With more on this story and the rest of the week's news, we're joined now by Doyle McManus. He's the Washington columnist for the Los Angeles Times, and he has graciously agreed to stand in for our regular news analyst, James Fallows. Doyle, thanks so much for being with us.
NASA launched the Mars Science Laboratory from Cape Canaveral, Fla., on Saturday. The MSL is five times heavier than the rovers currently on Mars and has twice as many scientific instruments. It will take nine months for the spacecraft to reach the Red Planet, and there's plenty of things for it to do before then.
Andrew Robinson was injured by a roadside bomb during his second deployment to Iraq. Now a quadriplegic, he says he is learning how to use his limited mobility and is proud of having protected his fellow soldiers. He is especially motivated because his wife is expecting twins next month.
If you turn to page 109 of Lindsay McCrum's photo book, you'll see a photo of a woman wearing jeans and a green baseball cap standing in a grassy field. She's looking straight at the camera, clutching a semi-automatic rifle as if it were a water bottle. Standing between her legs is her son, his blond hair peeking out from behind her thigh as he poses with his toy gun, a miniature of his mother's.
When Rachel Martin was given a slot guest-hosting weekends at All Things Considered, she took the opportunity to get a little holiday shopping out of the way. Needing musical stocking-stuffers for a few pesky relatives — her fiance's mom, for example, or her dad, who likes "Tchaikovsky and Johnny Cash" — she consulted NPR Music's Stephen Thompson, and asked him for some tips.
It's ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Guy Raz. And now it's time for your letters - all about our annual Thanksgiving Day story by writer Bailey White. This year, Bailey told us about a Florida painter who moved to Vermont, where he has trouble fitting in. At a neighbor's suggestion, he turns to raising turkeys.
It's been an All Things Considered Thanksgiving tradition since 1991— a Bailey White original short story. Over the years, White's stories have included tales about a rose queen, a telephone man, an ostrich farmer and a wife exacting revenge. This year, White presents "Call It Even." It's about a shy painter who moves from Florida to Vermont and wants to feel like he fits in — so he raises a dozen turkeys.
In the small-town of Elko, ambition looks like high-heel suede booties on the floor of the auto shop at the local high school.
Brandi and Kaylee look like the Olsen twins. And they're the best auto-shop students at Elko High. The girls have a plan. Everyday out the school window, they see trucks heading up to the gold mines. Day and night. So, the girls figure, why not open a truck repair shop after they graduate?
"In Elko we've been really blessed and really lucky to actually have a good economy," Kaylee says. "We can actually have our hopes and dreams."
Nov. 23, 1936, was a good day for recorded music. Two men, an ocean apart, each stepped up to a microphone and began to play. One was a cello prodigy who had performed for the queen of Spain; the other was a guitar player in the juke joints of the Mississippi Delta. But on that day, Pablo Casals and Robert Johnson each made recordings that would change music history.
The Pentagon faces significant cuts in its budget — no matter whether the congressional supercommittee succeeded or failed at finding more ways to reduce the federal deficit. The military plans to cut nearly $500 billion from its budget. One place to look for cuts: in the Army and also the Air Force's stealthy and pricey F-35.
The U.S. Office of Special Counsel is one of those small corners of the government with an important mission: It's supposed to help protect federal whistle-blowers and shield civil service workers from politics.
But during the Bush years, the office was engulfed in scandal. It was raided by FBI agents, and its chief was indicted for obstructing justice.
It's into that unsettled environment that the new leader, Carolyn Lerner, arrived five months ago. And good government groups say she's already taking the office in new directions.
The congressional supercommittee announced Monday that it failed to come to an agreement on reducing the deficit. After three months of negotiating, the Democrats and Republicans just couldn't agree on how much spending to cut or how high to raise taxes.
But this is not a story about how the left and right disagree with each other. In fact, they actually largely agree.
President Obama Monday put the blame for the supercommittee's failure squarely on congressional Republicans — and their unwillingness to consider higher taxes on the wealthy. Obama also threatened to veto any effort to escape from the automatic spending cuts agreed to in August without a balanced plan to reduce the deficit. Robert Siegel talks to NPR's Scott Horsley for more.
With Thanksgiving hard upon us, now is a good time to think about our past. History writers can tell the best stories from centuries of human achievement and folly, yet too often they produce recitations of one damned thing after another. A few, though, combine a respect for accuracy with a deep understanding of the longings, fears and triumphs of the people of our past. Such books make magic.
It's been one month since Moammar Gadhafi's death. Libyans were celebrating within hours of his killing. A month later, the jubilance has waned and the violence continues. Weekends on All Things Considered guest host Laura Sullivan talks with New York Times correspondent Clifford Krauss from Tripoli.
Comedian Bill Maher wraps up every installment of his TV show, Real Time, with a segment called "New Rules." That's where he takes potshots at whatever's bothering him — from wrappers on ice cream cones, to red light cameras, to more serious subjects like war and economic ruin.
His new book, The New New Rules: A Funny Look at How Everybody But Me Has Their Head Up Their Ass, sports a title we can't say on the radio and a mix of rules both lighthearted and serious, some of which never appeared on television.
It's Weekends on ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Laura Sullivan.
MAHMOUD SHAMMAM: What we can confirm now that Saif al-Gadhafi has been arrested and he should be tried in front of the Libyan court, by Libyan people and by Libyan justice.
SULLIVAN: That's Mahmoud Shammam, Libya's National Transitional Council's information minister, announcing that Moammar Gadhafi's son Saif al-Islam had been captured. The U.S. State Department hasn't confirmed it yet.
Billy McCarthy lost his mother to suicide when he was a teenager. He cared for his schizophrenic brother as best he could after that, but his brother landed in solitary confinement in prison, where he eventually took his own life, too. Somehow, McCarthy found a way to rise above his anguish — as a songwriter. He began playing music while living in foster care in California.