Fans of the Chicago Cubs come up with all kinds of explanations for the team's epic ineptitude: the curse of the Billy Goat, Steve Bartman's 2003 foul ball catch, and generations of incompetent management. In the Wall Street Journal today, Rich Cohen comes to a different conclusion: Wrigley Field. Destroy it, annihilate it, he wrote. Implosion or explosion, get rid of it, not merely the structure but the ground on which it stands.
"Many black women are fat because we want to be." With those words in a New York Times op-ed, novelist Alice Randall sparked a controversy. Touching on flashpoints of race, weight, politics and gender, her contention prompted a debate and raised serious questions about health, culture and race.
The New York City police reported that its officers stopped and frisked almost 700,000 people last year, which prompted a fresh round of protests over the controversial policy. In today's Washington Post, Richard Cohen writes that these questionable tactics have to be measured against their effects. New York City is heaven on earth, he wrote, possibly because it is a certain kind of hell for young black and Hispanic men. Do results justify questionable police tactics?
Bernard Lewis is also the author of the best-selling <a href="http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=1134983"><em></em></a><a href="http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=1134983">What Went Wrong?</a>
Over his long academic career, Bernard Lewis has arguably become the world's greatest historian of the Middle East. Now, at 96, Lewis turns his attention inward in a memoir that looks back on his life, work and legacy.
The linguist and scholar's career began before World War II, and in a new memoir he covers more than a few sensitive areas, from race and slavery in Islam, to the clash of civilizations and his long argument with scholar Edward Said, to his role as an adviser to former Vice President Dick Cheney.
NATO has just asked the Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari to attend the May 20-21 summit in Chicago. The AP says the overture signals that the rift between NATO and Islamabad may be coming to a resolution.
Xing Wei, who raises pigeons for lucrative races in China, is shown in Beijing with his favorite bird, Ike. He sells Ike's offspring to wealthy buyers for $15,000.
Credit Louisa Lim / NPR
These pigeons belong to Yang Shibo, who breeds them in an enclosed balcony on the 13th floor of a Beijing apartment building. His best bird cost him $1,000; its descendants have earned him $150,000 in prize money.
To the average observer, they look like ordinary pigeons, caged into a balcony in a high-rise Beijing apartment. But make no mistake. These cooing birds, according to breeder Yang Shibo, are like top-of-the-line sports cars.
"These are the Ferraris of the bird world," he says. "They're the most expensive, and the fastest."
The price of racing pigeons is soaring sky-high, pushed up by wealthy Chinese buyers.