In fiscal year 2012, the Bureau of the Public Debt received nearly $8 million in donations from private citizens, far surpassing the previous year's haul. But it barely makes a dent in the overall national debt. So why give away all that cash?
Host Rachel Martin speaks with McKenna Barlow, Martin's cousin by marriage, and a veteran of the U.S. Army National Guard, for StoryCorps' National Day of Listening. Barlow served in Iraq from 2003 to 2004, and recalls the difficulties of being one of the few women in her unit.
In truth, nobody knows whether the U.S. will indeed go hurtling over the fiscal cliff into recession, or inch back from the edge of the precipice. Since all economies are linked globally, host Rachel Martin speaks with Borzou Daragahi, the Middle East bureau chief for The Financial Times, about how that region views the U.S. negotiations.
Host Rachel Martin speaks to W.R. Wilkerson III about the infamous 1947 Hollywood Blacklist. Wilkerson is the son of Billy Wilkerson, who was publisher of The Hollywood Reporter from 1930 to 1962 and supported the blacklist through the trade paper. Wilkerson III has written a formal apology for his father's role in the controversy 65 years later.
Congress returns to work this week after taking most of the autumn off to campaign. Host Rachel Martin speaks with NPR's Washington editor, Ron Elving, about the long congressional to-do list during the so-called "lame-duck" session.
Walk through downtown Chicago and you experience modern architecture to its fullest. There's the Auditorium Building by Louis Sullivan, the Federal Center by Mies van der Rohe and Marina City by Bertrand Goldberg — two towers made even more famous after starring on an album cover by the Chicago band Wilco.
The Department of Homeland Security is examining its policy on deadly force along the U.S.-Mexico border. In less than two years, U.S. Border Patrol agents have killed 18 Mexican citizens there — including eight people who were throwing rocks.
John Gagliardi is hanging up his clipboard. He announced his retirement this week, as the winningest coach in the history of college football. Over the course of 64 seasons - that's also a record; most of them at the St. John's University in Collegeville, Minnesota - Coach Gagliardi has racked up 489 wins, 138 losses and 11 ties. He's now 86 years old. Coach Gagliardi joins us from his home. Thanks very much for being with us.
In American retail history, this may be the year that Black Friday shaded into Thursday night. Toys "R" Us, Wal-Mart, several other retailers opened on Thursday night, Thanksgiving night, and on Friday, many other online retailers offered flash sales - special deals lasting just a couple of hours. Patty Edwards is the chief investment officer for Trutina Financial, a financial services firm in Washington state. She joins us from member station KUOW in Seattle. Thanks so much for being with us.
StoryCorps' National Day of Listening encourages people to take advantage of the days following Thanksgiving to talk to a family member or friend and have a conversation. This year, host Scott Simon speaks with Marine Corps veteran Kevin Hermening about his time as a captive in the U.S. Embassy in Tehran, during the Iran hostage crisis of 1980-81.
This week the San Francisco Board of Supervisors approved a pilot program to build apartments as small as 220 square feet. The experimental ordinance is prompted by rocketing real estate values in the city.
Jammed between Gray Thursday, Black Friday and Cyber Monday is yet another day devoted to shopping: Small Business Saturday.
Wallets are expected to open yet again on Saturday — this time for mom-and-pop stores. Main Street in Littleton, Colo., is filled with them. The street is lined with small bars and restaurants along with other businesses, including a spice store and a men's clothing boutique.
Dave Drake owns Colorado Frame and Savvy Stuff, the "savvy stuff" being women's accessories, purses, scarves and decorations.
Artyom Savelyev, now 9, was sent back to Russia on a plane by his adoptive U.S. mother in 2010. The case stirred anger in Russia.
Credit Misha Japaridze / AP
Children play in an orphanage in Moscow. While some Russian officials are critical of foreign adoptions, the U.S. and Russia are finalizing an agreement designed to improve the safety and quality of adoptions of Russian children by American families.
Americans have been adopting Russian children in sizable numbers for two decades, and most of the unions have worked out well. But it remains a sensitive topic in Russia, where officials periodically point to high-profile cases of abuse or other problems.
Now, the two countries are putting the finishing touches on a new agreement governing these adoptions. It will make the process costlier and more time-consuming, but it's designed to address a host of concerns.
Some Russian officials still seem to bristle at the very thought of foreigners adopting Russian children.
After spending millions of dollars in the presidential and Senate campaigns with little to show for it, many superPACs and other outside groups are still tending their wounds. But it's too soon to write off superPACs as a waste of wealthy donors' money.
Consider, for instance, this upset in a congressional race outside Los Angeles.
President Obama, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (center) and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie visit the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey's World Trade Center site for a briefing on construction progress in June. The Republican Christie and Democrat Cuomo will have to find consensus on the plan for rebuilding after Superstorm Sandy, together and with a divided Congress.
Maurice Geddie of Brooklyn's Red Hook neighborhood picks up a free turkey donated by a local grocery store. He's hoping his wife will be willing to cook it, though she's been stuck cooking for storm victims at shelters for weeks.
It's been almost a month since Superstorm Sandy slammed into the Northeast, and for many people, it means the first Thanksgiving outside of their destroyed homes or without the friends or family they usually visit.
In New York City, Thanksgiving has been mass-produced in shelters, churches and community centers where thousands upon thousands of storm victims can find free meals.
Many of them are sharing their first post-storm Thanksgiving with people who are hungry year-round.
At least two people are dead and dozens injured in a 100-vehicle pileup on Interstate 10 in southeast Texas that's being blamed on early morning fog on Thanksgiving Day.
KFDM TV reports that the dead included a man and a woman in a Chevy Suburban that was crushed by a tractor trailer. State troopers told the TV station that between 80 and 120 people were hurt; they were taken to hospitals in Beaumont, Port Arthur and Winnie. The crash occurred southwest of Beaumont, 80 miles east of Houston.
This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan, in Washington. For the fifth year now, the oral history project StoryCorps has put special attention on the day after Thanksgiving, the day often called Black Friday, StoryCorps transforms into the National Day of Listening.
Hinkley, Calif., may soon become a ghost town as residents move away from contaminated water.
Credit Gloria Hillard for NPR
Theresa Schoffstall's home — which is located just outside the boundary of the contaminated area and does not qualify for a buyout from PG&E — has been on the market for a year. Concerns for her family's health have her contemplating just walking away from the home she and her husband built 12 years ago.