The London Olympics are in full swing, after an opening ceremony Friday that was chock-full of historic and cultural imagery drawn from Britain's past. Critics are gushing over Queen Elizabeth's role in the spectacle — along with James Bond. But there is room for debate — especially among viewers here in the U.S.
Originally published on Sat July 28, 2012 12:41 pm
Good morning. Here's a rundown of what's been happening in and around London, on the morning after the Summer Olympics' opening ceremony:
- U.S. swimmer Dana Vollmer set new Olympic and U.S. records in her 100m butterfly qualifying heat this morning. Vollmer, of Granbury, Texas, had a time of 56.25 seconds. She says she can go faster.
- The first medals have now been awarded in the London 2012 Olympics, with China's Yi Siling winning gold in the 10-meter air rifle shooting competition. Poland took silver, and China took bronze, as well.
The 2012 Olympic Games opened Friday, with a ceremony that included James Bond and Queen Elizabeth parachuting into the stadium, flyovers, rippling Union Jacks, Shakespeare, sheep and fireworks. Host Scott Simon talks to Simon Hoggart, political sketch writer for The Guardian about the opening ceremony.
It's been just over a week since moviegoers in Aurora, Colo., were mowed down in a hail of bullets. There have been expressions of sorrow from the nation's political leaders, but no attempts at rewriting laws to head off yet another massacre in the commons.
Election-year politics may be one explanation; another may be the sway a powerful interest group holds over Congress.
This Conversation Didn't Happen
Earlier this week, Colorado Rep. Diana DeGette joined three other Democratic lawmakers at the Capitol to make a plea.
Mitt Romney is set to depart from London Saturday, after three days of photo ops and closed meetings. But his assessment of London's handling of the games drew a rebuke from Prime Minister David Cameron. Host Scott Simon chats with Financial Times columnist Gideon Rachman about the visit and the perceptions formed by Romney's hosts.
Throughout this week, NPR's Kelly McEvers has been bringing us stories from parts of Syria controlled by the rebels who are fighting to oust the regime of Bashar Assad. She talks with host Scott Simon about her reporting.
Our marathon man of trivia is A.J. Jacobs, who once read the entire Encyclopedia Britannica to learn more and get a book contract. Why didn't he just write 50 Shades of Knowledge? A.J. joins us now to talk about Olympic facts, some of which may actually be true.
A.J., thanks for being with us.
A.J. JACOBS: And thank you for having me.
SIMON: Let's start with the marathon, A.J. Apparently, one of your favorite athletes in history was Spiridon Louis, who was the winner of the first modern marathon back in 1896.
Late July is peak tomato season in much of the country, so for some fresh and inventive twists on the fruit — and yes, it is botanically a fruit, no matter what the Supreme Court says — we're heading to Home Wine Kitchen in Maplewood, Mo.
On a sweltering day in July, Cairo temperatures top 100 degrees and the humidity is an oppressive 83 percent. There hasn't been a single day this month with a high of less than 90 — in a country where access to air conditioning is much more limited than in the United States.
Add to that the fact that much of the country is fasting for Ramadan and it gives a new dimension to what the Egyptian Meteorological Association calls a "humid heat wave."
This has been a summer of blood, sweat and tears in Chicago. The city has been scorched by historic heat, and the homicide rate has soared. When the sun goes down behind the glimmering lakeshore skyline, blocks on the South and West Side of the city can ring with shots and sirens.
The streets of neighborhoods like Englewood, Grand Crossing and Garfield Park are empty, even during the day. In the middle of this summer, it is rare to see a child ride a bike or walk a dog.
Early in 1944, Southern England bristled with 150,000 American, British and Canadian soldiers gathered for an invasion the Allies hoped would end World War II.
The soldiers, pilots, sailors and Marines knew they were there to be launched into Nazi-occupied Europe. But surely the Germans knew also. It's hard to hide the largest invasion force in history. LIFE Magazine even ran photos of GIs in Piccadilly.
The pharmacy at Atlanta's Ponce de Leon Center stocks medications for 5,200 HIV/AIDS patients. Workers there aren't sure how much an increase in federal aid will help cut Georgia's waiting list for a HIV drug-assistance program.
Originally published on Sat July 28, 2012 11:07 am
The Obama administration last week announced nearly $80 million in grants to increase access to AIDS care across the United States. But will the money be enough to eliminate waiting lists for the AIDS Drug Assistance Program?
Advocates aren't sure. The program, known as ADAP, provides a safety net for people with HIV who have no means of paying for the drugs they need to fight the virus.
The long- and middle-distance runners to watch during the London Olympics are from Kenya, a country with a rich tradition of producing elite track athletes. The country won 14 medals four years ago in the Beijing Olympics.
Many of the world's best marathoners have come from a highland region above the Great Rift Valley. There, the famed town of Iten produces some of the fastest humans on Earth.
Fresh Air Weekend highlights some of the best interviews and reviews from past weeks, and new program elements specially paced for weekends. Our weekend show emphasizes interviews with writers, filmmakers, actors, and musicians, and often includes excerpts from live in-studio concerts. This week:
"Don was a member of our Chick-fil-A family for nearly 29 years. For many of you in the media, he was the spokesperson for Chick-fil-A. He was a well-respected and well-liked media executive in the Atlanta and University of Georgia communities, and we will all miss him."
Atlanta-based Chick-fil-A has long stood by its Bible-based roots, keeping stores closed on Sundays and donating millions to Christian causes. But when its president, Dan Cathy, went public to defend his company's stance against gay marriage, he set off a considerable controversy that has everyone from politicians to puppets weighing in.
Ruben Bermudez stands in front of a sign that says in Spanish, "To love yourself is to protect yourself." He has struggled to remain eligible for AIDS drug assistance programs since he went on treatment four years ago.
When Ruben Bermudez, 31, found out that he had HIV more than a decade ago, he didn't want to take his medicine. He went on treatment for a few weeks, but said the intensive pill regimen made him feel dizzy.
He stopped treatment and tried to ignore the diagnosis, moving to Florida from Washington in pursuit of sunshine. In 2008, he learned that one of his best friends died of a brain tumor that couldn't be treated because his immune system has been debilitated by AIDS. Bermudez realized that his only chance at a relatively healthy life would depend on taking pills daily.