Around the time I turned 12, I figured out exactly what I wanted to be when I grew up: an alcoholic.
I didn't actually know what it meant to be an alcoholic, but I knew that one day, I would drink copious amounts and dash around the streets of Paris, preferably in the company of bullfighters, bankrupts, impotent newspaper correspondents, and morbidly depressed, exotically beautiful divorcees.
Of the more than 1 million people in the U.S. infected with HIV, nearly half are black men, women and children — even though blacks make up about 13 percent of the population. AIDS is the primary killer of African-Americans ages 19 to 44, and the mortality rate is 10 times higher for black Americans than for whites.
Feng Jianmei and her husband could not pay $6,000 in fines for violating China's one-child policy. In June, when she was seven months pregnant, local officials abducted her and forced her to have an abortion, her family says. The case has provoked widespread outrage.
People wait to have their blood pressure checked in Shanghai in April. China's one-child policy is more than just a human rights issue; demographers warn that the low birth rate will result in a shortage of workers to drive the economy.
Deng Jiyuan and Feng Jianmei, a couple from northwest China's Shaanxi province, have a 6-year-old daughter. Under China's complicated birth calculus, they were barred from having another child. But they tried anyway.
"We planned this pregnancy because our parents are old, they want us to have another child," Deng, 30, explained by cellphone last month from his home in Shaanxi.
That decision led to a sequence of events that has ignited a firestorm and renewed debate over the country's one-child policy.
Now we turn to the National Council of La Raza's annual convention. That's the nation's largest Latino civil rights organization, and that group begins its convention this weekend in Las Vegas. I'm joined now by Ron Estrada, who is chairing the event. He's also the vice president of marketing for La Raza. Mr. Estrada, thank you so much for joining us.
The NAACP is gearing up for its annual conference in Houston, Texas. Each year, the civil rights group attracts big names, including this year's guest speaker, presidential hopeful Mitt Romney. Host Michel Martin talks with conference organizer Leon Russell about what's on his members' minds for this year's election.
The water utility in Albuquerque inadvertently diverted farmers' irrigation water from the Rio Grande for more than a week in late June and used it for the city's drinking water supplies.
The Albuquerque Journal reports (http://bit.ly/MXVOs1) that John Stomp, chief operating officer of the Albuquerque Bernalillo County Water Utility, acknowledged the improper diversions and agreed to pay back the farmers.
For five full days — following Friday night's nasty wind-and-rain flashstorm — you were without electricity in the Washington suburbs. Dodging felled trees and fallen power wires, you made daily forays to nearby cafes and coffee shops, establishments that did have power. There you could recharge the batteries in your laptop and smartphone and take care of various electronic chores, such as banking, sending gifts, ordering necessities and sorting through email.
But mostly you stayed home, reading books and actual newspapers, just like in the Olden Days.