Originally published on Thu November 1, 2012 12:49 pm
Just five days before Election Day, President Obama returned to the campaign trail after spending several days preoccupied with overseeing the federal response to the devastation in the Northeast in the wake of Superstorm Sandy.
Obama began his campaign re-emergence Thursday with a rally in Green Bay, Wis., a state where his once-substantial lead in polls over Republican Mitt Romney has narrowed to only a few points in a majority of the polls.
Mitt Romney was on CNN not long ago defending the claims in his campaign ads — "We've been absolutely spot on," he said. Politics aside, the expression had me doing an audible roll of my eyes. I've always associated "spot on" with the type of Englishman who's played by Terry-Thomas or John Cleese, someone who pronounces "yes" and "ears" in the same way — "eeahzz." It shows up when people do send-ups of plummy British speech. "I say — spot on, old chap!"
Originally published on Thu November 1, 2012 12:24 pm
"After Sandy, Wired New Yorkers Get Reconnected With Pay Phones: Coin-Eating Retro Devices Baffle Some, Frustrate Many; Moment Merits a Tweet."
That Wall Street Journal story today, about folks in lower Manhattan who have been forced by the power outages and damages in the wake of Superstorm Sandy to seek out an old-fashioned way to make a call, has struck a chord.
Originally published on Tue December 18, 2012 12:28 pm
I'll admit it, I'm a sucker for a confetti cannon. But even more so, I love it when visuals draw me into a song. It doesn't happen often, but this video for the song "Red Hands" by Walk Off The Earth had me scratching my head wondering how it was done while it kept me smiling at the same time.
It's not the first time this band has made me smile. Earlier this year this Canadian band gathered round a single acoustic guitar and recorded themselves playing a cover version of Gotye's "Somebody That I Used to Know" that has now been watched 138 million times.
Originally published on Mon November 19, 2012 10:21 am
Mention the name Rick Riordan to adults, and they might say, "Huh?" But kids? They know. Riordan has been burning up the best-seller lists with three different series of books that all feature modern-day kids entangled in the lives of ancient gods. The Red Pyramid — the December pick of NPR's Backseat Book Club — features a brother and sister who have no idea they are descended from age-old sorcerers until their archaeologist father accidentally unleashes ancient gods into modern society.
The presidency has remained a male-only office throughout American history. Despite changing demographics and huge gains by women in other walks of life, some experts still don't see a female president on the horizon.
More than five million people in the U.S. claim some form of Native American identity, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. November is Native American Heritage Month and host Michel Martin kicks it off with the first in a series of conversations with author Anton Treuer. He talks about who is Native American and how that identity is determined.
Millions of Americans are dealing with the aftermath of Sandy, including the responsibility of comforting children who may not have a frame of reference for the storm. For tips on helping kids cope, host Michel Martin speaks with Suzanne McCabe of Scholastic's classroom magazines. The magazines cover the aftermath of all kinds of disasters.
The cleanup effort is underway after superstorm Sandy, and questions are cropping up about the country's aging infrastructure. Henry Gomez reports for The Plain Dealer in Cleveland. He put his questions to President Obama and GOP nominee Mitt Romney well before the storm hit. He speaks with host Michel Martin, as part of NPR's "Solve This" series.
Billboards declaring "Voter Fraud is a Felony" were recently taken down in some urban Ohio and Wisconsin areas. But not before civil rights groups said they could intimidate minority voters and decrease turnout. Host Michel Martin talks with WCPN reporter Brian Bull about the billboards, who paid for them, and concerns about their lasting impact.
A man walks through a former unofficial, or "black," jail in Beijing, in 2009. It's estimated that thousands of Chinese lodging protests against the government are illegally detained in secret sites such as this one, even though the government says they don't exist.
Credit Frank Langfitt / NPR
It may appear cute and quaint and sit in the midst of a sprawling Shanghai park, but this cottage is used as a "black jail."
People often say China is a nation of contrasts: of wealth and poverty, of personal freedom and political limits. But that observation doesn't begin to capture the tensions and incongruities of modern life here.
For instance, in today's Shanghai, you can sip a $31 champagne cocktail in a sleek rooftop bar overlooking the city's spectacular skyline, while, just a few miles away, ordinary citizens languish in a secret detention center run by government-paid thugs.
Skeletons: Skeleton imagery pervades this holiday. In pre-Columbian times, the Day of the Dead was celebrated in August. It now takes place on Nov. 1 and Nov. 2, coinciding with the Catholic holidays of All Saints' Day and All Souls' Day.
Credit Karen Castillo Farfán / NPR
Credit Karen Castillo Farfán / NPR
Altar: Altars are used to welcome the ancestors' spirits into the home. It is also practice to visit the ancestral burial ground to celebrate with picnics and music.
Originally published on Thu November 8, 2012 1:19 pm
Sugar skulls, tamales, and spirits (the alcoholic kind) — these are things you might find on homemade altars to entice those who've passed to the other side back for a visit. The altars, built in homes and around tombstones, are for Day of the Dead, or Dia de los Muertos, a tradition originating in central Mexico on Nov. 1 and 2.
Originally published on Thu November 1, 2012 7:02 am
Three closely watched employment indicators are out this morning:
-- Unemployment Benefits. There were 363,000 first-time claims for jobless benefits last week, down from 372,000 the week before, the Employment and Training Administration says. So, as they have all year, claims remain in a range between 350,000 and 400,000.
The campaign calm after the storm is about to end.
Both President Obama and his Republican challenger, Mitt Romney, will be out stumping for votes today. The race for the White House, which was just about put on hold as Superstorm Sandy bore down on the East Coast and then roared ashore, is back on with just five days to go before Election Day.
Romney will be in Virginia. The president will be in Wisconsin, Colorado and Nevada.
Richard Russo sits in his elderly mother's home, holding her hand. She's just been diagnosed with dementia, one more illness to add to the long list of ailments she's been battling for years. She wonders aloud whether she'll ever be able to read again, plainly scared at the prospect of a life without her favorite hobby. She takes a look around her small apartment, and tells her son that she hates it.
"I just wish you could be happy, Mom," he says, heartbroken. "I used to be," she responds. "I know you don't believe that, but I was."
Good morning. I'm Renee Montagne. A coffee chain in Britain surveyed its customers and found 70 percent suffered coffee confusion. So the chain is now offering a new trial menu in plain English. A latte is now really, really milky coffee, a cappuccino - frothy coffee, and a mocha -chocolate flavored coffee. Not listed: a decaf soy triple tall latte, though some baristas might just call that - Why Bother. It's MORNING EDITION. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.
Originally published on Thu November 1, 2012 4:43 am
Suspected smugglers wanted to take their SUV across the U.S.-Mexico border, so they built ramps that would take it over the Arizona border fence. But unlike the way it would've happened in old episodes of The Dukes of Hazzard, the Jeep got stuck on top of the fence.
Abigael Evans, 4, of Fort Collins, Colo., started crying on the way to the grocery store as she and her mother listened to NPR in the car. NPR editors issued an immediate apology online, and later in the afternoon, Abbie cheered up when she got an NPR Politics pin from member station KUNC.
On Wednesday, President Obama toured some of the hardest-hit parts of New Jersey, along with Republican Gov. Chris Christie. The two have become a political odd couple since the storm — each offering praise for the other's leadership.