6:18am

Sat January 28, 2012
Author Interviews

'How It All Began': A Lively Ode To Happenstance

Viking

British writer Penelope Lively was in her late 30s before she began her career writing children's books. Now, four decades and 20 works of fiction later, she has just released the novel How It All Began, in which she explores the capricious role that chance plays in our lives.

Lively's lifetime habit of storytelling began when she was growing up in Egypt during World War II. She spent a lot of time alone and amused herself by making up stories, which often involved embellishing the classics with her own personal touch.

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6:18am

Sat January 28, 2012
Mitt Romney

'Battling Was Won': Romney Gets Boost In Florida

Originally published on Sat January 28, 2012 1:07 pm

Puerto Rico Gov. Luis Fortuno endorsed Mitt Romney at a campaign rally in Orlando, Fla., on Friday.
Emmanuel Dunand AFP/Getty Images

After his second-place finish in the South Carolina primary, Mitt Romney arrived in Florida armed with money and organization. He's used both to stop Newt Gingrich's momentum. With three days until the primary, polls give Romney a solid lead over Gingrich in Florida.

Florida is a big state, but Romney and Gingrich's paths have crossed often this week. There were the two debates, and in Miami on Friday, Romney, like Gingrich, spoke to the Hispanic Leadership Network.

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6:16am

Sat January 28, 2012
Latin America

Law-Abiding Mexicans Taking Up Illegal Guns

Originally published on Sat January 28, 2012 5:53 pm

Police stand near the scene of a murder in Juarez, Mexico. The country suffers from drug cartel-related violence despite some of the most restrictive gun laws in the world.
Spencer Platt Getty Images

In Mexico, where criminals are armed to the teeth with high-powered weapons smuggled from the United States, it may come as a surprise that the country has some of the most restrictive gun laws in the world.

Law-abiding Mexicans who want a gun to defend themselves have no good options. Either they fight government red tape to get a legal permit, or they buy one on the black market.

After an outbreak of violence, one embattled community in northern Mexico called Colonia LeBaron has begun to ask if it's time for the country to address its gun laws.

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6:15am

Sat January 28, 2012
Politics

The Smart Politician's Guide To Avoiding Scandal

Originally published on Fri December 14, 2012 6:06 pm

When former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin addressed attendees at the National Tea Party Convention in Nashville, Tenn., on Feb. 6, 2010, she appeared to have notes written on her left hand.
Ed Reinke AP

Politics may be show business for ugly people, but you don't have to be ugly about it yourself.

It's become a cliche to describe the endless series of Republican presidential debates as a reality show. But lately a lot of politicians have been acting as though they were looking to secure a spot on the "now trending" lists of Internet search engines.

Secretly donating sperm to lesbians in New Zealand? Seriously?

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6:18pm

Fri January 27, 2012
Presidential Race

GOP Candidates Wrangle Over Reagan's Legacy

President Ronald Reagan rides his horse at his Rancho del Cielo, "Ranch in the Sky," located outside Santa Barbara, Calif., in April 1985.
Pete Souza AP

As he campaigns for the Republican presidential nomination, Newt Gingrich almost always works the name of Ronald Reagan into his speeches.

In fact, it's become so common that Gingrich's name-dropping has become an issue itself.

Sometimes Gingrich invokes the name of Ronald Reagan to associate himself with the policies of the former president.

"When I worked with President Reagan, we adopted a lower tax, less regulation, more American energy policy, and it led to 16 million new jobs," Gingrich said at a speech in St. Petersburg, Fla., this week.

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6:03pm

Fri January 27, 2012
The Salt

Beyond Black Beans And Rice: Cuban Chefs Go Modern

Lobster salad, pineapple sorbet and truffle oil-infused black sesame seeds, as prepared by Cuban Chef Luis Alberto Alfonso Pérez.
Robert Vesco

Ham sandwiches, hot-pressed and gooey with cheese. Neat piles of black beans and rice. Grilled chicken.

This is the simple, filling fare served at Cuban restaurants around the world. And like the iconic, rusty Studebakers that line the streets of Havana, Cuban food hasn't changed much since the 1950s. The communist government's stranglehold on the economy, combined with the U.S. trade embargo, has meant that Cuban chefs haven't picked up the modern cooking techniques, or exotic ingredients, that have invigorated the cuisines of much of the rest of the world.

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5:54pm

Fri January 27, 2012
Poetry

NewsPoet: Tracy K. Smith Writes The Day In Verse

Originally published on Wed July 25, 2012 3:40 pm

Tracy K. Smith poses for a portrait outside of NPR headquarters in Washington, D.C., on Friday.
Mito Habe-Evans NPR

Today marks the start of an exciting project at All Things Considered called NewsPoet. Each month we'll be bringing in a poet to spend time in the newsroom — and at the end, to compose a poem reflecting on the day's news.

The first poet to participate is Tracy K. Smith. She has received degrees in English and creative writing from Harvard College, Columbia University, and was a Wallace Stegner Fellow in Poetry at Stanford University. Her latest book of poems is titled Life on Mars.

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5:30pm

Fri January 27, 2012
The Two-Way

'Welcome Home Heroes' Parade For Iraq Vets Set For Saturday In St. Louis

Veterans of the war in Iraq will be honored Saturday morning in St. Louis in what organizers say is the first major welcome home parade in the nation.

Local KSDK-TV reports that "75 floats, two marching bands and the Budweiser Clydesdales" will be involved.

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5:22pm

Fri January 27, 2012
Shots - Health Blog

Romney's Unlikely And Persuasive Defense Of The 'Individual Mandate'

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney offered a spirited defense of the individual mandate during Thursday night's GOP presidential candidate debate in Jacksonville, Fla.
Matt Rourke AP

For a candidate who keeps vowing to repeal the 2010 federal Affordable Care Act, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney sure can make a convincing argument on its behalf.

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5:22pm

Fri January 27, 2012
Education

Higher Dropout Age May Not Lead To More Diplomas

Originally published on Fri January 27, 2012 6:19 pm

President Obama delivers the commencement address for Kalamazoo Central High School's class of 2007 in Kalamazoo, Mich. The state requires students to stay in school until they turn 18.
Charles Dharapak AP

In his State of the Union address, President Obama called on every state to require students to stay in school until they graduate or turn 18. "When students don't walk away from their education, more of them walk the stage to get their diploma," he said.

The White House cited studies that showed how raising the compulsory schooling age helps prevent kids from leaving school. And while some of that is true, some of it is also wishful thinking.

For New Hampshire Deputy Commissioner of Education Paul Leather, the president made the right call in his address.

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