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.
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.
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.
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.