11. After 'Shellacking' of Democrats, What Now for Obama and the Republicans?
This is IN THE NEWS in VOA Special English.
A "shellacking" is an especially bad defeat. And that was how President Obama described the elections on Tuesday. His Democratic Party lost control of the House of Representatives. The Democrats retook the House four years ago from the Republican Party.
Now the Republicans will have a solid majority. And they have narrowed the Democrats' majority in the Senate.
REPORTER: "What does it feel like?"
BARACK OBAMA: "It feels bad."
Mr. Obama told reporters the message he heard was that voters want more cooperation in Washington.
BARACK OBAMA: "What they were expressing great frustration about is the fact that we haven't made enough progress on the economy."
But that was not how it sounded to Representative John Boehner. The Republican from Ohio is likely to become the next House speaker. He says voters want the president to change direction.
JOHN BOEHNER: "It is pretty clear the American people want us to do something about cutting spending here in Washington. And helping to create an environment where we get jobs back in our country."
The new Congress opens in January. President Obama is inviting leaders of both parties to a meeting at the White House on November eighteenth.
MITCH MCCONNELL: "If the administration wants cooperation, it will have to begin move in our direction."
Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell recently said his party's top political goal is to make sure Mr. Obama is a one-term president. In a speech on Thursday, the senator noted that he had been criticized for his comments.
But he said if the main legislative goals of the Republicans are to replace the health care law …
MITCH McCONNELL: " … to end the bailouts, cut spending and shrink the size and scope of government, the only way to do all of those things is to put someone in the White House who will not veto any of those things."
President Obama says he is willing to try any good ideas the Republicans have for job growth. But
he says he is not open to major changes in the health care law.
BARACK OBAMA: "I think we'd be misreading the election if we thought that the American people want to see us for the next two years re-litigate arguments that we had over the last two years."
John Fortier studies politics for the American Enterprise Institute. He says opposition parties have worked together in the past.
JOHN FORTIER: "Divided government -- Congress of one party or part of the Congress, and a president of the other -- is sometimes very productive."
Mr. Fortier says it might be harder this time, in part because attention now turns to the twenty twelve presidential campaign. He says Republican candidates will try to appeal to a voting population that has become more conservative.
Four in ten Americans who voted this week said they considered themselves Tea Party supporters. The Tea Party movement heavily supported Republican candidates who shared its conservative positions. The movement wants limited government, less federal spending and lower taxes. But the Tea Party is made up of many different groups. So the exact number of winning candidates who share its values is unclear. Media reports differed widely, from about thirty candidates nationally to more than one hundred.
On Friday, the Labor Department said the economy gained more than two times as many jobs in October as most economists expected. It was the best report since May. Still, the unemployment rate stayed at nine and six-tenths percent for the third month.
President Obama called the numbers encouraging but not good enough. He spoke before leaving for India on the start of his trip to Asia.
And that's IN THE NEWS in VOA Special English. I'm Steve Ember.
12 John Coltrane, 1926-1967: The Famous Saxophone Player Helped Make Modern Jazz
Popular Around the World
SHIRLEY GRIFFITH: PEOPLE IN AMERICA, a program in Special English by the Voice of America.
He was one of the greatest saxophone players of all time. He wrote jazz music. He recorded new versions of popular songs. And, he helped make modern jazz popular. I'm Shirley Griffith.
STEVE EMBER: And I'm Steve Ember. Today, we tell about musician John Coltrane. (MUSIC)
SHIRLEY GRIFFITH: John Coltrane was born in the state of North Carolina in nineteen twenty-six. He was raised in the small farm town of High Point. Both of his grandfathers were clergymen. As a young boy, he spent a great deal of time listening to the music of the black Southern church.
Coltrane's father sewed clothes. He played several musical instruments for his own enjoyment. The young Coltrane grew up in a musical environment. He discovered jazz by listening to the recordings of such jazz greats as Count Basie and Lester Young. STEVE EMBER: When John was thirteen, he asked his mother to buy him a saxophone. People realized almost immediately that the young man could play the instrument very well. John learned by listening to recordings of the great jazz saxophone players, Johnny Hodges and Charlie Parker.
John and his family moved to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in nineteen forty-three. He studied music for a short time at the Granoff Studios and at the Ornstein School of Music. SHIRLEY GRIFFITH: John Coltrane served for a year in a Navy band in Hawaii. When he returned, he began playing saxophone in several small bands.
In nineteen forty-eight, Coltrane joined trumpet player Dizzy Gillespie's band. Seven years later, Coltrane joined the jazz group of another trumpet player, Miles Davis. The group included piano player Red Garland, double bass player Paul Chambers and drummer Philly Joe Jones. STEVE EMBER: Coltrane began experimenting with new ways to write and perform jazz music. He explored many new ways of playing the saxophone.
Some people did not like this new sound. They did not understand it. Others said it was an expression of modern soul. They said it represented an important change. Jazz performers, composers and other musicians welcomed this change.
During the nineteen fifties, Coltrane used drugs and alcohol. He became dependent on drugs. Band leaders dismissed him because of his drug use. In nineteen fifty-seven, Coltrane stopped using drugs.
SHIRLEY GRIFFITH: In nineteen fifty-nine, John Coltrane recorded the first album of his own music. The album is called "Giant Steps." Here is the title song from that album. (MUSIC)
STEVE EMBER: Coltrane also recorded another famous song with a larger jazz band. The band included Milt Jackson on vibes, Hank Jones on piano, Paul Chambers on bass and Connie Kay on drums. Here is their recording of "Stairway to the Stars."
SHIRLEY GRIFFITH: In nineteen sixty, Coltrane left Miles Davis and organized his own jazz group. He was joined by McCoy Tyner on piano, Jimmy Garrison on bass and Elvin Jones on drums. This group became famous around the world.
John Coltrane's most famous music was recorded during this period. One song is called "My Favorite Things." Richard Rogers and Oscar Hammerstein had written the song for the Broadway musical "The Sound of Music." Jazz critics say Coltrane's version is one of the best jazz recordings ever made. The record became very popular. It led many more people to become
interested in jazz.
(MUSIC: "My Favorite Things")
STEVE EMBER: Critics say Coltrane's versions of other popular songs influenced all jazz music writing. One of these was a song called "Summertime." It was written by Du Bose Heyward and George Gershwin for the opera "Porgy and Bess."
SHIRLEY GRIFFITH: In nineteen sixty-four, Coltrane married pianist Alice McCloud who later became a member of his band. He stopped using alcohol, and became religious. He wrote a song to celebrate his religious experience. The song is more than thirty minutes long. It is called "A Love Supreme." Here is part of the song.
STEVE EMBER: By nineteen sixty-five, Coltrane was one of the most famous jazz musicians in the world. He was famous in Europe and Japan, as well as in the United States. He was always trying to produce a sound that no one had produced before. Some of the sounds he made were beautiful. Others were like loud screams. Miles Davis said that Coltrane was the loudest, fastest saxophone player that ever lived.
Many people could not understand his music. But they listened anyway. Coltrane never made his music simpler to become more popular.
Coltrane continued to perform and record even as he suffered from liver cancer. He died in nineteen sixty-seven at the age of forty in Long Island, New York.
SHIRLEY GRIFFITH: Experts say John Coltrane continues to influence modern jazz. Some critics say one of Coltrane's most important influences on jazz was his use of musical ideas from other cultures, including India, Africa and Latin America.
Whitney Balliett of The New Yorker Magazine wrote about Coltrane the year after his death: "People said they heard the dark night ... in Coltrane's wildest music. But what they really heard was a heroic ... voice at the mercy of its own power."
STEVE EMBER: This Special English program was written by Shelley Gollust. It was produced by Lawan Davis. I'm Steve Ember.
SHIRLEY GRIFFITH: And I'm Shirley Griffith. Join us again next week at this time for another PEOPLE IN AMERICA program on the Voice of America.
13 Women Pilots in World War 2 Program Finally Get Recognition
FAITH LAPIDUS: Welcome to THIS IS AMERICA in VOA Special English. I‟m Faith Lapidus.
BOB DOUGHTY: And I'm Bob Doughty. November eleventh is Veterans Day. A veteran is anyone who has served in the armed forces. Veterans Day honors the living. A separate holiday, Memorial Day in May, is for those who died in military service.
This week on our program, we tell you about a group of women veterans who as pilots played a special part in American military history.
FAITH LAPIDUS: Earlier this year, the first female pilots ever to fly American military aircraft were finally recognized for their service. They were called Women Airforce Service Pilots, or WASP for short.
In March, surviving members of the group received Congress' highest civilian honor, the Congressional Gold Medal. WASP veteran Deanie Parrish spoke at a ceremony held in the United States Capitol building.
DEANIE PARRISH: "Over sixty-five years ago we each served our country without any expectation of recognition or glory. And we did it without compromising the values that we were taught as we grew up -- honor, integrity, patriotism, service, faith and commitment. "We did it because our country needed us. I believe I speak for every WASP when I say that it was both a privilege and an honor to serve our country during some of the darkest days of World War Two."
BOB DOUGHTY: Many people did not believe women should be permitted to join the military. Even fewer thought women should serve as pilots.
But in the early days of World War Two there was a severe shortage of male pilots. Jacqueline Cochran was a well-known female pilot in the United States at that time. She believed that training women to serve as support pilots at home could free up men to fly combat operations overseas.
General Hap Arnold was chief of what was then called the Army Air Forces. Jackie Cochran persuaded him that women were just as able to fly planes as men.
Women Airforce Service Pilots served their country by flying fighters, bombers and transport aircraft. They trained other pilots, flew test flights and pulled targets for shooting practice. They transported planes as well as troops and supplies, including parts of the atomic bomb. In all, they flew more than ninety-six million kilometers.
FAITH LAPIDUS: More than twenty-five thousand women applied for the program. About one thousand eight hundred of them were accepted. And of those, about sixty percent completed the training.
Women were required to take their own flying lessons before they could be admitted to the program.
The first group of women began their military flight training in November of nineteen forty-two. The following year, twenty-five women were trained to fly an airplane known as the "Widowmaker." Some male pilots had refused to fly it because so many of the planes crashed during training. Several pilots were killed.
The military believed the planes were safe if they were flown correctly. The women were asked to prove it. Deanie Parrish's daughter Nancy says they knew the dangers, but volunteered anyway in what she called a very important experiment.
NANCY PARRISH: "Airplanes don't know the difference between men and women. They only know that you're a good pilot or you're not a good pilot. And these women were all very good pilots."
BOB DOUGHTY: Yet the Women Airforce Service Pilots were never officially recognized as members of the military. The WASP program was canceled a few weeks after the last class graduated in nineteen forty-four. For one thing, the war was nearing an end. The women had paid their own way to get to the training base in Sweetwater, Texas. Now dismissed, they had to pay their own way to get home.
Thirty-eight women lost their lives in the WASP program. There were no military honors for these women. Their own families had to pay for their burials.
One of the pilots who died was named Mary Howson. Nancy Parrish retells the story of what Mary Howson's mother told WASP trainees in Texas shortly after her daughter's death. NANCY PARRISH: "'I came because I thought it was important. It's important for you to know so you can tell your families what to expect if something happens to you.'
"She said 'I'm going to read you the telegram that I got from the United States government when Mary was killed.' And she pulled it out and she unfolded it and she read it to this group of trainees. "And this is what it said, 'Your daughter was killed this morning. Where do you want us to ship the body?'"
FAITH LAPIDUS: The Women Airforce Service Pilots fought for years to get the recognition they had earned. World War Two ended in nineteen forty-five. But not until nineteen seventy-seven were the women fully recognized as military veterans. And only now are they being honored for their service.
Fewer than three hundred are still alive. More than two hundred of them attended the Congressional Gold Medal ceremony. Some wore their old uniforms.
Deanie Parrish accepted the medal for the group. She said the award itself was not as important as what it represents.
DEANIE PARRISH: "All we ever asked for is that our overlooked history would someday no longer be a missing chapter in the history World War Two, in the history of the Air Force, in the history of aviation, and most especially the history of America."
BOB DOUGHTY: Today, most military jobs are open to women, although there are still restrictions on combat duty. More than two and a half million women have served in the military since the American Revolution in the seventeen hundreds. There are several stories of women who pretended to be men so they could join the military.
For example, a woman named Deborah Sampson changed her name to Robert Shurtlief so she could fight in the Revolution. From that time through the end of World War Two, more than one hundred thousand women served as military nurses. Hundreds of thousands of others served as cooks, coders, telegraphers, signalers and spies.
But the military did not officially accept women as pilots until nineteen seventy-six. That was more than thirty years after the service pilots of World War Two. And it was still several years before their story became widely known.
Deanie Parrish and her daughter Nancy launched the organization Wings Across America. The purpose is to educate Americans about the WASP program.
They have interviewed more than one hundred of the women who served. And they hope to
interview the nearly two hundred other surviving members while there is still time. Parts of the interviews can be seen in a video at wingsacrossamerica.org.
FAITH LAPIDUS: In two thousand, the Library of Congress launched its own Veterans History Project. Congress wanted the nation to hear the stories of its older veterans and to keep those memories alive. More than one thousand veterans die each day.
The American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress collects recorded stories and written histories from veterans. It also collects memorable objects from their service days. The project includes veterans who served in the first and second world wars, Korea and Vietnam. It also includes men and women who served in the Persian Gulf War and the continuing wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.
BOB DOUGHTY: Veterans Day started as Armistice Day on November eleventh, nineteen nineteen. That was the first anniversary of the armistice or cease-fire agreement that ended hostilities in the first world war. In nineteen fifty-four President Dwight Eisenhower signed legislation to change the name to Veterans Day.
Today there are about twenty-two million veterans in the United States, including one and a half million women.
Over the years Congress has passed legislation like the "GI Bill of Rights." The GI Bill helped many World War Two veterans pay for college and buy a home.
But America has long had a mixed and sometimes sorry record of how it treats its veterans. These include service members who came home wounded or disabled from Iraq and Afghanistan. The United States is now in its tenth year of war -- longer than any other time in American history. FAITH LAPIDUS: On Veterans Day, communities take time for parades and speeches in honor of those who served their country. At the same time, many Americans will think of family members and friends still serving in harm's way.
BOB DOUGHTY: Our program was written and produced by June Simms. I'm Bob Doughty. FAITH LAPIDUS: And I'm Faith Lapidus. You can read, download and comment on our programs at voaspecialenglish.com. You can also join us on Facebook and Twitter at VOA Learning English. And join us again next week for THIS IS AMERICA in VOA Special English.
14 Making the World Wide Web More Usable to a Wider World
This is the VOA Special English Technology Report.
The world has almost seven billion people. At least two billion are expected to be on the Internet by January. New growth is mostly from developing countries. Yet only twenty-one percent of their population is online.
A group called the World Wide Web Foundation is working to make the Web more usable to more of the world.
Tim Berners-Lee is the British computer scientist who invented the World Wide Web. He announced the launch of the Web Foundation last November.
The group says many people can access the Web but are unable to use it. The biggest reason is illiteracy.
The latest United Nations report says almost eight hundred million adults are unable to read or write. Even for those who can read, much of the information that is available on the Web is not in a language they can understand.
Steve Bratt is chief executive of the Web Foundation.
STEVE BRATT: "If you're a poor shopkeeper living in a very impoverished part of Botswana and you're trying to feed your family, trying to buy and sell goods, trying to get medical services for your kids or your employees, and you speak a local language, there's nothing on today's Web that's going to help you, right?
"So even if they had connectivity and they had a mobile phone, or something they could get to the Web, what would they look for? What would they be able to understand?"
Tim Berners-Lee first proposed the idea for the World Wide Web in nineteen eighty-nine. This was twenty years after Americans developed the first version of what we know as the Internet. The Internet is a network of networks. It lets millions of computers communicate with each other. The Web is a major part. However, people now often use applications that are not Web-based, like on social networks and mobile devices like the iPhone.
Tim Berners-Lee created the World Wide Web as a way to help people share information. His early work brought the Hypertext Markup Language, or HTML, used to create Web pages. It also gave us the Hypertext Transfer Protocol -- the HTTP before Web addresses.
By two thousand eight, Google reported that the number of Web pages had passed one trillion. Steve Bratt says the World Wide Web Foundation wants everyone to be able to use this information.
STEVE BRATT: "Our main purpose is to advance the Web to empower people. It's focusing on the Web not just as a technology, but as one of the most powerful means for connecting people to knowledge and people to each other."
Partnerships with the Web Science Trust and the World Wide Web Consortium aim to create applications that make the Web more user-friendly. Steve Bratt says mobile technology is an important part of that work, as more and more people use their phones to go online. STEVE BRATT: "One of the challenges we have is to make the Web a lot easier to use even on the simplest and least expensive mobile phones."
And that's the VOA Special English Technology Report, written by June Simms. I'm Steve Ember.
15 Integrated Pest Management Can Increase Crop Production
This is the VOA Special English Agriculture Report.
Farmers know that if you reduce harmful insects and diseases in your crops, you have a chance for a better harvest. Today, many farmers and experts praise Integrated Pest Management, or IPM. IPM is a series of choices and methods to control insects, diseases and fungi. The program provides current information on how pests live and act in the environment.
A number of non-governmental and other organizations in many countries provide education in IPM. Farmers can get information meant for the needs of their own land. They can learn to recognize possible problems and how to plan crops to help prevent failures.
Paul Jepson heads the Integrated Plant Protection Center at Oregon State University. He says farmers who have attended field schools in Asia and Africa have increased the use of IPM. And he says this has cut pesticide use.
James Frederick is an IPM expert with Clemson University‟s Pee Dee Research and Educational Center in South Carolina. He says one basic IPM method is to plant as early in the season as possible so that most of the crop will be in by the time a disease or pest arrives. Not all insects are pests. Some are helpful. IPM programs help farmers learn to identify different kinds.
Another IPM method is rotating crops. Farmers do not plant the same crop season after season in the same soil. Instead, they may plant corn one season, soybeans the next, then corn again. Brenda Vander Mey is also with Clemson University. She says farmers should not endlessly work the same soil without putting back some organic matter.
James Frederick says farmers need information about what crops are best to plant. He says that sometimes disease-resistant crops will reduce harvests. He said a last choice would be chemical control. But he suggests using management methods first.
Another possible method of pest control is using genetically modified plants. They have had their genes changed to contain a special characteristic, like resistance to certain insects. Brenda Vander Mey says she believes improvements in plants can be very helpful. She noted the example of genetic engineering that makes rice more nutritious by producing beta carotene. And that‟s the VOA Special English Agriculture Report. I‟m Bob Doughty. You can read and
download our programs at voaspecialenglish.com.
Contributing: Jim Stevenson and Jerilyn Watson
16 Thousands of Discoveries in 10-Year Study of World’s Oceans
BOB DOUGHTY: This is SCIENCE IN THE NEWS, in VOA Special English. I‟m Bob Doughty.
FAITH LAPIDUS: And I‟m Faith Lapidus. Today, we will tell about a ten-year study of the
world‟s oceans. We will also tell about four American women who are being honored for their work in science.
BOB DOUGHTY: A project called the “Census of Marine Life” tells its story in big numbers. Two thousand seven hundred researchers from eighty countries and territories took part in the Census. They attempted to estimate all the creatures in the world‟s oceans. More than five hundred
scientific expeditions were needed to complete the study. In all, the project cost six hundred fifty million dollars.
FAITH LAPIDUS: Hundreds of the researchers gathered in London last month as the Census results were announced. The scientists said they have identified two hundred fifty thousand new species. Among them are one thousand two hundred new kinds of animals.
The scientists collected another five thousand species from the oceans during the ten years. But those creatures have yet to be identified. The researchers said as many as seven hundred fifty thousand other species have yet to be discovered.
Jesse Ausubel of the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation helped organize the study. He said the researchers have established a baseline of what lives in the ocean. This standard, or measure, of comparison can be used in the future to note and document changes.
BOB DOUGHTY: Many of the project‟s discoveries were of microbes. The scientists said extremely small life forms make up ninety percent of the ocean‟s total living material, also known
In two thousand six, scientific census-takers found a hairy new species of crab near Easter Island. They call it the “Yeti crab.” The creature got its name from a hairy, ape-like creature that
supposedly lives in Tibet.
Another unexpected discovery was a squid almost six and one half meters long. The researchers also found an ancient shrimp. It is a small shellfish thought to have disappeared centuries ago. Three species of small creatures that were documented do not require oxygen to live. Researchers found them on the floor of the Mediterranean Sea. Also in the Mediterranean, a team of census-takers discovered a living fossil. The animal represents the last species of a kind of