At the sixth Summit of the Americas, tensions flared over Cuba's absence, and continued U.S. efforts to isolate the country. Syndicated Miami Herald columnist Andres Oppenhemier believes the first step to bringing Cuba back into the diplomatic community is to invite them to observe future summits.
Guest Political Junkie Matt Bai of The New York Times and Andy Stern, former president of the Service Employees International Union, talk about the state of the Democratic and Republican bases and what voters on each side are looking for in their candidates in the months ahead.
Each week, Talk of the Nation plays The Byrds' song "I Wanna Grow Up to Be a Politician" during the Political Junkie segment. McGuinn recorded a version just for the show. You can hear it in the last three minutes of this story.
Singer-guitarist Roger McGuinn, best known as leader of The Byrds, is a folk-rock pioneer. The Byrds blended traditional folk songs with a rock beat and scored major hits in the 1960s, including "Turn, Turn, Turn" and "Mr. Tambourine Man." The group disbanded in 1973, and McGuinn pursued a solo career, in which he performed acoustically and returned to his folk roots.
This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan, in Washington. Over the weekend, scandal overshadowed the president's visit to a hemispheric summit in Colombia. Reports accused 11 U.S. Secret Service agents of cavorting with prostitutes ahead of the president's arrival.
Originally published on Tue April 17, 2012 1:31 pm
Angry Birds — a mobile phone game in which players use a slingshot to propel birds at tiny little green pigs — has been a runaway hit since its 2009 release, with more than 700 million downloads, a TV show and a feature film in the works. It isn't alone. NPR's Neal Conan talks with New York Times Magazine critic-at-large Sam Anderson about people's fascination with — and addiction to — what Anderson calls "stupid games."
Originally published on Tue April 17, 2012 1:45 pm
Congress recently passed the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012, which — along with funding the Federal Aviation Administration's budget through 2015 — encourages the acceleration of unmanned aircraft programs in U.S. airspace. Drones have taken on a large role in military operations in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia. The new legislation could make the technology more prevalent in several arenas, from local police departments to farmers monitoring crops.
The United Nations Security Council issued a strong condemnation after North Korea's failed satellite launch attempt. Such condemnations were also issued in 2006 and 2009. In a piece in Foreign Affairs, Dartmouth College government professor Jennifer Lind argues that North Korea gets too many second chances.
This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan in Washington. We don't know much about Saturday's talks in Istanbul between Iran and the group of six major powers, but all sides used positive terms like constructive and agreed to a second round in Baghdad.
While diplomacy continues, the United States warns that the window for talks is closing. There's open talk of preemptive air strikes in Israel, and ever-tightening sanctions continue to squeeze Iran's economy.