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Hard Times: A Journey Across America
12:01 am
Thu November 17, 2011

When Hard Times Means Leaving A Career For A Job

After a long job search, Alice Eastman, a once highly paid professional, now works at Target. "I've climbed to pretty much the top of the one ladder, and now I'm starting at the bottom rung of a different ladder. It's a job. It's not a career," she says.
David Schaper NPR

Originally published on Thu November 17, 2011 12:40 pm

Part of a monthlong series

Alice Eastman, a single mother living in Wheaton, Ill., is one of many Americans who, after losing her job, tried to make ends meet on unemployment while she hunted for a job in her field. Then after a long, fruitless search, she took a lower-paying job in retail.

Eastman had a pretty good job making $75,000 a year at the park district in the Chicago suburb of Bolingbrook, heading up its Department of Natural Resources.

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Election 2012
12:01 am
Thu November 17, 2011

Political Climate Ripe For A Third-Party Prospect

Ross Perot, shown on a video screen, addresses the Reform Party's national convention in July 1999 in Dearborn, Mich. The billionaire founder of the Reform Party, Perot ran for president as a third-party candidate in both 1992 and 1996.
Jeff Kowalsky AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu November 17, 2011 2:02 pm

Voter dissatisfaction with both parties is at an all-time high — and voters' trust in Washington is at an all-time low.

This is the kind of political climate that is welcoming for an alternative to the Democrats and the Republicans.

Pollster Stan Greenberg worked for Bill Clinton in 1992, when third-party candidate Ross Perot roiled the race. If it happened back then, Greenberg says, it can happen again next year.

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Newt Gingrich
12:01 am
Thu November 17, 2011

By Attacking The Media, Gingrich Built A Following

Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich has relished attacking the journalists questioning him during the GOP debates.
Scott Olson Getty Images

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich was once written off as a footnote in the 2012 Republican presidential primaries. But, for the moment, polls now show him among the leaders.

Gingrich may have found his voice, in part, by turning the tables on the political press. Republicans have been doing this for decades — quite explicitly at least since Richard Nixon and Spiro Agnew in 1968.

In Gingrich's case, it was a strategy masquerading as a tactic — one that he adopted over the summer at a time of desperation.

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Asia
12:01 am
Thu November 17, 2011

Asia In Focus As U.S Expands Australia Defense Ties

Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard and President Obama hold a joint news conference in Australia on Wednesday. The U.S. is sending some 250 U.S. Marines to the country next year, a number that will later grow to 2,500.
Saul Loeb AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu November 17, 2011 12:40 pm

President Obama traveled early Thursday to the Australian city of Darwin, a base for past U.S.-Australian military cooperation. Now it will be one of several military bases from which the U.S. operates as it seeks to reassert itself in Asia.

Some 250 U.S. Marines will arrive in northern Australia next year, a number that will later expand to about 2,500. U.S. jets and warships will also train with the Australians.

Abraham Denmark, a China specialist at the Center for Naval Analyses, sees the new focus on Asia as a natural evolution of U.S. interests.

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It's All Politics
5:05 pm
Wed November 16, 2011

In Swing Through Sunshine State, Cain Struggles To Regain Momentum

Republican Presidential candidate Herman Cain greets supporters at a campaign rally outside of Wings Plus on Wednesday in Coral Springs, Fla.
Joe Raedle Getty Images

Herman Cain followed a path well-worn by other presidential candidates in Miami to the Versailles Restaurant in Little Havana on Wednesday. While there, he had a cup of Cuban coffee, sampled a croquette and, playing to the largely Cuban-American crowd called out, "Freedom for Cuba!"

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Newt Gingrich
5:03 pm
Wed November 16, 2011

As Gingrich Surges, He Has Catching Up To Do In N.H.

Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich greets a supporter at a kickoff party for the opening of a campaign office in Manchester, N.H., on Nov. 11.
Winslow Townson AP

Originally published on Wed November 16, 2011 6:22 pm

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich's surge to the top tier of the GOP presidential field has been sudden.

That's put him squarely in the media spotlight — Gingrich has been buffeted for the past several days over his consulting work for the mortgage giant Freddie Mac. But it's also highlighted the challenge he faces in early-voting states like New Hampshire, where he lacks a traditional campaign structure.

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Shots - Health Blog
5:00 pm
Wed November 16, 2011

Emergency Room Closures Hit Minorities, Poor Hardest

Patients in California may find a shuttered glass door the next time they seek out emergency care, as hospitals across the state close emergency rooms.

California hospitals that serve large numbers of blacks and Medicaid patients, who often rely on ERs the most, run a higher risk of closing the emergency deparment, according to an analysis just published in the Annals of Emergency Medicine.

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Music Interviews
4:39 pm
Wed November 16, 2011

R.E.M., R.I.P.

R.E.M. in the early days. Left to right: Michael Stipe, Mike Mills, Bill Berry, Peter Buck.
Laura Levine

Originally published on Wed November 16, 2011 6:02 pm

They were four guys out of Athens, Ga., with a three-letter name — and one hell of an impact on rock. R.E.M. was Michael Stipe singing lead, Mike Mills on bass and harmonies, Peter Buck on guitar and Bill Berry on drums, until Berry left the band in 1997.

"We never expected the thing to last any longer than a couple of years to begin with," Stipe says. "And then when it did, and we were making records and people were interested in it, the band started getting bigger and bigger and bigger."

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Monkey See
4:35 pm
Wed November 16, 2011

DVD Picks: 'West Side Story'

'Tonight' Music: Richard Beymer and Natalie Wood played Tony and Maria in the 1961 film of West Side Story.
Fox Home Entertainment

Originally published on Wed November 16, 2011 6:02 pm

Time now for a home video recommendation from movie critic Bob Mondello. This week he's looking back a half-century, to a ground-breaking musical that won ten Oscars, West Side Story.

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The Road Back To Work
4:34 pm
Wed November 16, 2011

Squabbles In Washington Frustrate Job Seekers

Ray Meyer, 55, had a 30-year career in banking before losing his job. He's been rolling from one temp assignment to the next since February.
Tamara Keith NPR

Part of an ongoing series

Being unemployed for more than two years changed the way Ray Meyer looks at politics. He has always leaned Republican and used to have little sympathy for those who were receiving unemployment benefits.

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The Salt
4:23 pm
Wed November 16, 2011

The Secret To Foie Gras That Keeps Its Fat Is In The Liver

A jury member feels a piece of duck foie gras during a contest of local producers and producers from southwestern France.
BOB EDME ASSOCIATED PRESS

People get very riled up about foie gras, the fatty liver of ducks and geese.

Some are bothered by the force feedings the ducks and geese undergo to produce those fatty livers, which are 6 to 10 times the normal size. Others fear the fat itself – although foie gras enthusiasts insist that the delicacy is "surprising low in bad fats, and high in good fats."

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The Two-Way
4:13 pm
Wed November 16, 2011

New Judge Named To Handle Penn State Scandal Case

A judge from a different Pennsylvania county who "has no known connections with Pennsylvania State University, the Second Mile charity, nor any officers or representatives of any of those entities," will handle the Dec. 7 preliminary hearing of the case against accused child sex abuser Jerry Sandusky, The Patriot-News of Harrisburg reports.

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Books News & Features
3:51 pm
Wed November 16, 2011

Ann Patchett Opens Parnassus Books In Nashville

The world of independent bookstores has a new member: Parnassus Books in Nashville, Tenn., opened its doors on Wednesday. The store has a marquee name behind it — best-selling novelist Ann Patchett, author of Bel Canto and State of Wonder, is the co-owner.

The Two-Way
3:50 pm
Wed November 16, 2011

Benetton Drops Image Of Pope Kissing Imam After Vatican Objects

Reacting to sharp objections from the Vatican over a digitally created ad image showing Pope Benedict XVI kissing an Egyptian imam, Benetton has quickly agreed to drop the photo illustration from its new "Unhate" campaign.

The company just posted this statement:

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Asia
3:43 pm
Wed November 16, 2011

Cambodia Tries To Curb Foreign Men Seeking Wives

On any given night, foreign visitors throng the many bars, restaurants and hotels overlooking the Tonle Sap River on bustling Sisowath Quay in Phnom Penh, the Cambodian capital. Among them, foreign men accompanied with Cambodian women are a common sight.

Just up the street is Rory's Pub, where a Celtic cross and a Bushmills whiskey sign hang on the wall.

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The Two-Way
3:31 pm
Wed November 16, 2011

Other Victims Of Arizona Rampage Move On Without Letting Go

Suzi Hileman inspects an aloe on her front porch on Wednesday, Aug. 24.
Ron Medvescek Courtesy Arizona Daily Star

We've heard from Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.) in recent days about her slow recovery from being shot in the head on Jan. 8.

There were 18 other victims of that day's shooting rampage in Tucson — six of whom died. And beyond them, there are dozens of family members and loved ones in pain about what happened.

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The Two-Way
3:19 pm
Wed November 16, 2011

Mongolian City Hopes To Cool Off With Huge, 'Artificial Ice Shields'

How do you keep a cold city cool during the summer? Mongolia's capital city — , its average temperature at the peak of summer is 72 degrees Fahrenheit — has an idea that sounds adventurous.

During the cold months, the city of Ulan Bator wants to create artificial glaciers that will then melt slowly during summer, absorbing some of the heat and helping to keep the temperatures down. Here's how Wired explains the process in their piece today:

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Shots - Health Blog
2:49 pm
Wed November 16, 2011

Geckos Threatened By Booming Demand For Traditional Medicines

An Asian lizard that likes to come out at night has become a prime target for hunters looking to make a quick ringgit, dong or Philippine peso.

The tokay gecko is reputed to have HIV-fighting properties, though there is no scientific evidence to support that notion. And it's been an ingredient in Asian traditional medicines for lots of other uses, including cancer.

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NPR Story
2:27 pm
Wed November 16, 2011

'Small-Press Author' After Winning The Book Award

Originally published on Fri August 3, 2012 12:39 pm

Transcript

NEAL CONAN, HOST:

Tonight, the American literary establishment gathers here in New York for the National Book Awards. It's not quite the Oscars, but the honor can change the career of a novelist, historian or poet and vault a book to the top of the best-seller lists. Last year, the fiction award went to a little known author for her novel "Lord of Misrule," which had an initial press run of 2,000 copies. They've had to reprint. Jaimy Gordon joins us in just a moment. We'd like to hear from you too.

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NPR Story
2:24 pm
Wed November 16, 2011

Binges Of 'High-Beta Rich' Shake Up U.S. Economy

"The rich are not only getting richer, they are becoming more dangerous," Robert Frank writes in his new book The High-Beta Rich: How the Manic Wealthy Will Take Us to the Next Boom, Bubble and Bust.

The spending binges of the top 1%, he says, are "the most unstable force in the economy."

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The Two-Way
1:44 pm
Wed November 16, 2011

Proposed Piracy Legislation Puts Internet Giants On Defensive

This is what a Tumblr news feed looks like today.
Screenshot Tumblr

The biggest names on the Internet — Google, Facebook, Twitter, AOL and eBay — are banding together to urge Congress to scrap the Stop Online Piracy Act, which they say poses a huge threat to the Internet. The House is set to debate the measure today.

The Christian Science Monitor reports on what Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt had to say about the bill:

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The Salt
1:15 pm
Wed November 16, 2011

A Clothing Company Goes Fishing For Change With Salmon Jerky

Patagonia Provisions salmon jerky will be available sometime this winter.
Patagonia

What does a clothing company that sells high-end products with names like Nano Puff know about the fish business?

"It is a big jump," Yvon Chouinard, the storied founder of Patagonia, admits to The Salt. He's talking about the company's new plan to sell fish — salmon jerky to be exact — at his retail shops around the world.

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Politics
1:12 pm
Wed November 16, 2011

Did U.S. Tax Policies Increase Economic Inequality?

The eight Republican presidential candidates sitting at the table listen as a video of former President Ronald Reagan is played during a debate at Dartmouth College in Hanover, N.H., on Oct. 11.
Jim Cole AP

Originally published on Wed November 16, 2011 9:54 pm

The Occupy Wall Street movement continues to protest policies that have made the top 1 percent of income earners richer, while about 14 million Americans are out of work.

Meanwhile, the Congressional supercommittee only has one week left to come up with a plan that will cut more than $1 trillion from the deficit. Republicans are opposed to raising revenues by raising taxes, even on the wealthiest Americans, who have seen their taxes dramatically cut over the past 14 years.

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Politics
1:00 pm
Wed November 16, 2011

Candidates Sink Or Swim In Numerous Debates

Originally published on Wed November 16, 2011 2:28 pm

Transcript

NEAL CONAN, HOST:

This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan in New York. The Supreme Court puts health care on the docket for the presidential campaign. The supercommittee can't move off the dime, while Cain and Perry suffer forgettable moments.

It's Wednesday and time for a...

GOVERNOR RICK PERRY: I stepped in it.

CONAN: ...edition of the Political Junkie.

PRESIDENT RONALD REAGAN: There you go again.

VICE PRESIDENT WALTER MONDALE: When I hear your new ideas, I'm reminded of that ad, where's the beef?

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Opinion
1:00 pm
Wed November 16, 2011

Protesters' Eviction: The End, Or An Opportunity?

Originally published on Fri August 3, 2012 2:20 pm

Transcript

NEAL CONAN, HOST:

Yesterday, New York City Police evicted hundreds of Occupy Wall Street protesters from privately owned Zuccotti Park in New York, on the orders of Mayor Michael Bloomberg. A judge in New York ruled that the removal was legal and protesters could use the park, but their free speech rights did not extend to putting up tents or staying overnight. Similar evictions in other cities have raised serious questions about the future of the Occupy movement.

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Book Reviews
12:49 pm
Wed November 16, 2011

A Quaint, Compelling 'Pilgrim' Tale In The New World

I'll admit, it's kind of hokey to be talking about a novel called The Pilgrim right before Thanksgiving. What's even more quaint is the fact that The Pilgrim is one of those straightforward works of historical fiction the likes of which we don't see so much anymore.

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The Two-Way
12:48 pm
Wed November 16, 2011

Head-On Collision Kills 18 Kindergarteners In China, Prompting Outcry

Chinese police stand beside a damaged school bus after it collided with a red truck on a road in the Yulinzi township in northwest China's Gansu province.
AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed November 16, 2011 2:12 pm

A truck carrying coal slammed into a overcrowded bus this morning in the Northwest Chinese township of Yulinzi, killing 18 children and two adults. According to China's official news agency Xinhua, 44 other children were injured. Xinhua reports that "a van with nine seats was carrying 64 people."

Reuters reports that the accident has prompted anger toward the government:

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It's All Politics
12:31 pm
Wed November 16, 2011

Wisconsin's Governor: Recall Drive Is About Unions Seeking 'Power'

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, March 7, 2011.
Justin Sullivan Getty Images

Many of Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker's citizens may be signing petitions for his recall in reaction to the battle he led earlier in the year to weaken his state's public-employee unions.

But Walker doesn't appear to be backing off one inch from his stance that he did what was right for his state.

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Politics
12:00 pm
Wed November 16, 2011

Gov. Walker: Recall Effort Wastes Time, Resources

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker is fighting back opponents who want him out of office. If organizers gather more than 500,000 signatures in 60 days, a new election will be held in 2012. Host Michel Martin speaks with Gov. Walker, who defends his record and criticizes the recall effort that began Tuesday.

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