Ari Shapiro

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This is one of more than a dozen states that will vote next week on Super Tuesday. And it's one of the places where we're launching a year-long NPR series called Where Voters Are.

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The darkness is always there. It can be very beautiful. I don't necessarily want to shine a light that dispels it. I want to live with it. - Jeff Sharlet

This Brilliant Darkness is a book born of insomnia. It's a collection of snapshots and written profiles by author Jeff Sharlet that take us deep into other people's lives.

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The public's view of President Trump's impeachment trial is limited. In an era of ubiquitous cameras, no photographs are allowed in the Senate chamber. The only video comes from a set of cameras operated by government employees that's used by the television networks. There aren't many camera angles.

To give the public a closer view, news outlets are employing a low-tech solution.

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U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper thought he would be spending the year 2020 focusing on China, also Russia. Instead, he is leading the military through a series of attacks on and from Iran.

Defense Secretary Mark Esper says the U.S. has the constitutional authority to strike Iranian proxies in Iraq and Iran on the Islamic Republic's home soil in retaliation for attacks on American forces.

Sheila Morrison was in Canada when she fell into her third diabetic coma.

"My 90-year-old cousin thought we had a lunch date, and so she came with her daughter to pick me up," she says. "And I wouldn't answer the door."

Her visitors were able to get inside and called an ambulance when they found her. Morrison remained in the coma for about a week.

In the new Showtime comedy series Work in Progress, Abby McEnany joins a long tradition of comedians playing a version of themselves on TV.

She's playing a "45-year-old self-identified fat, queer dyke" who is depressed, anxious and self-conscious.

McEnany has spent decades in Chicago's improv comedy scene. She says she dealt with a long string of rejections and failed auditions. Then her pilot got picked up and greenlit for a full series.

She still can't quite believe it.

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From the time you're born to the time you die, most everybody in the U.S. uses health care. So when Democratic presidential candidates debate how much to change America's health care system, the stakes can feel personal.

On the morning of Aug. 7, Tony McGee was driving to work in Morton, Miss., when he noticed something unusual happening at one of the local chicken processing plants.

McGee is superintendent of the county schools, and it was the second day of classes.

"There was some activity there with law enforcement that had the parking lot barricaded," he recalls. "I actually called one of our assistant superintendents because it's relatively close to the school."

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The new movie Black and Blue is a thriller about a woman who tries to straddle a divide between two groups of people: African Americans and the police.

The New Orleans police officer who tries to bridge these worlds is Alicia West, played by Naomie Harris. In the movie's opening scene, she's going for a run, wearing a hoodie, when cops stop her for questioning. It turns rough, but while they're searching her, they find her police badge.

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The story of Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman unfolds like a globe-trotting mystery over more than a year.

When the two associates of President Trump's personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, were arrested at an airport this month for campaign finance violations, it wasn't immediately clear how — or even if — those activities were related to the impeachment inquiry into Trump.

But even before their arrest by the FBI, the two Soviet-born men were among the people whom Congress wanted to interview.

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Every year, millions of people visit the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. It holds thousands of years of art history: Egyptian temples, Renaissance sculptures, iconic 20th century paintings.

Admittedly, it's a little much.

"For the public this is one of those great and magnificent spaces that can be hugely intimidating," says Christine Coulson, standing in the museum's great hall. "But for me this feels like home."

His soaring rhetoric has drawn comparisons to former President Barack Obama. He prides himself as the only Democratic presidential hopeful to live in an inner-city neighborhood. Reforming a criminal justice system plagued by racial disparities is central to his campaign.

Yet New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker, one of two top-tier African American candidates in a crowded Democratic field, continues to struggle making inroads with black voters — something he addressed on Saturday in a wide-ranging interview with two voters that was moderated by NPR's Ari Shapiro.

Off Script: Cory Booker

Oct 13, 2019

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Before he became a novelist and poet, and a professor and a MacArthur Fellow, Ben Lerner competed in debate.

He was a policy debater during high school in the 1990s in Topeka, Kan., and was also a national champion in extemporaneous speaking. Not coincidentally, the main character in his new novel, a high-school senior in Kansas named Adam Gordon, is very good at both of those disciplines.

There are two Judy Garlands known to the public.

There's the '30s and '40s Judy — the sweetheart of the movies, the girl next door, the star of The Wizard of Oz and Meet Me in St. Louis. And then there's the older Judy, with The Judy Garland Show, scrutinized by the media, addicted to alcohol and drugs, and financially unstable.

In some ways, it was just like any other wedding. The organist played "Here Comes the Bride." Bridesmaids and groomsmen lined up shoulder to shoulder. A minister presided.

But that's where the similarities stopped. Everything else was spectacle. For one thing, the couple getting married wasn't in a traditional wedding venue; instead, they were in a massive major league baseball stadium in Washington, D.C. Tickets were sold. Vendors hawked souvenirs. And the bride was a gospel music superstar.

Even in Times Square — crammed with tourists from around the world dodging people in superhero costumes — the playwright Jeremy O. Harris stands out.

He's walking down the sidewalk with two thick and long braids, standing six feet and five inches tall, wearing a see-through shirt, carrying bags from fashion designers and smoking a cigarette. He's between New York Fashion Week events and his Broadway opening.

In an exclusive interview with NPR, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says she has not changed her mind on pursuing impeachment but is ready to change the law to restrain presidential power and make it clear that a sitting president can, in fact, be indicted.

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Today in Saudi Arabia, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo left no wiggle room. He said he knows exactly who was behind last weekend's attack on two Saudi oil facilities.

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MIKE POMPEO: I think it's abundantly clear, and there is an enormous consensus in the region that we know precisely who conducted these attacks was Iran.

SHAPIRO: Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif called those accusations false in a CNN interview.

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