Originally published on Thu August 23, 2012 7:22 pm
Back in 2005, for the Showtime anthology series Masters of Horror, director Joe Dante and writer Sam Hamm were given carte blanche to make whatever they wanted, so long as it came in under an hour and could be classified as "horror."
They delivered, in Homecoming, one of the sharpest and angriest films about the Iraq war to date — a blunt allegory about U.S. soldiers who rise from the dead not to feast on the living but to vote the president out of office. It's an anti-war satire that only technically functioned as a zombie movie.
Originally published on Thu August 23, 2012 7:29 pm
Mike Birbiglia's autobiographical comedy Sleepwalk with Me is about at least three things, in ascending order of significance: the lead character's fear of commitment, his wayward efforts to launch a career as a standup comedian, and his strange proclivity for getting out of bed in the middle of the night and making loud, nonsensical proclamations like, "There's a jackal in the room!"
Originally published on Thu August 23, 2012 7:09 pm
Many science-fiction storytellers worry about robots becoming self-aware and destroying us. The moment the artificial beings attain real intelligence, these tales posit, they'll realize we made them too smart and too strong for our own good, and they'll wonder why the superior beings should be relegated to working assembly lines and doing mundane repetitive tasks when they could be ruling the planet.
Spc. Ben Purvis (center) helps train Afghan troops on how to use mortars in the eastern province of Kunar in June. The top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, Gen. John Allen, points to several factors in the rise of "insider attacks" on American forces. He says relations between U.S. and Afghan troops are good overall.
Gunmen wearing Afghan police and army uniforms have killed 40 U.S. and NATO troops so far this year, and the top American commander in Afghanistan says there is no single reason — and no simple solution.
Taliban infiltrators, disputes between NATO and Afghan security forces, and even the timing of Ramadan, the Muslim holy month, are all factors, according to Gen. John Allen.
"We think the reasons for these attacks are complex," says Allen, who spoke by video link from Kabul on Thursday. Ten of the American deaths have come in just the past two weeks.
Mitt Romney outlined an energy plan Thursday that would guide his Republican presidency. It focuses heavily on expanding the supply of fossil fuels. The presumptive nominee said the U.S., Mexico and Canada together could reach energy independence by 2020.
But the plan makes no mention of climate change and would end subsidies for cleaner sources of energy, such as wind and solar.
An aerial view of Homestead, Fla., taken on Sept. 7, 1992, two weeks after Hurricane Andrew's 165-mile-per-hour winds took out nearly every building in the city.
Credit Kathy Lohr / NPR
Homestead restaurant owner Cesar Berrones says the city's character has changed. Before Andrew, it was more like a small town, and now, "it's all new people," he says. "It's good for business, it's grown, but the old friends have gone. It's different."
Twenty years ago, Homestead, Fla., was in the eye of what was then the worst storm to hit the United States.
Fifteen people died directly from Hurricane Andrew and a few dozen more died from injuries later. Tens of thousands of homes were destroyed. Andrew's 165-mile-per-hour winds took out nearly every building in Homestead, leaving tens of thousands homeless. Families spent hours in lines to get water and ice.
National Guard troops handed out bags of ice but limited how much each family could get.
Of the roughly 80,000 Chinese children adopted in the United States since 1979, almost all are girls, abandoned at birth by their parents because of China's one-child policy, coupled with inheritance laws that favor boys.
Originally published on Fri November 2, 2012 12:55 pm
Watching the English band Alt-J perform in KCRW's studios, it was clear we were witnessing an artist on the rise. It was the group's U.S. radio debut, the morning after a sold-out show, and Alt-J's members were clearly confident. As the catchy potential pop hit "Breezeblocks" demonstrates, the band draws from a wide and unpredictable range of influences. An Awesome Wave is out now.