Now, just as fires are a fact of life in the West, hurricanes smash into the Southeast every summer. But New England is something of a stranger to summer disasters, which is why it was huge news two years ago today when Irene hit Vermont. That tropical storm displaced 1,400 families.
I grew up in a town of about 6,000 people in rural Kansas back in the '70s and '80s. I've never romanticized it much, though it was certainly a simpler time and, for better or worse, it's where I learned to make some sense of my life. The world you inhabit when you come of age in your teen years has a way of digging its claws in you. As the years pass, no matter how far you try to get away from it, it stays with you. The people, the places, the sounds and even the smells become a part of your DNA.
Let's see, now. That self-proclaimed fortress of liberty and fellowship, the International Olympic Committee, awards the Winter Olympics to Russia for 2014. After all, China worked out so well as an exemplar of freedom of the press at Beijing in 2008.
Then, Russia, duly a signator of the Olympic charter proclaiming the "preservation of human dignity," trots out an anti-homosexual law that would've made Ivan the Terrible have second thoughts.
President Obama will stand in the symbolic shadows of Martin Luther King and Abraham Lincoln Wednesday, as he marks the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington.
Aides say Obama will use the opportunity to celebrate the progress that's been made, thanks to the civil rights movement. He'll also discuss the work that he says still has to be done to realize King's dream of racial justice in America.
That includes fighting to protect voting rights and building what the president calls "ladders of opportunity" for poor people of all races.
For the month of August, Morning Edition and The Race Card Project are looking back at a seminal moment in civil rights history: the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, where the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his iconic "I Have a Dream Speech" Aug. 28, 1963. Approximately 250,000 people descended on the nation's capital from all over the country for the mass demonstration.