On race, Barack Obama often says he is not president of black America, but of the United States of America. Though he has not avoided the subject during his time in office, he tends not to seek out opportunities to discuss racial issues.
"He wanted to address them in a time and a way that accomplished specific objectives," says Joshua Dubois, who ran the White House's faith-based initiatives during Obama's first term.
Originally published on Sat August 3, 2013 1:20 pm
The FDA said Saturday it would step up its surveillance of "green leafy products" from Mexico, after a rare parasite linked to a lettuce supplier there caused illness in more than 400 people in 16 U.S. states.
The parasite, known as cyclosporiasis, was first identified at Olive Garden and Red Lobster restaurants in Iowa and Nebraska and has since been discovered in Texas and numerous other states.
This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Linda Wertheimer. Since 2000, the Third Coast International Audio Festival has been curating some of the best audio stories from around the world. One of the submission categories is: short documentaries. These are pieces no longer than three minutes. This year's theme for short docs was: appetite. Joining us from member station WBEZ in Chicago to talk about the winners is Third Coast's artistic director Julie Shapiro. Hey, Julie.
This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. Scott Simon is away. I'm Linda Wertheimer. Members of Congress are back in their home districts this morning at the start of a five-week summer recess. They left town with more of a whimper than a bang. They leave a whole lot of unfinished business. We're joined now by NPR congressional correspondent, Tamara Keith. Welcome.
TAMARA KEITH, BYLINE: Thank you.
WERTHEIMER: Let's start with what the Congress did accomplish. There was student loan legislation. What else?
Four years ago, Iranian singer Mohsen Namjoo was touring in Italy when he learned when he learned he would not be able to go home. The Iranian Revolutionary Court had ruled that one of Namjoo's songs disparaged the Quran. He would have to serve five years in prison if he set foot back in Iran. But the music that concerned the court was somewhat unusual for Namjoo; most of his music actually steers clear of religion and politics.
This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Linda Wertheimer. We begin in Zimbabwe, where President Robert Mugabe and his party are predicting a landslide victory in the election held earlier this week. But the opposition is crying voter fraud and threatening protests. From the capital, Harare, NPR's Ofeibea Quist-Arcton reports.
The labor market continues its recovery; the economy added 162,000 jobs in July and pushed the unemployment rate to a 4.5-year low. After a string of bad news, things seem to be to turning around for African-American workers, too.
"The operative word is growth," says Bill Rodgers, an economist at Rutgers University.
With Linda still out at the TCA gathering, TV is much on our minds. And as she noted yesterday, there's a whole big conversation going on about the newer modes of consuming what we still, for lack of a better word, generally call television.
(Actually, we probably don't need a better word, as "television" just means "far-sight" and doesn't have anything to do with broadcast or spectrum or modes of transmission or the technology involved, BUT I DIGRESS.)
In a musty, old row house in the Germantown neighborhood of Philadelphia, Jim Bear is about to begin his radio show.
"Good afternoon, everybody," he says into the microphone. "You're listening to G-town Radio at GtownRadio.com. We are the sound from Germantown."
Right now G-town is just an Internet radio station. But if the folks at G-town Radio are successful, they'll soon be broadcasting their signal over low-power FM, a new class of non-commercial FM radio.
It takes a while to orient yourself when you're listening to the band Dawn of Midi. The new album Dysnomia is a 47-minute-long composition by what looks like a jazz trio — drums, bass and piano. But it sounds like something completely different — looping, minimal electronic music. And there's no improvisation here: It's performed the same way, note for note, every time.
On the Noodle Road is one attempt to answer an old chestnut: Did Marco Polo really bring noodles from China to Italy? If not, where did they really come from? Or — to put it another way — from what point along the storied byways of the Silk Road did that humble paste of flour and water first spring into its multifarious existence?
Greeley, Colo., has an image problem. Actually, it's more of an odor problem.
A meatpacking plant is on the northeast side of town, and when the wind blows just right, you can't miss the smell — a cross between a slaughterhouse, a cow farm with manure and other unidentified odors.
In fact, the city's website says back in the 1960s, folks joked that that odor was merely "the smell of money." One of the town's main industries was, and is, cattle.
Mike Odette, chef and co-owner of Sycamore Restaurant in Columbia, Mo., is trolling the local farmer's market. He usually hunts for ingredients for his next menu, but today he's searching for veggies to take on a picnic.
A slaw using creamy mayonnaise might spoil in the summer heat. So Odette favors a simple summer vinaigrette that's equal parts cider vinegar and sugar. He recommends making it the night before.
"It benefits from sitting in the refrigerator overnight," he says, "so the flavors can develop, and you could even dress your slaw on your picnic."
For the next year, NPR will take a musical journey across America, which is one of the most religiously diverse countries on earth. We want to discover and celebrate the many ways in which people make spiritual music — individually and collectively, inside and outside houses of worship.
The founder of the choral group Sounds of Africa is Fred Onovwerosuoke. He was born in Ghana and brought up in Nigeria, and his choir in the heart of the U.S. — St. Louis, Mo., to be exact — has recorded his arrangements of African sacred music by a composer named Ikoli Harcourt Whyte.
There are plenty of small-town guys who stick around, get a boring job and dream of writing a great novel. And nothing ticks off those guys like the ones who actually pull it off: Charles Frazier's first novel, Cold Mountain, was an international best-seller, and he followed it up with Thirteen Moons and Nightwoods.
Here in Asheville, N.C., we've invited Frazier to play a game called "I'm listening, Seattle." Three questions for Charles Frazier about Frasier Crane, fictional radio psychiatrist.
Now, on to our final game, Lightning Fill In The Blank. Each of our players will have 60 seconds in which to answer as many fill in the blank questions as he or she can. Each correct answer is worth two points. Carl, can you give us the scores?
CARL KASELL: We have a three-way tie, Peter. Brian, Roxanne and Bobcat all have three points each.
Coming up, it's Lightning Fill In the Blank, but first it's the game where you have to listen for the rhyme. If you'd like to play on air, call or leave a message at 1-888-WAIT-WAIT. That's 1-888-924-8924. Or click the contact us link on our website waitwait.npr.org. Hi, you're on WAIT WAIT...DON'T TELL ME!
JEN FRITZ: Hi, this is Jen Fritz from Oak Park, Illinois.
SAGAL: Hey, Oak Park is a lovely place, or so I've heard. And what do you do there?
FRITZ: I work as a family medicine physician assistant and also a new mom.
Originally published on Fri August 2, 2013 5:17 pm
Police in Massachusetts arrested a man they say poisoned Stephen "Stippo" Rakes, who was a potential witness in the case against notorious Boston gangster James "Whitey" Bulger.
The important detail: The Boston Globe reports Middlesex District Attorney Marian T. Ryan said they believe William Camuti, 69, "acted alone" and they did not believe the homicide was connected to the Bulger case.
Originally published on Fri August 2, 2013 4:32 pm
As Congress heads off for its 2013 summer recess, who could blame a citizen for thinking that maybe the slogan above the House dais should be changed from "In God We Trust" to "Abandon Hope All Ye Who Enter Here."
Experts in government like Norman Ornstein and Thomas Mann have repeatedly warned that compromise, the lubricant that makes the U.S. system work, has been a missing ingredient in recent Congresses, especially in the House. And there were no signs Friday that anything will be different when Congress returns in September from its five-week break.
Originally published on Fri August 2, 2013 3:52 pm
The State Department said Friday it would begin processing visas for same-sex spouses the same as applications from married heterosexuals.
"Effective immediately, when same-sex spouses apply for a visa, the Department of State will consider that application in the same manner that it considers the application of opposite-sex spouses," Secretary of State John Kerry said.
The Internal Revenue Service, under attack by congressional Republicans, has been operating without a permanent commissioner. President Obama nominated John Koskinen on Thursday for what might be seen as a thankless job.
The president called his nominee "an expert at turning around institutions in need of reform." But Koskinen will have his work cut out for him, starting with his Senate confirmation hearing.
North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory sent out a plate of cookies to abortion law protesters who had gathered outside the governor's mansion on Tuesday. Audie Cornish speaks with Mary C. Curtis, who writes for the Washington Posts' blog She the People, about the incident and North Carolina politics.