Rachel Martin

Much has been written about how the pandemic came to be, but not so well known are the details about how it was able to spread so quickly in the United States.

Author Michael Lewis has written a new book, The Premonition, that fills in those blanks. And it is a sweeping indictment of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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Early in his presidency, Joe Biden signed an executive order that aimed to reunite kids who'd been separated from their parents at the border.

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Mark Ramos Nishita, better known as Money Mark, is 61 and lives in LA surrounded by his massive collection of instruments – guitars and recording gear including more than 70 Casio keyboards. Nishita is sometimes called the "fourth Beastie Boy" for his songwriting and touring work with the group, including keyboard contributions you may recognize from Check Your Head and Ill Communication.

Renee Ekwoge can't remember the last conversation she had with her father. They stopped talking regularly months ago, after she moved nearly 1,000 miles away for a new job last summer.

"The last time I saw my dad, he was painting my house," Ekwoge says. "He came and helped paint all weekend. It was nice when we lived closer and had ways to hang out that didn't include nonsense videos."

Those "nonsense videos" are about conspiracy theories. They've become a major focus for her father — on topics like COVID-19 and Sept. 11, 2001. He watches them on YouTube.

The murder conviction of Derek Chauvin could represent "a huge paradigm shift," if three other Minneapolis officers charged in George Floyd's death are also convicted, says Nekima Levy Armstrong, a civil rights attorney and activist in Minneapolis.

Former presidents typically try not to wade into politics — and former President George W. Bush has made a point of sticking to that unspoken rule.

In office, he pushed for immigration reform. But he hasn't discussed the matter in a significant way since he left office — until now.

He's doing it in a new book of portraits called Out of Many, One. It features the stories of 43 immigrants — athletes and public servants, business leaders, educators.

In a conversation with NPR, former President Bush talks about his art and immigration.

White evangelical women are often taught that their calling is to be passive in the church, to be submissive to their husbands and to stay out of the pulpit.

History, though, says otherwise.

In her new book, The Making of Biblical Womanhood: How the Subjugation of Women Became Gospel Truth, historian Beth Allison Barr traces cultural sources of patriarchy that have all but erased women's historical importance as leaders of the faith.

Morning Edition's Song Project is a series where songwriters are asked to write an original song about the COVID era – our newest song is from Kaoru Ishibashi, an Asian-American musician and songwriter who performs as Kishi Bashi. The song is called "For Every Voice That Never Sang," about the feeling of being an outsider in your own country.

April is National Poetry Month, a celebration of poets and poetry that's been in place for 25 years.

Last month, as the U.S. grieved over attacks against Asian Americans, NPR's Morning Edition collected poems on how people grapple with the increased violence and discrimination.

Youn Yuh-jung is an institution in Korean cinema. Her career spans five decades and includes starring roles in classic Korean films and famous TV dramas. Now, at 73, she has newfound fame in the U.S. for her role in the Oscar-nominated film Minari.

Youn is nominated for Best Supporting Actress, making her the first South Korean woman ever to be nominated for an Academy Award in an acting category.

When the Rolling Stones released "Gimme Shelter" in 1969, everyone recognized Mick Jagger. But at the time, no one knew who that voice – you know the one – belonged to.

When Sonora Jha gave birth to her son, she was certain of one thing: She wanted to raise him as a feminist.

The number of migrants crossing into the United States in March was higher than in any other month in at least 15 years.

The Morning Edition Song Project is a series where songwriters are asked to write an original song about the COVID era – our newest addition is from music collective and sibling band Infinity Song.

Eight minutes and 46 seconds. That's the amount of time that former police officer Derek Chauvin was believed to have held his knee on George Floyd's neck.

In the aftermath of Floyd's death, 8:46 became part of the rallying cry in protests around the world. It appeared on signs. People chanted it. They held vigils and stayed quiet for 8 minutes and 46 seconds to mark Floyd's death.

Why does the world need a new pasta shape?

For Dan Pashman, host of the food podcast The Sporkful, there's just a lot of mediocre pasta out there. There's plenty of room for improvement.

"Spaghetti is just a tube," he tells Morning Edition. "After a few bites, it's the same." And its round shape means it's not great at holding on to sauce.

Meet his cascatelli — Italian for "little waterfalls."

Morning Edition Song Project is the series where songwriters are asked to write an original song about the COVID era. The newest addition is brought by Michael League. He plays all kinds of instruments; he's a producer, too — and the lead of the jazz-fusion group Snarky Puppy.

You might know her as the host of NPR Music's web series, Amplify with Lara Downes, or by her work as a concert pianist – through each, Downes' goal has been to elevate the work of Black artists. Her new project, Rising Sun Music, is something of a combination: Downes will release a mini-album every month, for as long as she can keep it up, to highlight overlooked and forgotten compositions by Black artists in the classical music tradition.

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Kat Edmonson started live-streaming a weekly variety show out of her living room during the pandemic – a surprising but necessary adjustment after the singer-songwriter's touring life was locked down, leaving Edmonson with little to no work. It was a blow at first, but she's come to really embrace the format.

There are many parenting books out there. But NPR's Michaeleen Doucleff says all the parenting books that she read after becoming a mom left a lot out.

"I'm trained as a scientist. I spent seven years as a chemist and I really believed that the parenting advice we got today was backed by really stringent scientific research," she says. "And when I started looking at the studies as a scientist, I was really, really let down."

She couldn't find answers to the trouble that she was having with her young daughter, Rosy.

Central to the new documentary Black Art: In the Absence of Light is a pivotal art exhibition that debuted in 1976.

"Two Centuries of Black American Art" was the first major show by a Black curator to look at the history of art produced by African Americans. Covering the period between 1750 and 1950, it featured 200 works and 63 artists, with painting, sculpture, drawing, graphics, crafts and decorative arts.

Jared Stacy is still processing his decision to leave Spotswood Baptist Church in Fredericksburg, Va., last year. Until November, he was ministering to young parishioners in their 20s and 30s.

But in the four years since he had joined the church as a pastor, Stacy had found himself increasingly up against an invisible, powerful force taking hold of members of his congregation: conspiracy theories, disinformation and lies.

Stacy has seen the real consequences of these lies build up over the years; he says it has tainted the name of his faith.

Kev Marcus and Wil Baptiste — two artists from Fort Lauderdale, Fla. — met 25 years ago, in a high school orchestra class. Growing up, neither one had had much exposure to classical music; both said their parents were more likely to listen to reggae or calypso. Classical music felt like it was supposed to be for other people, which had the effect of drawing them even closer to it. Today, they play as a duo, with Marcus on violin and Baptiste on viola.

Robin Wright is not afraid to go to the most painful parts of the human experience. Her latest film, Land, follows a woman named Edee after the deaths of her husband and young son. Her grief pushes her away from the world and she escapes to a small, abandoned cabin on the side of a mountain in Wyoming.

"We toyed with the word 'survival' ... " explains Wright, the film's director and star. "It's not so much that she wants to die. She wants to erase herself — the self that she was with her family — because it'll never be the same."

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(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "MY WORLD IS EMPTY WITHOUT YOU")

THE SUPREMES: (Singing) My world is empty without you, babe.

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

President Biden wants most K-8 schools to be ready to go back to in-person learning by the end of April. The problem is teachers and administrators don't agree on how to do it.

Last year was supposed to be a big one for Foo Fighters – it was the band's 25th anniversary, with a huge tour planned and a new album to play through. But when the pandemic shut everything down, the group decided to delay the album's release and wait it out. For almost a year, the record just sat on a shelf.

"Yeah, that's not what music's for," says Dave Grohl, laughing.

There's a feeling that young adults living through this pandemic might find especially familiar — being ready to come into your own, and then suddenly having to put your life on pause.

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Law enforcement officials across the country are on high alert this morning.

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