Originally published on Tue November 13, 2012 12:49 pm
Ian McEwan's 15th book of fiction, Sweet Tooth, is a Tootsie Roll Pop of a literary confection — hard-boiled candy enrobing a chewy surprise at its core. The novel is set 40 years ago, when communism was still perceived as a threat, and takes its title from a fictional clandestine mission by Britain's MI5 intelligence service to sponsor writers espousing the Cold Warrior cause.
I know what you're thinking. Same old president. Same old Senate. Same old House.
And yes, same old ScuttleButton.
ScuttleButton, of course, is that once-a-week waste of time exercise in which each Monday or Tuesday I put up a vertical display of buttons on this site. Your job is to simply take one word (or concept) per button, add 'em up, and, hopefully, you will arrive at a famous name or a familiar expression. (And seriously, by familiar, I mean it's something that more than one person on Earth would recognize.)
There are nearly 400 art galleries in New York's Chelsea neighborhood. Many of these galleries were flooded by the storm surge that accompanied Hurricane Sandy. One insurance company estimates it has $40 million in claims.
In the most prominent park in Mexico City, you can find statues to international heroes like Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King and now Heydar Aliyev. He was a Soviet-era autocrat in Central Asia. The late leader's government paid for the statue and restoration of a nearby plaza. And as NPR's Carrie Kahn reports, that's created quite a stir in the Mexican capital.
Originally published on Tue November 13, 2012 5:36 am
Immediately after last week's election, Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon announced the state would not be setting up its own health insurance exchange. Next door in Kansas, Gov. Sam Brownback announced that Kansas will have no involvement in running a state exchange either. The moves open the door for increased federal involvement in health care in staunchly Republican territory.
Toothbutter: noun. Butter spread so thickly as to reveal teeth marks upon biting.
The fact that this word exists in the Danish language should help to explain what politicians were up against when they introduced the "fat tax" just over a year ago. This is a country that loves it some butter (and meat, and all things dreadful to the arteries).
President Obama meets with labor leaders at the White House on Tuesday to discuss how to steer clear of the so-called fiscal cliff. It's the first of many meetings aimed at avoiding automatic tax increases and spending cuts at the beginning of the new year.
A week ago, the president proved again that he and his team are good at winning elections. The question now is whether he can translate victory at the ballot box to success in shaping policy.
The Virgin Mary is one of the most familiar icons of Christianity. For centuries, artists have depicted her on everything from backyard statues of a rosy-cheeked innocent to paintings of magnificent Madonnas hanging in museums all over the world. But few writers have taken up her story or tried to create their own version of the events of her life.
Now, Irish writer Colm Toibin does just that. His novella, The Testament of Mary, raises questions about the life of Jesus' mother and the stories that laid the groundwork for the creation of a church.
When German Chancellor Angela Merkel visited Athens last month, a few Greek Army reservists in fatigues greeted her with chants of "Get out, Nazis!" Like other Greeks, they are furious over the drastic budget cuts Germany and other eurozone countries are demanding in exchange for billions in bailout loans.
The protesters compared the situation to Nazi Germany's brutal occupation of Greece during World War II, when more than 400,000 Greeks died.
Shell burned off gas from June through August at the Morse well pad in Bradford County, Pa., to prevent natural gas from leaking to the surface after one of its drilling sites intersected an abandoned gas well.
Credit Scott Detrow / StateImpact Pennsylvania
Laurie Barr points to an abandoned well located in the middle of a McKean County, Pa., stream.
In February 1932, the United States was in the midst of the Great Depression. Franklin Roosevelt was plotting a run for the White House. And in northeast Pennsylvania, the Morris Run Coal Co. had just finished drilling a 5,385-foot-deep gas well on a farm owned by Mr. W.J. Butters.
Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam said last week the state could design its own health insurance exchange required under President Obama's health care law. But resistance in the Republican-controlled General Assembly may cause the state to hand that power off to the federal government.
Hurricane Sandy left a long trail of destruction across the New Jersey shoreline. And it did a lot more than just flood houses.
In towns like Seaside Heights and Belmar, Sandy wiped out the boardwalks that line the beach. In places like these, boardwalks served as the commercial center knitting the towns together, and residents are wondering where to go from here.
Until two weeks ago, the boardwalk was the place to hang out in Belmar, N.J. Ann Summer was walking along the water with her husband this weekend.
It's an old problem and an old code — "don't snitch." And it exists everywhere.
But in Chicago, where homicides and shootings are up significantly this year, that old code is leaving a rising number of violent crimes unsolved. Chicago Police Department statistics show arrests are being made in about 30 percent of shooting homicides, while close to 80 percent of nonfatal shootings are going unsolved.
When police can't find and arrest the perpetrators, they worry that the shooters will soon shoot again.
Originally published on Tue November 13, 2012 5:08 am
In the wake of last Tuesday's elections, a lively debate has erupted into the open over whether conservatives and the Republican Party were well-served by their favorite media outlets.
Former Gov. Mitt Romney was reported to have been so certain of a victory on Tuesday night that he cast aside tradition and did not draft a concession speech. But conservatives now say his misplaced confidence — and theirs — were bolstered by the predictions of many like-minded pundits, which were broadcast and posted online around the clock by sympathetic news outlets.
Iran has initiated a massive week-long air defense drill amidst growing international pressure over its nuclear ambitions and last week's firing on a U.S. drone they claim entered Iranian air space.
Iran will test its air defense system, named "Mersad," meaning ambush in Persian. Drill spokesman Shahrokh Shahram told Iran's Press TV the military exercise was both a "strong warning to those threatening Iran" and a symbol of regional security, according to Reuters.
Ra Ra Riot has experienced constant change in its six-year existence, from commercial success and an aborted label deal to the 2007 death of drummer John Pike. But the band's sound has never shifted as radically as it does on its new album, Beta Love, which comes out Jan. 22. With the departure of cellist Alexandra Lawn — there's that constant change again — Ra Ra Riot shifts gears once more, dialing down the string arrangements in favor of a more synth-driven sound.
The main street in Oberhausen — Germany's most indebted city — is dotted with vacancies. Despite its economic woes, Oberhausen, like other western German cities, must make "reunification" payments to the former communist East. The payments help explain German voters' reluctance to bail out Greece and other eurozone countries.
Credit Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson / NPR
Tackenberg elementary school in Oberhausen, slated to close by mid-2015, is one of the casualties of the city's required austerity measures.
Germany, the economic engine of Europe, has been a key player in bailing out the Continent's most troubled economies.
Yet there are places in the former West Germany — like Oberhausen — that are struggling with their own debt problems, even as they pay hefty sums to revitalize former East German cities with transfers known as "Solidarity Pact" payments.
It began with a war of words in the letters pages of the Guardian and ended with comments made to The Times of London. It took 15 years, but, as the Guardian reports, the feud between writers Salman Rushdie and John le Carre is at an end.
Originally published on Thu November 15, 2012 8:21 am
I've seen thousands of concerts over the years but none of them, since 1978, have been in an arena. I never had that eureka moment, I just stopped going. That means for 34 years, I've passed on major, monster acts. No McCartney, no Springsteen, no U2 and no Led Zeppelin (that one hurts the most).
Originally published on Tue November 13, 2012 9:06 am
They're asking politely. Malcontents from 20 different states are petitioning the White House to allow them to secede from the union.
Using the White House website's We the People function, in which petitions garnering at least 25,000 signatures get a response from the president, people from the state of Texas are asking to "peacefully ... withdraw from the United States of America and create its own NEW government."
When Andrew Solomon started his family with his husband, John Habich, he says, people were surprised that he wasn't afraid to have children, given the topic of the book he was writing. That book, Far From the Tree: Parents, Children, and the Search for Identity, explores what it's like for parents of children who are profoundly different or likely to be stigmatized — children with Down syndrome, deafness, autism, dwarfism, or who are prodigies, become criminals, or are conceived in rape.
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel.
AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:
And I'm Audie Cornish.
We begin this hour with the conflict in Syria. There are both military and diplomatic developments to report. First, cross-border fire between Syrian and Israeli forces. Israel's military says it hit back today at a Syrian army mortar unit that had launched a round into Israeli-held territory in the Golan Heights. And Israel says it's ready to escalate its response if necessary.
Many veterans aren't just looking for a job; they're looking for a career, a calling and, of course, financial stability. Those recently separated from the military have to confront what is still a fairly weak civilian job market.