The great Nat King Cole had many firsts. He was the first African-American musician to have his own show — on network radio, then television. He was also one of the first, if not the first American artist to record an album in Spanish: Cole Español. It was a huge, rather unexpected hit in 1958, when Latin American music was still relatively unknown in the U.S. His success with Cole Español was so great, he recorded two more albums in Spanish.
Sofia Coppola is no stranger to filmic explorations of fame, privilege and self-loathing in the modern age. In her newest movie, The Bling Ring, she considers the case of a gang of well-off L.A. teenagers whose obsession with celebrity took them to some unexpected places — including the homes of Paris Hilton and Lindsay Lohan, where they stole millions of dollars' worth of jewelry and clothes and shoes.
Between his trip to Europe last week and his travels to Africa next week, President Obama is doing a lot of gift exchanges with foreign leaders.
In the past, he has gotten mixed reviews. Four years ago, he was panned for giving the queen of England an iPod. Other presents have gone over better. But the president does not personally select these gifts — a staffer does.
Medicaid and controversy seem inseparable in many states lately. For the most part, the wrangling is about a new wrinkle in Medicaid — the expansion of the health program for the poor and disabled under Obamacare.
Mississippi, though, is raising the stakes. Democrats and Republicans in the state are in a fight, and the outcome could threaten the very existence of the entire Medicaid program there.
Revelations of widespread U.S. spying on foreign Internet communications put a damper on President Obama's first state visit to Berlin. The German chancellor and other officials there say they want to know more about what the National Security Agency is looking at.
Yet the backlash has been more muted than expected. One reason is that the German government is doing similar surveillance.
Booker T. Jones — leader of the soul band Booker T. & the M.G.'s — made it big in 1962 with the song "Green Onions." But since "Green Onions" sounds suspiciously natural for the United States, we've decided to quiz him on Funyuns instead: three questions about the crunchy, onion-flavored snack food.
NPR has learned that the U.S. Department of Justice has prepared the documents to formally charge Edward Snowden with espionage. Snowden is the former contractor who has publicized details of two U.S. surveillance programs through the British newspaper The Guardian. NPR's Carrie Johnson joins us now with the latest, and Carrie, everyone's been waiting for this shoe to drop. What do we know about the government's plans to proceed?
Out in Alaska's Bering Sea, about 90 miles from Nome, sits a small, rocky island that used to be home to a couple of hundred Inupiat Eskimos. They lived in houses built on stilts, perched on rocky cliffs.
Then, about 50 years ago, the threat of rock slides, the spread of tuberculosis and the loss of men to World War II forced residents to relocate to the mainland. King Island has been a ghost island ever since.
Not even Superstorm Sandy could keep the mermaids from coming back to Brooklyn.
The Mermaid Parade is a nautically themed and occasionally naughty parade that draws close to a million people to Coney Island, in the New York City borough of Brooklyn, each June. Sandy nearly drowned the organization that hosts the parade, but supporters donated more than $100,000 to get the parade back on its fins this year.
The Greeks have been eating octopus since ancient times, and it's still on the menu of the country's many psarotavernes, or fish taverns.
On the islands, where the catch is often fresh, octopus is grilled over charcoal, seasoned with fresh lemon and served with ouzo. Friends and families often share this special summer meze during a hot day at the beach.
Republicans and Democrats are looking at this year's race for governor in Virginia as a possible harbinger of the 2014 election. The contest pits Republican Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli against Democratic Party fundraiser Terry McAuliffe. Both candidates are strongly supported by their respective bases, but sport strong negatives among moderate voters. The outcome could come down to turnout.
From NPR News this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel.
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And I'm Melissa Block. Seven months ago many voters waited in long lines to cast ballots in the presidential election. Well, today a presidential commission charged with fixing the problem was finally up and running. As NPR's Pam Fessler reports, the panel's looking for answers to questions that have challenged election officials for a long time.