Planet Money
12:01 am
Fri October 14, 2011

Playing Chicken To Cut The Deficit

U.S. Rep. Dave Camp (R-MI) speaks as Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) and Rep. Jim Clyburn (D-SC) listen during a hearing before the Joint Deficit Reduction Committee, also known as the supercommittee.

Alex Wong Getty Images

Originally published on Sun October 16, 2011 1:38 pm

If you've ever thought that most of politics is game-playing, you're right. Political scientists often use mathematical game theory to describe how Congress works. And when they look at the current battle over how to handle the deficit, the game that comes to mind is chicken.

Steven Smith is a professor of political science at Washington University, and he says yes, Republicans and Democrats sometimes remind him of two cars driving as fast as they can toward a cliff.

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Europe
12:01 am
Fri October 14, 2011

Apathy Reigns In Russian Election Season

Vladimir Putin will be president, says 30-year-old Yelena.

The lifelong Muscovite is chatting to a friend in Alexander Gardens next to the Kremlin in Moscow. Yelena, who like many Russians won't give her last name when discussing politics, says she's not even sure she will vote.

"Everything's been decided," she says in Russian. "It will be the same no matter who we vote for."

It's election season in Russia, with votes due for parliament in December and president next March. Everyone knows who will win, however, and voters are not energized by the campaign.

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Business
12:01 am
Fri October 14, 2011

Charlotte Sees Beyond Bank Of America's Troubles

Bank of America's headquarters towers over the city center in Charlotte, N.C. Charlotte has long been one of the fastest-growing regions in the country, but now nearly one in 10 residents is out of work.

Davis Turner Getty

Charlotte, N.C., is perhaps best known as the home of Bank of America, the country's largest financial institution. So now, with Bank of America struggling to revive its stock price, cutting tens of thousands of jobs and widely criticized for charging customers a $5 monthly fee to use their debit cards, what's the mood in Charlotte?

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Humans
12:01 am
Fri October 14, 2011

In African Cave, An Early Human Paint Shop

This abalone shell was found with ocher and a grinding stone. The iron oxide was used as a pigment to paint bodies and walls, as well as to thicken glue.

Science/AAAS

Apparently one of the earliest human instincts was to paint things, including bodies and cave walls. That's the conclusion from scientists who have discovered something remarkable in a South African cave — a tool kit for making paint. It looks to be the oldest evidence of paint-making.

Over in southern Africa 100,000 years ago, Homo sapiens was pretty new on the scene. A favorite hangout was a cave named Blombos near the Southern ocean.

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Around the Nation
12:01 am
Fri October 14, 2011

A New Muesli Maker's Quest For The Cereal Aisle

Muesli Fusion for sale at the Rochester Public Market in Rochester, N.Y. Being a local brand has served owner Ian Szalinski well, but he has bigger plans for his cereal business.

Zack Seward for NPR

Originally published on Fri October 14, 2011 12:46 pm

Small businesses are often called the backbone of the U.S. economy; they employ about half of the nation's private sector employees. But in many cases, small companies start out with a workforce of just one — like cereal entrepreneur Ian Szalinski in Rochester, N.Y., who's trying to stake a claim to the breakfast market.

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StoryCorps
10:00 pm
Thu October 13, 2011

A Love That Turned Difference Into Intimacy

John Klein, 60, and Bernice Flournoy, 60, visited StoryCorps in Oakland, Calif.

StoryCorps

Originally published on Fri October 14, 2011 12:01 am

As love stories go, Mary Ann Allen and John Klein's relationship started in an unusual place. And they were something of an unusual couple, too. But as it turned out, none of that meant a thing.

Klein recently sat down with Mary Ann's daughter, Bernice Flournoy, to explain.

"Tell us how you met Mom," Flournoy says.

"I had a temporary position at a senior citizen facility in downtown Oakland," Klein says. "Mary moved in there."

Allen, who was 59 years old when she met Klein, had diabetes.

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The Two-Way
6:49 pm
Thu October 13, 2011

Poll: Support For Death Penalty At 39-Year Low

Gallup

A Gallup poll released today found support for the death penalty in the United States is at a 39-year low. As Gallup reports, "this is the lowest level of support since 1972, the year the Supreme Court voided all existing state death penalty laws in Furman v. Georgia."

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Melissa Block joined NPR in 1985 and has been hosting All Things Considered since 2003, after nearly a decade as an NPR correspondent.

Economy
6:20 pm
Thu October 13, 2011

In Spartanburg, S.C., Jobs Are Especially Scarce

Volunteer Dean Ford prepares bags of food to be distributed at the First Baptist Spartanburg's food pantry program.

Melissa Block NPR

The job market is barely treading water. The Labor Department Thursday reported that 404,000 people filed for unemployment benefits last week — pretty much unchanged from the week before. Overall, there are 14 million people looking for work in the U.S.

One of those places where jobs are especially hard to find is Spartanburg, S.C.

On Thursday, the Occupy Wall Street protests spread to the heavily conservative corner of the heavily conservative state. It was a small turnout — about 20 people got some honks of support and some catcalls from people who shouted, "Get a job!"

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Media
6:15 pm
Thu October 13, 2011

Tracking The Media's Eye On Occupy Wall Street

Protesters with Occupy Wall Street march along New York's 5th Avenue, where prominent heads of major business and financial institutions live, on Tuesday. The movement has expanded, along with media coverage.

Spencer Platt Getty Images

Originally published on Thu October 13, 2011 10:25 pm

In recent days, the Occupy Wall Street protests appear to be gathering steam, spreading beyond New York City to other cities across the country. The growing reach of the demonstrations has added to the pressure on journalists to figure out how to cover them.

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