South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley named a fellow Republican, Rep. Tim Scott, as the state's next senator on Monday. He replaces retiring Republican Sen. Jim DeMint and will make history as the first black senator from the South since 1881.
Haley, however, wanted everyone to know her selection was based on Scott's merit, not his race.
The NAACP Legal Defense Fund has been called the law firm for black America. Once run by Thurgood Marshall, the group played a major role in desegregating public schools and fighting restrictions at the ballot box.
Now, the Legal Defense Fund is preparing for a new leader — just as the Supreme Court considers cases that could pare back on those gains.
South Korean presidential candidate Park Geun-hye, who appears slightly favored in Wednesday's election, is the daughter of a military dictator who ran the country for nearly two decades. She would be South Korea's first female president.
Credit Song Kyung-Seok-Pool / Getty Images
Moon Jae-in, a former human rights lawyer, is also a leading candidate in Wednesday's election. A former presidential chief of staff, he's shown here at a presidential debate on Dec. 4.
Her presidential campaign rallies present blaring pop music and dancing supporters, but Park Geun-hye's campaign involves managing some tricky legacies.
Her father, Park Chung-hee, was a military dictator who ran the country from the time he carried out a 1961 military coup until his assassination in 1979. His memory still stirs mixed emotions among South Koreans.
Cyndy Aafedt (left) owns the El Rancho hotel in Williston, N.D. Jobs in town have been hard to fill. Her employee, Mary Joy Hardt (right), who is from the Philippines, is one of many people with J-1 visas helping to fill retail, hotel and restaurant job openings here.
Credit Meg Luther Lindholm for NPR
Kyle Pfifer works at a McDonald's in Williston, a job he got the same day he applied. He says he turned in his application, got lunch, "and I had a call before I was done eating, and I had a job."
The population boom in Williston, N.D., has been a blessing and a curse for many local businesses. Williston, the fastest growing small city in America, is enjoying an oil boom and has seen its population double in the past two years.
At the city's brand new McDonald's, manager Vern Brekhus struggles every day to maintain his staff of nearly 100 workers.
American service members have long spent holidays in dangerous places, far from family. These days, home is a video chat or Skype call away. But during World War II, packages, letters and radio programs bridged the lonely gaps. For 15 minutes every week, "Canteen Girl" Phyllis Jeanne Creore spoke and sang to the troops and their loved ones on NBC radio.
On Tuesday, the National Institutes of Health in Maryland is holding a second day of talks about whether and how to continue funding some controversial scientific experiments.
Back in January, virologists agreed to temporarily stop research that was creating new forms of bird flu because critics argued that the work was too dangerous. NIH officials are now seeking input from scientists and the public about how to proceed.
For KEM's What Christmas Means, the R&B singer wanted to cover several aspects of the season: the birth of Christ, for one, but also Christmas as a "romantic holiday."
"You spend time cuddled up by the fire, warm and cozy with your wife or your husband," KEM tells NPR's David Greene. "You spend more time being intimate with shopping — we're doing things with the kids, we're together. There's a lot of sincerity, a lot of warmth."
At about 5:30 p.m. on Monday, two washing machine-sized space probes crashed into the surface of the moon. It was all by design and marked the end of NASA's GRAIL mission. The two probes had been orbiting the moon for almost a year, and they've sent back data that have given scientists an unprecedented look inside our nearest solar system neighbor.
Originally published on Mon December 17, 2012 5:48 pm
Sen. Daniel Inouye of Hawaii, 88, has died of respiratory complications, according to reports from the AP and other news agencies. The World War II veteran, a Democrat, had been the most senior member of the Senate. He joined its ranks in 1963, shortly after Hawaii became a state.
At the time of his death, Inouye was the president pro tempore, placing him third in the line of succession, behind Vice President Biden and the House speaker. He was also the chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee.
Inside a modest storefront in Loxley, Ala., 18-year-old Maria Lola Melisio points out the Mexican spices and other products for sale in her mother's market.
"There are the leaves where you make your tamales — you roll them up in that," she says.
Melisio has long dark curls and is wearing a houndstooth scarf in support of the Alabama Crimson Tide. When she was 7 years old, she entered the U.S. illegally from Mexico with her mother, and still has a scar on her back from crawling under the border fence. It's a story she's kept secret until now.
Andras Gyorfi's winning entry in The Seasteading Institute's 2009 design contest. The institute supports the idea of permanent, autonomous offshore communities, but it does not intend to construct its own seasteads.
Credit Christopher Rasch / Courtesy of The Seasteading Institute
Patri Friedman, head of The Seasteading Institute, says the beauty of his vision for seasteading is choice.
Credit Courtesy of The Seasteading Institute
A winning entry in the Seasteading Design Contest by Emerson Stepp.
Almost all of us have complaints about the government, which probably range from high taxes to too much bureaucracy. Periodically, we get to take our frustrations out at the voting booth. But no matter how unhappy you may be, you probably never thought, "I'm going get out of here and go start my own country."
A group of rich techies in Northern California is planning on starting its own nation on artificial islands in the ocean. They call themselves "seasteaders" and are sort of a mix between geeks and hippies.
The literary world was abuzz this year with the runaway success of "Fifty Shades of Grey" and J.K. Rowling's books for grown-up muggles. But it was Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Philip Roth's retirement that got the attention of commentator Ben Dolnick.
BEN DOLNICK: This fall, in an interview with a French magazine, Philip Roth announced his retirement. I no longer have the stamina to endure the frustration, he explained. Instead, he's been entertaining friends, playing with his iPhone, and eating meals prepared by a personal chef.
Originally published on Wed December 19, 2012 2:37 pm
These days, just about everyone seems to be looking for more natural alternatives to what they eat and drink. So it's easy to see the appeal of traditional medicine. But as two recent cases from New York City highlight, just because a remedy is ancient or holistic doesn't necessarily mean it's safe.
Originally published on Tue December 18, 2012 5:55 am
In a pair of recent decisions, the Supreme Court has made it clear that Americans have a constitutional right to own handguns for self-defense. But the court will nonetheless allow "reasonable regulations" on firearms.
The country appears set, following the mass shootings at a school in Newtown, Conn., to have a debate about what restrictions should be put in place.
Members of Congress have already signaled their intent to introduce gun-control legislation next year, which President Obama has indicated in recent days will be a priority.
Originally published on Thu December 20, 2012 12:10 am
It's a big day in the religious and culinary calendar of the Republic of Georgia. Georgian Orthodox believers observe Dec. 17 as St. Barbara's Day, in honor of an early Christian martyr. And they typically mark the occasion by eating a type of stuffed bread called lobiani, baked with a filling of boiled beans with coriander and onions.
This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan in Washington. Last night President Obama broke a long silence and called for a meaningful response to Friday's atrocity in Newtown, where a gunman murdered 27 people, including 20 first grade students, and then shot himself.
Originally published on Mon December 17, 2012 12:54 pm
Journalist Rob Cox grew up in Newtown, Conn. and moved back after many years abroad. Cox, editor for Thompson Reuters global commentary service Breakingviews, talks about how the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School has transformed his hometown.
This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan in Washington. After Newtown and Tucson, Aurora and the Sikh temple, we hear a lot of answers, opinions really. Too many guns or not enough; lack of access to mental health treatment; violence in video games; violence in the movies and TV; bad parenting; lack of community spirit or lack of religion; that there's no law that can keep everyone safe from evil; that we should just enforce the laws that are already on the books.
Originally published on Mon December 17, 2012 12:50 pm
Remember the important contributions Republicans made to civil rights legislation back in the 1960s?
They've almost been lost to memory. When Congress enacted the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the GOP presidential nominee that year, Arizona Sen. Barry Goldwater, opposed it, and Republicans have never recovered their former share of support among African-Americans.
House Speaker John Boehner arrives at the White House on Thursday for a meeting with President Obama. The two men met again in private on Monday in an effort to reach a deal to avoid the "fiscal cliff."
Originally published on Tue December 18, 2012 10:48 am
If President Obama and House Speaker John Boehner's closed-door meetings aimed at solving the fiscal cliff crisis trouble anyone, you'd expect it to be the open-government watchdogs who routinely bark their outrage at public officials who work overtime to avoid public scrutiny.