In a recent column, Ben Zimmer wrote, "Is there any word currently more contested in our culture than marriage?" As the debate about same-sex marriage continues, he examines the definition of marriage and the ways advocates and opponents of same-sex unions use language to advance their positions.
This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan in Washington. After 32 years, the mystery has been solved. A coroner in the fourth inquest into the death of an Australian couple's baby declared the dingo did in fact take the baby. You know a bit about the case if you saw the Meryl Streep movie "Cry in the Dark."
NPR's Pentagon correspondent, Tom Bowman, recently spent several weeks in Afghanistan following the last major combat offensive in the region. He and Andrew Exum of the Center for a New American Security talk about the situation on the ground just two years shy of the withdrawal deadline.
Egypt's Supreme Court declared recent elections illegal and ordered the Islamist-led parliament dissolved. The decision, by judges who were appointed by former dictator Hosni Mubarak, escalates the power struggle between the military government and the Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamists.
Originally published on Fri June 15, 2012 10:18 am
President Obama and Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney delivered speeches that framed their visions for the United States moving forward.
While the appearences — both delivered in Ohio; Obama in Cleaveland, Romney in Cincinatti — were billed as dueling speeches scheduled for roughly the same time slot, the campaigns moved things around and the president delivered a much longer address right after Romney finished speaking.
In his address, Romney took shots at Obama for not delivering a recovery. He painted the president as being the "enemy" of business.
Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi attends the opening session of the Africa-EU summit in November 2010, before the current conflict. Now that the U.S. military has intervened in Libya, many wonder what the endgame is.
Libya's Supreme Court decided on Thursday that its citizens should have the right to glorify Moammar Gadhafi, who ruled the country for more than three decades until his ouster last year.
Law 37, which called for prison sentences for those who spoke well of Gadhafi and for those who published bad news about the February 17 revolution, was challenged by a lawyer who argued the law violated the freedom of speech.
In April, Mitt Romney hired Richard Grenell, an openly gay man, to serve as his campaign's national security spokesman. Within hours, Grenell was being attacked by a Christian radio talk show host named Bryan Fischer, whose Focal Point call-in show reaches more than 1 million listeners a day.
Nine days after Fischer began his on-air attack, Grenell resigned. He had been the only openly gay member of Romney's campaign staff.
The Christian right and Fischer saw Grenell's resignation as a "tremendous victory," says New Yorker staff writer Jane Mayer.
Featuring Patti Smith's former New York punk-era colleague Tom Verlaine on solo guitar, "April Fool" is one of the prettiest songs on Smith's new album, Banga. Verlaine sends out long, thin, delicate tendrils of sound as Smith's voice suffuses the melody with full-throated urgency. Although Smith has said, with typical art-democratic directness, that "almost everybody in the world can sing," a few songs on Banga make you aware of what a good voice she has.
Originally published on Thu June 14, 2012 12:30 pm
Anthony Smukall's shopping list might look similar to that of many American's: Milk, eggs, whole grain bread, apples, assorted berries. But Smukall buys these products with his monthly SNAP allotment – money he receives from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (formerly known as food stamps).
The state of Oregon's Supreme Court ruled today that "20,000 pages of so-called perversion files compiled by the Boy Scouts on suspected child abusers over a period of 20 years" must be opened to the public, The Associated Press reports.
After Moody's became the second ratings agency to downgrade Spain's sovereign debt, the country's borrowing costs skyrocketed to record highs.
"The interest rate — or yield — on the country's benchmark 10-year bonds rose to a record 6.96 percent in early trading Thursday, its highest level since Spain joined the euro in 1999 and close to the level which many analysts believe is unsustainable in the long term," the AP reports.
Miami's Republican Mayor Tomas Regalado moves against his party and his governor. He tells host Michel Martin that Florida's controversial voter eligibility program, that is intended to purge non-citizens from its rosters, isn't necessary.
It's the end of the school year, and teachers and students are enjoying some downtime. But some kids won't be going back to school next fall because about a million students drop out every year. Host Michel Martin discusses the dropout crisis with teachers from three cities with high dropout rates: Las Vegas, St. Louis and Washington, D.C.
Originally published on Thu June 14, 2012 11:50 am
Scientists don't debate the old nature vs. nurture question much these days. The consensus is that there is no winner: Both your genes and your environment shape your development and your health. What's still up in the air is how they combine to put you at risk for diseases or social problems. And that matters for people trying to solve them.
Originally published on Thu June 14, 2012 12:25 pm
Rulings by Egypt's highest court to dissolve the country's parliament and keep a former aide to Hosni Mubarak on the presidential runoff ballot have thrown that country's already shaky democracy into chaos.
Much is still unclear about what was happening.
NPR's Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson tells our Newscast Desk that:
Head to the bookstore or pick up your Nook or Kindle or iPad, and prepare, if you will, to make some decisions about your summer reading life. My suggestions this year tend to be fine new fiction, the kind that not only flows on the page but also makes a sort of music in your mind. So, wordmusic it is! Strike up the orchestra! It's going to be a big summer for big broad American literary voices, voices that leap from the page and linger with you, echo through your summer and perhaps even beyond.
Good morning. I'm Renee Montagne. They say to understand a man, walk a mile in his shoes. Research from the University of Kansas suggests you don't even need to do that. The new study found judgments based on simply looking at someone's shoes, were right 90 percent of the time.
Shoes can reveal age, income, emotional state and political preference. Liberals really do wear shabby shoes and extroverts, flashy ones. Oddly, those in uncomfortable shoes tended to be calm.
I cut most of my hair off eight weeks ago. And yes, I meant to do it. I love my new kinky curliness and now, as I walk down the street, I feel like I see natural hair — twists, coils, dreadlocks, afros — everywhere.