Originally published on Mon March 31, 2014 2:18 pm
Nick Lantz speaks from the failed and fallen heart of middle-class Americans, the everyday folks whose lives and bank accounts were gutted when the housing bubble burst. What does that heartbreak look like? Deeper and uglier than plunging stock market charts and foreclosure signs, and more personal. Welcome to an America in which ambition is turned upside down, where someone is likely to say, when asked what he's doing for work these days, "you know those cracks people fall through?/ We're the crack regulators, we keep/ those cracks up to code."
Barbara Taylor Bradford is one of the best-selling authors in the world — and, proudly, a working stiff. She's written 29 novels, beginning with A Woman of Substance in 1979, which became one of the best-selling novels of all time. Her books have been published in more than 90 countries and 40 languages.
Her latest is Cavendon Hall, which takes its title from the great old Edwardian home shared by two families: the aristocratic Inghams and the Swanns, who've served the Inghams since time immemorial.
Inside the kitchen of the Arizona Diamondbacks, chef Michael Snoke has created a monster: 18 inches of meat that's skewered, wrapped in cornbread, stuffed with bacon and infused with cheddar cheese and jalapeños.
All that rests on a bed of fries. And for $25, it's all yours.
"I have created the D-Bat," he says.
The Diamondback's executive chef has wanted to get in on the culinary competition that's sprung up between Major League Baseball teams.
Originally published on Mon March 31, 2014 8:14 am
An Oregon woman was looking at her Halloween decoration last year when she found a letter written by an inmate from one of China's re-education-through-labor camps. The letter spoke of brutal forced labor in the camp.
On some French trains, the conductor's whistle signals more than just a departure. For commuters traveling on an express train from Reims to Paris — a 90-mile, 45-minute ride — it means the beginning of English class.
"Before the course, we were sleeping in the train in the morning," says passenger-student Gilles Hallais. "So I prefer practicing English."
Hallais, 44, is a journalist at French public radio. He says while he doesn't need English for his work, he does need it for his life. "I think it could be a handicap if I don't speak fluent English."
For parents dreading the prospect of their kids spending summer locked in air-conditioned basements with nothing but the glow of computer, TV, and tablet screens to keep them company, the opening scenes of Hide Your Smiling Faces will surely inspire wistful sighs.
Russian President Vladimir Putin called President Obama to "discuss the U.S. proposal for a diplomatic resolution to the crisis in Ukraine," the White House said on Friday.
Obama, the White House said, suggested Russia "put a concrete response in writing" to a proposal delivered by Secretary of State John Kerry to Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov during their meeting at the Hague this week.
The presidents agreed that Kerry and Lavrov should meet "to discuss next steps."
Thirty-nine year old widower A.J. Fikry is an unlikely romantic hero: He's cranky, he drinks too much, his bookstore is failing and don't get him started on the state of publishing. He's also at the center of Gabrielle Zevin's new novel, The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry.
The story of Noah's Ark is getting blockbuster treatment in Hollywood's new biblical epic Noah. Darren Aronofsky's film about the Old Testament shipbuilder has been sparking controversy — but there's no denying that the Great Flood, digitized, is a pretty great flood.
This week, astronomers discovered a new dwarf planet at the outer reaches of our solar system. It's a pink, icy ball that's beyond Pluto's orbit. Its official name is 2012 VP113, but scientists have given it the nickname "Biden."
Originally published on Sat March 29, 2014 1:31 am
Washington state, with its many steep slopes, streams and rivers and some of the heaviest annual rainfall in the country, is a mudslide waiting to happen. Add in soil erosion from logging, as was reportedly the case near the community of Oso before last week's tragedy, and the probability of such an event increases.
And we pick up there with our Friday regulars E.J. Dionne of The Washington Post and the Brookings Institution. Hey there, E.J.
E.J. DIONNE: Hey.
CORNISH: And David Brooks of The New York Times. Hey David.
DAVID BROOKS: How are you?
CORNISH: So I want to continue the conversation about President Obama and go back to a speech he gave in Brussels on Wednesday. In it, he spoke about Russia, about NATO, about bigger ideas about the U.S. role in the world.
The crisis in Ukraine is raising new questions about Russia's role in the energy markets. Moscow has long used exports of oil and natural gas to win political concessions from countries on its borders. Europe gets a quarter of its natural gas from Russia.
As NPR's Jim Zarroli reports, that's making a lot of people there nervous.