When Fiona Maazel published her first novel, Last Last Chance, in 2008, her frenetic imagination and sharply etched characters earned her a spot on the National Book Foundation's 5 Under 35 authors list. Her 29-year-old narrator, Lucy, was heading into her seventh stretch in rehab; Maazel filtered her addiction, grief, self-involvement and fear through a scrim of dark humor.
There's a comic overlay to her second, even more frenzied and inventive novel, Woke Up Lonely. But the tilt toward pathos is stronger.
Television is going to the dogs. The satellite company DIRECTV recently introduced DOGTV to its line up. The channel, just for canines, will cost humans 5.99 a month. The programs feature soothing music and animations. DOGTV's CEO says this helps ease the loneliness and boredom that pets feel when they're left at home all day.
Hey, what do you think?
(SOUNDBITE OF A DOG BARKING)
GREENE: What's that, boy? You'd rather have a dog station on the radio?
Originally published on Wed April 10, 2013 9:23 am
North Korea's next provocative move — the test firing of a medium-range ballistic missile — could happen at any moment, according to South Korean officials.
Bloomberg Businessweek reports that "the possibility of a ballistic missile launch is 'very high' and 'may materialize anytime from now,' South Korean Foreign Minister Yun Byung Se told lawmakers in Seoul today."
Now, here in Washington they are calling it the All-In for Citizenship rally. Tens of thousands of demonstrators are expected today on the grounds of the U.S. Capitol. It's to be the biggest event yet in the push to revamp the nation's immigration laws. And congressional negotiators say they are close to unveiling a comprehensive immigration bill. NPR's David Welna tells us how close.
This is MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm David Greene.
STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:
And I'm Steve Inskeep in Caracas, Venezuela. This country is about to hold a presidential election. Voters are replacing the late Hugo Chavez, who shouldered this oil-rich republic onto the world stage. He often denounced the United States as an oppressive empire - even as he sold Americans oil - and imported gasoline from U.S. refineries. The election of his successor this weekend gives us a chance to listen to a changing Latin America.
The federal government each year gives needy college students billions of dollars they don't have to pay back — $34.5 billion to be exact. More than 9 million students rely on the Pell Grant program. But a new study says much of the money is going to people who never graduate.
Sandy Baum, an expert on student financial aid, has been leading a group in a study of the 48-year-old Pell Grant program. Their report, commissioned by the nonprofit College Board, confirms what many have known for years about grant recipients.
That's the goal of an investment firm in Helsinki. That's the term for a video game controlled by brainwaves. The Wall Street Journal reports the agency is bringing together neuroscientists and game developers.
We'll begin NPR's business news with a $3.6 billion payback.
(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)
GREENE: Starting this week, the nation's largest banks begin sending out checks to borrowers forced into home foreclosure during the robo-signing scandal. Over four million people will receive payments - ranging from $300 to $125,000 - as part of settlements made with the federal government.
One of the oldest billboards in American advertising is getting an update. The Goodyear blimp has been used for company promotions since 1925. A new model is being assembled in Akron, Ohio, by a crew from Goodyear and the German company Zeppelin.
Businesses looking to relocate are making the health of a state's population part of their decision-making process. One Fortune 500 CEO explains it can save millions in reduced health insurance claims and absenteeism. Colorado's economic development officials are already trying to improve the health and fitness of the next generation of workers in order to stay competitive.
The Focus is the best-selling "nameplate" worldwide, followed by the Toyota Corolla, new data shows. Ford's sales have jumped in recent years as it dropped unsuccessful models and adopted a single global manufacturing system.
A jury in New Hampshire has ruled that Exxon-Mobile must pay the state $236 million. The money would help clean groundwater that was contaminated with a gasoline additive known as MTBE. But as New Hampshire Public Radio's Sam Evans-Brown reports, the story doesn't end there.
SAM EVANS-BROWN, BYLINE: In a little state like New Hampshire, $236 million is nothing to sneeze at.
Steven Nolder joined the federal public defender's office when it opened in Columbus, Ohio, nearly 18 years ago. Nolder handled his share of noteworthy cases, including the first federal death penalty trial in the district and the indictment of a former NFL quarterback embroiled in a ticket fraud scheme.
Lately, Nolder says, his professional world has turned upside down.
Like almost everything in the Texas, the construction industry in the Lone Star State is big. One in every 13 workers here is employed in the state's $54 billion-per-year construction industry.
Homebuilding and commercial construction may be an economic driver for the state, but it's also an industry riddled with hazards. Years of illegal immigration have pushed wages down, and accidents and wage fraud are common. Of the nearly 1 million workers laboring in construction here, approximately half are undocumented.
It's college touring season, and many parents are on the road with their teenagers, driving from school to school and thinking about the college application — and financial aid — process that looms ahead.
Many baby boomers have already been through this stage with their kids, but because the generation spans about 20 years, others still have kids at home. So how should boomers plan to pay for school when, on average, students graduate from college in the U.S. with $25,000 in debt?
On many occasions in my longtime relationship with cookbooks, I have had this experience (which will sound familiar, if you like Middle Eastern flavors as much as I do). I'm happily paging through my new Moroccan or Lebanese or Israeli book, lost in dreams of lamb and sumac, saffron and figs. "Mmmm," I murmur over a glossy page, "that looks delicious."
I trace my finger down the ingredients list. Shallots, check. Tomatoes, check. Cinnamon stick, check. And then there it is: Preserved lemon. "Drat," I think. "Foiled again."
Let us now ponder the exquisite status of Tiger Woods, who has clawed back to the top of the charts thereby to proclaim, with the help of his Nike mouthpiece, that his ragged and raw past few years never really happened because — ta-da –– as his ad says: "Winning takes care of everything."
And yes, indeed, he is No. 1 in the rankings again. And, too, he has a beautiful new girlfriend, although, of course, I will not mention her name here, so as not to be a member of what he calls the "stalkerazzi."
When President Obama on Wednesday unveils his blueprint for the government's 2014 budget, he'll offer lots of ideas for changes in taxes and spending.
But the proposal likely to grab the most attention will be the one dealing with cost-of-living adjustments for Social Security recipients. Many economists would applaud a change in the way Social Security officials measure inflation, but many older Americans may hiss, fearing a new formula will cut their benefits.
Bitcoin, the digital currency that trades outside the control of central banks and international borders, reached new heights Tuesday, surpassing the $200 mark for the first time. That level comes just five days after bitcoin approached $150, a development that Mt.Gox, the largest exchange service for the currency, deemed to be "epic."
Bitcoin's rise has been sharp. It was only two months ago that exchange rates put a single bitcoin's value at around $20.
The 12th official Jazz Appreciation Month began when April did. But today, the Smithsonian Museum of American History, which founded the JAM campaign, kick started its own celebration with a series of performances, discussions and ceremonies.
Google announced Tuesday that its Google Fiber project would be hitting Austin, Texas, next. The company says Austin, famous for its South by Southwest festival, is a "mecca for creativity and entrepreneurialism, with thriving artistic and tech communities."
Google Fiber is the tech giant's blazing fast Internet service, with current rates at 1 Gpbs, about 100 times faster than your typical cable broadband Internet service. It debuted in Kansas City in 2012.