Originally published on Tue January 22, 2013 11:28 am
1) Why Monday?
Inaugural events are sprinkled over three days, with the most important one actually taking place out of the public eye on Sunday. That's when the official oath of office will be administered at the White House, on the date and time (noon on Jan. 20) specified by the Constitution. But because the 20th falls on a Sunday this year, the public festivities, including another oath taking, all happen Monday.
The office of the president offers a lot of responsibilities and privileges. Your actions drive the world's most powerful military, billions of dollars worth of domestic policy and, perhaps most importantly, the way the country speaks.
That's what linguist and writer Paul Dickson contends in his new book, Words From the White House. It's a look back through history at the words and phrases popularized by our presidents — including the ones they don't get credit for anymore.
Israelis are going to the polls this week in national elections. And yes, the big issues that are always part of Israeli politics are still there: the conflict with the Palestinians, the threat from Iran. But it's not just security that's on the minds of voters in Israel, especially young people. Last week in Tel Aviv, a bunch of 20-something Israelis gathered in a warehouse on the city's waterfront to talk politics.
The plummeting mercury in Alaska this time of year doesn't keep bikers inside. More and more of them are heading to recreational trails and to the office on "fat bikes." They look like mountain bikes on steroids, with tires wider than most people's arms.
Kevin Breitenbach runs the bike shop at Beaver Sports in Alaska's second-largest city. Aboard a fat bike, he makes his way down a trail that winds through a forest as wet, quarter-sized snowflakes drop from the sky. Visibility is low, and the snow hides the roughest spots on the trail.
The way that Israelis vote and the policies that motivate those decisions will be watched closely from this country as well.
For more on what this election and events in the Middle East mean for the United States, I'm joined by Aaron David Miller. He's a vice president and distinguished scholar at the Woodrow Wilson Center in Washington. He's also a former Middle East negotiator. He joins us now.
Among the sentiments of love of country and national unity, presidential inaugurations also have a religious element. Host Rachel Martin talks with Stephen Prothero, professor of American religion at Boston University, about how the role of faith in inauguration ceremonies has changed over the years.
Host Rachel Martin speaks with NPR correspondents Ari Shapiro, Scott Horsley and Michele Kelemen about President Obama's likely second-term agenda, from handling debt and the deficit to gun control and next steps in the country's relationship with Iran.
After the Newtown shootings, some suggested that schools look to local volunteers to beef up security. One national organization has been doing that for years. It's called Watch D.O.G.S., and it organizes fathers to volunteer in their children's schools. After Sandy Hook, the group's strategy didn't changed. Some Watchdogs say they've just become even more vigilant. NPR's Sam Sanders has this report.
SAM SANDERS, BYLINE: Like school principals all over the country, Michelle Wise sprung into action after Sandy Hook.