims outside the University Medical Center in Tucson, Ariz., on Jan. 20, 2011. Many of the plants and flowers at area memorials were replanted at a community garden.
Credit Ted Robbins / NPR
Meg Johnson and Brad Holland were behind the effort to replant the memorials' flowers and plants. They also used the plastic sticks that hold cards in potted plants for crop labels.