When Chicago Tribune columnist Mary Schmich used the word "slacks" in a recent column, a reader commented: "Slacks? How old are you?"
"I was describing a young man, a college guy," Schmich tells NPR's Neal Conan. "I was trying to point out that he wasn't wearing jeans, that he wasn't sloppy, that he wasn't inordinately well-dressed for a guy in college," she says. "And so I used the word 'slacks.' "
Originally published on Wed October 24, 2012 4:42 pm
By now you've likely heard that in the pages of Superman #13, on stands today, Clark Kent quits his once-beloved great metropolitan newspaper.
Disillusioned by his employer's increasing predilection for glitzy infotainment over hard-hitting news, Clark takes a principled stand and abandons print journalism for the web, a medium blissfully free of petty, frivolous, celebrity-driven content OH WAIT
Originally published on Wed October 24, 2012 7:08 pm
With 13 days left until the Nov. 6 election, President Obama and his Republican challenger, Mitt Romney, both included trips to Iowa and Nevada on their schedules. Each tried to fire up his supporters and cast doubts about the other to gain an advantage in a race that appears essentially tied.
At rallies in Davenport, Iowa, and Denver, both swing states where the election is fluid, Obama trotted out attack lines he's used in recent days against the former Massachusetts governor.
The top federal prosecutor in Manhattan filed a lawsuit today that alleges Bank of America Corp. cost American taxpayers more than $1 billion when it sold toxic mortgages — originally issued by Countrywide Financial — to the government controlled Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
NPR's Margot Adler explains it like this to our Newscast unit:
"U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara described the conduct of Countrywide as 'spectacularly brazen in scope.'
Originally published on Wed October 24, 2012 6:06 pm
We almost brought you news today about a study that appeared to raise some troubling questions about aspartame, the popular sugar substitute found in many common foods like diet soda. Note the key word — almost.
A study due to be published at 3 p.m. Wednesday in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition and released to reporters earlier in the week under embargo found some correlation between drinking diet soda and an increased risk of leukemia and Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, as well as a few other rare blood-related cancers.
In Detroit, Tigers fans are preparing for the return of their beloved team to the grand stage of the World Series. In a city largely known for hard times these days, the World Series means far more than just a chance at a championship.
Facing high unemployment and crime rates and teetering on the edge of financial collapse, Detroit needs something to celebrate. Maybe something along the lines of the celebration that broke out after the Tigers won the World Series again in 1968.
There is a remarkable change going on in Mogadishu, Somalia — often dubbed the world's most dangerous city. For starters, it may not deserve that title anymore.
Last year, African Union forces drove the Islamist militant group al-Shabab out of Mogadishu. Now, Somalia has a new president and prime minister who have replaced the corrupt and unpopular transitional government.
Hope is edging aside despair, and Mogadishu is coming back to life.
As part of NPR's coverage of this year's presidential election, All Things Considered asked three science reporters to weigh in on the race. The result is a three-part series on the science of leadership. In Part 1, Alix Spiegel looked at the personalities of American presidents.
Voters could learn some things about choosing a leader from a fish. Or a chimp. Or an elephant.
Marijuana legalization is back on the ballot this year. California voters defeated a legalization proposal in 2010, but now similar measures have cropped up in three more Western states. This time around, some of the most intense opposition is coming from the earlier pioneers of legalization — the medical marijuana industry.
Food appears so often and takes on so much importance in Jami Attenberg's novel The Middlesteins, that while reading it I sometimes felt like I was on a kind of literary cruise ship. But excess isn't presented here wantonly; instead, it's laid out and explored with sympathy, thought and depth. Early on, the parents of the main character think, "Food was made of love, and was what made love, and they could never deny themselves a bite of anything they desired." And so the novel takes off from the evocative starting point known as appetite.
Rep. David Rivera, R-Fla., was charged Wednesday by Florida authorities with alleged ethics violations while he was in the state Legislature, perhaps imperiling his bid for re-election to the House in an already tight contest.
Originally published on Thu October 25, 2012 10:47 am
The Texas attorney general is warning international election observers not to mess with Texas.
"Your opinion is legally irrelevant in the United States, where the Supreme Court has already determined that Voter ID laws are constitutional," Greg Abbott wrote in a letter sent to the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, which monitors elections across the world.
Soul legend Bobby Womack was considered a survivor before he'd started work on his long-awaited comeback album The Bravest Man in the Universe. After overcoming hospitalization with pneumonia and successful treatment of colon cancer while in the midst of recording the album, Womack released his finest work in ages over the summer.
Tom Wolfe wrote his new novel, Back to Blood, entirely by hand. But the author of The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test and The Bonfire of the Vanities also says that wasn't entirely by choice — he'd rather have used a typewriter.
"Unfortunately, you can't keep typewriters going today — you have to take the ribbons back to be re-inked," Wolfe tells Fresh Air's Dave Davies. "There's a horrible search to try to find missing parts."
Geneticist reported Wednesday that they had crossed a threshold long considered off-limits: They have made changes in human DNA that can be passed down from one generation to the next.
The researchers at Oregon Health & Science University in Portland say they took the step to try to prevent women from giving birth to babies with genetic diseases. But the research is raising a host of ethical, social and moral questions.