This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan in Washington. From the Harlem Renaissance to black power, Langston Hughes spoke to the life of African-Americans. The neglected son of a famous abolitionist family, he immersed himself in books. Eighteen years old and just out of high school, he saw sunset on the muddy Mississippi from a train and wrote the poem that introduced the world to Langston Hughes, "The Negro Speaks of Rivers."
After a few more days of escalating hoopla, the Super Bowl between the New York Giants and the New England Patriots kicks off on Sunday evening, but whether you've got a small financial interest in the game or if you're just waiting for the ads, there are stories on the field in Indianapolis - the Brady legacy, salsa dancer Victor Cruz, hometown boy Mathias Kiwanuka, and of course the medical epic of the high-ankle sprain. What story will you follow in Super Bowl XLVI?
This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan in Washington. The good news, even in the recession, came from American manufacturing. Output is up one-third over the past decade. But over just about that same period of time, six million manufacturing jobs disappeared. About as many people work in manufacturing now as did at the end of the Depression, though our population has more than doubled.
Syria's protest generation is obsessed with images.
Thousands of videos have been posted on YouTube during the 10-month revolt against President Bashar Assad's regime, even as regime snipers take deadly aim at the photographers.
The smugglers who carry critical medical supplies to underground clinics in protest cities also smuggle in cameras hidden in baseball caps and pocket pens. The obsession comes from the conviction that documenting the brutality will stop it — this time.
In a sign that the economic sanctions imposed by the U.S. and those announced by the European Union are squeezing Iran, the chief of Iran's judiciary warned that major currency speculators could face the death penalty.
The AP quotes Ayatollah Sadegh Amoli Larijani as saying that "depending on the importance of their crimes, some of the economic corrupted can face execution."
Three years ago, venture capitalists were pouring billions of dollars into technologies like solar power, wind power, biofuels and fuel cells. The federal government followed, directing some $44.5 billion into clean technology from late 2009 to late 2011 through loans, subsidies and tax incentives.
But now the clean-tech industry is facing leaner times, in part because of cheaper natural gas prices, the effects of the financial crisis and China's growing solar industry.
We'd like to end the program today with a feature we call In Your Ear. That's where we ask some of our guests to tell us about the music that keeps them going.
Today, we get the personal playlist of Oscar-nominated actress Viola Davis. She joined us back in the summer to talk about her role in the film "The Help." Davis has already won top actress honors at the Screen Actors Guild Awards for that performance. Now we'll hear about the musical performers who inspire her.
Legendary entertainer RuPaul has been famous for 20 years for his drag persona — sky-high wigs, even higher heels and glamorous dresses.
But even though he's known for his over-the-top outfits, RuPaul says that everyone is performing in drag, one way or another.
"I've had talk show hosts ask me, so why are you wearing women's clothes? And they, of course, are dressed in slacks, a blazer, and you know, a button-down shirt. And people don't get it. The truth is we're all doing it," he tells Tell Me More's Michel Martin.