Beck has been an influential creative force for two decades, popular for his sharp, intelligent and often humorous lyrics. Slickly genre-hopping from punk to folk, alternative and electro, he's put out albums both acoustic and electric, but always innovative. Today's installment of World Cafe revisits three of his interviews from the past decade or so.
When Californians go to the polls in November, they will very likely have the chance to make California the first state in the nation to require labeling of genetically engineered food. That's according to California Right to Know, which filed a petition to force a statewide vote.
And the group is pretty confident it will succeed. "Polls show that nine out of ten California voters agree that they want labeling," Stacy Malkan, spokeswoman for the group, tells The Salt.
In Pennsylvania, there's an industrial revolution going on. Battalions of drilling rigs are boring into the earth to extract natural gas from an underground layer of shale called the Marcellus formation.
And as the wells multiply all along the western end of the state, people worry they may be facing another toxic legacy.
The first one came from coal mining. All over the state, you can see bright orange rivers and streams. The aquatic life was killed by acidic runoff from abandoned mines.
As the election year began, conventional wisdom was pretty well set about the outcome of the presidential race. If the economy improved, President Obama would win. If not, he'd be a one-termer.
So what does it mean that many big economic indicators are moving sideways?
"Obama seems to be in that gray area," says Paul Pierson, a political scientist at the University of California, Berkeley. "The numbers are neither so good nor so bad that they give you a definitive answer."
The spiraling drug violence is increasingly affecting journalists, in a country considered one of the most dangerous for reporters. Host Michel Martin speaks with Jose de Cordoba of The Wall Street Journal, and Carlos Lauria of the Committee to Protect Journalists. Advisory: This segment may not be comfortable for some listeners.
Jurors in Chicago recently reached a verdict in the murder case against William Balfour, the man accused of killing Oscar-winner Jennifer Hudson's mother, brother, and nephew. Host Michel Martin speaks with WBEZ reporter Natalie Moore about the elements of race, class, and violence in Chicago's South Side that came into play in the trial.