It wouldn't do to call Insane City "a typical Dave Barry novel." What kind of thing is that to say about a book? The story begins with a bachelor dinner that goes off the rails, then brings in Russian mobsters, the fourth-place finisher in the Miss Hot Amateur Bod contest, a goodhearted escort and her "sales representative," if you please, an albino Burmese python — or is that a Burmese albino python?
Originally published on Sat January 26, 2013 8:35 am
Syrian activists tend to spend long nights on Skype and Facebook, sending and receiving updates on the battle to oust the government.
And online is also where they sometimes fall in love.
Mohsen, an activist from Hama, says he first met Sara, his girlfriend of nearly two years, on Facebook.
She sent him a friend request because she saw he worked in the field of journalism, and for months they chatted casually about the Syrian uprising. Then, after government troops stormed Hama, Moshen fled to Damascus, where he and Sara finally met face to face.
The proudest moment of Hans Massaquoi's boyhood was when his babysitter sewed a swastika on his sweater. He was a 7-year-old boy in Hamburg who wanted to be part of the excitement of the times he saw. But when his mother got home, she snipped off the swastika.
He also wanted to join the Hitler Youth. "They had cool uniforms," Massaquoi wrote years later, "and they did exciting things — camping, parades, playing drums."
In their first big party gathering since Election Day, Republican leaders from around the country met in Charlotte, N.C., this week.
The GOP is promising a great deal of change in advance of the next election, but one area where there will be no change for the party is in its leadership. Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus was elected to another two-year term.
In his acceptance speech, he cited a simple reason why Republicans failed to win the White House and lost seats in the House and Senate in November.
Moves taken by Japan's central bank are raising fears that the world could face what's called a "currency war." The measures, announced Tuesday, are designed to flood Japan's moribund economy with money and encourage businesses and consumers to spend more.
Steps like these have been tried again and again by countries all over the world — including the U.S. — in recent years, with mixed success.
You've never heard of Jimmy Van Heusen? Well, the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers has. You certainly know many of his songs, says Brook Babcock, Van Heusen's grandnephew and president of his publishing company.
Originally published on Fri January 25, 2013 4:47 pm
Fox News is not renewing Sarah Palin's contract, The New York Times and other news outlets are reporting.
After her failed vice presidential run in 2008, Palin resigned as Alaska's governor in 2009. When she took the job at Fox, she quickly became a staple on the cable news channel and one of the leading voices of the conservative movement in the United States.
In a bombshell decision on the limits of executive power, a federal appeals court panel in Washington, D.C., has invalidated President Obama's recess appointments to the National Labor Relations Board.
Legal experts say the court's reasoning upends decades of conventional wisdom and deals a big victory to Senate Republicans in an era of congressional gridlock.
Signs of 1963 are everywhere in Birmingham, Ala., these days. The city is commemorating the 50th anniversary of the landmark civil rights events of that year: the children who marched until police turned fire hoses and dogs on them; Martin Luther King Jr.'s "Letter from a Birmingham Jail"; and the September bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church.
Planted by white supremacists, the bomb killed four young girls preparing to worship. It was an act of terrorism that shocked the country and propelled Congress to pass the historic 1964 Civil Rights Act.
When Sgt. Brandon McCoy returned from Iraq, he showed signs of post-traumatic stress disorder. His wife, Alicia, remembers him being on edge in public.
"I'm watching him, and his trigger finger never stopped moving, constantly," says Alicia.
Four years later, after he returned from a tour in Afghanistan in 2011, she says, she'd wake up with his hands wrapped around her throat. She told him: Get help or get a divorce. So he scheduled an appointment and — along with Alicia — trekked to the Fort Campbell hospital located on the Tennessee-Kentucky border.
A key federal panel Friday recommended placing new restrictions on Vicodin and similar prescription painkillers.
At the conclusion of an emotional two-day hearing, the Food and Drug Administration advisory committee voted 19-10 to recommend the agency change how drugs that contain the opioid hydrocodone are classified as controlled substances.
Originally published on Mon January 28, 2013 2:00 pm
Not many Americans are fans of the Electoral College. But trying to change the way electoral votes are allocated makes lots of people unhappy, too.
That's what Republicans in a number of states are finding just now. There are a half-dozen states that President Obama carried last November where both the legislature and the governor's office are controlled by the GOP — Michigan, Wisconsin, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Florida and Virginia.
In most of those states, there are efforts under way to change how electoral votes are distributed.
As a play, Doubt won a Pulitzer Prize and a Tony Award. As a movie, it secured Oscar nominations for Meryl Streep, Viola Davis, Philip Seymour Hoffman and Amy Adams. This weekend, Doubt gets its world premiere as an opera — which, according to the work's original playwright, provides the story's fullest telling.
Originally published on Fri January 25, 2013 4:15 pm
Lots has been made about Secretary of State Hilary Clinton and her glasses. New York Magazine, for example, ran a photo gallery of how Clinton used her glasses to convey emotions during the Benghazi hearings on the Hill.
Today, State Department spokesman Philippe Reines responded to the magazine's photogallery providing a serious explanation for the new accessory:
Health insurance plans now have to cover the full cost of breast pumps for nursing mothers. This is the result of a provision in the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare), and the new rule took effect for many people at the start of this year.
It's led to a boom in the sale of the pumps, which can cost hundreds of dollars.
Sen. Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga., won't seek re-election next year, he announced Friday.
The conservative Capitol Hill veteran faced recent criticism from the right for seeking a bipartisan compromise on deficit issues, and for being among the first high-level Republicans to question fidelity to Grover Norquist's no-new-taxes pledge after the November elections.
Those stances had raised speculation about a possible Tea Party-backed GOP primary challenge next year, when Chambliss would have been seeking a third six-year term.
Apple stock has dropped sharply since it announced earnings that disappointed analysts. Now the tech tastemaker is paying another price, losing its crown as the world's most valuable company to Exxon Mobil.
Exxon's market capitalization, the total value of its outstanding stock, was about $417 billion Friday. Apple's was about $413 billion.
Originally published on Fri January 25, 2013 8:15 pm
Thousands of demonstrators are on the streets in Egypt to mark the second anniversary of the revolution that brought down the regime of Hosni Mubarak.
Reporting from Cairo, NPR's Leila Fadel says two years later what has emerged is "a nation divided."
Leila tells our Newscast unit that while there are many people on the streets, many others are at home, and it's "really unclear" which represents the majority. The country, said Leila, is split between those who want a secular government and those who want Islamist rule.
Originally published on Fri January 25, 2013 2:38 pm
You thought the economic recovery in the United States was anemic? Try the United Kingdom.
The country learned today that their economy shrank 0.3 percent in the fourth quarter of last year. This puts Britain on the precipice of what The Guardiansays is an "unprecedented" tripple-dip recession. That is, its third recession in four years.