More than 400 black actors, artists and ministers are bringing the Gospel to life in the audio book, The Bible Experience:The Complete Bible. Farai Chideya talks with producer Kyle Bowser and actress Wendy Raquel Robinson, who lends her voice to the project.
FARAI CHIDEYA, host: Now, moving on, Forest Whitaker as Moses, Tisha Campbell Martin as Mary Magdalene - well, that's all in "The Bible Experience." A New Testament edition was released in 2006. This edition is billed as "The Complete Bible." It doesn't have one person reading the gospels. It features nearly 400 African-American artists, actors and ministers, plus sound effects.</s>FARAI CHIDEYA, host: Just listen to Blair Underwood's rendition of Jesus on the cross.</s>Mr. BLAIR UNDERWOOD (Actor): (As Jesus) My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?</s>FARAI CHIDEYA, host: Now, we've got two people affiliated with the project with us today. Kyle Bowser, he co-produced "The Bible Experience" and actress Wendy Raquel Robinson, one of the actors in "The Bible Experience," and she also stars in the CW series, "The Game."</s>FARAI CHIDEYA, host: Hi folks, how are you doing?</s>Ms. WENDY RAQUEL ROBINSON (Actress): Great.</s>Mr. KYLE BOWSER (Co-producer, "The Bible Experience: The Complete Bible"): Great. How are you?</s>FARAI CHIDEYA, host: I'm doing great. Now, Kyle, how did this project come about?</s>Mr. KYLE BOWSER (Co-producer, "The Bible Experience: The Complete Bible"): Hmm. A couple of winters ago, while Christmas shopping, I purchased an audio bible and hoped that I would finally get through the Bible by listening to it in my car. And I had failed to read the Bible as I'd promised. And after listening to a couple of disks, I was very disappointed. It just didn't really resonate with me. There was a lack of real production value. And the idea struck that perhaps we should try to do this ourselves and bring the Hollywood experience that we have to the process. And I think we have accomplished that goal.</s>FARAI CHIDEYA, host: Were you ever afraid of crossing a line and saying, okay, we're going to make this too Hollywood - the Bible is going too Hollywood? And I'm thinking of all the criticism of Mel Gibson's movie, "The Passion of the Christ."</s>Mr. KYLE BOWSER (Co-producer, "The Bible Experience: The Complete Bible"): No, that thought never really occurred to me. I think the gospel is applicable wherever you go including Hollywood. If anything, I was a little concerned about the idea of profiting from the Bible. But after consulting with some theologians and my grandmother, I got over that quickly.</s>FARAI CHIDEYA, host: Now, Wendy - now, you were the voice of an angel in the book of Revelations. Let's take a listen to that.</s>FARAI CHIDEYA, host: Unidentified Man: A second angel followed and said,</s>Ms. WENDY RAQUEL ROBINSON (Actress): (As Angel) Fallen. Fallen is Babylon the Great, which made all the nations drink the maddening wine of her adulteries.</s>Ms. WENDY RAQUEL ROBINSON (Actress): That (unintelligible).</s>FARAI CHIDEYA, host: What did you - yeah, absolutely. Absolutely. So - I mean, it's not bad to be an angel.</s>Ms. WENDY RAQUEL ROBINSON (Actress): No.</s>FARAI CHIDEYA, host: Other than that, what made you want to do this?</s>Ms. WENDY RAQUEL ROBINSON (Actress): You know, it's amazing. I feel like I got kind of bombarded the project. I knew Robi Reed who was also the casting director, and (unintelligible) who was actually working on it. And one day, I happened to be there and I saw a demo of what they were doing. And I said, hands down. How can I be a part of this?</s>Ms. WENDY RAQUEL ROBINSON (Actress): So I just pretty much put myself into it because I was just so drawn by the emotion, by - I mean, of course, you know, any time you're doing something that's related to the Gospel and to the Bible, you know - immediately I was drawn to that. But it was just so different from any project that I've ever been attached to or had even, you know, been around. So I was just - I basically - I bombarded the project myself.</s>FARAI CHIDEYA, host: Now, Kyle was just saying that he had a hard time listening to other audio bibles. Obviously, people are getting very much into the iPod…</s>Ms. WENDY RAQUEL ROBINSON (Actress): Mm-hmm.</s>FARAI CHIDEYA, host: …and podcasting, listening to this-that and the other in your car. Do you think that this opens up other people to the - I mean, we just did a series on religion not too long ago. Certainly, not every one is Christian. Not every black person is Christian, but there is…</s>Ms. WENDY RAQUEL ROBINSON (Actress): Right.</s>FARAI CHIDEYA, host: …plenty. Do you think this opens up new experiences for people who are plugging in or plugged into Christianity?</s>Ms. WENDY RAQUEL ROBINSON (Actress): Oh, I think it definitely does because not only is it the actual goal in its presentation, but it is the, you know, it's the true word of God, too. So you're getting both in one, you know? It's really difficult for me to listen to books on tape or, you know, just basically even - I don't care if these just sermons or anything like that.</s>Ms. WENDY RAQUEL ROBINSON (Actress): But with this, you know, you'd get the fullness of it, you know? You get the sound effects; you get the emotions; you get the authentic word of God, you know? And it's really easy listening to, and before you know it, you'd do the entire New Testament, you know - before you know it, so it's awesome.</s>FARAI CHIDEYA, host: Kyle, now, the first Bible experience was the New Testament. It won 2007 audio book of the year - that's high praise. What kind of fan mail have you gotten that really warms your heart?</s>Mr. KYLE BOWSER (Co-producer, "The Bible Experience: The Complete Bible"): Well, I'm glad you ask that question because so often, people ask about the success of the project and it counts the question in a monetary context. I think the only way to really measure the success of "The Bible Experience" is to look at the fan mail, to look at the e-mails and the cards and the letters and the personal testimony that we hear.</s>Mr. KYLE BOWSER (Co-producer, "The Bible Experience: The Complete Bible"): I have a cousin who, three months ago, was struck by a car while riding his bike. And he's been laying paralyzed for the last three months. And on his second day in the hospital, he whispered in his wife's ear, asking for her to bring a copy of "The Bible Experience" to his room. That's the kind of evidence of the success of "The Bible Experience." It speaks to your soul.</s>Mr. KYLE BOWSER (Co-producer, "The Bible Experience: The Complete Bible"): And for me, as a Christian and many others, as Wendy said, it is the definitive word of God. But for others, it's enjoyable because it is so dramatic. It is so emotionally powerful. You know, it's historically accurate whether or not you apply the faith analysis to the word. So much of what's written in the Bible has been proven to be historically accurate and we capture all of that so wonderfully.</s>FARAI CHIDEYA, host: Wendy, what's it like for you to be a part of this ensemble? It's one of the largest ensemble cast of black actors, I guess you could say.</s>Ms. WENDY RAQUEL ROBINSON (Actress): It's bigger than "Roots."</s>FARAI CHIDEYA, host: It is.</s>Ms. WENDY RAQUEL ROBINSON (Actress): No. Oh, it is. I feel like it's a part of history. I'm sorry; I didn't mean to cut you off. Go ahead.</s>FARAI CHIDEYA, host: No, that's - it's true.</s>Ms. WENDY RAQUEL ROBINSON (Actress): But I'm honored, you know? I mean, Blair Underwood, Forest Whitaker, you know, Angela Bassett. So, so many of the celebrities that I admire and look up to were a part of this. But that's not why I was drawn to it, but it just takes it to a whole another level for me on so many different levels.</s>Ms. WENDY RAQUEL ROBINSON (Actress): And to see these other artists, you know, praising God through their work, you know. It's an anointed piece, you know, because you can't half-step with God. You know what I mean? You have to really drink it, so when they did the interpretations in the studio and if you even get a chance to see the video portion of it, it's amazing. I mean, it just brings you to tears emotionally. And just, you know, really reliving those moments, you can actually see these characters within the Bible come to life.</s>FARAI CHIDEYA, host: Kyle, very quickly - I mean, super quick. Any future plans? It's - you kind of gone to both testaments, what have you got left?</s>Mr. KYLE BOWSER (Co-producer, "The Bible Experience: The Complete Bible"): Well, we - meaning me and my partners - are all thinking about different ways that we can continue to share this wonderful experience in whatever medium is available - visually, through audio product, through all of the distribution technologies that are available. So please, stay tuned for that.</s>FARAI CHIDEYA, host: All right. Well, Kyle and Wendy, thanks so much.</s>Mr. KYLE BOWSER (Co-producer, "The Bible Experience: The Complete Bible"): Thank you.</s>Ms. WENDY RAQUEL ROBINSON (Actress): Oh, great. Thank you.</s>FARAI CHIDEYA, host: Kyle Bowser co-produced "The Bible Experience: The Complete Bible," and actress Wendy Raquel Robinson is one of the voices featured in "The Bible Experience." She's also starred the CW TV network show, "The Game."</s>FARAI CHIDEYA, host: And that is our show for today. Thank you for sharing your time with us.</s>FARAI CHIDEYA, host: To listen to the show or subscribe to our podcast, visit our Web site, No spaces, just To join the conversation or sign up for our newsletter, visit our blog at</s>FARAI CHIDEYA, host: NEWS & NOTES was created by NPR News and the African-American Public Radio Consortium.</s>FARAI CHIDEYA, host: Tomorrow, how success can make or break a family.
NPR's Rachel Martin speaks with young voters who are going to the polls in a general election for the first time.
RACHEL MARTIN, HOST: You have heard it again and again - this is an extraordinary election, unlike any other in recent memory. OK, so now imagine it's your first election. We talked to a few young voters making their choices for the very first time in a general election.</s>ASHANTI MARTINEZ: So my name's Ashanti Martinez (ph). I'm 20 years old. I'm from Prince George's County, Md., and I'm voting for Hillary Clinton.</s>LAUREN SMITH: Hi, I'm Lauren Smith. I'm 20 years old and I'm voting for Trump.</s>GENESIS LARIN: My name is Genesis Larin. I'm from Houston, Texas. And I'd say I'm a conflicted voter but leaning towards Hillary Clinton.</s>NICK TOMCHIK: My name is Nicholas Tomchik (ph). I'm from Winslow, Maine. I'm 20 years old, and I'm voting for Gary Johnson.</s>RACHEL MARTIN, HOST: All right, so I want to learn more about how each of you came to your decision. So I'm going to start with you, Lauren. You're voting for Donald Trump. Did you support him in the Republican primary?</s>LAUREN SMITH: No, I actually supported Ted Cruz. And, you know, I have to say, there's no question that this election cycle has been unbelievable. So I'm voting for Trump because not only am I a Republican but he has a pro-life agenda. He's for a limited government, and that's what I support. Am I happy with him? No, absolutely not.</s>RACHEL MARTIN, HOST: Nick, you've decided to support the Libertarian candidate, Gary Johnson. How come? Why not Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton? Why go with a third-party option?</s>NICK TOMCHIK: All my life, I've gone against the status quo. I'm a Libertarian myself. I definitely believe in what Gary Johnson has to offer, his policies - minimizing the role of government, pro-choice. You know, we've got to cut the wasteful spending. We've got to offer an alternative. And especially with this election being so, you know, as Lauren said, you know, pretty much crazy, we've got to have another choice. And he brings that to America. And I really like that.</s>RACHEL MARTIN, HOST: Genesis, you said you're leaning reluctantly towards Hillary Clinton. But I understand that's a big deal because you're a registered Republican.</s>GENESIS LARIN: I actually did not register with, like, a specific party affiliation. But yes, I am, I guess, leaning towards Hillary Clinton just because I'm very disappointed in the candidates that I have to choose from. But I just can't support what Donald Trump has said, even though I did vote Republican for the primaries. However, I did vote for Marco Rubio. I feel like this election, at least for me, has come down to voting against someone instead of a vote for someone that actually aligns with a lot of, like, my views for certain issues.</s>RACHEL MARTIN, HOST: And you haven't found that in either of the major party candidates?</s>GENESIS LARIN: It was mentioned before that Hillary Clinton, her experience as far as policies - and I do take into account her experience. And I guess I feel comfortable because she has been around.</s>RACHEL MARTIN, HOST: What do you not like about her? What gives you pause about her?</s>GENESIS LARIN: Part of it is her scandals. But it's also she has, you know, kind of switched sides on some of the policies. So if anything, I was kind of confused on, like, exactly where she stands because it just comes off as she's saying certain sides just to get a vote.</s>RACHEL MARTIN, HOST: Ashanti, what do you think when you hear that? I mean, you're an ardent Hillary Clinton supporter, but she's had kind of a tough time making inroads with people your age. What are the top issues for you?</s>ASHANTI MARTINEZ: One of them would be definitely college affordability, making sure that no matter where you are on the income spectrum in this country that you can go to college debt-free or that you can leave college debt-free. The next issue for me is health care, making sure that folks are able to have quality health care in this country. And then I guess the next issue for me that really comes home is criminal justice reform. Too many people of black and brown skin color, that look like me, go to jail, oftentimes, for sentences and things that they shouldn't have.</s>RACHEL MARTIN, HOST: I want to ask you, Lauren - you heard Genesis say that she identifies as a Republican. She voted for Marco Rubio in the primary, but she's considering voting for Hillary Clinton. What do you say to her?</s>LAUREN SMITH: I think as a Republican, I don't understand how you could support Hillary Clinton. And I understand many of what Trump has said is, quite frankly, deplorable. And I completely get that. However, if you're a Republican, if you believe in limited government, if you're pro-life, vote for Donald Trump. And again, that's the issues that I fully support and that I want to see happen in America. I want Roe v. Wade to be overturned. So Genesis, what I would say to you is, what issues are holding you back? And why can't you vote for Donald Trump, if I can ask you that...</s>RACHEL MARTIN, HOST: Sure.</s>LAUREN SMITH: ...Just head-on?</s>RACHEL MARTIN, HOST: Genesis, you want to answer?</s>GENESIS LARIN: Yeah. So I'm actually pro-choice. I do...</s>LAUREN SMITH: OK.</s>GENESIS LARIN: ...Believe that climate change is something that we need to address. That being said, I've never particularly, I guess, been completely on board with bigger government. And that's something that I think is what makes me more conservative, even though I guess I'm more left-leaning.</s>RACHEL MARTIN, HOST: You're that coveted independent, Genesis, who everyone wants.</s>RACHEL MARTIN, HOST: You're that coveted middle-of-the-road voter.</s>GENESIS LARIN: (Laughter) Yeah. And I feel - the way I approached the selection wasn't blue or red or green, even. It was I wanted to find a candidate that I think was most representative of my view and whose competency in doing this, at being president, I would feel comfortable voting for.</s>RACHEL MARTIN, HOST: Nick, let me ask you this - are you feeling enthusiastic about your choice? Like, are you - how do you feel about supporting Gary Johnson?</s>NICK TOMCHIK: Yeah. I honestly am very enthusiastic about supporting him. That's the thing that I think makes me different and also maybe the Libertarians or the independents that are, you know, supporting Gary Johnson. They're actually voting for someone because they really like his policies.</s>RACHEL MARTIN, HOST: And you don't buy the argument that a vote for Gary Johnson or Jill Stein, on the other side - the Green Party, is a de facto vote for the other party, be it right or left?</s>NICK TOMCHIK: Not at all. I definitely think that that plays into the fear-mongering because from a lot of people I hear, they want to vote for Gary but they're - you know, they tell me that argument. And essentially, if all the people who, you know, actually voted third party - said that they're not going to vote for the third party because of that voted third party, then, you know, Gary Johnson has a huge chance of winning.</s>RACHEL MARTIN, HOST: Lauren, your candidate, Donald Trump, has had a hard time getting the kind of support from women voters that he needs to put him in good standing when November 8 rolls around. Why do you think that is, especially when you talk to your peers, other young women? I mean, how much of it - of the reluctance has to do with the kind of rhetoric we've heard from him, those recent comments on the "Access Hollywood" tape? Is that coming up in conversations?</s>LAUREN SMITH: You know, a lot of my peers, especially the women, do support Donald Trump. I don't condone sexual assault. I mean, that's utterly ridiculous. But we have to remember that was a long time ago. I mean, 2005 happened almost 11 years ago. So as far as Donald Trump's comment on women go - does it bother me? It does in some ways, but I'm choosing to look at the bigger picture. And I'm choosing to look at America as a whole instead of trying to, you know, just go and tear Trump to shreds over what he said in the past. So the women that I have spoken to, especially the the Women for Trump here in Virginia, of course they support him.</s>ASHANTI MARTINEZ: If I can chime in, Rachel.</s>RACHEL MARTIN, HOST: Go for it, Ashanti.</s>ASHANTI MARTINEZ: For me - right? - I've talked to a lot of women. I'm around women often. And these Trump allegations about him sexually assaulting women and bragging about it is deplorable. And it's something that is definitely on people's minds, especially around my age group. But this isn't the first instance, right? We look at the comments that he had with former Miss America and former Miss Universe contestants. We look at the comments that he had about contributors on different networks. We look at the comments that he's had of people on his own show, on "The Apprentice," and how he's treated women throughout his career, whether it be in real estate or whether it be on television. So to me, to say that these things don't matter is wrong. This man has so many different things that don't speak to our country as being inclusive and as progressive as we should be. And I think that's why he's not qualified.</s>LAUREN SMITH: Well, I certainly understand that position. But I also have to say I don't want Hillary Clinton as president.</s>RACHEL MARTIN, HOST: This is your first time voting in a presidential election. So how you feeling? I mean, what are the conversations that you're having at home or with your friends? Are people animated to get out and vote? Is there a sense of apathy? I'm going to start with Lauren. What are people talking about in your circles?</s>LAUREN SMITH: There's one side, the 50 percent - they're very apathetic. They don't want to get out and vote. You know, I've lost friends because of the way I'm voting. And, in some ways, I understand that.</s>RACHEL MARTIN, HOST: You've lost friends, really?</s>LAUREN SMITH: I have, yeah. But I would say that as a 20-year-old, as my first election, I can't believe these are the two candidates I have to choose from. I think - like, I don't know about you all, but this is just unbelievable.</s>RACHEL MARTIN, HOST: Anyone else want to weigh in on this? What are the conversations...</s>NICK TOMCHIK: I...</s>RACHEL MARTIN, HOST: Nick, go ahead.</s>NICK TOMCHIK: Yeah, I agree 100 percent. And I can't wait till it's over. It's been very crazy. I've had some (laughter) - I've had some tough conversations with, you know, friends and family because I've got some family that's, you know, voting Trump because they don't like, you know, the Clinton, you know, scandals and, you know, a lot of her immigration stances, and then also my other friends and family who are voting Clinton because they don't want Trump elected. So I'm kind of in the middle here, you know, preaching the alternative. And it's really tough. And from what I've seen, people are, you know, in my circle, at least, excited to get out and vote.</s>RACHEL MARTIN, HOST: Ashanti, are you excited? I mean, it's the first time you get to go to your polling station and cast a vote for president.</s>ASHANTI MARTINEZ: Yeah, no, I'm extremely excited. I mean, I've been with her since she announced. And it's one of those things where I'm looking forward to her presidency, right? And I'm looking forward to January and what her next four years is going to look like in the White House.</s>RACHEL MARTIN, HOST: I will leave it there. Ashanti Martinez, Genesis Larin, Lauren Smith and Nick Tomchik - they are voting in the presidential election for the first time.</s>RACHEL MARTIN, HOST: Hey, you guys, thanks so much for talking with us.</s>ASHANTI MARTINEZ: Thanks for having us.</s>LAUREN SMITH: Thank you.</s>NICK TOMCHIK: Yeah, absolutely.
In this week's snapshot, actor and playwright Jeff Obafemi Carr stumbles across some old and new pitfalls in the Nashville neighborhood where he grew up.
Mr. JEFF OBAFEMI CARR (Actor, Playwright): I came close to running out of luck, when I almost fell down a well - or was it a cesspool? I'm still not sure.</s>CHIDEYA: Today's weekly Snapshot comes from actor and playwright Jeff Obafemi Carr. He says if you ever happen to stumble and fall, the biggest trip could be who comes to your rescue?</s>Mr. JEFF OBAFEMI CARR (Actor, Playwright): I bought a house in the neighborhood I grew up in, near my widowed mother who still resides in my childhood home. I was lucky to buy it at a good price years ago. You see, we live in an inner city, speedily gentrifying community with increasing mignons of hip, progressive, urban pioneering neighbors.</s>Mr. JEFF OBAFEMI CARR (Actor, Playwright): I just love the new politically correct terms for yuppies who decide that these little black neighborhoods have the cutest little cottages. All they need is for people to move into them that can give them the love, attention and exponentially increasing property values their presence alone can bring.</s>Mr. JEFF OBAFEMI CARR (Actor, Playwright): These watchful neighbors then patrol the old hood with their cell phones handy. If they see something that just isn't right, they call up the codes department, anonymously of course, and cry foul. So a couple of weeks ago, my mom's hot water heater gave up the ghost and flooded the basement as a memorial. Yours truly drew the task of pulling 40 years of accumulated memories out of the basement to get to the flooding and save the day.</s>Mr. JEFF OBAFEMI CARR (Actor, Playwright): Well, what do you know? One of the ever-vigilant friendly neighborhood preservationist saw the pile by the basement door and reported my mother's home as the site of a public dump. Welcome to America. Luckily, I'd already ordered a dumpster unbeknownst to the good neighbors, so I sped up its delivery, charged the iPod, put on my favorite work jeans and started attacking memory mountain one little bit at a time.</s>Mr. JEFF OBAFEMI CARR (Actor, Playwright): Mom was going to help, but I told her I had it covered. I was jamming to the soundtrack of (unintelligible). Happy thoughts was sailing as I stepped into the mini mountain with my right foot. That's when it happened. I hadn't looked where I was stepping. If I had, I would have remembered I was directly over a hole in the ground my dad put a piece of wood over. And that was a good temporary fix, but I should mention that my dad passed away six years ago.</s>Mr. JEFF OBAFEMI CARR (Actor, Playwright): Well, mix the way the five feet of junk, seven or eight years of rot, a fresh rain and a primary weight of a 6'2, 190-pound brother man on a size 13 boot, and what do you have - every bit of that mix headed two directions at blinding speed, forward and down.</s>Mr. JEFF OBAFEMI CARR (Actor, Playwright): Instinct may be reached to both sides. And with a mix of luck and skill, I was able to catch myself just as I felt cold water rising up almost to my knee. There was no bottom.</s>Mr. JEFF OBAFEMI CARR (Actor, Playwright): I said, whoa, out loud, then I had another thought. Wait a minute, is this a well or a sewer? Oh, crap - an unintentional pun. I pulled myself up as one of the tenants was singing some Italian aria in my ears.</s>Mr. JEFF OBAFEMI CARR (Actor, Playwright): My foot and leg were covered with something wet and black. I immediately ran and grabbed the garden hose, sprayed off my boot and pants' leg, and thank god, my mom wasn't helping me out because it could have been her.</s>Mr. JEFF OBAFEMI CARR (Actor, Playwright): As I stripped and prepped the washer for my clothes, I thought to myself that if I would have fallen in, all I could have done was scream for one of my neighbors to come and rescue me. I wonder if they would have come. And if they did, would they have said, hmm, promise you'll repaint in earth tones, preserve the subway tile in your bathroom and restore the original glass doorknobs in your hallway, and we'll pull you right out of there, neighbor. I guess I'm thankful I wasn't in that position this time because I would have been SOL -surely out of luck.</s>CHIDEYA: Jeff Obafemi Carr is an actor, playwright and co-host of the radio show "Freestyle." He lives in Nashville, Tennessee.
A new study says one in 50 people in the nation's capital have AIDS, and blacks comprise more than 80 percent of new cases in the city. Farai Chideya talks to Dr. Shannon Hader, who directs Washington, D.C.'s HIV/AIDS Administration.
FARAI CHIDEYA, host: This is NEWS & NOTES. I'm Farai Chideya.</s>FARAI CHIDEYA, host: In the nation's capital, a killer is on the loose. It's been operating in America for decades now. We're talking about AIDS. Tomorrow is World AIDS Day. Today, we'll discuss staggering new information on how prevalent AIDS is in Washington D.C., particularly among African-Americans. Overall, the rate of AIDS cases in Washington D.C. is about 10 times higher than in the United States. Dr. Shannon Hader is the director of the D.C. HIV/AIDS Administration. Welcome.</s>Dr. SHANNON HADER (Director, D.C. HIV/AIDS Administration): Thank you.</s>FARAI CHIDEYA, host: So, these are really some chocking numbers. Sixty percent of the city's residents are African-American, but 81 percent of new HIV cases in the city are among African-Americans. How many people are we really talking about?</s>Dr. SHANNON HADER (Director, D.C. HIV/AIDS Administration): Well, you know, we have about 12,500 people in the district right now living with HIV and AIDS, but about 80 percent of those are mainly African-American communities. So, we're talking a high number of people, not just a hundred or two hundred, but thousands.</s>FARAI CHIDEYA, host: What about the trend lines? Are you seeing these number of new infections increase?</s>Dr. SHANNON HADER (Director, D.C. HIV/AIDS Administration): Well, you know, certainly over the United States, the trend over the last decade has been increasing racial disparities and the HIV epidemic with more African-Americans affected. Here in the district, we have really good data for the last 2001 through 2006, and what we see is that we're not gaining much ground at this point in terms of reducing infections, although we seem to be holding a little bit even. And - but I think particularly among the women, the rates among women have been increasing over the last five or six years.</s>FARAI CHIDEYA, host: What percentage of women in the D.C. area are African-American who were infected?</s>Dr. SHANNON HADER (Director, D.C. HIV/AIDS Administration): Mm-hmm. Among all the women that we know are infected with HIV in the district, about 90 percent of them are African-American.</s>FARAI CHIDEYA, host: With these numbers, with the racial disparities, what is being done? What are the approaches that you and other government, public health officials, nonprofits are taking to really start addressing this?</s>Dr. SHANNON HADER (Director, D.C. HIV/AIDS Administration): Well, I think what we're doing and what we need to continue to do is an attack on all fronts. First step is, information is power. These data, these hard facts give us a good picture for everyone at the individual level, at the community level, at the government level, at the policy level, to really wake up if they haven't and see the nature of the epidemic we're dealing with. Second, it's about services and it's about taking action, both to protect yourself and protect others. We are ramping what was already sort of a groundbreaking HIV policy in the district, which is this know your status, HIV tests should be just the same as knowing about your other routine health indicators.</s>Dr. SHANNON HADER (Director, D.C. HIV/AIDS Administration): So, our goal is, by 2009, when you go to an emergency department, they should routinely offer you an HIV test. When you show up at your primary care doctor's office, you should get, just like you get the rest of the tests for your annual physical - you get your BMI for obesity, you get a blood pressure for hypertension, you get your blood sugar for diabetes - you should be getting your HIV status as well, without having to sort of beg for it or ask specifically. This has to be part and parcel about how we all approach our general health going forward.</s>FARAI CHIDEYA, host: There have been celebrity campaigns that say things like, it's good know, know your status, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera, but people are afraid. All of us have fears and some people may not want to know. What's the sense that you get of that?</s>Dr. SHANNON HADER (Director, D.C. HIV/AIDS Administration): Well, I think that that issue of stigma, fear, and silence is huge. And absolutely, that impacts people searching their test results, but it also impacts people taking preventive measures and taking care of measures to keep their health strong. I've been incredibly motivated by Mayor Fenty's leadership in saying, I'm making HIV/AIDS our number one health priority here in the district. And, in large part, a lot of that has to do with saying, come on, let's come together, let's break the stigma, break the fear, break the silence.</s>FARAI CHIDEYA, host: Who's really responsible for this - responsible may be the wrong word, but, I mean, Washington D.C. is a very interesting case of the overlap of the federal government and the local government. So, what responsibilities does it seem as if each has in dealing with this issue?</s>Dr. SHANNON HADER (Director, D.C. HIV/AIDS Administration): Well, you know what, we're all responsible and we have to use all the resources that are out there, whether they're district or federal, to get to the next level of our HIV response. Certainly, one of the specific relationship issues that's come out in D.C. has been this issue of Congress limiting our ability to spend our own district tax money on our own district programs and specifically, I'm talking about needle exchange programs.</s>Dr. SHANNON HADER (Director, D.C. HIV/AIDS Administration): Certainly, Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton has been working as well as Mayor Fenty has been working to convince Congress to remove that restriction on our funds, and I'm confident that that's going to happen this year. So, that's something that's specific to the district that other jurisdictions don't have to deal with.</s>FARAI CHIDEYA, host: How much of needle exchange programs become more popular? They were extremely controversial when they were first proposed and first implemented.</s>Dr. SHANNON HADER (Director, D.C. HIV/AIDS Administration): Mm-hmm.</s>FARAI CHIDEYA, host: Is this now a fairly accepted form of a public health intervention?</s>Dr. SHANNON HADER (Director, D.C. HIV/AIDS Administration): Well, I think when it comes to comprehensive substance abuse, HIV prevention, we want a full toolkit available. Needle exchange is just one element in that full toolkit, and a lot of the wraparound services - including having on-demand treatment access for drug cessation, including having medical care available, including mental health services available, including having prevention information going out, those are all part of the toolkit. So, we don't want just one tool of the toolkit or just another tool in the toolkit, we want the whole thing at our disposal to really have a comprehensive program.</s>FARAI CHIDEYA, host: Well, Dr. Hader. Thanks for the information.</s>Dr. SHANNON HADER (Director, D.C. HIV/AIDS Administration): Well, thank you for helping share that information. I think this really important and I hope a lot of your audience doesn't just listen, but takes the topic home, starts breaking that silence and stigma, and have some dinner-table conversations.</s>FARAI CHIDEYA, host: Well, thanks again. Dr. Shannon Hader, she's the director D.C. HIV/AIDS Administration.
When a family member is diagnosed with HIV/AIDS, it presents a host of unique challenges. Dorothy Holmes, a psychologist who counsels people infected with HIV/AIDS and their families, offers advice.
FARAI CHIDEYA, host: I'm Farai Chideya and this is NEWS & NOTES.</s>FARAI CHIDEYA, host: Before the break, we heard from a mother with AIDS. She has been getting great support from her family. But that is not always the case.</s>FARAI CHIDEYA, host: Dorothy Holmes is a psychologist in Miami. She has been working with people infected with HIV and their families for several years now.</s>FARAI CHIDEYA, host: Hello.</s>Dr. DOROTHY HOLMES (Psychologist; National President, Association of Black Psychologists): Hello. How are you doing today?</s>FARAI CHIDEYA, host: I am doing great. So, we just heard from Carla. She waited to tell her kids and family about her illness. So let's start off with disclosure. When is the right time to really reveal the illness to others if you have HIV or AIDS?</s>Dr. DOROTHY HOLMES (Psychologist; National President, Association of Black Psychologists): Well, disclosure is based on a needed-to-know, and that need to know starts with, of course, the individual's sexual partner. However, when it comes to disclosing some of your status to your children, there's no black and white answer or yes or no in terms of when to or when not to disclose. It depends on several factors, which include - some of these factors include the age of the child, child's emotional maturity, the child's intellectual and the child's intellectual functioning. And - but before disclosure takes place, my recommendation is that the infected person, of course, meets with a mental health professional who has experience in this particular field.</s>FARAI CHIDEYA, host: So when you, as a psychologist, deal with individuals who have a diagnosis of HIV or AIDS, what are some of the most common questions that come up in your sessions?</s>Dr. DOROTHY HOLMES (Psychologist; National President, Association of Black Psychologists): Disclosure is typically the first issue. Do I need to tell my children? Is, (unintelligible) the children or younger than 15 or 14, parents are probably concerned about their longevity in terms of whether they'll be, whether or not they will be available or be around to see their children grow up, finish high school, become functional adults themselves. So they really want to know when and how do I let my children know, or if I let - should I let my children know.</s>FARAI CHIDEYA, host: Do you ever see people who react in ways that are completely unhealthy? Drug abuse or recklessness or acting out with anger?</s>Dr. DOROTHY HOLMES (Psychologist; National President, Association of Black Psychologists): Yes, in terms of not disclosing their status to…</s>FARAI CHIDEYA, host: Well, after they have had…</s>Dr. DOROTHY HOLMES (Psychologist; National President, Association of Black Psychologists): …the partner.</s>FARAI CHIDEYA, host: After they've had a diagnosis.</s>Dr. DOROTHY HOLMES (Psychologist; National President, Association of Black Psychologists): After they've had a diagnosis, yes. Unfortunately, unfortunately, that is the case for some people. Because of their anger and rage, they do act out inappropriately and not disclose their status to a sexual partner.</s>FARAI CHIDEYA, host: Now…</s>Dr. DOROTHY HOLMES (Psychologist; National President, Association of Black Psychologists): And that causes the incidents to - of HIV/AIDS to increase.</s>FARAI CHIDEYA, host: Yeah. I was just going to ask you about that because we heard earlier in the show how rampant AIDS has become among African-Americans in the Washington, D.C. area particularly, but obviously, there are plenty of places where there's just a huge increase. And when you think about this idea of telling someone, there have been all these campaigns to ask people to open up. But do you think that's really working?</s>Dr. DOROTHY HOLMES (Psychologist; National President, Association of Black Psychologists): Well, again, the issue of social stigma, shame, guilt, lack of education and knowledge are some of the factors that prevent individuals from disclosing their status. One of the things that must be readdressed was the need for information and education and that's our first line of defense. Once we educate ourselves, then we're able to protect ourselves.</s>FARAI CHIDEYA, host: Carla Bailey has been living with AIDS for 13 years. There are people who've been living with AIDS for over two decades. But if, in fact, your loved one has AIDS and it's becoming a nearing of the end, what things should people think about as they face mortality?</s>Dr. DOROTHY HOLMES (Psychologist; National President, Association of Black Psychologists): Again, this is - some people are in that position where they have not disclosed to family and loved ones their status. And that would be fine(ph) to disclose to your loved ones. And so you can begin to mend and bring closure to relationships and to issues and work through whatever unresolved issues you may have lingering with a particular loved one or individual. So yes, that does that happen in people. Some people are able to work through these issues.</s>FARAI CHIDEYA, host: Well, thank you so much for your time.</s>Dr. DOROTHY HOLMES (Psychologist; National President, Association of Black Psychologists): Thank you.</s>FARAI CHIDEYA, host: Dorothy Holmes is president of the Association of Black Psychologists, and she's worked with HIV-infected clients and their families since 1995.
Republican presidential candidates faced off last night in a CNN/YouTube debate. For some analysis, Farai Chideya talks with James Taylor, an associate professor of political science at UCLA, and Mark Sawyer, an associate professor of politics at the University of San Francisco.
FARAI CHIDEYA, host: From NPR News, this is NEWS & NOTES. I'm Farai Chideya.</s>FARAI CHIDEYA, host: The gloves came off at the GOP debate last night. The Iowa caucus and the New Hampshire primary are less than six weeks away; Rudy Giuliani and Mitt Romney squared off with personal attacks from the very start.</s>Mr. RUDY GIULIANI (Republican, New York): If you're going to take this holier-than-thou attitude, that your whole approach to immigration was so…</s>Mr. MITT ROMNEY (Republican, Massachusetts): I'm sorry, immigration is not holier than thou, Mayor. It's the law.</s>Mr. RUDY GIULIANI (Republican, New York): If you're going to take this holier than thou attitude that you are perfect on immigration…</s>Mr. MITT ROMNEY (Republican, Massachusetts): I'm not perfect.</s>Mr. RUDY GIULIANI (Republican, New York): … it just happens you have a special immigration problem that nobody else here has. You were employing illegal immigrants…</s>Mr. MITT ROMNEY (Republican, Massachusetts): You know, what…</s>Mr. RUDY GIULIANI (Republican, New York): That is a pretty serious thing. They were under your nose.</s>FARAI CHIDEYA, host: CNN and YouTube co-hosted the event in St. Petersburg, Florida. The candidates took questions from the public submitted through the video-sharing Web site. Most of them were basic webcam stand-ups, but there were a few colorful productions. One included a man eating an ear of corn; another a cartoon of Vice President Dick Cheney holding a rifle.</s>Mr. NICK ANDERSON: Yeah. Will you grant your vice president as much power and influence as I've had, and remember before you answer, I'am watching you.</s>FARAI CHIDEYA, host: So who got the upper hand? We've got two folks to help us find out. Political scientist Mark Sawyer - he's director of the Center for the Study of Race, Ethnicity and Politics at UCLA; and James Taylor - he's an associate professor of politics at the University of San Francisco. Welcome.</s>Mr. MARK SAWYER (Director, Center for the Study of Race, Ethnicity and Politics, University of California, Los Angeles): Hello, Farai.</s>Professor JAMES TAYLOR (Politics, University of San Francisco): Hello.</s>FARAI CHIDEYA, host: So, I guess, James, I'll start with you. Was there a clear winner last night?</s>Professor JAMES TAYLOR (Politics, University of San Francisco): I wouldn't say there was a clear winner, but I thought Mike Huckabee did well on a number of questions he came across, I think, as an attractive candidate, as someone who is quick making populous appeals such as eliminating the IRS and the Department of Homeland Security. And he talked about, for example, eliminating the National Income Tax and coming up with a fair tax and, so I thought he did a good job in using his sense of humor, being quick on the question of what would Jesus do on the death penalty. But I thought that was somewhat of an evasion to the extent that he never answered the question about what Jesus would do on the death penalty.</s>FARAI CHIDEYA, host: It sounds like you saw some threads of populism in what he was saying.</s>Professor JAMES TAYLOR (Politics, University of San Francisco): Absolutely. I thought he, as well as Ron Paul, as well as those who talked about eliminating the various federal programs trying to make different sorts of a populist appeals, and Ron Paul clearly comes across best in that area.</s>FARAI CHIDEYA, host: And, Mark, immigration - it was just lit on fire last night. You had that exchange between Romney and Giuliani that set the tone for other exchanges. What was the top issue for you? Was it immigration? And if so, how did that play out?</s>Mr. MARK SAWYER (Director, Center for the Study of Race, Ethnicity and Politics, University of California, Los Angeles): Yeah. I mean, I would characterize the debate as gods, guns, gays and illegals with illegals leading the way and what really touched off was the idea that they really see immigration as an issue of sort of the criminality with - there being a really stark difference between the people who've been governors and mayors who've had to take a sort of practical view about the issue, understanding that the people are there. They need to have certain kinds of policies to sort of deal with their existence being in sharp contrast to those who haven't had to deal with that.</s>Mr. MARK SAWYER (Director, Center for the Study of Race, Ethnicity and Politics, University of California, Los Angeles): Of course, Romney attacked Giuliani on being a sort of sanctuary person and tried to sort of reposition himself on the issues as being sort of really tough on immigrants, a kind of Tancredo type. And that seems to be the sort of Romney playbook, which is sort of repositioned himself on a range of different issues quite differently than the way he addressed them in much more sort of practical terms as the governor of Massachusetts.</s>FARAI CHIDEYA, host: James, there were a couple of questions that came from African-Americans last night. The first one dealt with black on black crime. Let's take a listen.</s>FARAI CHIDEYA, host: Unidentified Man #1: Hi. This is me and my son, Prentice(ph). We're from Atlanta.</s>FARAI CHIDEYA, host: Unidentified Man #2: I want to ask you guys a question. I noticed you spend billions of dollars on the war in Iraq every year, but what about the war going on in your own country, black on black crime? Two hundred to 400 black men die yearly in one city alone. What are you going to do about that war? It feels like the Taliban's right outside.</s>FARAI CHIDEYA, host: And here's Mitt Romney's response.</s>Mr. MITT ROMNEY (Republican, Massachusetts): About the war in the inner city? Number one is to get more moms and dads. That's number one. And thank heavens Bill Cosby said it like it was; that's where the root of crime starts.</s>Mr. MITT ROMNEY (Republican, Massachusetts): Number two, we've got to have better education in our schools. I think that the civil rights issue of our time is the failure of inner city schools to prepare kids in the inner city for the jobs of tomorrow.</s>Mr. MITT ROMNEY (Republican, Massachusetts): And number three, of course, you have to do a better job with our policing.</s>FARAI CHIDEYA, host: So, James, is that an answer that you think really gave some substance? Who else put anything on the table during the discussion of that issue?</s>Professor JAMES TAYLOR (Politics, University of San Francisco): Yeah, I thought it was, again, somewhat of an evasion because in terms of, you know, talking about education and family structures, in addition to many other issues that these candidates neglected, no one really talked specifically about, you know, the fact that, you know, in America, 27,000 African-American young men have died over the past five years through gun violence and a hundred thousand have been wounded and maimed in America.</s>Professor JAMES TAYLOR (Politics, University of San Francisco): This is not Baghdad; this is not Abu, this is not, you know, the Sunni triangle. This is the United States of America, and we've had - African-American young men are actually safer in Baghdad at this point than they are in any of the major cities in the United States.</s>Professor JAMES TAYLOR (Politics, University of San Francisco): And so in addition to all of these issues that these candidates neglected, none of them talked about job creation. None of them talked about, you know, the trade and balance with China and other countries around the world that we have imbalances with that are germane of World Trade Organization, you know, agreements that definitely undermined the ability of semi-skilled sort of individuals to be able to find work in the United States.</s>Professor JAMES TAYLOR (Politics, University of San Francisco): And employment rates are extremely high. This came across - in the past presidential election I thought John Kerry did a good job in highlighting the point that African-American men in New York - the majority of them were unemployed where these kinds of issues are hardly being discussed today, but in city throughout city in America, with the exception, ironically, of Los Angeles right now, violences is on the uprise.</s>FARAI CHIDEYA, host: Mark, let me take you to another question from an African-American questioner. He basically just asks why don't black votes for Republicans, given their social conservatism. Let's listen to part of Giuliani's answer.</s>Mr. RUDY GIULIANI (Republican, New York): So there are many, many issues on which we can reach out. I found that one of the best was moving people off welfare. I moved 640,000 people off welfare, most of them to jobs. I changed the welfare agency into a job agency, and all of a sudden, I had people that had a future, people that had great hope in life.</s>FARAI CHIDEYA, host: How solid do you think was that response and also given that now there are some questions about what is actually happening to some of the people who left the roles(ph)?</s>Mr. MARK SAWYER (Director, Center for the Study of Race, Ethnicity and Politics, University of California, Los Angeles): Yeah, it was a very weak response. I mean, the sort of Giuliani if you go on and listen to his argument was somewhat of African-Americans have a false consciousness. They're really Republicans; we just don't know it. And it seems to talk down and really not address the sort of issue, the historical issues that the Republican Party has had, which has been sort of running against using the image of African-Americans as a sort of scapegoat to whip up white voters.</s>Mr. MARK SAWYER (Director, Center for the Study of Race, Ethnicity and Politics, University of California, Los Angeles): You know, that began with a southern strategy and a range of other things. Giuliani was roundly hated by African-American voters - most of the people he'd moved off welfare, he moved in to poverty. And, you know, the issues were sort of - and another thing that they continued to address is, is that, African-Americans are addressed through the lens of crime.</s>Mr. MARK SAWYER (Director, Center for the Study of Race, Ethnicity and Politics, University of California, Los Angeles): And there are a lot of issues that face the community that are not related to crime, as James mentioned. The economy issues around trade; health care was not talked about at all. Those are things that are really core African-American issues and if, you know, for instance, if Romney thinks that education is a civil rights issue of our time, what is he going to do about it? There was no substance to the response.</s>FARAI CHIDEYA, host: When you take a step back and look at how these guys are positioning themselves for the general election, there actually was a chance for them to do their own YouTube commercial and John McCain and Tom Tancredo showed themselves squaring off with Hillary Clinton. So they went for that aspect of it. Fred Thompson went for the jugular with the other candidates. Do you think that, at this point - first of all, there's a presumption that Hillary Clinton will be the person to beat. And secondly, that there should be a term from just attacking each other to moving into talking about the general election. James, how do you feel about that? Were they more focused on each other or more focused on the general election?</s>Professor JAMES TAYLOR (Politics, University of San Francisco): Yeah, I thought, you know, those who were like Tom - as you say, Tom Lancredo(ph) - Tancredo, he actually tried to sort of raise the specter of Hillary Clinton. But I think at this point, it seems almost staged that Giuliani and Romney started this whole debate last night as a kind of, you know, Mike Tyson's fight. You know, the first few minutes were furious and - on the issue of immigration, but, you know, eventually, they sort of, you know, moved away from each other and began to try to talk about Hillary Clinton, but she never really fully, I think, became the focus of the debate last night.</s>FARAI CHIDEYA, host: So, Mark, it sounds like he is saying that basically, it was just mano a mano among the Republicans.</s>Mr. MARK SAWYER (Director, Center for the Study of Race, Ethnicity and Politics, University of California, Los Angeles): Yeah. Well, I mean, you can see that. I mean, it's a very tight race on their side. There's no - there's not really a sort of - I guess, Giuliani is the presumptive frontrunner. But it's not clear that he's going to win in Iowa, and someone could pick up a lot of momentum, so therefore, it was really set up. I mean, eventually, it was going to emerge as, at least, a little bit of the argument of who's best positioned to run against Hillary.</s>Mr. MARK SAWYER (Director, Center for the Study of Race, Ethnicity and Politics, University of California, Los Angeles): And - but it's - and, again, that may also be a mistake because it's not quite clear that Hillary may be the final opponent. If you look at what's going on in Iowa, if Obama picks up a win there and gains some momentum, things could shift and that sort of Republican argument that we're gearing up for Hillary may not become - come into fruition, actually.</s>FARAI CHIDEYA, host: There's going to be a forum this weekend that deals with black and brown issues in the heartland. And, of course, the first two states - the first state, the Iowa caucus, is not very black or brown, but is that going to, James, be able to insert some issues into the consciousness even as we go towards the first couple of states that don't have a lot of people of color?</s>Professor JAMES TAYLOR (Politics, University of San Francisco): Yeah. I mean, I'm not quite sure, but it seems like, you know, in the Midwest, you have important states with large populations of African-Americans, especially, you know, for example, in Chicago, in Cleveland, in the city of, you know, Cincinnati, Dayton, these Midwest cities in Detroit. You know, these sort of issues that will be discussed in the Midwest certainly have a sort of captive audience of African-American and Latino and Chicano American people who would be interested in what sort of yield these discussions sort of produce.</s>FARAI CHIDEYA, host: Well…</s>Professor JAMES TAYLOR (Politics, University of San Francisco): But there's a great deal of, you know, interest that African-Americans would have.</s>FARAI CHIDEYA, host: Mark and James, thanks so much.</s>Professor JAMES TAYLOR (Politics, University of San Francisco): Thank you.</s>Mr. MARK SAWYER (Director, Center for the Study of Race, Ethnicity and Politics, University of California, Los Angeles): Thank you.</s>FARAI CHIDEYA, host: We've been speaking with Mark Sawyer. He is the director of the Center for the Study of Race, Ethnicity and Politics at UCLA; also joined by the University of San Francisco, politics professor James Taylor. Both joined us from the U.C. Berkley School of Journalism studios.</s>FARAI CHIDEYA, host: And tune in Monday for our coverage of the Iowa brown and black presidential forum with the Democratic candidates.
We received a record number of letters about our interview with a Clinton supporter who now plans to vote for McCain. She can't be for real, many said. Also, listeners wrote in with their gas-related gloats.
MADELEINE BRAND, host: Here with us now, senior producer Steve Proffitt, to help share some of listener email.</s>STEVE PROFFITT: Madeleine, last week in our series "What's the New What?" a young woman, Alyssa Wagner, proposed that psychics are the new psychologists. She said her therapist was making her feel kind of crazy, but her psychic made her feel good. That didn't make a lot of our listeners feel good. A lot of them wrote in.</s>MADELEINE BRAND, host: That's right. And many were outraged that we would allow someone to compare trained and licensed psychologists to unregulated psychics.</s>STEVE PROFFITT: Others noted there are many types of therapists, and if one isn't right for you, just find another.</s>MADELEINE BRAND, host: He's a comment from Robert Freeman(ph) of Ellensburg, Washington. "Psychology is hard work. It's easier to have someone tell you what you want to hear."</s>STEVE PROFFITT: OK. Now to the number one topic in our inbox. Madeleine, your interview yesterday with Atlanta attorney and author Barbara LeBey.</s>MADELEINE BRAND, host: I don't think we've received this much mail ever. Anyway, Barbara LeBey told us she was a lifelong Democrat and Hillary Clinton supporter who is now leaning toward voting for John McCain.</s>STEVE PROFFITT: And she was critical of Barack Obama, calling him, among other things, a blank slate.</s>Ms. BARBARA LEBEY: I don't want our country led by another inexperienced upstart.</s>MADELEINE BRAND, host: Scores, scores, scores of our listeners wrote to question whether Ms. LeBey was actually ever a Democrat, and some of you wondered if she was, in fact, a Republican operative.</s>Ms. SUSAN STURGILL: I'm Susan Sturgill (ph) from Columbus, Ohio. I really hope I'm only being paranoid, but it sounded to me like you were set up with an anti-Democratic campaign commercial.</s>MADELEINE BRAND, host: Ms. LeBey is not a Republican plant. She is actually an aunt of one of our reporters, Laura Sydell.</s>STEVE PROFFITT: And although we got a couple of letters agreeing with her views, we got a lot more comments taking issue with her statements. Here's one from listener Randy Hall.</s>Mr. RANDY HALL: She cited John McCain's quote unquote "record of reaching across the aisle," but must have been unaware that John McCain voted with Bush 95 percent of the time in 2007, and 100 percent of the time so far in 2008. One would think a lifelong Democrat would take a few minutes to research something as important as one's vote for president. Randy Hall, Marblehead, Massachusetts.</s>PROFITT: Thanks to everyone who wrote in about that interview. And thanks to all of you who've written in with your tales of secret gloating in bad times.</s>MADELEINE BRAND, host: That's right. We asked you yesterday to share those moments when in spite of high gas prices, high food prices and dropping ome values, you've had a reason to gloat.</s>STEVE PROFFITT: We've gotten lots of great emails from Prius drivers, from bicyclists and this three-word summation from listener Mike Moore(ph).</s>MADELEINE BRAND, host: Fixed-rate mortgage.</s>STEVE PROFFITT: OK, that was great, but we're looking for more. Did you buy a bunch of oil company stock last year, maybe?</s>MADELEINE BRAND, host: Maybe you sold your home just before the market took a dive?</s>STEVE PROFFITT: Or are you so rich you'll never give up your enormous SUV, even if gas goes to 10 bucks a gallon?</s>MADELEINE BRAND, host: Write us with your gloats in 100 words or less.</s>STEVE PROFFITT: Just go to our Website,, and click on the contact us link.</s>MADELEINE BRAND, host: Put "gloat" in the subject line. And Steve Proffitt? You'll be back to share us your gloats real soon. Steve, do you have a gloat for us today?</s>STEVE PROFFITT: I don't have any gloats. I'm not a gloater, OK? I'm just not a gloater. Madeleine, thank you very much.</s>MADELEINE BRAND, host: I don't believe you.</s>STEVE PROFFITT: Got to go now.</s>MADELEINE BRAND, host: OK, bye.</s>STEVE PROFFITT: Very busy.
A recent outbreak in salmonella linked to raw tomatoes has farmers across the country worried. Tom Deardorff, a fourth generation farmer in Oxnard, Calif., is scared that decreased demand will leave his tomatoes to rot in the field.
MADELEINE BRAND, host: This is Day to Day. I'm Madeleine Brand.</s>ALEX COHEN, host: And I'm Alex Cohen.</s>ALEX COHEN, host: Tomatoes grown in at least 20 states have been given a clean bill of health. That's to say they are not associated with the Salmonella outbreak, which has made more than 150 people sick. But even though tomatoes from top-producing states like California and Florida are considered safe, many consumers are feeling a bit squeamish about buying any. Tom Deardorff is a fourth-generation tomato farmer in Oxnard, California, and he's on the line with us now. Welcome to the program and tell us, how big of a year is this for you - for your crops?</s>Mr. TOM DEARDORFF (Deardorff Family Farms, Oxnard California): Well, we are setting up to have a very positive year based on what's happened over the last couple of years. Starting production in about two weeks and hoping for the best.</s>ALEX COHEN, host: Hoping for the best, but expecting what? How is the Salmonella outbreak going to affect you, do you think?</s>Mr. TOM DEARDORFF (Deardorff Family Farms, Oxnard California): Well, it's obviously substantially changed the marketplace in a very short period of time. What looked like was going to be a very positive season could end up being a disaster if certain buyers in both retail and food-service industry continue to not offer them on their menu items.</s>ALEX COHEN, host: And I have to say, you know, tomatoes don't necessarily have a great track record. There have been more than a dozen outbreaks of contamination with tomatoes since 1990. So how do you, as a farmer, go about convincing people it's OK to eat this stuff?</s>Mr. TOM DEARDORFF (Deardorff Family Farms, Oxnard California): Well, they actually have a very good track record in California and from a food-safety standpoint, we are the leading producers of the safest, best supply of tomatoes. So, it's a matter of educating the consuming public about where their tomatoes are coming from and about the measures that have been implemented in the last 10 to 15 years to help increase the food-safety elements of our products.</s>ALEX COHEN, host: Even though tomatoes here in California are considered safe, I'm wondering if you've taken any additional safety precautions with your crops.</s>Mr. TOM DEARDORFF (Deardorff Family Farms, Oxnard California): Yeah. Food safety is obviously an evolving thing, and we continue to implement new measures every year. This year, for example, we've substantially altered a lot of our packing shed in pursuit of better food- safety measures and more wash stations and more critical control-point analysis of the product as it moves through our packing shed.</s>ALEX COHEN, host: You know, I hear you talking about this, and I trust what you're saying is right. But I've got to say, you are not with me at the store when I look at the tomatoes, and I have to say, I've looked at them in the past couple of days and thought, I don't know. It feels just a little bit weird. So how do you go about convincing people when you can't be there for every, you know, individual potential buyer?</s>Mr. TOM DEARDORFF (Deardorff Family Farms, Oxnard California): And consumer confidence is a very finicky thing and we've seen with prior problems with food-safety issues, it's usually an initial huge reaction, and then it takes six to nine to sometimes 12 months to regain that consumer confidence. We are hoping that this time, because the domestic food supply has been cleared and has been recognized as not being a part of any of these warnings, that hopefully that recovery time is much quicker. We're going to need a lot of help from the government to help us get that message out. We are going to need a lot of help from our industry marketing associations. And then as individual companies, we need to get out there and educate the public about all the food-safety measures that we do here in our domestic food supply to ensure the safety of our products.</s>ALEX COHEN, host: Worse-case scenario, how much might you lose?</s>Mr. TOM DEARDORFF (Deardorff Family Farms, Oxnard California): Well, worst case is a really bad picture. California is the leading producer of tomatoes and if we have to start disking under fields, the ramifications are going to be into the hundreds of millions, if not billions of dollars. So, it could be a very huge scenario if we can't regain consumer confidence here real quickly.</s>ALEX COHEN, host: California tomatoes have been cleared, but when you see them in the store, you don't necessarily know that they are from California and therefore, OK. So how do you get that message out?</s>Mr. TOM DEARDORFF (Deardorff Family Farms, Oxnard California): Well, interestingly, as of the end of September 2008, as a result of the current farm bill, we will have mandatory country-of-origin labeling at the retail level. So, retailers will be signing fresh fruits and vegetables here real soon so that the consuming public does know where their fresh fruit and vegetables are coming from.</s>ALEX COHEN, host: Tom Deardorff of Deardorff Family Farms in Oxnard, California. Thank you and good luck.</s>Mr. TOM DEARDORFF (Deardorff Family Farms, Oxnard California): Thank you very much.
Farai Chideya talks with Cincinnati Enquirer economics reporter Keith Reed about Black Friday retail sales and the recent break in mortgage rates. Plus, he explains why the NAACP is telling blacks not to shop at Target stores this holiday season.
FARAI CHIDEYA, host: From NPR News, this is NEWS & NOTES. I'm Farai Chideya.</s>FARAI CHIDEYA, host: If you take a hard look at America's mortgage crisis, there seems to be some good news. Last week, mortgage rates dipped to a sixth-month low, but will that help Americans at risk of losing their homes? Will it even help the economy at large?</s>FARAI CHIDEYA, host: For more, we've got Keith Reed, economics reporter for the Cincinnati Enquirer.</s>FARAI CHIDEYA, host: Keith, welcome.</s>Mr. KEITH REED (Economics Reporter, Cincinnati Enquirer): How's it going?</s>FARAI CHIDEYA, host: It's going great. So the numbers, 30-year fixed-rate mortgages dropped a little bit. They were 6.24 percent last month. Now, to a six-month low of 6.20 percent. That doesn't sound like very much, so why is it making economists happy?</s>Mr. KEITH REED (Economics Reporter, Cincinnati Enquirer): Oh, it's making economists happy because it does reflect a little bit of what they've said that we need to see to try to bring some of the housing market back. I mean, one of the things that - one of the major factors that conspired to due to the housing market what it's been doing, is the fact that the rates have gone up.</s>Mr. KEITH REED (Economics Reporter, Cincinnati Enquirer): If you remember, much of what happened in the housing market over the last several years was due to the fact that we have rates that would have historical lows. And people began to buy homes and take out interest only or adjustable rate mortgages that were based on these very low rates. When those rates reset at higher levels, people - that's when you started to see people defaulting on their homes, and you started to see from the credit crunch some people in the mortgage market drying up. People weren't able to go out and borrow as much as they had been or they weren't able to borrow at all.</s>Mr. KEITH REED (Economics Reporter, Cincinnati Enquirer): So when you start to see some loosening in that in terms of the rates readjusting downward, then economists are going to be a little bit happy about that.</s>FARAI CHIDEYA, host: But, if you're at risk of losing your home, if you're trying to get refinancing, for example, will this save you?</s>Mr. KEITH REED (Economics Reporter, Cincinnati Enquirer): No, it won't, it likely won't. I mean - the problem with someone who's in a mortgage right now who wants to refi out of it is that in many instances, they are trying to refi out of a mortgage on a house that's basically worth more than they can - than the house can be sold for - excuse me, worth less that house can be sold for.</s>Mr. KEITH REED (Economics Reporter, Cincinnati Enquirer): For example, say you bought a house three years ago, and your interest - your adjustable rate mortgage had an initial rate that was set at, say, 4 percent for three years. Well, today, that mortgage would obviously - the rate would be much higher than that initial 4 percent. But then the other piece of it is, if the house was worth $150,000 three years ago, today it may only be worth, say, $120,000, or $110,000.</s>Mr. KEITH REED (Economics Reporter, Cincinnati Enquirer): So when you got to refinance that house, you really have no equity in it at all, and that's the problem that people are facing when they want to refi out of these mortgages. So it's not something that's really helping people that already own their homes or are already in a mortgage and want to get out of one, just because it was a bad mortgage and they can no longer afford it. What it may do is help loosen up credit for some people who want to buy - who hadn't been able to in the last four to six months.</s>FARAI CHIDEYA, host: So it should help you if you're a new homeowner or seeking to be a new homeowner?</s>Mr. KEITH REED (Economics Reporter, Cincinnati Enquirer): It could help you. I mean, provided you qualify, provided you meet all the qualifications to get a mortgage. And it's much more difficult to do that now than it was, say, a year ago. But if you do qualify, it makes a little bit easier for you, at least in terms of what you would pay on a monthly basis because the rates are lower than it had been in several months. And that's good news for people who were trying to buy now.</s>FARAI CHIDEYA, host: Of course, the mortgage crisis is having a huge impact on the economy at large. Another thing that always does is shopping, because we do live in a consumer society.</s>Mr. KEITH REED (Economics Reporter, Cincinnati Enquirer): Uh-huh.</s>FARAI CHIDEYA, host: And so, the day after Thanksgiving is called Black Friday, not as in Afro-pick power to the people Black Friday, but it's the day that supposedly retailers go in the black or start turning a profit. With things being a little shaky economically nowadays, some retailers started holiday promotions after Halloween. So…</s>Mr. KEITH REED (Economics Reporter, Cincinnati Enquirer): Mm-hmm.</s>FARAI CHIDEYA, host: …how did they do this Friday?</s>Mr. KEITH REED (Economics Reporter, Cincinnati Enquirer): They did better than expected, but there are still some worries out there. You saw sales, particularly online sales go up this year compared with last year, according to the initial data that came in. Still we're up 8.3 percent on Black Friday compared with last year, but that is with fewer customers coming into the stores.</s>Mr. KEITH REED (Economics Reporter, Cincinnati Enquirer): The only thing that you have to worry about is not just what happens on Black Friday because people have this idea that Black Friday is the day that it all happens. Black Friday is really the day that it kicks off. So the holiday shopping season traditionally starts on Black Friday, but it doesn't necessarily mean that that's when retailers make all their money. That is the day that it kicks off the holiday shopping season, and it needs sales to continue to be strong, at least for the next several weeks leading into Christmas shopping season.</s>Mr. KEITH REED (Economics Reporter, Cincinnati Enquirer): What happened this year, as you saw, pretty strong sales, stronger than expected sales on Black Friday because you had so many door-buster sales. Retailers were so worried about how dismal they thought it was going to be that they put everything on sale, and a lot of people came out, and they bought a lot of stuff, and they got better deals than they expected to get.</s>Mr. KEITH REED (Economics Reporter, Cincinnati Enquirer): But Saturday, it trailed off. And, you know, so they're worried about whether or not it's going to continue to be strong, given they started so early, right after Halloween, and they had so many sales on Black Friday, whether or not they can maintain the pace that they need to see a truly good holiday shopping season at this point.</s>FARAI CHIDEYA, host: New economics experts talked about something called shopper's trading down. What does that mean?</s>Mr. KEITH REED (Economics Reporter, Cincinnati Enquirer): That means essentially that what's happening this year is that many shoppers are going to buy things that are essentially cheaper. They're looking for the low price point; they're looking for items that aren't necessarily as expensive. This is different from another phenomenon that involved shoppers, sort of mixing and matching what they do.</s>Mr. KEITH REED (Economics Reporter, Cincinnati Enquirer): For example, you may go to Target and buy house wares at a relatively inexpensive price, but then you and buy coats and bags that cost $300 or $400 at a Macy's or some other department store. Well, this year, the $400 handbag seems to be - is out, and people are looking for that mid-price point. A video game as opposed to a video game system; a DVD player as opposed to the big screen TV that everybody was buying last year. So with shoppers buying the less expensive items and everything being at a discounted rate, you can see some of the position that the retailers are finding themselves in.</s>FARAI CHIDEYA, host: Are retailers and shoppers essentially in opposition to each other, if not at war with each other? What I mean by that is, so many people are carrying big credit-card debt, and so you might think, okay, don't spend too much money. But then, retail helps drive the American economy. What are the different things that are - or what are the forces that are at play here?</s>Mr. KEITH REED (Economics Reporter, Cincinnati Enquirer): I don't think the retailers are at war with the consumer. It's not as if consumers are out there, you know, protesting or demanding that retailers lower their prices, you've just got some external forces out there. People in the United States, American consumers are just that, they are consumers. They want to buy things that makes us feel good. It's a reflection to a certain extent of your wealth or at least how wealthy you feel.</s>Mr. KEITH REED (Economics Reporter, Cincinnati Enquirer): But right now, people just don't feel as wealthy as they have over the last several years. You've got a situation where, you know, oil is very expensive, newer record, around $97 a barrel, which is just about a dollar or so off from a record for crude oil. That affects, obviously, what you pay to heat your home, and we are entering winter, although it doesn't feel like that in many parts of the country yet.</s>Mr. KEITH REED (Economics Reporter, Cincinnati Enquirer): It's going to affect the - your travel plans' going to affect how much you pay for an airline ticket to go home and see your family, or how much it takes to fill up your car to go to and from work. The housing economy, obviously, as we just discussed, is often has been for the better part of the year, people's houses are worth less, people can't go in and refinance their houses or can't borrow because the value of the house or due to Christmas that they have been over the last several years. You got…</s>FARAI CHIDEYA, host: So people…</s>Mr. KEITH REED (Economics Reporter, Cincinnati Enquirer): …you got the confluence or factors that are putting pressure on the retail environment. It's not that people don't want to buy or that they're ignoring what the retailers are doing. It's just that people are in a position that they haven't been in for the last several years.</s>FARAI CHIDEYA, host: Keith, let's take a quick look at something else affecting retail. It's a question of affinity buying. Do you, basically, vote your social conscience with your dollar? So there's a specific case every year since'96, the NAACP has put out a report on corporate retailers in black communities. Target, for the past three years, has not participated in the survey. The NAACP is bringing this up pointedly. Now, there's so much focus on stores that market themselves as good for the environment or green. Do people even look at what's good for diversity when they buy?</s>Mr. KEITH REED (Economics Reporter, Cincinnati Enquirer): I think some people do. Although I don't really know that there's any evidence that that it's enough to move the needle, and I have to admit that I haven't seen data on this. But I do think that, you know, there's always going to be some segment of the population that will be influenced in their buying decisions by - based on certain social or political concerns and that will cut across the gamut you will always have, X percentage of the population whose going to be very concerned with the environment? X percent of the population who is going to be very concerned with animal rights. X percent of the population is going to be - excuse me - very concerned with racial or community factors. And that percentage in the population, I think is relatively small. What the challenge is for the NAACP in the report that you talked about in their effort to galvanize something that will boycott will be to agitate beyond that base of consumers that's already buying with those concerns in mind and…</s>FARAI CHIDEYA, host: Keith, let me just…</s>Mr. KEITH REED (Economics Reporter, Cincinnati Enquirer): …well, it remainsto be seen. Go ahead.</s>FARAI CHIDEYA, host: Bring up one thing. There's a blog called "Black is Back," and the blogger who runs that made a point of saying online that when he was running a teen, parent and adult education program, Target with the only business that donated things consistently. If Target does have that kind of a track record - at least according to one person - very briefly, why would they avoid participating in this kind of a survey?</s>Mr. KEITH REED (Economics Reporter, Cincinnati Enquirer): It's hard to tell. That could be an indicator of any number of things. Target may have some issue with the criteria that the NAACP uses to come to its report card in which case it would - it might refuse to participate in the survey. Target - it's not necessarily something that smacks as something sinister or it doesn't necessarily indicate that they're not doing some of the things like giving back to communities based on race or based on any other concern. It could simply be that they disagree with whatever the criteria is that the NAACP uses. We don't know because target hasn't said why they don't participate in. So until they do open up and say we're not participating because of X or because of Y, it would be very difficult to make a determination about whether, you know, what the NAACP reports is really accurate and reflective…</s>FARAI CHIDEYA, host: Well, Keith…</s>Mr. KEITH REED (Economics Reporter, Cincinnati Enquirer): …(unintelligible)…</s>FARAI CHIDEYA, host: …Keith, thank you so much.</s>Mr. KEITH REED (Economics Reporter, Cincinnati Enquirer): Thank you.</s>FARAI CHIDEYA, host: Keith Reed is an economics reporter for the Cincinnati Enquirer.
The Southern Baptist Convention has been meeting this week in Indianapolis. The group is grappling with declining membership and the feeling that they don't have a candidate in this year's presidential race.
MADELEINE BRAND, host: Southern Baptists have been a key voting bloc in recent presidential elections, so who are they going for this year? The Southern Baptist Convention wraps up its annual meeting today in Indianapolis. NPR's Celeste Headlee was there.</s>CELESTE HEADLEE: The consensus among voters at the Southern Baptist Convention is that there is no consensus.</s>Mr. TOM PATTERSON (Southern Baptist): It just don't seem like there's a candidate that anybody's excited about.</s>Ms. SARAH BURKE (Southern Baptist): I can't see that Southern Baptists are going to come out very strongly for one individual.</s>Mr. MARCUS READING (Southern Baptist): I get an odd sense with the SBC, it's almost like a quietness that I've not heard the excitement about the election on either side.</s>CELESTE HEADLEE: Tom Patterson(ph), Sarah Burke(ph) and Marcus Reading(ph) are all chatting in the crowded hallways of the Indiana Convention Center. Loren Hutchinson(ph) of Kansas City doesn't think the Southern Baptist Convention will be as involved in presidential politics this year as it has been in the past.</s>Mr. LOREN HUTCHINSON: I hope not. I think it's to our detriment. I think it's sidetracked us from our purpose on Earth. I think it's watered down the message of the Gospel.</s>CELESTE HEADLEE: Why are the Southern Baptists so unenthused about the presidential race? Well, some, like Mike Butler (ph), just haven't made up their minds.</s>Mr. MIKE BUTLER: It's very much a up-in-the-air thing right now, between Obama and McCain, for me.</s>CELESTE HEADLEE: Yes, you heard right. A longtime member of the Southern Baptist Convention is struggling to choose between Barack Obama and John McCain in the presidential race - not exactly what you might expect from this conservative religious group. And Butler is not the only one.</s>Ms. BEV OLONNO: Obama has an understanding of some things that we have totally missed. He is in touch with the whole racial issues that we can't just - like say, OK, that's going to happen by itself.</s>CELESTE HEADLEE: Bev Olonno(ph) says there are things she likes about both candidates. That's probably the last thing the McCain campaign wants to hear. McCain recently appointed a national coordinator for evangelical and social conservative outreach. The Arizona senator also often points to his strong anti-abortion voting record. But Doug Munton(ph) doesn't think Baptists are one-issue voters.</s>DOUG MUNTON: A lot of Southern Baptists are very glad to see a pro-life candidate, but there's a lot of issues involved in choosing a president, and that's just one of them.</s>CELESTE HEADLEE: SBC members were passionate supporters of George Bush in 2000, and they're credited with helping him earn his second term. But Lee Pig (ph) says McCain just doesn't inspire the same enthusiasm.</s>Mr. LEE PIG: I guess he's just not as charismatic, maybe, as Obama. Even though I'm not going to vote for Obama, but I don't feel a connection to McCain like I did Bush.</s>CELESTE HEADLEE: That lack of a connection may be caused by doubt over McCain's religious credentials. Tom Patterson is from Rockville, South Carolina.</s>Mr. TOM PATTERSON (Southern Baptist): Well he says he's Baptist, but I don't know which church he's a member of.</s>CELESTE HEADLEE: McCain has had a rocky relationship with evangelicals. In 2000, he denounced Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell as quote, "agents of intolerance." The senator actively sought endorsements from influential pastors John Hagee and Rod Parsley. But last month, McCain renounced those endorsements after some controversial statements came to light. Bev Ollono says Southern Baptists are not automatically going to support the Republican nominee come November.</s>Ms. BEV OLONNO: God is not Democrat or Republican. To me, it's like humbling ourselves before God and Lord, who do you want?</s>CELESTE HEADLEE: It's probably safe to say McCain has yet to win over the millions of Southern Baptists voters that helped George Bush get to the White House and stay there. Celeste Headlee, NPR News, Indianapolis.</s>COHEN: Your angry, angry letters, when Day to Day continues.
The "sea rocket" shows preferential treatment to plants that are its kin. Evolutionary plant ecologist Susan Dudley of McMaster University in Ontario discusses her discovery.
MADELEINE BRAND, host: This is Day to Day. I'm Madeleine Brand.</s>ALEX COHEN, host: And I'm Alex Cohen.</s>ALEX COHEN, host: Coming up, the question of who wrote a famous religious poem turns into a very unchristian battle.</s>MADELEINE BRAND, host: First, remember the 1970s? People talked to their houseplants, played them classical music. They were convinced plants were sensuous beings and there was that 1979 movie, "The Secret Life of Plants."</s>Unidentified Male: Only a few daring individuals, from the scientific establishment, have come forward with offers to replicate his experiments, or test his results. The great majority are content simply to condemn his efforts without taking the trouble to investigate their validity.</s>MADELEINE BRAND, host: Well, some thirty years later, things may have changed. Scientists now report that a weed known as the Sea Rocket makes animal-like decisions. Susan Dudley carried out the study. She's an Evolutionary Plant Ecologist at McMaster University in Ontario, Canada and what did you discover that the Sea Rocket was doing?</s>Professor SUSAN DUDLEY (Biology, McMaster University): Well, what I discovered is that the plants made a different shape. They changed how much they put into roots when they were grown with strangers sharing the same pot, but not when they were growing with their siblings. So, their whole, how they grow - their morphology - depends on who they are growing with and basically it shows that they can recognize their kin. And we think that this is an indication that they are competing less with their kin.</s>MADELEINE BRAND, host: They can recognize their relatives?</s>Professor SUSAN DUDLEY (Biology, McMaster University): Or maybe recognize strangers, we don't know?</s>MADELEINE BRAND, host: Well, this must have been pretty astonishing?</s>Professor SUSAN DUDLEY (Biology, McMaster University): It was astonishing. I mean it was - there's a lot of good scientific reasons to look for it, but it is always astonishing when you think something is happening, and it turns out - or you look for it and it turns out that it actually is there.</s>MADELEINE BRAND, host: Well, plants don't have a brain. They don't have eyes. They don't have a sense of smell, I don't think? So how are they able to do this?</s>Professor SUSAN DUDLEY (Biology, McMaster University): Well plants have a lot of ways of sensing the environment. They sense all sorts of things about the environment. And they while they don't have eyes, for example, they have photo receptors which let them sense things about the color of the light. And that is actually a really well-known way the plants can sense whether or not there are other plants around them. We think that this is probably a chemical cue. Some research I'm doing in collaboration with someone at the University of Delaware, Harsh Bais, shows that there's something - they put something in the liquid surrounding the roots that illicits this stranger response.</s>MADELEINE BRAND, host: And what good does it do the plant? Does it make it better able to live? To succeed?</s>Professor SUSAN DUDLEY (Biology, McMaster University): Well, what we think is that - you know, our hypothesis, working hypothesis, is that competition is costly for plants and that if that they can agree not to compete, they will all do better. But the only ones that they can basically agree with would be their relatives. So, it's a kind of...</s>MADELEINE BRAND, host: It sounds familiar.</s>Professor SUSAN DUDLEY (Biology, McMaster University): Yeah, no, that's why it's not sensitive new age guy kind of plants, but you know, plants that are out to get what they can. And in fact, this kind of agreement not to compete goes away when resources are scarce. You know, we had one study where we are writing up, that shows when resources are scarce, they'll compete as strongly with relatives as they will with anyone else.</s>MADELEINE BRAND, host: So, they are not actually thinking, they are just reacting to chemical inputs?</s>Professor SUSAN DUDLEY (Biology, McMaster University): Yeah, I don't - I don't feel any more guilt about eating salads then I ever did. I definitely don't think that they are conscious, but I think that they are sensing things about the environment and responding to those things and perhaps even taking multiple cues from the environment into account as they respond. So the presence of competitors, the nutrients, whether those competitors are kin or strangers.</s>MADELEINE BRAND, host: So, this was the humble Sea Rocket, which is basically a weed. Do you think that other plants do the same thing and maybe plants that are a little fancier? Or more advanced than the weed could actually do more things?</s>Professor SUSAN DUDLEY (Biology, McMaster University): Well, we've done this in a few other plants and what we are finding is that in three other plants that we looked for it, we did find it. Mind you we've looked in species where we thought we would find it. Species that are kind of weedy, that grow with their relatives very often, that are, you know, sort of set up where you would expect an evolutionary biologist to find that you grow with relatives and favoring relatives so therefore it'd be to the plants advantage.</s>MADELEINE BRAND, host: Susan Dudley, thank you very much.</s>Professor SUSAN DUDLEY (Biology, McMaster University): OK. Thank you.</s>MADELEINE BRAND, host: That's Susan Dudley. She's an associate professor of biology at McMaster University in Hamilton Ontario. She discovered that there is a social life of plants.
The new iPhone has sent hearts a-flutter with its improved software, design and colors — all the characteristics that appeal to women, according to Genevieve Bell, an anthropologist for Intel and its Director of User Experience..
MADELEINE BRAND, host: This is Day to Day, I'm Madeleine Brand.</s>ALEX COHEN, host: I'm Alex Cohen. Madeleine, you were just asking me if you should get the new iPhone.</s>MADELEINE BRAND, host: I was, just before this show, just wondering, well it's new, it's cheaper, maybe...</s>ALEX COHEN, host: It's pretty swell. Now you've got the BlackBerry, right?</s>MADELEINE BRAND, host: Yeah, I have a BlackBerry.</s>ALEX COHEN, host: But you're not totally in love with it, baby?</s>MADELEINE BRAND, host: Well, I think we have a platonic relationship.</s>ALEX COHEN, host: Well, you know it is tough figuring out how to design technology that will make us gals whip out our wallets.</s>MADELEINE BRAND, host: And this week you've been doing a series on this. And today you've been looking at the differences in gender when it comes to gadgets.</s>ALEX COHEN, host: Genevieve Bell is a cultural anthropologist for Intel. She spent a lot of time going into homes and observing how people use technology. Genevieve joins us now. Welcome to the program.</s>Dr. GENEVIEVE BELL (Anthropologist, Intel, Director of User Experience): Hi, it's good to be here.</s>ALEX COHEN, host: So, does gender really make a difference when it comes to technology?</s>Dr. GENEVIEVE BELL (Anthropologist, Intel, Director of User Experience): Of course it does. Gender, as we know, impacts all kinds of things. To understand how men and women use technology differently, I think you have to kind of back it up a little bit and think about how men and women have different, in some ways, lives and demands on their time. If you look at the data from the U.S. Department of Labor, if you look at the data from the United Nations, one of the things that's really striking is the ways in which the demands on women's time haven't in fact changed in nearly 50 years. We spend as much time now doing housework, child rearing and emotional work with those around us as we did 50 years ago. And add on to that our presence and paid labor, what you get is women who are really in some ways time constrained. And I think that drives a lot of our demands about technology.</s>ALEX COHEN, host: A lot of these gadgets that you see out there geared towards women are pink or covered in jewels or fluffy in some regard. Does any of this actually matter to us as consumers?</s>Dr. GENEVIEVE BELL (Anthropologist, Intel, Director of User Experience): I've heard that jokingly referred to as that to sell technology to women you have to shrink it and pink it.</s>Dr. GENEVIEVE BELL (Anthropologist, Intel, Director of User Experience): Which is terrible. I think in some ways those attempts are heading in the right direction but they're profoundly misguided. Women and I'd argue many men, know that how they look, how they conduct themselves, how they dress, how they're augmented impacts how people make sense of them. And it's part and parcel of how people know how to reach you in the world. And technologies have become part of that ensemble, if you will. I mean, they've become part of how we're made sense of, they're part of our identities. Particularly small mobile devices. Mobile phones, cameras, mp3 players, there's a whole constellation of technologies that we carry with us now, that have become ways by which people make sense of us.</s>ALEX COHEN, host: What's been the biggest surprise to you in all this research that you've done?</s>Dr. GENEVIEVE BELL (Anthropologist, Intel, Director of User Experience): I shall think the biggest surprise to me came about three and a half years ago when we were doing some work on early adopters of Wi-Fi technology and wireless technology. And we discovered that women were in fact the early adopters. It wasn't men at all. And it was one of the first times I remember looking across the data of technology adoption statistics and technology use statistics where women were in fact leading men.</s>ALEX COHEN, host: And when you're talking about wireless, you're meaning the ability to access the Internet from a number of locations, right?</s>Dr. GENEVIEVE BELL (Anthropologist, Intel, Director of User Experience): Absolutely.</s>ALEX COHEN, host: And why would women be more likely to do that?</s>Dr. GENEVIEVE BELL (Anthropologist, Intel, Director of User Experience): Well, the data we had suggested that it was about the fact that it meant that you can fit the Internet into a life where you are having to juggle a lot of competing demands. Leading back to what I said about women being really time-constrained. What wireless Internet access let women do was do the family's banking while taking kids to the dentist, you know, be at a kid's football game and still be able to take care of shopping. It let people do family communications while also spending time with their kids. And it really kind of fit into a life where there's a lot of multi-tasking happening. And I think for some of those reasons women were adopting that technology.</s>ALEX COHEN, host: Genevieve Bell is an anthropologist and she's the Director of the User Experience Group at Intel. Thanks so much, Genevieve.</s>Dr. GENEVIEVE BELL (Anthropologist, Intel, Director of User Experience): Oh, thank you.
Mark Jordan Legan of shares what the critics are saying about the new Adam Sandler comedy You Don't Mess with the Zohan, the John C. Reilly office farce The Promotion and the animated film Kung Fu Panda.
MADELEINE BRAND, host: Baby! Lots of movies out this weekend that aimed to make you smile, "You Don't Mess with the Zohan," "Kung Fu Panda."</s>ALEX CHADWICK, host: So, Mark Jordan Legan is here to tell you what the critics think of the new movies. It's our weekly feature from, Summary Judgment.</s>MARK JORDAN LEGAN: It wouldn't be summer without a zany comedy from popular comic actor, Adam Sandler, and I'm sure many of you have seen the billboards for "You Don't Mess with the Zohan." This timeout, he portrays a top Israeli commando who fakes his own death to pursue his dream, becoming a hairstylist in the Big Apple. Wow! It's sort of like "Shampoo" meets "Munich," I guess?</s>Unidentified Child: I don't want a haircut!</s>Mr. ADAM SANDLER: (As Zohan) Young man, you know, you shouldn't jump around when this nice woman holding a sharp pair of scissors. If you move, she could slit and slice your jugular, man, on accident. All of your blood will be on the floor in four minutes. I've seen this, I've done this. You don't want this.</s>MARK JORDAN LEGAN: Many of the critics felt like crying as well. But then again, Sandler's movie seemed to be critic-proof. The Onion sighs, "spectacularly unimpeachably, relentlessly, preposterous." Variety warns, "It would require a talent of Peter Sellers' magnitude to conquer this material and he is not around." But the Austin Chronicle called Zohan, "a crazed, delightfully, bizarre return to form for Sandler." Writer Steve Conrad, who penned the dark Nicholas Cage dramedy, "The Weatherman," and Will Smith's uplifting "The Pursuit of Happyness," now makes his directorial debut with "The Promotion," A supermarket comedy where two assistant managers battle to get the coveted managerial post at a new location. John C. Reilly and Seann William Scott square off.</s>MARK JORDAN LEGAN: Mr. JOHN C. REILLY: (As Richard) I think with just some black apples, no, we won't be seeing that happen again.</s>Mr. SEANN WILLIAM SCOTT: (As Doug) You said black apples?</s>Mr. REILLY: (As Richard) I said bad ones.</s>Mr. SEANN WILLIAM SCOTT: (As Doug) You said black.</s>Mr. REILLY: (As Richard) I'm sorry if there's some confusion. Maybe in the confusion, I...</s>Mr. SEANN WILLIAM SCOTT: (As Doug) Hey, come on. It's been a long day. That was a slipped.</s>Mr. REILLY: (As Richard) And I didn't mean to say black, I meant back, blatch, blah, blapples.</s>MARK JORDAN LEGAN: The Nations critics are split on "The Promotion." The New York observer raves, "darkly funny." The LA Weekly chuckles, "low key, witty and observant." But if you want to talk about clean up in aisle three, the Hollywood Reporter hated it, snarling, "one of the unfunniest comedies ever."</s>MARK JORDAN LEGAN: And hey, leave the gummy bears at home and bring plenty of bamboo because opening in wide release, says the Dreamworks animated comedy, "Kung Fu Panda." Jack Black provides the voice for Po, a clumsy Panda who dreams of becoming a Kung Fu master. Everyone from Angelina Jolie to Dustin Hoffman also lend their vocal talent.</s>Mr. DUSTIN HOFFMAN: (As Shifu) Hit it!</s>Mr. JACK BLACK: (As Po) OK. Yeah. I mean, I just ate. So, I'm still digesting. So my Kung Fu might not be as good as later on.</s>Mr. DUSTIN HOFFMAN: (As Shifu) Just hit it!</s>Mr. JACK BLACK: (As Po) OK. How's that? Oww!</s>MARK JORDAN LEGAN: The nation's critics get a kick out of "Kung Fu Panda." "Infectious and inspiring," shouts the Washington Post, and Entertainment Weekly cheers, "light and goofy, lickety-split, mad fun." You know, I'm glad this film is showing their violent side because pandas are always presented as these cute, dazzling animals, but they really are the most vicious blood-thirsty, man-eating creatures in the world. Oh! Come on. How did an enraged giant panda get into the studio?</s>MARK JORDAN LEGAN: Ah! He's going for my double chin, the sweetest of all human meat. Ahhh!</s>Mr. CARL DOUGLAS: (Singing) Everybody was Kung fu fighting. Those cats were fast as lightning...</s>MADELEINE BRAND, host: Mark Jordan Legan is a writer and animal expert living in Los Angeles. Coming up, one of the writers of "You Don't Mess with the Zohan," Robert Smigel, and his alter ego, Triumph, the Insult Comic Dog. That's coming up.
China's devastating earthquake in May left almost 70,000 dead and five million homeless. Thousands of the displaced people are now being evacuated again as rivers clogged with debris threaten to overflow. One such camp is on Peach Blossom Mountain near Jiangyou.
MADELEINE BRAND, host: I'm Madeleine Brand. Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao is in Sichuan province today. He's inspecting the so called quake lake, that's a lake formed by landslides after last month's 7.9 earthquake.</s>ALEX CHADWICK, host: Authorities have evacuated one quarter of a million people in the flood path of that lake. For some it's their second flight to safety, and still many are anxious to get back home. Jamila Trindle reports.</s>JAMILA TRINDLE: Tua Hua Shan or Peach Blossom Mountain is really just a hill, but it's become a refuge for thousands of people from low lying villages nearby. If the dammed river upstream gives way and floods the valley, it should still be above water. For people staying here, it's been three weeks of fear and uncertainty. After living through one disaster and fleeing the threat of another.</s>Mr. WEN FONG: (Through translator) Everyone wants peace and quiet, but the quake and the flood makes everyone here nervous. If the situation continues like this, our hearts won't be able to take it anymore. It's so terrible.</s>JAMILA TRINDLE: Wen Fong (ph) says he has nightmares about the quake, the aftershocks, and now the flood, too. A local TV station has wired up a television. A few people are gathered around waiting for news about the lake that still threatens to flood their towns. Others have retreated into the woods nearby to get out of the heat. At first glance, with parents playing cards and kids running through the trees, it looks like everyone's just out here for a day in the country. Though it all appears carefree, when I asked the kids what they've been doing these days, they're quick to answer avoiding disaster. The adults are laughing and chattering around their card game, maybe out of nervousness. They say they're constantly anxious. Wong Guen Quay(ph) says she's still scared, even here.</s>Ms. WONG GUEN QUAY (Earthquake Survivor): (Through translator) I worry about a bigger earthquake or flood coming. Maybe this place where we're staying will also be destroyed. After the quake, you know, my legs are always soft. It's like I'm swaying in the wind when I walk. All day my brain is nervous and my heart feels like it's going to stop.</s>JAMILA TRINDLE: When she heard they'd have to evacuate again, Wong couldn't believe it.</s>Ms. WONG GUEN QUAY (Earthquake Survivor): (Through translator) It's crazy. The quake isn't finished, but the flood is coming.</s>JAMILA TRINDLE: And yet they all say they'll go back.</s>Ms. WONG GUEN QUAY (Earthquake Survivor): (Through translator) How could we leave? Even the migrant workers who left are coming back. It's our home. Of course if flooding destroys the houses, we'll have to leave. If not, we prefer to stay there.</s>JAMILA TRINDLE: Wong says life will be hard, even if they can go back. They'll still have to live in tents. But they're hoping they can harvest the crops left in the fields when they fled. That's one of their biggest concerns right now. For some of them, it's all they have. And they all agree they're grateful the government is providing for them until it's safe to return. Jo Gui Ti(ph) is hoping that it's soon. He's an official for a nearby village. Jo sits tallying numbers in front of a blue tent labeled Tai Bai(ph) Village Office.</s>Mr. JO GUI TI (Tai Bai Village Official): (Through translator) People are definitely more anxious here. Not only the farmers, but also the officials are quite anxious. We really hope that the people can return to their homes as soon as possible. You know, inside the tent it's too hot so it's hard to do anything in there.</s>JAMILA TRINDLE: He says his village was one of the first to be evacuated, so they've been here for ten days and the financial loss in terms of crops keeps mounting. As the women around her voice their anxieties, Wong Guen Cheun(ph) tries to put things in perspective.</s>Ms. WONG GUEN CHUEN (Earthquake Survivor): (Through translator) Of course we're very anxious about staying here too long. Our crops are still in the fields and we can't harvest them. But most importantly we're safe. That's the point. Life is the most important.</s>JAMILA TRINDLE: For NPR news, I'm Jamila Trindle in Sichuan province.
The global credit crunch will last another two to four years according to Bob Doll, the CIO of U.S. investment management firm Black Rock. John Dimsdale breaks down what this means for consumer, auto and credit card loans.
ALEX COHEN: From NPR News this is Day to Day. And today is another day, a brighter day on Wall Street. Friday was not pretty. The DOW plunged nearly 400 points, oil prices increased. Well, today both trends reversed slightly. Nobody, though, thinks the economy's problems are over. In fact, an analyst with the global investment firm Black Rock predicted today that the credit crunch could be with us for at least another two years. John Dimsdale is here now from Marketplace. John, at least another two years? That means more, possibly?</s>JOHN DIMSDALE: Yes, yes. It's particularly gloomy. This was a prediction made today by Bob Doll he's the vice chairman and the manager of funds for Black Rock. And they're in the business of offering institutional and retail investors forecasts of future economic performance. He was on a trip to Singapore and told reporters that banks still have several years worth of problems with bad mortgages. Foreclosures, he says, will continue to create losses and they'll in turn, make banks skittish about making new loans and that is going to slow down other ways of borrowing, consumer loans, auto loans, even credit card loans for another two to four years.</s>ALEX COHEN: So, what does this mean for us? For consumers?</s>JOHN DIMSDALE: Well, it means a higher cost of borrowing and it will make it tougher for American shoppers to keep spending the way they have. And you know, they've really been the pillar of strength, keeping the U.S. economy going since the technology bust around the turn of the century. I checked in Steven Moore, an editorial writer for the Wall Street Journal. He's not quite as pessimistic as Bob Doll, but Moore does worry that the borrowing crunch is going to create more problems.</s>Mr. STEVEN MOORE (Editorial Writer, Wall Street Journal): Americans are now starting to pull back a little bit on their consumption because they are feeling like the amount of money that they have in the bank is starting to shrink and the danger is that if the crises gets worse, then you could see a real pull back in consumer spending and that would lead to a much more negative situation than we are facing at the very moment.</s>ALEX COHEN: And John- by John - I'm sorry, John, by negative, he means what exactly? This recession that we keep hearing about?</s>JOHN DIMSDALE: Well, yeah, I think most do expect that the economy is going to stall for at least two quarters some time this year, which would make a recession. But you'd - and you'd think this Black Rock analyst would agree with that, but oddly enough, he doesn't. Even though there is a fair amount of doom in his forecast, he's calling this a correction, not necessarily a recession. He thinks the Federal Reserve's actions of flooding the financial system with cheap government loans is going to head off any more bank failures like Bear Stearns. So, he says there'll definitely be a slowdown, but he calls a recession unlikely. However, he does say that if commodities, not -doesn't mean only oil, but things like copper and aluminum, continue to be scarce and expensive, in his words "all bets are off."</s>ALEX COHEN: Thank you John. That's John Dimsdale of Public Radio's daily business show, Marketplace.
With the national average price of a gallon reaching four dollars, we visit Detroit-area gas stations to hear how motorists are coping.
MADELEINE BRAND, host: From the studios of NPR West, this is Day to Day, I'm Madeleine Brand.</s>ALEX COHEN, host: And I'm Alex Cohen in for Alex Chadwick. Coming up, gadgets for gals, consumer electronics companies are gearing more of their products to women.</s>MADELEINE BRAND, host: First though, we could be in the worst energy crisis in a generation. Here's one marker - the average cost of gas hit four dollars a gallon this weekend. Celeste Headlee reports from Detroit on the reaction from drivers as they begin their workweek.</s>HEADLEE: It feels like summer at this gas station in Detroit. The temperature is expected to reach 90 degrees. But that's not what has Robert Huff (ph) steamed up. He's furious about paying 3.99 for a gallon of gas.</s>Mr. ROBERT HUFF (Gasoline Consumer, Detroit, Michigan): No, it ain't fair. They'e robbing us, they just ain't got the gun out at us. You know and they're taking all our money with all of this.</s>Ms. KELLY RATZIG (Gasoline Consumer, Detroit, Michigan): No, I think we're being overcharged. It's a dollar more than it was a year ago. What's changed so much that we're paying a dollar more?</s>HEADLEE: That's Kelly Ratzig (ph). She's an organic gardener by trade and has to drive all over the state hauling fertilizer and tools.</s>Ms. KELLY RATZIG (Gasoline Consumer, Detroit, Michigan): Spending on average, seriously, of 150 dollars a week in gas is expensive. And it definitely tells us we're not going to do any big vacationing this summer either.</s>HEADLEE: Gas prices reached an all-time high this weekend after a jump of almost 11 dollars a barrel on Friday. And economists say the average person is paying a much higher percentage of their income on fuel. Andre Easson (ph) says that he's not sure he can afford any further increases.</s>Mr. ANDRE EASSON (Gas Consumer, Detroit, Michigan): No, I don't it's fair because they're not raising the prices of minimum wages for our jobs, seem like they could raise the prices of the jobs and maybe we could deal with it. But this is rough.</s>HEADLEE: Everyone we spoke to says gas prices are affecting their day-to-day spending decisions. Kelly Ratzig says she thinks twice before driving across town to see friends.</s>Ms. KELLY RATZIG (Gasoline Consumer, Detroit, Michigan): My sister wants to go to dinner and she factors in whether or not it is realistic for the price of gas.</s>HEADLEE: And Robert Huff says he's had to set aside a larger chunk of money to fill his gas tank. And the money has to come from somewhere.</s>Mr. ROBERT HUFF (Gasoline Consumer, Detroit, Michigan): Yeah, I have to go buy cheaper food. I used to shop at Kroger's now I have to shop at Alden's (ph). You know, the prices are cheaper.</s>HEADLEE: Huff says he believes the government could do something about gas prices and taxpayers need relief.</s>Mr. ROBERT HUFF (Gasoline Consumer, Detroit, Michigan): It's hard to survive. You know, forget making it, it's hard to survive.</s>HEADLEE: There are some predicting the price of a barrel of oil will hit 150 dollars by the 4th of July weekend and it's a sure bet that Americans like Robert Huff will be looking to the presidential candidates for answers and will expect a solution from the next administration. Celeste Headley, NPR News, Detroit.
Sen. Barack Obama told the American Israel Public Affairs Committee on Wednesday that he is a "true friend" of Israel. At the same event, his rival, Hillary Clinton, did not concede her role as the Democratic presidential candidate, but said she shares his support of Israel.
ALEX CHADWICK, host: From the studios of NPR West, this is Day to Day - history cracked. And now what? I'm Alex Chadwick.</s>MADELEINE BRAND, host: I'm Madeleine Brand. We'll follow this stunning political story throughout the show today. A black American clinches the Democratic presidential nomination. We'll speak with political leaders and analysts here and overseas.</s>ALEX CHADWICK, host: But we'll begin with a reporter. NPR's Scott Horsley, he watched a victorious Barack Obama today give a speech in Washington. Scott, welcome back. Senator Obama was speaking to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, that's a major organization for a traditional Democratic group that's been a little nervous about him, American Jews. What did he say?</s>HORSLEY: That's right, Alex. And the first thing Obama did, in an effort to reassure Jewish voters, is to just give a straightforward declaration of his unqualified support for Israel. He also talked in sort of personal terms about his own understanding of the Jewish state, which he got from a camp counselor as a child. He talked about the history of Jews and African-Americans standing shoulder-to-shoulder, even shedding blood together during the civil rights struggle.</s>HORSLEY: And he confronted head-on some of the Internet rumors and the false emails that continue to circulate suggesting that he's a closet Muslim or that somehow he wouldn't stand up for Israel.</s>Senator BARACK OBAMA (Democrat, Illinois): They're filled with tall tales and dire warnings about a certain candidate for president and all I want to say is, let me know if you see this guy named Barack Obama because he sounds pretty scary. But if anybody's been confused by these emails, I want you to know that today, I'll be speaking from my heart - and as a true friend of Israel.</s>ALEX CHADWICK, host: Scott, it was Senator McCain speaking to this same group on Monday, and he was very critical of Senator Obama for his willingness to negotiate with Iran's president. So did the senator speak about that today? Was there a response on that point?</s>HORSLEY: Yes, Senator Obama said he was hesitant to be too partisan because he didn't want anyone watching in this country of another country to think that America's support for Israel was somehow a partisan thing. He said it crosses party lines; both Democrats and Republicans support Israel. And he acknowledged that Iran is a serious threat throughout the Middle East. But he also argued that Senator McCain's policy, in particular McCain's ongoing support for the Iraq War, have not made either Israel or the United States more safe.</s>Senator BARACK OBAMA (Democrat, Illinois): Senator McCain refuses to understand or acknowledge the failure of the policy he would continue. He criticizes my willingness to use strong diplomacy, but offers only an alternate reality - one where the war in Iraq has somehow put Iran on its heels. The truth is the opposite.</s>ALEX CHADWICK, host: And you know, these events are scheduled, I guess, months in advance, so the speaker following Senator Obama was Hillary Clinton. She spoke just moments after he did - didn't begin her speech with any reference to the events of yesterday, didn't in any way concede her role as a Democratic candidate. She did offer a note of support for Senator Obama.</s>HORSLEY: That's right. For a while, it looked as if Hillary Clinton might just ignore what happened yesterday altogether. But then she did pivot a bit and tried to reassure the AIPAC audience that Barack Obama shares her unqualified support for Israel now and forever, she said.</s>Senator HILLARY CLINTON (Democrat, New York): It has been an honor to contest these primaries with him. It is an honor to call him my friend. And let me be very clear, I know that Senator Obama will be a good friend to Israel.</s>HORSLEY: Senator Clinton also gave a partisan plug for electing a Democrat in November, whichever Democrat may be on the ballot, and she said it's not just Israel that faces challenges. She said the U.S. can only be a strong ally to Israel if it gets stronger here at home and strengthens its reputation in the world. I should say, by the way, that Senator Obama certainly congratulated Clinton for the way she had run the campaign, as did Senator McCain today. Both Obama and McCain are going to be working hard to win over Hillary Clinton's supporters.</s>ALEX CHADWICK, host: NPR's Scott Horsley in Washington for us today. Scott, thank you.</s>HORSLEY: My pleasure.
The NBA's most storied rivalry is back in a big way as the Boston Celtics play the Los Angeles Lakers in the finals. The match-up has hoops fans reminiscing about the old days, but there's plenty of star power in the current series.
MADELEINE BRAND, host: This is Day to Day. I am Madeleine Brand.</s>ALEX CHADWICK, host: I am Alex Chadwick. Coming up, one man's mission in a city of risk, bringing happiness to the streets of Las Vegas.</s>MADELEINE BRAND, host: First, the basketball fans last night witnessed the rebirth of one the greatest rivalries in sports, the Boston Celtics and the Los Angeles Lakers. In the 1960s, it was the Celtics' Bill Russell versus the Lakers' Wilt Chamberlain. In the 1980s, it was Larry Bird versus Magic Johnson.</s>ALEX CHADWICK, host: And now to the surprise and delight of many, both teams are back in the finals. The Celtics won last night in a really dramatic Game One. NPR's Chris Arnold reports from Boston.</s>CHRIS ARNOLD: There was a lot of hype and expectation around last night's game, the epic rivalry reborn, and the teams delivered, playing a close and exciting Game One. The night's signature moment came in the third quarter, when Celtics star Paul Pierce collapsed clutching his knee, and was carried off. But he soon returned playing with a sprain, and drained a pair of big three-point shots.</s>CHRIS ARNOLD: Also good for the Celtics, Lakers' star Kobe Bryant's shooting was a little bit off, something that's unlikely to continue. But even before the game started, Celtics fans were hungry.</s>CHRIS ARNOLD: Carol Sexton (ph), who says she's been a Celtics fan for 47 years, was jumping up and down and screaming before the game.</s>Ms. CAROL SEXTON (Boston Celtics Fan): No, I do that every game. I stand there and I do the jumping.</s>Mr. JOE SCOTCHELL (Boston Celtics Fan): Just like KG.</s>Ms. CAROL SEXTON (Boston Celtics Fan): Yeah, I do, yeah, yeah. My kids think I'm crazy.</s>CHRIS ARNOLD: Joe Scotchells (ph) was cheering next to her. He's been coming to games most of his life too, and remembers the Larry Bird days.</s>Mr. SCOTCHELLS: I came to Bird's first game with my father.</s>CHRIS ARNOLD: Oh, wow.</s>Mr. SCOTCHELLS: Yup, they let out a - I'll never forget. They let out a white dove into the rafters. And they flew around for, like, weeks. I'll never forget that. This is definitely great to have them back to where they used to be.</s>Ms. CAROL SEXTON (Boston Celtics Fan): This is tremendous, so exciting.</s>CHRIS ARNOLD: In recent years, the Lakers have had Bryant and a bunch of good players. They've won a few championships. But Celtics fans have been lost in the desert for a long time. For way more than a decade, the team has been really bad. They lost 18 games in a row last year. Brian Demaso (ph) was getting a beer at half-time.</s>Mr. BRIAN DEMASO (Boston Celtics Fan): It was painful, man. It was painful.</s>CHRIS ARNOLD: The Celtics had their beleaguered and frustrated star, Paul Pierce, but nobody really good for him to work with. Then at the end of last season, in some bold trades, the team scored two more all-stars. The deadly three-point shooter, Ray Allen, and this year's defense MVP, Kevin Garnett, KG.</s>Mr. BRIAN DEMASO (Boston Celtics Fan): All of a sudden, you got Garnett, it's, like, awesome.</s>CHRIS ARNOLD: Garnett is a basketball gladiator. He pounds his chest. He screams. He glowers at other players with a sweat-streaked, wide-eyed stare. But he is also a team player who's as good a passer as he is a shooter, and he's earned respect from everybody on the court or off. That includes Rick Berthold (ph) and Bill Cargen (ph), who were wearing green plastic hair and Celtics hats.</s>Mr. RICK BERTHOLD (Boston Celtics Fan): You don't realize how intense he is. How, you know, he's just absolutely focused. And that's what he's all about. And that's what - and that's infectious. And I think it's, you know, not just him, but what he does to the whole team, has really kind of changed...</s>Mr. BILL CARGEN (Boston Celtics Fan): Everybody - all - even Pierce has stepped it up.</s>CHRIS ARNOLD: So this Celtics team has fans in Boston embracing its basketball legacy.</s>Mr. JOHNNY MOST (Radio Announcer, Boston Celtics): (Yelling) Havlicek stole the ball. It's all over! It's all over!</s>CHRIS ARNOLD: That's the long-time radio voice of the Celtics' Johnny Most, calling the 1965 Division Finals deciding game against Philadelphia. Hall of Famer John Havlicek intercepted an inbounds pass, saving the game.</s>Mr. JOHNNY MOST (Radio Announcer, Boston Celtics): Bill Russell wants to grab Havlicek. He hugs him. He squeezes John Havlicek.</s>CHRIS ARNOLD: The Celtics' Bill Russell and Havlicek went on to beat the Los Angeles Lakers that year in the finals, and it was one of nine titles they won during the '60s. And 20 years later, the rivalry with the Lakers lived on with Larry Bird and Magic Johnson.</s>CHRIS ARNOLD: At a pregame practice before Game One, Lakers veteran, Derek Fisher, though, was trying to keep all the comparisons to the historic Lakers and Celtics players in perspective.</s>Mr. DEREK FISHER (Point Guard, Los Angeles Lakers): When you talk about Kareem, and Magic, and James Worthy, and Larry Bird, and Kevin McHale, and on, and on, and on, I mean, I feel like I'm a good player, but I've never ever even thought about comparing myself to those guys. So hopefully, we can put together that type of series, though, that people from both cities, fans from both teams, and people around the world hopefully, now that this game is as big as it is, we'll talk about this for a long time.</s>CHRIS ARNOLD: The teams are off to a good start. They meet again for Game Two Sunday night. Chris Arnold, NPR News, Boston.
Director Marina Zenovich delved into the director's psyche while making the film Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired. She looks back at his legal troubles and his unusual "blueprint."
MADELEINE BRAND, host: This is Day to Day from NPR News. I'm Madeleine Brand.</s>ALEX COHEN, host: And I'm Alex Cohen. Roman Polanski is one of the world's most famous directors. He made "Chinatown," "Rosemary's Baby," "The Pianist" and other great films.</s>MADELEINE BRAND, host: His achievements though, are overshadowed by something he did more than 30 years ago, back in the 1970s.</s>Unidentified Newscaster: Starting with his lawyer Douglas Dalton Polanski was asked by deputy district attorney Roger Gunson to what count he pleaded guilty. Polanski: "I had intercourse with a female person, not my wife, who was under 18 years of age." Gunson: "How old did you think the girl was?" Polanski: "I understood she was 13."</s>MADELEINE BRAND, host: Right before he was to be sentenced, Polanski fled to Paris, never to return to the United States for fear of being arrested. That story, what happened during the trial and the fallout is told in a new documentary that airs on HBO tonight.</s>Ms. MARINA ZENOVICH (Director, "Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired"): I don't think anyone, other than the two of them know what really happened, but I was more interested in what happened after that and what made him flee.</s>MADELEINE BRAND, host: Marina Zenovich is the director of the documentary "Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired."</s>Ms. MARINA ZENOVICH (Director, "Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired"): You know, for me, with Roman Polanski, you always have to go back in time. You know, it starts with his childhood in Poland where he survived the Holocaust where his mother was murdered. Goes to London in the swinging 60s and is making films, "Knife in the Water," "Cul-de-sac." Meets Sharon Tate, they fall in love and what was surprising for me was to just see how he had such hope in his life at a certain point when he was a hot young director after making "Rosemary's Baby." And then she was murdered. So, for me, in going back, it just painted a picture, for me, of what brought him to this night in 1977.</s>MADELEINE BRAND, host: So, do you think that the murder of Sharon Tate, and he did say his marriage to her was the happiest time of his life, do you think that after that he fundamentally changed?</s>Ms. MARINA ZENOVICH (Director, "Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired"): I think Roman Polanski is the survivor, but I thought Mia Farrow said it best, kind of that he didn't have the blueprint for life that most of us do</s>Ms. MIA FARROW (Actress): One hoped for Roman, you know, this brand new life with a woman who loved him, and who seemed so right for him. With a baby that there would be this security. That he had not had in his life, and in a new homeland. I mean the future was his, we thought. And then everything just collapsed.</s>MADELEINE BRAND, host: Now, this was - as you paint in your documentary, an incredible media circus, almost on the level of the OJ trial, and at the center of it, is the judge.</s>Ms. MARINA ZENOVICH (Director, "Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired"): Judge Laurence J. Rittenband, a fascinating character, I could have made a film about him. Rittenband was an elderly jurist who was quite powerful and cherry-picked this case, very media savvy and interested in what people thought of him.</s>MADELEINE BRAND, host: But he is - he's blamed by not only Polanski and Polanski's defense attorney but also the prosecutor for a miscarriage of justice.</s>Ms. MARINA ZENOVICH (Director, "Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired"): Yeah, I mean, when I was interviewing the lawyers and discovered what had happened kind of behind closed doors, I was astounded.</s>MADELEINE BRAND, host: So, what happened? What did he do that was the issue?</s>Ms. MARINA ZENOVICH (Director, "Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired"): Polanski pleads guilty to unlawful sexual intercourse with a minor. The punishment was supposed to be based on a probation report. The judge got the probation report and it said that he wasn't a mentally disordered sex offender and the he shouldn't go to jail. And I think he was feeling a lot of pressure and didn't know what to do, so he started enlisting advice from Richard Brenneman who was a young journalist for the Santa Monica Evening Outlook at the time. He said, you know, I went into his chambers and he looked at me and said, Dick, tell me, what do I do about Polanski?</s>Mr. RICHARD BRENNEMAN (Journalist): I went, whoa, Your Honor, that's your decision, that's not mine. I'm a reporter, I can't advise you on something like that. I hadn't been covering courts that long, but I knew a decision by a judge was supposed to be a decision by a judge and was not to take in any advice from any other person other than what was there on the law books, what had been entered into evidence in the case.</s>Ms. MARINA ZENOVICH (Director, "Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired"): I mean it's all this kind of manipulation of how these cases work.</s>MADELEINE BRAND, host: So Polanski gets wind of this and he...</s>Ms. MARINA ZENOVICH (Director, "Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired"): Well, Polanski goes for the 90-day diagnostic. He's told by his lawyer, you know, keep your chin up, this is it. At the end of this you are going to be free because, basically, that's what the judge told the lawyers. And the judge calls the lawyers into chambers and says, I've changed my mind. You know, I want him to go back to jail, or I want him to be deported. I mean, he was just kind of spouting whatever. I don't think he knew what to do. And in the end, Polanski ended up not knowing what was ahead of him. And you know, I don't want to give the movie away but, you know, he flees.</s>MADELEINE BRAND, host: What do the principals say now? What does the prosecutor say now about it?</s>Ms. MARINA ZENOVICH (Director, "Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired"): I was quite shocked when the prosecutor in the case said to me in the interview, I'm not surprised that he left under those circumstances. It's a very telling moment in the film just because he's come full circle to being on the same side as Polanski's attorney because of the judge's actions. It's in no way forgiving Polanski, but it's explaining why he fled.</s>MADELEINE BRAND, host: You also interview the victim in this, Samantha Geimer, who for many, many years she was unknown to most people. Her name wasn't out there. What did she have to say about all this?</s>Ms. MARINA ZENOVICH (Director, "Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired"): I'm quite impressed with Samantha Geimer because she is over this. I think she's made peace with it. I think she wants to move on. I think, ironically, her lawyer wanted a plea bargain because he didn't want her to forever be known as the girl who had sex with Roman Polanski. But ironically she is. And she's a happily-married mother of three, very sunny and clear-eyed, and just wants it to be finished.</s>MADELEINE BRAND, host: Did you ever get an interview with Roman Polanski?</s>Ms. MARINA ZENOVICH (Director, "Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired"): I ended up approaching Polanski at the end of production, and it took a very long time to get a response. I told him that I wanted to interview him. And he was very apologetic, and said he didn't want to be a prima donna, but he just felt that he shouldn't be in the film.</s>MADELEINE BRAND, host: Has he ever expressed remorse for this?</s>Ms. MARINA ZENOVICH (Director, "Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired"): He has, but I don't think it's as much as our culture needs. Honestly, I mean, it's never just enough. So, I think he feels that he went through the process and pled guilty and went through the probation report and went to what was to be considered his jail time. And he feels the rug was pulled out from under him. He suffered as well. It's like - I think this case is a tragedy for everyone involved.</s>MADELEINE BRAND, host: How did you come away feeling about him? What did you think of him?</s>Ms. MARINA ZENOVICH (Director, "Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired"): My own opinion of Polanski changes, because you feel different things for him at different times in his life. You know, you feel sorry for him as a kid and what he endured. You feel sorry for him with regard to the Sharon Tate murder. But then he committed a horrific crime on a 13-year-old girl. But it was 30 years ago. And I'm not saying that we need to forgive him, I'm not saying that at all. It's just, kind of, like, I think we need to take a look at what got him to that place, and that's what I tried to do by making this movie. I think the story of the case deserves to be told.</s>MADELEINE BRAND, host: Well, thank you very much.</s>Ms. MARINA ZENOVICH (Director, "Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired"): Thank you.</s>MADELEINE BRAND, host: That's Marina Zenovich. Her new movie is called "Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired." It airs tonight on HBO.</s>MADELEINE BRAND, host: There's more to come on Day to Day from NPR News.
Former Seinfeld writer Peter Mehlman is a pessimist by nature. But lately, he's been thinking about happiness. Not that thinking about it makes him any happier. He shares his thoughts on bliss.
ALEX CHADWICK, host: Back now with Day to Day. Coming up, consulting a psychic to find out what is the new what, but before we go there, is everybody happy?</s>Mr. PETER MEHLMAN (Former "Seinfeld" Writer): There's a guy in my neighborhood. When asked, how are you? He always says, I'm really happy.</s>ALEX CHADWICK, host: Former "Seinfeld" writer and Day to Day contributor, Peter Mehlman, has been thinking about bliss.</s>Mr. PETER MEHLMAN (Former "Seinfeld" Writer): Every time I hear this I think the guy should be put on suicide watch. Or maybe he really is happy and simply lacks the grace to keep it to himself. But then, my attitude on this one is out of step with America. The truth is, one little nitpick the world has with us is that America is the happiest country on Earth and ultimately, nothing offends people like seeing others being happy. The world's dose of us is just potent enough to give the impression of an incorrigibly joyous, soda-sipping, hammy power nation of sports fans whose team never loses.</s>Mr. PETER MEHLMAN (Former "Seinfeld" Writer): They don't see the "Blue Velvet" scene under every small town or the homeless drift in the cities, but then neither do we. We are so committed to happiness, we ignore the overtly miserable. Our feeling is no, there but for the grace of god go you. I'm fine. This all started with the Founding Fathers who, in one of their rare Pollyanna moments, granted us the pursuit of happiness, 230 years later we're still running with it and our economy is still riding on it.</s>Mr. PETER MEHLMAN (Former "Seinfeld" Writer): Paramount isn't selling you the feel-ambivalent movie of the year. Old Navy isn't dressing you for Chapter 11. Harley Davidson isn't telling you that life is all about killing time between meals. Forget that getting there is half the agony. All that matters is you can get there. This belief is so strong that happiness is our society's great equalizer. A laid off Wal-Mart clerk with varicose veins in his eyes living in a suburb of Podunk can see George Clooney on a red carpet arm in arm with Venus and ask, yeah, but is he happy? Personally he looks pretty damn happy to me but again, I'm out of step with our gleeful democracy, although sometimes I do try to get in step.</s>Mr. PETER MEHLMAN (Former "Seinfeld" Writer): Like recently at the airport I was picking up my car from long term parking, which always sounds to me an insider's term for a cemetery but anyway, I was really kind of happy to be home. So happy that after posting bail for my car, I said to the cashier, have a great day. I got to say, such cheeriness felt nice, so I drove off trying to keep in touch with it. To keep that feeling of happiness, to be in the happy moment. After all, I thought, in America happy is supposed to be normal. Which of course, led me to the one thought shared by everyone in the world, what's it like to be normal? Which led me to the thought, have a great day? She's a cashier, what are the odds? Which led me to a final thought, it's good to be home.</s>ALEX CHADWICK, host: Comedy writer Peter Mehlman. Tomorrow on the program, the antithisis of Peter Mehlman, Mr. Happiness, a man who spends his days on a Las Vegas street corner trying to make people smile.</s>Mr. HAPINESS (Street Corner Comedian, Las Vegas): I'm about all people, all colors all races and for everyone. Spread the love and joy baby.</s>ALEX CHADWICK, host: Mr. Happiness, tomorrow on Day to Day.
Speculation continues over whether Barack Obama will choose Hillary Clinton as his running mate. No matter what his decision, he'll still have a Clinton problem if he reaches the White House. Our resident humorist offers advice on what to do about Bill.
MADELEINE BRAND, host: Back now with Day to Day. An Obama-Clinton ticket, a fantasy for many Democrats, but one fraught with complexities. Chief among them, former President Bill Clinton. In today's Unger Report, Brian Unger has this advice for Barack Obama on how to handle the Bill factor.</s>BRIAN UNGER: The most startling, frightening phone call that President Obama will answer in the White House won't be caused by a national security crisis at 3 a.m. Not if you listen to the pundits and even some unnamed Obama insiders. No, the most serious telephone exchange that President Obama will have in the Oval Office if he puts Hillary on the ticket, or if he doesn't, will sound something like this.</s>BRIAN UNGER: Unidentified Man #1: President Obama's office, can I help you?</s>BRIAN UNGER: Unidentified Man #2: Yes, we have a Mr. Bill Clinton here to see the president.</s>BRIAN UNGER: Unidentified Man #1: Could you hold on for a second, please?</s>BRIAN UNGER: Does President Obama then wave his hands frantically and say to his assistant, tell him I'm not here? Or does he say to his assistant, just tell the old man I'm out of the office - for eight years? This, the prospect of a former president loitering in the lobby of a sitting president seems to be about as far as the conversation has gotten regarding an Obama-Clinton ticket. It's not how Barack and Hillary would govern together that has Obama's people freaked, it's how to deal with Bill Clinton as Cosmo Kramer.</s>Mr. MICHAEL RICHARDS: (as Cosmo Kramer) I don't know if you've noticed, but lately I've been drifting aimlessly.</s>BRIAN UNGER: Jerry Seinfeld's disruptive, unhinged neighbor bursting through the Oval Office door with some unsolicited advice on Iran, or just waxing poetic about boxers, briefs or neither.</s>Mr. MICHAEL RICHARDS: (as Cosmo Kramer) Do you see what's going on here?</s>Mr. MICHAEL RICHARDS: (as Cosmo Kramer) No boxers, no jockeys.</s>Mr. MICHAEL RICHARDS: (as Cosmo Kramer) The only thing between him and us is a thin layer of gabardine.</s>BRIAN UNGER: Political scientists call it the Clinton-Cosmo Kramer conundrum. What to do about an unfiltered Bill Clinton dropping by the Obama White House?</s>Mr. MICHAEL RICHARDS: (as Cosmo Kramer) I'm out there Jerry, and I'm loving every minute of it.</s>BRIAN UNGER: Well, now there's hope for the Cosmo-Clinton conundrum. Hope is, after all, Obama's mission and message to deal with a wide range of huge, complex problems facing the nation. Doesn't a Cosmo-Clinton seem like the least of Obama's problems? The answer is simple. It's time to have an electronic monitoring bracelet attached to Bill Clinton's ankle. Coupled with human monitoring by the secret service, it would warn against two things: a crashing Cosmo-Clinton disrupting an Obama presidency, and Clinton showing up unannounced in the White House kitchen demanding ham and eggs.</s>Mr. MICHAEL RICHARDS: (as Cosmo Kramer) I'm free. I'm unfettered.</s>BRIAN UNGER: And that is today's Unger Report. I'm Brian Unger.</s>MADELEINE BRAND, host: Weekly humor from the Unger Report every Monday on Day to Day.
Madeleine Brand checks in with comedy duo Frangela — Francis Callier and Angela V. Shelton — on the end of Hillary Clinton's campaign and the prospects for uniting the Democratic party under Barack Obama.
MADELEINE BRAND, host: Now for a slightly different take on the presidential race, we check back in with Francis Callier and Angela V. Shelton, otherwise known as the comedy duo Frangela. Welcome back, ladies.</s>FRANGELA: Hi! Thank you.</s>MADELEINE BRAND, host: Well, Angela, let's start with you. You are one of those diehard Hillary supporters.</s>Ms. ANGELA SHELTON (Comedian): I am. I am a Hillary supporter.</s>MADELEINE BRAND, host: That Barack Obama needs and wants.</s>Ms. ANGELA SHELTON (Comedian): Really? Interesting. Maybe you all should have been nicer the last few months. I expect some flowers. Some candy - a little light courtship.</s>MADELEINE BRAND, host: Do you expect a courtship?</s>Ms. ANGELA SHELTON (Comedian): No, I don't at all. I really think that this is not - this is about making sure that John McCain is not our president. And I am in full, as I have always said, will be in full support of whoever the Democratic nominee is. And since that appears to be Barack Obama, that is my candidate.</s>MADELEINE BRAND, host: But how do you feel about how it all went down, culminating in the Saturday speech?</s>Ms. ANGELA SHELTON (Comedian): I - you know, I think that for me an election is an election. It's a process and I didn't see it. I know other - a lot of people had problems with it, including Francis.</s>Ms. FRANCIS CALLIER (Comedian): Yes, I did.</s>MADELEINE BRAND, host: What were your problems?</s>Ms. FRANCIS CALLIER (Comedian): Let me tell you something, my neck was rolling, my hand was on my hip. I was hopping mad when she did not concede on Tuesday. I was burning up. Burning girl.</s>Ms. ANGELA SHELTON (Comedian): She was very emotional.</s>Ms. FRANCIS CALLIER (Comedian): I was burning. I was like - and because you know I was the person the whole time that kept saying we need to see a Clinton-Obama ticket or an Obama-Clinton ticket. I need the dream ticket. I need the dream ticket. Oh, by Friday, I was like I don't need her on the ticket.</s>Ms. ANGELA SHELTON (Comedian): But when did you change back?</s>Ms. FRANCIS CALLIER (Comedian): During the speech.</s>MADELEINE BRAND, host: Saturday?</s>Ms. ANGELA SHELTON (Comedian): I told her because she was complaining all the way up to the stars(ph). She was like, I don't care. I'm mad.</s>Ms. FRANCIS CALLIER (Comedian): I was mad, I was mad.</s>Ms. ANGELA SHELTON (Comedian): We can't get these three days back. I was like these three days, Francis? Seriously? Wednesday through Friday, those were the critical days?</s>Ms. FRANCIS CALLIER (Comedian): Yes. Yes. I felt...</s>Ms. ANGELA SHELTON (Comedian): In this whole presidential campaign, it was those three days that we'll never get back?</s>Ms. FRANCIS CALLIER (Comedian): We'll never get them back.</s>Ms. ANGELA SHELTON (Comedian): Honey, you should have heard her. I was like, why don't you give the girl a chance? Let here give her speech. She was like, I don't care what she says. I was like, let her give the speech, I guarantee you my girl's going to come through. She's talked to the party leadership, she talked to Obama. In this time, they've written that speech properly. Trust me, at about half-way through she went, I want my dream ticket. She was back to wanting her dream ticket.</s>Ms. FRANCIS CALLIER (Comedian): I was!</s>MADELEINE BRAND, host: You want it? And Angela?</s>Ms. ANGELA SHELTON (Comedian): I actually don't want it. I kind of think it's a mistake.</s>MADELEINE BRAND, host: Why?</s>Ms. ANGELA SHELTON (Comedian): Well, this is going to sound really pessimistic, but I - and perhaps even like a beaten-down slave. But I really - I wonder if that's too much to ask. You know, I feel like to have had a woman be that close in the primary situation, you know, is already historic. To have an African-American man be our, potentially our nominee and to hopefully win, I feel like it might be a lot to ask to have them both win. I feel like...</s>Ms. FRANCIS CALLIER (Comedian): I think it's...</s>Ms. ANGELA SHELTON (Comedian): You feel like you're tempting fate, is that? Yeah, I feel like...</s>Ms. FRANCIS CALLIER (Comedian): Oh come on, girl, dream it! We can dream it! It can happen!</s>Ms. ANGELA SHELTON (Comedian): I feel like they may have let us have an extra slice of cornbread and now we're asking for more grits.</s>MADELEINE BRAND, host: You know...</s>Ms. FRANCIS CALLIER (Comedian): Move tonight, girl!</s>Ms. ANGELA SHELTON (Comedian): But sometimes when you ask too much of masser, he changes on you.</s>MADELEINE BRAND, host: All right. You two have a radio call-in show.</s>Ms. ANGELA SHELTON (Comedian): Yes.</s>Ms. FRANCIS CALLIER (Comedian): Yes.</s>MADELEINE BRAND, host: So what are you hearing from your listeners?</s>Ms. FRANCIS CALLIER (Comedian): On Saturday was the day of feeling, OK? We told everybody, you know what? Get it out. Feel your feelings, be mad, be happy.</s>Ms. ANGELA SHELTON (Comedian): Gloat.</s>Ms. FRANCIS CALLIER (Comedian): Yes.</s>Ms. ANGELA SHELTON (Comedian): Complain. Whatever you want to do.</s>MADELEINE BRAND, host: And what did you hear?</s>Ms. ANGELA SHELTON (Comedian): People were complaining.</s>Ms. FRANCIS CALLIER (Comedian): We were gloating.</s>Ms. ANGELA SHELTON (Comedian): A lot of gloating. Anger. A lot of anger.</s>Ms. FRANCIS CALLIER (Comedian): Happiness. You know, a lot of mixed emotions. But we said come Sunday morning, you will get in line. That's right. Sunday was the day of healing. Saturday was feeling, Sunday is healing.</s>Ms. ANGELA SHELTON (Comedian): And it's time to get behind Barack Obama. When I hear people say they're not going to vote, or they're going to vote for McCain because Hillary didn't get the nomination, I get really concerned.</s>Ms. FRANCIS CALLIER (Comedian): Well, it makes me feel as though you didn't support Hillary. You were supporting something else.</s>Ms. ANGELA SHELTON (Comedian): Yeah.</s>Ms. FRANCIS CALLIER (Comedian): Because if you were for her ideals and platform, and the things that Hillary Clinton was about, you couldn't be supporting John McCain.</s>Ms. ANGELA SHELTON (Comedian): Or refusing to vote.</s>MADELEINE BRAND, host: What does Barack Obama need to do, if anything, what does he need to do to win them over?</s>Ms. ANGELA SHELTON (Comedian): I think for one thing I think that Hillary, she needs to go out there and campaign with him as actively as possible. And really, as I think she did in that speech, demand it of her supporters. You know, because she was basically like your mama, would be like, oh you will!</s>Ms. FRANCIS CALLIER (Comedian): You will!</s>Ms. ANGELA SHELTON (Comedian): Help this man get elected. If I have to do it, you have to do it. But I think for Barack, the things I think he can do are really speak to the country as he has, but make it clear this isn't about his, him being a man, him being African-American, him being, Hillary Clinton being a woman or being white.</s>Ms. FRANCIS CALLIER (Comedian): Right, exactly.</s>Ms. ANGELA SHELTON (Comedian): This is about a war, this is about an economy that's tanking.</s>Ms. FRANCIS CALLIER (Comedian): Yeah.</s>Ms. ANGELA SHELTON (Comedian): This is about our environment, this is about schools where kids are being killed and not learning.</s>Ms. FRANCIS CALLIER (Comedian): Yeah.</s>Ms. ANGELA SHELTON (Comedian): This is about a whole bunch of issues that should not - where those other issues shouldn't come into play.</s>Ms. FRANCIS CALLIER (Comedian): Yes, put your country before your candidate. Put your country before your party. Put your country before your feelings, you know, about who you wanted to win.</s>Ms. ANGELA SHELTON (Comedian): Yeah, this isn't the homecoming court.</s>Ms. FRANCIS CALLIER (Comedian): No.</s>Ms. ANGELA SHELTON (Comedian): It's like kind of important.</s>MADELEINE BRAND, host: Francis Callier and Angela V. Shelton, Frangela, the comedy duo. Thank you both.</s>Ms. ANGELA SHELTON (Comedian): Thank you.</s>Ms. FRANCIS CALLIER (Comedian): Thank you.
Former Washington Post reporter Patrice Gaines offers another dispatch from her hometown of Lake Wylie, S.C. In this post-Thanksgiving reflection, Gaines remembers how generations of good cooking and a tradition of homemade bread shape her own sense of family.
FARAI CHIDEYA, host: From the world of high tech to the slower side of life, we head to Lake Wylie, South Carolina. That's where former Washington Post reporter Patrice Gaines wrote today's Snapshot. Patrice remembers how generations of good cooking shaped her own sense of family.</s>Ms. PATRICE GAINES (Former Reporter, Washington Post): My grandmother made perfect biscuits - soft, flaky, golden on top. She made big pans of her biscuits for me whenever I visited her in Washington, D.C. She pulls them out of the oven and placed them lovingly on a dinner plate. She'd bring them to me along with a smaller saucer, a bottle of dark caramel syrup or Brer Rabbit Molasses. I'd slather the biscuits with butter, poured syrup or molasses into the saucer and use the bread to sop it up. I was in my 20s. I didn't have to think about my waistline.</s>Ms. PATRICE GAINES (Former Reporter, Washington Post): As the years past and I got older, I tried to replicate granny's bread. But my biscuits were too heavy - thicker than they should be. They didn't fall apart in my mouth like they were supposed to, like every biscuit granny ever made. One day, with a pencil and notebook in my hand, I led granny into the kitchen and said, please teach me how to make biscuits like you. I stood next to her -close enough to smell her Chanel No. 5 perfume and nearly brush her arms. I love to rub those plump arms. I love the way her flesh was always cool to the touch. She was wearing her usual at-home attire - one of her floral house coats and her hair net though her short hair was always pressed perfectly in place.</s>Ms. PATRICE GAINES (Former Reporter, Washington Post): From her cabinet, she pulled out all of the ingredients she needed. You put this much flour in the bowl, she said. She poured flour into the big green glass bowl. How much flour is that, I asked? I don't know, she said, nonchalantly. Here, hold the bowl and see how it feels. I was flabbergasted. I didn't know how to write that in a recipe.</s>Ms. PATRICE GAINES (Former Reporter, Washington Post): At that moment, I saw the most delicious biscuits I would ever eat slipping away from me and out of my life. We had those biscuits every Thanksgiving until 1985 - the year granny died after suffering a series of strokes. When she left our lives, we lost so many things - her giggle that quickly built into a hardy round laugh that made everyone else laugh, too. The grandmother who pressed coins into the palms of her grandchildren's hands on nearly every visit. The shop dresser who had her hats made by a milliner, And the biscuits left our family, too, forever. Granny left before teaching her daughter, my mother, how to make biscuits.</s>Ms. PATRICE GAINES (Former Reporter, Washington Post): My mother was a master cornbread maker. Jiffy was not a word in her vocabulary. She made her cornbread from scratch. She baked it an old, almost black, rectangular pan. Every Thanksgiving, mama crumbled up a day-old pan of this cornbread and made the best dressing I have ever had. We ate this dressing every Thanksgiving until 1994. That year, while I bake the turkey on Thanksgiving Day, my mother, ill with cancer, slipped in to a coma and died. There would be no more rectangular pans of cornbread made from scratch, no more turkey dressing made from that cornbread. I miss mama a lot - even today.</s>Ms. PATRICE GAINES (Former Reporter, Washington Post): Of course, I remember her especially on Thanksgiving and especially when I start cooking. My sister Carol(ph) fixes potato salad like mama's. My sister Sheila(ph) cooks greens the way she did. No one can make the cornbread. I made yeast rolls instead. My daughter and nieces and nephews - and even their friends - tell me they are the best rolls in the world. I love the smell of the rolls rising in the hot oven, the aroma of fresh bread floating through the house on Thanksgiving.</s>Ms. PATRICE GAINES (Former Reporter, Washington Post): My daughter loves to sit and wait on the first pan so she can slather her bread with butter and pop warm pieces of rolls into her mouth. Watching rising dough and kneading is my contribution to tradition. Now, I am the matriarch of my family. There are times when we are gathered at the Thanksgiving table and I look around and realize that there are children and even grown folks there who never sampled mama's cornbread or granny's biscuits. At those times, I am thankful for everyone one of my 58 years, especially the days I got to taste the love that came out of those ovens. I scan the table, look at my clan and wonder who will bake the bread when I am gone, and what kind of bread will it be.</s>FARAI CHIDEYA, host: That was author and writing coach Patrice Gaines with this week's Snapshot. She told us her story from member station WFAE in Charlotte, North Carolina.
Barack Obama is now the first African American to ever secure a major party nomination for president. Hakeem Jeffries, an African-American assemblyman in New York City, discusses this historic moment.
MADELEINE BRAND, host: Senator Obama has inspired millions of young voters and at least one young politician. His name is Hakeem Jeffries; he's on the line now from New York. He's a Democratic New York State assemblyman from Brooklyn. And Assemblyman, you and Senator Obama - you two share a lot of similarities. Tell us, what's your background?</s>Assemblyman HAKEEM JEFFRIES (Brooklyn, New York City, New York): Well, I was raised in Brooklyn, New York. After graduating from college, went on to graduate school, law school, practiced law for several years and then in 2006, was elected to represent several neighborhoods in Brooklyn in the New York State Assembly.</s>MADELEINE BRAND, host: But you share a similar political philosophy, correct?</s>Assemblyman HAKEEM JEFFRIES (Brooklyn, New York City, New York): Well, absolutely. I think it was particularly inspiring to me when I had run for office. Initially I challenged an incumbent, came out of an insurgent movement much like Senator Obama did in Chicago. And some folks said, well, someone with a name like Hakeem Jeffries, you might have a problem getting elected in my little assembly district in Brooklyn, but it became clear to me that if a Barack Obama could be elected to the United State Senate, first out of Illinois, and then secure the nomination last night for a major political party, that certainly anything was possible. So it's inspiring for me, it was inspiring for my two young sons. I think it was inspiring for a lot of African-Americans across this country in terms of what's possible.</s>MADELEINE BRAND, host: What did you say to your two young sons last night?</s>Assemblyman HAKEEM JEFFRIES (Brooklyn, New York City, New York): Well, you know, it's been interesting because I think prior to the start of this campaign, Nickelodeon was the preferred channel in the house, but that's slowly giving way to CNN and MSNBC. And I wasn't at home yesterday because we're in session in Albany, but I talked to my oldest son and told him that today was the day, it appeared, that Senator Obama would become the nominee. And he's followed this campaign, he's known that he was competing against someone named Hillary Clinton, and that whoever won was going to then face John McCain to become the president. And I could tell that there was a gleam in his voice as a result of what I projected to my son would be this primary victory.</s>MADELEINE BRAND, host: What about emotionally? How is it for you seeing this historic moment, an African-American man, achieve their party's nomination?</s>Assemblyman HAKEEM JEFFRIES (Brooklyn, New York City, New York): I'm very optimistic about where we go as a country in the future, because folks under 45 have not been through the same racial wars as those in the older generations and I really believe see the country, see our communities through a lens that is increasingly color-blind. And that is perhaps one of the reasons why Senator Obama has done so well, particularly with younger Americans.</s>MADELEINE BRAND, host: He does, though, still have that problem with older, white, working- class voters.</s>Assemblyman HAKEEM JEFFRIES (Brooklyn, New York City, New York): I think he can increasingly connect with white,working-class voters on issues which are important to them. The Republicans often, I believe, have gotten folks to vote against their own economic interests by using wedge cultural issues, sometimes wedge racial issues, sometimes promoting foreign policy fears. But we have an important opportunity this year to change all of that, to move in a different direction.</s>MADELEINE BRAND, host: Hakeem Jeffries represents Brooklyn in the New York State Assembly. Assemblyman, thank you for joining us.</s>Assemblyman HAKEEM JEFFRIES (Brooklyn, New York City, New York): Thank you, always a pleasure.
It's time to join the other Christmas shoppers on Black Friday and brave the crowded malls. Or you may choose to sit at home in your pajamas and shop on your computer. But before you enter your credit card number online, our regular tech contributor Mario Armstrong has a few things you should now.
FARAI CHIDEYA, host: I'm Farai Chideya. And this is NEWS & NOTES.</s>FARAI CHIDEYA, host: It's Black Friday and we don't mean race. Retailers are hoping holiday shoppers will make a mad dash to their local malls, but maybe you'll sit this one out, stay home in your pajamas and shop online. Before you hand your credit card number over to the Internet, there are few things you should know.</s>FARAI CHIDEYA, host: Here with safety tips and more is our regular tech contributor Mario Armstrong. Hey, Mario.</s>MARIO ARMSTRONG: Hey, Farai. How are you?</s>FARAI CHIDEYA, host: I'm doing great. Shopping online, much more popular.</s>MARIO ARMSTRONG: Yes, it is.</s>FARAI CHIDEYA, host: According to the Sacramento Bee, holiday surveys say that the number of online shoppers will jump 30 percent. So there is this whole issue of safety, what should people know?</s>MARIO ARMSTRONG: It is this whole issue of safety and they're just talking about Black Friday. They're not even - really even mentioning cyber Monday, which is the big online shopping day. But a couple of things to think about. Number one - and I don't know if you've done this, Farai, but do not use a debit card. Have you ever done that?</s>FARAI CHIDEYA, host: Oh, I paid the price. I had - someone hacked into my account and then I had no money in my bank account.</s>MARIO ARMSTRONG: Oh, see, I didn't even know that. Seriously, folks, you cannot use your debit card. And that's the number one reason. It is direct access to your checking account.</s>MARIO ARMSTRONG: Number two, with debit cards, they don't have the same protection as do credit cards. So if something was to happen or if you didn't like the goods that you bought, you have other protections in place. Something else to look out for, the season is running rampant with what is called fishing scams. And this really means a couple of things.</s>MARIO ARMSTRONG: Number one, just do not click links in an e-mail. I know you've seen this e-mail, Farai. You know, they come out and they say, hey, click here for a special discount at what seems to be a respected outlet. And you click that link and you'll land on the Web site and it looks totally legit. They've copied it from corner to corner of the screen, but it, in fact, is a sight that's capturing any personal identifiable information that you may place into the site. So don't click on any links in any e-mails. Use one credit card for all your cyber shopping and then make sure that the Web site is secure. Look in the top bar where it says http and look for the S to make sure the site is secure.</s>FARAI CHIDEYA, host: So now that we have our safety tips, what are we going to spend our money on?</s>MARIO ARMSTRONG: Ah, so - too many choices out there. I mean, everything from - the hottest things that you're going to see, really, this season are large screen televisions, people are really interested in making that purchase and are looking for good deals on that. But handheld devices like smartphones are always on the top category. Digital cameras, mp3 players are number one on the list again this year. And what rounds out kind of the top five are GPS devices.</s>FARAI CHIDEYA, host: So we've talked a little bit about this conversion to HDTV, but buying a flat screen doesn't have that much to do with it. I'm sure that most of the ones now are HD. Is that - well, actually maybe I'm not sure. What do you think about that?</s>MARIO ARMSTRONG: Yeah. That's a great point. I mean there's a lot of confusing going on in this whole market about television. High definition is kind of like the Cadillac or, I don't know, BMW, top of the line for your television screens. So you do need to be educated when you're going shopping to make sure you are, in fact, getting an HDTV if you are intending to watch HD television programming.</s>FARAI CHIDEYA, host: Now, there are all these choices. There's LCD and Plasma.</s>MARIO ARMSTRONG: Right.</s>FARAI CHIDEYA, host: Someone told me that one of them you shouldn't lay flat after you use it and then all these rules. What's the difference? What's the pro? What's the con?</s>MARIO ARMSTRONG: You need to know the environment where the TV is going to be. That's number one. Is the room a dark room? Does it have a lot of natural light? Will it be in a sun room? If it's in a dark space, Plasmas do excellent in dark rooms. They're great for movie buffs and to really mimic that home theater experience.</s>MARIO ARMSTRONG: And then lastly, Farai, make sure that you understand exactly where you're going to be sitting. In other words, actually take a tape measure and measure the distance of where the television will be to where you'll be watching it from and any angles that you may be watching the television from. And take those measurements and the tape measure with you to the store because all of the televisions don't look the same and some have - some you can't even notice what's on the screen when you start getting into a 45 or more degree angle.</s>FARAI CHIDEYA, host: That sounds like a lot of work right there.</s>MARIO ARMSTRONG: It is a lot of work.</s>MARIO ARMSTRONG: You know, you wonder if consumers are really ready for all of these. But - oh, and the last thing, please invest in that extended home - that extended warranty. I normally don't recommend this, but I think people should budget this into the cost of a television because we don't really know. These televisions and technology is still fairly new. We don't really know what could go wrong and whether or not, you know, you pay a couple of thousand dollars, you want the investment to be around for a while.</s>FARAI CHIDEYA, host: Now, if you're talking about bringing a tape measure, that's not going to help online.</s>MARIO ARMSTRONG: That's true.</s>FARAI CHIDEYA, host: What do you do then?</s>MARIO ARMSTRONG: I still think you need to go out to the store and actually see the unit and actually physically understand the measurements. But then maybe use the Internet to see if you can find a better deal.</s>FARAI CHIDEYA, host: Well, Mario, thanks so much.</s>MARIO ARMSTRONG: Thank you, Farai. Happy Black Friday.</s>FARAI CHIDEYA, host: That's right. Mario Armstrong is our NEWS & NOTES tech contributor.
The conversation about creating a drama-free holiday continues. Karen Hudson is co-author of The New Basic Black: Home Training for Modern Times, and La Joyce Brookshire is author of the soon-to-be-released Faith Under Fire: Betrayed by a Thing Called Love.
FARAI CHIDEYA, host: This is NEWS & NOTES. I'm Farai Chideya.</s>FARAI CHIDEYA, host: If you're just tuning in, today we're talking about how to survive family tensions during the holidays with Karen Hudson, co-author of "The New Basic Black: Home Training for Modern Times," also La Joyce Brookshire. She's a minister, naturopathic doctor and author of the upcoming "Faith Under Fire: Betrayed by a Thing Called Love."</s>FARAI CHIDEYA, host: Thanks again.</s>Ms. KAREN HUDSON (Co-author, "The New Basic Black: Home Training for Modern Times"): Thank you.</s>Dr. LaJOYCE BROOKSHIRE (Naturopathic Doctor; Author, "Faith Under Fire: Betrayed by a Thing Called Love"): Thank you.</s>FARAI CHIDEYA, host: So Karen, you are someone who has not only multiple generations of living family in the same city, you also are in the family business. You must have had to work a lot of stuff out in order to be able to have your sustained, civil discourse with all the members of your family. What happened or helped you at moments when your tempers were frayed?</s>Ms. KAREN HUDSON (Co-author, "The New Basic Black: Home Training for Modern Times"): I don't know that it's temper as much as frustration. And I worked for my brother at Broadway Federal Bank, and it's the kind of thing where, you know, sometimes it's not a decision I want made. I come from a family who's very chauvinistic and, you know, the men sort of run things when it comes to business. But, on the other hand, my brother has been very generous in allowing me in my creativity, allowing me an opportunity to participate in decision making. So it's frustration that never carries over.</s>FARAI CHIDEYA, host: Do you have any advice if you have lost your temper, and I'm not saying you ever have, but if you do lose your temper, what's the protocol then?</s>Ms. KAREN HUDSON (Co-author, "The New Basic Black: Home Training for Modern Times"): Well, I've had and I've also worked with other relatives, you know, not at the bank necessarily, but you lose your temper. And I don't think it's any different than any other situation. There's a way to handle everything. For me, it's not cussing and fussing. I will make my point known. I will make it known at the appropriate time. And the one thing with family business is you don't do it with an audience. I think it says what Joyce said earlier: You take it aside, you do it in different position. My brother is generous enough that it's not even if you don't disagree, it's like we didn't get that assignment, and he's never going to ask me about it in the family dinner. Never.</s>FARAI CHIDEYA, host: So, LaJoyce, what about you? If you happen to get hot under the collar about something that a kin has done, what do you do to open up after that -reopen communications?</s>Dr. LaJOYCE BROOKSHIRE (Naturopathic Doctor; Author, "Faith Under Fire: Betrayed by a Thing Called Love"): We tackle it head on. We call family meetings. We - we're scattered about the country, so we don't have the luxury of being in the same city. There are a nest of us that are still in Chicago. I'm not in Chicago anymore. But - and they do see one another regularly, but we are a family who has always been encouraged to let it out, let it go and let God. And so in that, we don't - with my immediate family - I have six brothers and two sisters and I have probably 32 nieces and nephews and 10 great nieces and nephews. So we are crew.</s>Dr. LaJOYCE BROOKSHIRE (Naturopathic Doctor; Author, "Faith Under Fire: Betrayed by a Thing Called Love"): And, you know, when ever one is hot under the collar and in a family situation and when we are together, it's like the whole room filled with tension. So something a person in the family will hold the other person - the two people's hands who were at odds - and drag them off to a room and we know what's happening back there, that they are forced to work it out.</s>FARAI CHIDEYA, host: What about kids? You have a 5-year-old daughter with your second husband.</s>Dr. LaJOYCE BROOKSHIRE (Naturopathic Doctor; Author, "Faith Under Fire: Betrayed by a Thing Called Love"): Yes.</s>FARAI CHIDEYA, host: And I'm sure there's a lot of young kids in your family. Do you feel that you can reach out and touch someone who's not your child, or do you feel -and I don't mean necessarily here - I just mean, what's the protocol around that for you at holidays if you see some kid acting out? Do you feel like you can go up and approach them about it?</s>Dr. LaJOYCE BROOKSHIRE (Naturopathic Doctor; Author, "Faith Under Fire: Betrayed by a Thing Called Love"): No, absolutely. We believe that it takes an entire village to raise a child, and I was - grew up in a unique neighborhood in Chicago on the South side. Our block, we still have several families who were there when I was raised there and the children have now bought houses on the block. And if people die, they still buy - other people in the families buy the houses. So we have a very tight-knit community.</s>Dr. LaJOYCE BROOKSHIRE (Naturopathic Doctor; Author, "Faith Under Fire: Betrayed by a Thing Called Love"): And as you say that, I - it comes to mind of our block-club party when I was home in Chicago this summer in July. And you know, the kids were cutting up. Well, one person, Ms. Alice from down the block, had four of the children, like our kids, by the hands bringing each of them to the center of the street and made them apologize and, you know, for the infraction that they had created. And we just sat around and said, um, Ms. Alice took care of that.</s>Dr. LaJOYCE BROOKSHIRE (Naturopathic Doctor; Author, "Faith Under Fire: Betrayed by a Thing Called Love"): And because - but now the problem is that the oldest don't step in enough because they are afraid that, you know, A, they might get shot, they might get told off. You know, there are lots of reasons why the village doesn't raise the children anymore, but we are firm believers of still doing that.</s>Ms. KAREN HUDSON (Co-author, "The New Basic Black: Home Training for Modern Times"): You know, I grew up on the same block. It just happened to be in Los Angeles.</s>Dr. LaJOYCE BROOKSHIRE (Naturopathic Doctor; Author, "Faith Under Fire: Betrayed by a Thing Called Love"): Mm-hmm.</s>Ms. KAREN HUDSON (Co-author, "The New Basic Black: Home Training for Modern Times"): I went to a funeral a month ago of the woman who lived three doors down from us when I was a child, and the neighborhood is still very much the same. It was very interesting, at the funeral, afterwards the repast, we had that conversation about how blessed we were that everyone was looking out for us.</s>Ms. KAREN HUDSON (Co-author, "The New Basic Black: Home Training for Modern Times"): We knew the teachers, our parents, you know, the principal was the same one at the school forever, (unintelligible) he'd change every year. And that's something, you know, I don't have children, but I will do it in an appropriate way, but I will say something. You know, and maybe in a friendly way like the etiquette police are out.</s>Dr. LaJOYCE BROOKSHIRE (Naturopathic Doctor; Author, "Faith Under Fire: Betrayed by a Thing Called Love"): That's right.</s>Ms. KAREN HUDSON (Co-author, "The New Basic Black: Home Training for Modern Times"): Will you cut that out. Or and the worse offense is to me is how some of these young children dress and…</s>Dr. LaJOYCE BROOKSHIRE (Naturopathic Doctor; Author, "Faith Under Fire: Betrayed by a Thing Called Love"): Absolutely. Absolutely.</s>FARAI CHIDEYA, host: Well, it's about time for us to wrap up. I just want to give each of you a chance for any final thoughts that will carry people through that vast holiday season stretching from Thanksgiving all the way through the New Year. La Joyce?</s>Dr. LaJOYCE BROOKSHIRE (Naturopathic Doctor; Author, "Faith Under Fire: Betrayed by a Thing Called Love"): I would have to say that if there is anything that you're harboring against the family person, you cannot conquer what you don't confront and understand honestly and the goodness that the truth will make you free.</s>FARAI CHIDEYA, host: Karen?</s>Ms. KAREN HUDSON (Co-author, "The New Basic Black: Home Training for Modern Times"): Carry yourself like your grandmother is looking over your shoulder every day of your life.</s>FARAI CHIDEYA, host: Well, Karen, LaJoyce, thank you so much.</s>Dr. LaJOYCE BROOKSHIRE (Naturopathic Doctor; Author, "Faith Under Fire: Betrayed by a Thing Called Love"): Thank you.</s>Ms. KAREN HUDSON (Co-author, "The New Basic Black: Home Training for Modern Times"): Thank you. Happy Thanksgiving.</s>FARAI CHIDEYA, host: Happy Thanksgiving.</s>Dr. LaJOYCE BROOKSHIRE (Naturopathic Doctor; Author, "Faith Under Fire: Betrayed by a Thing Called Love"): One to you too. Bye.</s>FARAI CHIDEYA, host: We've been speaking with LaJoyce Brookshire, a minister, naturopathic doctor and author. Her upcoming book is "Faith Under Fire: Betrayed by a Thing Called Love," also Karen Hudson. She's the co-author of "The New Basic Black: Home Training for Modern Times." And she joined me from our NPR West studios.
Alex Chadwick talks to John Dickerson of about the confusion over whether or when Hillary Clinton will concede the race to Barack Obama. And two superdelegates also discuss their recent endorsements.
ALEX CHADWICK, host: From the studios of NPR West, this is Day to Day. I'm Alex Chadwick.</s>MADELEINE BRAND, host: And I'm Madeleine Brand. Coming up General Motors announces that it will close plants that make SUV's and it may scrap the Hummer.</s>ALEX CHADWICK, host: First, in South Dakota and Montana today, the long primary season finally does end. There are conflicting statements reported from the campaign of Senator Clinton about her plans.</s>MADELEINE BRAND, host: The campaign chair says she will not concede, but an earlier report from the Associated Press quotes her senior campaign official saying the Senator would acknowledge that Senator Obama will get the number of delegates he needs to get the nomination. The Clinton campaign, again, refutes that report.</s>ALEX CHADWICK, host: John Dickerson, chief political writer for, John, is this a careful parsing of language, or what?</s>Mr. JOHN DICKERSON (Chief Political Writer, Yes, it's a careful parsing of language. It's also language coming out in the middle of negotiations between the two campaigns, negotiations that are going on in both real time and also in the press. And it's also a sign of confusion. One of the big thing that's up in the air is the question of does Barack Obama have the actual numbers? And that will push Senator Clinton, I think, one way or the other if by the time she's giving his speech he's gotten over that important threshold number. And we'll just have to see if that happens.</s>ALEX CHADWICK, host: This number is 2,118, that's the number of total delegates that you will need now to win the nomination in the Democratic Party, that's the number.</s>Mr. JOHN DICKERSON (Chief Political Writer, That's exactly right, and Obama will get to that number. It's just a question of whether he gets to it tonight. You know part of this, the parsing, is about what Senator Clinton will say tonight in her speech after these primary results come in. And if by that hour the magical number has been reached that will affect the speech in one way. If that magical number isn't reached until, say, tomorrow, a few more superdelegates come out, then that changes what Clinton may be forced to say when she speaks tonight.</s>ALEX CHADWICK, host: John, we do know that Senator Clinton has plans for this big event in New York tonight, this speech you've referred to. She's called in supporters and big donors from all around the country - invited them to come to this event. There are reports that word has gone out to staff that they have one more week left and then the campaign is not going to be paying them any longer. What are they waiting for?</s>Mr. JOHN DICKERSON (Chief Political Writer, Well, they are waiting, both sides are waiting, as you point out, it's over. Now the question is just how to manage the end. And there are a couple of constituencies here. One, Clinton wants to have maybe some of her debts paid off. There are a lot of rumors going around. So - there's a question of her debts. There's also a question of her supporters, some of the African-American supporters, have taken a lot of flack for supporting her and not Barack Obama. Then there's the question of the vice presidency. Will she be offered it?</s>Mr. JOHN DICKERSON (Chief Political Writer, Will they at least have a conversation about it? And then there are all kinds of other issues, including will Barack Obama say anything, perhaps, to tamp down or absolve Bill Clinton of some of the things he's said that have been perceived by some people to have a kind of racial tinge to them? Lots of issues to be played out there. Barack Obama doesn't want to force Clinton's hand too much. He knows it's over, he knows he's got the numbers.</s>Mr. JOHN DICKERSON (Chief Political Writer, In fact, one of the ways he'll be evaluated by her supporters, many of whom have raised the charge of sexism, is how he handles her exit from the race. Is he sufficiently gracious? Does he being this party healing process that everyone's desperate, everyone in the Democratic Party anyway, is desperate to have begin.</s>ALEX CHADWICK, host: Senator Obama is holding a rally in St. Paul, Minnesota tonight. That's where he's going to be, not in Montana or South Dakota, but St. Paul, Minnesota. What is the point of that?</s>Mr. JOHN DICKERSON (Chief Political Writer, Well, I'm actually with Senator Obama in Chicago right now. He's flying at the end of the day to Minnesota. That's where the Republicans will hold their convention. Minnesota is a swing state. And Obama is going there to basically kick off his general election campaign. He's had lots of little mini kickoffs, he's really been in a fight more with John McCain, much more so than Hillary Clinton. But this is an attempt for him to being telling the story that will consume us for the rest of the election year as we go into the general election. So he's going there and he'll talk about bringing people together. He'll talk about, you know, he's in a swing state so he has to be there to kind of fight for that state that will be important in the battleground map for the general election. And he wants to set the themes on his own terms for that general election battle with John McCain.</s>ALEX CHADWICK, host: John Dickerson, from, with Senator Obama on his way to Minnesota. John, thank you.</s>Mr. JOHN DICKERSON (Chief Political Writer, Thanks, Alex.</s>MADELEINE BRAND, host: One of New York State's last undecided superdelegates has decided. She is Irene Stein of Ithaca, New York and she's chairwoman of the Tompkins County Democratic Committee. She's here now. And welcome to the program, Ms. Stein, who are you backing?</s>Ms. IRENE STEIN (Superdelegate, Chairwoman, Tompkins County Democratic Committee): I'm backing Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton. I'm convinced having thought this through very carefully and watched every kind and source of information that I could think of that she is the candidate that is strongest against the Republican candidate John McCain.</s>MADELEINE BRAND, host: Why did you wait until now?</s>Ms. IRENE STEIN (Superdelegate, Chairwoman, Tompkins County Democratic Committee): Two different kinds of reasons. One, I take my responsibility as superdelegate very seriously and that responsibility is to act according to my judgment as to what would be best for the Democratic Party and the nation. Second, it was a very difficult situation for me personally because Tompkins County, my county, is the only county in New York State where a majority of the voters supported Senator Obama in the primary. So, I take that very seriously.</s>Ms. IRENE STEIN (Superdelegate, Chairwoman, Tompkins County Democratic Committee): Secondly, I was elected to this DNC, which in turn allowed me to be a superdelegate. And I was elected by the State Democratic Committee, which is heavily supportive of Hillary Clinton. I have a lot of conflicting pressures on me. I would watch the data very, very carefully, and I came to the conclusion that we will not win with Senator Obama if he is our candidate. Hillary Clinton is substantially stronger when you look at the analysis that shows how they fare in each state according to that state's Electoral College votes. Because as you know, the popular vote does not elect a president.</s>Ms. IRENE STEIN (Superdelegate, Chairwoman, Tompkins County Democratic Committee): We found that out, unfortunately, at the beginning of the Bush years, in my opinion. The Electoral College vote does, and Hillary Clinton is very strong, and she easily beats McCain and this has been consistent. Putting that hard data together with my judgment and my gut based on about 30 years in political life, 30 years of interacting with people in politics, I just felt that Hillary Clinton is the much stronger candidate.</s>MADELEINE BRAND, host: But do you worry that your vote now may be a little - too little too late? That Barack Obama...</s>Ms. IRENE STEIN (Superdelegate, Chairwoman, Tompkins County Democratic Committee): I did not feel ready to make a vote earlier, and I don't know if I would have altered anything by making a vote earlier.</s>MADELEINE BRAND, host: How do you feel though about going against the wishes of your constituents, the voters in your county who went for Barack Obama?</s>Ms. IRENE STEIN (Superdelegate, Chairwoman, Tompkins County Democratic Committee): I'm not happy about it. But I was not elected by them to make this particular judgment and I've explained it to them to the best of my ability, and I hope and believe that they respect my goodwill and I think they fully understand no one will work harder than I to elect the Democratic candidate, no matter who that person is.</s>MADELEINE BRAND, host: Ms. Stein, thank you for joining us.</s>Ms. IRENE STEIN (Superdelegate, Chairwoman, Tompkins County Democratic Committee): You're very welcome.</s>MADELEINE BRAND, host: That's Irene Stein of Ithaca, New York, a newly announced superdelegate for Hillary Clinton.</s>ALEX CHADWICK, host: Seattle lawyer and Democratic superdelegate David McDonald was on the Party's Rules Committee that met over the weekend to settle the difficult issue of the errant Michigan and Florida primaries. He stayed undeclared through that process and now says he will vote for Senator Obama. David McDonald, we spoke on Friday. Welcome back. How long have you known that Senator Obama is your candidate?</s>Mr. DAVID MCDONALD (Democratic superdelegate): Oh, I would say about 18, 19 hours, or so...</s>ALEX CHADWICK, host: Really? You only just made up your mind, really truly?</s>Mr. DAVID MCDONALD (Democratic superdelegate): Yeah.</s>ALEX CHADWICK, host: I know that you felt you shouldn't say where you were before this Rules Committee meeting over the weekend, but did you really have some instinct of where you were going?</s>Mr. DAVID MCDONALD (Democratic superdelegate): No. But what I had is from watching that either one of them could win the general election. And just to step back a bit on the process, I really was doing my best to simply not get attached to either candidate. But once the Rules Committee was over, I had the day to sightsee in D.C. and took it rather than watching news that day. And having a six-hour plane flight with no cell phone interruptions and unfortunately, or fortunately I suppose, no movies on the plane that I hadn't seen. And a night's sleep, and then woke up and thought, well, you know, I need to think about this, this morning, and started thinking about it, but I needed some free time, frankly. I mean, I kept coming back to the fact that Obama started with a 50-state strategy and was willing to go early into relatively tough territory where we for the last number of years have not really been contesting seats, and dig out Democrats and organize them. That and coupled with the energy level that I was seeing in Obama supporters were really kind of the tipping factors.</s>ALEX CHADWICK, host: What do you think of the process this year? Because Senator Obama does come to the end of this, well, as John Dickerson writes at, not sprinting across the finish line. I mean it's a difficult end for him.</s>Mr. DAVID MCDONALD (Democratic superdelegate): It is a difficult end. But what he gains from it is he is tested. A president's got to be able to deal with surprises and adversity. I mean, let's face it. That job does not go according to script. So he's gotten out of this extended campaign something he never would have gotten if everybody folded up on February 15th.</s>ALEX CHADWICK, host: You've said that you're confident either candidate can win the general election.</s>Mr. DAVID MCDONALD (Democratic superdelegate): Yes.</s>ALEX CHADWICK, host: But I wonder what is your assessment of Senator McCain as a candidate. And what does your party have to do in order to win? Against him?</s>Mr. DAVID MCDONALD (Democratic superdelegate): I'd say the main thing we have to do to win against McCain is remind people that he's not all that different than George Bush. And I don't think the public wants to continue the Bush agenda.</s>ALEX CHADWICK, host: But if the public has an idea of Senator McCain, it is as someone who often disagrees with his party leadership and with the White House. He's been a difficult ally for the Bush White House for years.</s>Mr. DAVID MCDONALD (Democratic superdelegate): My memory is that he was a more difficult ally for them before the 2000 race for president than after. And that afterwards, when he could begin to see he might run again, he seems to have been far more supportive of Bush. And I think it's the last eight years, the actual Bush tenure that we need to look at.</s>ALEX CHADWICK, host: What role would you like Senator Clinton to play now?</s>Mr. DAVID MCDONALD (Democratic superdelegate): I would like her to put in the same tenacity into getting a White House administration that's Democratic and a broad mandate from the public to carry across an agenda that both Houses of Congress will support. And I think, from the years I've known her that's what she wants to do too. I mean, she probably wants a night's sleep, or something, but you know, I think that's where she is too.</s>ALEX CHADWICK, host: David McDonald, superdelegate from Seattle and now declared supporter of Senator Obama for that nomination. David, thank you.</s>Mr. DAVID MCDONALD (Democratic superdelegate): Thanks.
Stanley "Tookie" Williams — a co-founder of the notorious Crips street gang — was executed in December 2005. It reignited a debate about the death penalty and treatment for inmates who, as Williams did, atone for their crimes while behind bars. Barbara Becnel talks about her friendship with Williams and his new memoir, Blue Rage, Black Redemption.
FARAI CHIDEYA, host: It's been nearly two years since the state of California executed Stanley "Tookie" Williams by lethal injection. Williams co-founded the notorious Crips gang. He'd been on death row since the early 1980s for four murders, he says, he did not commit. And that was just part of the controversy over whether Williams was unrepentant or uniquely valuable in the fight against gang violence.</s>FARAI CHIDEYA, host: By time he died, he had committed himself to nonviolence and gang prevention. He wrote children's books. He was even nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize.</s>FARAI CHIDEYA, host: Two years after his death, Williams' new autobiography has hit stores. It's called "Blue Rage, Black Redemption." Author Barbara Becnel, a close friend of Williams, edited the memoir and wrote the epilogue. I asked her why Williams focused so much of the book on his childhood in South Central Los Angeles.</s>Ms. BARBARA BECNEL (Editor, "Blue Rage, Black Redemption"): It's just simply no doubt that the public school system failed Stanley "Tookie" Williams because it turns out, these many years later, he's tested for an IQ test and it turns out he's borderline genius, that the public school system in South Central Los Angeles in the late - mid-1960s and it did fail Stanley "Tookie" Williams. So - I mean, that's just the truth of it. But I guess he was just a symbol.</s>FARAI CHIDEYA, host: This book really details how he went from someone who helped found the Crips, and then to move on once he went to prison to write children's books. I want to walk us through a couple of the different phases of his life. First of all, why don't you tell us why you think the Crips got started based on what Stanley "Tookie" Williams told you?</s>Ms. BARBARA BECNEL (Editor, "Blue Rage, Black Redemption"): Well, what he said to me was that South Central in 1971 was not protected by the Los Angeles Police Department. And so - but it was overrun with gangs even prior to the Crips being formed. So what happened was both he and Raymond Lee Washington decided to get together and form a gang that would protect them and their friends and their family members from the gangs that were ruling the streets of both the Eastside of L.A. and the Westside of L.A. in the black community.</s>Ms. BARBARA BECNEL (Editor, "Blue Rage, Black Redemption"): So in that sense then, they started off as a self-policing entity. But albeit, they - what he conceded is that it didn't take long before the Crips then became the very thing that - and behaving in the very same way as the gangs that the Crips formed - to protect themselves from.</s>FARAI CHIDEYA, host: From that, he was convicted. What were the crimes that he was convicted for? He always maintained that he did not commit those crimes. Explain them.</s>Ms. BARBARA BECNEL (Editor, "Blue Rage, Black Redemption"): Okay. He was convicted in 1981 of committing four murders during two robberies that occurred in 1979. And so he said right up until the, literally the day and the hour that he died - an hour before he died, I was talking to him on the phone - and he said, he did not commit these crimes. But - so that is what he said. And he - in his book, he talks about how the people who are oppositional to him say that he didn't deserve clemency or that he couldn't possibly be redeemed because he did not acknowledged and apologized for those crimes. And he says, in the book, it would be cowardly for him to confess to something he didn't do.</s>FARAI CHIDEYA, host: So Barbara, you were also left with some of his words that he left for the world before he died. Let's take a listen to one of them.</s>FARAI CHIDEYA, host: Mr. STANLEY "TOOKIE" WILLIAMS (Co-founder, Crips): My apology firmly goes out to all of the grieving mothers who have lost a loved one through street violence. For many years, I have shouldered the heavy encumber of this madness that perpetuates your sorrow. Your suffering has not gone unnoticed. I acknowledged it. I feel it. With humility, I express my deepest remorse for each of you for having help to create this bloody and violent legacy.</s>Ms. BARBARA BECNEL (Editor, "Blue Rage, Black Redemption"): Well, that message, Stan wanted the prisoners of San Quentin to hear, and the prison authorities would not allow it to be played, so I appreciate this opportunity because of those prisoners do listen to NPR. And though it's two and a half years after the fact, they can still benefit from his message.</s>FARAI CHIDEYA, host: Towards the end of his book, the very end, he talks about being free in spirit, if not in body. And he was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize multiple times. What do you think his legacy is?</s>Ms. BARBARA BECNEL (Editor, "Blue Rage, Black Redemption"): I think his legacy is several fold. One, he did end up being an anti-gang activist and a peacemaker over the last 13 or 14 years of his life. And it's really made a difference. For example, the day after his memorial service, a handful of Crips said the following - the governor wouldn't give my homey a clemency, but we have the power to give each other clemency by stopping the killing of each other.</s>Ms. BARBARA BECNEL (Editor, "Blue Rage, Black Redemption"): They formed a cease-fire committee. And now, two years later, it's about 250 Crip leaders strong and they have - those 250 Crip factions or sets have quit killing each other and the goal is to expand it to Bloods, and the goal is to ultimately expand it to Latino gangs in South Central and throughout the nation.</s>Ms. BARBARA BECNEL (Editor, "Blue Rage, Black Redemption"): His other legacy is a legacy of promoting literacy, because, for him, in terms of his own redemption or process of redemption, it really began in earnest when one of the prison chaplains brought him a dictionary. And with that dictionary, he learned the words that he needed to understand in order to read books and history books and black history books and that really changed his life. Because what he learned was that the black heroes were ordinary people who have prepared themselves and committed themselves to do extraordinary things. And that - it occurred to him, okay, I'm ordinary and I can work hard and I could reach out and do some extraordinary things.</s>Ms. BARBARA BECNEL (Editor, "Blue Rage, Black Redemption"): He also left me to edit about five or six more books, which I will edit and release in - over the next three to five years.</s>Ms. BARBARA BECNEL (Editor, "Blue Rage, Black Redemption"): And then lastly, his legacy is one of an activist legacy. The fact that the state of California largely, because of what happened to him, there's a de facto moratorium on executions here and now the Supreme Court has picked it up. You know, he may have succeeded ultimately in unraveling the death penalty in this country. At least, that's my hope and that certainly would have been his.</s>FARAI CHIDEYA, host: Barbara, thank you so much.</s>Ms. BARBARA BECNEL (Editor, "Blue Rage, Black Redemption"): Thank you for allowing me to share what I experienced and what I've learned. Thank you.</s>FARAI CHIDEYA, host: Barbara Becnel edited and wrote the epilogue for "Blue Rage, Black Redemption." That's the newly published memoir by Stanley "Tookie" Williams.</s>FARAI CHIDEYA, host: And one quick note. A research shows that California currently does have a de facto moratorium on the death penalty. The state of California is currently looking into the constitutionality of current lethal injection procedures.</s>FARAI CHIDEYA, host: That's our show for today. And thank you for sharing your time with us. To listen to the show or subscribe to our podcast, visit our Web site, That's no spaces. Just To join the conversation or sign up for our newsletter, visit our blog,</s>FARAI CHIDEYA, host: NEWS & NOTES was created by NPR News and the African-American Public Radio Consortium.</s>FARAI CHIDEYA, host: I'm Farai Chideya. This is NEWS & NOTES.
News & Notes Web producer Geoffrey Bennett talks to Farai Chideya about the stories making the rounds on our blog, "News & Views," offers some online travel tips, and explains the Web's version of Black Friday.
FARAI CHIDEYA, host: This is NEWS & NOTES. I'm Farai Chideya.</s>FARAI CHIDEYA, host: A new report shows hate crimes on the rise. And Geoffrey Bennett is the Web producer for NEWS & NOTES. He joins me now to talk about this and more. Hey, Geoffrey.</s>GEOFFREY BENNETT: Hey, what's up, Farai?</s>FARAI CHIDEYA, host: Well, there's this report out this week from the FBI. It says that hate crimes rose last year; that racial prejudice accounts for more than half of those crimes. I see it's a hot topic on our blog, so what are folks writing about it?</s>GEOFFREY BENNETT: Yeah. According to that report, incidences of hate crimes are up by 8 percent in 2006. Now, one of our readers, Paul Murray-Smarten(ph) wrote: The increase intuitively make sense. It would go with the increasingly divisive tone of public discourse these days, if actions tend to follow words.</s>Another reader who goes by the handle C wrote: History has taught that during bad or stressful times people get scared. As our economic times get worse, proportionately, these crimes will also.</s>FARAI CHIDEYA, host: Now, on the show last week, we also covered a poll about African-Americans and racial identity. It was released by the Pew Research Center. So how did people react to that one?</s>GEOFFREY BENNETT: Right. There was a lot of stats in that report, which was said to have found the values gap in black America divided by class, our friend Mojo Adurinde(ph) posted a comment that reads: Part of the poll seems too broad in analysis to really be conclusive, but I do agree on the part that blacks have lost confidence in leaders within the community, like the NAACP not having new and impactful ways to reach the younger generation.</s>GEOFFREY BENNETT: Another reader named Lyon(ph) didn't get what all the fuss was about. He wrote: Education and economics have always played a major role in evolving social groups. It's only natural that educated black folks who developed a sense of the world grew tired of the inner city black box. So that conversation is still ongoing.</s>FARAI CHIDEYA, host: So like millions of people, I will be traveling today - the busiest travel date of the year. Is there any help on the Web for weary travelers?</s>GEOFFREY BENNETT: We have folks who are driving who check sites like that give real-time views of traffic congestion, and sites like Google Maps and Yahoo! Maps, do that as well. People who are braving the airports should, of course, check their respective airline Web sites to check for flight delays, and the Web site can give you real-time information about backups at your local airport.</s>GEOFFREY BENNETT: And if you're not in front of the computer, you can do what I do: I text Google at no additional cost. You enter the flight delay - you enter the flight number and the airline name and send it to 46645 or G-O-O-G-L, Googl, and a couple of seconds, you get a text back with all you need to know.</s>FARAI CHIDEYA, host: Wow. All right. Well, finally, this Friday, retailers across the country will be offering up doorbuster deals in order to draw people in. There's something similar on the Web, right?</s>GEOFFREY BENNETT: Yeah, it's called Cyber Monday. It's the Monday following Black Friday, and folks who want to avoid the crowds can find great deals online., it's a site that studies retailing trends, says 75 percent of Web retailers are going to offer deals next week and there's - their Web site that lists some of them. And so all the Web sites I mentioned can be found on our blog, News & Views.</s>FARAI CHIDEYA, host: All right. Well, Geoffrey, thanks a lot.</s>GEOFFREY BENNETT: Thank you.</s>FARAI CHIDEYA, host: Geoffrey Bennett is the Web producer for NEWS & NOTES, and he joined me in our studios at NPR West.

Dataset Card for "mediasum-summary-matching"

More Information needed

Downloads last month
Edit dataset card