The historic legal arguments on the Obama health care overhaul came to a close at the U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday, with key justices suggesting the court may be prepared to strike down not just the individual mandate but the whole law.
The major arguments of the day were premised on a supposition. Suppose, asked the court, we do strike down the individual mandate — what other parts of the law, if any, should be allowed to stand?
And finally, this hour, we remember Earl Scruggs, the master of the five-string banjo, who has died at age 88. As a young man, he created his own style of fingerpicking on the banjo that would come to bear his name: Scruggs style. He got his start with Bill Monroe's Blue Grass Boys in the 1940s and then teamed up with Lester Flatt as Flatt and Scruggs. And he influenced countless players over his many decades of music, among them, fellow banjo player Tony Trischka, who joins me now.
The writer Adrienne Rich has died after a long illness. She was 82. Rich is best known for her poetry, which mirrored the times in which she wrote. Her work grew increasingly political during the 1960s and '70s, and she was a touchstone for the feminist movement. Joining me to talk to about Rich's work is the poet and critic Linda Gregerson. And Linda, I wonder what the experience is for you of reading an Adrienne Rich poem. How would you describe it?
We're learning more about yesterday's bizarre incident on-board JetBlue Flight 191 from New York to Las Vegas. That's the plane that diverted to Amarillo, Texas after the pilot left the cockpit mid-flight and went on a rant, screaming about Iraq and Israel.
Federal prosecutors today charged the pilot, Clayton Osbon, with interfering with a flight crew. And the court filing contains new details about what apparently went on during that flight.
And now to another provision in the health care law that's being challenged: the Medicaid expansion. Those arguments took place this afternoon. And NPR's Julie Rovner is here in the studio to talk about them. Julie, the key question before the court was whether the law goes too far. It requires states to expand their Medicaid programs. So why don't we back up and start with the basics, how Medicaid works and how the law changes that?
The swift downfall of ambitious Chinese politician Bo Xilai exposed a bitter power struggle in the highest echelons of government. Now his victims are telling their stories, exposing a darker side to Bo's signature clampdown on organized crime.
Charismatic and outspoken, Bo seemed headed for the country's top leadership body, the Politburo Standing Committee, before he was removed abruptly from his post — as party secretary of the major southern city of Chongqing — earlier this month.
Rapper Baloji was born in the Democratic Republic of Congo but raised in Belgium. He's built a reputation for incorporating Congolese music into his mix, though he mostly raps in French, his deep voice full of cocky brashness. You can catch his vibe without translation, but it's worth reading the liner notes to get his messages, as well. Baloji raps with brazen ease about the indignities of life as an African in Belgium, but also the tragic, bloody history of his homeland on his second album, Kinshasa Succursale.