Stephen Colbert Says Trump Fancies Himself a Rock Star


“It’s a nice day for a white rally,” Stephen Colbert sang to the tune of Billy Idol’s “White Wedding” as President Trump kicked off his re-election campaign in Florida on Tuesday. Credit CBS

By Trish Bendix

  • Florida Goes MAGA for Trump


President Trump officially announced his re-election campaign at a rally in Orlando, Fla., on Tuesday after bragging on Twitter about how many people were lining up to attend.

“You’re launching your re-election campaign? You’ve been running for re-election since your second day in office. You talk about 2020 more than a guy who just got Lasik.” — SETH MEYERS

“His supporters started lining up nearly two full days before the event. Apparently he hasn’t brought all of America’s jobs back, considering this is a Tuesday.” — STEPHEN COLBERT

“So many people are showing up that not everyone was able to get into the facility. So, there are big screens outside the venue, and before the event, they held an all-day ‘45 Fest.’ Yes, 45 Fest. MAGA-palooza. Old-chella.” — STEPHEN COLBERT

“He’s doing more for the people at his rally in Orlando than he did for all of Puerto Rico after the hurricane.” — JIMMY KIMMEL

CreditCreditVideo by The Late Show with Stephen Colbert

One of Trump’s tweets suggested that the only people who can draw crowds like he does are those who “play a guitar.”

“Trump really wanted a big crowd for this. He was pushing it like a co-worker with an improv show.” — JIMMY KIMMEL

“He sees himself as a rock star, you know. [Imitating Trump, to the tune of Billy Idol’s ‘White Wedding’] ‘It’s a nice day for a white rally.’” — STEPHEN COLBERT

2 Giant Buddhas Survived 1,500 Years. Fragments, Graffiti and a Hologram Remain.

A 3D light projection last month in Bamiyan, Afghanistan, of how a destroyed Buddha, known as Solsol to locals, might have looked in its prime. Credit Jim Huylebroek for The New York Times


BAMIYAN, Afghanistan — Here is a reminder to someone with the initials A.B., who on March 8 climbed inside the cliff out of which Bamiyan’s two giant Buddhas were carved 1,500 years ago.

In a domed chamber — reached after a trek through a passageway that worms its way up the inside of the cliff face — A.B. inscribed initials and the date, as hundreds of others had in many scripts, then added a little heart.

It’s just one of the latest contributions to the destruction of the World Heritage Site of Bamiyan’s famous Buddhas.

The worst was the Taliban’s effort in March 2001, when the group blasted away at the two giant statues, one 181 feet and the other 125 feet tall, which at the time were thought to be the two biggest standing Buddhas on the planet.

It took the Taliban weeks, using artillery and explosive charges, to reduce the Buddhas to thousands of fragments piled in heaps at the foot of the cliffs, outraging the world.

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Since then, the degradation has continued, as Afghanistan and the international community have spent 18 years debating what to do to protect or restore the site, with still no final decision and often only one guard on duty.

One recent idea came from a wealthy Chinese couple, Janson Hu and Liyan Yu. They financed the creation of a Statue of Liberty-size 3D light projection of an artist’s view of what the larger Buddha, known as Solsol to locals, might have looked like in his prime.

The image was beamed into the niche one night in 2015; later the couple donated their $120,000 projector to the culture ministry.

The local authorities bring it out on special occasions, but rarely, as Bamiyan has no city power supply, other than fields of low-capacity solar panels. The 3D-image projector is power-hungry and needs its own diesel generator.

Most of the time, the remains of the monument are so poorly guarded that anyone can buy a ticket ($4 for foreigners, 60 cents for Afghans), walk in and do pretty much whatever he wants. And many do.

The Statue of Liberty would fit comfortably in the western niche where a Buddha once stood in Bamiyan, Afghanistan. Credit Jim Huylebroek for The New York Times

Souvenir-hunters pluck pieces of painted stucco decorations from the network of chambers or take away chunks of fallen sandstone. Graffiti signatures, slogans, even solicitations for sex abound.

Anyone can, as A.B. did, crawl through the passagewayssurrounding the towering niches in the cliff, through winding staircases tunneled into the sandstone and up steps with risers double the height of modern ones, as if built for giants.

At the end of this journey, you arrive above the eastern niche, which housed the smaller Buddha, and stand on a ledge just behind where the statue’s head once was, taking in the splendid Buddha’s eye view of snow-capped mountains and the lush green valley far below.

The soft sandstone of the staircases crumbles underfoot, so that the very act of climbing them is at least in part a guilty pleasure — though no longer very dangerous. Twisted iron banisters set in the stone make the steep inclines and windows over the precipices more safely navigable, if not as authentically first millennium.

For Santana, ‘Africa Speaks’ Album Is About ‘Manifesting Divine Voodoo’

“Everything’s new to me, with purity and innocence,” Carlos Santana says. “It’s all in how your heart perceives things.”

Ethan Miller/Getty Images



In 1969, Carlos Santana and his band walked onto the stage at the legendary Woodstock Music Festival, as unknowns. “We had the element of surprise because nobody knew us.”

Now, 50 years later, Santana operates more like a legend. But even with a genre-hopping discography and 10 Grammys to his name, Santana still approaches music making and performing with the wide-eyed vigor and vitality of a newcomer. “I’m 71, but I swear to you, if you come to see our band. you wouldn’t believe just how much energy and vibrancy is flowing out of our bodies,” he says.

For his latest album, Africa Speaks, Santana leaned heavily into his curiosity surrounding the “sounds of Africa.” Lyrics on the 11-track project are sung in English, Spanish and Yoruba and feature vocalist Buika, who hails from the Spanish island of Mallorca.

Santana spoke with NPR’s Ari Shapiro about his rapid work schedule — he recorded 49 songs in 10 days for the album — his many collaborators on Africa Speaks and his constant thirst for musical discovery. Listen to the conversation at the audio link and read on for interview highlights, including some that didn’t make the broadcast.

Interview Highlights

On channeling the sounds of Africa

I turned to the “wa.” I learned a long time ago, when I went to Ghana, the women showed me where the “wa” was. They said, “Santana!” And I turned around. It was, you know, maybe five women, and they go: “Hey, na na na Wa!”

And while they were doing that, they were opening their hands, like they have something. And they showed me that every music in the world must have the “wa.” Without the “wa,” … See, music has the capacity to transport you beyond time and outside of gravity. If you visit the “wa” correctly.

On working with Buika and Rick Rubin for the first time

When I hear Nina Simone and Etta James and Tina Turner, Buika is that frequency. Yet, she doesn’t sound like them. But she’s got the same raw sincerity and honesty.

Cindy [Blackman Santana] and I, we were in New Zealand and Australia on a tour. Buika came in for a week at [Rick Rubin’s] Shangri-La Studio. And she told me when she heard the music, she was compelled to go on and create lyrics and melodies, things she’d never done before. She held my hands and she started crying, “Maestro, I’ve never done anything like this. Thank you for inviting me to be part of this. You don’t even have to pay me. Oh, my God.”

Carlos Santana with Africa Speaks vocalist Buika.

Ethan Miller/Getty Images


And so, I realized that Buika, Rick Rubin, the band, Cindy, myself — you know, we were driven to create this particular epic event.

Trust is thrust. They trust me. My band trusts me. Rick trusted me. My wife trusts me. Buika trusted me. And I trusted the spirit. So we created this spiritual attraction.

On recording songs for Africa Speaks quickly

Everything that we played on this album is pretty much like creating nutrients and ingredients for a divine spell. A divine conjuring and manifesting divine voodoo. It’s the same thing when people get really passionate and they make love. When they get to that point, they say, “Oh, my God.” Same thing.

On remaining musically curious

A long time ago, I heard someone say that in the Bible, it said that nothing was new under the sun. And I said, “Whoever wrote that has a crooked and twisted mind.” Everything’s new to me, with purity and innocence. Every second. It’s all in how your heart perceives things, to create fresh, new. But you must have a consistent thirst to remain with innocence.

Bald Eagle Caught Elegantly … Swimming?

Yes, bald eagles are really good at swimming, a fact some of us learned this week from a viral video published by New Hampshire TV station WMUR.

In it, a bald eagle’s white head bobs rhythmically through the water. Occasionally a wing can be seen as the bird does an avian equivalent of the butterfly stroke. It moves quickly and gracefully through the water, covering a considerable distance before it reaches the shore of Lake Winnipesaukee. It calmly strides onto land, shaking the water from its feathers before it strikes a watchful, picturesque pose.

The video was shot by Tyler Blake, who spotted the display early in the morning before he headed to his construction job.

“I ran down to the docks and I saw an eagle flapping in the water,” Blake told WMUR. “I’m, like, ‘Wow!’ I wasn’t sure if it was hurt or something.”

That’s because bald eagles are open-water foragers, catching fish straight out of rivers and lakes. Typically, they will spot a fish on the surface of the water and divebomb down, talons outstretched. Watson says usually, they snatch the fish off the surface while keeping their feathers relatively dry, then fly back up into the air with a tasty meal.

But sometimes, that hunting maneuver gets a little more complicated.

“It may have gone as planned, they just got a bigger fish and said, ‘I’m going to stick with this, I can make it to shore and so it’s a good deal,’ ” Watson says. Or, the bird might have missed the fish and ended up in the water.

Either way, the eagle needs to start swimming, because “their feathers get soaked and they can’t fly away,” Watson says. “Throughout the years I’ve seen them swim a lot of times and usually it’s because they fly out and attempt to catch a fish in the water and maybe get waterlogged.”

This one doesn’t appear to have a fish, though, probably meaning that it either missed or released the fish. And even though an eagle swimming is not necessarily a sign of distress because the birds are capable swimmers, Watson says there have been cases of eagles drowning.

“It takes a lot of energy to swim in the water,” he says. “It’s a natural flying motion … just more difficult to do that in the water.”

Eagles have strong chest muscles from flying. Just as with the butterfly stroke, Watson says, “they actually use the wingtips and push down in the water with their wings.”

This isn’t the first time a bald eagle has been caught on video swimming. Here’s a video posted on YouTube of an eagle swimming in Alaska in 2011 that shows another angle of the bird’s powerful movements: