Congress is considering a bill that would allow states to collect sales taxes from online retailers. Proponents say a law is necessary to level the playing field with brick-and-mortar stores and to raise revenue for states.
The immigration overhaul bill before the Senate would provide, among other things, more visas for migrant farm workers and high-tech workers, and a path to citizenship for the estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants in the United States.
One thing it would not provide is help for same-sex couples in which one partner is an American and one foreign-born. For heterosexual couples, a foreign-born spouse automatically qualifies for a green card and many of the benefits of citizenship. Not so with gay and lesbian couples.
How do you write an absorbing novel about unspeakable things? It's always a tricky business, and an editor I know once described the dilemma this way: "A reader needs to want to go there." What "there" means is the self-contained world of the book. And what would make a reader want to go deeply into a world of hopelessness and seemingly perpetual war, a world of torture and intimidation and exploding land mines? There are many answers. One of the most obvious, of course, is the language.
If something seems impossibly remote, you call it Siberia. And if Siberians want to make the analogy, they could call it Wrangel Island. About 90 miles off the coast of northeastern Siberia, the 91-mile-long island has been inhabited by some humans over the years — but has been home to a superabundance of wildlife such as polar bears, Pacific walruses and musk oxen.
War has brought the act of faith to the forefront for those who occupy the White House. President Lincoln famously issued a call to prayer during the Civil war. Franklin Roosevelt announced D-Day to the nation with a prayer.
Today, President Obama receives a daily spiritual meditation. The man who sends those messages is a Pentecostal minister named Joshua DuBois.
When he first moved to Washington, D.C., DuBois says he had already formed an impression about the spiritual life of the town.
Imagine the capital of Somalia, Mogadishu, in the 1980s. You can't, right? Neither can most music critics. That's why the recent re-release of a record by a popular '80s-era Mogadishu dance band has caught the attention of critics lately.
The founders of Dur-Dur Band now live in Columbus, Ohio. Weekends on All Things Considered asked members Abdinur Daljir and Sahra Dawo to go to a studio there — accompanied by an interpreter — to talk about the newly reissued record and the story that precedes it.
Bill Cheng's new novel, Southern Cross the Dog, is deeply rooted in the Mississippi Delta. It follows the story of one boy after he survives the Great Mississippi Flood of 1927 and spends the next few decades as a refugee, an abandoned orphan and then an itinerant laborer.
The Obama administration says it's considering providing arms to rebels fighting to bring down Syrian President Bashar Assad if the U.S. can confirm his forces did in fact use the debilitating nerve gas sarin in recent attacks. Coupled with news that Israel reportedly launched an airstrike at a target in Syria to prevent a shipment of missiles from reaching Hezbollah, these events could represent a game changer in the conflict-ravaged nation.
It's been two months since the across-the-board budget cuts known as sequestration officially went into effect. The decision on that was made here in Washington, but the effects are being felt all over the country. Take, for example, a chunk of money called impact aid.
JACK BOOGAARD: There's three different kids that can receive this type of money called impact aid.
In the spring of 1970, a British illustrator named Ralph Steadman had just moved to America, hoping to find some work. His first call came from a small literary journal called Scanlan's. It was looking for a cartoonist to send to the Kentucky Derby. Steadman had heard of neither the race nor the writer he was to accompany, a fellow named Hunter S. Thompson.
Steadman hadn't read any of Thompson's work, and he certainly didn't know that the writer had a bit of a drinking tendency, but he agreed to go.
Round 11 of our Three-Minute Fiction contest begins now!
Here's how it works: We ask you to write an original short story that can be read in about three minutes, so no more than 600 words. Each round, we invite an author to throw out a challenge and help us judge the contest.
Clyde Edgerton is the author of 10 novels, but his latest book is nonfiction — a guide for dads. Papadaddy's Book for New Fathers: Advice to Dads of All Ages opens with a summary of Edgerton's own family situation:
I have a daughter, Catherine, aged 30. I have a 9-year-old son, Nathaniel, a 7-year-old son, Ridley, and a 6-year-old daughter, Truma. I'm 68. The age gap between the younger kids and me is not something I think about much, because I feel physically about like I did when I was 40 — or at least, I think I do. I think I ...
The Reluctant Fundamentalist is the story of one man's struggle with identity and loyalty after 9/11.
The film's title character, Changez, is an ambitious twenty-something who seems to have it all: A Princeton degree, a Wall Street career and a beautiful girlfriend (played by Kate Hudson). But after 9/11, Changez becomes conflicted about where he belongs.
Are you a teenager with a story to tell? NPR and Radio Diaries want to hear it. Write it down, photograph it (and record it if you want) and then submit it to the storytelling site Cowbird.
Beginning in 1996, Radio Diaries gave tape recorders to five teenagers to create audio diaries about their lives. Starting on May 6, All Things Considered will revisit these original diarists, now in their 30s, to document their lives for NPR listeners.
The government's employment report for April comes out Friday. It's an important measure of the economy's health and the advance signals have been mixed. One report this week showed layoffs falling to a five-year low, but another suggests disappointing jobs creation.
At least one sector is providing some positive news for the job market: housing.
Y'know, I think this bummed-out superhero thing is catching. Depressed Bat-guy, brooding Spider-dude, even the Man of Steel seems existentially troubled in previews of his most recent incarnation.
And smart-alecky Iron Man? He'd appeared inoculated by Tony Stark's reflexive snark from succumbing to a similar ailment — but even he's having anxiety attacks these days. Ever since that Avengers dust-up with those unpleasant aliens last summer, he's evidently been having trouble sleeping.
Natalie Maines is a small woman with a really big voice. Flanked by Emily Robison on banjo and Martie McGuire on fiddle, Maines powered the Dixie Chicks to some 30 million records sold. And then came the collapse — after what the band calls "the incident."
A smartphone can tell you where to get a cup of coffee, but it can't go get the coffee for you. Engineers would like to build little machines that can do stuff. They would be useful for a lot more than coffee, if we could figure out how to make them work.
But the rules of mechanics change at small scales. Friction becomes dominant; turbulence can upend a small airplane.
Some employers around the nation have been using E-Verify to check the immigration status of employees for years. Operated by the Department of Homeland Security, the online system is designed to make it harder to hire unauthorized workers — and harder for those workers to find jobs.
While participation in the program has been voluntary since 1996, the immigration bill now in the Senate would make E-Verify mandatory.
Mexican Piggy Cookies are known by many names — cerditos, cochinitos, marranitos or puerquitos. Sweetened with unprocessed cane sugar and honey, and spiced with cinnamon, the cutout cookies puff when you bake them.
"First they ate their horses, and then fed upon their dogs and cats, as well as rats, mice and snakes."
So says James Horn of the historical group Colonial Williamsburg, paraphrasing an account by colony leader George Percy of what conditions were like for the hundreds of men and women stranded in Jamestown, Va., with little food in the dead of winter in 1609.
They even ate their shoes. And, apparently, at least one person.