Today at All Things Considered we continue a project we're calling NewsPoet. Each month we bring in a poet to spend time in the newsroom — and at the end of the day, to compose a poem reflecting on the day's stories.
From NPR News, this is All Things Considered. I'm Robert Siegel.
MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:
And I'm Melissa Block.
The Fair Labor Association, a labor rights group, has released its audit of Apple's largest supplier in China, Foxconn. The group found what it calls significant issues with working conditions at three factories there, including more than 50 violations of the FLA's code of conduct and Chinese labor law.
Until his early 20s, the only life Shin Dong-hyuk had ever known was one of constant beatings, near starvation and snitching on others to survive. Born into one of the worst of North Korea's system of prison camps, Shin was doomed to a life of hard labor and an early death. Notions of love and family were meaningless: He saw his mother as a competitor for food.
It wasn't just the budget that lawmakers clashed over today. The House and Senate each passed short-term transportation bills. And that sets up yet another showdown over spending, as NPR's Sonari Glinton reports.
SONARI GLINTON, BYLINE: If Congress hadn't passed the short-term transportation bills, beginning this weekend, the government wouldn't have been able to spend money on transportation programs or collect fuel taxes. Disaster averted, right?
These days, the parents of Treyvon Martin are in the news every day. In the months since their son was shot to death in Sanford, Florida, they've spoken at press conferences and rallies, addressed newspaper editorial boards and even Congress.
Treyvon's father, Tracy Martin, came here to NPR this week. On the program TELL ME MORE, he spoke about the process of dealing with his son's death, saying, it will be a long time before the healing even starts.
The historic legal arguments on the Obama health care overhaul came to a close at the U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday, with key justices suggesting the court may be prepared to strike down not just the individual mandate but the whole law.
The major arguments of the day were premised on a supposition. Suppose, asked the court, we do strike down the individual mandate — what other parts of the law, if any, should be allowed to stand?
And finally, this hour, we remember Earl Scruggs, the master of the five-string banjo, who has died at age 88. As a young man, he created his own style of fingerpicking on the banjo that would come to bear his name: Scruggs style. He got his start with Bill Monroe's Blue Grass Boys in the 1940s and then teamed up with Lester Flatt as Flatt and Scruggs. And he influenced countless players over his many decades of music, among them, fellow banjo player Tony Trischka, who joins me now.
The writer Adrienne Rich has died after a long illness. She was 82. Rich is best known for her poetry, which mirrored the times in which she wrote. Her work grew increasingly political during the 1960s and '70s, and she was a touchstone for the feminist movement. Joining me to talk to about Rich's work is the poet and critic Linda Gregerson. And Linda, I wonder what the experience is for you of reading an Adrienne Rich poem. How would you describe it?
We're learning more about yesterday's bizarre incident on-board JetBlue Flight 191 from New York to Las Vegas. That's the plane that diverted to Amarillo, Texas after the pilot left the cockpit mid-flight and went on a rant, screaming about Iraq and Israel.
Federal prosecutors today charged the pilot, Clayton Osbon, with interfering with a flight crew. And the court filing contains new details about what apparently went on during that flight.
Now to the pilot for JetBlue who had to be subdued by passengers yesterday after he left the cockpit mid-flight and went on a rant, screaming about Iraq and Israel. JetBlue has suspended the pilot, identified as Clayton Osbon, and has called this a medical situation, which raises all kinds of questions about psychological screening of commercial airline pilots.
We're going to put those questions now to commercial pilot Patrick Smith. He writes the column Ask the Pilot for Salon.com. Welcome to the program.
Sometimes, Hollywood and the real world collide in unhappy ways. That's what's happening to Fox Pictures. They're releasing a comedy this summer that stars Ben Stiller, Vince Vaughn and Jonah Hill. The title, "Neighborhood Watch."
(SOUNDBITE OF MOVIE, "NEIGHBORHOOD WATCH")
BEN STILLER: (as Character) Sergeant, he assaulted us with eggs.
JONAH HILL: (as Character) Look at me.
STILLER: Look at me. Look at him and listen to me.
HILL: Listen. Listen to my words and hear his face.
And now to another provision in the health care law that's being challenged: the Medicaid expansion. Those arguments took place this afternoon. And NPR's Julie Rovner is here in the studio to talk about them. Julie, the key question before the court was whether the law goes too far. It requires states to expand their Medicaid programs. So why don't we back up and start with the basics, how Medicaid works and how the law changes that?
Lawyer Li Zhuang spent more than a year in prison on charges of fabricating evidence and inciting witnesses, after trying to defend an alleged gangster. Li's case became a national cause celebre.
Credit Ng Han Guan / AP
Bo Xilai was thought to be on his way to the highest levels of Chinese politics before he was sacked abruptly earlier this month. His dismissal has led to scrutiny of one of this signature initiatives, a crackdown on organized crime in Chongqing, where he served as party chief.
The swift downfall of ambitious Chinese politician Bo Xilai exposed a bitter power struggle in the highest echelons of government. Now his victims are telling their stories, exposing a darker side to Bo's signature clampdown on organized crime.
Charismatic and outspoken, Bo seemed headed for the country's top leadership body, the Politburo Standing Committee, before he was removed abruptly from his post — as party secretary of the major southern city of Chongqing — earlier this month.
Rapper Baloji was born in the Democratic Republic of Congo but raised in Belgium. He's built a reputation for incorporating Congolese music into his mix, though he mostly raps in French, his deep voice full of cocky brashness. You can catch his vibe without translation, but it's worth reading the liner notes to get his messages, as well. Baloji raps with brazen ease about the indignities of life as an African in Belgium, but also the tragic, bloody history of his homeland on his second album, Kinshasa Succursale.
This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Robert Siegel.
MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:
And I'm Melissa Block.
He's been a congressman, a governor, the head of a bank, and now he wants to be president. Buddy Roemer of Louisiana was running as a Republican. He dropped out of that race and is now seeking the nomination of the Reform Party and of Americans Elect, a new online platform for third-party candidates. Buddy Roemer says he won't take contributions of more than $100 and he won't take PAC money.
The Exxon Valdez appears headed for a scrap heap. In the 23 years since it spewed oil across Alaska's Prince William Sound, the tanker has changed names, owners and purpose. Melissa Block and Robert Siegel look back at what the infamous ship has been up to since the 1989 environmental disaster.
A shout out now for the winner of this year's annual Stanley and Stella Shouting Contest.
NICOLE MARTIN: Stanley.
SIEGEL: That is Nicole Martin, who won first place with that vigorous shout to an actor on a New Orleans balcony portraying Stanley Kowalski, the character from "A Street Car Named Desire." Bryan Buckles won second place.
The U.S. Supreme Court signaled Monday that it likely will resolve the constitutional challenge to the Obama health care overhaul, sidestepping the procedural issues that could derail the case until 2015.
As Mike Shuster said a moment ago, the main subject of the summit in South Korea is the problem of potentially insecure nuclear materials around the world. For short, loose nukes. In April 2009, President Obama called for a global effort to secure all vulnerable nuclear material around the world in four years.
Spring is here — the season of flowers and birds, with love and marriage in the very air we breathe. People pair up, brimming with optimism, and vowing to be fair and generous mates.
But when couples stay together over time — throughout all of the seasons — we're reminded that real life is messy and complicated. Even the best relationships will get stuck in anger and distance. In short, couples need all the help they can get. To this end, I recommend the following three books.