Author Richard Russo has been writing about the burned-out mill town of Gloversville, N.Y., for years. In one Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, he called it Empire Falls, Maine; in another novel, it was Thomaston, N.Y.
A new NPR poll shows the outcome of the Nov. 6 election is too close to call. Mitt Romney leads President Obama nationwide; Obama leads Romney in key battleground states. Both leads are within the poll's margin of error.
The latest and last NPR Battleground Poll for 2012 shows former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney holding the narrowest of leads in the national sample, but trailing President Obama in the dozen states that will decide the election.
The poll adds evidence that the Oct. 3 debate between the two men redefined the race. But the movement toward Romney that emerged after that night in Denver also seems to have stalled after the race drew even — leaving the outcome difficult to call.
Coyotes have moved into the Boston suburb of Belmont, Mass. The Boston Globe says they've lost their fear of humans because people feed them. So, Belmont is training volunteers for coyote hazing. Their job is to harass coyotes — shouting at them, throwing objects their way, even squirting them with water hoses.
Good morning. I'm Steve Inskeep. Key West, Florida has seen its share of hurricanes. But as Sandy passed well to the east, residents of the island completed their annual Fantasy Fest. The theme was A-Conch-Alypse, you know, the apocalypse but with conch shells. A parade included floats with alien invaders and a post-apocalyptic zombie ghost town. One float featured a zombie presidential election with advocates for zombie care and a candidate named Eaton D. Brains. It's MORNING EDITION. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.
Political commentators will be working overtime in the countdown to the presidential election. So will political comedians, including the candidates' impersonators.
Impersonators have been part of the political landscape for so long, it's hard to imagine a time without them: Rich Little, Dana Carvey, Will Ferrell, Dan Aykroyd, Darrell Hammond, Tina Fey and other comedians have all famously done their turns as candidates. Remember "I can see Russia from my house"?
A new study released by the World Economic Forum ranks northern European nations at the top when it comes to the size of their gender gap. But one area where the gap is huge is in the percentage of women on company boards; it's less than 15 percent EU-wide. Controversy over what should be done about that — and by whom — is more divisive than ever.
Now, the effects of this powerful storm have forced President Obama and his Republican challenger, Mitt Romney, to alter their campaign schedules. The president has cancelled a rally that was scheduled in Florida. We're also told of a rally that's been cancelled in Wisconsin.
Cokie Roberts spoke with us earlier on this program. She's been following the effects, the potential effects of this storm on the campaign.
One issue that has received little attention in this year's presidential race is the war in Afghanistan. But according to Thomas E. Ricks, we should be paying attention — specifically to those in charge of the military there, because they can make the difference between long, expensive wars and decisive victories. That's the lesson Ricks explores in his latest book, The Generals.
The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday considers whether to allow a challenge to a federal law that provides for large-scale electronic surveillance of international phone calls and emails. The case is not a direct test of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. Rather, it is a test of whether the law can even be challenged in court at all.
Golfers are used to hazards like sand traps, though rarely an obstacle as interesting as a shark. This week, at a golf course in Southern California, a 2-pound leopard shark was spotted on the 12th tee. It had apparently been dropped by an ocean bird flying overhead.
Good morning. I'm Steve Inskeep with a reminder that guns don't kill people, dental floss kills people. Jail inmates in Westchester County, New York have sued the county for $500 million because they want to be issued dental floss. The county is reluctant, saying prisoners elsewhere have used floss as a weapon. They've also used it to escape, weaving ropes out of braided floss or even using toothpaste-coated floss to cut very slowly through cell bars. It's MORNING EDITION. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.
Democrats and Republicans are on track to spend about $1 billion each on television advertising in the presidential race. Most of it is negative, and almost all of it is concentrated in nine battleground states.
If you live in Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio, Virginia or Wisconsin, you cannot get away from the ad blitz being waged by both sides. For the folks who track political advertising at Kantar Media CMAG, these commercials tell a story.
Good morning. I'm Steve Inskeep. Donald Trump returned to the headlines, offering $5 million if President Obama would release college and passport records. Jay Leno brought this up when the president appeared on "The Tonight Show."
(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "THE TONIGHT SHOW")
JAY LENO: What's this thing with Trump and you? I don't - it's like me and Letterman. What has he got against you?
PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: This all dates back to when we were growing up together in Kenya.
Concerns about problems at the polls appear to be greater and coming earlier than usual this election year. Already, mysterious phone calls in Florida and Virginia have told voters they can vote by phone — which they cannot do.
And until this week, there were anonymous billboards in Ohio and Wisconsin warning that voter fraud is a felony — which it is.
There are more ways than ever to watch TV programs on the Internet, from Netflix and Amazon to Hulu. But many viewers discover that watching TV on the Web can be frustrating. Their favorite show might suddenly stop, stutter and be replaced by a note that reads "buffering." The problem is lack of bandwidth: The data that is the video just can't squeeze through the wires and onto the screen.
Tanzania has been identified as the leading exporter of illegal ivory in recent years. An estimated 10,000 elephants are being slaughtered in the country annually. Here, elephants walk in the Serengeti National Reserve in northern Tanzania in 2010.
Credit Tony Karumba / AFP/Getty Images
Wildlife rangers in Tanzania came across this elephant that had been killed for its ivory. Tanzania says it wants to prevent the slaughter of elephants, but rangers are poorly paid and are responsible for monitoring vast game reserves in the East African country.
Gone from this year's presidential campaign are most mentions of climate change, environmental pollution, or green jobs. Former Gov. Mitt Romney, the GOP presidential nominee, prefers to call attention instead to the country's continuing dependence on foreign energy sources.
"I will set a national goal of North American energy independence by the year 2020," Romney declared in August.
The line is now a standard part of Romney's stump speech, and he repeated it in his first two debates with President Obama.
On Thursday, July 29, 1880, Doyle wrote, "Came across a most extraordinary natural snow house, about 12 feet high, shaped like a beehive with a door and a fine room inside in which I sat. Traveled a considerable distance, and would have gone to the Pole, but my matches ran short and I couldn't get a smoke."
Credit Courtesy of University of Chicago Press
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was a Scottish physician and writer best known for penning stories about the detective Sherlock Holmes.
Credit Courtesy of University of Chicago Press
On Tuesday, April 13, 1880, Doyle wrote, "Boiled Beef day again (Tuesday — Teugh-day — Tough-day — Boiled Beef day). The worst dinner in the week except Friday."
On June 15, 1880, Arthur Conan Doyle wrote a vivid sentence in his diary. It read, "The only difference in the weather is that the fog is thicker and the wind more utterly odious and depraved."
Knowing that he was the creator of Sherlock Holmes, you might think Doyle is referring to the thick London fog drifting outside the windows of 221B Baker Street. But this sentence was written years before the first Holmes novel and it describes a considerably harsher environment — the thick fog and depraved wind of the Arctic, where Doyle traveled when he was 20.
Good morning. I'm Renee Montagne. Stop the presses. Clark Kent is quitting The Daily Planet. The mild-mannered reporter apparently decided to show a little steel after being scolded one time too many by Editor-in-Chief Perry White. Superman's alter ego goes out big. Before the entire staff, he rails against the newspaper's new emphasis on entertainment and scandals. After seven decades on the news desk, Clark is reportedly reinventing himself in new media. It's MORNING EDITION. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.
Before Steve Silverman helped Google build its new Trekker, he built cameras for NASA to photograph the surface of Mars. Silverman says the Trekker is built to survive in intense conditions. It will boot up at 10 below zero Celsius or at 110 Fahrenheit. It will even work after being fully submerged in water.
Credit Steve Henn / NPR
The Google Trekker team hikes down the Bright Angel trail heading toward the base of the Grand Canyon.
Credit Steve Henn / NPR
Google's Craig Robinson and James Hoffacker prepare to hike into the Grand Canyon. Robinson is wearing the new Google Trekker — a Street View camera mounted to a backpack. The Trekker's two lithium ion batteries can last eight hours and power 15 cameras. The pack — designed and built by Google — weighs 40 pounds.
Google's Street View maps are headed into the backcountry. Earlier this week, two teams from Google strapped on sophisticated backpacks jammed with cameras, gyroscopes and other gadgets, and descended to the bottom of the Grand Canyon. But this is just the first step in the search giant's plan to digitally map and photograph the world's wild places.
Luc Vincent — who runs Google's Street View — met up with a small group of reporters on the South Rim of the Grand Canyon this week.
Afghan soldiers stand at attention during a ceremony transferring authority from NATO-led troops to Afghan security forces in Afghanistan's Kunar province. The transfer of responsibility for security from NATO-led ISAF forces to Afghan troops is scheduled to be completed by the end of 2014.
America's exit strategy in Afghanistan is to have Afghan forces take the lead in fighting for their country. But too often these days, the job still falls to U.S. troops.
A senior officer in Afghanistan tells NPR that Americans continue to coddle Afghan forces and that this must stop. Tough love is in, the officer says. He says the Afghan forces are far more capable than the U.S. estimates and have simply grown accustomed to the U.S. doing everything for them.
That pretty much sums up the situation in southern Afghanistan earlier this year.
Nick Staback, who lost both of his legs to a bomb in Afghanistan, talks with his mother, Maria Staback, in Scranton, Pa. Maria Staback took a leave of absence from her job to move in with her son while he was recuperating at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center outside Washington, D.C.
Credit David Gilkey / NPR
Staback takes aim with a replica sniper rifle on his back porch in Scranton, Pa. After a year at Walter Reed, he's moving into an apartment with a friend near the hospital in Bethesda, Md.
On furlough from Walter Reed National Military Medical Center this summer, 21-year-old Nick Staback lounges on his parents' back porch in Scranton, Pa., taking potshots at sparrows with a replica sniper rifle. The long plastic gun fires pellets that mostly just scare the birds away.
It's been a tough year for Staback since his last foot patrol in Afghanistan.
"We [were] just channeling down a beaten trail, of course, you just don't know what's on it," he says. "We had the mine sweepers out front and everything like that."