Advocates for prisoners rights say too many inmates spend years in solitary confinement — in violation of the constitutional bar against cruel and unusual punishment. Today, they persuaded the U.S. Senate to hold the first hearing on the issue, as state and federal prison systems fend off new lawsuits over the practice.
The federal government could soon give the final go-ahead for Royal Dutch Shell to begin drilling for oil in the Arctic Ocean. Shell has spent $4 billion since 2007 to prepare for this work, and is hoping to tap into vast new deposits of oil.
But the plan to drill exploratory wells is controversial — opposed by environmental groups and some indigenous people as well.
GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney wrapped up a five-day, six-state tour in Michigan on Tuesday.
Each of the states he visited was won by President Obama in the 2008 election. Each is also shaping up as a potential battleground this year.
In Michigan, the state where Romney was born, he avoided big cities and stayed in places friendly to the GOP. As he traveled east to west across central Michigan by bus, there were some pockets of protesters, but mostly at a distance.
The party that won Greece's parliamentary elections on Sunday has accepted the tough conditions international lenders imposed to bail out the ailing nation. But there's been talk that the party wants to seek some concessions on the terms of the rescue package.
At the G-20 summit in Los Cabos, Mexico, German Chancellor Angela Merkel reiterated her tough line that bailout terms for Greece are not negotiable. After the summit, Merkel returns to a German electorate that is now fed up with a debt crisis that only seems to grow and worsen.
Tech entrepreneurs gather at the offices of Y Combinator, a company based in Mountain View, Calif., that provides seed money to young startups. Founder Paul Graham predicts half of the startups funded by Y Combinator will ultimately fail.
Credit Melissa Block / NPR
Paul Graham is founder of Y Combinator, an incubator for startups. He says his firm is "failure central," filled with "experts at both avoiding it and living with it."
Credit Robin Andersen / Courtesy of Janice Fraser
Janice Fraser, founder and CEO of LUXr, a product design firm for startups, believes failure is glorified in Silicon Valley. But, she says, "there's more talk about failure than there's tolerance for it. It's disappointing when you realize [failure is] much more painful."
Credit Araya Diaz / Getty Images
Joe Kraus, an investing partner at Google Ventures, a venture capital fund, says when he meets entrepreneurs, he spends more time discussing their plans for a current business than on lessons learned from their past experiences.
Nurturing young talent is a long tradition in the classical music world, and many professional orchestras have their own youth orchestras. But it stands to reason that an organization with the kind of international stature the Cleveland Orchestra enjoys would have a top-notch youth ensemble. It does. And it's called, not surprisingly, the Cleveland Orchestra Youth Orchestra — COYO for short. The young musicians have just embarked on a European tour.
Paulette Goddard in the Tramp's (Charlie Chaplin) dream of a middle-class life in Modern Times.
Credit Warner Brothers/The Kobal Collection/McCarty, Floyd
In Giant, James Dean plays Jett Rink, a poor ranch hand who strikes oil and becomes one of the richest men in Texas. Elizabeth Taylor plays Leslie Benedict, part of the wealthy ranching family that Rink feuds with.
Credit The Kobal Collection/RAI Cinemafiction
Salvatore Mancuso (Vincenzo Amato) arrives at Ellis Island with his family in Golden Door.
Tinseltown didn't invent the American dream, but it sure put it out there for the world to see — a dream lit by the perpetual sunshine of Southern California, steeped in the values of the immigrant filmmakers who moved there in the early 1900s and got enormously rich.
It was their own outsider experience these Italian, Irish, German and often Jewish moviemakers were putting on screen, each optimistic, escapist fantasy a virtual American dream checklist:
Hard work carries the day in Mr. Smith Goes to Washington.
President Obama addresses a joint session of Congress while delivering his State of the Union speech in 2011. During his first two years in office, Obama used big Democratic majorities in Congress to muscle through major legislation, but since the 2010 midterm elections, he's increasingly been stymied by a wall of GOP opposition.
Credit Pete Souza / White House
President Obama meets with members of Congress in the Cabinet Room of the White House in 2010.
Credit Pete Souza / The White House
President Obama meets with congressional leaders in the Cabinet Room of the White House to discuss the debt limit and deficit reduction in July 2011.
From now until November, President Obama and GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney will emphasize their differences. But the two men's lives actually coincide in a striking number of ways. That includes struggling with their respective legislatures. Earlier, NPR's David Welna explored Romney's time as governor of Massachusetts. In this installment of "Parallel Lives," a look at Obama and Congress.