Election results this week painted a mixed picture for the GOP as the party wrestles with its political strategy for the 2014 midterms and beyond. A more moderate Republican, Chris Christie, won his re-election in the very blue state of New Jersey with a landslide victory. Yet conservative Republican Ken Cuccinelli lost the Virginia governor's race to his Democratic opponent, Terry McAuliffe.
The U.S. economy gained 204,000 jobs in October, nearly twice what most economists predicted. The unemployment rate figure went up, but that number was distorted because the Labor Department did its sampling during the federal government shutdown.
In June 2008, Marine Cpl. Anthony Villarreal was driving back from a mission in Afghanistan when his truck was hit by a roadside bomb. He was 22 at the time and recently married to Jessica, who was just 21.
Villarreal suffered third-degree burns over most of his face and body and was very severely disfigured. His right arm and the fingers on his left hand eventually had to be amputated.
Originally published on Sat November 9, 2013 4:10 pm
Family secrets, life-changing betrayals and the paradox of wondering about the old country while belonging to the new are at the heart of Amy Tan's work. She enthralled readers of her phenomenally successful first novel, The Joy Luck Club (1989), with the interlocking stories of four Chinese-born mothers and their four California-born daughters. Tan followed up with equally enduring portraits of fierce immigrant mothers who withheld secrets of the past while pushing their daughters forward in The Kitchen God's Wife (1991), and The Bonesetter's Daughter (2001).
In 1963, the jazz pianist George Shearing, an enormously popular act in his day, made an album that was unusual for him. He asked his new, 20-year-old vibraphone player to write an album of contrapuntal, classical-music-inspired compositions, and recorded them with a woodwind quintet atop a jazz rhythm section. It's out of print now, but Out of the Woods received good reviews, and it remains an early career highlight for its young architect, Gary Burton.
A cast of New York lawyers and a federal judge debuted a new production on Friday off-off Broadway — all the way in Kansas City, Mo.
Attorneys have gathered there for the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association's annual convention. For the past seven years, the meeting has featured dramatic re-enactments of historic trials involving Asian-Americans.
On a busy street in Berlin's shabby-chic district of Kreuzberg, the gray and dirty pavement glistens with little brass cobblestones. Millions of these stones are embedded in sidewalks all over Europe. They commemorate the last address the city's Jewish residents called home before the war.
The outcome in Virginia's governor's race this week seemed to illustrate anew the Democratic Party's grip on the women's vote, and the power of the abortion issue.
Even some Republicans argued that social conservative Ken Cuccinelli's defeat at the hands of Democrat Terry McAuliffe, who won women by a 9-point margin, was another sign that the GOP's anti-abortion stance would continue to doom the party at the polls.
Originally published on Fri November 8, 2013 5:51 pm
There comes a time, it seems, when even parodies must face reality. And for The Onion, that time will come in December, when the satirical news source will stop publishing print editions and shift to being all-digital.
Nick Offerman was a serious theater actor when he was cast as meat-eating, scotch-drinking boss Ron Swanson in the hit sitcom Parks and Recreation — and now he's the nation's foremost symbol of purest manhood. Offerman has just published a book of of manly advice called Paddle Your Own Canoe, so we've invited him to play a game called "Time to take off the shirt and count the chest hairs." Three questions about extreme, masculine sports.
Now, on to our final game, Lightning Fill In The Blank. Each of our players will have 60 seconds in which to answer as many fill in the blank questions as he or she can. Each correct answer is worth two points. Carl, can you give us the scores?
CARL KASELL: We have a tie for first place, Peter. Bobcat Goldthwait and Kyrie O'Connor both have three points. P.J. O'Rourke has two.
Coming up, it's Lightning Fill In The Blank, but first it's the game where you have to listen for the rhyme. If you'd like to play on air, call or leave a message at 1-888-WAIT-WAIT. That's 1-888-924-8924. Or, click the contact us link on our website waitwait.npr.org. There you can find out about attending our weekly live shows right here at the Chase Bank Auditorium in Chicago and our upcoming show in Memphis Tennessee on December 19th! Hi, you're on WAIT WAIT...DON'T TELL ME!
Originally published on Fri November 8, 2013 5:42 pm
This week's hot rumor in Virginia: Libertarian gubernatorial candidate Robert Sarvis was a spoiler, bankrolled by an Obama bundler from Texas, to undercut Republican gubernatorial nominee Ken Cuccinelli.
On Election Day, Sarvis captured nearly 7 percent of the vote in a race Cuccinelli lost by less than 3 percentage points to Democrat Terry McAuliffe.
There's a fight going on for the soul of France. Since 1906, Sunday has been deemed a collective day of rest in the country, and French law only allows stores to open on Sundays under very specific conditions — for example, if they're in a high tourist area. Sunday work is also tightly controlled.
But some people are questioning the sense of such a tradition in a languishing economy and 24/7 world.
The price of pecans is going up, up, up, which may mean that if you're planning a pecan pie for Thanksgiving, the time to buy them is now. The reasons behind that escalating price all come down to natural forces: supply and demand and weather.
Every week, a cluster of stories comes to define the landscape of news media. These can be stories of international scope or local intimacy, but for their own distinctive reasons, they all offer narratives defined almost in real time.
To get a better grasp on the hectic pace of current events, it's often vital to turn to another kind of narrative — our favorite kind: books. That's why each week we'll invite authors to suggest a book that somehow deepens, contextualizes or offers an entirely new angle on one of the week's major headlines.
Blockbuster was once the king of movie rental stores. At its peak, it had about 60,000 employees and more than 9,000 stores.
But after struggling for several years, the chain is breathing its last gasp. Dish Network, which bought Blockbuster in a 2011 bankruptcy auction, says it will close the remaining 300 or so company-owned stores by January.
On Twitter, it put out a call for "Blockbuster Memories."
In the movie Prisoners, now in theaters, a detective investigates the abduction of two young girls. Things get a little more complicated when the father of one of the girls takes matters into his own hands, kidnapping and torturing the man he thinks is responsible.
It's time for our regular Friday conversation with our political commentators and we begin by talking about this apology last night. President Obama apologizing to Americans who are losing their current health insurance despite his repeated promises that if people like their healthcare plan, they can keep it, period. Here he is on NBC News.
CBS News has retracted a key segment of a "60 Minutes" report that aired in late October. The story chronicled the deadly attack on the U.S. mission in Benghazi, Libya. As NPR's media correspondent David Folkenflik reports, CBS had defended its stories - its story for days. This was despite growing doubts about the credibility of a source, a British security contractor.
From NPR News this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Melissa Block in Washington.
AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:
And I'm Audie Cornish at NPR West in Culver City, California. This morning many economists were bracing for disappointing numbers from the Labor Department. But in fact, October hiring beat the estimates. Businesses seemed to shrug off last month's government shutdown, although the unemployment rate did tick up slightly to 7.3 percent. NPR's Yuki Noguchi explains.
And to talk further about chances for that nuclear diplomacy, we're joined by veteran diplomat Dennis Ross. Most recently, he was the Obama administration's chief adviser on Iran at the State Department and the National Security Council. Ambassador Ross, welcome back to the program.
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish at NPR West in California.
MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:
And I'm Melissa Block in Washington, D.C. Russian gay rights activists are making the rounds here in the nation's capital. They want the U.S. to keep up pressure on Moscow ahead of the Winter Olympics in Sochi. They're not calling for a boycott. As NPR's Michele Kelemen reports, they want to raise awareness about anti-gay discrimination in Russia.
I threw out my back in September playing squash and went to the doctor. She sent me down the hall for X-rays. I may need more of them.
So I'm curious, how much does an X-ray cost? It sounds like a simple question. In most places, it's impossible to find out, but I live in Massachusetts, where a new state law says insurers must be able to tell members, in advance, how much a test, treatment or surgical procedure will cost.
The Obama administration delivered on a long-delayed health care promise when it issued rules to ensure equal health insurance treatment for people who have problems with mental health or need treatment for substance abuse.
The rules, issued Friday, require that most health insurance plans offer the same amount of coverage for mental health and substance abuse claims as they do for medical and surgical coverage.