Ethics Murky on Human Anatomy Shows

The plotters were planning to blow as many as 10 airplanes out of the sky. That's what U.S. and British officials are saying. And they add that the alleged terrorists were getting ready to rehearse their attacks, in a "dry run." Rob Gifford's digging for more details in London, Pam Fessler's tracking down sources here at home and Ina Jaffe has been caught in the crush of delayed passengers at LAX. Now: if you were senior producer at All Things Considered, how would you segue from a package about this alleged plot to murder thousands of people, to a story about an art exhibition of… cadavers? Answer: Boldly. No tiptoeing around it. Everybody we know who's seen the Body Worlds show, which is traveling around the country, comes away in awe. Human bodies unpeeled, sliced open, nerves and muscles and bones transformed into colorful plastic. People say there's something inspiring and beautiful about it; my sister Judy, who used to get frightened during Peter Pan, says the cadaver exhibition is one of the most astonishing and important shows she's ever seen. And as Neda Ulaby tells you this evening, she was blown away, too. But not by the inventive if grisly beauty: Neda has uncovered evidence that raises disturbing ethical questions about how, and where, the doctor who created the show gets the bodies. She left the exhibition so shaken that she, a long time carnivore, went vegetarian for a month. But she admits she's lapsed

A (Nearly) All-Access Pentagon Pass

Remember the war in Iraq? Bizarre, isn't it, how we media folks suddenly shove The Big Story aside when another crisis bursts on our collective consciousness. My edition of today's Washington Post didn't even mention Iraq until Page A-10 -– and they put out the paper before we'd even heard about the alleged U.K. terrorist plot. Maybe the media and the public are unable to multitask. Or maybe we get numbed and bored after hearing the same troubling kind of news day after day, month after month. And sadly, year after year. True, Geneva Overholser says the media are going great places these days (link to previous post), but that doesn't mean we're always perfect. Obviously, the war in Iraq hasn't gone away. Here's an AP report today: "NAJAF, Iraq -- A suicide bomber killed at least 35 people and wounded more than 120 on Thursday near one of Shiite Islam's holiest sites, the Imam Ali shrine in the southern Iraqi city of Najaf." And the showdown with Iran hasn't gone away, either. Some media have just put it on a back burner. Although Tom Bowman hasn't -- he's roaming around the Pentagon as I write this, examining, what do U.S. leaders really plan to do to prevent Iran from becoming a nuclear power? Before Tom joined us earlier this year to cover the Pentagon, he had already spent nine years roaming its hallways for The Baltimore Sun. We mean literally roaming around its hallways. So he'd already stumbled on one of the strangest secrets of covering America's mightiest and deadliest institution: reporters who use their feet can get amazing access to people in power.

A (Nearly) All-Access Pentagon Pass

Remember the war in Iraq? Bizarre, isn't it, how we media folks suddenly shove The Big Story aside when another crisis bursts on our collective consciousness. My edition of today's Washington Post didn't even mention Iraq until Page A-10 -– and they put out the paper before we'd even heard about the alleged U.K. terrorist plot. Maybe the media and the public are unable to multitask. Or maybe we get numbed and bored after hearing the same troubling kind of news day after day, month after month. And sadly, year after year. True, Geneva Overholser says the media are going great places these days (link to previous post), but that doesn't mean we're always perfect. Obviously, the war in Iraq hasn't gone away. Here's an AP report today: "NAJAF, Iraq -- A suicide bomber killed at least 35 people and wounded more than 120 on Thursday near one of Shiite Islam's holiest sites, the Imam Ali shrine in the southern Iraqi city of Najaf." And the showdown with Iran hasn't gone away, either. Some media have just put it on a back burner. Although Tom Bowman hasn't -- he's roaming around the Pentagon as I write this, examining, what do U.S. leaders really plan to do to prevent Iran from becoming a nuclear power? Before Tom joined us earlier this year to cover the Pentagon, he had already spent nine years roaming its hallways for The Baltimore Sun. We mean literally roaming around its hallways. So he'd already stumbled on one of the strangest secrets of covering America's mightiest and deadliest institution: reporters who use their feet can get amazing access to people in power.

'World Trade Center': Reviews and Insight

Reviewers at the New York Times and Newsweek hailed it. So did Gene Shalit at Today. Our reviewer, Ken Turan, dissed it. As you must have heard by now, there are no neutral reactions to Oliver Stone's World Trade Center, which debuts nationally today. And you'll hear more opinions this afternoon on Talk of the Nation. One of the best-known "9/11 widows," Lorie Van Auken, tells me that she went to see a comedy recently. She settled into her seat, waiting to laugh -- and then the trailer for Stone's movie exploded across the screen. "And I see people trapped under the rubble and I start crying and running hysterically out of the theater," Lorie says. Her husband, Kenneth, worked on top of the North Tower, in the investment firm Cantor Fitzgerald. Lorie and other family survivors played a key role in pressuring Congress and the federal commission to investigate Sept. 11. "I am not going to see the movie," she says. "I've spent five years imagining a million different ways of how my husband was trapped and died, and I've seen a lot of them in my nightmares. I can't handle going to a theater and watching them." Lorie says she doesn't begrudge Stone for making the film, but says "If I had made it, I would have made it a lot more political and investigative. There are still so many questions about Sept. 11 that the government has never answered." Now, if you do see the movie, I don't want to distract you from the wrenching re-enactment in any way. But you have to keep an ear out for one of our colleagues: NPR's very own Alex Chadwick. Yes, Alex's vocal chords (but not his mug) play a role in this acclaimed drama.