Browsing articles from "September, 2016"

Before ‘Humans Of New York,’ Studs Terkel Showed Dignity In Every People In ‘Working’

Sep 26, 2016   //   by Administrator   //   News from US  //  Comments Off on Before ‘Humans Of New York,’ Studs Terkel Showed Dignity In Every People In ‘Working’



MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

We’re going to spend the next couple of minutes talking about work and what work means. In a few minutes, we’ll hear from the author of a new book about the African-American women who found work with NASA and, against all odds, became instrumental to the first manned trip to space. The book is called “Hidden Figures,” and my conversation with author Margot Lee Shetterly is coming up. We’ll also hear about the performer who gives a voice to working people in song, Bruce Springsteen. He has a new memoir, and we’ll hear about that.

But first, we want to listen to some of the interviews that inspired a best-seller and a musical about work more than 40 years ago. In the early 1970s, author Studs Terkel went around the country interviewing people about their jobs, most of them not very glamorous.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

STUDS TERKEL: How would you describe your work?

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN #1: I’m a processing clerk.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

UNIDENTIFIED MAN #1: I’m a carpenter from South Carolina.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

UNIDENTIFIED MAN #2: Boring, monotonous.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN #2: Your mouth gets tired, tired of talking.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

UNIDENTIFIED MAN #3: I started working when I was about 12 years old.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

UNIDENTIFIED MAN #4: I mean, you got to work. Nothing wrong with it – people have been doing it for years.

MARTIN: The result was a book called “Working.” It became a best-seller and even inspired a Broadway musical. “Working” struck a chord for the same reason a project like the popular Humans Of New York blog does now. It revealed the dignity and even the poetry in the lives of people you see all around you. But almost none of the actual interviews conducted by Studs Terkel have ever been heard until now. For decades, the reel-to-reel tapes were packed away in Terkel’s home office. Our partner, Radio Diaries, along with Project , went through them for this series, Working Then and Now. Today, we hear Terkel’s interview with Eddie Jaffe, a legendary New York press agent famous for publicity stunts on behalf of his clients.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

TERKEL: So how many years have you been a press agent, roughly?

EDDIE JAFFE: Well, you know, I started 32 years ago. And in the course of the years, I did everything from strippers to a thing called roller derby, Hell on Wheels, from gangsters to Billy Graham.

TERKEL: Really? Gangsters to Billy Graham?

JAFFE: Yeah.

TERKEL: You handled both?

JAFFE: Yeah. But don’t forget, Studs, that I spent most of my life learning techniques that are of no value anymore.

TERKEL: What does that mean?

JAFFE: A client would come to me and say, I want to be a star. Get me attention. And I – maybe I’d get her in Life magazine. Today, she can go on the “Carson” show – if she can get on there – and get more attention that I could’ve gotten her in a year. And this has helped destroy press agentry as we knew it.

TERKEL: Well, in these 30 years of being quite an imaginative press agent, you feel you’ve done meaningful work?

JAFFE: Well, there was a physical kick out of seeing things you’re responsible for in the papers. But being a publicity man is a confession of weakness, in a way. In other words, it’s for people who don’t have the guts to try to get attention for themselves. You spend your whole life telling the world how great somebody else is, and this is a frustrating thing.

TERKEL: Your imagination, you know, the ideas you had, do you feel it could’ve been used some other way?

JAFFE: Oh, sure. I mean, almost everybody, I think, looks back on their life and says, I wasted it. And being a press agent gives you a far greater opportunity to do this than almost any other occupation, you know?

(SOUNDBITE OF PHONE RINGING)

JAFFE: I’ll tell them five. I’ll be out in five minutes.

TERKEL: Eddie, it’s OK.

MARTIN: Eddie Jaffe interviewed by Studs Terkel. Jaffe died in 2003 at the age of 89. Terkel died in 2008 at the age of 96. Our thanks to Radio Diaries podcast and to the Studs Terkel Archive at WFMT. Tomorrow on Morning Edition, Lev (ph) and Al give Studs Terkel some tips and tricks about parking cars in Chicago.

Copyright © 2016 NPR. All rights reserved. Visit our website terms of use and permissions pages at www.npr.org for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by Verb8tm, Inc., an NPR contractor, and produced using a proprietary transcription process developed with NPR. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.

Remembering Stanley ‘Buckwheat’ Dural Jr., A Legend In Lousiana’s Zydeco Music

Sep 26, 2016   //   by Administrator   //   News from US  //  Comments Off on Remembering Stanley ‘Buckwheat’ Dural Jr., A Legend In Lousiana’s Zydeco Music



(SOUNDBITE OF BUCKWHEAT ZYDECO SONG, “ZYDECO LA LOUISIANEE”)

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

You know that we often try to take note of the deaths of people who’ve made a mark on history or politics, in the culture or in sports. Frankly, we can’t get to them all, but we do feel a special obligation to note those you might have missed. So today, we want to tell you about a legend in zydeco, a musical genre born in the bayous of Louisiana. Stanley Buckwheat Dural, Jr. died on Saturday. He was 68 years old. He was known as an ambassador for Louisiana roots music with its accordion, washboard and infectious fast-paced energy.

(SOUNDBITE OF BUCKWHEAT ZYDECO SONG, “ZYDECO LA LOUISIANEE”)

MARTIN: Dural died of lung cancer in Lafayette, La., yesterday. Here he is speaking with NPR’s Scott Simon back in 2009.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED BROADCAST)

STANLEY DURAL, JR: I was raised in a home with music surrounded. My father played accordion, only for family entertainment. My mother sang spiritually in the home. I was raised with seven sisters and six brothers and in a two-bedroom home. And I was always into music. And I played piano at the age of 5 till 9, when I got my first organ.

SCOTT SIMON, BYLINE: So how did you meet the zydeco?

DURAL: Well, I was introduced to a gentleman called Clifton Chenier, the king of zydeco. And he was one of my father’s best friends. And he played the accordion, and my dad tell me that I need to play the accordion but like Clifton Chenier.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, “ZYDECO BOOGALOO”)

BUCKWHEAT ZYDECO: All right…

DURAL: I decided to go and perform with Clifton Chenier for one night right here in Lafayette at Ammons (ph). And I put my organ on stage, the Hammond organ, and we played for four hours nonstop. And he was telling people goodnight, and I couldn’t believe it. And I thought we had just got on stage. That’s how much energy he had projected. I wound up staying with Clifton over two years. I said, next band I’ll get – I’ll be playing accordion.

(SOUNDBITE OF BUCKWHEAT ZYDECO SONG, “TEE NAH NAH”)

MARTIN: And so he did. In 1979, Dural started his own band, Buckwheat Zydeco. And in 30 years of touring and recording, he took the zydeco from the bayous of Louisiana to stages around the world. We’d like to say one more time to Mr. Dural, laissez les bons temps rouler.

Copyright © 2016 NPR. All rights reserved. Visit our website terms of use and permissions pages at www.npr.org for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by Verb8tm, Inc., an NPR contractor, and produced using a proprietary transcription process developed with NPR. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.

Off Stage And Inside The Life Of ‘The Boss’ Battling With Depression

Sep 26, 2016   //   by Administrator   //   World News  //  Comments Off on Off Stage And Inside The Life Of ‘The Boss’ Battling With Depression



(SOUNDBITE OF BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN SONG, “BORN IN THE U.S.A.”)

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Now it’s time for our segment called Words You’ll Hear. And that’s where we take a word or a phrase that we think will be in the news in the coming days and let you know what it’s all about. And this week, our words are the boss.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, “BORN IN THE U.S.A.”)

BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN: (Singing) Born down in a dead man’s town. The first kick I took was when I hit the ground. End up like a dog…

MARTIN: Yes, none other than Bruce Springsteen, the Rock and Roll Hall of Famer, the beloved son of New Jersey has sold more than 120 million albums worldwide. But this week, he’s expressing himself in a different way. His 500-page memoir called – what else? – “Born To Run” is published this week. Springsteen is on the cover of Vanity Fair’s October issue, and I’m joined now by David Kamp, who wrote the piece about Springsteen’s book for the magazine.

David, thanks so much for speaking with us.

DAVID KAMP: Good to be with you, Michel.

MARTIN: Now, just to be clear, your piece with Vanity Fair is not a book review. But you read the book. You know, just a couple of questions. First of all, why now? Why is this the time for him to write this work?

KAMP: Well, it isn’t exactly now. It began in 2009. He’d done the Super Bowl halftime show with the E Street Band, and that experience, even for someone as seasoned a performer as him, through him for a loop. And he thought, wow, this is a funny experience that warrants some writing. So he actually wrote a little blog post for his springsteen.net website, and he said, I discovered a good voice to write in. Just from that exercise, that’s 2009. And then he starts writing a little bit more, and in drips and drabs over the next few years, he says, hey, I’ve got a memoir.

MARTIN: Now, the news about the book that’s surfaced so far – you know, you’ve read it, most of us have not – is that he’s very open about his history with mental illness. Can you talk a little bit about that?

KAMP: Of course. And, yeah, that’s the natural headline because for anyone in public to speak of clinical depression, that’s really a big deal when someone like that opens up not just about depression, Michel, but ongoing clinical depression, meaning he’s not just talking about, oh, I had a bad spell back in the early ’80s. He talks about how, you know, the ages – age 60 to 62 was rough, then it was good for a year. Then from 63 to 64 I had another bad period. And I think he made this choice to talk about this in the book both out of his innate honesty, but also I think to show that depression is a real thing that can be talked about and it doesn’t need to be a stigma.

MARTIN: You say in your piece that his wife, who’s also a member of the band, Patti Scialpha, says she wasn’t altogether comfortable with him disclosing this. I was really curious about that, the fact that she was honest enough to tell you that. Why do you think she was uncomfortable with it?

KAMP: Well, Patti said the very exercise of Bruce doing this book is uncharacteristic. I said what do you mean? She said, he’s not a gabber, meaning he’s not someone who would be at a cocktail party schmoozing and being effervescent. He’s a brooder.

But when he sets his mind to doing something, whether it’s writing a group of songs or writing this book, she respects his artistic integrity. So she said, you know, it’s just like writing songs. You’re not going to get in the way of that process. You find yourself through writing. And she said this applies to her, too. She herself has experienced some clinical depression. And so she said while I’m Bruce’s rock, I also understand the need to acknowledge this.

MARTIN: You know, you interviewed Springsteen also in person at length for the piece in Sweden, I take it – right? – while they were on tour?

KAMP: Right, because the – he and the E Street Band were touring all summer in Europe, so I went to Gothenburg, Sweden.

MARTIN: I’m tempted to ask you a fake, pretend smart question about it. But really, my only question is how cool was that, and how come I can’t have your life?

KAMP: (Laughter) Well, I love your eloquence in asking that question – how cool was that? That’s good interviewing technique – no, but it is because of course it was cool. And what was even cooler was to have this perch stage-side in a big soccer stadium so you can actually see a bit of what he sees, which is 60,000 people waving their arms in unison, singing the lyrics of “Born To Run,” singing it back to you onstage. That was cool.

MARTIN: David Kamp wrote about the boss, Bruce Springsteen, in the October issue of Vanity Fair. Bruce Springsteen’s new book “Born To Run” comes out this week. David, thanks so much for speaking with us.

KAMP: My pleasure, Michel.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, “BORN TO RUN”)

SPRINGSTEEN: (Singing) Oh, baby, this town rips the bones from your back. It’s a death trap. It’s a suicide wrap. We got to get out while we’re young ’cause tramps like us, baby, we were born to run.

Copyright © 2016 NPR. All rights reserved. Visit our website terms of use and permissions pages at www.npr.org for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by Verb8tm, Inc., an NPR contractor, and produced using a proprietary transcription process developed with NPR. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.

Golfer Arnold Palmer, Who Gave New Life To A Staid Game, Dies At 87

Sep 26, 2016   //   by Administrator   //   World News  //  Comments Off on Golfer Arnold Palmer, Who Gave New Life To A Staid Game, Dies At 87

Arnold Palmer acknowledges the crowd after hitting the ceremonial first tee shot at the 2007 Masters tournament.

David J. Phillip/ASSOCIATED PRESS


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David J. Phillip/ASSOCIATED PRESS

Arnold Palmer acknowledges the crowd after hitting the ceremonial first tee shot at the 2007 Masters tournament.

David J. Phillip/ASSOCIATED PRESS

Golfing legend Arnold Palmer has died at 87.

He died Sunday evening at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center Shadyside, a tertiary care hospital in Pittsburgh. NPR confirmed his death with UPMC’s media relations manager, Stephanie Stanley. The United States Golf Association announced Palmer’s death via Twitter.

Palmer won 62 PGA Tour events, fifth on the all-time list. He won golf’s biggest titles: the Masters, the U.S. Open, the British Open. He won seven majors in all.

But it wasn’t just the numbers that made Palmer an iconic sports figure.

He wasn’t the greatest male golfer of all time. That title usually prompts a debate about Jack Nicklaus or Tiger Woods or Ben Hogan, maybe Sam Snead. But the most important player? It’s fairly unanimous that Arnold Palmer was, true to his nickname, the King.

Palmer strapped a moldy, staid game on his back and gave it new life. He ignited golf’s popularity in the 1960s as he became the sport’s first TV star.

“He was someone who looked like an NFL halfback,” says ESPN.com senior writer Ian O’Connor. “He had arms like a blacksmith and giant hands, and he had those rugged good looks. And he was just a different golfer. Nobody had ever really seen anything like him in that sport.”

Palmer’s arrival as a champion pro in the late 1950s dovetailed with the emerging medium of television.

Whether he was winning tournaments or pitching products, Palmer’s looks, athleticism and talent made him a natural for TV.

Arnold Palmer, left, and his friend and often-rival Jack Nicklaus, after winning a team event in 1966 in West Palm Beach, Fla.

Toby Massey/ASSOCIATED PRESS


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Toby Massey/ASSOCIATED PRESS

Arnold Palmer, left, and his friend and often-rival Jack Nicklaus, after winning a team event in 1966 in West Palm Beach, Fla.

Toby Massey/ASSOCIATED PRESS

But that was only part of what transformed admiring fans into a devoted following that became known as Arnie’s Army.

The Working-Class Kid Who Popularized An Upper-Class Sport

Palmer grew up in a working-class home in Latrobe, Pa., and ultimately he brought the game to the same kinds of people.

“Golf was always considered a blue blood, country club, elitist sport,” says O’Connor. “Arnold Palmer gave the sport to people who worked for members of the country club set.”

He’d play with his shirt tail hanging out. He’d flick away a cigarette before hitting, then swing for the fences and grimace like an average duffer if the result was bad. O’Connor says the class conflict was a motivating factor in Palmer’s career.

Palmer hangs his head after a double bogey on the ninth hole during the third round of the PGA Championship in Ligonier, Pa., in 1965.

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Palmer hangs his head after a double bogey on the ninth hole during the third round of the PGA Championship in Ligonier, Pa., in 1965.

wfa/AP

So was Palmer’s dad, known as Deacon.

Milfred J. “Deacon” Palmer was a greenskeeper, golf pro and, Arnold often said, the man who taught him everything he knew. Deacon was known for his honesty, and toughness. Especially with his son.

“He was tough on me. He never backed off,” Palmer said in a 2015 interview. “He played tough, worked hard, and he died a tough guy. He played 27 holes of golf the day he passed.”

It was Deacon who introduced Arnold to golf, with the instructions, “Hit it hard, boy. Go find it and hit it again.”

Palmer’s mom Doris softened the hard edges. A friendly woman, golf historians say Doris Palmer gave Arnold his people skills, which were a critical part of his legacy.

A Genuinely Nice Guy

“I’ve often said that Arnold puts up with people that neither you or I would put up with,” says Doc Giffin.

He was Palmer’s personal assistant for more than 50 years. Giffin remembers the many moments of Palmer walking among throngs of fans as he strode down fairways – the King and his army. Or Palmer talking to people in the gallery, joking with them, making paying customers feel like he wanted them there at the course.

Palmer would also take great care when signing autographs. One of his pet peeves was modern day athletes scribbling their names. Illegible autographs, Palmer thought, cheapened the fan’s experience.

But judging by his golfing success, Palmer knew when to tune out the adoring masses and focus on himself.

Most of the time.

There was that final hole of the final round of the 1961 Masters. Palmer had a one-stroke lead.

“And [he] had the ball in the fairway at the 18th hole,” Giffin says, “and he saw a friend of his over at the ropes who waved him over. And he walked over there instead of staying with his golf ball. And the man congratulated him on winning his second straight Masters [Palmer won in 1960]. He said, ‘Thank you,’ went back to his ball, and knocked it in the trap.”

Palmer, center, signs autographs at the Texas Open in 1962.

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Palmer, center, signs autographs at the Texas Open in 1962.

Ted Powers/ASSOCIATED PRESS

Palmer ended up with a six on the par four, and he walked off the final green one stroke behind.

“And lost the Masters that it looked like he had it in the bag,” Giffin says. “And he said, ‘I’ll never let that happen again.’ And he learned his lesson.”

Palmer made amends a year later at the same tournament. In a playoff, he made a back-nine charge to win the 1962 Masters.

Arnie And Jack

Our greatest sports heroes often have a foil. In Palmer’s case, it was Jack Nicklaus.

In his book Arnie and Jack, Ian O’Connor chronicles a 50-year duel on golf courses and boardrooms, as the two men competed in the business world as well. Personality-wise, they were, at least in the early years of their rivalry, polar opposites. Palmer was the people’s champ — gregarious, comfortable in crowds, a go-for-broke style of player. Nicklaus, about 10 years younger, was reserved, some say aloof and more scientific about the game.

Nicklaus easily beat Palmer in the record books. His 18 major titles still are the most anyone’s won. Palmer had seven. But Palmer had the adoring fans.

For all their battles through the 1960s, O’Connor says it was a moment in the early 2000s that prompted him to write his book.

Palmer and Nicklaus were well past their primes. O’Connor figures Arnie was in his early 70s and Jack, early 60s. They were paired together for a round at the Masters.

“They were putting on a green and Arnold finished,” O’Connor remembers, “and he picked up his ball and he walked over to the fans circling the green, and he sat down in a guy’s chair. Everyone got a big laugh. Meanwhile, Jack is standing over a putt and he’s grinding. He’s trying to make the cut, trying to contend, trying to win despite his age!”

Palmer, right, with Jack Nicklaus at the Masters in 2016.

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Palmer, right, with Jack Nicklaus at the Masters in 2016.

Charlie Riedel/AP

“And he looked up and he shot Arnold a really angry stare. If looks could kill! And I happened to be there and it struck me that these guys have been battling, on and off the course, for so long. It’s probably the greatest rivalry in the sport’s history. That was the first seed [of the book].”

O’Connor says the two men competed on golf course design projects; they even competed for status as the top ambassador of the game.

But O’Connor says there’s no question the rivalry was tempered by friendship.

“I think deep down,” says O’Connor, “Jack knows he couldn’t have been Jack without Arnie and Arnie knows he couldn’t have been Arnie without Jack. There is respect and affection there.”

Touched By A King

Palmer was a friend of presidents, but a man who never forgot his roots. He lived half the year in his native Latrobe. His dual appeal — charisma and humility — didn’t organically turn Palmer into a global, celebrity athlete. That happened with the help of Mark McCormack, whose IMG became the biggest sports marketing company in the world. Palmer was McCormack’s first major client.

While the two of them spread Palmer’s fame, golf started to boom. The number of players and courses increased dramatically in the 1960s. By some accounts, in the early part of the decade, Palmer’s heyday, 350 to 400 new courses were built each year.

It wasn’t all Palmer’s doing. But he lit a fuse. With equal parts swagger and humility when he played.

And a smile for strangers who came to the course to watch a golfer, and left feeling like they’d been touched by a King.

After Mall Shooting Kills 5, Police On The Hunt For The Gunman

Sep 25, 2016   //   by Administrator   //   News from US  //  Comments Off on After Mall Shooting Kills 5, Police On The Hunt For The Gunman



MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

We’re going to turn now to another developing story in the suburbs of Seattle. Police are still searching for a gunman who walked into Macy’s last night in a shopping mall in Burlington, Wash., and killed four women and a man. A manhunt is underway for the shooter, police said, in a press conference earlier today. Ross Reynolds from member station KUOW went to that press conference, and he’s with us now from Burlington. Ross, thank you so much for joining us.

ROSS REYNOLDS, BYLINE: Good afternoon.

MARTIN: So Ross, what can you tell us about the suspect?

REYNOLDS: They say the suspect is in his late teens or early 20s. He came in in a black T-shirt and black shorts. They described him as Hispanic. And when I asked why they had that descriptor, they said, well, just from these pictures. They have found no one to talk to who recognized this person. So it is an unidentified person who went in, shot five people to death and then walked out and vanished into the night.

MARTIN: I understand that the police are saying he did not appear to have the gun with him when he first entered the mall.

REYNOLDS: This is an interesting aspect of this. They have photos of him entering the mall without the gun. Ten minutes later, he was in that Macy’s at the cosmetics counter and killing five people.

MARTIN: Can you tell us any more about what steps authorities are taking to find this person?

REYNOLDS: They’re hoping for some help from the public by putting out pictures of this individual when he was at the mall. They’re hoping someone’s going to recognize him and provide them with some clues. But it’s been kind of radio silence since this morning here. They’re obviously working on the case.

Meanwhile, the entire mall has been shut down until pretty late this afternoon. Everyone who was in the mall – a very large 400,000-square-foot mall – had to leave their automobiles. Just this afternoon they were able to come pick them up and take them away. They have not identified the victims yet, either. So it’s a little hard to figure out what the connection may have been between the shooter and those people.

MARTIN: If any, if any. Can I ask you, Ross, though, how – I understand this is a developing story and you’ve been following this, you know, all day, since it occurred. But how are people reacting to this? I mean, you can’t help but recall that this happened – there was another attack on a mall in Minnesota just a few days ago. Circumstances are different that in that case the assailant was killed by an off-duty police officer who was at the mall, and his motivation seems to have been one connected to politics. But does the – does that – is that hanging over the – is that hanging over people there? Are people thinking about that?

REYNOLDS: It certainly is. Across the street from the mall where the shooting took place, I went to a grocery store that was actually quite lively. Boy Scouts were selling popcorn in the front lobby. And the people I spoke to were just shocked that this could happen in the small town of Burlington. They said – a couple of people said to me, it seems like kids just don’t value life. And you can leave home and not know if you’re going to return.

So there was just a lot of concern about it. Also some questions about the police department’s actions. One person said, there was a police department right over here. Why weren’t they there quicker? And another person said to me, no, no, no, this happened so fast. The police did not have time to jump in and do anything to stop it.

MARTIN: That’s Ross Reynolds from member station KUOW. Ross, thanks so much for joining us.

REYNOLDS: You’re so welcome.

Copyright © 2016 NPR. All rights reserved. Visit our website terms of use and permissions pages at www.npr.org for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by Verb8tm, Inc., an NPR contractor, and produced using a proprietary transcription process developed with NPR. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.

A Glimpse Of History, As Museun Of African-American History Opens

Sep 25, 2016   //   by Administrator   //   News from US  //  Comments Off on A Glimpse Of History, As Museun Of African-American History Opens



MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Now to a major event in Washington, D.C., today – the opening of the National Museum of African American History and Culture. It opened today on the National Mall. President Obama was just one of the thousands of people who attended the grand opening ceremony.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

BARACK OBAMA: …That African-American history is not somehow separate from our larger American story. It’s not the underside of the American story. It is central to the American story.

MARTIN: NPR’s Sam Sanders was also there today. He walked the Mall and talked to many visitors. And he’s made the short trip back to headquarters to tell us about it. Hi, Sam.

SAM SANDERS, BYLINE: Hey, Michel.

MARTIN: So what was the scene out there today?

SANDERS: So there were two scenes. There was a VIP section near the stage outside the museum full of celebrities and dignitaries – President Obama, former President George W. Bush and his wife Laura, Oprah, Colin Powell, Tuskegee Airmen. But then, there were thousands of more people who were on the Mall watching on Jumbotrons there on the grass. The folks that I talked to enjoyed the ceremony, but many noted that it comes at a kind of strange time for the country, given that this has been such a year full of racial unrest. I talked to one woman named Cynthia Kain.

CYNTHIA KAIN: Today felt like it was full of contradictions because all week we’re bombarded with how black men are being killed in our country, and yet we’re asked to celebrate our culture and our contributions on the Mall. So today felt a little bit strange.

SANDERS: So Kain said that she hopes the museum and its opening reminds the country that there is still work to be done to live up to its ideals.

MARTIN: You mentioned that there were thousands of people there today. But not a lot of them will actually get in to see the museum – at least not today.

SANDERS: That is very true. Most of them won’t get in. There’s a waitlist that is still months-long. There are some folks that have gotten tickets, but even they won’t get in until November or December. The museum is trying to get everyone in at some point, though. They have extra-long hours for the opening.

You know, but lots of people that haven’t gone inside today have been reading up on the museum. I talked with one woman named Barbara Fazio-McGrory. She came down from New York. She’ll get in on Monday, and she’s really looking forward to seeing the museum’s unique layout. It starts underground and walks visitors up to the top floor kind of through black history.

BARBARA FAZIO-MCGRORY: The literal darkness of the ground floor, talking about slavery, pictures of people whipped, people hanging from trees, it just makes me very emotional to know that that’s there. But then the uplifting of the Yoruba crown and the uplifting to the fifth floor is about the struggle down there and where we are now – not that it’s over, it’s never going to be over – but there’s hope and light and life.

SANDERS: So she told me that the country kind of needs this right now, a bright spot in a year that’s been really full of divisive politics in a very nasty election.

MARTIN: So now that the museum is officially open, what’s next?

SANDERS: There’s a music festival this weekend; it’s got Public Enemy, The Roots and lots of others. And the museum is still being actively curated. There were over 30,000 artifacts submitted and only about 3,000 on display right now. So the museum that people see this weekend might not be the museum that you see a year from now. They’re going to be cycling all that stuff throughout.

MARTIN: That’s NPR’s Sam Sanders. Sam, thank you.

SANDERS: Thank you, Michel.

Copyright © 2016 NPR. All rights reserved. Visit our website terms of use and permissions pages at www.npr.org for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by Verb8tm, Inc., an NPR contractor, and produced using a proprietary transcription process developed with NPR. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.

Barbershop: Police Shootings And Race Relations

Sep 25, 2016   //   by Administrator   //   World News  //  Comments Off on Barbershop: Police Shootings And Race Relations



MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

So let’s talk a bit more about some of the issues Sam Sanders just mentioned. We’ll go to our Barbershop roundtable for that. That’s where we gather a group of interesting folks to talk about what’s in the news and what’s on their minds. Sitting in the chairs for a shape-up this weekend are Arun Venugopal. He is a reporter for WNYC. He has a new podcast called The United States Of Anxiety, and he’s with us from the Radio Foundation studios in New York City. Welcome, Arun.

ARUN VENUGOPAL, BYLINE: Thank you, Michel.

MARTIN: And also here in Washington, D.C., Ron Christie. He’s an adjunct professor at Georgetown University and a former adviser to Vice President Dick Cheney and President George W. Bush. Welcome back to you as well.

RON CHRISTIE: Good to see you.

CHRISTIE: And last but certainly not least, Jolene Ivey. She’s a former representative to the Maryland House of Delegates and a Barbershop regular. Good to see you again, Jolene.

JOLENE IVEY: Hey, Michel.

MARTIN: So as we just heard, this weekend has been this strange juxtaposition of emotions and events touching on race in our country. There is this – the police shootings of two different black men in two different cities and the unrest in one of those cities in Charlotte, N.C., and at the same time, this truly monumental event, the opening of this Smithsonian Museum of African American History and Culture. So I’m going to ask you to start with that first story.

In Tulsa, Okla., a police officer named Betty Shelby was just charged with first-degree manslaughter on Thursday, less than a week after she shot and killed an unarmed black man. And as we reported earlier, another African-American man named Keith Lamont Scott was shot and killed on Tuesday by a police officer in Charlotte, N.C. We’re still watching for developments. This is Charlotte Police Chief Kerr Putney.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

KERR PUTNEY: The reason for the encounter is because laws were broken. And the possession of a weapon with that law violation caused the officers to escalate their attention onto him. They were specifically looking for somebody wanted. That’s why they were there.

MARTIN: So the details of these two incidents are obviously very different. I mean, for one thing, the police officer in the Charlotte case was evidently African-American. By contrast, the officer in the Tulsa case was white. But they’re similar – there’s some video footage, there’s been a strong public response. So there’s a lot to talk about here. I’m just going to ask each of you just to give me your reactions. Ron Christie, do you want to start?

CHRISTIE: Well, it’s troubling. It’s troubling when you see people who are in the wrong side of law enforcement and they lose their lives as a result of the encounter with law enforcement. But it’s the lawyer in me, Michel, that says that we need to take a step back and not rush to judgment. We need to ascertain what all the facts are. We need to understand what led these law enforcement officers to come in contact with these individuals who, sadly, lost their lives and determine whether or not a crime was committed. My worry is that there are so many folks out there saying, oh, it’s unjustified black shooting. Let’s take the race out of it. Let’s take whether it was justified out or not. And let’s ascertain what the facts are first before enflaming what is already a very, very volatile situation in America.

MARTIN: Jolene.

IVEY: Well, it seems to me it almost doesn’t matter the race of the police officer. What matters is the culture in policing. And it seems to me that there is a view that, number one, black men particularly are dangerous. I mean, you see that right away. We heard that with the helicopter footage when the person is kind of giving a step-by-step what’s going on with the – I believe it was the Charlotte situation…

MARTIN: No, the helicopter situation was Tulsa.

IVEY: OK, was Tulsa – so you heard him say, oh, that’s a bad dude. Well, how can you tell me it’s a bad dude? It’s just a big black man. I mean, he’s a bad dude? So the view number one is that a black man is going to be a bad dude, number one. And then beyond that, I mean, this instant absolute obedience that if you don’t get it as a police officer immediately then you can just shoot the person. And that doesn’t seem reasonable to me. That seems crazy because people have a lot of reasons that – perhaps they can’t hear you, they’re having a medical emergency. There are a lot of reasons why you wouldn’t instantly and immediately be obedient or you just feel I’m within my rights. But just to feel like you can just shoot anybody just because they didn’t immediately jump when you told them to is not reasonable.

MARTIN: Arun, what about you? What does this bring up for you?

VENUGOPAL: Well, I mean, I think transparency is critical here. I do think it’s impossible to separate race from this. There are so many people out there, I think, who are just growing increasingly cynical. And you have to be guarding against the possibility that they will think that the system serves no purpose, you know, the legal system, the judicial system, their legislators don’t serve them any purpose. There’s a famous quote by Dr. King, you know, a riot is the language of the unheard or something to that effect. And I think that’s what you’re worrying about is that populations of African-American youth and the like in various cities are going to think that no matter what happens, they’re never going to know the full story. And transparency, I think, guards against that.

MARTIN: You know, it’s an interesting time, as we said earlier, because while – just in the very same week that we’re dealing with another one of these very draining and emotional and disturbing incidents – actually two – that this is when the new Smithsonian Museum of African American History and Culture opens not far from our studios in D.C. Ron, I’m going to go to you again first on this because you were in the White House in 2003 when George W. Bush passed the legislation, signed the legislation to make this new museum a reality, so thank you. But…

(LAUGHTER)

CHRISTIE: (Laughter) You’re welcome.

MARTIN: How do you feel seeing this come to fruition?

CHRISTIE: This is a very emotional day for me. My second day in the White House, the vice president asked me to look into this and to reach out to Sam Brownback and John Lewis and the other co-sponsors of the bill and see whether or not this was something that the administration could support. And then a couple of years later, standing in the Oval Office with the president and John Lewis and so many other folks who have fought for the struggle since 1915 to open this museum, and to be there today with President Bush, with President Obama – overwhelmingly emotional for me. And it’s just amazing that an effort that has gone on for a century, we now finally have come to fruition of opening this wonderful museum.

MARTIN: Jolene, what about you? What does this bring up for you?

IVEY: Well, for me it’s a few things. One, my dad was a history teacher, and I know how important this would be for him, if he were here. But also, when I think about the history of our country, this isn’t exactly reparations, this museum, but it’s kind of validation of what we’ve been through. And it seems like we have all of these Confederate monuments that we’re discussing in the news these days. Some of them – or all of them, in my opinion – need to come down. But we don’t even have hardly any monuments at all. So thank God for this museum that’ll serve to validate all of our experiences so that there is a place we can point at and take our children to and they can take their children to. And it won’t be so unusual that we are celebrating what black people have brought to this country.

MARTIN: Arun, your children are a little younger than Jolene’s. I mean, Jolene’s kids are – well, they’re not really barely – they’re barely kids anymore, that they’re all, you know, adults who or close to adults. So – but what about you? Your kids are younger. Do you envision bringing them, and what do you think you’ll tell them about it?

VENUGOPAL: Well, I mean, yeah, my daughter, she’s 15. And we’ve started discussing – my wife and I, we were talking yesterday about when are we going to visit the museum. I was lucky enough a few weeks ago – I was in D.C. for the National Association of Black Journalists Convention. And myself and a friend – she’s Latina, I’m South Asian – we went over there, and we wandered around the museum. It wasn’t open yet, but, you know, it was striking, it’s beautiful.

And even though I’m not black, it’s – this is emotional for me, too. You know, this means a lot for me to – you know, my dad and my mom could not have come to this country if it weren’t for the civil rights movement in terms of the opening up – that struggle did for people around the world who are from cultures – not Western European culture. This museum – you know, what I want to do is be able to take my daughter there and say, like, you know, this is, I guess, long overdue. It’s about a people who want to – a community wants to be able to, like, you know, control its own story, its narrative, to have a greater say in, you know, what’s beautiful, what’s ugly, what’s meaningful. I think all of us who are – you know, come from communities of color, we understand what that means and when you’re trying to just say, like, this means something to me and you didn’t necessarily have that opportunity in prior eras.

MARTIN: Jolene, what are you most looking forward to seeing when you do get a chance to visit?

IVEY: Well…

MARTIN: And it’s going to take you a while because you need a lot of tickets. And there’s a backlog since you have six kids.

IVEY: Yeah, my family kind of pissed because – I’m sorry – but I’m actually going on Thursday with some girlfriends, so I’m excited. But we’ll bring the family in December, when we could get a lot of tickets.

MARTIN: What are you looking – what are you most looking forward to seeing?

IVEY: I actually – I’m just going to be so overwhelmed by the whole experience. I do want to go in from the bottom as I hear about it and see the things like the Middle Passage part, that – I want to see that. And it’s going to hurt. And I’m going to bring tissues, but I’m going to do it. But then to get through that and to get to the top where the beautiful things are, I’m looking forward to it.

MARTIN: You seem like you’re already a little emotional about it.

IVEY: I’m a little choked up.

MARTIN: A little choked up about it. Ron, what about you. What are you most looking forward to seeing?

CHRISTIE: Well, I have to say for having been there this afternoon and seeing the Tuskegee Airmen airplane hanging up and then talking and visiting with the surviving Tuskegee Airmen today was emotionally overwhelming for me. And they were so excited. And I heard time and time again today, I can’t believe I lived long enough to be here for this day to see this. And it just – I mean, even now John Lewis’s speech just put me in tears. It was – it was so emotional just to see so many people so happy and yet so cynical to think that this day would never come. And it has, and it’s meant so much on an emotional level for so many different people.

MARTIN: Before we let you go, I have some – actually some sad news to report. Speaking of a person who’s taken a place in the culture, according to the Associated Press and director Spike Lee and others, Bill Nunn, a veteran character actor whose credits ranged from the “Spiderman” franchise to the Spike Lee films such as “Do The Right Thing,” where he played Radio Raheem, has died. He died just a little while ago at the age of 63. And I mention because Spike Lee, a very significant figure in the culture, well-represented in the museum. So Radio Raheem, Bill Nunn, is going to be missed. And I want to thank Ron Christie, Jolene Ivey, Arun Venugopal. Thank you all so much for joining us in the Barbershop today.

IVEY: Thanks, Michel.

CHRISTIE: Pleasure to be with you.

VENUGOPAL: Thank you, Michel.

MARTIN: See you at the museum.

Copyright © 2016 NPR. All rights reserved. Visit our website terms of use and permissions pages at www.npr.org for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by Verb8tm, Inc., an NPR contractor, and produced using a proprietary transcription process developed with NPR. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.

Police Say Suspect In Washington State Mall Shooting In Custody

Sep 25, 2016   //   by Administrator   //   World News  //  Comments Off on Police Say Suspect In Washington State Mall Shooting In Custody

State authorities say they have arrested a suspect in the deadly shooting of five people, almost 24 hours after a gunman opened fire in a crowded mall in small-town Burlington, Wash., on Friday evening.

Washington state authorities identified the man in custody as 20-year-old Arcan Cetin, a resident of Oak Harbor, Wash., where he apprehended, about 30 miles west of the crime scene.

Washington State Patrol confirmed his capture in a tweet that said “#cascademallshooter is in custody,” while WSP spokesman, Sgt. Mark Francis, tweeted “Gunman captured tonight by authorities.”

Following reports that he’d been apprehended, Sgt. Francis posted an undated Department of Licensing photo of Cetin to Twitter.

In a Saturday night news conference, police said they know of no motive.

Island County Sheriff’s Lt. Mike Hawley said he spotted Cetin in Oak Harbor immediately recognized Cetin as the suspect upon spotting him from a patrol car.

Hawley said Cetin was unarmed at the time: “He said nothing. He was kind of zombie-like.”

As NPR’s Merrit Kennedy reported on Saturday morning, police believe he acted alone. Spokesman Sgt. Mark Francis said:

“We believe at this point one lone shooter,” Francis said. “This investigation will be ongoing, and whether or not someone helped him out in some way is yet to be determined.”

The Skagit County Department of Emergency Management released a grainy image from security camera footage, that shows an unarmed suspect. Police Lt. Chris Cammock said the suspect walked into the mall without a weapon — and “about 10 minutes later, entered Macy’s with a rifle,” Merrit says.

Cetin is scheduled to appear in court on Monday.

Obama Vetoes Bill To Allow Sept. 11 Victims To Sue Saudi Government

Sep 24, 2016   //   by Administrator   //   News from US  //  Comments Off on Obama Vetoes Bill To Allow Sept. 11 Victims To Sue Saudi Government

Visitors honor victims of the Sept. 11 attacks at the Wall of Names at the Flight 93 National Memorial in Shanksville, Pa., earlier this month.

Gene J. Puskar/AP


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Gene J. Puskar/AP

Visitors honor victims of the Sept. 11 attacks at the Wall of Names at the Flight 93 National Memorial in Shanksville, Pa., earlier this month.

Gene J. Puskar/AP

President Obama made good today on earlier threats by vetoing legislation passed unanimously by the House and Senate. The rejected bill would waive sovereign immunity protections for Saudi Arabia and allow victims of the Sept. 11 attacks or their relatives to sue the Saudi government for allegedly helping at least some of the 19 hijackers who carried out those attacks. Fifteen of the attackers were Saudi nationals.

The veto, the 12th of Obama’s presidency, sets the stage for likely showdown votes next week in both the House and Senate. If two-thirds majorities of each chamber vote to override the president’s veto, it will be the first time that’s happened during Obama’s nearly eight years in office.

It’s a strange turn of events for a president who is widely seen by congressional Republicans as an unreliable ally of Saudi Arabia — and for a GOP-led Congress that is more typically a dependable supporter of that kingdom.

This time Obama is siding with the Saudis, who vehemently oppose the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act, or JASTA. The Saudis have threatened to dump hundreds of billions of dollars in U.S. assets that could possibly be frozen by any American judge hearing a lawsuit. Lawmakers from both parties have chosen the interests of the Sept. 11 families seeking justice over those of the House of Saud.

In a three-page statement that accompanied the veto, Obama spelled out his reasons for seemingly defying the wishes of the grieving families. JASTA, he wrote, “would be detrimental to U.S. interests.” It would neither protect Americans from terrorist attacks nor make the U.S. response to such attacks any more effective.

He said it would take the official response to any foreign government supporting terrorism “out of the hands of national security and foreign policy professionals” and instead place it in the hands of private litigants and courts.

The president said it would expose U.S. officials, service members, and even businesses abroad to lawsuits by setting a precedent for removing longstanding sovereign immunity protections.

Obama also raised the prospect of different U.S. courts reaching different conclusions about foreign defendants — and of complications in relations with U.S. allies who may be the objects of litigation and wide-ranging discovery based on “even minimal allegations.”

Some key lawmakers appear open to considering such arguments. “I want to hear the president’s reasons for vetoing,” Sen. Ben Cardin, D-Md., told NPR Thursday. “I want to read his veto message. I’m not going to make a decision until I see the president’s concerns.” As the top Democrat on the Foreign Relations Committee, Cardin’s decision could influence other Democratic senators who say they’re still on the fence about whether to override or sustain the JASTA veto. “I think this is going to be a close call,” Sen. Chris Coons, D-Del., said in a Thursday interview.

Congress Releases '28 Pages' That Looks For Saudi Links To Sept. 11 Hijackers

But another influential Senate Democrat is openly opposing the president’s veto. “This is a disappointing decision that will be swiftly and soundly overturned by Congress,” said JASTA co-sponsor Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., in a statement. “I believe both parties will come together next week to make JASTA the law of the land.”

Schumer may be right. An aide to Sen. John Cornyn, R-Tex., JASTA’s other co-sponsor, tells NPR that virtually every one of the Senate’s 54 Republicans can be counted on for a veto override. And while Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid has remained on the sidelines of this family fight, he told reporters earlier this week he expects the votes to be there for overcoming the veto.

A veto override in the House also appears highly likely. Speaker Paul Ryan told reporters this week he worries about “trial lawyers trying to get rich off of this and I worry about precedence.” Still, Ryan said the Sept. 11 victims “need to have their day in court,” and declared there are enough votes in the House for a veto override to pass.

The Senate is likely to go first in voting to scuttle the veto. Such a vote won’t happen before Tuesday, when that chamber meets for the full day.

Advocates for the Sept 11 families are eager to see JASTA remove the legal veil of protection that’s prevented them from moving forward against Saudi officials in a lawsuit filed in the Southern District Court of New York. “”If all JASTA does is say that the families of these murdered Americans can have their day in court,” says Jack Quinn, a co-counsel in the lawsuit, “why is (Saudi Arabia) on the other side?” If the Saudis are as entirely innocent as they say they are, Quinn adds, “why be afraid of an exploration of the facts?”

A statement issued after the veto by the group 9/11 Families Survivors United for Justice Against Terrorism takes aim directly at Obama. “We are outraged and dismayed at the President’s veto of JASTA and the unconvincing and unsupportable reasons that he offers as explanation,” they wrote. “JASTA is a narrowly drawn statute that restores longstanding legal principles that have enjoyed bipartisan support for decades.”

Feds To Allow Preferences For Low-Income Applicants In S.F. Housing Complex

Sep 24, 2016   //   by Administrator   //   News from US  //  Comments Off on Feds To Allow Preferences For Low-Income Applicants In S.F. Housing Complex

San Francisco’s Mission District will be one of four additional neighborhoods given preferential access to an affordable senior housing complex in an agreement between the city and the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Sean Gallup/Getty Images


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San Francisco’s Mission District will be one of four additional neighborhoods given preferential access to an affordable senior housing complex in an agreement between the city and the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Sean Gallup/Getty Images

San Francisco officials are claiming victory in a dispute with federal housing officials regarding a city effort to combat gentrification.

The city had aimed to help low-income residents secure preferences when applying for a new senior housing complex; this week the Department of Housing and Urban Development announced it will allow an “anti-displacement” preference for residents living in certain neighborhoods experiencing rapid gentrification.

How 'Equal Access' Is Helping Drive Black Renters Out Of Their Neighborhood

The ruling means that 40 percent of the 98-unit development — which is partially federally funded — will be set aside for seniors in the Western Addition, Bayview, Russian Hill, Mission and South of Market neighborhoods.

“This is important progress in our efforts to halt the displacement of residents at greatest risk of being forced out of the city they know and love,” said Mayor Edwin Lee. “This will thwart the out-migration of African-American and Latino communities who have been deeply impacted by the challenging housing market.”

In A High-Rent World, Affordable And Safe Housing Is Hard To Come By

HUD originally objected to the city’s initial plan to grant “neighborhood preferences” to seniors residing mainly in the Western Addition — many of them African-Americans — applying for residency in the federally financed complex. Officials argued that such preferences violated the 1968 Fair Housing Act by limiting equal access and perpetuating segregation in the historically African-American neighborhood.

But San Francisco officials appealed the HUD ruling and sent a delegation to Washington to ask federal officials to take a new look at the city’s anti-displacement strategy. They also brought in House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Sen. Dianne Feinstein, a Democrat, to bolster their case. Feinstein went as far as to request that HUD Secretary Julian Castro give his “personal” attention to the city’s request for a review.

In a Wednesday letter to Mayor Lee, Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity Gustavo Velasquez wrote: “HUD can support an ‘anti-displacement’ preference for 40 percent of the units, where residents from throughout the city are eligible for the preferences and where race is not considered in the selection process.”

San Francisco Board of Supervisor President London Breed, who grew up in the Western Addition and had championed the “neighborhood preferences,” hailed HUD’s decision. In a news conference, she called it “a monumental victory.”

“We got something, I believe, that’s going to be just as good and just as effective at making sure that the people who live here have a real shot,” Breed said.

In essence, HUD told San Francisco to expand the pool of residents who are eligible for the housing to other neighborhoods in addition to the mostly black Western Addition. This brings the city in line with laws that requires equal access.

“It’s good that HUD explicitly acknowledges the challenge gentrification poses to following fair housing law, when it comes to serving lower-income residents who live in high-cost cities,” said University of San Francisco Law Professor Tim Iglesias, who specializes in housing law. “But there are not enough publicly available details about the compromise to know how much this will really serve the city’s initial goal … to avoid the further displacement of African-Americans in the Western Addition.”

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