William H. Macy is the first to admit that he has played his fair share of losers. His latest role, as the alcoholic, narcissist Frank Gallagher — the single dad of a dysfunctional six-kid family — on the Showtime series Shameless, adds to the list of hapless characters Macy has portrayed on screen and stage.
It's MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. I'm Steve Inskeep, with Renee Montagne. Good morning.
Let's try again, shall we, to explain what it means when we hear that the U.S. economy shrank in the fourth quarter of 2012. As we've discussed elsewhere in the program, the decline was slight - just one-tenth of a percentage point - but it is the first contraction of the economy since the Great Recession officially ended in 2009. NPR's Jim Zarroli is with us once again in New York. Jim, good morning.
Originally published on Wed January 30, 2013 10:16 am
Can Mark Sanford make a comeback? Right now, it appears quite possible.
The Republican ended his career as South Carolina's governor in disgrace after revealing in 2009 that he'd been surreptitiously spending time in Argentina visiting his mistress. But Sanford now hopes to return to his first job in politics, representing coastal South Carolina in the House.
"As soon as Sanford jumped in, he was the presumptive front-runner, simply because of his money and name recognition," says Scott Huffmon, a pollster based at Winthrop University in Rock Hill, S.C.
Originally published on Thu January 31, 2013 11:03 am
There are three phrases that are almost always bad news for a piece of cultural writing.
1. "The masses."
2. "Middle America."
3. "The lowest common denominator."
All three are ways to separate the writer and her sensibility — which are presumed to be congruent with the reader and her sensibility — from invisible and undefined others, for whom bad cultural content is produced and by whom it is unquestioningly gobbled up.
Originally published on Wed January 30, 2013 5:42 pm
If you've earned a paycheck in recent years, you'll probably want want to know about this:
The Equifax credit reporting agency, NBC News reports, has collected 190 million employment and salary records on about one-third of U.S. adults and has sold some of the information "to debt collectors, financial service companies and other entities."
Good morning. I'm Renee Montagne with gnomes in the news. This time, about 2,300 tiny paintings of gnomes have appeared on utility poles all over Oakland, California. Since the little guys showed up last year, full-sized residents got into the spirit - blogging and tweeting new sightings. Pacific Gas and Electric was going to evict the bearded figures, but when the anonymous artist appealed, PG&E backed off. Yesterday it declared the poles gnome-man's-land. It's MORNING EDITION. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.
The Caravan of Peace is an annual march at the Vatican. As Pope Benedict looked on, two doves, symbolizing peace, were released into St. Peter's Square. It was beautiful until a seagull assaulted one of the doves. Time magazine got one of the finest headlines ever seen outside The Onion: Pope's Dove of Peace Attacked by Seagull of Irony. But the symbolism grew deeper when the surprisingly tough Dove of Peace fought off the much larger seagull.
It used to be a truism among critics of British poetry that Keats and most of his fellow Romantic poets worked in the shadow of John Milton. I'm not making a perfect analogy when I suggest that most contemporary Japanese writers seem to be working under the shadow of Haruki Murakami, but I hope it highlights the spirit of the situation.
With John Kerry stepping down from the seat he held for 28 years to become secretary of state, rumors are swirling about who his short-term replacement will be — and who will run in the special election in six months. Gov. Deval Patrick is appointing the replacement Wednesday.
OK. In the next few days, cable companies announce how they did financially in 2012. Most industry watchers expect some negative trends to continue. More people are canceling their cable subscriptions. They are called cord cutters, because they are getting TV from the Internet and over the air, not their cable cords. But they're not the only problem the cable industry needs to worry about. NPR's Neda Ulaby reports.