O'Connell Street, 1952: Dublin in the 1950s is "perfect noir territory" says writer John Banville (who writes crime fiction under the pen name Benjamin Black). The city's dark history is incorporated into his work. "I am a novelist and therefore a cannibal," he says. "I eat whatever comes near me. Everything is material."
"If you are going to write noir fiction, Dublin in the '50s is absolutely perfect," novelist Benjamin Black tells NPR's Philip Reeves. "All that poverty, all that fog, all that cigarette smoke, all those drink fumes. Perfect noir territory."
You may know Black better as Irish writer John Banville, winner of the 2005 Man Booker Prize for his novel The Sea. Banville writes his crime fiction under the name Benjamin Black. His novels star an oddball sleuth named Quirke — a bachelor in his early 40s who works as a consultant pathologist in a Dublin morgue.
Robert Stover grew up in the late 1930s, and as he remembers, he never really had a hometown.
"My father was a salesman with the Hoover Vacuum Cleaner Company. He could move into a city and sell out its potential fairly rapidly. So I lived all over," Stover tells his daughter, Valerie Anderson.
Making friends wasn't easy.
"When I would get to a new town, everybody had to see who could whip the new boy," Robert says. "I was willing to stipulate that they all could — including the females. But it had to be proven."
U.S. Marines patrol with Afghan forces through a harvested poppy field in Northern Marjah in southern Afghanistan's Helmand province. Ten years after the fall of the Taliban, progress on U.S. pledges to help Afghanistan is mixed.
Afghan troops participate in training exercise at Camp Blackhorse in Kabul, March 10, 2010. After a decade of fitful training and billions of dollars, the Afghan security forces have an abysmal record of acting without direct NATO assistance.
Afghan doctors assist an injured Afghan soldiers at the Davoud Khan military hospital in Kabul, Afghanistan, on April 23, 2011. U.S. medics have traveled to Afghanistan to help train 600 nursing students over a period of two years at a medical training center at the hospital.
An Afghan man rides a motorcycle along the still under construction Bamiyan-Yakawlang road in Yakawlang, Afghanistan, June 10, 2011. Despite the construction of new roads, many of them are unsafe to drive.
People living in Afghanistan 10 years ago had little electricity, few radios and almost no televisions to alert them of the Sept. 11 attacks in New York and Washington. The news didn't really reach across the country until the American bombing campaign and invasion began a month later. The fall of the Taliban regime at the end of 2001 and the flood of international aid raised hope in Afghanistan.
When a president asks for a prime-time slot to address a joint session of Congress, he is signaling to the country that he has something very important to say. Next Thursday President Obama will once again try to make a hard political pivot to the issue of jobs.
When you think about Green Energy and its jobs, Albany, N.Y., probably wouldn't be the first city that pops into your head. But according to a report, the upstate New York region has the highest concentration of green jobs in the country. Another surprising area in the top 10: Cleveland and northeast Ohio.
The Labor Department releases its reports on August unemployment on Friday. What economists are expecting is by now a familiar story: That August did not generate enough job growth to move the needle on the jobless rate. But the most intractable part of the jobless problem might be the one that doesn't show up in the numbers.
The unemployment rate is expected to tick up slightly to 9.2 percent. Two years ago, the unemployment rate was 9.5 percent.
During his three-day bus tour, President Obama discussed job creation. At one town hall, he mentioned a training program in Georgia that allows companies to train prospective employees temporarily while they still receive an unemployment check.
President Obama is scheduled next week to announce a new federal jobs plan that could include some kind of worker training program. Among those programs the president is considering is one in Georgia, which has had mixed reviews.
At a recent town hall meeting in Illinois, Obama answered questions about the sagging economy, and mentioned Georgia Works, a job-training program that allows a company to try out a prospective employee for eight weeks while the worker still receives an unemployment check. He called it a smart program.