Weekend Edition Saturday for Saturday, January 18, 2014

Obama Vague On Details In His Intelligence Proposals

Intelligence officials, civil libertarians, technology executives, and foreign leaders: All of them had something at stake Friday when President Obama laid out his ideas for reforming the National Security Agency's surveillance programs. The president sought to balance security and privacy concerns in his speech.

Congress Divided On NSA Role

President Obama's proposed changes for NSA surveillance rules include some that would need congressional approval. But that could prove a challenge, with members of Congress divided about the spy agency's activities.

College Costs Are Daunting, Even For The 'Comfortable'

This week, President Obama gathered the heads of 100 colleges and universities to discuss how to get more smart, low-income students into higher education. But calculating the real cost to send a child to college can be a challenge for anyone.

Americans Prefer Their Water Clean, But Not Pure

When a chemical spill leaked into West Virginia's Elk River last week, people were warned not to drink, cook or even wash their clothes in the water. NPR's Lynn Neary speaks with James Salzman, author of the book Drinking Water: A History, about the fairly recent history of the government regulating drinking water.

A Wage Hike Campaign From An Unlikely Source

Silicon Valley multimillionaire Ron Unz is sponsoring a ballot initiative to raise California's minimum wage to $12 an hour, up from $8. NPR's Lynn Neary talks with the multimillionaire conservative, the former publisher of the American Conservative magazine, about why.

In Appalachia, Poverty Is In The Eye Of The Beholder

Eastern Kentucky is a place known as the poster child of the War on Poverty. When NPR's Pam Fessler traveled there to report, she was warned that people would be reluctant to talk because they were tired of being depicted as poor. Instead, she got an earful.

Still Texting? OMG, That's Already So Old-School

A new report says instant messaging is surpassing old-fashioned texting in Britain. It may seem too soon to talk about the good old days of texting, but technological turnover is another sign of the times. Also on the decline: phone numbers.

Sundance Festival Celebrates 30 Years Of Independence

The Sundance Film Festival is celebrating its 30th year this week. NPR's Lynn Neary commemorates the anniversary with Eric Kohn, the chief film critic for Indiewire, an independent film news site.

'Lunch' Gets Boxed Out: India's Oscar Pick Controversy

India's Film Federation chose a movie called The Good Road as the country's best foreign language film submission to this year's Oscars — but it didn't make the Academy's short list, and many say another film, festival favorite The Lunchbox, should have been chosen. Film critic Aseem Chhabra tells Lynn Neary that the federation is quite secretive, and no one really understands its process.

One Last Tale Of The City In 'Anna Madrigal'

Armistead Maupin's famous series Tales of the City winds down with one last story about Anna Madrigal, the transgender landlady of 28 Barbary Lane. Maupin tells NPR the series originally grew out of his attempts to write a nonfiction piece about the heterosexual pickup scene at his local Safeway.

Kabul Suicide Attack Kills 21 At Downtown Restaurant

At least 21 people — most of them foreigners — died when the Taliban struck a restaurant popular with Westerners in downtown Kabul on Friday. Two of them were Americans. It appeared to be a well-coordinated attack.

Privacy Advocates Unhappy With Obama's NSA Changes

President Obama laid out his ideas for reforming the National Security Agency's surveillance programs on Friday. In the wake of his speech, NPR's Lynn Neary talks with Cindy Cohn of the Electronic Frontier Foundation to understand objections that remain for privacy advocates.
Federal forces are backing away from a plan to disarm the civilian militias that are defending their communities from ruthless drug traffickers. In the western state of Michoacan, it's unclear how long the fragile peace will last.
This week, Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan quietly signed into law one of the most repressive anti-gay measures in the world. NPR's Lynn Neary talks to Jonathan Cooper of the U.K.-based international gay rights group Human Dignity Trust about the state of gay rights in Nigeria and around the world.

Donors Pitch In To Protect Detroit's Art And Pensions

Under a deal mediated by a federal bankruptcy judge, a group of local and national foundations this week pledged more than $330 million to help Detroit's pension fund and protect the city's valuable art collection. Bio-chemical entrepreneur Paul Schaap is one of the donors; he speaks with NPR's Lynn Neary about the effort.
Brother and sister Taylor and Arielle Gold have both had amazing seasons. Arielle is vying for a spot on the U.S. snowboarding team; Taylor has already made it. All this is new to them.
The North American International Auto Show — the fancy name for the Detroit car show — opens to the public Saturday. NPR's Sonari Glinton gives NPR's Lynn Neary a sneak preview from the Motor City.

Countdown To The Super Bowl

Sunday is the Sunday before the Sunday before the Super Bowl, and that means New England takes on Denver and San Francisco goes up against Seattle, to see who's headed to the big game. NPR's Lynn Neary talks to sports correspondent Tom Goldman about the latest news in football.

Living, And 'Forgiving,' In A Brilliant Writer's Orbit

Jay Cantor is a hard author to nail down. He's written about topics as wide-ranging as Che Guevara and Krazy Kat. His latest work expands his range even more, fictionalizing the lives of four of Franz Kafka's friends and lovers. It's called Forgiving the Angel, and Cantor tells NPR's Lynn Neary it's a book born out of gratitude.
Guitarist and songwriter David Dondero has been touring the world and putting out records for nearly two decades. He's a favorite among critics and other musicians, but he's barely making a living — and he seems fine with that.
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