A lot of Americans identify themselves by their work. It's often how we introduce ourselves or describe our friends and parents: "I'm a police officer." "I'm a spot-welder." "My dad was a druggist." "My mom was a teacher." "My wife is a pilot." "My friend is a firefighter." "I sell insurance."
Our work has been a kind of identity stamp, defining us as much as our last name or place of birth. As Studs Terkel wrote in his 1974 classic, Working, "Our jobs give us daily meaning as well as daily bread."
There's been international outcry over the arrest of a young Christian girl in Pakistan, who's charged with blasphemy. A Muslim neighbor denounced her for allegedly burning parts of the Quran, a crime that's punishable by death in Pakistan. An Islamic cleric caught word of it and stirred up an angry mob that beat the young girl. NPR's Lauren Frayer reports from Islamabad, the girl is now behind bars and unable to see her lawyer or family.
When Phyllis Diller died this week at the age of 95, much was made of the way she burst open doors for women in comedy. But she also showed a way for people to make a midlife crisis into a breakthrough.
Diller was an Eisenhower-era housewife in the smokestack-and-factory-whistle suburbs of Oakland, Calif., whose husband worked at the naval air base. They had five children and could use some extra income. Phyllis, who had been an art and music student in her youth, also had extra, unfulfilled ambitions to entertain. She volunteered at veteran's hospitals for the Red Cross.
Originally published on Sat August 25, 2012 8:16 am
SCOTT SIMON, HOST:
This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. Apple has won a decisive victory in a closely watched patent lawsuit. A federal jury in California yesterday ordered Samsung to pay Apple slightly more than $1 billion. The jury found that the world's largest maker of smartphones had essentially stolen iPhone and iPad technology. As NPR's Wendy Kaufman reports, the impact of the ruling is likely to be felt throughout the tech industry.
This just in: Gibbons on helium sing like sopranos. Wired magazine reports on a study at Kyoto University in which an ape named Fuku-chan was placed in a chamber filled with helium enriched air. This was not a party trick. Helium-rich air apparently allows scientists to more easily analyze vocalizations. Fuku-chan's bellow went from this:
This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. Republicans and Democrats will talk a lot about the economy during their national conventions over the next couple of weeks. And yet, the man who is about to be nominated by the Republican convention, Mitt Romney, briefly strayed from an economic message yesterday, while speaking in the Detroit suburb of Commerce, Michigan.
Political conventions used to be dramatic events that made history. They nominated candidates for president. They debated crucial issues under glaring lights. Now, not so much. Presidential candidates win or lose nominations in primaries, and parties tend to see - and use - conventions as what amounts to advertisements for themselves. Our apologies to Norman Mailer.
This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. Ethiopia's longtime prime minister died this week. Meles Zenawi was 57. He came to power in 1991 when a rebel army toppled that nation's Marxist dictator and the Ethiopian leader became a trusted U.S. ally in the war against terrorism. As NPR's Ofeibea Quist-Arcton reports, he leaves behind a mixed legacy.
Hungry? You might give a listen now to David Chan. Mr. Chan is a Los Angeles tax lawyer who says he's eaten in more than 6,000 Chinese restaurants in North America and knows how to identify the best. David Chan joins us on the line now.
Sean Rowe has a voice and a style that stands out in popular music. His voice is deep — really, truly deep — fine, and often doleful. He's a baritone troubadour who sings of roads not taken, regrets and the dreams that shake you awake at 3 in the morning.
After years of working bars, road houses and more bars, Rowe is playing concert stages and winning over critics for his story-songs and that remarkable voice. But, as he tells NPR's Scott Simon, he wasn't always so proud to be a singer.
All summer long, Weekend Edition has been bringing listeners the sounds of music played outdoors by all manner of street performers. Of all the cities in America that embrace buskers, New Orleans, with its tradition of jazz and oompah bands at Mardi Gras, may be the most welcoming. It also happens to be a city with a certain eccentric flair — so Weekend Edition wasn't surprised to find Clyde Casey there.
Just a small-town girl, living in a lonely world — in Belgium, with her guitar and a MySpace page. That's how Selah Sue used to introduce her music to those outside her hometown: with short videos made between high-school classes and weekend shows at local clubs, posted to her online journal.
The Valomilk was once advertised as "the 5-cent candy bar with the 50-cent taste." And while the price has changed, the product has not.
For more than 80 years, the family-owned Russell Sifers Candy Company has been using the same recipe to churn out a rich concoction of chocolate and creamy marshmallow goo.
The candy-making machines are busy on the factory floor in Merriam, Kan., just southwest of Kansas City. This is the headquarters of the century-old company, where Russell Sifers himself is a fourth-generation candy maker.
Last week, Mitt Romney announced that he had selected Wisconsin congressman Paul Ryan as his running mate. NPR's Ari Shapiro has been covering the pair for a week now, and he joins Weekend Edition Saturday host Scott Simon talks with him about the past week of campaigning for the new pair.
This week, Ecuador announced that it would grant Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks, political asylum. He's been holed up in Ecuador's London embassy since June facing extradition to Sweden over sexual assault claims that he denies. But somehow he's got to get from London to Ecuador and he can't just buy a ticket, buy a canister of tea in duty-free and fly to Quito. The British government says that Julian Assange will be arrested if he sets a foot out of the embassy door.
This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. The president of France, Francois Hollande, has just passed 100 days in office. Mr. Hollande swept to victory in a wave of discontent aimed at former President Nicolas Sarkozy. But now, there are concerns that the new president's slow, cautious manner may not be suited to solving some of the challenges facing his country. Eleanor Beardsley sends us this report from Paris.
This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. The last U.N. military observers are pulling out of Syria today. Their mission has been made near impossible by the heavy fighting gripping the country.
A former Algerian foreign minister is taking over as U.N. envoy on Syria, but he's not optimistic about a quick end to the fighting. And neighboring Lebanon remains on edge, after a spate of kidnappings this week related to the Syrian conflict. NPR's Anthony Kuhn joins us from Beirut.
The quayside at Compagnia della Vela in Venice, Italy, is largely deserted. Authorities have targeted yacht owners as part of a crackdown on tax evasion, and many boat owners have sailed to other countries in the Mediterranean.
Credit Bloomberg via Getty Images
A foreign yacht is berthed at Porto Santo Stefano. Italian police have been raiding ports to check if yacht owners have been paying enough taxes.
Italy has a public debt of nearly 2 trillion euros, and it's cracking down on its notoriously wily tax evaders. Owners of luxury yachts are a prime target, with tax police launching dockside raids to see how individual tax files line up with owning and maintaining an expensive boat.
But yachts are mobile assets. In response, many boat owners are simply weighing anchor and setting course for more tax-friendly Mediterranean marinas.
This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Linda Wertheimer.
The Romney campaign is now the Romney-Ryan campaign. The newly minted Republican ticket was presented at an event in Norfolk, Virginia. Mitt Romney named Wisconsin congressman Paul Ryan as his running mate beside the aptly named USS Wisconsin. In his introduction of Ryan, he extolled the Midwestern virtues of the congressman.
The Romney campaign launched its first event with Ryan on the ticket in front of an excited crowd of supporters in Norfolk, Va., Saturday morning. If the crowd at the event was any indication, the decision has energized the Republican base.
It's been a big day for Mitt Romney's presidential campaign. Romney officially announced his running mate this morning in Virginia. NPR's Ron Elving tells guest host Linda Wertheimer how the pair are starting out.
This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Linda Wertheimer. We are following the big political story this hour. Mitt Romney has announced the other half of his ticket, congressman Paul Ryan of Wisconsin. He's been a champion of conservative fiscal principles as chairman of the House Budget Committee. Let's listen to Paul Ryan from an interview with NPR in May of 2012, shortly after he released his first budget.
For more on Mr. Romney's choice of a running mate, we're joined in the studio by NPR's Washington editor Ron Elving and NPR's national political correspondent Don Gonyea.
Now, we just heard from congressman Chris Van Hollan of Maryland, who's a Democrat. He told us that the choice that Mr. Romney made tells independent voters to, quote, "take a hike." How do you think that this choice affects independents and undecided voters? You want to start, Ron?