Originally published on Sun November 17, 2013 11:57 am
Texas wasn't exactly a backwater in 1963 when President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas, but it wasn't the economic and political powerhouse that it has become today.
Over the past 50 years, three of the nation's presidents have hailed from Texas.
"For the past few decades, Texas politicians have found a natural habitat on the national political stage in the way Dominican shortstops have found a natural habitat in baseball," the humorist Calvin Trillin wrote a couple of years ago.
John Legend has a way of writing songs that create a sense of intimacy. The Grammy-winning soul singer recently performed at one of NPR's Tiny Desk Concerts. The performances are exactly what they sound like: just a musician in a cubicle with an audience that's really, really close — no frills, no fuss.
The so-called "Great American Songbook" is made up of popular songs that made your grandparents and parents dance. They were written for movies and Broadway musicals by composers like Rodgers and Hart, Cole Porter, George and Ira Gershwin, and others.
More than a week after Typhoon Haiyan decimated parts of the Philippines, many residents there are still awaiting help to secure food and shelter. The official death toll has climbed to more than 3,600. And the United Nations now estimates that the storm left nearly 2 million people homeless.
Fans of "Doonesbury" have been doing without the Pulitzer Prize-winning comic strip since the summer. The strip has been on vacation. But its creator, Garry Trudeau, has not exactly been chilling at the beach. Trudeau spent the last several months in a New York film studio making a sitcom called "Alpha House." The show is being launched online on Amazon. It chronicles the misadventures of four fictional Republican senators who share a Washington, D.C., townhouse. Jon Kalish visited the set and has this story.
President Obama tried to stanch mounting criticism of his health care law this week by announcing that state regulators can let insurance companies renew policies for 2014 that don't meet minimum requirements of the Affordable Care Act. But the change isn't sitting well with some state insurance regulators, and several say they won't go along with Obama's idea.
While polls show many Americans are uneasy with government actions revealed by NSA leaker Edward Snowden, one profession in particular seems to be alarmed. A new survey of professional writers finds them much more concerned than the general public. An organization of writers says that a large majority of its members have "never been as worried about privacy rights and freedom of the press as they are today."
Magazine publishers continue to uneasily navigate print and digital worlds. Harper's Magazine publisher John MacArthur shared his perspective on the importance of online pay walls in the magazine's October issue. All Things Considered speaks with MacArthur, MediaFinder's Trish Hagood and the co-founder of year-old literary magazine The American Reader about the changing publishing industry. You can hear all of these conversations at the audio link above.