If life is a ball game, Mike Pesca is our umpire, calling the shots as he sees them. Pesca is NPR's sports correspondent and WEEKEND EDITION's guide to the intersections between sports and life, and he joins us now. Hey, Mike.
MIKE PESCA, BYLINE: Hello.
MARTIN: OK. So, this week baseball in the headlines and steroids - back in court again. Give us a rundown of what's happened.
North Carolina's African-American voters could be crucial in Tuesday's vote over the proposed constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage and civil unions. Blacks make up a little more than 20 percent of the state's population, and some polls show they strongly favor a ban.
While activists on both sides make phone calls and put up yard signs, many African-Americans are struggling with the issue inside their churches and homes.
Fossil-hunting scientists are coming to grips with a new discovery that could change forever how we think of dinosaurs. What they've found is that dinosaurs may well have been tortured by large, flealike bloodsucking insects.
Yes, it appears that the greatest predators that ever roamed Earth suffered just as we mammals did — and as we still do. Fleas were thought to have evolved along with mammals — they like our soft skins and a diet of warm blood.
It was no big surprise when outside groups started spending millions of dollars on attack ads in the high-stakes U.S. Senate race in Massachusetts between Republican incumbent Scott Brown and Democrat Elizabeth Warren.
On Monday, Vladimir Putin will again become president of Russia. When he is inaugurated in the Kremlin, it will be for a third term, even though the Russian constitution limits presidents to two four-year terms.
The restriction, however, is for two consecutive terms. It doesn't rule out a third term if someone else holds the presidency in the interim. That's exactly what Dmitri Medvedev did. He was elected president after Putin, but declined a run for a second term.
This political swap succeeded, but Putin will be leading a different Russia after his re-inauguration.
President Obama says the country has come too far in the last four years to change course now. He kicked off his re-election campaign Saturday with a pair of high-profile rallies in two pivotal states, Ohio and Virginia.
Obama acknowledged the economic recovery still has a long way to go. Yet he argued his Republican challenger, Mitt Romney, would move the country backward, not forward.
Former Denver Bronco's tight end Nate Jackson posted an open letter on Buzzfeed.com this week to Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III, the NFL's top two draft picks this year.
It begins, "You have been mentioned in the same breath for the last several months. But once you get drafted and shake hands with Darth Vader, your lives will diverge and you will be immersed fully in the identity of your new employers."
The story doesn't get much better, Jackson continues.
The alleged mastermind of the 9/11 attacks, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, and four other men charged with helping launch those attacks ended their first day in a military commission arraignment by saying they would wait to enter their pleas.
The day was contentious. The men refused to answer routine questions from Judge James Pohl, refused to participate in the proceedings, and even refused to listen to the simultaneous Arabic translation of what was going on all around them.
President Obama held a pair of campaign rallies today, his first big public events of the 2012 election. He targeted two key battleground states: Ohio and Virginia. NPR's Scott Horsley is traveling with the president and joins weekends on All Things Considered host Guy Raz to talk about the events.