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Author Interviews
3:12 pm
Sun January 20, 2013

Connecting With Nature To Reclaim Our Natural 'Birthright'

Stephen Kellert is a professor emeritus and senior research scholar at Yale University.
John Mueller Yale University Press

Originally published on Sun January 20, 2013 4:29 pm

"Contact with nature is not some magical elixir but the natural world is the substrate on which we must build our existence," writes Stephen Kellert in his new book Birthright: People and Nature in the Modern World.

In it, he tells stories of the environment's effect on us, and ours on it. His writing builds on the traditions of Thoreau, John Muir and Rachel Carson. Modern society, he argues, has become adversarial in its relationship to nature, having greatly undervalued the natural world beyond its narrow utility.

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Food
2:53 pm
Sun January 20, 2013

Distilling Presidential History Into 44 Cocktails

Washington, D.C., bartender Jim Hewes distills presidential history into cocktails.
Liz Baker NPR

Originally published on Tue January 22, 2013 4:04 pm

As Washington, D.C., gears up for the 57th presidential inauguration, political parties are in full swing. We're not talking about run-of-the-mill partisan bickering. We're talking about inaugural celebrations: balls, galas and cocktail parties. Emphasis on the cocktail.

The Round Robin Bar in the Willard Hotel is just a stone's throw from the White House. Bartender Jim Hewes has been serving up drinks there for nearly 30 years.

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Inauguration 2013
2:25 pm
Sun January 20, 2013

An Inaugural Memory: President Lincoln's Food Fight

Menu for Lincoln's 2nd inaugural ball, March 6, 1865
Smithsonian Institution

Originally published on Tue January 22, 2013 11:27 am

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."

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Music Interviews
1:58 pm
Sun January 20, 2013

For Sean Lennon, Music Is Not A Solo Act

Sean Lennon in the studio, during production of the Alter Egos soundtrack.
Jordan Galland Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Sun January 20, 2013 4:29 pm

Sean Lennon, son of John and Yoko, is drawn to musical collaboration and repelled by hydraulic fracturing.

The 37-year-old just released two albums: the improvisational project Mystical Weapons and the score to the independent film Alter Egos.

Writing For Film

Lennon only appears in Alter Egos for a few seconds; the majority of his efforts went into writing the music, which he had to do twice. He describes the film as a "kitsch comedy about superheroes," and his first attempt at the music took a similar vibe.

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The Two-Way
12:15 pm
Sun January 20, 2013

Death Toll May Rise After More Bodies Found At Algerian Plant

More bodies have been reported found at the gas plant in Algeria where a four-day standoff with Islamist militants came to a bloody end on Saturday. An Algerian security official tells the AP that the state of the bodies makes it difficult to tell whether the dead are hostages or attackers.

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The Two-Way
11:50 am
Sun January 20, 2013

Obama Takes Oath Of Office In White House Ceremony

President Obama is officially sworn in Sunday by Chief Justice John Roberts in the Blue Room of the White House. Next to Obama are first lady Michelle Obama, holding the Robinson Family Bible, and their daughters, Malia and Sasha.
Larry Downing AP

Originally published on Sun January 20, 2013 12:04 pm

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.

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It's All Politics
5:03 am
Sun January 20, 2013

5 Questions About The Inauguration

Workers seen through a fence adjust American flags on the Capitol during preparations Thursday for the inauguration.
Jewel Samad AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue January 22, 2013 11:28 am

1) Why Monday?

Inaugural events are sprinkled over three days, with the most important one actually taking place out of the public eye on Sunday. That's when the official oath of office will be administered at the White House, on the date and time (noon on Jan. 20) specified by the Constitution. But because the 20th falls on a Sunday this year, the public festivities, including another oath taking, all happen Monday.

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It's All Politics
5:03 am
Sun January 20, 2013

Presidential Double Take: The Difference Four Years Makes

President Obama seems to have picked up a few gray hairs in the four years since he was sworn in on Jan. 20, 2009 (left). On the right, he's shown in December 2012.
Getty Images/AFP NPR

Originally published on Mon January 21, 2013 2:56 pm

Every president gets sworn in once, but it's a smaller club of presidents who manage to get there twice. Here's a look at some recent presidents who served two terms. See who changed the most (or the least) in four years.

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

It's All Politics
5:03 am
Sun January 20, 2013

Obama So Far: Making History, Inspiring An Opposition

President Obama walks outside the Oval Office on May 3.
Carolyn Kaster AP

Originally published on Sun January 20, 2013 8:17 am

Any American president hoping to stake a claim to being viewed by future generations as great and transformative — or at least very good and effective — would be wise to choose his predecessor well.

To that end, Abraham Lincoln, Franklin D. Roosevelt and Ronald Reagan probably couldn't have done better than to follow, respectively, James Buchanan, Herbert Hoover and Jimmy Carter.

Similarly, President Obama no doubt benefited from comparisons to George W. Bush, who's unlikely to make many historians' lists of the presidential greats.

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Around the Nation
5:02 am
Sun January 20, 2013

Dependent On Arms Plant, N.Y. Town Braces For Gun Laws' Impact

Standing near the Remington Arms factory, Beth Neale, deputy mayor of Ilion, N.Y., says she's watched a lot of large manufacturers leave the region. She's not sure Ilion would easily recover from losing Remington.
Marie Cusick for NPR

Originally published on Sun January 20, 2013 12:30 pm

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Around the Nation
5:02 am
Sun January 20, 2013

Welcome To Alaska, Where Winter Is Cold And Bikes Are Fat

Bike shop owner Kevin Breitenbach rides a fat bike in the White Mountains National Recreation Area in Alaska in March.
Josh Spice

Originally published on Sun January 20, 2013 8:44 am

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.

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Around the Nation
5:02 am
Sun January 20, 2013

'That's Our Guy': Chicagoans Welcome Obama Back To D.C.

Chicagoan Janice Trice was an Obama volunteer in 2008 and 2012. Her husband died on Election Day in 2008, before he could celebrate Barack Obama's victory, or even find out that he won. She says this pilgrimage is a way for her to honor his memory.
Sam Sanders NPR

Originally published on Sun January 20, 2013 8:23 am

For President Obama's first inauguration, Rep. Danny Davis of Illinois organized a group of more than 700 people — on 10 buses — to make the journey from Chicago to Washington, D.C.

Last time, one of those buses broke down. This time, however, the group decided to take an 18-hour Amtrak ride to see the second presidential inauguration of their hometown hero.

Davis staffer Tumia Romero, who organized the trip, says she did not want to deal with the nightmare of a bus having issues again.

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Inauguration 2013
11:27 pm
Sat January 19, 2013

The Presidential Oath: Not Always Perfect, But It Gets The Job Done

Barack Obama takes the oath of office beside his wife Michelle and daughters Sasha, right, and Malia, at the U.S. Capitol in Washington on Jan. 20, 2009.
Chuck Kennedy AP

Originally published on Sun January 20, 2013 5:20 pm

President Obama takes the oath of office for a second term on Sunday and Monday. By the time he is through Monday, he and President Franklin D. Roosevelt will be the only two presidents to have taken the presidential oath four times — Roosevelt because he was elected four times, and Obama because he will have taken the oath twice the first time and twice the second.

Obama took the oath twice in 2009 because he and Chief Justice John Roberts messed it up a bit the first time and redid it a second time in private to quell any questions about Obama being president.

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It's All Politics
5:47 pm
Sat January 19, 2013

On His Campaign Promises Report Card, Obama Did 'Pretty Well'

Originally published on Sat January 19, 2013 6:25 pm

PolitiFact has been keeping a list — a very long list — on the president's first term.

The Pulitzer Prize-winning political watchdog assesses the veracity of political claims, and this week, it released a report card on the promises Obama made during his first presidential campaign.

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Education
4:40 pm
Sat January 19, 2013

New Reading Standards Aim To Prep Kids For College — But At What Cost?

New education standards place more emphasis on nonfiction reading and writing over fiction works. Some say this could lead students away from a passionate engagement with literature.
Chris Sadowski iStockphoto

Originally published on Sat January 19, 2013 8:17 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.

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