The Fourth of July is America's favorite holiday to get together, grill barbecue, and celebrate what it means to be American. It's also probably our best opportunity to debate whose barbecue is the best. With its regional varieties, the rubs-vs.-sauce debates and the fiercely guarded recipe secrets, arguing about barbecue is almost an American pastime. Few foods better demonstrate the diversity of our country.
Jazz music has become a point of pride for the United States of America: a homegrown art form forged from folk traditions. But jazz recordings of American patriotic songs aren't abundant. Perhaps because many of jazz's foremost creators were black Americans who lived in a society which actively discriminated against them, many didn't think to tackle that material.
Good morning, I'm David Greene. You ever sense a smile on the face of people who write your parking tickets, as if they enjoy calling you out for letting your meter expire? When Oakland, California cities employees went on a one day strike, residence thought that meant no parking enforcement. But one parking officer decided to cross the picket line and write tickets. He said he was happy with his pay and didn't want to go on strike. Employee of the Month, no, the city said all of the tickets he wrote would be voided.
Dash Shaw is a graphic novelist and animator whose previous books, including Bottomless Belly Button and Bodyworld, seethe with dark, mischievous intent. He sets out to unsettle, using the unique tools the comics medium provides to expose discomfiting truths about relationships both familial and romantic. A proud experimentalist, Shaw often shuns tidy narrative conventions in favor of raw emotion.
Cathleen Schine can always be counted on for an enticing, smart read, and her latest novel, Fin & Lady, is no exception, but it's an odd duck, as quirky as its peculiarly named titular half-siblings. Neither as sparklingly funny as her most recent book, The Three Weissmanns of Westport, nor as brainy as her earlier Rameau's Niece, Fin & Lady is light, entertaining, and ultimately moving, butyou can't help wondering what Schine hoped to achieve with it.
We often celebrate Independence Day with backyard barbecues and fireworks, forgetting the document that started this whole country: the Declaration of Independence.
For the past 20 years Morning Edition has asked NPR hosts and reporters to read the document on the Fourth, as a reminder of our country's history. This year, we decided to ask visitors at the National Mall in Washington, D.C., to give it a try.
And the Federal Communications Commission has apparently approved a deal giving the Japanese telecom giant SoftBank a controlling stake in SprintNextel, which is the third-largest wireless operator in the U.S. Experts say SoftBank's industry clout should help Sprint become a more robust competitor. NPR's Wendy Kaufman reports.
Let's get an update now on the Trayvon Martin murder case being held in Sanford, Florida. The state is expected soon to wrap up its case against George Zimmerman. He's the neighborhood watch volunteer who shot and killed the unarmed teenager. In a week and a half of testimony, prosecutors have painted a picture of Zimmerman as a wannabe cop, someone who profiled Trayvon Martin and then, after he shot Martin, tailored his story to fit Florida's self-defense law.