Today's inaugural ceremonies also fall on the holiday honoring civil rights hero Martin Luther King, Jr. In a special touch, President Obama used two Bibles to take the oath of office, one of them belonging to Abraham Lincoln and the other once belonged to Dr. King. And a lot of Americans have drawn a connection between this nation's first African-American president and Dr. King.
Originally published on Mon January 21, 2013 12:33 pm
Journalist Simeon Booker braved the dangers of the Deep South during the Jim Crow era. His reporting about the horrific murder of Emmett Till sparked national outcry and added fuel to the civil rights movement. Host Michel Martin speaks with Booker about his remarkable career for a Tell Me More 'Wisdom Watch' conversation.
Well, from the studio, I'm going to go out again to talk to NPR's Linda Wertheimer. She is at a place that has a very good view of the activities there on the Mall. That happens to be the Canadian embassy. And just one thing: the West Front of the Capitol is decorated in red, white and blue. That is the backdrop for President Obama's second Inauguration. And Linda has seen every Inauguration since the second time President Richard Nixon was sworn into office, his second inaugural. Good morning.
For years, British environmental activist Mark Lynas destroyed genetically modified food (GMO) crops in what he calls a successful campaign to force the business of agriculture to be more holistic and ecological in its practices.
His targets were companies like Monsanto and Syngenta — leaders in developing genetically modified crops.
Earlier this month he went in front of the world to reverse his position on GMOs.
A recently-published menu for Abraham Lincoln's lavish second inaugural ball in 1865 provides an interesting look at how different the nation celebrated its new president just seven score and eight years ago.
Smoked tongue en geleé and blancmange (a firm custard) shared room on the buffet table with roast turkey and burnt almond ice cream.
As Yale food historian Paul Freedman told Smithsonian Magazine writer Megan Gambino, the cuisine could best be described as "French via England, with some American ingredients."
Originally published on Sun January 20, 2013 11:04 am
President Obama's second term officially begins Sunday: He took the oath of office in an intimate ceremony at the White House, fulfilling the constitutional requirement to take the oath before noon on Jan. 20.
NPR's Ari Shaprio reported on the swearing-in for our Newscast unit. Here's what he said:
"Family and a few close friends gathered in the Blue Room of the White House. The president placed his hand on a family Bible and recited the oath with Chief Justice John Roberts.
The plummeting mercury in Alaska this time of year doesn't keep bikers inside. More and more of them are heading to recreational trails and to the office on "fat bikes." They look like mountain bikes on steroids, with tires wider than most people's arms.
Kevin Breitenbach runs the bike shop at Beaver Sports in Alaska's second-largest city. Aboard a fat bike, he makes his way down a trail that winds through a forest as wet, quarter-sized snowflakes drop from the sky. Visibility is low, and the snow hides the roughest spots on the trail.
After the Newtown shootings, some suggested that schools look to local volunteers to beef up security. One national organization has been doing that for years. It's called Watch D.O.G.S., and it organizes fathers to volunteer in their children's schools. After Sandy Hook, the group's strategy didn't changed. Some Watchdogs say they've just become even more vigilant. NPR's Sam Sanders has this report.
SAM SANDERS, BYLINE: Like school principals all over the country, Michelle Wise sprung into action after Sandy Hook.
Host Rachel Martin speaks with NPR correspondents Ari Shapiro, Scott Horsley and Michele Kelemen about President Obama's likely second-term agenda, from handling debt and the deficit to gun control and next steps in the country's relationship with Iran.
Among the sentiments of love of country and national unity, presidential inaugurations also have a religious element. Host Rachel Martin talks with Stephen Prothero, professor of American religion at Boston University, about how the role of faith in inauguration ceremonies has changed over the years.
The way that Israelis vote and the policies that motivate those decisions will be watched closely from this country as well.
For more on what this election and events in the Middle East mean for the United States, I'm joined by Aaron David Miller. He's a vice president and distinguished scholar at the Woodrow Wilson Center in Washington. He's also a former Middle East negotiator. He joins us now.
Originally published on Tue January 22, 2013 9:19 am
Editor's note: NPR's Corey Dade recently traveled to New York to interview the Rev. Al Sharpton about the unusual arc of his checkered career, from pugnacious street fighter for racial justice to savvy insider with ties to CEOs, a successful television show and the the ear of a soon-to-be second-term president.
Originally published on Sat January 19, 2013 7:17 pm
Once upon a time, in the long ago world of high school reading, Holden Caulfield was perhaps the epitome of angst: a young man suddenly an outcast in the world he thought he knew. The antihero of J.D. Salinger's The Catcher in the Rye was about to enter a perilous journey of self-discovery.
U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor has a new autobiography out about her life and her career in law. Earlier this week, we broadcast portions of her interview with NPR legal affairs correspondent Nina Totenberg. Today, Nina talks to the justice about the role that books have played in her life.
Host Scott Simon talks with NPR's Mara Liasson about whether the Obama administration and Congressional Republicans can find some common ground and overcome the political gridlock that characterized much of the president's first term.
The shootings in Newtown, Conn., ignited calls for gun control, but violence continues in many inner-cities, usually with far less attention. Host Scott Simon talks with David M. Kennedy, director of the Center for Crime Prevention and Control at the John Jay College in New York about how to address inner-city gun violence.
The Algerian government gave no advance notice that it was planning to launch a military operation to rescue hostages at the remote In Amenas natural gas field, despite offers of support and advice by many nations, including the U.S.
The anger and disappointment in Washington is muted, however, because the U.S. sees Algeria as a critical ally in the fight against terrorism.
Spc. Lance Pilgrim was among the first Army troops to enter Iraq in March 2003. Eventually, he was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder and died from an accidental overdose in 2007 at the age of 26.
His father, Randy Pilgrim, says he first realized something was wrong when his son broke down at the sight of an animal that had been run over. The image had triggered the memory of a traumatic time overseas.
After the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in December, the town arranged for students to go to school at a building in the neighboring town of Monroe. Now, Newtown is deliberating what to do with the building where the shootings took place and whether to build a new school.
Newtown officials held a second public meeting Friday night to hear what community members think should happen to the school.
This weekend, hundreds of thousands of people — including President Obama and his family — are participating in volunteer activities around the country. Saturday's National Day of Service kicks off the president's second inauguration and honors the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday.
As budgets tighten and personal schedules fill, nonprofits are looking for new ways to attract extra helpers, and organizers for the national event hope it will lead to a permanent boost in volunteerism.