"A record 40 percent of all households with children under the age of 18 include mothers who are either the sole or primary source of income for the family," the Pew Research Center reported Wednesday as it released data that certainly won't surprise many Americans but will underscore some dramatic shifts over recent decades.
In 1845, Frederick Douglass sailed to Ireland on a speaking tour to raise money for the abolitionist cause back home. About 75 years later, two airmen, Jack Alcock and Teddy Brown, performed the first nonstop trans-Atlantic flight, flying 16 hours from Newfoundland to land in an Irish bog. And 79 years after that, George J. Mitchell, the former senator from Maine, repeatedly crisscrossed the ocean — New York, Belfast, New York, Belfast — to steer the Northern Ireland peace process on behalf of President Clinton.
Like his 2009 National Book Award-winning novel, Let the Great World Spin, Colum McCann's TransAtlantic is a braided novel that weaves together the stories of various characters — some historical, others invented. The storylines illustrate the deep and complex connections tying Ireland and the U.S. over a span of some 150 years, beginning with Frederick Douglass, who visits Ireland in 1845 to drum up abolitionist support, and ending with Sen.
It's taken awhile, but Tea Party activists and social conservatives are finally beginning to get smiles on their faces. Whether that will last through the November election is another story.
After watching their insufficiently conservative (in their view) presidential nominee lose last November, their opposition to taxing-the-rich fall by the wayside thanks to congressional Republican acquiescence, and changes in same-sex marriage and immigration coming faster than they might have wished, some on the right were becoming inconsolable.
Rep. Michele Bachmann, a hero to many conservatives and tea party advocates who saw her fortunes rise and fall quickly in the 2012 race for the GOP presidential nomination, announced early Wednesday that she will not seek re-election to a fifth term in Congress.
On this Wednesday, we are following developments in Pakistan. A U.S. drone strike has killed four suspected militants, including - according to some reports - the Taliban's second-in-command in Pakistan. Now, we should say the militant group denies that he's dead. This is the first strike since President Obama's speech last Thursday, announcing that the use of drones would be scaled back to limit civilian casualties.
Just a reminder that there is a possibility ScuttleButton may disappear from the NPR Web site in the next month or so. So if I were you, I'd sign up for the Political Junkie mailing list (info below) to make sure you'll be in the know as to where these irreplaceable and delightful features wind up.
We're going to hear now about what could be thought of as the Rip Van Winkle of the plant world. Scientists have found examples of a kind of plant known as bryophytes. And after spending 400 years buried by a glacier, when the ice receded the plants started growing again.
NPR's Joe Palca has more.
JOE PALCA, BYLINE: Bryophytes don't get much respect. They're not the gaudy seed plants people plant in their gardens or give as gifts. Jonathan Shaw runs the bryology lab at Duke University.
On a Wednesday, it's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm David Greene.
RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:
And I'm Renee Montagne. You could call it a failing performance review. Recently uncovered correspondence from the North African branch of al-Qaida lays out - in bullet points - the shortcomings of one of its local leaders. In the letter, he is chastised by his bosses for sloppy expense reports, ignoring emails and failing to pull off, quote, "any single spectacular operation."
One of President Obama's top economic advisers is leaving the White House later this year, to return to his teaching job at Princeton. Since 2011, Alan Krueger has chaired the President's Council of Economic Advisers.
NPR's Scott Horsley takes this look back at his time in the White House.
SCOTT HORSLEY, BYLINE: One of Alan Krueger's tasks at the White House is deciphering the many different signals the economy sends, including the closely watched jobs report that typically comes out on the first Friday of the month.
When it was revealed recently that the Justice Department had secretly seized records belonging to journalists, part of an effort to end high-profile government leaks, it sparked a huge debate about press freedom. But in one of the cases involving Fox News, there is a disagreement. Justice officials say they told Fox they were about to obtain telephone records for one of its senior reporters. The man at the center of the story has a different version of events, as NPR's David Folkenflik reports.
It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. Good morning, I'm David Greene.
RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:
And I'm Renee Montagne.
We're going to hear now about drawing and redrawing the political map in two big states, beginning with Texas, where the legislature has had some legendary battles over the years, few more contentious than those involving revising legislative and congressional districts. One of the more dramatic saw Democratic lawmakers fleeing the state in an effort to block the process.
NPR's business news begins with a big bump for housing.
House prices went up 10 percent between March of this year and last year. That's according to the latest S&P/Case-Shiller Index. It's the largest gain in housing prices in seven years, putting prices on average where they were in mid-2003.
The international community talks of arming Syria's rebels against President Bashar Assad, but in the capital many people still hope the rebels will lose.
That's the thinking we found around a Muslim shrine in Damascus, a tribute to the granddaughter of the Prophet Muhammad. She lived centuries ago, but a Damascus doctor we met spoke of her in the present tense.