3:53 pm
Sun January 6, 2013

Could Reviving Earmarks Get Congress Moving Again?

Recent episodes of gridlock in Congress have some arguing for the return of legislative earmarks, which, though often abused for political gain, helped get bills passed.
Drew Angerer Getty Images

Originally published on Mon January 7, 2013 8:54 am

"You scratch my back, and I'll scratch yours" is an old and cherished maxim of our republic. In politics, that's called an earmark, aka pork. One member of Congress gets a road or a monument for his or her state in exchange for a vote on the bill in question.

Congress has lived on this since the era of stovepipe hats. The political vogue lately, however, has been to repudiate those earmarks. But with the recent gridlock in Washington, the feeling is that perhaps some of that grease might help ease things.

Read more
Author Interviews
3:26 pm
Sun January 6, 2013

Re-Creating The 'Lost Carving' Of An English Genius

Originally published on Sun January 6, 2013 6:06 pm

On one spring day in the early 1970s, writer David Esterly paused to admire a stunning wooden carving inside a London church.

"On the panel behind the altar, I saw these extraordinary cascades of leaves and flowers and fruits, carved to a fineness and fluent realism, which seemed to me breathtaking," Esterly recalled in an interview with Jacki Lyden, host of weekends on All Things Considered.

Read more
3:06 pm
Sun January 6, 2013

Australia's Mining Boom Creates Demand For Sex Workers

Supporters of the Scarlet Alliance Australian Sex Workers Association demand better legal protections at a rally outside the New South Wales Parliament in September.
Greg Wood AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Sun January 6, 2013 6:07 pm

It's 9 p.m. on a Wednesday, and the night shift has started work at Langtrees, a popular brothel in the Western Australia city of Perth.

Like other women at Langtrees, "Ruby," 25, uses a working name out of concern for her safety. Ruby is from Spain, and tonight she expects to earn at least $1,500.

"I work in many countries — in Europe, in Dubai, I work in Brazil," Ruby says.

Read more
The Two-Way
1:35 pm
Sun January 6, 2013

GOP Senators Warn Of Tough Road For Hagel Nomination

Former Sen. Chuck Hagel, seen here in 2008, is reported to be President Obama's pick to be the next defense secretary.
Dave Weaver AP

Originally published on Sun January 6, 2013 4:19 pm

President Obama will on Monday name former Sen. Chuck Hagel to be his next defense secretary, an administration official confirmed to NPR.

The former Republican senator from Nebraska is a Vietnam veteran. He would succeed Leon Panetta, who is retiring.

Our original post follows:

Republican senators say former Sen. Chuck Hagel can expect a tough nominating process if President Obama names him to be the next defense secretary.

Read more
The Record
11:13 am
Sun January 6, 2013

The Week In Music: What To Read Now That We're Back In The Saddle

Das Racist, in happier times.
Courtesy of the artists

This week writers came back from the holiday break ready to play. From David Denby unloading in the New Yorker, to John Jeremiah Sullivan working a mention of the Fruit Jar Guzzlers into a Paris Review piece, Robert Christgau beating his breast over Das Racist's breakup and an examination of the visuals of extreme music, there wasn't a lot of taking it easy. Lucky you.

Who's That? Brooown!

Read more
You Must Read This
6:03 am
Sun January 6, 2013

Adjust Your Vision: Tolstoy's Last And Darkest Novel

cover detail

George Saunders' latest book is called Tenth of December: Stories.

It's become commonplace to say that good fiction "wakes us up." The speaker usually means that he — a righteous, likable person, living in the correct way — becomes, post-reading, temporarily even more righteous and likable.

Resurrection, Tolstoy's last and darkest novel, works differently.

It's a shocking and impolite book, seemingly incapable of that last-minute epiphanic updraft or lyric reversal that lets us walk away from even the darkest novel fundamentally intact.

Read more
6:03 am
Sun January 6, 2013

At Home In Fantasy's Nerd-Built Worlds


Once, in an age long past, "epic" was a dirty word.

Way back when I was a young nerd growing up in the Midwest in the 1980s — long before I became a professional writer — histories of magic rings and chronicles of ancient evils were not exactly mainstream fare. Indeed, to publicize one's knowledge of Elvish sword-names and Orcish myth was to contract a kind of voluntary leprosy.

Read more
6:00 am
Sun January 6, 2013

Film Flubs In 2012: A List Of Inconsistencies

Originally published on Sun January 6, 2013 9:02 am



2012 was a great year for U.S. movie ticket sales - nearly $11 billion. Some of the highest grossing films include "The Avengers."


UNIDENTIFIED MAN #1: (as character) What have I to fear?

ROBERT DOWNEY JR.: (as Tony Sparks) The Avengers - that's what we call ourselves. Earth's mightiest heroes type thing.

MARTIN: "The Dark Knight Rises."


UNIDENTIFIED MAN #2: (as character) I need to see Bruce Wayne.

Read more
Strange News
6:00 am
Sun January 6, 2013

It Would Take Way More Seagulls To Lift James' Peach

Originally published on Sun January 6, 2013 9:02 am

Host Rachel Martin delves into the physics behind Roald Dahl's childrens' classic, James and the Giant Peach. Physics students at the University of Leicester calculated that it would take 2,425,907 seagulls to lift James' Giant Peach, making Roald Dahl's number (501), entirely insufficient.

The Two-Way
5:42 am
Sun January 6, 2013

The Tax Man Takes Aim At The World's Wealthy

Protesters demonstrate outside a Starbucks coffee shop in London last month. Protests were held at Starbucks throughout the U.K. after it was revealed that the coffee chain had paid almost no corporate taxes for the last three years.
Peter Macdiarmid Getty Images

Originally published on Sun January 6, 2013 9:17 am

As 2013 begins with wealthy Americans in line for bigger tax bills, they're not alone. Tax fairness takes the spotlight worldwide this year, as cash-strapped governments look to impose more of the burden on well-heeled companies, individuals and institutions, and to catch and punish tax cheaters.

This week, as the U.S. Congress averted a plunge off the fiscal precipice, British Prime Minister David Cameron sent a letter to leaders of the Group of Eight countries that make up about half of the world's economic output.

Read more