Our guest today is singer-songwriter Parker Millsap, who recently performed live in the World Cafe studios with his trio. Just 21, Millsap is from the small town of Purcell, Oklahoma. He grew up in a Pentecostal church, and much of his music is based on that experience.
Millsap moved to California to intern at a recording studio before returning to Oklahoma to launch his music career. His self-titled debut album is out now.
Earlier this week, NPR ran a short series I did on America's land-based nuclear missiles. One diagram in particular raised a few eyebrows: It showed the location of a Missile Alert Facility, along with the silos for 10 nuclear weapons.
Ken Albertson summed up what several of our readers were thinking: "Thanks for the map. Can you now publish the GPS coordinates. You've been real helpful, Kim IL Sung."
In truth, the location of these weapons is no secret.
The missiles and their command bunkers have been in the same place "for decades," Air Force Capt. Edith Sakura of the 90th Missile Wing Office of Public Affairs wrote in an e-mail. "They are near county and state roads that are public access to people. You need security clearances to access the sites; however, it would be hard to 'hide' such facilities."
Moreover, as other commenters noted, the sites are already visited by foreign militaries. Russian officers regularly inspect U.S. missile silos to make sure America is adhering to international arms-control treaties. (And the U.S. sends its own observers to Russia.)
The missile base I visited, Foxtrot-01, is right there on Google Maps.
When I needed a break from writing the series, I found myself scrolling around Nebraska and Colorado, looking for silos and bunkers. See how many you can find.
But here's a disclaimer: Don't actually try GOING to any of these locations. Heavily armed security forces respond to intruders, and very bad things will happen.
Geoff Brumfiel is a Washington, D.C.-based correspondent with NPR's Science Desk.
House GOP leaders pulled the plug on a $659 million bill to deal with the influx of tens of thousands of unaccompanied minors entering the U.S. from Central America.
The vote on the legislation had been scheduled for this afternoon on the final day before the start of a five-week summer break for Congress.
The bill would have increased funding for overwhelmed border agencies, add immigration judges and detention space, send National Guard troops to the border, and changes the law so that the youths can be sent home quickly without deportation hearings that are now guaranteed, according to The Associated Press.
"There are numerous steps the president can and should be taking right now, without the need for congressional action, to secure our borders and ensure these children are returned swiftly and safely to their countries," House Speaker John Boehner and other Republican leaders said in a statement.
"We will continue to work on solutions to the border crisis and other challenges facing our country," they added.
The collapse in the vote follows a surprise move by the GOP leadership to satisfy the tea party wing of the party by allowing a separate vote aimed at blocking the White House from expanding deportation relief.
But the House bill was unlikely in any case to have gotten an airing in the Senate, which is debating a rival $2.7 billion measure for border security that does not include policy changes to expedite the deportation of migrants.
Maggie Gyllenhaal stars in a new eight-part miniseries that couldn't be more timely: It's about a woman who finds herself embroiled in the Israeli Palestinian conflict.
The Honorable Woman is a co-production between the Sundance Channel, which premieres the eight-part miniseries beginning Thursday, and England's BBC-2, where viewers already have seen about half the episodes. So have I. And while I expected The Honorable Woman to be topical and potentially controversial, given its setting and premise, I didn't expect it to be so involving, or so intense. Or so good.
The Honorable Woman is produced, written and directed by Hugo Blick, who hasn't broken through in the States yet - but probably will now. TV viewers who were drawn to the political intrigues and moral complexities of Showtime's Homeland, will be very, very pleased by The Honorable Woman. But so should viewers who revel in the unsettling surprises and shocking violence of HBO's Game of Thrones and AMC's The Walking Dead - because The Honorable Woman is one of the most ruthless TV dramas I've ever seen. Major characters in this miniseries not only die without warning - they die without foreshadowing, and without dignity, like flies being swatted suddenly.
Even before the opening credits roll, The Honorable Woman demonstrates this quickly, and graphically. The very first scene is a flashback showing lunch at a fancy restaurant, where a young girl and boy fidget and joke with one another while their father tries to settle them down. The waiter who serves them dinner rolls with a pair of sharp tongs then uses the same tongs to stab their father in the throat. He dies as they watch in stunned disbelief, and as the little girl is dotted with his blood. Meanwhile, the adult voice of that girl is heard on the soundtrack, offering some perspective from the distant future. She's played by Maggie Gyllenhaal, who adopts a British accent, and an understandably wary attitude, to portray the grown-up Nessa Stein.
It's unusual, and a little refreshing, to see an American actress travel overseas to play someone with a British accent, given how many Brits are playing Americans on TV over here. But Gyllenhaal nails more than just the accent. She's playing a very complicated, hard-to-read character: a British baroness with an Israeli passport, an Internet communications executive who has just been appointed a seat in the House of Lords, and a visionary who wants to donate money and resources to the West Bank. She thinks that improving conditions there, and making the Internet more available, is the key to prospects for peace. But others disagree - sometimes very violently. The Honorable Woman includes killings and kidnappings, seductions and betrayals, and Nessa's obsession about trust turns out to be very central to her character, and to the drama itself.
Every step Nessa takes, or doesn't take, is followed or influenced or thwarted by those around her - especially her business-partner brother Ephra, played by Andrew Buckman, and a British Intelligence officer played by the always intriguing Stephen Rea. MI-6, American spies, the Israelis, the Palestinians - they're all in play here, and they're not playing. Some of the power struggles are for money or territory; others are sexual. There's a lot of tension between men and women here, corporate as well as cultural - and Gyllenhaal is fearless about exploring and portraying it all.
Writer-director Blick peels back and reveals the elements of his story, and the motivations and relationships of his characters, very slowly. A scream you hear in episode one isn't explained until episode four — and the pain behind anguished glances isn't evident until you've clocked hours of TV time. But by that time, The Honorable Woman has taken you places where TV seldom ventures. Not only to the tunnels under the Gaza Strip - and I couldn't believe I was seeing scenes set in those tunnels, after they've figured so prominently in the news - but to the deepest fears and hopes and dreams and despairs of the show's characters. Politically, The Honorable Woman doesn't take sides - it comes at you from all sides. And all sides are given motivations and conflicts, which makes this miniseries both a rare and a rewarding viewing experience. The characters in The Honorable Woman may not know whom to trust - but trust me. This is one TV drama not to miss.
David Bianculli is founder and editor of the website TV Worth Watching, and teaches TV and film history at Rowan University in New Jersey.
Host Jessica Harris speaks with Vinnie Bharara and Marc Lore, co-founders of Diapers.com. Harris also speaks with Jonathan Cedar, co-founder of Biolite, a company that makes off-the-grid cooking stoves meant for use in developing countries and on camping trips.