President Barack Obama campaigned in Iowa on Saturday. In a speech, the president said that at the just-finished Republican National Convention there was a lot of talk about hard truths and bold choices, but no one actually told you what they were.
The Democratic National Convention begins this week in Charlotte, N.C. WFAE's Julie Rose looks at what this city's boosters want visitors and TV viewers to know about Charlotte and what they're trying to paper over.
Hal David, the man who crafted the lyrics to such hits as "Walk on By" and "What the World Needs Now," died yesterday. He was 91. He died of complications of a stroke. NPR's Allison Keyes has this remembrance.
ALLISON KEYES, BYLINE: David's songs thread through the soundtrack of the nation in a way that makes you tilt your head and smile.
The 2011 Fukushima-Daiichi nuclear accident did not just turn the Japanese against nuclear energy, virtually overnight it has legitimized the act of public protest in a country where few people have been willing to take political issues to the streets. Lucy Craft reports from Tokyo.
LUCY CRAFT, BYLINE: Nagatacho is Tokyo's Capitol Hill, home to parliament and the prime minister. It's a part of town few Japanese ever set foot in. But in the post-Fukushima era, this is the new normal.
A lot has changed for Alanis Morissette in the past two decades. Raised Catholic in Ottawa, she spent much of her youth believing she couldn't sing. When she began her music career as a teenager, it was as a dance-pop artist — and, briefly, Vanilla Ice's opening act. Finally, in 1995, she released Jagged Little Pill, an international smash that made Morissette an overnight celebrity, won her an armload of Grammy awards and left her with a "scorned woman" image that she hasn't shaken since.
Barack Obama won more than 95 percent of the black vote in the last presidential election, and Democrats are expected to have a huge advantage this November. Even so, Republicans looked for ways to appeal to those voters at their convention in Tampa, Fla.
Though the convention hall was packed with delegates this week, it wasn't until gospel star Bebe Winans and the Tampa Bay City Life Church Chorus came on stage that there was any sizable number of African-Americans around.
Along the shore of Lake Erie, the rusting relics of Buffalo, N.Y.'s industrial days have long blocked access to the water and posed risks to residents. Now, after decades of inaction, the city is finally clearing a path for the public to return to the waterfront.
Buffalo's approach has been dubbed "lighter, faster, cheaper." Tom Dee has led this effort as president of the Erie Canal Harbor Development Corp., a special state agency in charge of city waterfront property. He says years were wasted chasing grand redevelopment projects, but now the strategy is more homegrown.
In his book, Robert Sullivan considers, among other things, how little Emanuel Leutze's 1851 painting <em>Washington Crossing the Delaware</em> has in common with the actual historic crossing, which took place at night and during a snowstorm.
Credit Metropolitan Museum of Art / AP
Robert Sullivan's writing has appeared in <em>The New Yorker, The New York Times</em> and <em>Vogue</em>, where he is a contributing editor.
Credit Myrna Copaleen / Courtesy of Farrar, Straus and Giroux
When we think of the seminal moments in the birth of the United States of America, many people would point to the battles of Lexington, Concord and Bunker Hill. But according to Robert Sullivan, the founding landscape of our nation is not in Massachusetts. It is in and around New York.
In his new book, My American Revolution: Crossing the Delaware and I-78, Sullivan writes that the majority of battles in the Revolutionary War were fought in the middle colonies: New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and Pennsylvania.
Originally published on Fri September 7, 2012 10:10 am
Throughout the week at the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla., NPR digital journalists asked delegates, politicians and other attendees to react to the statement: "Why I'm a Republican." Here are some of those responses. (And here's what we heard from Democrats in Charlotte.)
Correction: the Runner's World calculator discussed below is used for training purposes. A pace calculator estimates that Ryan would have needed to run at about 6:50 per mile to complete a marathon in 2:59.
Lawyers for 270 miners in South Africa are threatening legal action if their clients are not released from prison today. The mine workers were charged with murdering their own colleagues after police opened fire on a crowd of about 3,000 striking workers two weeks ago, killing 34 people.
NPR's Ofeibea Quist-Arcton tells us the government charged the miners with murder using an obscure legal doctrine employed by the apartheid government.
Originally published on Sat September 1, 2012 12:32 pm
Like a quietly efficient operating system whirring away in the innards of a supercomputer, a vast array of Americans — mostly unseen and unsung — spend hours and hours of every week working together to find ways to make their communities — and the whole country — better.
This is Participation Nation.
In a monthlong blog that ended Aug. 31, NPR collected stories of people actively helping other people, animals and the planet. Here is an executive summary of what we discovered.
Art Garfunkel is best known as half of the legendary duo Simon & Garfunkel. The harmonies he created with Paul Simon left an indelible mark on American music, but less remembered is his string of Top 40 hits as a solo artist.
Fresh Air Weekend highlights some of the best interviews and reviews from past weeks, and new program elements specially paced for weekends. Our weekend show emphasizes interviews with writers, filmmakers, actors, and musicians, and often includes excerpts from live in-studio concerts. This week:
Regina Spektor: On Growing Up A 'Soviet Kid': The singer spent the first nine years of her life in the Soviet Union, where she and her family faced discrimination as Jews. She talks about Russia and her new album, What We Saw From the Cheap Seats.
Originally published on Wed September 19, 2012 2:14 pm
There are so many cooking apps out there, it's easy to get lost. Good thing the iGrill has Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg on its side.
Sales of the $80 device spiked by 400 percent after Zuckerberg updated his Facebook status on Aug. 19 with an enthusiastic thumbs up for the iGrill, a cooking thermometer that uses Bluetooth to connect to the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch.
Blindsided is what North Carolina Republicans felt four years ago when President Obama won the state, though by the slightest of margins — a mere 14,177 votes out of 4.3 million cast.
Republicans admit they had taken as a given a 2008 North Carolina victory by Sen. John McCain. And who could blame them? No Democratic presidential candidate had won the state since Jimmy Carter in 1976.
But as McCain learned to his grief, history isn't always destiny. Obama's campaign had an effective strategy to win the state, and did.
Anyone with a 401(k) retirement plan has been painfully aware of the gyrations in the stock market in recent years. The market has come back up lately, but the economy is still in low gear, so many analysts aren't too bullish in the short term. Also, treasuries and CDs are offering tiny returns.
So what's the average American trying to save for retirement to do? Answers are percolating at an annual economics retreat in Maine.
Many Copenhagen residents already travel by bike, and now the city is building high-speed routes designed to encourage commuters even in the outlying suburbs.
Credit Slim Allagui / AFP/Getty Images
NPR reporter Eleanor Beardsley rides in one of the new bike lanes in Copenhagen. The city is building more than two dozen lanes from the suburbs into the city. They cater to cyclists by including such things as rails and footrests at stoplights.
Every day, one-third of the people of Copenhagen ride their bikes to work or school. Collectively, they cycle more than 750,000 miles daily, enough to make it to the moon and back. And city officials want even more people to commute, and over longer distances.
So a network of 26 new bike routes, dubbed "the cycling superhighway," is being built to link the surrounding suburbs to Copenhagen.
Lars Gaardhoj, an official with the Copenhagen capital region, says the routes will be straight and direct.
Greece is trying to raise cash by reviving an ambitious program to privatize state assets. The country's lenders, which include the European Union and the International Monetary Fund, hope the sell-off will cut the country's enormous debt.
But Antonis Tsifis, who runs a betting shop in a working-class neighborhood in Athens, is upset that the government is going to sell its stake in OPAP, the giant gaming firm that oversees his betting shop.
The charter school movement is now at a crossroads. More than 2 million students will be enrolled in charter schools in the fall — a big number for a movement that's barely 20 years old. The publicly funded, privately run schools have spread so fast, they operate more like a parallel school system in some places.
Every Tuesday night at the 5 Spot, some 200 people show up the East Nashville bar for Two Dollar Tuesdays: a $2 coverage charge, $2 beers and five musical guests. It's hosted by Derek Hoke, an unassuming, laid-back guy with the cowboy hat and retro-vintage eyeglasses.
"I call it a speed showcase," Hoke says. "Everybody plays five songs, and I tell them to play the 'best of' — you know, get up there, kill and get off. There's somebody coming up right after you, and we have to plow through this thing."
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Melissa Block. Mitt Romney made a last minute change to his travel plans today. On his first day as the official Republican presidential nominee, he and Paul Ryan were supposed to begin a swing state campaign tour. Instead, while Ryan headed to a previously scheduled event in Virginia, Romney flew to Louisiana.
And now to E.J. Dionne and David Brooks, our regular Friday political commentators, both just back from Tampa. Welcome home.
E.J. DIONNE: Thank you.
DAVID BROOKS: Good to be here.
BLOCK: I want to talk to you both about what we heard in Mitt Romney's speech last night and also what we didn't hear. We did hear a very explicit appeal to people who voted for Barack Obama in 2008. Let's take a listen.