NPR News

First Listen: Liz Brasher, 'Outcast'

Apr 19, 2018

Getting to know a new artist's music can feel like falling in love. One's senses are awakened, and every nuance is noted and internalized. When it comes to Liz Brasher, this is especially true, as each layer brings forth new things to ponder. There is, first, the remarkable instrument of her voice, which can deliver a power-pop howl as easily as it croons a stormy country ballad. Then the guitar captures you, at once crunchy and percussive.

Friday is April 20, a day that some people celebrate by smoking marijuana. The Police Department in Lawrence, Kan., is preparing for this week's pot holiday by sending safety tips via their official Twitter account, run by officer Drew Fennelly.

Those tweets have gotten thousands of likes, and they aren't the only ones. Fennelly says that using humor serves a purpose: The funnier the tweet, the more likely the department's updates reach a wider audience.

Newly filed reports show Democratic House candidates outpacing Republicans in raising money for the midterm elections. Here's what's going on:

1. Democratic donors are excited by the possibility of gaining a House majority.

Fifty years ago, Johnny Cash performed at Folsom State Prison in Folsom, Calif. The January 1968 concert and live album it produced, At Folsom Prison, helped revitalize Cash's career, inspiring him to testify for prison reform and cementing his reputation as a voice for the downtrodden.

At Trump National Doral Golf Club near Miami this week, executives with the nation's payday loan industry are holding their annual conference with receptions, breakout sessions and a golf tournament.

Outside the gates of the resort Tuesday, a smaller group gathered to hold a protest. They were trying to shame an industry that they say preys on the vulnerable, by lending them money at interest rates as high as 200 percent to 300 percent a year.

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

AILSA CHANG, HOST:

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

AILSA CHANG, HOST:

Nigel Poor and Earlonne Woods wanted to start a podcast about life in prison. It would be for inmates, by inmates, to be played on the closed-circuit station in San Quentin State Prison in California — "for the inside," as Woods says.

Woods is serving a 31-years-to-life sentence for attempted second-degree robbery. Poor is a visual artist who volunteers at San Quentin.

Allan Monga had never given much thought to poetry before last summer, when he arrived in Maine as an asylum-seeker from Zambia.

At the time, he was almost completely alone, living at a teen shelter in Portland and nervous about speaking with anyone in his new country.

"It was really hard for me," says Monga, 19. "I didn't really know anyone. It was hard to trust anyone."

A Dallas woman, wishing to remain anonymous, claims she was emotionally manipulated and knowingly given a sexually transmitted disease by singer R. Kelly during an 11-month relationship she had with the singer.

Lee Merritt, the attorney for the 20-year-old woman, has turned over evidence to Dallas police hoping that the department will bring criminal charges against Kelly, who Merritt claims "intentionally and knowingly" transmitted herpes to his client, served her alcohol while underage and provided her with illegal substances.

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

AILSA CHANG, HOST:

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

Former first lady Barbara Bush died Tuesday after a series of hospitalizations. She was the wife of former President George H.W. Bush and the mother of former President George W. Bush.

Born Barbara Pierce in New York City, Bush initially thought she'd grow up to become a nurse. "But then I met that marvelous George Bush and the nursing went out the window," she told Fresh Air in 1994.

The wild battle in Arkansas over dicamba, the controversial and drift-prone herbicide, just got even crazier. Local courts have told some farmers that they don't have to obey a summertime ban on dicamba spraying that the state's agricultural regulators issued last fall. The state has appealed.

Copyright 2018 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

TERRY GROSS, HOST:

O.C.: Tiny Desk Concert

Apr 18, 2018

As a member of Brooklyn rap collective Diggin' In The Crates, Omar Credle, aka O.C., helped shape what was known as the golden age of 1990s rap. Marked by loops sourced from jazz recordings and lyrics rooted in one-upmanship, O.C's two '90s albums, Word...Life and Jewelz established him as a rapper's rapper, an underground star.

Each night, all over the ocean, swarms of animals wriggle and kick their way from deep below the waves to feed at the surface. Each creature is tiny — less than a centimeter long, and sometimes much smaller — and there are trillions of them.

New research suggests this nightly migration might be helping mix the ocean on a grand scale, sending columns of water down as the animals swim up. It's a radical idea, and one that is just starting to take hold among scientists who study the oceans and who have long assumed that wind and waves, not animals, are the drivers of ocean-mixing.

The Thistle & Shamrock: The Road Of Tears

Apr 18, 2018

Although the scenes of immigration may change, the tragedies of displaced people are replayed with each passing year. Fiona Ritchie's selections this week include traditional broadsheet ballads and music hall choruses from artists like Dolores Keane, Mick Moloney, and Battlefield Band.

One does not simply "start a band" in your garage or basement in the 21st century. Our buzzed-about guest today, Superorganism, prove that point, stretching the notion of a craigslist connection to completely new heights.

It's not about the numbering.

You'll be hearing a lot this week about the publishing milestone DC Comics' Action Comics has achieved, with the publication of issue #1000, on shelves (physical and digital) today. And I don't mean to dismiss that achievement, believe me. It's 2018, and periodical publishing is a lot like the Man of Steel in the penultimate panel of 1992's "Death of Superman" storyline: Beaten to a bloody pulp and hovering at death's door.

"You're still walking around the block," observes Hope Sandoval on Mazzy Star's newest, to which we all — despite the promising green sprigs of spring making their way out of the branches — sigh and think, "Yeah."

There are two sides to Thomas Feriero: the sleek, summery techno of his Atavism and CW/A projects, best heard at the edge of day. And now something harder and heavier emerges.

Netflix blew past Wall Street expectations this week and added 7.4 million new subscribers between January and March — giving it a total of 125 million paying subscribers worldwide. Its popularity is leaving rivals Amazon and Hulu in the dust as it continues to add new content.

But can the service that made binge watching popular keep it up as a big rival gears up to take it on?

Last Christmas, Matthew Bamsey was in Antarctica with a giant item on his wish list.

As a systems engineer at the German Aerospace Center, Bamsey was hoping the greenhouse he had helped design would arrive at Neumayer Station III, Antarctica, around Dec. 25. His gift was a bit late — icy weather delayed the greenhouse's arrival until Jan. 3, but he didn't mind. After three years of preparation, it was fine that it got there eventually.

Helicopters from the power company buzz across the skies of this picturesque valley, ferrying electrical poles on long wires to workmen standing on steep hillsides.

The people of Castañer, an isolated village in Puerto Rico's central mountains, view the repairs to the electrical grid warily. Crews have come and gone, and people living along the mountain roads don't expect to get power until late summer, if ever. Power finally started flowing to the center of town last month, but the grid remains unstable, and the hospital continues to rely on its own generator.

Pages