Author Richard Russo has been writing about the burned-out mill town of Gloversville, N.Y., for years. In one Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, he called it Empire Falls, Maine; in another novel, it was Thomaston, N.Y.
The latest and last NPR Battleground Poll for 2012 shows former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney holding the narrowest of leads in the national sample, but trailing President Obama in the dozen states that will decide the election.
The poll adds evidence that the Oct. 3 debate between the two men redefined the race. But the movement toward Romney that emerged after that night in Denver also seems to have stalled after the race drew even â€” leaving the outcome difficult to call.
You're listening to ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News.
ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:
The storm on the East Coast is making a devastating impression on New York City. Storm surge coupled with a high tide have swelled the water to record levels in some places that includes Battery Park, and now, reports of flooding in the subway and in automotive tunnels.
NPR's Margot Adler joins us from New York with more details. And, Margot, what can you tell us about these reports of flooding?
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish.
ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:
And I'm Robert Siegel.
Already more than a million people from Maine to Virginia have lost electricity because of the storm. And in one case, as we heard a few minutes ago, the utility Consolidated Edison took the unusual step of cutting off power to parts of lower Manhattan. By the time the storm is over, more than 10 million homes and businesses in the eastern U.S. could lose electricity. That's according to the utility industry.
Originally published on Mon October 29, 2012 5:27 pm
Doug Smith and his girlfriend Trenor Bender thought the worst of Hurricane Sandy had passed them by when they looked out the windows in the wee hours today. At their rental home, three rows back from the beach in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, there was no water in the yard at all at 3:30 this morning. But that didn't last.
"When I woke up, I couldn't believe it," says Smith of the view just a few hours later, "I saw this sheet of water on the ground."
The world's fastest supercomputers have come back to the U.S. In June, the title was claimed by a machine named Sequoia at Lawrence Livermore Labs. Monday, at the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory, what could be an even faster computer comes online. It's called Titan and it would not have been possible were it not for the massive market for video games.
Originally published on Tue October 30, 2012 9:32 am
There's big news in the world of publishing: The two conglomerates that own Random House and Penguin announced Monday that they were merging their book businesses to form a new company.
German media company Bertelsmann, the owner of Random House, will own 53 percent of the new firm, Penguin Random House; Pearson, which owns Penguin, will control the rest. The merger, subject to regulatory approval, is scheduled to be completed in the second half of 2013.
A poll released Monday by the Pew Research Center shows that President Obama has failed to regain much of the support he lost in the days after the first presidential debate.
The poll shows that among likely voters, the race is now a statistical dead heat with both Obama and Mitt Romney receiving 47 percent support. Among registered voters there is what Pew calls a "statistically insignificant two-point edge" of 47 percent to 45 percent for Obama.
Originally published on Mon October 29, 2012 3:12 pm
Economists will need many days â€” maybe weeks or months â€” to assess the financial harm being done by Hurricane Sandy. But whatever the final figure, it will be huge, well into the tens of billions of dollars.
More than 60 million Americans are feeling the impact of the weather monster slamming New York, New Jersey, Maryland, the District of Columbia, Virginia, Connecticut, Pennsylvania and many other states. The howling mix of wind, rain and snow is causing massive direct losses, i.e., the destruction of private homes, stores, boats and cars.
Originally published on Mon October 29, 2012 2:33 pm
When smoking is banned in bars and workplaces, the number of people who suffer heart attacks and die drops within months, according to two new studies.
They found benefits not only in saving lives, but in lowering the cost of medical care for heart attacks, stroke and other smoking-related illnesses. It's the best evidence yet demonstrating big, swift health improvements when secondhand smoke is banished.
As the presidential campaign has unfolded, the candidates have traded polemics about wealth, class warfare, dependency and the role of government.
And while it may be uncomfortable to admit, some Americans are simply more financially successful than others. But why do some achieve wealth, while others struggle? And what do we think explains our prosperity â€” or lack thereof?
The rest of the government may have been shut down for the hurricane, but not the U.S. Supreme Court.
The justices were in court Monday to consider a challenge to the 2008 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, known as FISA. The new law broadly expanded the government's ability to conduct large-scale monitoring of international phone calls and emails to and from people in the United States.
Originally published on Tue October 30, 2012 6:17 am
Hurricane Sandy may be grinding closer to the East Coast with 90 mph winds and torrential rains, but the most devastating aspect is likely to be storm surge.
Simply put, storm surge is wind-driven water that is forced against the shore, piling up in low-lying areas where it can cause dangerous flooding. A number of factors can make storm surge worse: a massive storm with high winds headed straight for a region full of shallow coastal bays and inlets.
Sandy seems to have them all, says Chris Landsea, science and operations officer at the National Hurricane Center.
Originally published on Mon October 29, 2012 5:58 pm
Wherever you look these days, it seems labels that strive to send a message about our food are on the table. In California, there's a vote coming up on whether genetically modified foods should be labeled. A few weeks ago, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission updated its guidelines for "green" labeling.
This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan, in Washington. We've followed Sandy for more than a week now as the late-season storm developed in the Caribbean, pounded Cuba, Haiti and other islands, brushed past Florida and headed up the East Coast.
Unusually, it's taken a sharp turn to the west. Even more unusually, it's combined with a more winter-like system to become an enormous event that's already dumping snow in the Appalachians, surging water ashore in Lower Manhattan and slashing winds and rain from Virginia to Massachusetts.
Originally published on Mon October 29, 2012 12:43 pm
In a piece in the Washington Post, retired Army officer John Nagl argues that the U.S. has forgotten what losing a war really looks like. Nagl talks about what's been accomplished in Afghanistan, and the concerns that remain.
Originally published on Mon October 29, 2012 12:52 pm
With just over a week left before what may be another very tight election, many offices are seeing more and more heated conversations about politics. But what are the rules? Employment lawyer John Barr and human resources expert Lynn Taylor talk about the collision of politics and the workplace.
Originally published on Mon October 29, 2012 12:35 pm
Hurricane Sandy is bearing down on the East Coast of the U.S., bringing sustained wind, heavy rain, and flooding that's forcing roads, bridges and mass transit systems to close from New York City to Washington. We're following the storm's progress and its impacts here on The Two-Way .
Originally published on Mon October 29, 2012 1:57 pm
As Hurricane Sandy continues its slow progress toward the East Coast, thoughts of voting aren't uppermost in most people's minds. Nevertheless, state and local officials are scrambling to accommodate early voters as best they can.
Depending on how the storm ultimately plays out, Sandy isn't expected to have much effect on the outcome of the presidential race. Most of the states in its path are not considered competitive.
Originally published on Mon October 29, 2012 11:24 am
Update at 1:16 p.m. ET. Not Taken During Sandy:
The Old Guard reports on Twitter that the photograph we posted of soldiers standing guard over the the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier was taken in September. It was not taken during Sandy, as the First Army Division East, said in its Facebook page.
Here is one taken today, according to the Old Guard:
Our Original Post Continues:
This is perhaps one of the more stunning pictures we've come across today: