There's certainly already been a lot said about North Korea's Kim Jong Il. NPR's Anthony Kuhn has an obit and Planet Money has a recap of how North Korea's economy is fueled by drug dealing and smuggling of counterfeit goods.
Kim Jong Il succeeded his father and ruled the secretive nation for 17 years. It was a period that included repeated friction with the international community over North Korea's nuclear weapons program and a devastating famine in the late 1990s that may have been responsible for upwards of 2 million deaths.
On his new album, Celebrating Christmas, veteran jazz pianist Marcus Roberts turns out a ragtime rendition of "Joy to the World," as well as other smooth but cheerful versions of holiday classics like "Let it Snow! Let it Snow! Let it Snow!" Host Michel Martin speaks with Roberts about his desire to get toes tapping during the holidays.
In 1988, a group of Maryland fifth-graders received college scholarships from two philanthropists. Now those students are in their 30s and their lives are chronicled in The Washington Post magazine. Host Michel Martin speaks with reporter Paul Schwartzman and one of those students about how the scholarship affected their lives.
Writer Gene Marks caused a ruckus online with his recent blog post offering advice on how poor back children can succeed in life. He drew a great deal of criticism, including a sharp response from author and blogger Baratunde Thurston of The Onion. Host Michel Martin speaks with Thurston about the controversy.
North Korean leader Kim Jong Il died this past weekend. Host Michel Martin looks at the significance of Kim's death and what it means for the future of North Korea. She speaks with David Kang and Sandra Fahy of the Korean Studies Institute at USC.
If you were a New York teenager who played an instrument and wanted to be in a band, and all of a sudden British groups were coming to town and attracting rioting mobs of teenage girls, you might feel a certain urgency to get something together. Tom Finn had already had a band, The Magic Plants, when he ran into a guy named Steve Martin-Caro, a Spanish high-school student who recently arrived in the city, as they attempted to navigate the scene outside the hotel where The Rolling Stones' members were staying in 1965. The two became friends and decided to form another band.
Born in the spring of 1958, former Sen. Rick Santorum — the son of a psychologist and a nurse — was the second of three children in a Catholic family. The Pennsylvania Republican spent most of his childhood in the Pittsburgh suburbs.
When filmmaker David Fincher asked Nine Inch Nails' Trent Reznor and his songwriting partner Atticus Ross to compose the music for his U.S. film adaptation of The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, Fincher had one request: for the music to sound 'textural.'
So Reznor and Ross, who won an Oscar for their score of Fincher's 2010 film The Social Network, experimented with sounds created by stretched-out bell tones, piano beds filled with nails and clothespins, and mixes of distorted instruments played imperfectly.