The Two-Way
6:14 pm
Tue August 7, 2012

As Execution Looms, Texas Debates Steinbeck And What's Mentally Impaired

Death row inmate Marvin Wilson.
Uncredited AP

Originally published on Tue August 7, 2012 9:14 pm

There's a life-or-death drama unfolding in Texas tonight. It involves the death penalty, the Supreme Court and John Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men.

First the basics: Marvin Wilson, 54, is set to be executed by Texas tonight. He was convicted of the 1992 killing of a police informant. His attorneys however argue that a Supreme Court ban on the death penalty for the mentally impaired prohibits the state from going forward with tonight's execution and are asking the high court to step in.

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The Torch
6:12 pm
Tue August 7, 2012

Women's Beach Volleyball Final Will Be All-American Affair

Misty May-Treanor of the U.S. celebrates at the end of the women's beach volleyball semifinal with Kerri Walsh Jennings (in the background) against China's Xue Chen and Zhang Xi. USA won 2-0.
Christophe Simon AFP/Getty Images

The United States will have at least two shiny new medals no matter what happens tomorrow at the women's beach volleyball final.

After defeating China (2-0) and Brazil (2-1), today, the two American teams advanced to the finals, setting up an all-American match. It means the U.S. will receive a gold and silver.

ABC News reports:

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It's All Politics
6:05 pm
Tue August 7, 2012

Convention List Grows: Carter (By Video) At Democrats'; Santorum At GOP's

Former President Jimmy Carter at the Carter Center in Atlanta in February 2012.
John Bazemore AP

Originally published on Tue August 7, 2012 6:50 pm

Former President Jimmy Carter may be the epitome of failed presidents in the eyes of many Republicans.

But the Democrats announced Tuesday that the one-term president will have a prime-time speaking role at their national convention in Charlotte, N.C., in September. Carter won't be there live, however; he'll speak by video.

A news release from the Democratic National Convention Committee quoted the former president:

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Books
6:00 pm
Tue August 7, 2012

A Comics Crusader Takes On The Digital Future

A panel from part one of Insufferable, the first title offered by the comics website Thrillbent.com. The site's creator, comic-book writer Mark Waid, hopes it will redefine comics in the era of smartphones and tablets.
Courtesy of Thrillbent.com

Originally published on Mon September 16, 2013 2:40 pm

He wouldn't make the claim himself, but when it comes to comic-book writers, Mark Waid is one of the greats.

"I've pretty much hit all of the pop culture bases," Waid says, surrounded by comic-book memorabilia in his Los Angeles home. Batman, Spider-Man and even The Incredibles have all had adventures dreamed up by Waid.

"Jan. 26, 1979, was the most important day of my life," Waid says. "Because that's the day that I saw Superman: The Movie. I came out of it knowing that no matter what the rest of my life was going to be like, it had to involve Superman somehow."

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The Two-Way
5:32 pm
Tue August 7, 2012

Fast And Furious Whistle-blower Reaches Agreement Over Retaliation Claims

Peter Forcelli, an ATF agent who blew the whistle on management lapses in the gun trafficking scandal known as Fast and Furious, has reached an agreement with the bureau over his retaliation claims.

A lawyer for Forcelli declined to disclose the terms of the settlement because it was the product of a confidential mediation process.

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Movie Reviews
5:03 pm
Tue August 7, 2012

A Marriage Passes From Routine To Rut To Therapy

Arnold (Tommy Lee Jones) reluctantly agrees to go to couples therapy with his wife, Kay (Meryl Streep), in Hope Springs. The film, directed by The Devil Wears Prada's David Frankel, is a refreshingly subdued take on marital conflict.
Barry Wetcher Sony Pictures

The act of sharing decades of your life with one person lends itself to repetition. If you aren't careful, repetition becomes routine, routines become ruts, and then, for the terminally uncommunicative, ruts dig themselves so deep that they become the sort of soul-sucking bottomless trench in which Kay and Arnold, the married couple played by Meryl Streep and Tommy Lee Jones in Hope Springs, find themselves.

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Marisa Peñaloza is a senior producer on the National Desk. From breaking news to documentary-style features, Peñaloza's productions are among the signature pieces heard on NPR's award-winning newsmagazines Morning Edition, All Things Considered and Weekend Edition.

Her work has covered a wide array of topics, from hurricanes, education, immigration, politics and the economy to homeland security and litigation. She has also produced investigative reports and traveled across the U.S. and the world for NPR.

NPR Cities: Urban Life In The 21st Century
4:48 pm
Tue August 7, 2012

Wu-Where? Opportunities Shift To China's New Cities

Wuhan's newest attraction is Han Street, a shopping complex that stretches several football fields, features fancy faux European architecture, and is filled with stores featuring foreign brands from Dairy Queen to Zara.
Frank Langfitt NPR

Originally published on Tue August 7, 2012 9:00 pm

China became a majority urban country this year. No nation has shifted so quickly from rural to urban than China, where more than half of the people now live in urban areas.

Everyone is familiar with megacities like Beijing and Shanghai, but they are just a tiny part of China's urbanization story. The country has more than 160 cities with populations of a million or more — places most of the world is only vaguely familiar with, if at all.

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Shots - Health Blog
4:36 pm
Tue August 7, 2012

Scientists See Progress In Alzheimer's Despite Growing List of Drug Failures

A PET scan of the brain of a person with Alzheimer's disease.
U.S. National Institute on Aging via Wikimedia Commons

Another once-promising Alzheimer's drug has just been tossed on the pharmaceutical scrap heap.

This time it's a drug called bapineuzumab. Like several previous experimental drugs, it was designed to attack the plaques that build up in the brains of people with Alzheimer's.

And like those earlier drugs, it failed.

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