Mary Louise Kelly | KGOU
KGOU

Mary Louise Kelly

When the now former British Ambassador to the United States Kim Darroch described Donald Trump's White House as "inept" and "deeply dysfunctional" — and added that the president "radiated insecurity" — an international scandal ensued.

And when his frank assessment became public in the summer of 2019, he became persona non grata in Trump's Washington, overnight.

The county government cafeteria in Northampton County, Pa., is a large, airy room with big windows and, for now, lunch tables separated by plexiglass.

But a few months from now, on Election Day, this is where the county plans to have a couple of dozen people processing what it expects could be 100,000 mail-in ballots, nearly triple what they handled in the June 2 primary and 15 times what they handled in November 2016.

Philando Castile, Eric Garner and George Floyd. The deaths of these Black men at the hands of police have fueled outrage over police brutality and systemic racism.

Men make up the vast majority of people shot and killed by police.

It is one of the most intimate and complicated relationships around, and for many women — and yes it's mostly women — an all-important one.

I'm talking about the relationship between a mother and her child's caregiver. And that's the relationship at the heart of author J. Courtney Sullivan's new novel, Friends and Strangers. She says the idea for the book came from her own experiences.

More widespread wearing of face masks could prevent tens of thousands of deaths by COVID-19, epidemiologists and mathematicians project.

A model from the University of Washington's Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation shows that near-universal wearing of cloth or homemade masks could prevent between 17,742 and 28,030 deaths across the US before Oct. 1.

Between the pandemic, the economic crisis and now protests, 2020 has already been a lot. Yo-Yo Ma has been coping, and trying to help the rest of us cope, with music. The cellist has been posting videos of himself playing what he calls "Songs of Comfort."

"I do believe that everything that we do," he says, "people in every profession — medical workers, the delivery people, the politicians — we all are there to serve. We only exist because someone has a need. I know that music fulfills that kind of need."

Following the police killing of George Floyd, officials on the state, local and national level are focusing on how to improve policing in the United States.

Brit Bennett's latest novel is set in the late 1960s and '70s and — in the five years she was working on it — she never anticipated that when it came out it would be framed as "timely."

The Vanishing Half is about identical, African American, twins. One sister lives as a black woman, while the other passes as white. Both are haunted by personal and collective traumas of the past, and the book explores whether it's possible to erase the past, in the name of a better future.

The Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. was behind the pulpit in Atlanta in 1967, the year before he was killed, when he told churchgoers at Ebenezer Baptist Church that sometimes there is an "obligation" to break certain man-made laws.

"It is important to see that there are times when a man-made law is out of harmony with the moral law of the universe, there are times when human law is out of harmony with eternal and divine laws," the civil rights leader said at the time. "And when that happens, you have an obligation to break it."

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MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

One point seven million cases, more than 100,000 deaths.

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #1: Albert Farber (ph). Albert Bernard (ph). Albert Fields, Jr. (ph).

KELLY: People in all 50 states.

Amid record-breaking unemployment numbers, Nevada stands out. The jobs crisis hit the state early and dug in deep. Unemployment there has soared to more than 28% — the highest in the nation and the highest for any state since 1976, when the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics began tracking this data.

As the number of COVID-19 deaths continues its upward march, many of the rituals designed to help people navigate the loss of a loved one aren't possible.

Living with the pandemic has been difficult for everyone: the isolation, the need to wear protective gear like masks and gloves, the adjustment to working or learning from home.

For those living with or caring for someone with severe autism, those challenges can be exponentially more difficult.

"Wearing gloves or masks, you know, things like that? That's just not going to happen here," says Feda Almaliti.

These days, it seems any morsel of good news about a coronavirus vaccine sends hopes — and markets — soaring.

The reality is, developing and producing a vaccine is an incredibly complicated process — one that is heavily reliant on global cooperation, says Prashant Yadav, a senior fellow at the Center for Global Development.

Yadav says cooperation is necessary for a number of reasons. For one, "just protecting U.S. population won't be sufficient for us to resume global travel and trade," he says.

California led the nation in issuing a statewide stay-at-home order. But there's been an economic cost for going first — in the form of a $54 billion budget shortfall and unemployment projected to be as high as 25% this quarter.

"Those are Depression-era numbers and they're numbers that you'll see across this country," Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom tells All Things Considered. "By some estimates ... this has been the biggest shock we've seen in living memory."

Like many other artists, Jason Isbell has had to think on his feet the last few months. Reunions, his new album with his band the 400 Unit — which comprises of Sadler Vaden, Jimbo Hart, Derry deBorja, Chad Gamble and Amanda Shires — came out today on streaming platforms, but that's not the first place it landed. Isbell and company released it a week early to independent record stores to support them during the pandemic.

Middle school spans those tween and early teenage years when, for many, puberty hits.

Bullies seem to reign supreme. And we begin to grow into ourselves.

Like most, writer and reporter Judith Warner was once a middle schooler. She's also the mother of two former middle schoolers. In her new book, And Then They Stopped Talking To Me, she investigates why the middle-school years can be so awful — and what we can do to help make them a little bit better.

In Alaska, some restaurants are easing their way back into the business of serving food to dine-in customers.

Lawrence Wright is not interested in saying "I told you so."

At the beginning of his new novel, he writes: "Dear Reader, The events depicted in The End of October were meant to serve as a cautionary tale. But real life doesn't always wait for warnings."

Wright's fictional tale is about a mysterious virus that starts in Asia, sweeps across continents, cripples the health care system, wrecks the economy, and kills people worldwide.

For eight seasons, Homeland has closely tracked real-life events and anxieties. Claire Danes played CIA officer Carrie Mathison — chasing down traitors and terrorists, al-Qaida plots and Russian bad guys. Showrunner Alex Gansa says the show has held a "funhouse mirror" to events in Washington and overseas.

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