When Paula Abdul was finally officially announced yesterday as one of the judges on Simon Cowell's upcoming singing competition show, The X Factor, it was the culmination of almost a year and a half of speculation dating all the way back to Cowell's announcement in January 2010 that he was leaving American Idol. So now the question becomes: With Idol's most popular judges reunited in a new format, can the new show crush the old show?
It's hard to believe that Julieta Venegas released her first album more than 10 years ago — I still think of her as a newcomer. But just as I mark time by checking in on my best friends' kids ("They're how old now?!"), so too do we see and hear Venegas maturing as a performer and songwriter who still defies expectations.
Pakistan's prime minister today rejected speculation that intelligence or military officials in his country helped al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden hide there for five or six years.
"Allegations of complicity or incompetence are absurd," Yousuf Raza Gilani told his nation's parliament, noting that "hundreds" of suicide bombers have struck in his country and at its political leaders — a sign, he said, that Pakistan is at war with al-Qaida, not in cahoots with the terrorist network.
The conventional wisdom on Jon Huntsman, former U.S. ambassador to China and ex-Utah governor, is that if he should announce a run for the Republican presidential nomination, his candidacy would readily be sunk by the WOE (Was Obama's Emissary) factor.
According to the same thinking, complimentary things Huntsman said about the president, and vice versa, would disqualify him in the eyes of enough GOP primary and caucus voters to prevent him from getting the 2012 nomination. The Obama re-election campaign certainly hopes that's the dynamic.
Even though it's a day late, it's never too late to send your mom good Mother's Day wishes. You can still drop a text message, or just call. The Christian Science Monitor says around the world, Ghanaians living in the U.S. seem to make the most phone calls home on Mother's Day.
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On this week's podcast of NPR's best arts stories, we've got a moving interview with a Booker Prize-shortlisted novelist from Tripoli. Hisham Matar discusses his experience and those of other Libyan novelists. He remembers, among other things, when Moammar Gadhafi set up a big literary festival. But it was a trap — writers were captured there and imprisoned.
When it comes time to put some style into court opinions and legal briefs by plucking a line or two from a songwriter's oeuvre, Bob Dylan's lyrics are by far the No. 1 choice of justices and law clerks around the nation, the Los Angeles Times writes this morning.
Even Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Antonin Scalia, two men you would not think of in connection with the writer of many of the 1960s' best-known protest songs, have done it.