Originally published on Wed December 12, 2012 9:04 am
A young boy seeks justice. A young woman wants to stay alive. A friendship is tested. The child of a commune comes of age. A solitary man gives himself over to love. These are the bare actions underpinning the novels that I'm suggesting for book clubs this year. Some are first novels; others the work of well-known writers. Some might touch your heart; others might challenge the way you think. At least one will make you laugh — and a couple might make you cry. They are all good reads. And they are, above all, books you'll want to talk about with your friends.
Originally published on Wed December 12, 2012 9:31 am
As a small-town girl, I love depictions of rural living when they've got a little style and sass in their makeup. Replete with enough quirks and quaintness to choke a mule, small towns are timelessly fertile ground for writers. But the best authors ignore — or even play with — stereotypes to tell truly compelling stories.
Michigan is now the nation's 24th right-to-work state, where unions cannot automatically collect dues or fees from workers. The governor signed the law just hours after it was approved by the state's legislature in a day marked by protests.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo promised to hold the Long Island Power Authority accountable for its performance after Superstorm Sandy. He appointed a special commission to look at how the utility performed. The commission had a meeting Tuesday night on Long Island, where thousands lost power, in some cases for weeks.
Originally published on Wed December 12, 2012 5:20 am
Morning Edition continues with the latest installment of its series: The Twelve Days of Deductions. It's a nod to the many deductions, credits and other tax breaks that political leaders are weighing as they continue their negotiations to avoid the "fiscal cliff."
Originally published on Wed December 12, 2012 5:36 am
Greece's government says it will buy back nearly 32 billion euros of its bonds — that means the country would be erasing nearly $40 billion worth of debt. The country's private-sector creditor agreed to sell off the bonds, though at sharply discounted prices. Getting rid of this chunk of debt should allow Greece to get more money from the International Monetary Fund.
Originally published on Wed December 12, 2012 5:42 am
Dave Sobelman was looking for publicity for his pub in Milwaukee. He announced a new drink. It's a Bloody Mary with celery, pickled asparagus, picked onions, shrimp, a chunk of cheese, a piece of Polish sausage and a cheeseburger slider. It sells for $9. It also comes with a chaser of beer.
Originally published on Wed December 12, 2012 5:07 am
Federal Reserve officials were meeting this week to decide how much more credit to pump into the U.S. economy. To find out what they're likely to do — and why — Renee Montagne talks to David Wessel, economics editor of The Wall Street Journal.
Egypt's protest movement against the controversial draft constitution appears to be losing steam. The opposition had hoped to fill the streets last night with protestors, but calls to demonstrate only generated a lackluster turnout. Voting on the new constitution begins today for Egyptians living abroad. Voters in Egypt are expected to begin casting ballots on Saturday as President Mohammed Morsi plans. NPR's Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson has this report from Cairo.
Originally published on Wed December 12, 2012 4:45 am
Defying international warnings, North Korea successfully fired a long-range rocket on Wednesday. The launch was something of a surprise because Pyongyang had indicated technical problems might delay it.
Originally published on Wed December 12, 2012 5:32 am
The Russian military is plagued by problems: A top heavy senior officer corps and a defense industry that churns out obsolete equipment, to name just two. Analysts in Russia say the U.S. should be worried about a weaker Russia, which may be becoming a front line in the battle against Islamist extremism.
Originally published on Wed December 12, 2012 4:55 am
President Obama said the U.S. will recognize a newly formed Syrian opposition group as the country's legitimate representative. That will allow the group to channel international aid money into Syria as well as draw-up plans for a transitional government if the regime of Syrian President Assad falls.
Superstorm Sandy caused massive beach erosion and damage to the Jersey shore. Some people say the beach restoration work, which will largely be paid for with federal tax dollars, will mostly help to protect expensive homes for the wealthy — people who have free access to the beach — while most communities would still be charging fees for public access.
At an oceanfront park in Long Branch, N.J., Tim Dillingham looks out over the beach in awe of how much the pounding waves and high waters of Hurricane Sandy have changed the Jersey shore.
Dillingham is the executive director of the American Littoral Society, a coastal conservation group. Before the storm, he says, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers spent years building up the beaches by pumping sand onto them.
But that shouldn't be a solution to restoring the shore, he says.
Among the loose ends that lawmakers would like to tie up before the end of this lame-duck session is the farm bill, which is made up mostly of crop subsidies and food stamps.
The last farm bill expired in September. The Senate has passed a new one; the House has not. Farm-state lawmakers are urging leaders to include a farm bill as part of any budget deal to avert year-end tax increases and spending cuts.
Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, speaks Tuesday as Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., and Sen. Ben Cardin, D-Md., listen during a news conference on Capitol Hill calling for no reduction in the Medicare and Medicaid budgets as part of the year-end budget talks.
At least in public, Republicans have been clear that they see the current budget negotiations as a chance to address what they see as the source of Washington's deficit problem: major entitlement programs.
Oprah Winfrey became a publishing powerhouse when she started her book club in 1996. Her picks went to the top of best-seller lists — and stayed there for weeks. But when Winfrey's daily talkfest went off the air, the book club ended as well.
Now she is reviving it: Winfrey has just announced her second pick for the Book Club 2.0: The Twelve Tribes of Hattie, a novel by first-time author Ayana Mathis about the Great Migration of African-Americans out of the rural South.
Originally published on Wed December 12, 2012 6:34 am
Though my grandmother Georgette was born in the United States, she is half Belgian (Flemish) and half French. On top of the cabinets in her blue kitchen you'll find a little Dutch village of porcelain houses. Above the sink are miniature figures of the Statue of Liberty, Manneken Pis and the Eiffel Tower — representations of her three nationalities. In her Delft cookie jar you'll find speculaas (also called speculoos) — the Dutch windmill-shaped gingersnap-like cookie traditionally eaten on St. Nicholas Day.
The entertainment industry seems to give us only three things: sex, Justin Bieber and boxing.
Justin Bieber aside, don't producers know almost nobody cares anymore about boxing? But here we have Clifford Odets' period piece, Golden Boy, back on Broadway, and — achtung! — a musical of Rocky mounted in Germany.
Plus the usual same-old, same-old treatments are floating around. Eminem wants to make a boxing movie. Really. Worse, there are actual plans to have Sylvester Stallone fight Robert DeNiro in a boxing film. OMG — I am perfectly serious.
Originally published on Wed December 12, 2012 4:49 am
It's a story we in the news business have heard all too often lately.
After 126 years, The Sporting News, the wise old man of sports journalism, will cease publishing as of Jan. 1, 2013. Editor-In-Chief Garry Howard and publisher Jeff Price made the announcement in a letter to readers Tuesday.
Originally published on Tue December 11, 2012 4:33 pm
The back and forth over the "fiscal cliff" continues: House Speaker John Boehner sent a new counterproposal to the White House on Tuesday that, according to a spokesman for the speaker, aims to "achieve tax and entitlement reform to solve our looming debt crisis and create more American jobs."
Tuesday's offer from Boehner follows his remarks on the House floor in which he called on President Obama to identify what spending cuts the White House will accept as part of a "balanced approach" toward a deal.
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish.
ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:
And I'm Robert Siegel.
Speaker of the House John Boehner took to his chamber's floor today with an update on negotiations over the federal budget. As the clock ticks toward automatic spending cuts and tax hikes, Boehner gave the impression that little has changed.
More now on the HSBC case and, more broadly, on what banks are obliged to do and what HSBC did not do. Jimmy Gurule is a professor of law at Notre Dame University law school, used to be undersecretary for enforcement at the Department of the Treasury. Welcome to the program.
JIM GURULE: Thank you.
SIEGEL: And first, someone makes a big deposit at a big bank. What must the bank do and what must it know about that deposit?