Originally published on Tue November 22, 2011 5:52 pm
The moment of last-minute head counts and late-night runs to the supermarket has nearly arrived. But a small but proud segment of the population simply smiles and puts their feet up. They're having Thanksgiving dinner served to them in a restaurant.
The congressional supercommittee announced Monday that it failed to come to an agreement on reducing the deficit. After three months of negotiating, the Democrats and Republicans just couldn't agree on how much spending to cut or how high to raise taxes.
But this is not a story about how the left and right disagree with each other. In fact, they actually largely agree.
When Talk of the Nation's Neal Conan asks for callers on a given topic, there's no telling what he'll get. Today, the show followed up with NPR's Tom Bowman on his series about the tremendous sacrifices of the "Darkhorse" Battalion — the Marines of the 3rd Battalion, 5th Regiment. Lance Cpl. Jake Romo lost both his legs in Afghanistan with the battalion, and he spoke with Conan and Bowman about his tour.
The government is expected to shut down at least 3,000 post offices — and one hobbyist who visits post offices around the country has taken notice.
Evan Kalish collects hand-cancellation marks and blogs about it on Going Postal, where he posts photographs of each location.
Kalish, who's also a graduate student at the University of Pennsylvania in geospatial analytics, started his hobby right out of college — and he has run up an impressive tally of how many he's visited: 2,745.
When scientists brought the Bulbophyllum nocturnum back to the Netherlands, they were perplexed. They had found the plant on the island of New Britain, near Papua New Guinea. They knew the plant came from a rare group, but the orchid's blooms would die before opening up. At least that's what the scientists thought.
The orchid's uniqueness never became clear until one scientist brought it home with him. Here's how MSNBC tells the story:
Newt Gingrich was in his 20s when he was hired at West Georgia College as a history professor. He had just returned from Belgium, where he was doing research for his doctoral dissertation.
"He was very much a person of intellect," says Mel Steeley, who taught history at the college for four decades and helped bring Gingrich to the school in 1970. "He would wander across campus and didn't notice people. He'd have something in his mind, always be thinking about something. When he first came, you kind of wondered if he was a student or a professor."
From pregnancy on, parents often keep a stack of bedside reading full of advice on raising children — survival tips from the terrible toddler years through annoying adolescence. Los Angeles comedy writer Gail Parent figured she'd be done with all that once her kids turned the magical age of 21.
"Because I didn't tell my parents anything bad or negative," she says. "I let them be very peaceful about me when I was an adult. But I had told my kids to tell me everything when they were young."
U.S. Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe appealed to Congress on Monday to help him reform the Postal Service.
"We're in a deep financial crisis today because we have a business model that is tied to the past. We are expected to operate like a business, but do not have the flexibility to do so," he said at the National Press Club.
Donahoe also rejected the postal reform bills that have passed committees of the Republican-controlled House and the Democratic Senate.
Originally published on Tue November 22, 2011 2:31 pm
Sometimes, there is such a thing as too sweet a deal. A British cupcake-maker decided to offer a Groupon deal that she says wiped out any profits she had made all year. If you're not familiar, Groupon is an Internet coupon company in which businesses offer deals to lure new customers into their shops.
First of two stories, which are part of an ongoing series on obesity in America. The first part begins in August as students start their weight-loss journey at Wellspring Academy, a boarding school in Brevard, N.C. The second checks in with the students a few months later.
Antoin "Tony" Rezko, who was an adviser and fundraiser for convicted former Ill. Gov. Rod Blagojevich (D) and also raised money for then-state Sen. Barack Obama before Obama's election to the U.S. Senate in 2004, was sentenced today to serve seven more years in prison.
Originally published on Thu November 24, 2011 7:00 am
The Thanksgiving holiday offers a chance to connect with family and enjoy a relaxing meal. But it doesn't always happen that way — especially when political arguments break out at the table. We asked our audience to share their stories on NPR's Facebook page, and the responses came rolling in.
Stef Work echoed the sentiment of many, saying, "I don't think I am alone when I find the visits too long and the social graces too few."
Originally published on Tue November 22, 2011 1:37 pm
Last week, a Mercedes-Benz executive was stopped by police in Alabama because his rental car did not have a license plate. He had a German identification card but had left his passport and driver's license at his hotel.
Every November, food donation boxes in offices, stores and schools fill with shelf-stable food. But as much as half of it may never be used, says Katherina Rosqueta of the University of Pennsylvania's Center For High Impact Philanthropy. She says it's time to can food drives and donate cash instead.
The Marines of the 3rd Battalion, 5th Regiment, known as the "Darkhorse" Battalion, have suffered the worst casualty rate of any Marine unit in the Afghan war. During a seven-month tour, they lost 25 men; nearly 200 were wounded. Still, the Marines in the unit agree it was worth it.
This past weekend, New York City officials charged a man they called a lone wolf a would-be terrorist arrested in the act of manufacturing three pipe bombs. But today we read reports that the FBI declined to pursue a case against Jose Pimentel because it had questions about the role of a confidential informer. More from NPR's counterterrorism correspondent Dina Temple-Raston in just a moment. But we also want to hear from those of you who work in law enforcement.
NPR's Neal Conan reads from listener comments on previous show topics, including an example of how meaning gets lost in translation, the challenges of raising a terminally ill child, and advice on how to travel with kids this Thanksgiving.
Up to 15 million children and adults are thought to have attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Many of them take Adderall to treat it. In recent weeks, some patients have complained they can't find the drug in pharmacies and fear it's the latest prescription medication to face a shortage.
Originally published on Tue November 22, 2011 12:34 pm
A small group of Occupy Wall Street supporters who have taken two weeks to walk from New York to Washington, D.C., arrived in the nation's capital today, The Washington Post reports. They're hoping to temporarily occupy a patch of land on the National Mall.
That's one bit of Occupy-related news today. Others:
Note: In September, Francis Ford Coppola spoke to Cameron Bailey, the director of the Toronto International Film Festival, in front of a sold-out audience at TIFF's Bell Lightbox multiplex. During the discussion, Coppola also took questions from audience members about working with A-list actors, his writing process, screenwriting and rumors about another Godfather movie. Fresh Air is broadcasting excerpts from that 85-minute discussion on today's program.
Originally published on Tue November 22, 2011 12:17 pm
With its big, round eyes and bushy tail, the aye-aye lemur looks like a a cross between a monkey and a squirrel. To many people in Madagascar, it's a tasty, traditional meal, and an excellent source of protein and iron.
But with as few as 1,000 to 10,000 lemurs left on the island, conservationists say they're critically endangered and don't belong on the dinner table.