Originally published on Fri December 7, 2012 6:05 pm
The Supreme Court has decided to take up cases involving California's Proposition 8, which bans gay marriage, and a provision of the federal Defense of Marriage Act. The justices' rulings on the cases are likely to be announced next June, after arguments are heard in the spring. Advocates on both sides of the issue were welcoming the news.
After African-American and Latino voters turned out in record numbers to reelect President Obama, leaders for both groups are turning up the pressure on him to return the favor.
They say that minorities, who put aside their disappointments with Obama's first term to support him again, now expect the president to spend his political capital on policies that will help their communities begin to recover from the recession. In the post-election euphoria, some leaders claim, certain voters are saying, "It's our turn."
Originally published on Fri December 7, 2012 1:51 pm
Many African-Americans are buzzing about the latest edition of Jet magazine, which for the first time features a gay male couple in its popular section for wedding announcements.
The magazine's Dec. 10 issue display of Ravi Perry and Paris Prince, who held their wedding ceremony in their backyard in Worcester, Mass., is being praised by LGBT activists and some readers as a societal breakthrough given the magazine's reputation for reflecting traditional black cultural mores for 61 years.
It's that time of year again — the leaves have fallen, the dark comes early, the air brings with it a certain chill — and I've been piling up books on my reading table, books I've culled from the offerings of the past few months, which because of their essential lyric beauty and power stand as special gifts for you and yours.
Originally published on Fri December 7, 2012 12:42 pm
As the White House and Congress continue to wrangle over a deal to avoid the "fiscal cliff" and its billions in automatic spending cuts and tax increases, we wanted to take a look at who is spending big to influence the debate behind the scenes.
Customer loyalty programs have been around for years. You think nothing of giving the supermarket or pet supply store your personal information. In exchange you get a card or a key ring tag that you present at checkout to get a discount.
Now wireless carriers are taking it a step further, raising alerts from privacy advocates.
Verizon and AT&T recently launched programs allowing customers to receive rewards based on information their smartphones share with the carriers.
Next up, who didn't, at one time or another, now think about it, who didn't want to be an astronaut when they were growing up, especially those of us, the children of the space-age space race? Well, for those of us whose lives are a bit more Earthbound, we've got a fun edition to our Ask an Expert series. How about Ask an Astronaut? Everything you wanted to ever ask an astronaut, Flora.
This is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. I'm Michel Martin. Later in the program we'll crack open the mail bag to hear what you have to say about stories we covered this week. That's Backtalk and it's coming up. But first, we want to talk about the latest unemployment numbers which are now out. The Department of Labor says that unemployment is down to its lowest level since December 2008.
Originally published on Fri December 7, 2012 11:49 am
The Labor Department's glad tidings Friday about the uptick in job creation last month might morph into bad news next month for many of the long-term unemployed.
That's because the boost in November hiring, with employers adding 146,000 jobs, might make it more difficult for Democrats to argue in favor of having Congress renew the extension of benefits for people out of work more than six months.
FLORA LICHTMAN, BYLINE: We're ending this hour into the sea, Ira. Could you tell?
IRA FLATOW, HOST:
Ooh, yeah. I like it.
LICHTMAN: The noise you're hearing comes from a blue whale; that's an animal that can reach 90 feet in length, which is longer than a tennis court. Biologist...
JEREMY GOLDBOGEN: Hands down, these are largest animals of all time. And so one of the questions we're interested in is how do they sustain such an extreme body mass and why don't we see anything bigger than a blue whale?
FLORA LICHTMAN, BYLINE: Up next, more spacey news.
IRA FLATOW, HOST:
All right. Can't get enough?
LICHTMAN: Earlier this week, NASA announced plans to launch another rover to Mars in the year 2020. And there's some buzz, there's some speculation that this one could have a wheel up on Curiosity. Maybe it wouldn't just analyze samples there but could shift them back to Earth.
Originally published on Fri December 7, 2012 11:22 am
Bag-in-the-box wine doesn't have the classiest of reputations. It's usually cheap and in the past at least, has been aimed at less sophisticated consumers. But in recent years, boxed wine has tried to buck the stereotype, whether by gussying up the product packaging or simply putting higher-quality wine in the box.
Originally published on Fri December 7, 2012 1:11 pm
A prank call by two Australian DJs pretending to be Queen Elizabeth has ended in tragedy this morning: The nurse who transferred the call that led to the divulging of information about a pregnant Kate Middleton was found dead in an apartment today.
The Guardian reports that the woman, Jacintha Saldanha, worked at the King Edward VII hospital, where Middleton was admitted, suffering from severe morning sickness.
Originally published on Fri December 7, 2012 10:11 am
It wouldn't be the worst thing that could happen to the country.
If President Obama and Congress can't come to agreement on new tax and spending policies by the end of year, the U.S. could slip into recession, defense and domestic programs will see damaging cuts, and the American people may become convinced that Washington can't govern the nation.
On the other hand, the lack of a deal would do a lot to help erase the federal deficit.
This interview was originally broadcast in 1999. Brubeck died on Wednesday at age 91.
In 1954, polls in the leading jazz magazines Metronome and Downbeat selected Dave Brubeck's band as the year's best instrumental group. That same year, Brubeck was the second jazz musician ever featured on the cover of Time Magazine (the first being Louie Armstrong).