KETR

Michel Martin

As swaths of red and green trim Chicago neighborhoods this holiday season, an unexpected pop of blue is lighting up the Wrigleyville neighborhood. And it's got nothing to do with the Cubs.

It's actually the 10,000-plus lights springing from 8 Crazy Nights — what appears to be the city's first Hanukkah-themed pop-up bar.

Kyle Bagley and Sam Stone, co-owners of the Graystone Tavern, decided to dress up the sports bar for the month of December. Neither owner is Jewish, but Bagley says they saw a void in the crowded pop-up scene. On top of that, they wanted to stand out.

When Carrie Goldberg broke up with her boyfriend of a few months, frightening things started happening. He sent her hundreds of threatening messages. He contacted her friends, family and even work colleagues on Facebook to spread vicious lies about her — and that wasn't all. One night she opened her laptop to find email after email containing intimate pictures of her, including a graphic video filmed without her consent. Goldberg, a lawyer, went to the police and was told there was nothing that could be done.

Between the election of President Trump and Britain's ongoing debate over Brexit, the billionaire philanthropist George Soros recognizes that populism is on the rise and that his brand of liberal democracy is faltering.

"When I got involved in what I call political philanthropy some 40 years ago, the open society idea was on the ascendant — closed societies were opening up," Soros said in an interview with NPR's All Things Considered. "And now, open societies are on the defensive and dictatorships are on the rise."

Yet he remains optimistic.

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York officially endorsed presidential candidate Bernie Sanders at a rally in Queens, N.Y., on Saturday.

Addressing an estimated crowd of more than 25,000 supporters, Ocasio-Cortez said she was proud to join the Vermont senator in bringing "a working-class revolution to the ballot box of the United States of America."

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Beto O'Rourke wants to ban and buy back assault-style weapons. Exactly how he would persuade others to get on board is unclear, and two undecided Texas voters recently pressed him on how he would build consensus for his plan and whether it would hold up in conservative courts.

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MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

With the fraught negotiations over Brexit continuing to embroil British politics, the nation's former prime minister, David Cameron, says his "greatest regret" is that those who advocated to stay in the EU lost the vote — which ultimately divided the country, paralyzed the government and left Britain increasingly at risk of leaving the European Union without any deal.

Since 2015, under the threat of the Taliban, Afghan filmmakers Hassan Fazili and Fatima Hussaini, along with their two young daughters, have been on the run for their lives.

The family fled Afghanistan after the extremist group had called for Fazili's death over a film he'd made about one of its commanders.

Even as the refugee family navigates a still-incomplete journey — of death threats, discrimination and paralyzing immigration systems — Fazili and Hussaini turn their cameras on themselves and their daughters.

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Fashion Week is underway in New York City, which means you can count on seeing many models working to navigate the runway while wearing high heels.

In previous years, videos have shown models trying to make their way down the runways in high heels, but tripping, stumbling and sometimes even falling because the shoes are so difficult to walk in.

From Louboutins to Manolo Blahniks, high heels have had their place in both pop culture and high fashion, but author Lauren Bravo says that the days of high heels could be numbered.

When Tope Folarin sat down to write what would become his debut novel, he began by modeling its protagonist, Tunde, after his own life. Soon Tunde took on a life of his own.

"When writers used to talk about this, I thought it was mystical mumbo-jumbo — when they talk about characters doing their own thing," Folarin says an in interview. "That began to happen to me. And so I said: Well, this feels like a Tunde, and Tunde started doing all kinds of things that I didn't do and I wouldn't do. And so it kind of developed as a novel."

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MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

At one time, the Volkswagen Beetle was so ubiquitous that its sighting is often punctuated by a swift punch in the arm and a shout of "Punch Buggy!" (Or "Slug Bug!" depending on your regional take on the road trip game).

But this week, the Beetle set off down the road to extinction. On Wednesday, Volkswagen ended production of the Beetle, saying it wants to set its sights on manufacturing electric vehicles.

Signs are pointing to a coming U.S. recession, according to an economic indicator that has preceded every recession over the past five decades.

It is known among economists and Wall Street traders as a "yield curve inversion," and it refers to when long-term interest rates are paying out less than short-term rates.

Before Bill Cosby was an inmate at a Pennsylvania state prison, he held a pristine reputation as one of Hollywood's most beloved entertainers.

So when Andrea Constand's sexual assault allegations against Cosby broke in 2005, Nicole Weisensee Egan, an investigative reporter at the Philadelphia Daily News at the time, was skeptical. She had grown up watching The Cosby Show, revering the show's family-friendly main character, Cliff Huxtable.

"I was like, 'Who is this woman?' Because they weren't releasing her name," Egan says.

Mavis Staples could've retired in good conscience years ago.

But slowing down isn't her style.

With her father, sisters and brother as The Staple Singers, her gospel songs scored the civil rights movement.

More than a half century later, as Staples nears 80, the decorated R&B star continues to train her soulful pipes on hope and resilience in her call for change.

Melinda Gates, the co-founder of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, has written a new book, The Moment of Lift: How Empowering Women Changes The World.

Published this week, the book calls on readers to support women everywhere as a means to lift up society. She pulls from her lessons learned through the inspiring women she's met on her travels with the Gates Foundation, which funds projects to reduce poverty and improve global health in the developing world (and is a funder of NPR and this blog).

The members of Snow Patrol are celebrating 25 years together. From providing the unofficial theme song to Grey's Anatomy to its 2006 album Eyes Open being certified eight-times platinum according to BPI, the Northern Ireland rock band has found success many times over. Now, after a seven-year hiatus, the bond between band members has never been stronger.

Updated at 10:23 p.m. ET

In 2014, Michael Brown, an 18-year old unarmed black man, was fatally shot by a white police officer in Ferguson, Mo.

In the four months that followed, the stock price of the stun-gun maker Taser International, now known as Axon Enterprise, nearly doubled.

Nina Martinez just became the world's first living HIV-positive organ donor.

In a medical breakthrough, surgeons at Johns Hopkins Hospital late last month successfully transplanted one of her kidneys to a recipient who is also HIV positive.

"I feel wonderful," Martinez, 35, said in an interview with NPR's Michel Martin, 11 days into her recovery. The patient who received her kidney has chosen to remain anonymous, but is doing well, Martinez is told.

On his 2014 album, Afropolitan Dreams, hip-hop artist Samuel Bazawule, also known as "Blitz the Ambassador," vividly describes his journey from wide-eyed immigrant to multinational success story. In one song he declares: "I think I'm relocating back to Ghana for good."

And, he did.

Billie Eilish prides herself on being intimidating.

"I think I have a vibe that makes you not even want to ask me anything," she says with a laugh. "You don't want to say no to me."

And so far, that vibe is working. At just 17, the LA-raised singer-songwriter makes music that is both haunting and oddly inviting. Her angsty, platinum-selling singles house dark electropop and her viral music videos toe the line between lurid and alluring.

Lent is meant to be a time of reflection for Christians around the world. But once again this year, it comes at a time of deep disquiet within the faith. Sexual abuse and misconduct scandals have continued to rock the Catholic Church, leading many to question their religious institutions, or even their faith itself.

This Tuesday's Mardi Gras celebration in New Orleans has thrust into the spotlight a controversial local tradition dating back more than 100 years.

Every year, members of the city's Zulu Social Aid and Pleasure Club don grass skirts, feather headdresses and bone jewelry for the Mardi Gras parade.

The Zulus' African-American members — and even some of their white members — also paint their faces black.

A small moment of anger pushed Grammy-winning artist Gary Clark Jr. to create the unapologetic, seething song "This Land."

Today, I have two names for those tempted to gloat, despair, or be ashamed because of Jussie Smollett, the actor now accused of orchestrating a fake bias crime against himself.

Those two names are Charles Stuart and Susan Smith.

For those who don't remember: In October 1989, Charles Stuart sent Boston police on a tear looking for the black man he claimed forced his way into his car — after a childbirth class no less — and then shot and wounded him and killed his pregnant wife.

After dance pioneer Alvin Ailey died in 1989, the future of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater was uncertain. It's difficult to keep a dance company profitable after its founder is long gone – many have tried and failed. But 30 years later, the group is thriving, and decided to celebrate its 60th anniversary and founder by commissioning a new work titled Lazarus.

Despite what her social media handle suggests, Noname isn't hiding anymore. The soft-spoken but quick-witted rapper has spent years bubbling in Chicago's hip-hop scene and sparring on tracks with friends like Saba and Chance The Rapper while still maintaining a low profile.

Taraji P. Henson is known for her hardened exterior, at least in the dramatic roles she's used to playing. But as she tells NPR's Michel Martin, it's not just an act.

"I'm such a fighter," she says. "Some women can take up for themselves. That's why I feel like I need to speak up to be an example for women."

Fears of brain injuries has deterred many parents and their children from choosing to play football.

After years of publicity about how dangerous football can be, football enrollment has declined 6.6 percent in the past decade, according to data from the National Federation of State High School Associations.

Those who still play the sport are increasingly low-income students.

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