Originally published on Mon April 29, 2013 3:02 pm
Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo — designed to carry paying passengers beyond Earth's atmosphere — passed a key test Monday, shooting past the speed of sound under its own rocket power.
The spacecraft developed by Sir Richard Branson's space tourism venture dropped from its mother ship over the Mojave Desert and then, for the first time, fired its engine. It hit Mach 1.2 and reached an altitude of 56,000 feet before gliding to a landing.
Forget about the American dream. Nowadays, the next big thing is the Chinese dream. In Beijing, it's the latest official slogan, mentioned on the front page of the official People's Daily 24 times in a single week recently.
With this level of publicity from the official propaganda machine, the Chinese dream even looks set to be enshrined as the new official ideology.
With immigration a hot-button issue in Washington, some version of immigration reform is likely this year. Even so, immigrant activist Sandra Sanchez concedes that the country might not be ready for an overhaul of its immigration laws.
Sanchez, director of the American Friends Service Committee Iowa's Immigrants Voice Program, doesn't mean that in political terms, but in practical ones. "We need to be prepared for the wave of millions of potential applicants that will be needing ... legal services," she says. "And we will not have enough resources to serve them."
Originally published on Mon April 29, 2013 2:08 pm
Raising pork can be a tough business for producers, who've lately been watching feed prices rise along with the cost of corn. That's one reason why a small but growing number of former commodity pork producers are trying their luck with specialty breeds instead. These premium pigs, raised on small farms with methods that appeal to consumers, can also fetch a premium price.
This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan in Washington. The country is about to undergo the largest transition of national health policy ever. The Affordable Care Act, the signature legislative achievement of President Obama's first time, continues to phase in. Some of the more popular measures are already in effect. Parents can keep children on their own plans until they turn 26. Women have greater access to birth control.
This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan in Washington. While Syria is the crisis of the moment in the Middle East, Iran looms as an even more difficult challenge in the months ahead. And these two issues are not unconnected. Iran remains the most important ally of President Assad in Damascus, and the survival of his regime is critical to Iran's larger struggle with its Arab rivals.
For 40 years now, Sweet Honey in the Rock has created music deep in the tradition of the African-American community. When the women joined us in our studios in 2005, they outlined the group's message: Keep moving forward, and make a way for those who are coming behind you.
(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "I REMEMBER, I BELIEVE")
SWEET HONEY IN THE ROCK: (Singing) I don't know how my mother walked her trouble down. I don't know how my father stood his ground. I don't know how my people survived slavery. I do remember. That's why I believe.
In a small, packed Washington, D.C., living room late one December night, I heard a cacophony of horns, keys, drums and guitars that simply floored me. It was brash, zany, brainy, scary and danceable. At the end of a long year of amazing live music, this would turn out to be one of the most memorable concerts I'd seen.