The congressional supercommittee announced Monday that it failed to come to an agreement on reducing the deficit. After three months of negotiating, the Democrats and Republicans just couldn't agree on how much spending to cut or how high to raise taxes.
But this is not a story about how the left and right disagree with each other. In fact, they actually largely agree.
When Talk of the Nation's Neal Conan asks for callers on a given topic, there's no telling what he'll get. Today, the show followed up with NPR's Tom Bowman on his series about the tremendous sacrifices of the "Darkhorse" Battalion — the Marines of the 3rd Battalion, 5th Regiment. Lance Cpl. Jake Romo lost both his legs in Afghanistan with the battalion, and he spoke with Conan and Bowman about his tour.
The government is expected to shut down at least 3,000 post offices — and one hobbyist who visits post offices around the country has taken notice.
Evan Kalish collects hand-cancellation marks and blogs about it on Going Postal, where he posts photographs of each location.
Kalish, who's also a graduate student at the University of Pennsylvania in geospatial analytics, started his hobby right out of college — and he has run up an impressive tally of how many he's visited: 2,745.
When scientists brought the Bulbophyllum nocturnum back to the Netherlands, they were perplexed. They had found the plant on the island of New Britain, near Papua New Guinea. They knew the plant came from a rare group, but the orchid's blooms would die before opening up. At least that's what the scientists thought.
The orchid's uniqueness never became clear until one scientist brought it home with him. Here's how MSNBC tells the story:
Newt Gingrich was in his 20s when he was hired at West Georgia College as a history professor. He had just returned from Belgium, where he was doing research for his doctoral dissertation.
"He was very much a person of intellect," says Mel Steeley, who taught history at the college for four decades and helped bring Gingrich to the school in 1970. "He would wander across campus and didn't notice people. He'd have something in his mind, always be thinking about something. When he first came, you kind of wondered if he was a student or a professor."
From pregnancy on, parents often keep a stack of bedside reading full of advice on raising children — survival tips from the terrible toddler years through annoying adolescence. Los Angeles comedy writer Gail Parent figured she'd be done with all that once her kids turned the magical age of 21.
"Because I didn't tell my parents anything bad or negative," she says. "I let them be very peaceful about me when I was an adult. But I had told my kids to tell me everything when they were young."
U.S. Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe appealed to Congress on Monday to help him reform the Postal Service.
"We're in a deep financial crisis today because we have a business model that is tied to the past. We are expected to operate like a business, but do not have the flexibility to do so," he said at the National Press Club.
Donahoe also rejected the postal reform bills that have passed committees of the Republican-controlled House and the Democratic Senate.