Our story begins last month inside a busy Washington, D.C. subway station plastered with posters of giant dollar bills. One of them says: "Tell Congress to stop wasting time trying to eliminate the dollar bill." Another asks: "Do you heart the dollar?"
Political fights in the nation's capital normally involve billions or even trillions, not single dollars. What's going on here?
I'm an English professor, and I spent the first 15 years of my career trying to write like one. You might be surprised by what that's like. We don't emulate the fiction writers we most admire. We too rarely practice what we preach to our composition students — namely that good writing is simple and direct. In fact, we're notorious for maze-y sentences and ugly jargon. The point seems less to attract readers with clear prose than to smack them over the head with a sign that says, "Aren't I smart?"
The most successful coach in college basketball history is stepping down. Pat Summitt has led the women's basketball team at the University of Tennessee for 38 seasons, racking up 1,098 wins. She's dealing with early-onset dementia and will take the new position of head coach emeritus.
In the Central African Republic, U.S. Special Forces soldiers are on the hunt for Joseph Kony, the brutal leader of the rebel group the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA). The LRA has been responsible for abducting tens of thousands of children and turning them into sex slaves or killers. The U.S. military set up its outpost in the country four months ago. Audie Cornish talks to Washington Post reporter Sudarsan Raghavan, who wrote about the U.S. involvement.
Pop culture icon Dick Clark died Wednesday at age 82. He started his career as a college disc jockey and went on to shape the way America viewed music, TV game shows and New Year's Eve. Here, he hosts American Bandstand in 1958.
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Dancing teens flock to Clark's American Bandstand after he took it national from Philadelphia's WFIL-TV in 1957.
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Clark and his first wife, Barbara, get a hand from the newest member of the Bandstand family, Richard Clark Jr., in 1958.
Clark broadened his legacy in the 1970s and '80s by building a game-show empire. Here, on the set of The New $25,000 Pyramid in 1984, Clark mugs with Roxie Roker (left) and Marla Gibbs, co-stars of TV's The Jeffersons.
The eternally youthful Clark shares the stage at the Emerson Radio Hall of Fame in 1990 with fellow inductees (from left) Charles Osgood, Frank Stanton and Paul Harvey.
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Clark celebrates the 50th birthday of Bandstand on May 3, 2002, with fans and a musical supergroup.
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A debilitating stroke in 2004 forced Clark to cut back on public appearances. Here, he and his third wife, Kari Wigton, hang out at the 2010 Daytime Emmy Awards with Ryan Seacrest, who'd become his co-host on New Year's Rockin' Eve.
In his later years, Clark became as much a New Year's Eve fixture as he was on Bandstand decades earlier. By 2011, he and Seacrest shared Rockin' Eve host duties.
Dick Clark, affectionately known as the "world's oldest teenager," has died. He was 82, and had suffered a heart attack while in a Santa Monica hospital for an outpatient procedure.
Richard Wagstaff Clark became a national icon with American Bandstand in the 1950s, hosting the show for more than 30 years. Clark also hosted the annual New Year's Eve special for ABC for decades. He weathered scandals, hosted game shows and renewed his Bandstand fame with a new generation by producing the nostalgic TV drama American Dreams.
Adapted from The Servant of Two Masters, the new comedy One Man, Two Guvnors follows the "always famished and easily confused" Francis Henshall (James Corden, left), who must combat his own befuddlement while keeping both of his employers — a local gangster and criminal-in-hiding Stanley Stubbers (Oliver Chris) — from meeting.
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Henshall's second master is Rachel Crabbe (Jemima Rooper), who's Stubbers' secret lover — and posing as her dead mobster brother, whom Stubbers has killed.
If you weren't a college theater major, you can be forgiven for not knowing much about commedia dell'arte, the 500-year-old theatrical tradition that Carlo Goldoni used for his comedy The Servant of Two Masters in 1743. Contemporary playwright Richard Bean has adapted that play into the decidedly British laugh riot One Man, Two Guvnors -- and he says all you really need to know about commedia is ... well, it's funny.
This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Melissa Block.
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And I'm Audie Cornish.
We have new information now in the investigation of Secret Service misconduct. Agents are alleged to have hired prostitutes before President Obama's visit to South America last week. The Secret Service director has been talking with members of Congress, and NPR's Ari Shapiro joins us now to tell us what he's hearing. Hey there, Ari.
When IRS agents raided the house of rapper Young Buck, they seized all his things: his white leather dining chairs, his watches, his craps table, his tattoo kit. Even his refrigerator. The Nashville artist, who was once part of 50 Cent's G-Unit, owed hundreds of thousands of dollars in back taxes.
His lawyer, Robin Mitchell Joyce, said he thought Young Buck's taxes were being handled by his business manager. They weren't.
A lot of the songs on Kat Edmonson's new album, Way Down Low, have a timeless sound, due in part to her own timeless-sounding voice. But she isn't above revealing her influences: The song "Champagne," she admits, was crafted with a particular American songsmith in mind.
"I was trying to write a song like Cole Porter," Edmonson tells NPR's Melissa Block. "Me and a million other people are trying to write a song like Cole Porter."