Arts & Life

Arts & Life
5:14 pm
Thu December 6, 2012

Mormon Church Launches Website On 'Same-Sex Attraction'

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints headquarters in Salt Lake City, Utah.
Douglas C. Pizac AP

Originally published on Thu December 6, 2012 11:46 pm

The Mormon Church has a new website to clarify its position on "same-sex attraction" and to reach out to all of its members, including gays and lesbians, "with love and understanding."

The launching of mormonsandgays.org follows persistent criticism of Mormon involvement in California's ballot measure banning gay marriage, NPR's Howard Berkes reports. Berkes tells our Newscast Desk that scrutiny continued through Mitt Romney's campaign for president.

Read more
Arts & Life
5:05 pm
Thu December 6, 2012

In A Family's Lost Cookie, Lots Of Love, And Molasses

NPR's Lost Recipe project helped Pavlos re-create her great-grandmother's jumble cookies.
Courtesy of Nancy Baggett

Originally published on Fri December 7, 2012 1:09 pm

Frederick Rickmeyer, our hats are off to you and your note-taking ways.

Shortly after the turn of the last century, Frederick started documenting his wife's recipes on the blank memoranda pages of a cookbook. He included titles like My Wife's Own Original Spanish Bun and comments like "as good as ever," along with the ingredients and dates.

Read more
Arts & Life
5:05 pm
Thu December 6, 2012

Crime-Ridden Camden To Dump City Police Force

Camden City Police Chief Scott Thomson says he has shooting investigations "backlogging like burglary cases." Half of his force was laid off last year, and the city says expensive benefits in the police union contract are preventing them from hiring more cops.
Alisa Chang NPR

Originally published on Thu December 6, 2012 6:54 pm

As the New Jersey city of Camden blasts through its all-time-high homicide record — exceeding 60 murders so far this year — city officials have an unusual solution to rising crime: laying off the entire police department.

Year after year, Camden ranks as one of the most dangerous cities in America based on several categories: murders, rapes, assaults and robberies. But the city says it's too poor to hire more police officers. So it's dissolving its municipal police force and letting the county set up a bigger, cheaper force to replace it.

Read more
Arts & Life
4:30 pm
Thu December 6, 2012

Post-Sandy Fixes To NYC Subways To Cost Billions

Joseph Leader, chief maintenance officer of the New York City subway system, surveys damage caused by Superstorm Sandy, this week at the South Ferry station.
Joel Rose NPR

Originally published on Thu December 6, 2012 5:40 pm

Most subway stations in New York City affected by Superstorm Sandy have opened by now, but the South Ferry station at the southern tip of Manhattan is still closed. And when you get inside, it's easy to see why.

The platform is still coated with dirt more than a month after the storm. The tile walls are covered in grime from the tracks all the way up to the ceiling 25 feet overhead. There's debris dangling from the exit signs; the escalators look like they may never work again.

Read more
Arts & Life
9:03 pm
Tue December 4, 2012

Navel-Gazing: Why Golf Should Embrace Belly Putters

Carl Pettersson of Sweden putts for birdie on the eighth hole during the final round of the RBC Heritage at Harbour Town Golf Links on Hilton Head Island, S.C., in April. The long putter he uses is in danger of being banned.
Hunter Martin Getty Images

Originally published on Wed December 5, 2012 1:20 pm

When did "issues" become such an all-purpose, often euphemistic word for anything disagreeable? We have issues now where we used to have problems, and concerns, and troubles, and hornet's nests. Like for example: The American and British big wheels who run golf have "issues" with putting.

Now understand, modern golfers have kryptonite drivers with club heads as large as prize pumpkins, and steroid balls that would not pass the drug test, even if the hapless International Cycling Union were doing the random sampling.

Read more
Arts & Life
4:57 pm
Tue December 4, 2012

AAA Calls To Suspend Sale Of New Ethanol Fuel

Justin Sullivan Getty Images

Originally published on Tue December 4, 2012 5:50 pm

AAA has warned against potential damage that a new blend of gasoline could do to some engines. And the warning has started a fight over renewable fuels and the future of what we put in our gas tanks.

The fuel is called E15 — named for the percentage of ethanol in the blend. Most of the gas that's sold in the U.S. has about 10 percent ethanol in it.

Read more
Arts & Life
4:31 pm
Tue December 4, 2012

Kabul's Roads, Paved With Good Intentions

Afghan laborers work on a roads project last month in Kabul. A huge project to fix the city's roads and sewers is causing huge headaches.
Daniel Berehulak Getty Images

Originally published on Wed December 5, 2012 12:00 am

Sometimes, you don't have to go far to find a story. For the past few months, just stepping outside NPR's Kabul office has been a drama.

The neighborhood is in the midst of a major road and sewer renovation project. It's just one of many such projects that is badly needed in Kabul and elsewhere in the country.

But as is often the case, the pace and quality of the work has been uneven. And residents aren't so sure whether the final product will be worth the months of gridlock, power outages and business interruption.

Read more
Arts & Life
4:20 pm
Tue December 4, 2012

The Perilous Politics Of The Health Insurance Tax Break

MIT health economist Jonathan Gruber, who explained the ins and outs of health overhaul in a comic book, says that excluding the value of health insurance from federal taxes is a terrible idea, at least from an economist's point of view.
Macmillan

Originally published on Tue December 4, 2012 5:50 pm

There's not much in health care that economists agree on. But one of the few things that bring them together is the idea that excluding the value of health insurance from federal taxes is nuts.

Read more
Arts & Life
4:00 pm
Tue December 4, 2012

The First Book Printed In British North America And A Church's Decision To Sell It

Jeff Makholm holds the Bay Psalm Book.
Monica Brady-Myerov WBUR

Originally published on Wed December 5, 2012 10:34 am

This past Sunday, the Old South Church in Boston made a decision that cuts to the heart of not only the congregation's history, but to the very beginning of this country's founding.

With an overwhelming 271 to 34 vote, the church decided to give its board the power to sell one copy of the Bay Psalm Book, the first book ever printed in British North America.

Only 11 of the original 1,600 copies of the book printed in Cambridge in 1640 remain. And of those, the church owns two.

Read more
Arts & Life
3:44 pm
Tue December 4, 2012

Two Malian Guitar Greats, Gone But Still Wailing

Malian guitarist Lobi Traore died in 2010, at just 49. His last album is called Bwati Kono.
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Tue December 4, 2012 5:50 pm

Back in 1985, a young Malian named Zani Diabate became one of the first African musicians to release a successful album in Europe. He was soon crowded out by a flood of superstar African singers, but for anyone who experienced Diabate's rocking guitar tone and edgy African phrasing, the sound is unforgettable.

Read more
Arts & Life
3:36 pm
Tue December 4, 2012

For Tea Party Activists In Florida, The Health Care Battle Goes On

Originally published on Tue December 4, 2012 5:50 pm

President Obama's re-election sent a message to state capitals: The war over the president's health care overhaul is finished.

Even in Florida, where Republican leaders led the legal battle against Obamacare, there's recognition now that the state has to act fast to comply with the new law.

Read more
Arts & Life
3:22 pm
Tue December 4, 2012

Netflix Gets Disney Movies Ahead Of Pay TV Channels

A promotional image for the Netflix Just for Kids portal. The new deal announced with Disney is the first time that one of Hollywood's major studios has sold the coveted rights to Netflix Inc. instead of a premium TV network.
Netflix

Netflix's video subscription service has trumped pay-TV channels and grabbed the rights to show Disney movies shortly after they finish their runs in theaters.

The multiyear licensing agreement announced Tuesday represents a breakthrough for Netflix as it tries to add more recent movies to a popular service that streams video over high-speed Internet connections.

Read more
Arts & Life
3:17 pm
Tue December 4, 2012

Computerized Health Records Breed Digital Discontent For Some Doctors

Electronic medical records can have drawbacks, too.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Tue December 4, 2012 5:50 pm

Two years and $8.4 billion into the government's effort to get doctors to take their practices digital, some unintended consequences are starting to emerge.

One is a lot of unhappy doctors. In a big survey by Medscape, an online site for doctors, 38 percent of the doctors polled said they were unhappy with their electronic medical records system.

Read more
Arts & Life
2:49 pm
Tue December 4, 2012

Alisa Weilerstein Plays Elgar: Exploring Music With An Intense Past

Cellist Alisa Weilerstein
Jamie Jung Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Wed December 5, 2012 9:26 am

British composer Edward Elgar wrote his cello concerto in 1919 — soon after the end of World War I — and it's suffused with the dark weight of that war.

Read more
Arts & Life
2:13 pm
Tue December 4, 2012

A Hidden Hanukkah Tale Of A Woman, An Army And Some Killer Cheese

This Hanukkah lamp, made in Italy in the 19th century, depicts Judith holding a sword in one hand and the severed head of Holofernes in the other.
The Jewish Museum, New York / Art Resource, NY

Originally published on Fri December 14, 2012 8:11 am

At Hanukkah, many Jewish families celebrate with foods such as latkes and donuts that are fried in oil. The tradition honors the story of the miracle that occurred when a one-day supply of oil burned for eight days inside a temple under siege by the enemy .

Some Jews also eat dishes like kugel, cheesecake or rugelah that all share one ingredient — cheese. But how did cheese make it onto the holiday menu?

It starts (as many of these tales do) with a woman. This woman was Judith.

Read more

Pages