Anyone with a 401(k) retirement plan has been painfully aware of the gyrations in the stock market in recent years. The market has come back up lately, but the economy is still in low gear, so many analysts aren't too bullish in the short term. Also, treasuries and CDs are offering tiny returns.
So what's the average American trying to save for retirement to do? Answers are percolating at an annual economics retreat in Maine.
In the summer, many middle- and upper-class Egyptians flee the sweltering heat and humidity of Cairo to a string of private beach communities that hug the Mediterranean coast. Here, the weather is cooler and the breeze off the sea carries the shouts of snack sellers. Those vendors make it possible for beachgoers to purchase snacks without leaving the shade of their umbrellas.
Every Tuesday night at the 5 Spot, some 200 people show up the East Nashville bar for Two Dollar Tuesdays: a $2 coverage charge, $2 beers and five musical guests. It's hosted by Derek Hoke, an unassuming, laid-back guy with the cowboy hat and retro-vintage eyeglasses.
"I call it a speed showcase," Hoke says. "Everybody plays five songs, and I tell them to play the 'best of' â you know, get up there, kill and get off. There's somebody coming up right after you, and we have to plow through this thing."
Corey Sharpe is one of the many people out working to restore electricity in Louisiana. He's a lineman with DEMCO. That's the Dixie Electric Membership Corporation, the state's largest power co-op. We reached him on the job in Denham Springs just outside Baton Rouge.
COREY SHARPE: Right now we actually just pulled up to an outage. A huge oak tree just fell on kind of - by one of our power lines and knocked down a service, the one at someone's house. So that's what we just came up to right here.
This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Melissa Block. The floodwaters have begun to recede in Louisiana and Mississippi as the remnants of Hurricane Isaac move north. Utility companies are scrambling to restore power to hundreds of thousands of customers. In some places, floodwaters are hampering the recovery. That includes an area about 30 miles west of New Orleans where we find NPR's Joel Rose.
President Obama's re-election campaign won a big victory today in Ohio. A federal judge in Columbus has ordered the state to restore early voting in the three days prior to the November election. The state had eliminated it, except for voters in the military, and Ohio's attorney general insists he will appeal.
NPR's Pam Fessler has been covering this story. She joins me now. And, Pam, why is it such a big deal for the Obama campaign?
And now to E.J. Dionne and David Brooks, our regular Friday political commentators, both just back from Tampa. Welcome home.
E.J. DIONNE: Thank you.
DAVID BROOKS: Good to be here.
BLOCK: I want to talk to you both about what we heard in Mitt Romney's speech last night and also what we didn't hear. We did hear a very explicit appeal to people who voted for Barack Obama in 2008. Let's take a listen.
When Dick Hoyt competes in triathlons, he takes his son, Rick â who has cerebral palsy â with him in specially-designed carriers. Inspired by the Hoyts, Dennis Vanderheiden created Athletes in Tandem.
Travis Silvers, who now competes in AiT events, says, "I'm lucky to know Dennis and to be a part of something so special and I enjoy giving back to those who couldn't be out there without us."