Writer Christopher Hitchens, who died on Thursday from complications of cancer at the age of 62, leaves behind some 18 books and countless essays on politics and public figures. But his most lasting legacy may be his atheism and his long-running duel with what he considered the world's most dangerous threat: religion.
I'm Michel Martin and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. Now it's time for our weekly visit to the barbershop where the guys talk about what's in the news and what's on their minds. Sitting in the chair for a shapeup this week are author Jimi Izrael, civil right attorney and author Arsalan Iftikhar, from the Log Cabin Republicans, executive director R. Clarke Cooper. He is also an Army Reserve captain. Thank you for your service.
And now it's time for BackTalk where we lift the curtain on what's happening in the Tell Me More blogosphere and get to hear from you, our listeners. We also update you on some of the stories we've been covering. Ammad Omar is here with me once again. He's an editor here at TELL ME MORE. Welcome back, Ammad.
I'm Michel Martin and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. Coming up, we'll hear what some of you have to say about this week's program. Our BackTalk segment is in just a few minutes. But first, it's time for Faith Matters. That's the part of the program where we talk about matters of faith and spirituality, and once in a while, the intersection with sports.
We need a heart-warming story and this fits the bill:
"At Kmart stores across the country," The Associated Press writes, "Santa is getting some help: Anonymous donors are paying off strangers' layaway accounts, buying the Christmas gifts other families couldn't afford, especially toys and children's clothes set aside by impoverished parents."
The fourth Mission: Impossible picture is nonsense from beginning to end — and wonderful fun. The director is Brad Bird, of Ratatouille and The Incredibles and The Iron Giant, and there's no doubt now, in his live-action debut, that he's a filmmaker first and an animator second. Part 4, titled Mission: Impossible — Ghost Protocol, is in a different league from its predecessors.
Six former top executives of the Federal National Mortgage Association (Fannie Mae) and the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation (Freddie Mac) "knew and approved of misleading statements claiming the companies had minimal holdings of higher-risk mortgage loans, including subprime loans" and have now been accused of securities fraud in a civil suit, the Securities and Exchange Commission just announced.