This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Linda Wertheimer. The race for the White House is nearly in full swing. The presumptive Republican ticket is now set. Both parties are gearing up for their respective conventions, which are coming right up. Both President Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney are waging a tough battle over the future of Medicare. In Florida yesterday, Romney's running mate, Paul Ryan, enlisted an important ally.
This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Linda Wertheimer.
Four years ago, American voters were presented with a unique choice and elected Barack Obama the first African-American president. Now, for different reasons, the choice is again unique. This year, for the first time since the founding of the republic, there is no white, Anglo-Saxon Protestant represented on either major presidential ticket. What might that mean? Is the face of the American ruling class changing?
We talked to voters in Virginia this week in Henrico County, a tossup county in a swing state. On state maps, Henrico County seems to be draped over north Richmond like a shawl. It's a critical region for both parties. President Barack Obama was there in mid-July. He carried Virginia last time and wants to hold on. Both Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan were in Henrico County in the last couple of weeks.
Russia's neighbor, Ukraine, is experiencing a linguistic rift. Ukraine's president, Viktor Yanukovych, has signed a law making Russian one of the country's official regional languages. Russian is spoken primarily in the country's east and south; Ukrainian is spoken in the west and center. And Ukrainian speakers fear that Russian could crowd out Ukrainian, as it did in Soviet times. David Stern reports from Kiev.
DAVID STERN, BYLINE: Ukraine is country that is sometimes united by its two main languages.
On-air challenge: This week's puzzle is called "Anagram K-pers." Every answer is a familiar word starting with the letter "K." You identify the words from their anagrams. For example, K + vane will make "knave."
Last week's challenge: Name two insects. Read the names one after the other. Insert an "H" somewhere in this string of letters, and you'll complete a familiar word that is the opposite of what either of these insects is. What word is it?
In an alley in Little Village on Chicago's West Side, the faint sound of music from a Spanish-speaking radio station wafts in the air and garbage cans are sprayed with gang graffiti. They look like the tattoos on 17-year-old Elias Roman's arms.
"This [alleyway] right here is where I caught my first gun case," says Elias, who was born and raised in the neighborhood, home to a large Mexican-American community.
The weak economy is helping to drive thousands more college graduates into the U.S. military.
Since the recession began in 2007, there's been a steady increase in the number of college graduates joining the armed forces. The Navy and Army have seen the biggest jumps. About 60 percent more college grads joined the Navy last year than in 2007.
For some of them, it's a job some would never have imagined for themselves just a few years ago.
It's WEEKENDS on ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Cheryl Corley. Guy Raz is away.
Over the last two years, Wisconsin seems to have suddenly become an epicenter of national politics and, even more so, conservative politics. Governor Scott Walker survived a hotly contested recall effort following a big battle with the unions.
Hope Solo is generally regarded as the best women's goalkeeper in the world. Fresh off winning her third-straight Olympic gold medal with the U.S. national team, Solo has been as busy off the field as on it, releasing an autobiography titled Solo: A Memoir of Hope.
The memoir details her rise as an international celebrity, but it also focuses on the complicated relationship she had with her father, who taught her to play soccer.
If you ever listened to jazz vocalists and wondered if you could ever in your life scat like them, there's someone who's willing to teach you. The vocalist Rhiannon has long held the importance of improvisation as a personal credo, and in her career has blended that art form with jazz, world music and storytelling.