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The extreme paralysis that has become the norm in Washington is almost never seen in Western European democracies. Political scientists say there are lessons the U.S. can take from Europe.

Some Michigan seniors may be going hungry thanks to the government shutdown. In western Kent County alone, more than 1,300 low-income seniors depend on a government surplus food program. But the USDA has announced that the program is hold until further notice.

Republican Ken Cuccinelli had been trailing Democrat Terry McAuliffe by a few points in the polls before the partial government shutdown. But since then, McAuliffe's lead has clearly widened in a state that's home to many federal employees.

The play Fetch Clay, Make Man explores the sense of identity through the eyes of two significant figures in black history — Stepin Fetchit (Lincoln Perry) and Cassius Clay (Muhammad Ali).

There's a cult following for the game that most of America threw out when video games came along. It's more competitive than ever. And in the eyes of some, it's art.

Millions of American school children begin the day with the pledge of allegiance. But do they, or their teachers, really understand what it means? Host Michel Martin discusses the issue with journalist Mary Plummer, of KPCC, and Peter Levine, director of the Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement.

Elizabeth Smart was just 14 years old when she was kidnapped at knifepoint from her bedroom. She was held for nine months and forced to act as her captor's second wife. Host Michel Martin talks with Smart about her new memoir and her Mormon faith, which played a big part in her story.

Former Detroit mayor Kwame Kilpatrick was sentenced to 28 years in prison for corruption. But do the Barbershop guys think the sentence was too stiff? They weigh in on that and the week's other top stories.

According to a recent study, more than half of the Mississippians who file for bankruptcy do so because they cannot pay their medical bills. Clarion Ledger reporter Jerry Mitchell tells host Michel Martin what's causing such devastating costs.

It's now possible to create an impressive copy of Michelangelo's David or Rodin's The Thinker with a 3-D printer. Rather than object, some museum curators see this high-tech replication as a way to bring near-real versions of classic works to the masses.

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