NPR News

It's All Politics, Aug. 2, 2012

Aug 3, 2012

Holy mackerel, it's the holy site edition of the podcast. NPR's Ron Elving and Ken Rudin look back at the memorable — and controversial — moments of Mitt Romney's foreign trip, and then look ahead to the upcoming Republican and Democratic conventions.

Also, a new Tea Party star is born in the Lone Star State.

Lee Maynard's 1988 semi-autobiographical novel Crum is set in the small, poor West Virginia town where he grew up. The people of Crum who know the book tend to love it or hate it. It was even banned for several years in a state-run store. The sequel, Screaming With the Cannibals, which came out five years later, got his protagonist Jesse Stone out of West Virginia, across the Tug River into Kentucky.

Making Connections In Durham, N.C.

Aug 3, 2012

This month we are collecting your stories about the good things Americans are doing to make their community a better place. Some of your contributions will become blog posts and the project will end with a story that weaves together submissions to make a story of Americans by Americans for Americans.

The Philadelphia Inquirer is reporting that Second Mile, the foundation set up by Jerry Sandusky, is dropping an expansive internal investigation.

The charity had decided to close up shop after Sandusky was convicted of 45 criminal counts related to the sexual abuse of young boys.

The Inquirer reports that chief executive David Woodle said the decision to close shop means there is no need for an extensive investigation.

The Science Behind Olympic Six-Pack Abs

Aug 3, 2012

Every four years, we look forward to watching the jaw-dropping athleticism of the Summer Olympic Games. But — let's be frank — we also tune in to ogle the athletes' impressively toned physiques.

Swiss tennis star Roger Federer kept his Olympic dream alive Friday, when he won the longest tennis singles match in Olympic history. He defeated Juan Del Potro of Argentina, in a semifinal played on Wimbledon's Centre Court.

The final score of the three-set match, which lasted more than four hours and 20 minutes, was 3-6, 7-6, 19-17. Federer will next face the winner of Friday's semifinal between Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic in the final.

Everyone (including us) is saying this morning that the U.S. economy gained 163,000 jobs last month. Strictly speaking, this is a lie.

In fact, the U.S. economy actually lost 1.2 million jobs last month. There were 134.1 million jobs in June, and 132.9 million jobs in July. (The numbers are in this PDF.)

As they're being told, we're pointing to some of the stories about the 12 people who died and the 58 who were wounded when a gunman opened fire on July 20 at a movie theater in Aurora, Colo. Click here to see more. As you see others, please share the links in the comment threads.

Recently, home canning has seen a rush in popularity, and even upscale retailers like Williams-Sonoma want a share of the idea that a pint of home-canned jam is a fun gift idea. But during both world wars, canning saw another surge, this time prompted by colorful propaganda sponsored by the United States government.

Any claim the British have to their fabled "stiff upper lip" is being destroyed by these Olympic Games. The Brits' lips are wobbling like jellies; their tears are flowing faster than the summer rain; their crowds are cheering themselves hoarse.

That lucky Ohio family that found some very rare and very valuable baseball cards in granddad's attic has sold part of the treasure for more than $566,000.

We posted about the discovery back in July. Today, The Toledo Blade updated with news of the first sale.

Homeless veterans of the Vietnam War have been a face of American poverty for decades, and now some veterans of a younger generation are dealing with the same difficult issues.

"I had my apartment up until 2011," says Joshua, a 28-year-old Navy vet, who asked not to give his last name because of the stigma of being homeless. "[I] couldn't keep up with the rent; I did a little couch surfing and then ended up on the street for a while."

It's Day 7 of competition at the London Olympics, and America has found a new contestant in its continual quest for a sweetheart: Gabby Douglas, the only gymnast who already has two gold medals before individual rounds begin. And still, it seems, some folks prefer to talk about Douglas' hair.

The big news on Day 7 of competition in the 2012 Summer Olympics is that Track and Field events — or, "Athletics," if you're an Olympic scheduler — finally get on the track and field.

Here's a look at Olympic highlights for Friday, and events we'll keep an eye on. All times are EDT:

Swimming

  • 2:30p Women's 200m Backstroke Final
  • 2:38p Men's 100m Butterfly Final
  • 2:45p Women's 800m Freestyle Final
  • 3:09p Men's 50m Freestyle Final

Track and Field

There were 163,000 more jobs on public and private payrolls last month, but the nation's unemployment rate edged up to 8.3 percent, the Bureau of Labor Statistics just reported.

The jobs gain was the best in five months and was much better than the revised estimated of growth for June — a gain of just 64,000 jobs. But it wasn't good enough to keep the jobless rate from rising slightly. In June, it stood at 8.2 percent.

The pictures do indeed tell the story.

Patricial Krentcil, the so-called tanning mom who couldn't stop trying to bronze her body and was accused of taking her 6-year-old daughter into a tanning booth (Krentcil says she didn't do that) has gone pale.

In Touch challenged her to quit, and "after an entire month out of the sun (real and artificial)" she's looking much different in a photo shoot for the magazine.

"There has been renewed fighting in Syria ahead of a U.N. General Assembly vote condemning its own Security Council for failing to end the unrest," the BBC writes. "The army has been shelling rebel positions in the largest city, Aleppo. There was also bloodshed in Hama and the capital, Damascus."

According to al-Jazeera:

Two days after Chick-fil-A set a one-day sales record thanks to a show of support for company President Dan Cathy and his outspoken stand against same-sex marriage, it's "National Same-Sex Kiss Day" for gay rights activists.

This month we are collecting your stories about the good things Americans are doing to make their community a better place. Some of your contributions will become blog posts and the project will end with a story that weaves together submissions to make a story of Americans by Americans for Americans.

Update at 8:45 a.m. ET. Report Has Better Than Expected News:

"163,000 Jobs Added In July; Unemployment Rate Rose To 8.3 Percent"

Our original post:

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Good morning. I'm Renee Montagne, with a lesson on how to keep calm, sleep in and carry on.

Twenty-one-year-old Jack Oliver went to bed ready to represent Great Britain at the Olympics. That was until the weightlifter overslept by an hour on his big day. He was roused by his coach and got dressed in 30 seconds, he says, and still managed two personal bests, grabbing a fourth place finish. The sleep did me good, he said. I had less time to think about the competition.

We'll see where the count stands after another day of competition at the London Olympics but after Thursday, the United States is at the top with the most medals. Renee Montagne has results of Thursday night's Olympics competition.

NASA Rover To Explore The Red Planet

Aug 3, 2012
Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Now, maybe this is going to sound crazy, but the 1990 version of "Total Recall" took Arnold Schwarzenegger to Mars.

(SOUNDBITE OF MOVIE, "TOTAL RECALL")

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: (as Character) Welcome to the Mars Federal Colony.

Both athletes were U.S. swimmers, both were dripping wet after finishing an Olympics final, and both had just won medals.

The first said, "It's not my normal specialty. ... We went out there and raced tough – and just came up a little short."

The second had a beaming face. He said, "[I] swam my own race. And knew I had a lane, and had an opportunity, and I went for it. It worked out, you know, it's just awesome that I get to go on the podium tonight. Honestly, I'm really proud of myself!"

Late last month, counterterrorism officials discovered a disturbing video on YouTube that showed what appeared to be a faction of the Syrian rebel army standing in front of a fluttering black banner. The mysterious flag — which read "no god but God" in white Arabic cursive — is thought to be a reproduction of the Prophet Muhammad's battle flag. It has also become al-Qaida in Iraq's calling card in Syria.

Kofi Annan will step down at the end of the month from his post as UN-Arab League envoy for Syria. Annan's resignation is the latest blow to the faltering efforts to find a solution to the crisis in Syria. Steve Inskeep talks about the implications with Robert Malley of the International Crisis Group.

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

With his much-publicized foreign trip behind him, Mitt Romney traveled yesterday to the swing state of Colorado. He huddled with Republican governors who he praised on him in Aspen, where he also held a fundraiser. The Republican candidate began his trip at a rally in the Denver suburb of Golden, which is where NPR's Brian Naylor begins his report.

A Bad Day For The Royal Bank Of Scotland

Aug 3, 2012

RBS, the Royal Bank of Scotland, is already in a tough spot. It's among several banks being investigated for allegedly rigging the interbank lending rate known as LIBOR. As Steve Inskeep reports, Friday it warned that it faced several potential lawsuits over those allegations.

In N.Y.C., Private Sector To Invest In Social Issues

Aug 3, 2012

New York City officials are experimenting with a new way to fund social programs normally paid for with tax dollars. New York City officials say the prison intervention program could keep many of the nearly four thousand adolescent males that enter the jail system each year from returning. WNYC's Colby Hamilton reports Goldman Sachs is set to make a nearly $10 million investment in a social impact bond.

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