Guy Raz

Miners Weather The Slow Burn Of Coal's Demise

Jul 14, 2012

At some point today, you will probably flip on a light switch. That simple action connects you to the oldest and most plentiful source of American electricity: coal.

Since the early 1880s — when Edison and Tesla pioneered the distribution of electrical power into our homes — most of that power has come from the process of burning coal.

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This week, one of the biggest coal mining companies in Central Appalachia, Patriot Coal, filed for bankruptcy protection. Over the past three months, a wave of layoffs has hit coal country hard, and this past month, the share of all U.S. electricity generated from coal hit its lowest level since the 1940s. Our colleague Guy Raz visited Webster County in the middle of West Virginia to find out what's killing King Coal.

Blacks, Gays And The Church

May 27, 2012

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Let's turn to another story we've been following in recent weeks: African-Americans and same-sex marriage. When President Obama came out in support of gay marriage, some African-American religious leaders protested. But according to new polling data, African-Americans are no less supportive or, for that matter, opposed to gay marriage than any other group in the country.

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And if you're just joining us, you're listening to WEEKENDS on ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Guy Raz.

In Afghanistan today, the Taliban has launched a string of attacks across the country, including coordinated strikes in the capital, Kabul, that hit near western targets and Afghan government buildings. The Taliban says today's attack marks the beginning of what they call the spring fighting season, the period after the winter thaw when mountain passes and roads become accessible again.

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Staying overseas, and to Egypt now, where election officials have stunned voters by banning three of the top contenders running in the country's upcoming presidential elections. Those candidates include Omar Suleiman, the vice president under Hosni Mubarak, the other two, a powerful leader from the Muslim Brotherhood and an ultra-conservative Islamist cleric.

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A flight departure board at the Dallas-Fort Worth Airport yesterday told the story. One word was repeated again and again: cancelled, cancelled, cancelled.

INSKEEP: That was just one sign of chaos, as up to a dozen tornadoes spun through the area. Amazingly, nobody was reported killed.

Last semester, Brown senior Malcolm Burnley took a narrative writing course. One of the assignments was to write a fictional story based on something true — and that true event had to be found inside the university archives.

"So I went to the archives and started flipping through dusty compilations of student newspapers, and there was this old black-and-white photo of when Malcolm X came to speak," Burnley says. "There was one short article that corresponded to it, and very little else."