I don't have a good track record when it comes to raving about Karen Russell. Last year, along with my two fellow judges, I nominated Russell's novel, Swamplandia!, as well as two other finalists, for the Pulitzer Prize. Result? The Pulitzer Board made headlines by deciding not to give out the award in Fiction. Nevertheless, I rave on: this time about Russell's new short story collection, Vampires in the Lemon Grove.
Originally published on Sat February 23, 2013 4:08 pm
Every year around this time, all four members of the All Songs Considered roundtable gang (Bob Boilen, Robin Hilton, Ann Powers and me) each dredge through more than 1,000 MP3s by bands playing the SXSW Music Festival in Austin, Texas. We base our coverage and festival schedules on the music we've researched in advance — and have found some of our favorite artists, like Kishi Bashi in 2012, as part of these blind pre-fest taste tests — and this year, we want to be sure we're considering yours.
Originally published on Thu February 21, 2013 11:31 am
The New York Times points out something rather interesting about an otherwise mundane business story. Wal-Mart's fourth-quarter earnings report tells the tale of how changes in the tax code has both helped corporations and hurt them.
As the Times puts it, during the fourth quarter of last year, "the tax code gave and the tax code took away."
Originally published on Thu February 21, 2013 12:09 pm
We've all heard that drone strikes directed against al-Qaida and other militants have been on the rise, but now Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., has put a number on deaths by U.S. unmanned aerial vehicle: 4,700.
Graham, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, rattled off the death toll during a talk he gave to the Easley Rotary Club in Easley, S.C., Tuesday afternoon.
While a majority (58 percent) say it would be "good" if the next pope allows priests to marry and 60 percent said it would be good if the new pope is from the "developing world," that majority narrows when they asked a broader question.
George Washington is depicted addressing the Constitutional Convention of 1787 in this painting by Junius Brutus Stearns. Presumably, no representative from Rhode Island is in the picture; Rhode Island boycotted the gathering and originally rejected the Constitution.
Mississippi has received lots of attention this week for finally having ratified the 13th Amendment, which abolished slavery. But the state is hardly alone in being slow about blessing some long-established national principle.
After a sufficient number of states have ratified an amendment, it can feel like a moot point for legislatures to give belated approval to laws that are already in effect.