News Archive - August 30, 2011

Bluesman 'Honeyboy' Edwards Has Died

The 96-year-old guitarist was probably the last living link to Mississippi Delta blues.

Little League Champs Receive Warm Homecoming

Huntington Beach, Calif., welcomed home its Little League champions Monday night. Parents, friends and supporters turned out at a city park to celebrate their team's victory over Japan.

Former GM Exec Hopes To Kick-Start Detroit Schools

The school system is looking for an answer to its low achievement, huge debt and declining enrollment with new leadership and ideas. But teachers say they've been left out of the equation.

In Syria, Homs Emerges As Center Of Protest

An increasing number of Syrian soldiers are quitting the army and joining anti-government activists, according to reports from the central city of Homs. For now, the protests remain peaceful, though warnings of an armed response grow.

Vermont Reels In Irene's Wake

Roads and bridges are out in Wilmington, Vt., in the wake of Hurricane Irene. Melissa Block talks with Fred Ventresco, town manager of Wilmington, for more.

Obama Addresses American Legion

President Obama traveled to Minneapolis Tuesday and addressed the annual national conference of the American Legion. Robert Siegel talks to NPR's Mara Liasson for more.

From Cheerleader To Air Force To A New Life

While her peers went to college and joined sororities, Victoria Blumenberg joined the Air Force Reserves. At 18, she was an intelligence analyst briefing air crews in Kuwait. Now 25, Blumenberg is out of the military, and putting her young life together.

Does The Arab Spring Mark A Darker Chapter?

The conflict in Syria has dangerous implications well beyond its borders. Melissa Block speaks to Middle East scholar Vali Nasr, who wrote a recent New York Times op-ed, "If the Arab Spring Turns Ugly." Nasr is also the author of The Shia Revival: How Conflicts Within Islam Will Shape the Future.

Irene Travel Disruptions Continue

Two days after the departure of Irene, traveling up and down the East Coast remains a daunting challenge for many. Some air travelers remain stranded at major airports. And passenger rail service is still disrupted between Philadelphia and New York, one of the most heavily traveled corridors in the country.

Perry, Romney Boost Military, Bash Obama In Texas

The two leading GOP presidential candidates got a warm welcome at the Veterans of Foreign Wars convention in San Antonio this week. Texas Gov. Rick Perry and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney both boasted of their support for the military and aimed their vitriol at President Obama.

Libyan Rebels Set Deadline For Surrender

The rebel fighters have Moammar Gadhafi's forces pinned down in the coastal city of Sirte and say they have until this Saturday to surrender or face a rebel offensive.

Sudan Accused Of Bombing Civilians

Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch say Sudanese planes have been terrorizing civilians in the Nuba mountains region of Southern Kordofan. Researchers from the two human rights groups managed to sneak into the region recently to document what they say have been ongoing and indiscriminate air strikes in the region. Sudan claims that the newly independent country of South Sudan is fomenting unrest in Kordofan. Human rights groups say there is an armed conflict in the region, but that doesn't excuse attacks on civilians.

Two Top Justice Department Officials Resign

Two top Justice Department officials resign on the same day as Republicans in Congress vow not to let up on their oversight of a failed law enforcement operation known as Fast and Furious. Robert Siegel talks to NPR's Carrie Johnson for more.

Could The International Space Station Be Abandoned?

The International Space Station, which has been constantly manned since 2000, may have to be abandoned later this year following the launch failure of a Russian rocket last week. Until the problem with that rocket is resolved, there will be no way to get astronauts to the station. Robert Siegel speaks with Dr. Leroy Chiao, a former NASA astronaut, about what that would mean to the station — and the six astronauts currently on board.

Libya Offers Obama Vindication, But Not Doctrine

The past five months brought a great deal of controversy and criticism to the White House's handling of Libya. Now, with the apparent ouster of Moammar Gadhafi, the administration is claiming some vindication. Even so, the president's critics say success isn't enough; they want a clearer road map of his foreign policy.

Obama's New Economic Adviser A Promising Choice?

As jobs are among Americans' most pressing concerns now, President Obama announced Monday that he has picked Princeton labor economist Alan Kreuger to be the Chairman of the White House Council of Economic Advisers. To explore what Kreuger can do for the economy, Michel Martin speaks with Susan Collins, Professor of Economics and Dean of Michigan's Ford School.

Race, Violence ... Justice? Looking Back At Jena 6

In August 2006, a black student in Jena, La. asked if he could sit under a tree on campus or if it was reserved for whites. Three nooses hung from the tree the next day. In December, six black boys brutally beat a white student, and five of the suspects were charged with attempted murder. Black talk radio hosts and civil rights leaders nationwide protested the charges. Have the demonstrations helped move the U.S. closer to racial justice? Host Michel Martin speaks with Stanford Law School Professor Richard Ford and radio talk host Warren Ballentine.

Guiding Children Through Religion

Some parents feel responsible to shape their children's religious foundations while others prefer to let kids explore faith for themselves. Host Michel Martin explores the complications of spiritual parenting with Asra Nomani, professor of journalism at Georgetown University; Kara Powell, author of Sticky Faith: Everyday Ideas to Build Lasting Faith in Your Kids; and Regina Brett, author of God Never Blinks.

Syrian Protesters Under Siege

On Monday, Syria's closest ally Iran called on President Bashar al-Assad to listen to the "legitimate demands" of demonstrators. Today, Syrian government forces reportedly opened fire on protesters as worshipers exited mosques, marking Ramadan's end. To learn about Syria and the violence there, host Michel Martin speaks with members of Al Jazeera International and the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

Libyan Rebels Wary Of Sub-Saharan Africans

Now that Moammar Gadhafi's regime has lost control of the Libyan capital Tripoli, some Africans have been left vulnerable to attack. Many rebels believe any dark man from sub-Saharan Africa is a Gadhafi mercenary. The Africans say they are in Libya either as laborers or waiting to get to Italy. The International Organization for Migration says their plight is a significant problem.

Uninsured Largely Unaware Of Benefits Coming From Overhaul

A new poll finds that only half of uninsured people are aware that help is on the way from the federal health overhaul. Fewer than a third say they think the law will help them obtain health insurance.

In Irene, Politicians Navigate Tides Of Public Opinion

President Obama, like every other politician in America, has the lessons of Hurricane Katrina seared into his memory. During and after Hurricane Irene, he and his team appeared on top of the situation. But natural disasters are one of the ironies of politics — a competent response won't help much, but an incompetent one can really hurt.

On Syrian-Sponsored Trip, Everyone Stays On Script

As the international community ratchets up criticism of Syria for its violent crackdown on anti-government protesters, the country is becoming more and more isolated. A recent Syrian government-sponsored tour was called Syria is fine. Minders monitored reporters every move.

Walter Reed Center's Closure May Be A Boon To D.C.

Washington is poised to take over a large chunk of valuable land after the Walter Reed Army Medical Center closes. There are many proposals for how to use it — from dog parks to retail space. But none of the ideas is likely to happen anytime soon.

Costs Of Irene Add Up As FEMA Runs Out Of Cash

It's not yet certain what the total cost of Hurricane Irene will be, but it's likely to add up to several billion dollars. That means tough choices for the Federal Emergency Management Agency, which has had to deal with a string of natural disasters this year.

Gadhafi Family Members Flee Libya To Algeria

Many of Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi's family members have turned up in Algeria. It's not known if Gadhafi is with them. The Algerian Foreign Ministry said in a statement that Gadhafi's wife Safia, his sons Hannibal and Mohammed, and his daughter Aisha entered the country across the land border.

Female Vets Navigate Post-War Stress, Home Duties

America's female veteran population has grown to an estimated 1.9 million, and the Department of Veterans Affairs projects 50,000 more servicewomen will join that population in the next five years. When they return, many will pick up where they left off, as mothers, wives and caretakers.

France Wants To Be A Player In 'New Middle East'

After taking the lead in efforts to drive Moammar Gadhafi from power in Libya, France appears set on playing a bigger role on the international stage. President Nicolas Sarkozy is pressing for the U.N. Security Council to act against Syrian President Bashar Assad, who has brutally cracked down on his people. France will also try to extend its influence on the Middle East peace process.

Immigrant Witness Says U.S. Reneged On Protection

Ten years ago, an Albanian immigrant agreed to help the Justice Department build a case against an accused mobster. In exchange, he says, federal prosecutors promised him a green card and protection for his family. Now the informant says the U.S. reneged on its commitment — with violent results.