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The Rev. Al Sharpton, In Six True-False Statements

Activist. Leader. Self-promoter. Shakedown artist. Sharpton has heard all of these claims about him and more over his decades in the public eye. And now, an older and remarkably thinner Sharpton has reinvented himself again, this time as a cable television talk show host.

How Did Tacoma, Wash., Get To Be America's 'Gayest City'?

Every year, The Advocate magazine publishes its list of the "Gayest Cities in America." This year, there were a few surprises.

For Justice Sotomayor, Books Unlocked Imagination

Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor's autobiography, My Beloved World, debuted this week, and NPR's Nina Totenberg sat down with her to talk about her youth and schooling and career. Sotomayor discusses the role that books played in her life, from Nancy Drew to Shakespeare.

Is A Fresh Start In Washington Possible?

Host Scott Simon talks with NPR's Mara Liasson about whether the Obama administration and Congressional Republicans can find some common ground and overcome the political gridlock that characterized much of the president's first term.

House GOP Backs Off Debt Ceiling Demands

House Republicans held their annual retreat this week in Williamsburg, Va., to figure out their next steps. They dropped a demand to have spending cuts for ever dollar the debt ceiling is raised, at least for the next three months. GOP lawmakers are now pinning their hopes for deficit reduction on other looming budget battles.

Trend In Second Inaugural Addresses: They're Not Very Good

President Obama will deliver his second inaugural address from Monday. Baylor University Professor Martin Medhurst tells host Scott Simon that many second inaugural addresses don't live up to the promise of the first. But there is at least one shining exception.

Turning The 'Day Of Service' Into A Longer Commitment

Hundreds of thousands of people are participating in volunteer activities nationwide in honor of President Obama's second inauguration and Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday. But with budgets tightening and volunteerism stagnant, nonprofits hope they'll get a more permanent boost.

How Urban Violence Fits Into Gun-Control Policy

The shootings in Newtown, Conn., ignited calls for gun control, but violence continues in many inner-cities, usually with far less attention. Host Scott Simon talks with David M. Kennedy, director of the Center for Crime Prevention and Control at the John Jay College in New York about how to address inner-city gun violence.