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The Cuban Tody

KPLU News - 7 hours 41 min ago

  The Cuban Tody is almost indescribably cute! It’s a "must-see" bird for anyone heading for the West Indies. In woodlands throughout the island of Cuba, todies are terrific foragers. In fact, their Puerto Rican cousins have been known to catch up to one or two insects a minute — hunting from dawn to dusk. Their wings make an audible whirring sound, and you may find a tody just by listening for that sound.

Report: In King County, Childcare Could Cost A Single Mother Half Her Income

KPLU News - 11 hours 41 min ago

Childcare costs in King County are among the highest in the nation, according to a recently-released analysis.

The report shows King County's costs are high even by the standards of Washington state, one of the ten least-affordable states for childcare. Someone earning the median income for single mothers in King County could sink more than half of her salary into the $17,300 average annual cost for infant childcare — a cost already $5,000 higher than the state average.

The Evolution Of Reggae: How It Became The Protest Music We Can Dance To

KPLU News - 11 hours 41 min ago

For many of us, Jimmy Cliff’s 1973 song “The Harder They Come” was the first reggae piece we’d heard.

Reggae grew out of two earlier styles of Jamaican music, ska and rocksteady. And these were both preceded by the Jamaican folk/pop music of the 1950s, a style called mento. Here’s Alerth Bedasse’s “Rough Rider” from 1955.

The Demise Of The Passenger Pigeon

KPLU News - Mon, 09/01/2014 - 09:00

On September 1, 1914, Martha, the last known Passenger Pigeon died in the Cincinnati Zoo. It’s hard to believe there were billions of Passenger Pigeons in the early nineteenth century. By 1900, there were none left in the wild. The last Passenger Pigeon became a symbol of how easily we can devastate a seemingly boundless natural population. But how did it happen? Recent research may shed new light on this extinction.

Lawsuit Challenges Automatic Deduction Of Union Dues For Home Care Workers In Wash.

KPLU News - Mon, 09/01/2014 - 06:04

The Service Employees International Union Healthcare 775 Northwest represents about 33,000 independent home care workers in Washington state. Their union dues are automatically deducted by the state of Washington, which pays the workers using public money, including Medicaid funds.

But a lawsuit is challenging that arrangement, drawing on the recent U.S. Supreme Court decision (Harris v. Quinn), and that potentially threatens the union's financial strength. 

Paint The Peninsula Festival Celebrates Joy Of Painting Outside

KPLU News - Mon, 09/01/2014 - 05:00

The clouds hang low over the water along a quiet stretch of gravelly beach in the Strait of Juan de Fuca near Sequim, Washington. A sailboat silently glides past and a clear creek runs into the strait. A gang of seagulls stands at the watery crossroads, preening their feathers.

Perched on a grassy overlook capturing this on a small canvas of balsa wood is plein air artist Sandy Byers. Painting en plein air is the French term that simply means painting outside — something artists have been doing for hundreds of years.

NEA Jazz Master Bill Holman directs The Jazz Port Townsend Festival All-Star Big Band

KPLU News - Sun, 08/31/2014 - 15:00

One of the most highly regarded composer-arrangers in jazz is Bill Holman, whose career stretches back over six decades and includes music performed by Stan Kenton, Count Basie, Woody Herman, Gerry Mulligan and many others.  He also leads his own L.A. big band which includes many top musicians who vie for the opportunity to play Bill Holman's exciting and complex music.   Winner of three Grammy Awards and 14 nominations, he's arranged for recording sessions by Tony Bennett, Sarah Vaughan, Carmen McRae and many others. 

Rick Perry's Legal Trouble: The Line Between Influence And Coercion

KPLU News - Sat, 08/30/2014 - 14:11
The day he was booked, Texas Gov. Rick Perry gave a big smile for his mug shot — which was then printed up on t-shirts to demonstrate just what a farce he thought the indictment was. In a press conference, the scorn dripped from Perry's voice as he took up the sword — defender, not of himself, but of the state's constitution.

"We don't settle political differences with indictments in this country," he said.

Hopscotching To 100: An Appreciation Of Julio Cortázar

KPLU News - Sat, 08/30/2014 - 14:11
First thing I noticed on the cover was his mouth, which was half open, midlaugh. Next, his teeth; not the best set I'd ever seen. After that, of course, his pronounced unibrow — thick and equally unbecoming. There was the cat, too, posted on the windowsill. Its eyes were dead set on the playful man with the camera and the mouth and the teeth and bushy eyebrow. All this and the words Save Twilight. I thumbed through the little book some and paid for it — cost me about a dollar at the used book shop.

Tech Week: Uber's Tricks, JPMorgan Hacked & A Desk Microwave

KPLU News - Sat, 08/30/2014 - 14:10
Each weekend, we look back on the tech week that was, which includes original content from NPR and the stories worth noting from across the Internet. Here we go...


Amazon Buys Twitch: In a nearly $1 billion purchase, Amazon bought the exceedingly popular Twitch, which allows viewers to watch live streams of gamers gaming.

If These Shorts Could Talk ... New Book Tells 'Worn Stories'

KPLU News - Sat, 08/30/2014 - 14:10
Clothes may not necessarily make the man, but they sure make memories. In her new book, Worn Stories, Emily Spivack compiles reflections from Rosanne Cash, Piper Kerman, Marcus Samuelsson and others about the meaningful articles of clothing stored in their closets.

"I asked them to look for something that they couldn't part with," she tells NPR's Scott Simon.

U.N. Peacekeepers Rescued After Being Trapped By Syrian Militants

KPLU News - Sat, 08/30/2014 - 14:09
Dozens of besieged United Nations peacekeepers were safely extracted after being surrounded for days on the Syrian side of the Golan Heights.

After rebels of the al-Qaida-affiliated Nusra Front seized 44 Fijian peacekeepers on Thursday, they laid siege to two encampments of Filipino peacekeepers totaling more than 70 soldiers.

The rebels demanded the Filipino soldiers, part of the U.N.

Federal Judge Blocks Texas Restriction On Abortion Clinics

KPLU News - Sat, 08/30/2014 - 14:08
A federal judge in Austin struck down part of a Texas law that would have required all abortion clinics in the state to meet the same standards as outpatient surgical centers.

The National Museum Of American Everybodystory

KPLU News - Sat, 08/30/2014 - 14:08
The National Museum of American History ... or Herstory ... or Everybodystory — whatever you feel it should be called — is expanding its collection of objects and archival materials representing the history of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Americans.

In public remarks in mid-August, museum director John Gray said, "The pursuit of civil rights in America is a story line woven throughout our history. It is a tale of struggle and accomplishment as the nation strives to fulfill its ideals.

Michael Sam, First Openly Gay NFL Draft, Is Dropped By Rams

KPLU News - Sat, 08/30/2014 - 14:07
Update at 6 p.m. ET

Michael Sam, the first openly gay player drafted to an NFL team, has been released by the St.

Can Oxfam Nudge Big Food Companies To Do Right?

KPLU News - Sat, 08/30/2014 - 14:07
It's not always easy to connect the dots between the food we consume and the people who grow it, or the impact of growing and processing that food on the health of our planet.

But a campaign called Behind the Brands, led by Oxfam International, an advocacy organization dedicated to fighting poverty, is trying to make the inner workings of the 10 biggest food companies in the world more visible.

They include General Mills, Associated British Foods, Danone, Mars, Coca-Cola, Mondelez, Unilever, PepsiCo, Nestle and Kellogg.

Win Passes To The North Bend Jazz Walk

KPLU News - Fri, 08/29/2014 - 17:00

Lawyer For Psychiatric Patients Says State Had Time To Prepare For Boarding Ruling

KPLU News - Fri, 08/29/2014 - 15:17

The state of Washington doesn’t deserve extra time to start following mental health laws, according to the lawyer representing psychiatric patients who successfully challenged a practice known as “boarding.”

Baseball Jerseys Reveal Unusual Alliance Between Team And Tribe

KPLU News - Fri, 08/29/2014 - 14:13

Football season has kicked off another round of scrutiny over how professional sports teams use Native-American mascots. But in eastern Washington, a minor league baseball team has earned the approval of its native namesake.

Citing State Law, Judge Upholds Fife's Pot Ban; No Comment On Federal Preemption

KPLU News - Fri, 08/29/2014 - 14:01

The city of Fife’s ban on recreational marijuana will stand, following a ruling by a Pierce County judge Friday.

Judge Ronald Culpepper said local jurisdictions have the right to opt out of marijuana legalization under state law. He added the pot shop owners who brought the suit did not meet the burden of proof necessary to overturn the ban in Fife.