Inside palace walls built by Saddam Hussein, U.S. generals plotted the war's course, tracked the mounting death toll and swore in new American citizens under gaudy glass chandeliers.
Just outside the palace, American troops whacked golf balls into man-made lakes or fished for carp while others sat down with a cigar and a can of nonalcoholic beer hoping for a respite from incoming rockets or mortar shells.
Along another lake some distance away, a jailed Saddam tended to tomatoes and cucumbers in a small, walled-off enclosure with guards patrolling overhead.
Originally published on Fri December 2, 2011 8:37 am
STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:
Our colleague David Greene has done so much distinguished work for NPR that we've decided to send him to Siberia - really. David is wrapping up two years in Russia with a trip on the Trans-Siberian Railroad, which crosses that gigantic country. He's head east from the capital, Moscow. We reached him about 150 miles into the journey in the city of Yaroslavl. Hi, David.
DAVID GREENE, BYLINE: Hey there, Steve.
INSKEEP: Why wrap up your time in Russia with this train ride?
A new film called Shame arrives in theaters with several honors, including the best actor award from the Venice Film Festival. It also arrives with a rare NC-17 rating. Michael Fassbender plays Brandon, a New Yorker who's addicted to sex.
Steve Inskeep talks to NPR's Quil Lawrence, who is embedded with U.S. forces in a volatile Afghan province near the Pakistani border. They discuss U.S. operations against the Taliban and Haqqani network, and the repercussions of last week's NATO airstrikes on an army border post that killed 24 Pakistani soldiers.
Okay. So auto loans are easier to come by. To find out if that's the same for home loans, and to take a look at the overall housing market, we turn to David Wessell as we often do. He is economics editor of The Wall Street Journal. David, good morning.
DAVID WESSEL: Good morning, Steve.
INSKEEP: You know, I got an email the other day that was offering, on certain kinds of mortgages, three percent interest, and I guess four percent is getting to be normal right now. So are more people taking advantage of that and buying homes?
Working mothers spend significantly more time multitasking when they are at home than their counterparts, working dads. That's according to a new study published in this month's journal The American Sociological Review. The findings are something that many women are surely saying, even as I speak, that they already knew. NPR's Patti Neighmond has this report.
Corporate America is jumping on the opportunities to make people healthier, while keep their bottoms line strong. Leaders of Supermarkets, hotel chains and restaurant groups gathered in Washington this week for a summit aimed at shaping private sector solutions to the obesity epidemic.