With another holiday shopping season on the horizon, one group of retailers is doing better than you might expect. Despite intense competition from Amazon and big box retailers, independent bookstores are enjoying a bit of a renaissance.
Robert Sindelar, managing partner at Third Place Books in Seattle, says for a couple of decades independent booksellers have been fighting an uphill battle, but now things are finally improving.
Originally published on Wed November 27, 2013 5:25 am
The retail company Men's Wearhouse has announced it is launching a takeover battle for rival Joseph A. Bank. What makes the effort unusual is that just last month Joseph A. Bank was trying to take over Men's Wearhouse. The turnaround is an example of what Wall Street calls a Pac-Man defense.
John Brown, the head of Zion Oil & Gas, believes the Bible will help him find oil in Israel. The company, which is listed on Nasdaq, has so far spent $130 million and drilled four dry holes. Brown is shown here at one of the company's drilling rigs in Israel.
They say an oilman has to be a gambler, but can he be a prophet?
Zion Oil & Gas, based in Dallas, is a publicly traded company that believes it is commanded by the Bible to search for oil in Israel, both to help the Holy Land and make money for investors. The 22 employees of Zion Oil in Texas and Israel, and many of its 30,000 investors, believe the company is on a mission from God.
Y'Jazzmin Christopher, 7, takes up target practice at Archery in the Wild in Longmont, Colo. "She used to be a really shy person, but now she's opening socially," says Alicia Christopher, Y'Jazzmin's mom, about her daughter's archery.
The indoor shooting range at Archery in the Wild in northern Colorado used to be dominated by camouflage and hunters. But on this Saturday morning, the archery range is dotted with ponytails and 7-year-old girls like Y'Jazzmin Christopher.
The popularity of The Hunger Games series is fueling an interest in the sport of archery, particularly among girls. Some sporting equipment outfitters say they've seen a big boost in bow and arrow sales since the film series began in 2012.
Squash is the ultimate Thanksgiving food, not turkey. So says Chris Kimball, host of the PBS showAmerica's Test Kitchen.
"Of all the things they served in that first Thanksgiving, there might not have been turkey," Kimball says. Early revelers may have dined on small birds or venison. "The one thing we know they did have was squash. So, if you want to go back to the first Thanksgiving, this is the item to start with."
NPRcontinues a series of conversations about The Race Card Project,where thousands of people have submitted their thoughts on race and cultural identity in six words. Every so often NPR Host/Special Correspondent Michele Norris dips into those stories to explore issues surrounding race and cultural identity forMorning Edition.
Givot Olam CEO Tovia Luskin expects to drill 40 wells and build a pipeline to a refinery on the coast. The company already has "proven and probable" reserves of 12.5 million barrels of oil. Luskin chose where to drill based on a passage from the Bible.
Credit Emily Harris/NPR
Sigal Sprukt, an environmental activist and local resident, looks over a valley that is believed to have oil. Israel Energy Initiatives, an energy company, is planning a pilot project to extract oil from shale in a slow heating method. But Sprukt says this "area is one of the last areas that are not ruined by cities."
There's an old joke that if Moses had turned right when he led Jewish tribes out of Egypt, Israel might be where Saudi Arabia is today — and be rich from oil. Consultant Amit Mor of Eco Energy says that joke is out of date.
"Israel has more oil than Saudi Arabia," he claims. "And it's not a joke."
But that oil will be difficult to reach, if it can be recovered at all. The oil he's talking about is not yet liquid but is trapped in rocks underground.
We've been reporting a lot lately on the troubled rollout of President Obama's signature health care law. But at the same time, there are rumblings of a major shift in the way companies offer private health insurance to workers.
It involves what are called "private health care exchanges." These are similar to — but completely separate from — the public exchanges you've heard so much about.
Some experts say this new approach soon could change how millions of Americans receive their health care.
The U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to take another case involving the Affordable Care Act, this time a challenge to the provision that for-profit companies that provide health insurance must include contraceptive coverage in their plans offered to employees.
President Obama's Affordable Care Act will be back before the Supreme Court this spring. This time, the issue is whether for-profit corporations citing religious objections may refuse to provide contraceptive services in health insurance plans offered to employees.
In enacting the ACA, Congress required large employers who offer health care services to provide a range of preventive care, including no-copay contraceptive services. Religious nonprofits were exempted from this requirement, but not for-profit corporations.
Originally published on Tue November 26, 2013 9:53 pm
Dozens of Haitians have died in a desperate attempt to reach the Bahamas, after their crowded 40-foot sloop capsized. Deployed from Florida, Coast Guard crews scrambled to work with Bahamian forces to rescue more than 100 survivors Tuesday. The Coast Guard says the craft ran aground in the Bahamas' Exuma Cays.
Major stock indexes have shot to record highs in the U.S. this year, gaining more than 20 percent, and yet economic growth remains at disappointing levels. A lot of analysts believe the stimulus efforts by the Federal Reserve are behind the stock boom and a possible bubble.
As I write this, snowstorms are swirling over the East Coast, threatening Thanksgiving holiday travel plans for millions of travelers. How much time in the purgatory of airports will this mean for you? Check out FlightAware's MiseryMap, which combines weather and flight data into a live map that lists which airports are being struck by storms, the number of delays and cancellations, and graphs that show flight destinations and the chances they'll actually make it on time.
A 2010 file photo shows Edgar "El Ponchis" Jimenez Lugo in the city of Cuernavaca, Mexico. The teenage U.S. citizen who acknowledged being a drug-cartel killer has finished his three year juvenile-offender term for homicide, kidnapping and drug and weapons possession.
Three years after the startling arrest of a 14-year-old boy for acting as a gang's assassin in Mexico, the boy, now 17, is reportedly heading to the United States, according to media and government reports. Edgar Jimenez, nicknamed El Ponchis — "The Cloak" — is a U.S. citizen who was born in San Diego.
An investigation by The Hollywood Reporter alleges that the American Humane Association has tried to cover up instances of animal abuse and deaths on Hollywood sets. Melissa Block talks with Gary Baum, a senior writer for the magazine who reported the story.
A vote to ban fracking in Broomfield, a suburb of Denver, headed to a recount this month after the measure failed by just 13 votes. Broomfield was one of four Front Range towns considering limits or bans on the drilling procedure some fear may not be safe.
Mark your calendars: According to some scholars, the next time it might happen is the year 79,811. I'm talking, of course, about the hybrid holiday of Thanksgivukkah, a melding of Thanksgiving and the Jewish Festival of Lights. The Borsch Belt-style Pilgrim jokes and mishmash recipes (turkey brined in Manischewitz, anyone?) are flying around the Internet; but since Jews are frequently referred to as "the People of the Book" and Pilgrims pretty much lived by the Book, Thanksgivukkah seems to me like the quintessential (stressful) family holiday to celebrate by escaping into a book.
Adventurous carnivores from all over New England have been flocking to the Wild Game Supper in Bradford, Vt., for almost 60 years. The fare at this year's event included beaver, boar, moose and buffalo.
Credit Herb Swanson for NPR
Moose patties sweetened with blueberries cook on the grill before the start of the Wild Game Supper.
Credit / Herb Swanson for NPR
Diners head into the Bradford United Church of Christ before the start of this year's Wild Game Supper. Food writer Calvin Trillin has dubbed the event "the Superbowl of church suppers."
The wild-game supper has traditionally been a way for rural America to share the harvest before winter sets in. Food historians trace the ritual back to Colonial times, when families had to hunt in order to eat well, and some providers were better shots than others.
Seventeen-year-old Tonisha Owens stared wide-eyed at the faded script on an 1854 letter. It was once carried by another 17-year-old — a slave named Frances. The letter was written by a plantation owner's wife to a slave dealer, saying that she needed to sell her chambermaid to pay for horses. But Frances didn't know how to read or write, and didn't know what she carried.
"She does not know she is to be sold. I couldn't tell her," the letter reads. "I own all her family and the leave taking would be so distressing that I could not."
Originally published on Wed November 27, 2013 9:09 am
CBS has asked 60 Minutes correspondent Lara Logan to take a leave of absence, along with her producer, after her recent story on the deadly 2012 attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, was found to have multiple flaws. An internal report also found broader failings in how the news division handled the story. A summary of the report's findings was obtained by NPR on Tuesday.
Originally published on Tue November 26, 2013 3:29 pm
Ending the year by weighing in again on a topic that caused it great grief back in the spring, the Internal Revenue Service on Tuesday defined limits on the political activity of tax-exempt "social welfare" organizations.
After admitting to one of the most surprising art thefts in recent history, two men have been sentenced to 6 years and 8 months in prison. They are part of a Romanian gang that stole seven works by masters including Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse, Claude Monet and Paul Gauguin from a Rotterdam museum last autumn.
Originally published on Wed November 27, 2013 12:37 pm
Ah, the old beer-tapping prank: One strong hit on the top of an open beer bottle, and poof! Your IPA explodes into a brewski volcano.
"In one second, most of your beer has really turned into foam," says physicist Javier Rodriguez Rodriguez of Carlos III University in Madrid. "You better have put the bottle into your mouth, because you need to drink whatever is coming out."
Originally published on Tue November 26, 2013 4:41 pm
The U.S. Census Bureau keeps a vast and valuable store of anonymous statistics about Americans — their demographics, their neighborhoods, their professions, their households, and more.
Now the agency's putting that information in the palm of your hand.
The bureau on Tuesday announced the release of dwellr, a mobile application that allows users to select their preferences — for housing, demographics and other factors — and learn ideal places for them to visit or live.