From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish.
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And I'm Melissa Block. Today, a long legal battle came to an end. On one side, Google; on the other, book publishers. The two have reached an agreement to resolve a lawsuit that's dragged on for seven years. But this does not end Google's legal trouble, as it tries to digitize the world's books. An even more important lawsuit remains unresolved - with thousands of authors of those books that Google has scanned. NPR's Laura Sydell reports.
And finally this hour, it's time for a literary take on one of our top stories today. Reporters step aside. Spin doctors drop those talking points. We've asked two writers to reflect on last night's debate in poetry. One from the right and one from the left. This is still politics, after all. First up, conservative commentator Mark Steyn, author of the book, "After America: Get Ready for Armageddon." He was inspired by the fact that last night's debate coincided with the president's 20th wedding anniversary.
Originally published on Thu October 4, 2012 5:03 pm
Despite President Obama's celebrated gift for oratory, the Obama supporters least surprised by his underwhelming performance against Mitt Romney may have been two of his top advisers.
Senior strategists David Plouffe and David Axelrod have long doubted Obama's debating skills. Their concerns date back to the 2008 presidential campaign, as Plouffe wrote in his book, The Audacity to Win. He put it plainly: "Historically, Obama was not a strong debater."
Stephen Colbert has no idea how other news pundits find time to write books. But he felt certain that his character on his Comedy Central show, The Colbert Report, needed to have another one.
"My character is based on news punditry, the masters of opinion in cable news, and they all have books," he tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross. "We don't have time to write a book and feed and wash ourselves, so something has to go out the window. And [for me] it was family, friends and hygiene for the past year."
The story of the birth of accounting begins with numbers. In the 1400s, much of Europe was still using Roman numerals, and finding it really hard to easily add or subtract. (Try adding MCVI to XCIV.)
But fortunately, Arabic numerals (1, 2, 3, 4, etc.) started catching on, and with those numbers, merchants in Venice developed a revolutionary system we now call "double-entry" bookkeeping. This is how it works:
Originally published on Thu October 4, 2012 6:44 pm
In case anyone was wondering, this week's presidential debate demonstrated why incumbent presidents and others leading in the polls used to refuse to debate their challengers.
After John F. Kennedy used the first TV debates to boost his campaign against incumbent Vice President Richard Nixon in 1960, there simply were no debates until 1976. Running again with a big lead in 1968 and 1972, Nixon declined to debate and won both times. Lyndon B. Johnson also demurred in 1964 without damage en route to a landslide.
How much extra would you pay for local food? It's a familiar question. We face it practically every time we shop for groceries, either at the store or at the farmers market. But what about food that can save the lives of severely malnourished children?
Originally published on Thu October 4, 2012 5:00 pm
Appliance maker KitchenAid quickly deleted and apologized for a message that went out on its Twitter account during last night's presidential debate because the comment about President Obama and his grandmother was so offensive.
The comment writer — who has not been identified — picked up on the president's mention of his grandmother and tweeted that:
"Obamas gma even knew it was going 2 b bad! 'She died 3 days b4 he became president'."
Ay-yi-yi, what is it with these Dominican men? Their hands — and eyes — never stop roving, even as they're slipping engagement rings on their true loves' fingers.
If that sounds like negative stereotyping, don't complain to me: I'm just passing along the collective cultural verdict of the women and men, most of them themselves Dominican, who hustle through Junot Diaz's latest short story collection, This Is How You Lose Her. A good man is hard to find in these stories, and when you do find him, he's always in bed with someone else.
This is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. I'm Michel Martin. Coming up, we are recognizing Hispanic Heritage Month by speaking with the first Mexican-American woman to become a college or university president in the U.S. We'll hear her very interesting story in a few minutes.
But first, we turn to last night's presidential debate. An estimated 60 million Americans tuned in to watch the first face-off between President Barack Obama and Republican candidate Mitt Romney.
I'm Michel Martin and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. Film goers will remember Oscar-nominated director Lee Daniels for his provocative 2009 drama "Precious," which was based on the novel "Push" by Sapphire. It was an often grim, but also inspiring, story of an obese, illiterate, abused black teenaged mother who eventually finds a way to overcome her many challenges.
And now, we turn to California. Earlier this week, Governor Jerry Brown signed into law a landmark piece of legislation banning a controversial form of therapy that is meant to change the sexual orientation of children under 18. Supporters of the ban say the so-called gay to straight conversion therapy can psychologically scar patients in the worst possible ways and there's no medical evidence that it works.
Originally published on Thu October 4, 2012 6:43 pm
If you think substance trumps style, the analysis of last night's presidential debate might come as a shock. There seems to be a lot more talk today about things like temperament and facial expressions than the facts.
Here's a sampling of opinion:
Writing in Forbes, Frederick E. Allen says President Obama "looked defensive and uncertain," while GOP challenger Mitt Romney "may have said things that were clearly untrue ... but he said them convincingly."