This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan in Washington. Talks that President Obama calls the last chance for negotiations reconvene tomorrow in Baghdad. The U.S. and five other great powers will meet with Iranian officials to discuss that country's nuclear ambitions.
As the sun rose in Joplin, Missouri, today, a sunrise service was held to commemorate emergency workers, hospital staff, survivors and the 161 killed in a monster tornado a year ago. Yesterday, President Obama delivered the commencement address at Joplin High School and praised the town for its spirit of perseverance and resilience. While much of the rubble has been cleared out and new houses and stores sprout up, scars remain, not all of them visible.
Before you sink into your couch, before you flip through channels tonight when you get home, take a minute to think about the guy who made being a couch potato possible:
Back in 1955, Eugene J. Polley invented the "Flash-Matic," or the world's first wireless TV remote control. Back then, you held it like a gun and it acted like a flashlight using visible light to trigger photo cells on the TV to change channels.
Polley, whose engineering career with Zenith spanned 47 years, died on Sunday. He was 96.
There was a "security issue" aboard a US Airways flight from Paris to Charlotte, N.C., earlier today, and the plane was diverted to Maine's Bangor International Airport, where it landed around noon ET.
An online auction of a vial said to contain blood drawn from President Reagan on the day he was shot in 1981 is "a craven act and we will use every legal means to stop its sale or purchase," says a spokesman for the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation.
In 1935, George Gershwin brought the script for his folk opera Porgy and Bess to the opera's original cast, which was entirely made up of African-American actors. "[In the original], every other word was N-word this, N-word that," says actor David Alan Grier. "[And] there's a very famous story: Al Jolson really wanted to play Porgy, in blackface."
Whenever I think about Christopher Tilghman's writing — and I have many times since his atmospheric novel, Mason's Retreat, came out more than 15 years ago — I think of critic John Leonard. John, among many other distinctions, was my predecessor as book critic for Fresh Air and, every once in a while before his death in 2008, we'd have occasion to talk or exchange e-mails about books. I remember John sending me a note in 1996, in which he mentioned Mason's Retreat and said of Tilghman, "He's the real deal."
On Monday, Dharun Ravi was sentenced to a 30-day jail term for using a webcam to spy on his roommate Tyler Clementi. Clementi was having an intimate encounter with another man in their dorm room, and a few days later, he committed suicide. Host Michel Martin discusses the sentence with Paul Butler, a law professor and former federal prosecutor.