Before we run through the news of the day, let's pause for something spectactular: a new video from NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory. It shows a "massive filament" eruption on the sun that occurred last Friday. As Britain's The Register says, it is "mind-bogglingly gorgeous."
Originally published on Wed September 5, 2012 3:19 pm
Bill Clinton will add yet another chapter to his storied career tonight when the former president places in nomination the name of the current president, Barack Obama.
It will be the focal point of the evening and for some, perhaps, the most newsworthy moment of the entire convention. The old Clinton-Obama feud remains an endless source of political gossip, and the convention planners are happy to have the former president's supposedly unedited and unvetted remarks as a rare source of suspense. Maybe it will help the ratings.
Next week's election in the Netherlands could seal the fate of Amsterdam coffee shops that also sell pot to foreign tourists. Some parties favor, and others oppose, a plan to restrict the shops' business. Cafe owners are struggling to get their customers to the polls.
(SOUNDBITE OF "MONDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL" THEME MUSIC)
GREENE: Yes, to some like me, the sound of the fall. To others, a signal that you're not going to see your spouse or good friend on Sunday afternoons, because they've disappeared into the bar or man cave. Yes, NFL football begins tonight with the New York Giants battling the Dallas Cowboys and then much more action this weekend.
Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper is among the scheduled speakers at the Democratic Convention tonight. The former brew pub owner is one of the most popular governors in the country, and the Obama campaign hopes his popularity will help the party, once again, with the battleground state of Colorado in November. Kirk Siegler of member station KUNC has this profile.
Tuesday night at the Democratic National Convention, speaker after speaker made the case that voters should give President Obama four more years. Ronald Brownstein of the National Journal tells Steve Inskeep that to get that chance; the president will need to win 80 percent of minority voters.
First Lady Michelle Obama was one of the stars on the first night of the Democratic National Convention. She delivered a ringing, impassioned plea for the re-election of her husband, President Barack Obama.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has been visiting Chinese officials, talking of mutual cooperation, despite a lot of tension. So far her visit to Beijing has produced no breakdowns but also no breakthroughs. Here's NPR's Louisa Lim.
State Department officials have been saying that Secretary Clinton wants to push the Chinese on a surprising issue: elephants. Thousands of African elephants are being slaughtered for their ivory. The New York Times reports they are the latest plunder taken by armed African groups - a little like blood diamonds - and most of the ivory goes to China. Jeffrey Gettleman wrote the Times report after spending time in a national park in the Democratic Republic of Congo. He's on the line from that country. Welcome to the program.
One of Billie Holiday's most iconic songs is "Strange Fruit," a haunting protest against the inhumanity of racism. Many people know that the man who wrote the song was inspired by a photograph of a lynching. But they might not realize that he's also tied to another watershed moment in America's history.
The newspaper boy and the milkman might not come around as often as they used to, but the days of subscription and delivery aren't over. The Internet and overnight delivery have combined to make a new type of subscription business possible. The sales pitch is part convenience, part price and part cool factor.
Driving into Kfar Ghan, you notice the difference right away: The shops are open, there are kids on the street, there's even a row of open-air vegetable stalls and a crowd of shoppers.
There is a full spread of watermelon, eggplants, peppers and tomatoes. All the farmers from the area have brought their produce to the market in this Syrian village, about a mile from the Turkish border.
Schools have been open for a couple of weeks across much of Florida, but not all of the students know who their teachers are yet. There's typically a lot of teacher turnover during the summer break, and schools can't always get vacant teaching positions filled by the time school starts.
Russia has been facing troubling demographics ever since the Soviet breakup two decades ago. The population has contracted by several million people over this period. The birth rate is low. Life expectancy for men is still less than 65 years.
And there is also a sense that many educated, talented people are leaving the country.
To take one example, the world of science lit up in July, when a billionaire Internet investor named Yuri Milner announced nine prizes for some of the world's most innovative thinkers in physics.
Well, the Southeastern Conference season has begun. I have it on good authority that other college football teams around the country will also be playing games this fall.
I don't know when exactly the SEC took over America. I know this is hard to believe, but the epicenter of college football used to be in the Midwest. I'm so old, I can remember when Notre Dame actually mattered, and the real tough players were supposed to come from Western Pennsylvania and Ohio.
Originally published on Wed September 5, 2012 6:55 am
There were a lot of preliminaries, but it was Michelle Obama's show Tuesday night at the Democratic National Convention, and she used it masterfully — carrying a rapt crowd along with a narrative of family, hard work, and truth-telling.
Largely wrung of politics, the first lady's speech plotted parallels in her life and that of her husband, President Obama. She pointedly tracked their humble beginnings and strivings in an unspoken but clear contrast to the privileged upbringing of GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney.
Originally published on Wed September 5, 2012 9:51 pm
On Tuesday, NPR's Frank James hosted a live chat during the Democratic convention. He was joined by Neal Carruth, NPR's elections editor; political science professors Sarah Treul of the University of North Carolina and Melody Crowder-Meyer of Sewanee: The University of the South; and Jake Silverstein, editor of Texas Monthly.
We've also compiled five things that struck us about the night:
'Mom In Chief' Takes A Stand: There is no question that the first night of the convention belonged to first lady Michelle Obama, who delivered a sweeping, personal and dramatic endorsement of her husband, President Obama.
Originally published on Thu September 6, 2012 11:53 am
They billed the gathering in a Charlotte, N.C., Holiday Inn conference room Tuesday as the first national meeting of Mormon Democrats.
Don't laugh. Crystal Young-Otterstrom says she figures there are 1 million of them out there, and she's determined to find them.
"It's like a missionary effort," Young-Otterstrom said in a room packed with the curious, the media and a cadre of members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints making the argument that the Democratic Party best represents their personal and religious values.
Originally published on Wed September 5, 2012 4:37 am
Defense Department officials say that No Easy Day, former Navy SEAL Matt Bissonnette's book about the secret mission to kill Osama bin Laden, includes classified information that may harm U.S. military operations. The book went on sale yesterday despite the Pentagon's warnings of possible legal action last week.
Originally published on Tue September 4, 2012 4:27 pm
Over the past four years, the presidential narrative has shifted for African-Americans like Louisiana state Rep. Patricia Haynes Smith of Baton Rouge.
"I'm 66 years old," said Smith, at an event Tuesday in Charlotte, N.C., for black state legislators here for the Democratic National Convention. "And before 2008, I didn't think I'd live to see a dream come true."
Good evening from Charlotte, N.C., where Florida Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz gaveled the convention to order promptly at 5 p.m. ET. in Charlotte's Time Warner Cable Arena.
Schultz, who is also the chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee, said that throughout the next three days, "we will demonstrate we need to keep President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden four more years."
Some people run for charity; some run for their health. And some run because it's the only way to escape the ravenous brain-eating zombies who chase them. No, that's not a movie plot. It's essentially the pitch for Run for Your Lives, a "zombie-infested 5K obstacle race" whose popularity has surprised even its organizers.