A report (pdf) released today by Human Rights Watch accuses the government of Hugo Chávez in Venezuela of consolidating power in the executive branch and using that power to intimidate his opponents.
"The accumulation of power in the executive, the removal of institutional safeguards, and the erosion of human rights guarantees have given the Chávez government free rein to intimidate, censor, and punish Venezuelans who 'offend' the president or obstruct his political aims," the report found.
Robert Siegel talks to Deborah Amos about heavy fighting that has broken out in the Syrian capital of Damascus. Government troops — reportedly backed by helicopter gunships — are battling rebels in at least four districts of the capital. Some Syrian activists say the 16 month uprising is reaching a tipping point.
Originally published on Mon September 10, 2012 2:54 pm
Folk-pop singer-songwriter Damien Jurado has come a long way since he first started self-releasing lo-fi folk recordings on cassette. Jurado has been making music since the early '90s, and he recently released his 10th studio album, Maraqopa — his second produced by best friend and Secretly Canadian labelmate Richard Swift.
In case you were living under a rock last winter, here's a quick refresher on the phenomenon known as "Linsanity."
In just a few weeks, Jeremy Lin — a lanky Asian-American point guard who played his college ball at Harvard — went from a benchwarmer to a star. He led an unlikely winning streak that made the long-downtrodden New York Knicks seem momentarily relevant in the NBA title hunt.
"This kid has single-handedly done the unthinkable: made people want to watch the New York Knicks," Comedy Central's Stephen Colbert said, joining the media frenzy.
Pop music in the 21st century has been flush with precise re-creations of '60s and '70s American R&B — think of Sharon Jones, Adele, Raphael Saadiq and the late Amy Winehouse. Meanwhile, I've been waiting for a similar revival of Jamaica's R&B: ska, rocksteady, roots-reggae.
Several presidential battleground states are moving quickly to reach agreements with federal officials to access a U.S. immigration database to purge noncitizens from voter rolls.
The states, including some with large Latino populations, are following Florida, which last week reached its own pact with the Department of Homeland Security to use a database that contains information about immigrants who are in the U.S. legally. The states' efforts had initially been blocked by DHS until the agency relented.
Donald Sobol, the creator of the beloved character Encyclopedia Brown, died last week of natural causes, his family says. He was 87. The first in the Encyclopedia Brown series book was published in 1963, and the series has never gone out of print.
Crime novelist and forensic pathologist Jonathan Hayes has this appreciation of the character Sobol gave young readers.
While other boys got hooked on books about sports legends and race car drivers, there was something about Donald Sobol's boy detective Encyclopedia Brown that spoke to me right away.
4Chan is a cesspool. That's not even editorializing. A few minutes on the notorious, free-for-all Internet message board that gave birth to Anonymous will — in the famous words of Gawker — "melt your brain."
But every once in a while, they do the right thing — like today.
As Hypervocal reports, last night a 4Chan user posted a picture of someone standing on two containers full of lettuce with the taunting caption: "This is the lettuce you eat at Burger King."