The days are few and far between when President Obama has intentionally reminded us that he is the first African-American president.
Friday was one.
The president did something no other holder of his office has ever had the life experience to do: He used the bully pulpit to, as an African-American, explain black America to white America in the wake of last week's acquittal of George Zimmerman in the shooting death of unarmed teenager Trayvon Martin.
In the days after a Florida jury acquitted George Zimmerman in the killing of teenager Trayvon Martin, protesters camped out at Gov. Rick Scott's office in Tallahassee, calling for a meeting.
When Scott met with protesters on Thursday, one of the group's leaders, Philip Agnew, asked the governor to convene a special session of the Legislature to look at repealing the state's stand your ground law.
"It is the time for leadership," Agnew said. "The world is watching. Most definitely, the nation is watching. And you have the opportunity to stand tall above the rest."
For seven seasons on Saturday Night Live, actress Kristen Wiig made us laugh — laugh hard — with her off-the-wall, over-the-top characters, from Sue, the woman who loved surprises a little too much, to the unnervingly exuberant Target Lady.
Three of the four major wireless companies are out with new plans for those who want the latest smartphone sooner. The plans, with names like Verizon Edge and AT&T Next, essentially let you rent a phone for six months or a year and then trade it in for a new one — but there's a catch.
"You're paying essentially twice," says Avi Greengart, who is research director for consumer devices at Current Analysis and does some consulting for the industry.
Zhang Junmin (second from right) and his band perform the Lao Qiang music special in northwest China's Shaanxi province. The character behind the stage means "drama"; Lao Qiang music used to accompany puppet plays and includes a strong storytelling component.
When Guns N' Roses released the album Chinese Democracy five years ago, a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman commented that, questions of politics aside, the GNR sound just wasn't most Chinese folks' cup of tea.
"According to my knowledge," he said, "a lot of people don't like this kind of music because it's too noisy and too loud."
Bebel Gilberto may be the daughter of Joao Gilberto, one of the first bossa nova composers, but that's hardly her only claim to fame. Her album Tanto Tempo, produced by the electronic artist Suba, was a best-seller in Brazil throughout the 2000s.
Originally published on Wed October 2, 2013 2:59 pm
As part of this week's Sense of Place: Rio series, World Cafe revisits a 2004 session with Brazilian singer Vinicius Cantuária. At the time, he was in the midst of a string of highly praised albums, beginning with 1996's Sol Na Cara.
In this interview, Cantuária discusses his love of Tom Jobim, moving to New York City in 1994 and how he feels somehow "more Brazilian" here in the U.S.
The Chicago Public Schools system is again in the spotlight after announcing late Thursday that it will lay off more than 2,100 employees — nearly half of them teachers. The laid-off educators account for 4 percent of the system's faculty, reports the Chicago Sun-Times.
If you looked at a weather map today, you saw a whole lot of red. Temperatures are in the upper 90s across the country and states in New England and the mid-Atlantic are sweltering in record-high temperatures. In New York City, parks are keeping public fountains running a little longer and gates opened a little later. Sarah Gonzales of member station WNYC spent an evening in the Inwood neighborhood on the northern tip of Manhattan to see how residents are coping.
Of course, there is another American who worked for this country's intelligence gathering apparatus who's in legal limbo. The case of Edward Snowden, the former government contractor who leaked classified information to the media, is being followed internationally. Currently, Snowden is holed up in a Moscow airport while he tries to get temporary asylum, as he figures out a way to get to one of several countries that have offered him shelter from U.S. charges of espionage.
Former CIA officer Robert Seldon Lady is on his way back to the U.S. after being briefly detained in Panama. An Italian court had convicted the agent in the first trial anywhere involving the practice known as extraordinary rendition, in which a terrorist suspect is kidnapped and transferred to a country where torture is practiced.