This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan in Washington. Over the past 25 years, the number and percentage of prisoners held in isolation has exploded at both state and federal penitentiaries. At a Senate subcommittee hearing this, Senator Richard Durbin argued that the dramatic expansion of the use of solitary confinement is a human rights issue we can't ignore.
It started in 1966 as a three-week agreement among composer and conductor Thad Jones, drummer Mel Lewis and Max Gordon, the proprietor of The Village Vanguard in New York. And it continues, gloriously.
California is known as the land of fruits and nuts, but it also happens to be the country's largest milk-producing state. So it's no surprise that its dairy farmers are front and center in the debate over reforming the milk marketing system, which hasn't really changed much in 30 years.
The operation was run by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives in 2009-10. NPR's Ted Robbins and Michel Marizco of the Fronteras Desk talk about the intent of Fast and Furious, why the operation failed, and solutions to curb gun-running on the U.S.-Mexican border.
A hymn is a faith song, and Joe Pug knows about faith. It was a leap of faith which moved him to quit school in pursuit of songwriting in the first place. So it's no surprise that his stirring new song "Hymn #76" balances on faith. "To love me is to set up on a mountain," he sings. "Every step is harder than the last."