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Eighteen years and nearly $400 billion since engineers begin outlining the initial concept, a small squadron of F-35B Lightning IIs has finally been declared ready to fight.

#NPRreads is a weekly feature on Twitter and on The Two-Way. The premise is simple: Correspondents, editors and producers throughout our newsroom share pieces that have kept them reading. They share tidbits using the #NPRreads hashtag — and on Fridays, we highlight some of the best stories.

This week, we bring you four items.

From NPR producer Sarah Handel:

Late in a series of bruising televised debates on ABC tied to the momentous Republican and Democratic Conventions of 1968, Gore Vidal beamed one of his supercilious side-eyes at William F. Buckley Jr. and called him a "crypto-fascist." Buckley bared his teeth, branded Vidal a "queer" and threatened to rearrange his face.

To Haben Girma's grandmother, back in East Africa, it "seemed like magic." Her granddaughter, born deaf and blind, is a graduate of Harvard Law School and works as a civil rights attorney.

Nisha Saini has been practicing an Indian traditional health form called Ayurveda for over 16 years. She runs a small alternative health center in Manhattan called New York Ayurveda where customers can get massages and dietary advice. Over the counter, Saini sells an extensive array of traditional remedies concocted from herbs and spices. But there's one kind of Ayurvedic medicine she doesn't sell.

Advocates and inmates working to overhaul the criminal justice system will have to wait at least a little longer for congressional action.

The Republican leader of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Charles Grassley, said he won't hold a public event on sentencing reform proposals until after the August recess, as language is still being drafted by a bipartisan working group. And in the U.S. House, lawmakers and their aides will spend at least the next five weeks making adjustments to a sweeping bill sponsored by 40 Democrats and Republicans, sources told NPR Friday.

Some David Foster Wallace fans recoiled when they heard that sitcom veteran Jason Segel had been cast to play the Infinite Jest author in a movie. But Segel stretches impressively beyond expectations in The End of the Tour, an intriguing if not altogether convincing film. The actor is not just hulking physique and long hair wrapped in an unflattering bandana.

"I can't stop mourning, it's like hearing cancer spreading," singer and bassist Julie DeLano sings. "It's like hope is a fairy tale and so are the gods, and change is unheard of." In "Wake Of The World," the buoyant final track from the Brooklyn band Gold's self-titled album, DeLano unfurls a laconic string of half-sung, half-spoken inner feelings and open statements about the sad and unsustainable state of society.

An arson attack in the West Bank that killed an 18-month-old boy was being condemned widely on Friday, but the Palestinian Liberation Organization is putting the blame on the Israeli government.

The attack happened in the early morning hours of Friday when perpetrators firebombed a house in the village of Duma. According to the BBC, the perpetrators left behind some graffiti in Hebrew. On one wall, the Star of David was drawn right next to the word "revenge."

In a development that could change the way the deadly Ebola disease is fought, researchers have announced promising results of a new vaccine's trial in Guinea, one of several countries affected by a historic outbreak in West Africa.

"The estimated vaccine efficacy was 100 percent," a team of researchers say.

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