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Podcast title The latest stories from www.wnyc.org
Website URL http://www.wnyc.org/
Description The latest stories from www.wnyc.org
Updated Sat, 19 Jan 2019 20:06:51 -0500

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1. Latest Newscast From the WNYC Newsroom
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2. 2019/01/20 00:00 GMT
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Description: The latest five minute news bulletin from BBC World Service.

3. Trump Offers 'Compromise' to End Shutdown
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Description: His plan includes concessions on immigrants who entered the US illegally when young. Also, UN officials fear one-hundred-and-seventy migrants may have drowned in the Mediterranean; deaths in Mexico pipeline blast rise to 66, and people around the world march for gender equality.

4. Photos: The Women's March In Washington
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Editor's note: This report includes images that some readers may find offensive.

Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

5. 2019/01/19 23:00 GMT
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Description: The latest five minute news bulletin from BBC World Service.

6. The Democratic Response To Trump's Latest Border Security Proposal
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Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

7. There's No Rest For Anyone In 'The Dreamers'
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In a quiet college town — the fictional town of Santa Lora, in southern California — one by one, students fall victim to a bizarre contagious disease. They fall into a deep sleep, and don't wake up. In fact, some will never wake up. And the disease spreads throughout the town, quickly and indiscriminately.

That's the dystopian premise of Karen Thompson Walker's new novel, The Dreamers. "I've always been interested in sleep," she says. "I'm interested in the parts of human experience where the ordinary overlaps with the extraordinary, and so sleep is one of those things that is just so profoundly familiar, obviously, to all of us ... but we don't really know what goes on in our brains while we're asleep."

Interview Highlights

On the strangeness of the dreams the sickness causes

It was fascinating to explore ... the kind of strangeness of sleep and dreaming, and the mystery of human consciousness — but then also to bring in this time element, and this possibility of, what if the strangeness of these dreams are that it's granting some access to a kind of different way of experiencing time? And so there is an idea in physics, that past, present and future, that those are human constructs. And I'm interested in that idea of how humans perceive reality is not necessarily accurate to the way the universe actually functions.

On the other contagion in the novel — conspiracy theories

Even though the book has this kind of other worldly type of sickness at its center, I really wanted it to feel realistic, and as if it was taking place more or less in contemporary America. And so part of that was trying to learn from, you know, I'm learning all the time, about American society and human nature by the things that are unfolding in the news. And so it just seemed like an element of realism, that if a new sickness like this appeared in an American city, inevitably, just as we've seen with all kinds of other disasters, there would be some faction of people who wouldn't believe it. If they aren't there, they wouldn't believe it, and they would be looking for the conspiracy theory angle.

In a way a conspiracy theory is comforting, because it's more comforting to think that it's all an evil plot by one person, or a group of people, because then in theory it is something less chaotic about it — even though it's scary, the real kind of unsettling thing, which I think is truer, is kind of just the chaos of a human life.

On writing California-centric apocalypses

I don't know if I can even articulate exactly why my imagination is so fired by these disaster situations. I mean I think growing up in California ... there is something about that kind of familiarity with the feeling of a looming disaster is is a part of a California childhood, which it was of mine. So I think that's part of it, and then I think also just writing about a disaster like this ... my sort of main interest and real subject is ordinary people, and looking at the ways that ordinary people, either they do or don't change when faced with these extreme situations. So in a way, this sleeping sickness is a way of highlighting and exploring all the facets of human nature, and what would happen to them in such an extraordinary and uncertain situation.

This interview was produced and for radio by Hiba Ahmad and Denise Couture. It adapted for the Web by Petra Mayer.

Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

8. Trump Pitches 3-Year Extention Of DACA Protections For Border Wall Funding
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Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

9. In Exchange For Border Wall Funding, Trump Proposes Temporary Immigrant Protections
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Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

10. Thousands Gather Across U.S. For 3rd Annual Women's Marches
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Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

11. In Mexico, Dozens Killed In Gasoline Pipeline Explosion
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Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

12. Neyla Pekarek Strikes Out On Her Own In New Album Drawing On Colorado Folklore
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Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

13. During Government Shutdown, Many Federal Workers Can't Afford To Miss A Paycheck
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Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

14. Over Sixty People Killed in Mexico Fuel Disaster
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Description: At least 66 people killed after a pipeline ruptured by suspected fuel thieves explodes. Also in the programme: President Trump makes a major announcement on immigration. (Picture: Flames burn at the scene of a massive blaze triggered by a leaky pipeline in Tlahuelilpan, Hidalgo state, on January 18, 2019. Credit: AFP/Getty Images)

15. 2019/01/19 22:00 GMT
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Description: The latest five minute news bulletin from BBC World Service.

16. Democrats Reject Trump Border Wall Proposal, Calling It A 'Non-Starter'
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Updated at 5:28 p.m. ET

With negotiations over reopening the government at a standstill, President Trump offered to backtemporary protections for some immigrants brought to the country illegally as children, many of whom are now adults, in exchange for funding for a wall on the Southern border.

In a White House speech on Saturday, Trump also offered to extend the Temporary Protected Status program that blocks deportation of certain immigrants fleeing civil unrest or natural disasters.

The proposal had multiple components, including requests for:

$800 million for urgent humanitarian assistance;$805 million for drug-detection technology to secure ports of entry;2,750 additional border agents;75 new immigration judge teams for a court backlog of nearly 900,000 cases; Allowing Central American minors to apply for asylum in their home countries;$5.7 billion for strategic deployment of physical barriers, or a wall, but not, Trump said, a 2,000-mile concrete structure. The president said he wants to add 230 miles this year and claimed the crime rate and drug problem "would be quickly and greatly reduced" and that "some say it would be cut in half."

In exchange for:

Three years of legislative relief for some 700,000 recipients of the Obama-era initiative known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, which protects some immigrants brought to the U.S. illegally as children from deportation. The Trump administration had moved to end DACA, but the decision was challenged in court and is currently held up in legal proceedings. Trump's proposal would give an extension of legal status;A three-year extension of Temporary Protected Status for some 300,000 facing expiration;

The president said these measures would allow three more years of certainty to work on a larger immigration deal.

However, even before he spoke, the deal appeared to be dead on arrival with Democratic leaders. They insisted Trump needs to open the government before beginning any negotiations over border security or barrier funding.

Before the speech, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., responded to initial reports of the president's offer by calling it "a compilation of several previously rejected initiatives, each of which is unacceptable." She added that Trump's proposal does not "represent a good faith effort to restore certainty to people's lives."

Some 800,000 federal workers throughout the country have either been furloughed or made to work without pay. Workers have now missed one paycheck and will miss another if the shutdown is not resolved in the next week. Trump has signed legislation to give back pay to federal workers once the government is reopened.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., pledged to put Trump's proposal up for a vote this week.

"Everyone has made their point — now it's time to make a law," McConnell said in a statement shortly after the speech. "I intend to move to this legislation this week. With bipartisan cooperation, the Senate can send a bill to the House quickly so that they can take action as well. The situation for furloughed employees isn't getting any brighter and the crisis at the border isn't improved by show votes. But the president's plan is a path toward addressing both issues quickly."

Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C., head of the conservative House Freedom Caucus, praised Trump's move and put the ball in Democrats' court.

But not everyone in the conservative base was happy with Trump's proposal. Conservative commentator Ann Coulter called Trump's move "amnestying millions of illegals."

During this, the longest partial government shutdown in U.S. history, Trump has suffered in the polls, which have found more people blame the president than congressional Democrats. And that number is on the rise. An NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll also found Trump's approval rating down to 39 percent and slipping with his base.

Coming out Saturday and making this speech was an attempt by the president to reclaim the narrative and appear conciliatory. Democrats indicate the president did not reach out to them before the speech and don't see what he's doing, as Pelosi noted, as a good faith effort at compromise.

Trump's offer is based, in part, on bipartisan legislation proposed by Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., and Dick Durbin, D-Ill., known as the Bridge Act. The bill would give three years of protections to the so-called "DREAMers" — immigrants who came to the U.S. illegally as children. But before Trump's speech, Durbin, a member of the Democratic leadership in the Senate, rejected Trump's use of the bill in this way and called for the government first to be reopened before any negotiations on a border barrier could take place.

"First, President Trump and Senate Majority Leader McConnell must open the government today," said Durbin, the minority whip in the Senate. "Second, I cannot support the proposed offer as reported and do not believe it can pass the Senate. Third, I am ready to sit down at any time after the government is opened and work to resolve all outstanding issues."

This is the latest move by the White House in the midst of its showdown with Democrats, who have balked at providing the money for construction of a border wall. Democrats contend that Trump's push for the wall is immoral and that it is an ineffective way to stop illegal crossings.

Trump argues a wall is necessary for national security. He has refused to sign any spending bill without funding for it. Back in December, the president indicated that he would sign temporary funding measures to keep the government open but then faced a backlash in conservative media over it. He reversed course, which led to the shutdown.

Until now, the White House had said it would be open to negotiating on the amount of money it will accept for a wall but has been noncommittal about offering other concessions to Democrats.

Almost a year ago, Democrats offered some $25 billion in exchange for a path to citizenship for those almost 700,000 DACA recipients. Democrats say Trump balked at the offer, demanding more after Democrats thought they had a deal.

Democrats have passed several bills out of the House to fund and reopen agencies that are currently shut down. McConnell has not brought them to the floor of the Senate, deferring instead to the need for negotiations between Trump and Democrats.

Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

This is the latest and most significant step yet of POTUS showing his willingness to negotiate and compromise with Democrats on the issue of wall funding. At this point, if Democrats refuse to come to the table, it will show they are not at all serious about solving this impasse.

— Mark Meadows (@RepMarkMeadows) January 19, 2019

100 miles of border wall in exchange for amnestying millions of illegals. So if we grant citizenship to a BILLION foreigners, maybe we can finally get a full border wall.

— Ann Coulter (@AnnCoulter) January 19, 2019

17. 2019/01/19 21:00 GMT
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Description: The latest five minute news bulletin from BBC World Service.

18. 2019/01/19 20:00 GMT
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Description: The latest five minute news bulletin from BBC World Service.

19. Powerful Winter Storm Sweeps East After Blanketing The Midwest
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After blanketing much of the Midwest in snow, a winter storm is now moving towards New England, with more than 100 million Americans in its path. The storm is expected to drop snow, ice and freezing rain in many places, and forecasters say temperatures will fall quickly afterwards, as arctic air envelops much of the East Coast.

"Snow amounts have been locally over a foot in Iowa, up to 10 inches so far in Illinois, up to 5 inches in Kansas, up to 4 inches in Indiana, up to 8 inches in Michigan and Missouri and just over a foot in Wisconsin," David Roth, a forecaster with the National Weather Service, told NPR.

The storm has already resulted in dangerous travel conditions in many parts of the country. On Friday, a Southwest Airline plane skidded off a runway in icy conditions in Omaha, Neb. In Kansas, a driver with the state's Department of Transportation died in a crash south of Kansas City, the New York Times reported.

In Iowa, the Department of Transportation says visibility dropped to less than half a mile in many locations. More than 7,000 flights have been delayed, and more than 1,500 flights cancelled, according to the flight tracking sight FlightAware.

As the storm moved east, officials in New Jersey and Pennsylvania declared states of emergency.

In Albany, N.Y., the National Weather Service said snow could fall at a rate of 1 to 3 inches an hour, creating "difficult to impossible travel conditions" in areas.

In New York City, three to six inches of snow may accumulate, followed by rain that could turn to ice as temperatures fall. Inland areas across the Northeast and New England will likely see accumulation of up to 2 feet of snow.

Meanwhile, in the South, more than 10 million people face a risk of severe weather, including severe winds and tornadoes.

Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

20. 2019/01/19 19:00 GMT
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Description: The latest five minute news bulletin from BBC World Service.

21. What's Iran Up To With Recent Rocket Launch Attempt?
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Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

22. What's Iran Up To With Recent Rocket Launch Attempt?
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Description: Iran attempted to launch a rocket carrying a satellite into space. The Trump administration believes the launch was about developing long-range weapons, but analysts say the tech used is too clunky.

23. Trump Travels To Dover AFB For Dignified Transfer Of 4 Americans Killed In Syria
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Updated 5:17 p.m. ET

President Trump traveled to Dover Air Force Base on Saturday as the remains of four Americans killed earlier this week by a suicide bomber in Syria were returned to the U.S.

Trump, who met privately with family members of the four Americans, was joined by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and acting Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan.

At least 19 people were killed in Wednesday's attack at a restaurant in Manbij in northern Syria. The Pentagon identified Army Chief Warrant Officer 2 Jonathan R. Farmer, 37, of Boynton Beach, Fla.; Navy Chief Cryptologic Technician Shannon M. Kent, 35, of upstate New York, and Scott A. Wirtz of St. Louis, a civilian operations support specialist working for the Defense Intelligence Agency, as victims of the bombing.

A defense contractor, Valiant Integrated Services, identified Ghadir Taher, 27, of East Point, Ga., as the fourth American victim. She was reportedly a Syrian-born Arabic interpreter.

Photos from the ceremony showed Trump and Pompeo looking on as Wirtz's flag-draped casket was carried from a military cargo plane to a waiting van.

Three other U.S. service members were wounded in the bombing.

This is Trump's second visit to the Delaware Air Force base to witness a dignified transfer, as the return of remains is known. In February 2017, he paid his respects to Navy SEAL William "Ryan" Owens, who was killed during a U.S. raid in Yemen.

The Islamic State claimed responsibility for this week's bombing — Saturday's ceremony came exactly one month after the president declared victory over the group.

"We have won against ISIS. We have beaten them and we've beaten them badly," Trump said in a video on Dec. 19. "Our boys, our young women, our men – they're all coming back and they're coming back now."

As he left the White House for Dover on Saturday morning, he told reporters that the U.S. has been "hitting ISIS very hard over the last three weeks."

Earlier this week, a Pentagon spokesman said ISIS "remains a threat." As NPR's Greg Myre and Laurel Wamsley reported:

"ISIS has lost the caliphate, or Islamic State, and almost all the territory it controlled in Syria (and Iraq) at its peak in 2014. However, many fighters are still believed to be in Syria; they've just gone underground.

"Many are citizens of Syria and have nowhere else to go. In addition, relatively few foreign ISIS fighters have tried to return to their home countries elsewhere in the Middle East or in the West. The Pentagon and others have estimated ISIS may still have 20,000 to 30,000 members in Syria and Iraq combined.

"For these reasons, many analysts believe ISIS retains the potential to mount a comeback, particularly as a guerrilla force waging small-scale attacks."

Hundreds of thousands of civilians have died in Syria since the beginning of the conflict in 2011. NPR's Daniella Cheslow noted earlier this week that Manbij, a bustling city of 100,000 people, has faced ongoing attacks from the Islamic State and that "the U.S. has been training local forces to take over patrolling duties — a handover that has been thrust into uncertainty by Trump's December announcement the U.S. will withdraw."

Trump announced the trip to Dover Air Force Base early Saturday morning on Twitter. It was followed by a number of other messages criticizing the news media and Mexico, and warning of an economic decline if he is impeached.

Later on Saturday, the president made what he billed a "major announcement" regarding border security and the ongoing partial government shutdown – the longest in American history. The announcement included an offer to extend protections for some immigrants brought to the country illegally as children in exchange for $5.7 billion in funding for a border wall.

Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

24. 2019/01/19 18:00 GMT
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Description: The latest five minute news bulletin from BBC World Service.

25. Amid Snow And Controversy, Demonstrators Take To The Streets For 3rd Women's March
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Updated at 5:38 p.m. ET

For the third year in a row, demonstrators gathered in the nation's capital and cities around the world for Women's March events.

In Washington, D.C., crowds of people wearing pink hats marched from Freedom Plaza down Pennsylvania Avenue, advocating for women, immigrants, people of color and LGBTQ rights. They took to the streets just weeks after women were sworn into Congress in record numbers.

Marches took place nationwide from New York to San Francisco to Dallas, Philadelphia and Portland, Maine. Crowds in Montpelier, Vt., braved temperatures well below freezing. In Seneca Falls, N.Y., the seat of the first women's convention in the 19th century, marchers in big coats trudged through falling snow. Red-and-white outfits inspired by the dystopian novel and television series The Handmaid's Tale, popped up in marches across the country, similar to last year's demonstrations.

In Pennsylvania, Attorney General Josh Shapiro introduced a survivor of clergy sexual abuse to speak. On a stage in New York, where issues of inclusivity have polarized marchers, newly elected Democratic congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez rallied the crowd.

The protest movement began in 2017 and still embodies many of the same ideas. But the message this year has been muddled by controversy among the leaders of the march.

Ties between Tamika Mallory, one of the leaders of the march, and Louis Farrakhan, the leader of the Nation of Islam, have caused disagreement in the top ranks of the organization over Farrakhan's anti-Semitism. The Nation of Islam is considered a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center, and the Women's March has denounced anti-Semitism.

The Democratic National Committee dropped its sponsorship of the march, as did the National Organization for Women, NPR's Danielle Kurtzleben reports from D.C. And the controversy led some women to stay home.

Speakers, including Mallory, addressed the controversy directly and urged demonstrators to rally around shared causes.

"To my Jewish sisters, do not let anyone tell you who I am," Mallory told the crowd. "I see all of you. I see you and I hear your pain."

Even as the disagreement loomed over Saturday's proceedings, there was a sense of unity among the diverse coalition present, Kurtzleben reports.

"I know there's some controversy around this march," Cristine Betters, who went to the march with her daughter, tells NPR. "But for us, it's not about the leaders. We don't know the leaders' names, we don't know anything about them, and we frankly don't care. ... We're here to be one with the sisterhood."

Another woman at the march, who declined to give her full name, described herself as a Jewish feminist. She had reconsidered attending the march because of the controversy but decided she would go in order to stand in solidarity with other women, NPR's Sarah McCammon reports. She held a sign in Hebrew that read: "And you shall love your neighbor as yourself."

Marchers in Washington gathered in Freedom Plaza, unlike in the previous two demonstrations, which had taken place on the National Mall. But the march resembled previous years, as demonstrators raised signs about LGBTQ rights, #BlackLivesMatter and immigration, as well as myriad posters referencing President Trump.

Meanwhile, a small group of protesters to the march held up anti-abortion and anti-Islam signs.

The Women's March spread around the globe on Saturday, as it has in previous years, with demonstrators taking to the streets from Geneva to Madrid. In London, people gathered with signs protesting violence against women and policies of austerity.

Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

“Movements are messy but we’re going to have to move together.” - Reverend Dr. Jaqueline J. Lewis at the Women’s March talking on the controversy that surrounds the Women’s March. “Our common enemy is white supremacy.” #WomensMarch2019

— Hafsa Quraishi (@hafiisaa) January 19, 2019

A few scenes from #WomensMarch2019 in DC pic.twitter.com/doM5za70I1

— Sarah McCammon (@sarahmccammon) January 19, 2019

26. 2019/01/19 17:00 GMT
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Description: The latest five minute news bulletin from BBC World Service.

27. Denver And Los Angeles: Two Cities Trying To Negotiate A New Deal With Teachers
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You're reading NPR's weekly roundup of education news.

Looking back at week one of the LA teacher strike

The school district and union leaders returned to the negotiation table on Thursday, and with talks scheduled throughout the weekend, some are trying to see an end to this week-long teacher strike.

And for district leaders, the strike is getting costly. The Los Angeles Unified School District receives state funds based on attendance. On Thursday, for example, only 17 percent of students came to school, according to the LA Times. Each day of the strike means an estimated net loss of about $10 to $15 million dollars, according to the district.

Another issue has come back up: charter schools. Charter schools receive public dollars but are privately managed, and union leaders at United Teachers Los Angeles say this takes money away from public schools. Aside from that, UTLA is still unsatisfied with the district's plan to reduce class sizes, improve teacher pay, reallocate district funds and hire more staff — like nurses, librarians and counselors.

Denver teacher union leader: 'We anticipate a strike'

The teachers' union in Denver will vote on whether or not it wants a strike on Saturday and Tuesday. A few issues brought the two sides to this point. The most recent is that, on Friday at midnight, the labor agreement between Denver Public Schools and the Denver Classroom Teachers Association expired.

Late Friday night, the union also rejected a proposal from the district. It was $8 million shy of what the union was asking from the district to improve, among many things, teacher pay.

Results from the vote to strike could come as soon as Tuesday night, according to union officials.

The House Education Committee's newest member is the 2016 National Teacher of the Year

2016 National Teacher of the Year Jahana Hayes has been named to the House Education and Labor Committee. Hayes, a Democratic congresswoman from Connecticut, made education an integral part of her campaign platform, promising if elected to advocate for college access, teacher readiness and preparation, and career readiness and training.

She won her primary in an upset last August and defeated Republican Manny Santos for the open seat in November. Hayes joins a Committee that legislates on all levels of education, workforce development, and health, employment, labor, and pensions.

Study: Completing a simple writing exercise before tests can help low-income students pass

A new study found that helping students manage stress before big exams could increase their chances of doing well, especially if the students are low-income.

Researchers randomly assigned some 9th-graders at a large, economically diverse high school in the Midwest to write for ten minutes about their thoughts and feelings before both their midterm and final biology exams. Other students were asked to read and reflect on an excerpt from a 2011 study in the Journal of Psychophysiology about physical reactions to stress and how these reactions could potentially help, not harm, those who felt them. A control group of students took the tests as usual. Researchers found that low-income students who completed the pre-exam tasks were less likely to fail biology than low-income students in the control group, and that gaps between high-income and low-income students narrowed for students who had completed the writing exercises.

Federal Reserve study highlights impacts of student loans

Researchers at the federal reserve will release a series of reports looking at the "financial conditions and experiences of consumers and communities." In their first report, the researchers focused on the impacts of student loans.

"Our estimates suggest that increases in student loan debt are an important factor in explaining their lowered homeownership rates, but not the central cause of the decline," the report's authors said.

The research also looked at "rural brain drain" and how student loans affected rural grads who may or may not leave for a metro area.

Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

28. Top Shelf: Eydie Gorme
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Edith Gormezano, better known as Eydie Gormé, sang on Broadway, television, and on the road as half of the husband-and-wife team Steve and Eydie. Gormé was born in the Bronx, and made her radio debut on a Spanish-language show called Cita Con Eydie. 

Eydie met her soon-to-be husband Steve when they were staff singers on Steve Allen's Tonight Show. 60 years ago this week, Steve and Eydie were just finishing their year-long Broadway debut run in Golden Rainbow. That show gave the world - and Sammy Davis, Jr. - a surprise hit with the song "I've Gotta Be Me." Davis recorded the song while Steve and Eydie were still singing it on Broadway, and it became his anthem. Sammy Davis also took Steve and Eydie on the road with him for years.

For singer and bandleader Michael Mwenso, the road to appreciating Eydie Gormé as a vocalist, apart from Steve and the Rat Pack connections, was paved by... the Blues Brothers.

Michael Mwenso was born in Sierra Leone and grew up in London. His band Mwenso and the Shakes are a Harlem-based collective of artists from all around the world. At last fall's New York Hot Jazz Festival they  performed a Fats Waller revue called The Joint Is Jumpin’.


Hear more corners of the songbook anytime at wnyc.org/songbook 

29. 2019/01/19 16:00 GMT
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Description: The latest five minute news bulletin from BBC World Service.

30. Panel Questions
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31. Who's Bill This Time
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32. Bluff The Listener
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33. Not My Job: Conan O'Brien Gets Quizzed On Hot Cocoa
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We've invited the longtime, late night talk show host to play a game called "Team Coco, meet hot cocoa!" Conan O'Brien is now host of Conan on TBS, and has a new podcast called Conan O'Brien Needs a Friend.

Click the audio link above to find out how he does.

Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

34. Lightning Fill In The Blank
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35. Predictions
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36. Limericks
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37. Panel Questions
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38. 2019/01/19 15:00 GMT
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Description: The latest five minute news bulletin from BBC World Service.

39. More Than 60 Dead, Dozens Injured In Mexican Pipeline Explosion
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For weeks, a crackdown on fuel theft by the Mexican government has led to widespread gas shortages and miles-long lines at gas stations.

So when a pipeline in the state of Hidalgo burst open Friday, sending a spray of fuel into the air, area residents rushed to collect it in buckets and barrels.

Two hours later, the gushing pipeline exploded, turning what had been an excited gathering into a hellish inferno.

At least 66 people were killed and 76 people were seriously burned, the governor of the Hidalgo announced on Saturday morning.

Photos of the aftermath show a field littered with charred bodies, as authorities investigate the scorched field in the city of Tlahuelilpan, north of Mexico City.

The leak was reportedly caused by an illicit pipeline tap. Last year, pipelines were illegally cracked into about 42 times a day in Mexico, according to The Associated Press. Those taps, along with theft by corrupt officials, accounted for more than $3 billion of fuel stolen from the state-run oil giant Pemex in 2018, according to President Andrés Manuel López Obrador.

López Obrador, who took office in December promising to fight fuel theft, said he was mobilizing his entire government to help those at the site of the disaster, and vowed to double down in his mission to cut back on the illegal siphoning of fuel.

"We will carry on until we eradicate this practice," he said, according to The New York Times.

Video from before the explosion showed soldiers standing by as buoyant locals gathered around the leak. The country's public security minister reportedly said the troops had arrived at the scene to secure the pipeline, but withdrew because of the size of the crowd.

As NPR's Carrie Kahn has reported, López Obrador has been using the military to try and get a handle on the rampant illegal tapping of state-run pipelines.

"The government said it dispatched 5,000 members of the armed services and federal police to guard points along the pipelines and Pemex distribution sites to cut down on the theft. Armed escorts now accompany truck drivers on their routes."

"Last month, López Obrador shut down six pipelines to thwart the thieves and began trucking gas to stations, a much securer but slower and costly alternative. Within a week, fuel shortages led to shuttered stations and long lines around the country."

In recent years, fuel theft has grown from a common, but de-centralized problem to a massive operation, organized in part by Mexican cartels. A federal police officer told Kahn that government employees are often involved in the racket: Last year, the town of Tlanalapa's ambulance was confiscated after it was caught transporting dozens of plastic containers full of black-market gas.

But in a country with low salaries, Kahn reports that there's both an incentive for Mexicans to get into the fuel theft business, and a market for cheaper, stolen fuel.

Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Así comenzó la fuga de hidrocarburo sobre la carretera Tlahuelilpan-Juandhó en la comunidad de San Primitivo, municipio de #Tlahuelilpan vía @sandovalvictorhttps://t.co/E0CHDdzGnBpic.twitter.com/1mwMCeP5aU

— W Radio México (@WRADIOMexico) January 19, 2019

VIDEO: Pipeline explodes in central Mexico, killing at least 20 people and injuring more than 60 others https://t.co/aae2DWY78opic.twitter.com/BdTOQM9bZe

— BNO News (@BNONews) January 19, 2019

40. Thousands Gather For Gdansk Mayor’s Funeral
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Description: Pawel Adamowicz was fatally stabbed at a charity event last weekend. He’d been the mayor of Gdansk for 20 years. A day of mourning is underway in Poland today as his funeral service takes place in St Mary’s Church. We’ll hear from someone who knew him. Also in the programme: the DRC’s Constitutional Court is due to rule on a challenge to the official results of the contested presidential election; and can music affect the taste of cheese? (Picture: Scouts stand guard at the urn with the ashes of the late Gdansk Mayor Pawel Adamowicz. Credit: EPA)

41. 2019/01/19 14:00 GMT
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Description: The latest five minute news bulletin from BBC World Service.

42. Fresh Air Weekend: Rachel Maddow On The Lessons Of Spiro Agnew; John C. Reilly
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Fresh Air Weekend highlights some of the best interviews and reviews from past weeks, and new program elements specially paced for weekends. Our weekend show emphasizes interviews with writers, filmmakers, actors and musicians, and often includes excerpts from live in-studio concerts. This week:

'Bad Behavior By People In High Office': Rachel Maddow On The Lessons Of Spiro Agnew: Richard Nixon's first vice president resigned in 1973 amid charges of bribery and tax evasion. Now, Maddow and her former producer Mike Yarvitz revisit the Agnew story in the podcast Bag Man.

M. Night Shyamalan's Superhero Thriller 'Glass' Overflows With Preposterousness: Shyamalan's latest film stars Bruce Willis, Samuel L. Jackson and James McAvoy in an eccentric, perilously self-indulgent sequel that braids together two previous movies: Unbreakable and Split.

John C. Reilly On The Comedy Of Laurel And Hardy: 'It's Almost Like A Ballet': "The brilliant thing about their work when you watch it, it seems so nonchalant," Reilly says of the iconic slapstick duo. He plays Oliver Hardy in the new film Stan & Ollie.

You can listen to the original interviews here:

'Bad Behavior By People In High Office': Rachel Maddow On The Lessons Of Spiro Agnew

M. Night Shyamalan's Superhero Thriller 'Glass' Overflows With Preposterousness

John C. Reilly On The Comedy Of Laurel And Hardy: 'It's Almost Like A Ballet'

Copyright 2019 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

43. 'I'm Falling Apart': Shutdown Squeeze Tightens For Low-Wage Workers
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Receiving a $0 pay stub is not easy on any worker. But some of the thousands of federal employees and contract workers who live paycheck to paycheck say the lingering partial government shutdown feels devastating. They started the shutdown with little or no savings and no safety net to weather this kind of financial emergency.

Now, nearly one month into the shutdown, even those who had a cushion are finding their bank accounts empty or negative and bills and loan payments piling up.

They are single parents and large families, many still working long hours to keep the nation's airports and prisons secure. One mom says she's skipping meals so her kids can eat. Another says she's "falling apart."

"I have no money," says T. Miller. "I don't know how much longer I can stay on this job."

Miller is a newly minted Transportation Security Administration officer who works at a busy airport in the Washington, D.C., area. NPR isn't using his full name because the TSA doesn't allow its employees to speak publicly. He became a government employee last December and makes about $32,000.

Miller makes much less than most federal workers in his region. In the areas surrounding D.C., such workers tend to have high salaries — $95,212 is the average for Virginia — and those working in lower-income jobs are spread throughout the country.

In some states with high numbers of federal employees affected by the shutdown, low pay combined with higher costs of living make it even more of a challenge for those who suddenly find themselves without a paycheck.

Elizabeth Kandror, a clerk with the Fish and Wildlife Service in Homer, Alaska, makes about $37,000 per year. She has been a federal employee for three years, and she says she didn't expect the shutdown to last this long.

"It's so unbelievable," she says. "This is what we've come down to — the 'greatest nation' on earth?" she asks, her voice rising.

After Washington, D.C., Alaska has the highest percentage of civilian federal employees who work for agencies affected by the shutdown in a single state: 14 per 1,000 Alaska workers, according to data from the Office of Personnel Management and Bureau of Labor Statistics. Its cost of living is also among the highest in the country, according the Commerce Department's "price parity" index.

And yet the average paycheck for federal employees there is near the middle of all states: about $77,000 a year.

There is a caveat: The Bureau of Labor Statistics doesn't break out how much federal employees make in different agencies. So the wage data available includes both workers affected and not affected by the shutdown (some agencies like the Department of Defense and Department of Labor have been funded by Congress for the current fiscal year).

The majority of those affected by the shutdown in Alaska work for the Interior and Transportation departments.

"I did file for unemployment and got $300," Kandror says. That will help them get through the end of the month. The single mom says she's fortunate not to have rent payments because she lives in a cabin on her parents' land. But she, too, lives paycheck to paycheck, and if the shutdown continues beyond January, she says she will probably have to go on welfare.

Kandror is the mother of a 3-year-old boy. She says she has funds to pay for day care next month, but that's about it. She had to wait nine months to get her son in day care and fears losing that spot if she can't pay.

She says she'll need to find other work, but it will be hard because Homer is a seasonal town and there aren't a lot of jobs in the wintertime. "That's why I was so grateful to get this federal job — because it's year-round," she says.

To be sure, not all areas with high concentrations of federal employees are taking home smaller paychecks. Maryland and Virginia, home to many federal workers in the D.C. suburbs, are the two states where they make the most on average: $107,536 and $95,212, respectively.

In the red

About 14 percent of federal employees make under $50,000 a year, according to government data.

Amy Fellows is a 33-year-old single mom of three kids — ages 10, 3 and 1.

She has been skipping meals for days now to make sure her kids have enough to eat.

Fellows is a correctional officer in Arizona and works for the Federal Bureau of Prisons making $49,000 a year. She's also working with no pay because she's considered essential — sometimes clocking in a 16-hour day.

"I want to make sure my kids have that food," says Fellows. "I was able to pay for my rent and my utilities, but now I have nothing in my bank."

Actually, she's already in the red — her bank account has a negative balance of $400.

"I've actually had to call out three times because I can't afford day care," she says. Day care is $200 a week for her two youngest kids. She often feels like having to choose between staying home and taking care of her two youngest children or going to work. She's worried about losing her job.

Federal employees will get back pay when the government reopens. But until then, many are part of the 40 percent of Americans who would not be able to afford an unexpected $400 expense, according to Elise Gould of the Economic Policy Institute. They are completely dependent on every single bimonthly paycheck to cover the basics — rent, utilities and food.

Jacinda's husband is a TSA screener in Oregon. NPR is not using her last name or her husband's name because TSA forbids personnel to speak publicly.

When Jacinda first spoke to NPR last week, she was worried about how her family would survive. NPR reached out again this week, and she says she has only grown more anxious and desperate.

"I'm falling apart," she says. "I genuinely believed this would be over this week."

The couple has two kids — a soon-to-be 4-year-old boy and a 6-month-old girl. The single-income family lives paycheck to paycheck — and says missing a second paycheck would be dire.

"I feel so out of control," Jacinda says. "It's hard to even articulate how angry and frustrated and pissed off I am that my husband is working full time and we're like terrified to lose our house." The couple desperately needs a paycheck to pay for rent, she says, or they fear they will be evicted.

"Most of our bills are not getting paid," Jacinda says. "I've started to get phone calls from collectors now for the credit card bills." She says she has explained their situation to the collectors, but they keep calling.

Contractors falling behind

Federal contract workers are also feeling anxious and uncertain. Unlike government employees, contractors will most likely not get back pay once the government reopens.

Zachary Schindler is a federal contractor at the Earth Resources Observation and Science Center in South Dakota. He's a cook in the cafeteria – one of the hardest-hit sectors because they are typically minimum-wage employees, often with few or no benefits.

"I'm falling behind," says Schindler. He has been on the job for about three years, and he and his wife had built a cushion toward buying a house. But, he says that their savings are now gone and that they are "just living paycheck to paycheck again."

They have car loans, rent, mobile phones, utility and food bills. "We are struggling to see how we are going to pay our next bills," he says.

Schindler, 29, and his wife are the parents of a 2-year-old son. They had to pull him out of day care because they could no longer afford the $400-per-month fee.

Schindler says he's staying away from news, especially political news. "It makes me angry," he says.

"I'm applying to anything I can," including jobs outside of his expertise, like county appraiser. Just not the federal government.

People like Schindler could feel the shutdown pain even more deeply if it drags on even further, says Paul Light, professor of public service at New York University who studies the workforce. He estimates that 4.1 million people work under federal contracts (There is no national database that tracks these workers). He says it's people who work for small companies, like cooks on contract, who may lose their jobs entirely because of the shutdown.

"That's where you would expect to see some pretty significant impacts of even a two-week shutdown," says Light, "because the smaller the business, the more likely it is to lay off workers at the first sign that there might be a delay in payment."

"I'm not sure how they'll recover if this shutdown continues much longer," he says.

Plan A, B, C

Many federal workers and contractors NPR spoke to expressed frustration at the Trump administration and Congress for allowing the shutdown to persist.

Elizabeth Kandror, with the Fish and Wildlife Service in Alaska, says she has called her two senators to express her frustration, but hasn't heard back. "I feel like my life has been hijacked," she says. She wants both parties to work together for a solution, she says, "but not on our backs."

Amy Fellows, the correctional officer in Arizona, says she feels politicians are only thinking of their own political gain.

T. Miller, the TSA officer working in the Washington, D.C., area, is one of many federal workers now looking for a new job. He says he has already called his former boss and has applied to other jobs as well.

"I have to have Plan A, B and C in motion," he says. Plan A is hanging on to his government job, Plan B is going back to his gym work and C is work elsewhere. He takes a long pause and a deep breath before he says, "I can hang on to his job for about two more weeks" and that's a stretch, he says. If the shutdown isn't resolved after that — "it's the no-turning-back kind of phase."

"My expenses are low," Miller says, but he has bills to pay — like credit cards, a car loan and college loans. He has been in contact with his creditors, and though he says they are giving him an extension, he doesn't know for how long.

He says he feels fortunate compared with other TSA colleagues, but is still worried. "I feel like I'm going backwards," he says.

Miller graduated from college in 2004 and worked as a physical trainer at a local gym for seven years with no benefits and no retirement. He joined TSA "because the government is the most stable employer."

"I had big dreams for this job," he says. "I went into it planning to make it a career." He says he planned to use his entry-level job as a steppingstone in what he envisioned as a long career.

The government offers good benefits, he says, but working without pay is raising his anxiety level. It was never part of Miller's plan.

Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

44. 2019/01/19 13:00 GMT
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Description: The latest five minute news bulletin from BBC World Service.

45. Is The Power Of The Flour Really The Secret To Baking The Perfect Biscuit?
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Cheryl Day makes hundreds of biscuits a day, churning them out by hand at Back In The Day Bakery in Savannah, Ga. Tall and golden, with flaky layers and a lightly crunchy exterior, people come from miles around to eat them each morning, slathered with pepper jelly, stuffed with eggs and bacon, or simply smeared with a little butter.

"Biscuits are the croissants of the South," says Day, an award-winning baker and cookbook author. "They're more complicated than you think, and they keep me busy every day."

Once upon a time, Day would've asserted that the best biscuits are made with White Lily Flour, her grandmother's favorite. The fans of White Lily, a silky low-protein, low-gluten flour made with soft red winter wheat, are legion, declaring that it is nigh impossible to bake a good biscuit without it.

The argument was recently bolstered by a 2018 article in The Atlantic that lamented the lack of good biscuits north of the Mason-Dixon Line, suggesting that a bag of the storied flour, which is not widely available across the U.S. except online, is the key to success.

Robert Dixon Phillips, a retired professor of food science at the University of Georgia, tells The Atlantic that soft wheat flour "has less gluten protein and the gluten is weaker, which allows the chemical leavening — the baking powder — to generate carbon dioxide and make it rise up in the oven."

But the flour isn't actually that critical, according to Day — even though she loves White Lily Flour. "I used to swear by it," she says, "but then I realized that lots of people don't have White Lily at their local grocery store." Even at her own bakery, Day's husband, Griff, now makes their own blend of pastry flour and all-purpose flour. For many biscuit bakers, the brand of flour is not the defining factor; it's about the other ingredients — such as buttermilk and fat — and plain old technique.

Chef Carla Hall (full disclosure, I work for her as a culinary producer) jumped off the soft wheat flour bandwagon in 2016 when she was running her former restaurant, Carla Hall's Southern Kitchen, in Brooklyn, N.Y. Biscuits and fried chicken were two signature items on the menu, requiring two different kinds of flour: soft wheat for the biscuits and hard wheat — the high-protein kind found in common all-purpose flour — for coating the chicken.

"The staff kept mixing up the flours," recalls Hall, "so we decided one day to just do a taste test." They made biscuits and chicken with each type of flour and, surprisingly, the hard wheat flour won for both. "The biscuit had a darker color, it had more structure, it was more crunchy, but still soft with layers inside," says Hall. "It was everything I like in a biscuit, plus I only had to purchase one kind of flour for the restaurant, which was more cost-effective."

For Chadwick Boyd, a recipe developer and brand consultant who also organizes the annual International Biscuit Festival in Knoxville, Tenn., flour is simply not the key ingredient. "A home cook is going to have three or four different varieties at the grocery store to choose from," Boyd says. "The notion that if you pick one over the other is going to determine the success or failure of your biscuits is just wrong."

So, if it's okay to use any all-purpose flour off the shelf, then how do you make a good biscuit, especially if you didn't grow up in a household where Granny was making them for every Sunday dinner for 50 years?

For Boyd, Day and Hall, a good biscuit is born from practice. "We can teach you how to make a biscuit," says Boyd, "It's just a few ingredients. I believe that peoples' issues with baking unsuccessfully is because it's something they don't do regularly, so when they do it, they're excited. They keep opening the door to the oven, they pull the biscuits out too early. Just bring it all together and let the ingredients do the work."

In order to help the biscuits rise, all the experts agree that the fat — whether butter, shortening or margarine — needs to be cold, and there should still be visible chunks of that fat in the dough. Don't overmix. If the fat is fully integrated into the dough, then fewer air bubbles will form, leading to a flatter biscuit.

"Keeping fat cold is key," says Megan Meyer, director of science communication at the International Food Information Council Foundation, a nutrition science and education nonprofit. "When fat melts in the oven, an air pocket is created. Air pockets are then expanded by the leavening agents that are already in the dough, like baking soda and baking powder, leading to a fluffy texture."

Fat is also important because it adds tenderness to the dough; full-fat buttermilk and European-style butter can help with texture, but "full-fat" is the critical point — sour cream, olive oil, and nut milks can all be used to create successful biscuits, provided they have a high-fat content. Then technique takes center stage, where a light hand in mixing and shaping helps keep the dough soft; overworking the dough develops too much gluten, resulting in a tough biscuit.

"Biscuit dough comes together very quickly," Hall says, "unlike a bread dough." Mix the dough, shape it into a rectangle on the counter, fold it like a letter to create layers, then pat it out and repeat two more times before cutting. The texture should be soft, barely sticky, somewhat akin to lumpy mashed potatoes, she says.

Also, when cutting the biscuits, be careful not to twist the cutter because that pinches the edges of the biscuit and can inhibit the rise. Just press down and pull straight up. Pop those beauties in a hot oven — usually at 425 or 450 degrees — and then resist the urge to open the door until the biscuits are risen and golden, which usually takes 12 to 15 minutes.

"I have been to small towns throughout the American South, the most remote areas where they don't have access to high quality ingredients," says Boyd, "and I've had people make me delicious biscuits from whatever they had on hand. "

So don't worry about what kind of flour you've got. Just roll up your sleeves and start baking those biscuits. Practice makes perfect.

Kristen Hartke is a food writer based in Washington, D.C. who also works with chef Carla Hall.

Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

46. Different Ways To See And Be: The Lives Of Joseph Jarman And Alvin Fielder
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Two deaths in early January, of percussionist Alvin Fielder and multi-instrumentalist/poet/dramaturge Joseph Jarman, help remind us that artists' lives shouldn't be summarized by their documented works alone. Both men made signature contributions to the freedoms and complications that have enriched what we know as jazz, starting more than 50 years ago as founding members of the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM).

That organization, born in Chicago in 1965, aggregated a generation of individuals who challenged assumed aesthetic or entrepreneurial limits on their activities. Its members, such as the late Muhal Richard Abrams and still prolific Henry Threadgill, Anthony Braxton and Wadada Leo Smith, have earned major awards and academic positions, institutionalizing their innovations. That neither Fielder nor Jarman gained (or pursued) such goals doesn't mean what they did musically was of less importance – merely that they had other interests at which they also excelled. Their legacies deserve recognition and celebration, the same as if they'd been named MacArthur Fellows or NEA Jazz Masters, awarded Pulitzer Prizes or appointed as tenured faculty.

The AACM first came together as a musicians' support group, growing out of a Monday night Experimental Band that let musicians hear original compositions for which no commercial bookings were likely. Besides convening like-minded players who collaboratively and competitively nurtured each other, the AACM produced concerts — at which members were expected to serve as staff when not performing — and ran a community-based school that exposed students to new ideas as well as conventional grounding.

At the time of the AACM's formation, jazz was being advanced by a coterie, based mostly in New York City, enthralled with Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Ornette Coleman, Cecil Taylor and Albert Ayler. This new generation had thrown off blues and bebop formulas — involving cyclical chord changes and (usually) steady rhythms — in favor of long, ferociously energetic, unfettered improvisations that channeled resistance, if not outrage, related to the struggles of the Civil Rights and anti-war movements. The Chicagoans of the AACM revered those innovators, but took a different tack. They re-emphasized the potential of composition beyond jazz, rock and pop's generic song forms to frame and balance hard-blowing solo freestyling, introducing unique structures and their own personal vocabularies along the way.

Fielder, 83 when he succumbed to congestive heart failure, pneumonia and a stroke on Jan. 5, was among the earliest "free jazz" drummers, having performed with Sun Ra in Chicago in the late 1950s and recording on Roscoe Mitchell's seminal Delmark album Sound– the first record that featured AACM musicians – in 1966. Fielder invented his approach to that work without any obvious precedent, and although some of the music was written, he did not have a drum score. Mitchell's debut comprised twisted, collage-like compositions employing a profoundly wide dynamic range that relied on no discernible meter but held a tense through-line with implicit momentum. Fielder operated mostly as a colorist, juxtaposing a crescendo on a gong, for instance, with a single scrape of a güiro. Recorded so that his subtlest stick strokes had the presence of an all-out barrage, Fielder made a radical departure from the polyrhythmic waves of the era's drum masters such as Elvin Jones, Tony Williams and Art Blakey, or splashy iconoclasts like Rashied Ali and Sunny Murray.

Akin to many of his AACM peers, Fielder took an intellectual or investigatory, but nonetheless playful, stance towards the raw materials of music. He was a fine timekeeper when need be, grounded in R&B and bebop. And he could swing. As he told George Lewis in the book A Power Stronger Than Itself: The AACM and American Experimental Music: "I wanted to play my bebop as loose as possible and I wanted to play my free music as tight as possible," meaning that he opened consistent beats to myriad possibilities, but when presented with an undefined field, brought focused powers of selection to bear. I recall seeing him perform in the late '60s at a sparsely attended Sunday brunch concert at the AFAM Gallery on Chicago's South Side, prodding his trio-mates, the trombonist Lester Lashley and tenor saxophonist Fred Anderson, with emphatic swipes at his drums punctuating suspenseful silences.

But the drummer's most enduring legacy may turn out to be the communitarian principles derived from his AACM experience. Fielder departed Chicago in the fall of 1968 for his hometown of Meridian, Miss. in order to manage his family's string of pharmacies and to engage in political activism. There, Fielder joined with bassist and promoter John Reese in 1971 to launch the Black Arts Music Society (BAMS) with the mission of bringing new music to the region. Singer Cassandra Wilson was one area talent encouraged by Fielder, Reese and BAMS' productions — to the extent that she and childhood friend Rhonda Richmond, a violinist, opened The Yellow Scarf listening room in 2012 in Jackson, Miss. to feature similar artists. By the 1980s, Fielder was in contact with trumpeter Dennis Gonsález, whose Dallas Association for Avant-Garde and Neo-Impressionist Music (daagnim) was modeled on the AACM. And so his message – the AACM message – spread.

Joseph Jarman is probably best known as the face-painted shaman of the Art Ensemble of Chicago, who introduced its performances by flicking a feathered whisk and intoning the band's motto, "Great Black Music, Ancient to the Future." (He remains under-sung as a composer, having contributed stellar tunes such as "Dreaming of the Masters," "Ohnedaruth" and "Old Time Southside Street Dance" to their book.) Jarman brought ritual, theatricality and poetry to the Ensemble, so much so that his virtuosity as an instrumentalist has been overlooked. After studying drums in high school with the renowned Captain Walter Dyett, Jarman honed his skills on saxes and clarinet in the U.S. Army's 11th Airborne Division Band, and eventually took up flutes, vibes, whistles, percussion instruments.

The bold, dark themes supported by staunch fellow horn players and thunderous drumming on Jarman's debut album Song For, released by Delmark shortly after his friend and colleague Mitchell's Sound, was catnip to my teenage ears. At his own late-'60s performance around the University of Chicago, he proved to be a frenetic sopranino and soprano saxist, a penetrating alto player and powerful tenorist, also excelling on lower register horns – but even more, a captivating performer with a sure sense of pace and drama.

Soon integrated into the Art Ensemble that Roscoe Mitchell had established, Jarman set the stage for the band — the most cohesive and ambitious to emerge from the larger AACM, the first to leave town for Europe, and the most successful at appealing to general audiences — to present itself as an act. The musicians turned to the east (Mecca) before playing a first note. They wore costumes: Lester Bowie a white lab coat, bassist Malachi Favors, drummer Don Moyé and Jarman in mask-like makeup, Mitchell in deceptively plain garb. Their sets were not construed as sequences of songs but rather narrative arcs that included stretches of detailed "little instrument" tinkering, entirely new to the art form. That diffused use of chimes, vibes, squeeze toys, megaphones, conch shells and synthesizers encouraged listeners to lean in and magnified the players' intensity when they eventually broke loose.

Few if any other of the Creative Musicians conceived of their performances as benefitting from or requiring theatrical trappings, but Jarman's concepts gave audiences who might have spurned jagged melodies, dissonance or distant harmonies and implied-rather-than-explicit rhythms something like a tangible plot to follow. His intellectualism, artistic inclusivity and melding of a historical perspective with musical spontaneity infused the AACM philosophy of individualistic originality aligned with collective or community concerns. His sensibility guided his immediate circle, informed subsequent generation of performing composer-improvisers and gratified those of us in their audiences, too.

Over five decades, the AACM has become model to other grassroots musical collectives, as well as attracting and promoting new artists who sustain and augment its directions and remit. Flutist Nicole Mitchell, drummer Mike Reed and cellist Tomeka Reid, in their Artifacts Trio, cover AACM members' enduring compositions. Muhal's widow Peggy Abrams and their daughter Richarda, along with keyboardist Amina Claudine Myers (another founding member) continue the AACM concert series in New York City. In Chicago, Dee Alexander, Mwata Bowden, Ari Brown, Ernest Dawkins and Kahil El Zabar are now the older guard drawing such up-and-comers as singer Saalik Ziyad, spoken-word artist Khari B and trumpeter Corey Wilkes into the fold.

On Jan. 20 Chamber Music America will present the AACM with its Richard J. Bogomolny National Service Award. ECM Records has celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Art Ensemble of Chicago by releasing a 21-disc boxed set of their recordings, mostly from the 1980s, and "associated ensembles" including those of Jack DeJohnette and Evan Parker. This spring, Pi Records will release Roscoe Mitchell's own celebration of that anniversary, with AEC drummer Moyé amongst a cast of dozens. Nicole Mitchell has just been appointed to the newly established William S. Dietrich II Endowed Chair in Jazz Studies at University of Pittsburgh, directing a program previously led by the late pianist Geri Allen. Drummer Thurman Barker teaches composition at Bard College. Anthony Braxton is happily retired from his longtime academic post at Wesleyan University. Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Threadgill is being feted with a two-day retrospective of his 40-year career, involving 24 local musicians, at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis on Feb. 15 and 16.

Alvin Fielder's experiments beyond strict rhythms and Joseph Jarman's poetics including the Art Ensemble watchwords "Ancient to the Future" are concepts with consequences beyond the groups they played in, or the AACM. Their ideas, manifest, have continued to be generative. Each individual will pass on, and while we're saddened by the demise of Alvin Fielder and Joseph Jarman, we've been enriched by their accomplishments in the course of their long, productive lives. Their personal, particular sounds may be subsumed in the greater aggregate to which they belonged, but if we know what to listen for, their distinctive music echoes on.

Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

47. #1903: Dummy Quest
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Description: This week on The Best of Car Talk, Carol needs help refereeing a family argument over a car question in the game Brain Quest and charter "Densa" members Tom and Ray show her she came to the exact wrong place. Elsewhere, Dr. Ron is hoping to prove to his wife that he's not the one killing their clutches. Fortunately for him, there may be another suspect available. Also, Bob's Volvo seems to have more power after bending the exhaust during a game of Driveway Tag; a valet used Kenneth's Dodge key to start Kenneth's Subaru and Lisa is relying on a piece of wood jammed into the ignition to keep her Moskvitch running. All this and more, this week on The Best of Car Talk.

48. Theft From Fuel Pipelines Is A Rampant, Deadly Problem In Mexico
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49. Analysts: Yellow Vest Protests Sent Macron Administration Into Death Spiral
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Description: The president promised to revolutionize France when he was elected in 2017, and his plans economic overhaul seemed on track even two months ago. But many experts say Macron is already finished.

50. Theft From Fuel Pipelines Is A Rampant, Deadly Problem In Mexico
https://www.npr.org/2019/01/19... download (, 0.00Mb)

Description: Siphoning fuel off the pipelines powers some towns' entire economies, but has also led to major shortages and price hikes. Friday night it also sparked an explosion that killed dozens of people.