On race, Barack Obama often says he is not president of black America, but of the United States of America. Though he has not avoided the subject during his time in office, he tends not to seek out opportunities to discuss racial issues.
"He wanted to address them in a time and a way that accomplished specific objectives," says Joshua Dubois, who ran the White House's faith-based initiatives during Obama's first term.
Fresh Air Weekend highlights some of the best interviews and reviews from past weeks, and new program elements specially paced for weekends. Our weekend show emphasizes interviews with writers, filmmakers, actors and musicians, and often includes excerpts from live in-studio concerts. This week:
This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. Scott Simon is away. I'm Linda Wertheimer. Members of Congress are back in their home districts this morning at the start of a five-week summer recess. They left town with more of a whimper than a bang. They leave a whole lot of unfinished business. We're joined now by NPR congressional correspondent, Tamara Keith. Welcome.
TAMARA KEITH, BYLINE: Thank you.
WERTHEIMER: Let's start with what the Congress did accomplish. There was student loan legislation. What else?
This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Linda Wertheimer. Since 2000, the Third Coast International Audio Festival has been curating some of the best audio stories from around the world. One of the submission categories is: short documentaries. These are pieces no longer than three minutes. This year's theme for short docs was: appetite. Joining us from member station WBEZ in Chicago to talk about the winners is Third Coast's artistic director Julie Shapiro. Hey, Julie.
With Linda still out at the TCA gathering, TV is much on our minds. And as she noted yesterday, there's a whole big conversation going on about the newer modes of consuming what we still, for lack of a better word, generally call television.
(Actually, we probably don't need a better word, as "television" just means "far-sight" and doesn't have anything to do with broadcast or spectrum or modes of transmission or the technology involved, BUT I DIGRESS.)
In a musty, old row house in the Germantown neighborhood of Philadelphia, Jim Bear is about to begin his radio show.
"Good afternoon, everybody," he says into the microphone. "You're listening to G-town Radio at GtownRadio.com. We are the sound from Germantown."
Right now G-town is just an Internet radio station. But if the folks at G-town Radio are successful, they'll soon be broadcasting their signal over low-power FM, a new class of non-commercial FM radio.
This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Linda Wertheimer. Time now for sports.
(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)
WERTHEIMER: A big week for Major League Baseball. The trade deadline came, the trade deadline went, but the pennant races are close, games were won in the final at-bats, but everyone is still talking about a clinic in Miami - Biogenesis - and the use of performance-enhancing drugs in the major leagues.
To break it down we're joined by Howard Bryant of ESPN.com and ESPN the Magazine. Hi, Howard.
Twenty years ago today, Ted Parker, one of the world's great ornithologists and sound recordists died in a plane crash in Equator. He was only 40. Parker contributed nearly 11,000 wildlife recordings to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology's Macaulay library.
He could identify some 4,000 different bird species by sound alone. In this audio montage, the lab's director, John Fitzpatrick offers a remembrance.
JOHN FITZPATRICK: I've rarely met anybody as passionate about his love of nature and of birds than Ted Parker.
On the Noodle Road is one attempt to answer an old chestnut: Did Marco Polo really bring noodles from China to Italy? If not, where did they really come from? Or — to put it another way — from what point along the storied byways of the Silk Road did that humble paste of flour and water first spring into its multifarious existence?
Greeley, Colo., has an image problem. Actually, it's more of an odor problem.
A meatpacking plant is on the northeast side of town, and when the wind blows just right, you can't miss the smell — a cross between a slaughterhouse, a cow farm with manure and other unidentified odors.
In fact, the city's website says back in the 1960s, folks joked that that odor was merely "the smell of money." One of the town's main industries was, and is, cattle.
Mike Odette, chef and co-owner of Sycamore Restaurant in Columbia, Mo., is trolling the local farmer's market. He usually hunts for ingredients for his next menu, but today he's searching for veggies to take on a picnic.
A slaw using creamy mayonnaise might spoil in the summer heat. So Odette favors a simple summer vinaigrette that's equal parts cider vinegar and sugar. He recommends making it the night before.
"It benefits from sitting in the refrigerator overnight," he says, "so the flavors can develop, and you could even dress your slaw on your picnic."