TV producer Colleen Bell, shown here in a 2013 photo, was a big donor for President Obama before she was nominated to become ambassador to Hungary. Obama has chosen more political appointees than his predecessors.
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel.
MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:
And I'm Melissa Block.
Eighty-eight countries have sent athletes to the Sochi Winter Olympics - from Albania to Zimbabwe. We're going to hear now from three reporters in Sochi from three different countries, starting with the Netherlands. They cheer their athletes on this way.
EDWIN PAQUES: Hop-hop-hop, we always say. (Foreign language spoken)
Caesar and some of his staff plan the comedy show <em>Caesar's Hour</em> in New York City in 1955. From left: Dave Caesar, Charles Andrews, Phil Sharp, Carl Reiner, Howard Morris, Aaron Ruben, Mel Tolkin, Mike Ross, Sid and Sheldon Keller.
Nanette Fabray gags as railroad commuters Caesar, Carl Reiner (top) and Howard Morris (right) poke their smokes in her direction while looking over her shoulder to read her newspaper, on <em>Caesar's Hour,</em> in 1955.
Caesar relaxes while his wife, Florence, paints a portrait of him in their Kings Point, N.Y., home in 1958. Sid's new weekly program, <em>Sid Caesar Invites You,</em> premiered that year.
Caesar during rehearsal for the <em>Sid Caesar, Imogene Coca, Carl Reiner and Howard Morris Special,</em> on Dec. 10, 1966.
Comedian and writer Mel Brooks (left) sits with Caesar for the <em>Sid Caesar Special</em> in 1967.
Caesar and Imogene Coca practice their soft shoe routine during a dress rehearsal in Boston in 1982 for the Boston Opera Company's production <em>Orpheus.</em> The pair had worked together since the 1950s on <em>Your Show of Shows.</em>
Credit Marvin Lewiton / AP
Caesar with<em> Saturday Night Live</em> writer Brad Hall (from left), Mary Gross, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Eddie Murphy and Gary Kroeger on the set of <em>Saturday Night Live</em> in 1983 in New York.
Credit David Bookstaver / AP
Caesar portrays his classic "professor" in a guest appearance for <em>Sesame Street</em>'s 15th anniversary season in 1985.
Legendary pair Caesar and Coca pose in a Boston hotel in 1992, near an old photograph of the two of them. They were announcing the Boston opening of their comedy show <em>Together Again. </em>
Credit Sandy Hill / AP
Actor Billy Crystal presents the Pioneer Award to Caesar onstage at the 2006 TV Land Awards, March 19, 2006, in Santa Monica, Calif.
Credit Kevin Winter / Getty Images
Actor and comedian Sid Caesar was well-known for <em>Your Show of Shows</em> and other comedic roles on television.
Credit NBC via Getty Images
Caesar, flanked by cast performers Imogene Coca and Carl Reiner, listens to a singer in a skit from the TV comedy series <em>Your Show of Shows, </em>in 1952.
Credit NBC / Getty Images
Gisele MacKenzie plays bride to Sid Caesar's German professor character, as Greg Garrison directs the scene, Nov. 21, 1963.
Comedian Sid Caesar, one of early network TV's biggest stars, died Wednesday morning at his home in Beverly Hills. He was 91.
Caesar didn't do smut, putdowns or smarmy remarks. Instead, he did skits: grown-up, gentle comedy for the whole family.
In one skit, Caesar was the smarter-than-anyone German "professor." Carl Reiner played a movie executive with money problems. The professor's solution? Make a musical — and get the greatest composer in the world. He is shocked to discover that his top choice won't be available.
Finally this hour, a new perspective on the enduring influence of The Beatles. It comes from another four-piece British rock band called Temples. The group is from the town of Kettering. Critics have been raving about them since last summer. Their debut album, "Sun Structures," has now been released here in the U.S. And hearing it might whisk you away to 1960s Liverpool. Here's our critic, Tom Moon.
TOM MOON, BYLINE: If nothing else, Temples has impeccable timing.
In America, total student loan debt tops $1 trillion and a four-year college degree can cost as much as a house — leaving many families wondering if college is really worth the cost.
Yes, a new study of young people finds. The study, released Tuesday by the Pew Research Center, looks at income and unemployment among young adults. Paul Taylor, executive vice president of special projects at Pew, says it's pretty much case closed when it comes to the benefits of going to college.
Educators from around the country have spent the last two days talking about sexual misconduct on college campuses. The conference that wrapped up today at the University of Virginia was billed as a first of its kind. It comes nearly three years after the government issued legal guidelines for universities to deal with such misconduct.
As Sandy Hausman of member station WVTF reports, attendees learned how to better support victims, and students spoke out against stereotypes.
Tuesday saw a rarity in Congress these days: a "clean" bill.
The House passed one to raise the debt limit, a move that avoids a possible default later this month.
In the past, House Republicans have used this debate to extract concessions from President Obama and congressional Democrats.
But not this time. House Republicans demanded nothing in return. The House passed the no-strings-attached debt hike Tuesday evening — though just 28 Republicans voted with the Democratic minority to pass the extension, 221 votes to 201 votes.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani delivers a speech during an annual rally commemorating the anniversary of the Islamic Revolution at the Azadi Square in Tehran, on Tuesday. Rouhani called for "respectful, constructive" nuclear talks with world powers — a departure from the hard line of his predecessor, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
Credit Vahid Salemi / AP
Iranians hold pictures of Iran's current supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, during the 35th anniversary of the 1979 Islamic Revolution in Tehran, Iran, on Tuesday.
Credit Maryam Rahmanian / UPI/Landov
Iranian girls get their faces painted in front of a backdrop of blown-up news images from the 1979 uprising against the U.S.-backed Shah of Iran, in Tehran, on Tuesday.
Iran on Tuesday marked the 35th anniversary of its Islamic revolution, a day when the country's religious conservatives and military hard-liners take center stage, and calls of "Death to America" echo across the country.
In Tehran's Azadi Square, one man waving an orange "Down with the USA" flag condemned the U.S. and Israel, and then, perhaps not sure of the nationality of the reporter standing nearby, threw in England and France for good measure.
On Monday, Norwegian Ole Einar Bjoerndalen came a ski-length away from winning a 13th Olympic medal and becoming the most decorated athlete ever at the Winter Games.
The biathlon pursuit Olympic event — cross-country skiing with rifle shooting — is a pretty devious race. The fastest man goes first, and then everyone else in the race tries to catch him before the finish line. And in Monday's competition, Bjoerndalen went first.
Devin Logan practices during a ski slopestyle training session in Sochi on Friday. She says she doesn't stress about competing, even on a course that some have called dangerous. "What we do is scary in general," she says. "But we know how to do it."
Credit Cameron Spencer / Getty Images
Devin Logan after finishing sixth in the women's ski superpipe at December's Dew Tour iON Mountain Championships in Breckenridge, Colo.
Credit Doug Pensinger / Getty Images
Devin Logan (right) with her mother, Nancy, in January after winning her spot on the U.S. Olympic team.
Much of the attention on the slopestyle events in Sochi has been focused on snowboarders like Shaun White. But Devin Logan and her other American teammates twist and soar down mountains, too — on skis.
I first met Logan at an Olympic qualifier event in Colorado back in December. We were hanging out at the base of the halfpipe watching the competition. She's 20. She smiles a lot. We bonded over Instagram and 2 Chainz. I told her I'd look for her in Sochi — but she didn't know then if she'd even make the U.S. team.
Joaquin Phoenix stars in the film <em>Her,</em> in which his character falls in love with an operating system. When will artificial intelligence programs like Siri evolve to the point where we'll fall in love with them?
Credit Courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures
Research found that people will use social rules, even when they know they're talking to machines.
The film Her, about a man who falls in love with his computerized personal assistant, has been nominated for five Oscars including best picture. It takes place at an unspecified time in the future when computer voices sound like Scarlett Johansson instead of Siri. This made me wonder if it was really possible to fall in love with an artificially intelligent being.
The Obama administration is, again, delaying implementation of a part of the Affordable Care Act that requires employers to provide health insurance to their workers (or, potentially, face penalties). But this time it's not the entire "employer mandate" that's being delayed (as it was in 2013) — just part of it.
Romance novels are a $1.4 billion industry, dwarfing the literary book market by millions.
Last summer, Harper's editor Jesse Barron attended the Romance Novel Convention in Las Vegas. Emceed by a handsome novel-cover model named Jimmy, the event helped professionals and novices alike to pool resources, share ideas and generally have a love fest.
For years, Johnny Walker interpreted for the U.S. Navy SEALs on missions all over his home country of Iraq. He served on over a thousand missions, and stood out as an invaluable part of nearly every team he worked with.
No, Johnny Walker isn't his real name. The SEALs gave him the nickname in honor of his love of Johnnie Walker Whisky — and to protect his identity, a necessary precaution even today.
"Bad guys, if they hear your real name, they can find you," he tells NPR's Arun Rath.
Wikipedia has become a go-to source for definitions, celebrity facts, and now, medical information. A study by the IMS Health Institute published in January names Wikipedia as the "single leading source" of health care information for both patients and health care professionals.
Writer and comedian Hari Kondabolu speaks with NPR's Arun Rath about India being excluded from the Olympics, a controversial Coke commercial, and comments from Sen. Pat Roberts from Kansas during the confirmation hearings for surgeon general nominee Dr. Vivek Murthy.
This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED, from NPR West. I'm Arun Rath.
Actor Philip Seymour Hoffman died last weekend from an apparent heroin overdose. Since then, many of his fans have been trying to make sense of it. Slate senior editor Emily Bazelon turned to the work of a journalist who investigated his own effort to escape what he calls the death grip from Satan. Bazelon recommends David Carr's "The Night of the Gun."
Attorney General Eric Holder has directed the Justice Department to give same-sex married couples "full and equal recognition." This means they will now have spousal privileges in federal courts. NPR's Arun Rath speaks with justice correspondent Carrie Johnson about the policy shift and what it means for same-sex couples.
Crews work a controlled burn in Geneva, Fla., in December. The state's forest service has rolled out a system to track equipment during fires, and hopes it can eventually be used to pinpoint firefighters, too.
Credit Joshua C. Cruey / Courtesy of the Orlando Sentinel
For crews fighting wildfires, the ability to get accurate information quickly is crucial. A breakdown in communication was one factor in a fire that killed 19 firefighters in Arizona last year, and in the deaths of two Florida firefighters in Arizona in 2011.
Florida officials hope to address some of those communication problems with a new tracking system designed to keep tabs on crews in the field.
President Obama's plan to bypass roadblocks in Congress and govern through executive order isn't going over well on Capitol Hill. Republican lawmakers are demanding to see the legal justification for some of the president's decisions on healthcare and the minimum wage. NPR's Carrie Johnson has that story.
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish.
MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:
And I'm Melissa Block. The chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court is beginning an investigation of possible war crimes in Central African Republican and we're going to check in now on the latest state of horrific sectarian violence in that country. Thousands of Muslims filled an enormous convoy of vehicles today fleeing the capital city of Bangui.