A scene outside the Supreme Court on Monday, as the justices announced they would hear another case involving affirmative action in higher education. Many of those waiting in line at the court in a late-season snowfall were hoping to attend oral arguments on gay-marriage cases being heard Tuesday and Wednesday.
As the national spotlight turns to the U.S. Supreme Court this week with two historic arguments on same-sex marriage, the court on Monday made headlines on another high-profile issue: affirmative action.
Just 10 years ago a narrow court majority upheld affirmative action programs in higher education in an opinion written by Justice Sandra Day O'Connor. But ever since O'Connor retired and was replaced by the more conservative Justice Samuel Alito, the court has been on a steady march to get rid of all race-conscious programs.
For the lucky few who do get a seat in the court tomorrow, they'll be able to watch arguments about California's ban on same-sex marriage known as Proposition 8. On Wednesday, the subject is the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act. These are both historic cases. Even so, it's cold out there for all those people lined up outside. So what makes braving the wintery weather worth it?
NPR's Ailsa Chang spent some time today outside the Supreme Court.
Ryan White gets a hug from Dr. Cory SerVaas after testifying to a presidential commission on AIDS in 1988. He told the panel of his battle with the disease and the taunts and jeers he endured from classmates.
An oral history project that checks in on the Indiana town split in the 1980s by teenager Ryan White's AIDS diagnosis is finding that the topic still hits a raw nerve.
More than 25 years ago, Kokomo, Ind., was reluctantly thrown into the national spotlight when resident White, then 13, was barred from going to school after getting AIDS from a tainted blood transfusion. The decision to keep White out of school sparked national outrage and quickly divided this community.
Finally this hour, we remember an eminent journalist. Anthony Lewis was a two-time winner of the Pulitzer Prize. He died today of heart and renal failure at age 85. As we hear from NPR's David Folkenflik, Lewis will be remembered for reinventing coverage of the Supreme Court and for his advocacy of civil rights and civil liberties as a New York Times columnist.
In 2008, during the brief window when it was legal for same-sex couples to get married in California, perhaps no couple drew more attention than Ellen DeGeneres and Portia de Rossi.
After their wedding, photos of the couple were everywhere; DeGeneres, beaming, in a white suit and holding hands with de Rossi, the very picture of the princess bride so many young girls dream of being one day. It was a cultural touchstone, and Dietram Scheufele, a communications professor at the University of Wisconsin, says it was neither the first nor the last time DeGeneres has played that role.
Originally published on Tue March 26, 2013 3:42 pm
If you have any interest in politics at all, you pretty much know two things. One, that the next presidential election, on Nov. 8, 2016, is only 1,324 days away. And two, you won't be surprised if people are focusing on it in March of 2013.
Sometimes the speculation is silly, but sometimes it's not. Judging from what we've seen and heard from Hillary Clinton and Rand Paul, the speculation may be on target.
Douglas Rushkoff founded the Narrative Lab at NYU's Interactive Telecommunications Program, and lectures about media, art, society and change at conferences and universities around the world. He lives in Brooklyn with his wife and daughter.
By now, you've probably heard people call themselves "slaves" to their phones or their computers. We all know what that means — but why are we allowing ourselves to be slaves to the very instruments of technology we've created?
Douglas Rushkoff, who spends his days thinking, writing and teaching about media culture, says it's time for people to stop chasing every ping and start using technology in a way that makes us feel more free. Rushkoff's latest work is called Present Shock: When Everything Happens Now. He joined NPR's Audie Cornish to talk about the book.
Tiger Woods is back on top. With his victory at the Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill, Woods is now ranked the No. 1 player in the world.
As The Washington Post explains, this is the first time Woods is at the top since both his personal life and his professional life crumbled following a 2009 cheating scandal that ended in divorce and a plummet from the top of the golf world.
Originally published on Mon March 25, 2013 3:06 pm
Goldman Sachs on Monday downgraded BlackBerry after a disappointing launch for the company's new smartphone, the Z10.
The Wall Street Journal reports that Goldman slashed its investment rating on the Canada-based company — formerly known as Research in Motion, or RIM — to neutral from buy, citing weak support for the new product.
Egyptian men and boys pray at a mosque in Assiut, southern Egypt, that serves as the headquarters for Gamaa al-Islamiya, a group that once waged a bloody insurgency, attacking police and Christians in a campaign to create an Islamic state. Now the Islamist group says it's determined to ensure law and order in the area.
Credit Nariman El-Mofty / AP
An Egyptian man waits to join afternoon prayers at the mosque used as Gamaa al-Islamiya's headquarters in Assiut, southern Egypt. The banners feature slogans such as "we are against violence and destruction" and "shame to thugs."
In the lush Nile Valley city of Assiut, the police went on strike earlier this month, along with thousands of other cops across the country. They demanded the ouster of the minister of interior, and more guns and equipment to deal with anti-government protests.
A group of hard-line Islamists then stunned the city, which is south of Cairo, by promising to handle security during the strike. The next day, the policemen were back at work.
This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan, in Washington. In retrospect, it seems as if public opinion shifted on gay marriage all of a sudden. But as we await the start of Supreme Court arguments tomorrow, we might want to reconsider that idea. Yes, it happened quickly; but minds change one by one by one, and most often because someone they knew - a relative, a friend, a co-worker - came out of the closet and put a human face on what might have been an abstraction.
Midfielder Clint Dempsey of the United States dribbles the ball during a FIFA 2014 World Cup Qualifier match between Costa Rica and United States at Dick's Sporting Goods Park on March 22, 2013 in Commerce City, Colorado.
Originally published on Mon March 25, 2013 3:57 pm
Last Friday, the United States won an epic World Cup qualifying match against Costa Rica. The team did it outside Denver, under what were essentially blizzard conditions.
Now, on the eve of a Mexico vs. U.S. game in Mexico City, Costa Rica has lodged a formal complaint with FIFA, saying the "physical integrity" of the players and officials was affected and "ball movement became impossible." The country is now asking for a rematch of their 1-0 loss.
This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan in Washington. More than 1 million people have fled to safety across Syria's borders. Many live in camps in Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey, which too often struggle to meet basic needs such as shelter, food and clean water. Some arrive wounded, and need medical care. Many suffer from the invisible wounds of trauma - everything from shelling or crossfire to the loss of a loved one, even torture. All of them have lost their homes.
More than a century before Steven Spielberg's film Lincoln offered an intimate portrait of the 16th president and his family, a memoir from the first lady's dressmaker offered a glimpse into the Lincoln White House.
Elizabeth Keckley, Mary Todd Lincoln's seamstress and maybe her closest friend, told her story of slavery and self-emancipation, and her relationship with the Lincolns in a tell-all memoir called Behind The Scenes.