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.
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.
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.
This is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. I'm Michel Martin. Later in the program we are going to revisit a story that caught our attention about poverty in a place that often seems overlooked. We'll hear about a young woman in the Rust Belt trying to figure out a path to a better life.
If a good voice is genetic, it's likely Barbra Streisand got hers from her mother. Streisand's mother was too shy to ever perform professionally, but she had a lyric soprano and would sing at bar mitzvahs in their Brooklyn neighborhood when Streisand was a girl.
Originally published on Mon December 17, 2012 9:11 am
It's hard to eat just one potato chip. The salt, the fat, the crunch — no wonder we mindlessly munch away, especially if we're parked in front of the TV.
So is there something better for children to snack on in the afternoon, especially if we're looking to limit their calories? It turns out that the combination of cheese and raw veggies like broccoli, carrots and sliced peppers may be the best option from both a nutrient standpoint and a satiety one.
Originally published on Mon December 17, 2012 11:02 am
Saying that her choice understands the business sector and is the "right U.S. senator for our state and our country," South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley named Republican Rep. Tim Scott to replace the retiring Sen. Jim DeMint (also a Republican) at a noontime news conference today.
After asking those gathered at the state capitol to pause for a moment of silence to honor the victims of Friday's shootings in Newtown, Conn., Scott said he's honored and excited "for many, many reasons."
The tragedy in Newtown, Conn., touches people in many different ways. On Morning Edition and at WNYC.org, the station's Brigid Bergin tells the story of Kyle Mangieri, a 7th grade social studies teacher at a school in nearby Fairfield, Conn.
There are Christmas displays, and then there's the one in Wall Township, N.J. It has synchronized lights, lasers, fog machines, strobe lights, 20-foot flames and the music of the Trans Siberian Orchestra. There's no charge — they only accept donations for a local charity.
On 'Morning Edition': President Obama expresses nation's grief
Six-year-olds Jack Pinto and Noah Pozner — two of the 20 first-graders killed Friday when a gunman stormed Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. — are to be remembered at funeral services this afternoon.
Jack loved sports and was said to be a big fan of New York Giants wide receiver Victor Cruz, who wrote the boy's name on the cleats — along with the words "My Hero" — he wore Sunday.
Hayden Carlo was recently pulled over near Dallas for having an expired registration sticker. He said he had a choice: either feed his kids or get a new registration. The officer issued a citation, and when Carlo unfolded it, he found $100.
Originally published on Mon December 17, 2012 4:40 am
David Greene shares the names of the victims killed when gunman Adam Lanza opened fire in Sandy Hook Elementary School last Friday. Before he went to the school, Lanza shot his mother, who was found dead in her pajamas in her bed.
After the tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut on Friday, many parents dropping their kids off at school this morning are facing a lot of anxiety. Today in Your Health, we asked NPR's science correspondent Shankar Vedantam to come by to talk about how tragedies shape our perceptions of risk.
Shankar, good morning.
SHANKAR VEDANTAM, BYLINE: Good morning, David.
GREENE: So tell us what we know from school shootings of the past. I mean, what sort of impact will this tragedy have on parents and how they think?