Welcome to AMERICAN MOSAIC, in VOA Special English.
This is Doug Johnson.
On our show this week: some music from the band called Phish.
And a listener wants to know about American political parties.
But first, we report about some young and successful American women golfers.
Women In Golf
A fourteen-year-old girl from Hawaii is making big news in women's golf. Some people think Michelle Wie [pronounced wee] is not only good enough to compete with professional women golfers. They think she is good enough to compete with the men, too. Shep O'Neal has more.
SHEP O'NEAL: This year, Michele Wie finished thirteenth in the United States Women's Open golf competition. She had the same score as another young non-professional player, seventeen-year-old Paula Creamer.
Michele Wie is one of the young players who is changing women's golf. The only difference is that she is the youngest. A year ago, she became the youngest player to win a United States Golf Association championship. She won the United States Women's Amateur Public Links Championship. That competition decides the best non-professional player who is not a member of a private golf club. At the time, she was only thirteen years old.
At the Public Links Championship this year, Michele Wie lost in the final to Taiwanese player Ya-Ni Tseng. But Michele has a lot to look forward to. She was the youngest player to be permitted to play in the United States Women's Open. And she will be back next year because of her finish in the top twenty.
Michele wants to compete with professional male golfers. Her father says she wants to compete in the two-thousand-five Men's United States Open. Michele has already played in a men's professional event, the Sony Open in Hawaii. She came within one shot of entering in the second level of the competition. This means she played better than many professional male players.
Some sports writers say the number of skilled young players in women's golf has increased. They say younger players started affecting the game a few years ago. South Korean player Se Ri Pak won the United States Women's Open and the Ladies Professional Golf Association Championship in nineteen-ninety-eight. She was only nineteen years old.
But older players are still doing well. At the recent Women's United States Open, Meg Mallon scored eleven shots better than the two young players, Michele Wie and Paula Creamer. But that should not be too much of a surprise. Meg Mallon started playing professional golf before either of those young ladies was born.
Major American Political Parties
DOUG JOHNSON: Our VOA listener question this week comes from Jordan. Mohamed Issa Amer All Dan asks about the establishment of the two major political parties in the United States.
This is a good time to answer that question. The Democratic Party will hold its presidential nominating convention next week in the northeastern city of Boston, Massachusetts. At the convention, the Democratic Party will officially nominate Massachusetts Senator John Kerry as its presidential candidate. The vice-presidential candidate will be North Carolina Senator John Edwards.
The Democratic Party is the older of the two major American political parties. Thomas Jefferson founded the party in seventeen-ninety-two. It was first called the Democratic-Republican Party. Thomas Jefferson was the first member of the party to be elected President, in eighteen-hundred. In eighteen-forty-four, the party changed its name to the Democratic Party.
Democrats today say their party became an important force in American politics in the nineteen-hundreds. They say the party represents the idea that government should be used to help solve social problems. They also say the party supports equal opportunity for all citizens – the chance for everyone to succeed.
The Republican Party began in the early eighteen-fifties as a result of efforts by anti-slavery activists and others. They wanted the government to give western lands to settlers free of charge. Delegates to the party's first official meeting in eighteen-fifty-four chose the name Republican for two reasons. It suggested the idea of equal rights for all. And it led people to think of Thomas Jefferson's Democratic-Republican Party.
The Republicans became a national party in eighteen-fifty-six when they nominated John Fremont as presidential candidate. He did not win. But four years later, Abraham Lincoln became the first Republican President.
Republicans today say their party was responsible for banning slavery, guaranteeing all Americans equal legal protections and giving African-Americans voting rights. They also say it played a leading part in giving women the right to vote. The Republican Party says its members believe that citizens, not government, can make the best decisions. The Republican Party nominating convention will begin in New York City at the end of August. The party's nominees will be President George Bush and Vice President Richard Cheney.
Phish Breaks Up
DOUG JOHNSON: The popular band Phish is breaking up after twenty years together. Gwen Outen has more about the band, spelled P-H-I-S-H.
GWEN OUTEN: Critics say that people are either greatly affected by the group's decision to quit, or are not affected at all. That is because Phish was not really interested in recording. The four members of the group were more interested in becoming great musicians. They loved to perform and just wanted to play music. Here is an example, the song "Maze."
Most people who like Phish's music are about thirty years old or younger. Many follow the band from city to city. They enjoy the group's concerts and also trade recordings of the shows. Here is a more recent Phish song, "Forty-Six Days":
Phish is now performing in many American cities on its final tour. Reports say that all the tickets to the band's final two shows next month are already sold. About seventy-thousand people will attend the final concert August fifteenth in the band's home state of Vermont. We leave you now with the song that some Phish fans say truly shows what the group is all about. It is called "You Enjoy Myself."
DOUG JOHNSON: This is Doug Johnson. I hope you enjoyed AMERICAN MOSAIC. Join us again next week for VOA's radio magazine in Special English.
Our program was written by Mario Ritter and Nancy Steinbach. Caty Weaver was the producer. And our engineer was Jim Sleeman.