Good morning. I'm Renee Montagne. The famous Rudolph, Ohio postmark shines on. After the staff of the village post office was cut to one, it wasn't so clear that the 80,000 Christmas parcels and cards that flow in would get the special Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer postmark. But the Toledo Blade reports nearly 75 volunteers have stepped up to keep the tradition going. Like Christmas elves, they're picking up shifts at the Rudolph post office and stamping away. It's MORNING EDITION. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.
This may be an exaggeration, but as I remember it, I spent all of the early '90s on the living room couch, drinking Diet Coke and diving into one book after another. I was 13, then 14, then 15, but even as the years progressed, the grown-up world made no more sense to me than it ever had.
This was a good year for cross-genre pollination. It was packed with brilliant books that stretched the boundaries of what counts as science fiction and fantasy — and even what counts as fiction itself. Authors like Ken MacLeod and G. Willow Wilson spun tales that begin as near-future dystopian science fiction, only to turn abruptly into fantastical tales of supernatural creatures. Call it magical cyberpunk realism.
This is MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm David Greene.
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After eight days and billions of dollars in lost business, the shutdown at the nation's busiest port hub is over. Striking clerks at the adjacent ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach have reached a tentative agreement with managers. At issue: worries about outsourcing jobs. The clerks, hundreds of them, and ten thousand longshoremen, who refused to cross picket lines, head back to work this morning.
This is MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm David Greene.
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And I'm Renee Montagne.
Americans are not optimistic that leaders here in Washington will strike a budget deal in time to avoid automatic tax increases and spending cuts. A new poll by the Pew Research Center found nearly half the country expects the budget stalemate to drag on.
We begin NPR's business news today with a Facebook status update.
Facebook will join the Nasdaq 100 Index next week. It's replacing Indian tech company Infosys. It used to be that companies had to be listed on the Nasdaq for two years before they could become part of this elite index. Facebook only had to wait three months, thanks to some rule changes Nasdaq made back when the social network decided to go public. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright National Public Radio.
Professional hockey is getting close to the moment when it will have to cancel its entire season for the second time in eight years. So far, a lockout that began last September has forced games to be cancelled through the middle of December. The two sides in the National Hockey League labor dispute are expected to meet again today, after nearly 10 hours of talks yesterday.
Indian leftist activists rally in front of a Best Price store, owned by Wal-Mart and its Indian partner, Bharti, in Hyderabad in November. The rally was organized to protest foreign direct investment in India's retail sector.
Wal-Mart has long stirred controversy as it has moved into American towns, and many small businesses found they were unable to compete. Now the fight has come to India, where Parliament has been hotly debating whether to ease restrictions on direct foreign investment by such giant retailers.
India's lower house of Parliament handed the country's fragile coalition government a victory Wednesday by endorsing a plan by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's governing coalition to allow foreign supermarkets to operate in Asia's third-largest economy. The debate now goes to the upper house.
From the story of a literary star to one of a reality TV star, Mike Rowe, host of the television show "Dirty Jobs," quietly announced last month that his show has been cancelled by the Discovery Channel. TV critic Eric Deggans says the trend in reality TV is moving away from the kind of programming Rowe brought to the screen.
ERIC DEGGANS, BYLINE: For eight seasons, Mike Rowe was the guy who dared poke things, go places and do jobs no typically blow-dried TV host would touch.
And amid that budget debate, a wall of Republican opposition to a new United Nations treaty kept it from being ratified in the Senate. The treaty is aimed at promoting and protecting the rights of disabled people. And even though it was inspired by the Americans with Disabilities Act, Republicans argue that it would harm U.S. sovereignty and even interfere with home schooling. Here's NPR's David Welna.
There's more than one cliff drawing controversy this month. The federal farm bill is one of many items caught in congressional gridlock. The bill resets U.S. agriculture policy every four years, and most farmers are still covered by crop insurance and other programs until next planting season. But there's one exception: dairy.
In a tug of war between President Obama and Congress, a federal appeals court panel in Washington, D.C., will hear arguments Wednesday on the legality of Obama's controversial recess appointments.
The White House says it was forced to install three new members of the National Labor Relations Board in January because of inaction by Senate Republicans. But those lawmakers argue the Senate wasn't really in a recess at the time.
Some top-tier business schools are offering more than just finance and marketing these days: Duke, UCLA, MIT and Stanford are all teaching improv. Professors say these techniques help students increase collaboration, creativity and risk taking.
In an improvisational leadership class at MIT's Sloan School of Management, instructor Daena Giardella coaches a scene where a hospital administrator is firing surgeons after a horribly botched operation.
Giardella, who does professional improv, boils it down to a rule known as "yes, and."
Across the West Bank, olive harvesting season is drawing to a close once again. But this year, the usually joyous occasion has become grimly purposeful because the Palestinian economy, according to some economists, is being held hostage to politics, and is on the verge of collapse.
In the West Bank village of Deir Ibzie, Amal Karajeh and her husband, Basem, comb through the leaves and branches of an olive tree in their front yard.
Maralynn Bernstein (bottom left), the veterans services coordinator for the University of Arizona, confers with Cody Nicholls, director of the Veterans Education and Transition Services Center, at the school's Veterans Center in Tucson.
Record numbers of veterans are returning home from war and heading to college. The biggest draw: the generous benefits of the Post-9/11 GI Bill, which in three short years has helped 860,000 vets go to school.
But there's still little known about how these students are doing.
For years, Sarah Yaw has been working with veterans at Cayuga Community College, a small school in rural, upstate New York. She took a leave in 2009, around the time the Post-9/11 GI Bill went into effect. When she returned to the school, she found a dramatic change.
Chris Guthrie, vice president for operations at Canna Pi medical dispensary, inspects a medical marijuana product at his clinic in Seattle on Monday. Marijuana will be legal in Washington state from 12:01 a.m. Thursday.
Marijuana is legal in Washington state as of 12:01 a.m. Thursday, but the ballot initiative that made it legal last month contained a new DUI standard — a deal-sweetener for hesitant voters — that may actually make life riskier for regular pot users.
The new law makes it legal for adults to possess up to 1 ounce of marijuana, but illegal for that same adult to drive if the THC content of his blood reaches 5 nanograms per milliliter.
Home Depot has long offered credit cards, partly to serve customers who have just suffered major house damage. The company has recently widened those efforts. Here, a Tampa, Fla., customer buys a generator and bottled water, preparing for Tropical Storm Isaac's arrival in August.
Retailers are finding more ways to offer their customers financial products — mortgages, loans and the like. In the past, people looked to banks for this kind of product. But big-box stores are trying to find new ways of getting money to those who cannot use banks, or want to avoid them altogether.
Costco may be best known for pallets of bottled water or bulk toilet paper that can last a family an entire year. But earlier this year, it also added mortgages to its growing array of financial offerings.
Originally published on Wed December 5, 2012 7:09 am
Think of all the great writers who have made their hometowns literary history — William Faulkner, Zora Neale Hurston, Thomas Wolfe, to name a few. Now, Susan Straight is getting the same praise for her portrayal of Riverside, Calif. It's a small town at the foot of the San Bernardino Mountains, an hour east of Los Angeles.
Depending on your age and how much time you spent in the kitchen with your mother or grandmother, you may remember a big scary pot on the stove with what looked like a small weather vane on top. As it heated up, the top would begin spitting, hissing and wheezing like an asthmatic cobra.
At that point in my mother's kitchen, she'd warn us, "Stand back, just in case the top blows." What? I thought. Pots exploding in the kitchen? Cooking was that dangerous?
Carl Pettersson of Sweden putts for birdie on the eighth hole during the final round of the RBC Heritage at Harbour Town Golf Links on Hilton Head Island, S.C., in April. The long putter he uses is in danger of being banned.
When did "issues" become such an all-purpose, often euphemistic word for anything disagreeable? We have issues now where we used to have problems, and concerns, and troubles, and hornet's nests. Like for example: The American and British big wheels who run golf have "issues" with putting.
Now understand, modern golfers have kryptonite drivers with club heads as large as prize pumpkins, and steroid balls that would not pass the drug test, even if the hapless International Cycling Union were doing the random sampling.