Originally published on Mon January 2, 2012 5:25 am
As we continued our Iowa travels in the days leading up to next week's presidential caucuses here, NPR photographer Becky Lettenberger and I have been struck by the utter seriousness of the state's Republican voters.
Presidential caucus seasons past have often been marked by fun and some frivolity at campaign events: Funny T-shirts and hats, jokes and punch lines offered up by candidates, a sense of hope and anticipation.
Originally published on Thu December 29, 2011 12:57 pm
The news that the U.S. has finalized a deal to sell nearly $30 billion worth of F-15SA fighter jets and other equipment to Saudi Arabia comes, as every story about the agreement says, as America and its allies seek to further isolate and pressure Iran so long as that Persian nation continues to be a threat to others in the region.
The funeral procession of Kim Jong Il brought back memories of an era when images of Communist propaganda were ubiquitous. The visual backbone of the images or illustrations were usually order and symmetry, enacted on a grand scale.
Wednesday's event was no exception. An overall view of the snowy procession had it all: the framed image of Kim Jong Il in the foreground, the masses of mourners lined neatly on the sidelines, the motorcade in perfect sync and the order that is associated with a totalitarian regime — a regime with access to Photoshop.
For the first time in more than six decades, the United States is exporting more gasoline and diesel than it imports.
To be clear, we're talking about finished petroleum products, not crude oil. The U.S. still imports about half the crude it consumes.
Refineries are touting this new export statistic — after all, gasoline and diesel are manufactured products. They say a boost in exports keeps more manufacturing jobs in the U.S. But one reason exports are increasing is that demand for gas in this country is declining.
Originally published on Thu December 29, 2011 12:25 pm
Cancer-fighter Avastin just came up short as a treatment for ovarian tumors.
Two studies found that the drug, which blocks the formation of new blood vessels, didn't extend the lives of patients with ovarian cancer.
Avastin did slow the progression of the cancers a little bit. But the patients getting Avastin as part of treatment with several medicines had more side effects, including blood clots and high blood pressure, than the people who didn't get it.
"'It would not be strange if they had developed the technology to induce cancer and nobody knew about it until now ... I don't know. I'm just reflecting,' he said in a televised speech to troops at a military base.
Originally published on Mon January 2, 2012 5:26 am
Another strong turnout this morning for Mitt Romney at a restaurant in Cedar Falls, though the small place wasn't quite as packed as yesterday's breakfast stop in Muscatine. Romney spent a lot of time shaking hands and posing for pictures with customers, supporters and restaurant staff, after he spoke for about 20 minutes. He usually takes a couple of questions from the crowd but did not today, preferring to spend more time than usual glad-handing.
Meatballs over pasta from Michel Richard's restaurant in Washington, D.C.
Credit Melissa Forsyth / NPR
The concept for <a href="http://www.downtowndc.org/go/meatballs">Meatballs</a> harkens back to Michel Richard's childhood in postwar France. "My mother used to make pork meatballs with potato and garlic. She was trying to raise five kids by herself. She was trying to keep food costs down," he says.
When I'm considering a gourmet lunch, meatballs don't exactly spring to mind. So I was more than a little surprised to hear that haute cuisine chef Michel Richard was opening a meatball joint just down the street from NPR headquarters in Washington, D.C.
Our post-Christmas post about the estimated $41 billion worth of gift cards that haven't been redeemed since 2005 seemed to strike a chord. And our shout-out for ideas about what to do with cards you don't want or that only have a little bit of money left on them generated some good responses. Such as this: