Steve Inskeep

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Our MORNING EDITION co-host Steve Inskeep has been reporting from China. And he encountered a business so old it's new.

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In China's coal country, Shanxi Province, the black stuff is a more than just a source of income — it is a source of identity. Lumps of it are for sale at the national coal museum, in elegant, satin-lined gift boxes. The rest of the coal museum is faded and out of date, much like the city of Taiyuan, where it is located, about 300 miles southwest of Beijing.

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So this is a question that people have been asking for weeks now - a very long time. We know that the nation's opioid crisis is deadly serious, but is it officially a national emergency or not?

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Khizr Khan arrives at our studios in a suit, round-framed glasses and a pin on his lapel. His face is familiar: He appeared with his wife at the 2016 Democratic National Convention, challenging Donald Trump's call to ban Muslims from entering the U.S. — and offering to lend the Republican candidate his pocket copy of the Constitution.

Khan and his wife Ghazala became the center of political discussion when Trump questioned their motives and religion, even though they're Gold Star parents whose son, Captain Humayun Khan, was killed by a suicide bomber in Iraq in 2004.

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And I'm Steve Inskeep in Las Vegas. When President Trump visits here today, he arrives in a city where investigators are hard at work.

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Former Vice President Al Gore helped shape the conversation about climate change with An Inconvenient Truth. Now he's back with a sequel — called An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power, due out next month -- and it follows Gore as he continues the crusade he made famous with that first film.

The movie shows Gore standing in Miami floodwater, flying over imploding boulders of ice in Greenland and in Paris — trying to push the climate agreement over the finish line.

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Two things seem pretty certain about Republican Senator Mitch McConnell's health care push at this point. There is going to be a vote next week, and there's going to be a lot of vocal opposition to it.

(SOUNDBITE OF PROTEST)

The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art has some 34,000 works in its collection — but you'll only find a fraction of those up on the wall.

"A little under 2,000 of them are on view at any one time in the galleries," says Keir Winesmith, head of SFMOMA's Web and digital platforms.

So what to do with the rest?

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Journalist Tom Ricks used to write about the present. His reports on the U.S. military won him two Pulitzer Prizes, and his 2006 book, Fiasco, was basically a takedown of U.S. policies in Iraq.

But Ricks says the wars following Sept. 11 wore him down; so he left daily journalism, moved to an island off the coast of Maine and wrote a history called Churchill and Orwell — as in the British prime minister and the author of 1984.

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Many Iranians spent the weekend in the streets celebrating the re-election of their president. Hasan Rouhani pledged to keep opening Iran to the world and to push for more freedom at home.

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When President Trump fired FBI Director James Comey on Tuesday, Sen. Ben Sasse of Nebraska was one of several Republicans in Washington voicing concern. As details unfolded throughout the week, Sasse, who sits on the Judiciary Committee, continued to call the timing of the firing "troubling," though he maintains there is not yet a need for an independent investigation or special prosecutor to look into Russian meddling in the 2016 election.

At the very start of Hala Alyan's novel Salt Houses, a woman buys a coffee set — a dozen cups, a coffee pot, a tray. It's a simple act that unexpectedly becomes painful. The woman is Palestinian — part of a family displaced after the founding of Israel — and the tray reminds her of an old one she lost in one of the family's many moves.

Alyan builds her story on little moments like that — a peek into the lives of several generations, forced to relocate and resettle. Her characters are lost and looking for a home.

Generations ago, the American Indian Osage tribe was compelled to move. Not for the first time, white settlers pushed them off their land in the 1800s. They made their new home in a rocky, infertile area in northeast Oklahoma in hopes that settlers would finally leave them alone.

As it turned out, the land they had chosen was rich in oil, and in the early 20th century, members of the tribe became spectacularly wealthy. They bought cars and built mansions; they made so much oil money that the government began appointing white guardians to "help" them spend it.

A few years ago, the American screenwriter John Ridley was working in Britain. He learned a bit of history that felt at once new and familiar — of a time in the 1970s when Britain struggled with that American-sounding question: Who are we?

It involved "issues of immigration, and who was really British and who belonged in this country," Ridley says. "All of those things that were embedded, things that I was completely unaware of."

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The last time I talked with Paul Watson, I reached him aboard a Canadian Coast Guard Icebreaker in the Arctic, via satellite phone.

"The captain was glaring at me because we talked for a long time," Watson remembers with a laugh.

That was three years ago, and Watson, a columnist for The Toronto Star, was alongside archaeologists who had just located one of two sunken ships lost in the Franklin Expedition, back in the 1840s.

The members of U2 are preparing a new tour to play some old songs — 30 years old, to be exact. Paul Hewson and David Evans, known to the world as Bono and The Edge, will be the first to tell you their band isn't normally fond of looking back.

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President Trump addressed the conservative conference known as CPAC this morning.

(SOUNDBITE OF SPEECH)

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: Great to be back at CPAC.

(CHEERING)

TRUMP: It's a place I have really...

UNIDENTIFIED SUPPORTER: We love you.

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You've been hearing all about these raucous town hall meetings happening around the country. Voters have been confronting their lawmakers for weeks now. We're going to hear from three of them who spoke with Steve Inskeep.

Never mind legalizing pot. Kokomo, Ind., has legalized pinball.

The city council ended a ban that stretches back to 1955.

Back then, the council said pinball worked against "peace and good order."

Wives complained about husbands who gambled away their entire paychecks.

In more recent times, the ban seems to have been ignored.

At last the city council has revoked it, taking its chances on keeping the peace.

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