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Food
11:47 am
Wed February 27, 2013

In Praise Of The Humble Lentil

T. Susan Chang for NPR

Originally published on Thu February 28, 2013 10:01 am

The year I discovered lentils, I was broke and lonely and didn't know how to cook. Lentils, it turned out, would have gone a long way toward providing the solution to some of these problems. However, when I first had them, they were a mystery.

They also were the cheapest thing on the menu at the Middle Eastern deli around the corner. The dish was mudardara, I was told. "What's that again?" I said, unable to untangle the knot of plosive consonants. It was repeated.

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It's All Politics
11:46 am
Wed February 27, 2013

Why The Budget May Be Easier Criticized Than Cut

The U.S. Capitol is seen Tuesday, three days before the government sequester is scheduled to begin. It would require $85 billion in across-the-board government spending cuts over the next seven months, but would not target specific programs.
J. Scott Applewhite AP

Originally published on Wed February 27, 2013 12:28 pm

If it seems odd that so many members of Congress have such trouble coming up with specific things to cut from the budget (apart from the usual favorites, "waste" and "fraud), perhaps they're simply taking their cues from their bosses, their constituents.

The Pew Research Center studied this in a recent poll, and found that of 19 different budget categories, there is majority support for cutting spending in exactly none of them.

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Book Reviews
11:33 am
Wed February 27, 2013

Echoes Of Orwell In 'The Office Of Mercy'

Originally published on Tue February 26, 2013 8:31 am

It was no less than the master of dystopian fiction, George Orwell, who noted in a 1946 essay that "political language has to consist largely of euphemism. ... Defenseless villages are bombarded from the air ...

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Literature
11:33 am
Wed February 27, 2013

Echoes Of Orwell In 'The Office Of Mercy'

Originally published on Tue February 26, 2013 8:31 am

It was no less than the master of dystopian fiction, George Orwell, who noted in a 1946 essay that "political language has to consist largely of euphemism. ... Defenseless villages are bombarded from the air ...

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Business
10:58 am
Wed February 27, 2013

Cheesecake Factory, IBM Team Up To Crack The Code Of Customer Bliss

A new outpost for The Cheesecake Factory in Bloomfield Hills, Mich.
PR Newswire

Originally published on Wed February 27, 2013 11:17 am

Consider the following entirely fictitious but totally plausible scenario:

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The Two-Way
10:53 am
Wed February 27, 2013

Picking A Pope? Try The 'Sweet Sistine' Bracket Challenge

The "sweet sistine" brackets.
Religion News Service

Next month brings "March madness" for fans of college basketball.

It's also going to bring Roman Catholic cardinals together to choose a new pope.

Which means, according to Religion News Service, it's time to "make your picks in the Vatican's Sweet Sistine brackets!"

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The Two-Way
10:17 am
Wed February 27, 2013

Hagel Sworn In As Defense Secretary

New Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, left, as he was sworn in Wednesday morning at the Pentagon. His wife, Lilibet, held the Bible. Michael L. Rhodes, the Pentagon's director of administration and management, administered the oath.
MC1 Chad J. McNeeley Office of the Secretary of Defense

Originally published on Wed February 27, 2013 11:18 am

After a somewhat stormy debate in the Senate over his confirmation, former Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-Neb.) was sworn in Wednesday morning at the Pentagon and took over as secretary of defense.

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The Two-Way
9:54 am
Wed February 27, 2013

Negotiators At Six-Nation Talks See Signs Of Hope In Iran Nuclear Standoff

Iran's Supreme National Security Council Secretary and chief nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili speaks during talks in Almaty, Kazakhstan, on Wednesday.
Shamil Zhumatov AP

Originally published on Wed February 27, 2013 11:01 am

Officials at six-nation nuclear talks on limiting Iran's nuclear program say the two-day meeting in Kazakhstan has been a turning point, and Tehran's lead negotiator described the discussions as a positive step.

But NPR's Peter Kenyon, reporting from the talks in Almaty, says it appears that most of what was accomplished was simply laying the groundwork for future discussions.

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The Two-Way
9:34 am
Wed February 27, 2013

Come Aboard! Here's What The 'Titanic II' Will Look Like, Inside And Out

An artist's image of the Titanic II.
Blue Star Line UPI /Landov

Declaring it will be the safest cruise ship in the world and will have more than enough lifeboats just in case something goes wrong, the designer of what's supposed to be a replica of the Titanic has unveiled images of what the Titanic II will look like, inside and out.

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The Two-Way
8:09 am
Wed February 27, 2013

Countdown To Sequester: Three Stories That Sum It Up

Originally published on Thu February 28, 2013 8:08 am

As a public service to our readers this week we've been offering a list of three stories each day that we think illuminate the looming sequester (or at least the debate over it), set to be triggered by the passing of Friday's deadline.

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The Two-Way
8:04 am
Wed February 27, 2013

Reports: U.S. Eyeing 'Direct' Aid To Syrian Rebels, Though Not Weapons

Rebel fighters in Aleppo, Syria, in January.
Thomas Rassloff DPA /LANDOV

"The Obama administration is moving toward a major policy shift on Syria that could provide rebels there with equipment such as body armor and armored vehicles, and possibly military training, and could send humanitarian assistance directly to Syria's opposition political coalition," The Washington Post reports. It cites as its sources "U.S. and European officials."

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Animals
7:32 am
Wed February 27, 2013

Runaway Bald Eagle Captured After 3 Days

Originally published on Wed February 27, 2013 7:39 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Good morning. I'm Renée Montagne. Bald eagles are the definition of cool, but apparently they spook easily. So when Sequoia, a bald eagle at the Palo Alto Junior Museum and Zoo, got caught in a strong wind while spreading her wings at a local park, she took off to other suburbs. The San Jose Mercury News reports it took three days for the bald eagle's handlers to track her down. And then she was treated with a feast of mouse and quail. It's MORNING EDITION. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

The Two-Way
7:26 am
Wed February 27, 2013

Book News: New Claims About Nixon In Posthumous Robert Bork Memoir

Judge Robert Bork in September 1987, at the Senate hearing on his nomination to the Supreme Court.
Charles Tasnadi AP

The daily lowdown on books, publishing, and the occasional author behaving badly.

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Books News & Features
7:22 am
Wed February 27, 2013

6 Books On Shortlist To Win Oddest Title Prize

Originally published on Wed February 27, 2013 7:37 am

Transcript

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

Good morning, I'm Linda Wertheimer with contenders for oddest book title of the year.

Six books are shortlisted for the British Diagram Prize including histories, "How Tea Cozies Changed the World. Also, how-to books, "Goblinproofing One's Chicken Coop" and "How to Sharpen Pencils." The competition coordinator says you can't judge a book by its cover. But I think people do. The winner will be announced on March 22nd.

You're listening to MORNING EDITION. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

The Two-Way
6:58 am
Wed February 27, 2013

Sometimes 'The Lord Seemed To Sleep,' Pope Says In Farewell

Pope Benedict XVI as he arrived on the altar in St. Peter's Square Wednesday for his last general audience.
Gabriel Bouys AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed February 27, 2013 11:37 am

Bidding an emotional farewell to a huge crowd gathered in The Vatican's St. Peter's Square, Pope Benedict XVI indirectly acknowledged Wednesday that his nearly 8 years as head of the Roman Catholic Church have not always been easy.

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Middle East
6:13 am
Wed February 27, 2013

Talks On Iran's Nuclear Program To Resume In April

Originally published on Wed February 27, 2013 7:37 am

Transcript

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

Iran now says compromise on its nuclear program may be possible. Of course, that comes with a number of ifs. Tehran says that's if international negotiators continue to take what it calls a more realistic approach. The big question, Western officials say, is whether Iran is willing to curb its nuclear activities. That is the message, after a two-day meeting between Iran and six world powers. NPR's Peter Kenyon joins us from Almaty, Kazakhstan where the talks just concluded.

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Around the Nation
6:13 am
Wed February 27, 2013

Sequester Cuts Free Some Immigration Detainees

Originally published on Wed February 27, 2013 7:37 am

Transcript

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency has released hundreds of immigration detainees ahead of Friday's sequester deadline. The decision was made to help bring down the agency's budget, in light of the automatic spending cuts. ICE officials are getting both praise and a lot of heat for the unusual move. NPR's Ted Robbins has the story.

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Politics
6:13 am
Wed February 27, 2013

Sequester Politics In The News

Originally published on Wed February 27, 2013 7:37 am

Usually when we come up to the edge of one of these deadlines there are 11th-hour negotiations, and the two parties manage to swerve away from the precipice at the last minute. What about this time?

Middle East
3:42 am
Wed February 27, 2013

Syrian Rebels, Secular And Islamist, Both Claim The Future

Secular demonstrators, shown at a protest march this month in Aleppo, wave the old Syrian flag (green, white, black and red) that has become the symbol of their opposition movement.
Aamir Qureshi AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed February 27, 2013 8:17 pm

Syria's Islamists have grown in influence as the war against President Bashar Assad's government grinds on. They have proved to be effective fighters, well armed and funded.

But as Islamists have grown stronger on the battlefield, more Syrians are asking about their political ideas and what that will mean for the future of the country.

A recent confrontation between liberal protesters and Islamists in the northwestern Syrian city of Saraqeb, which was caught on video, set off a heated online debate.

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Your Money
3:41 am
Wed February 27, 2013

Americans Earn More Than Their Parents (With A Caveat), Study Says

Originally published on Wed February 27, 2013 7:54 am

Most Americans are earning more money than their parents, according to a new study from Pew's Economic Mobility Project. But those gains don't tell the whole picture.

Let's start with the good news. The Pew Charitable Trust study looked at actual pairs of children and parents. Around age 40, 83 percent of the children were earning at least a thousand bucks more than their parents were when they were 40.

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