As the federal debt balloons, reducing it would seem more and more pressing. Yet policymakers remain far apart. Debt, deficit and budget rhetoric is often accompanied by numbers cherry-picked to support a particular political view.
But a new book by Wall Street Journal economics writer David Wessel lays out the numbers that both political parties face.
Writer Karin Slaughter has seen the fallout of some of Atlanta's most gruesome crimes and most dramatic transitions.
Credit David Goldman / AP
In addition to her Will Trent series, Karin Slaughter has also written a series of crime novels set in the fictional town of Heartsdale, Ga.
Credit Alison Rosa / KarinSlaughter.com
Completed in 1936, Atlanta's Techwood Homes was the first public housing project in the nation. But in the years before the 1996 Atlanta Olympics, the community had become known for its poverty, gang violence and drug trafficking problems.
Credit Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C.
Just before the Atlanta Olympics, Techwood Homes was torn down to make room for Centennial Place, a mixed-income housing development. Today, the neighborhood is transformed, but it still has a place in Slaughter's grisly crime fiction.
Credit Gene Blythe / AP
Marla Lawson has worked as a forensic artist for the Atlanta Police Department and the Georgia Bureau of Investigation for decades.
Best-selling crime novelist Karin Slaughter (yes, that's her real name) grew up just south of Atlanta in the 1970s and '80s, when the city saw some of its most gruesome crimes: A rash of child murders in which dozens of African-American children disappeared, their bodies turning up in nearby woods and rivers. The realization that horrid crimes can happen even to children changed Slaughter's life.
A cross-sectional X-ray shows what's called a "sunken chest." The bright circle near the bottom is the spine; the gray blob on the right is the heart.
Credit Living LLC / Getty Images
Justin Rosales, 14, had a powerful magnet implanted in his chest that snaps onto another one inside a brace, shown on the right. Over the next two years, doctors hope the magnets will gradually correct his sunken chest.
Credit Amy Standen for NPR
An X-ray of Justin Rosales' torso shows the magnet implanted inside his chest.
Credit Courtesy of the University of California, San Francisco
You may not have heard of pectus excavatum — or "sunken chest," as it's commonly known — but there's a good chance you know someone who was born with it.
It's the most common deformity of the chest wall, affecting roughly one in 500 people — boys much more often than girls. And while sunken chest can be corrected with surgery, the procedure is invasive and very painful. Many families won't do it.
One rite of passage most teenagers look forward to and parents dread is learning how to drive. Car crashes are the No. 1 killer of teens by far, on the order of five times more than poisoning or cancer. Does that mean you should scare the daylights out of teens to encourage safe driving? Traditional driver education classes tend to do exactly that, with gruesome videos and photos of fatalities and smashed-up cars.
Authorities will file formal charges in the Aurora, Colo., theater shootings Monday. It's widely assumed that prosecutors will file dozens, if not more than a hundred, first-degree and attempted murder charges against 24-year-old James Holmes, the lone suspect in the July 20 attack.
Poet Ouyang Yu comes to NPR's Poetry Games representing two continents: Asia, where he was born (in China); and Australia, where he moved in 1991. He is a prolific writer of poetry, fiction, nonfiction, literary translation and criticism in English and Chinese.
Of his poem "Lifting," he writes: "Much as I admire weightlifting heroes or heroines, I can't help reminding myself that, however powerful a weightlifter is, he or she can't lift himself or herself up. The magic of the word is that, when well lifted, it has the power to transform."
Speaking from Israel on Sunday, presumptive GOP nominee for president Mitt Romney said that he would respect the nation's "right to defend itself" against Iran. He said the United States also has "a solemn duty and a moral imperative" to prevent Iran from creating nuclear weapons.
Romney's trip and his speech are typical of presidential candidates, who every four years work to outdo one another when it comes to credentials on Israel and U.S. relations with the Jewish state.
An old taxi is pushed toward a vehicle license office to be exchanged for an import permit in Yangon, Myanmar. As many Burmese citizens take cars as an investment, many imports are sold and resold with a higher markup.
Credit Soe Zeya Tun / Reuters/Landov
Mechanics at Ohn Myint's car repair shop on the outskirts of Yangon refurbish rusty, decades-old government jeeps.
Credit Anthony Kuhn / NPR
U Ohn Myint has serviced many decades-old jalopies and kept them roadworthy when ordinary Burmese could not import private cars.
Nowhere are the many recent reforms in Myanmar, also known as Burma, so evident as on city streets. Until this year, they were often choked with ancient jalopies because for most of the past half century ordinary Burmese citizens weren't allowed to purchase imported cars.
But the country's car import policies are now undergoing a lurching sort of liberalization, whose speed, quirks and unintended consequences offer a window on Myanmar's reforms.
<em>Killer Joe</em> (2012) is the latest film from William Friedkin, the director of <em>The French Connection </em>and <em>The Exorcist</em>. The movie, which stars Matthew McConaughey<em></em>, earned an NC-17 rating for its violent content.
Credit LD Entertainment
McConaughey and Zac Efron play brothers in Lee Daniels' 2012 film <em>The Paperboy</em>, based on a novel by Pete Dexter. The film played at this year's Cannes Film Festival.
Credit Anne Marie Fox / Le Festival de Cannes
In 2012's <em>Magic Mike,</em> McConaughey brings a subtle, frightening darkness to the role of a strip-club owner with a sizable sleazy streak.
This may be the year of actor Matthew McConaughey.
At the very least, fans will remember 2012 as the year that McConaughey revolutionized his career. He's starred in five different independent films, taking on smaller, character-actor parts in place of his usual roles as the sly-grinning heartthrob in romantic comedies.
You might not be able to hear it on television, but in the Olympic stadiums and arenas of London over the next weeks, games-watchers will be treated to some exclusive new tracks from world-renown mashup artist Jordan Roseman, better known as DJ Earworm.
"Out of the blue, there was an email," Roseman tells weekends on All Things Considered host Guy Raz. "They wanted these mixes."