RENEE MONTAGNE, host: Good morning. I'm Renee Montagne.
If you don't already find wax museums a bit creepy, this might convince you. NFL star Troy Polamalu is famous for his long, black curls. And it's quite plausible he would be among the lifelike statues in Hollywood's Madam Tussauds. So when visitors sidled up for a souvenir photo with the wax figure in a Steelers jersey, they got a shock. It was alive. It was Polamalu in the flesh shooting a commercial and playing a prank. It's MORNING EDITION. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.
And we're getting ready for what's expected to be the other major news of the morning — the 8:30 a.m. ET announcement from the Bureau of Labor Statistics about the September unemployment rate and how many jobs were or were not added to payrolls last month.
GOP presidential contender Mitt Romney travels to the Citadel in South Carolina to deliver a speech on national security Friday. The issue has traditionally been a bright line between hawks and doves, Republicans and Democrats. But even on this, the third anniversary of President Obama winning the Nobel Peace Prize, the politics are no longer clear cut.
Loosely-organized protests that began on Wall Street last month have now spread to other cities across the country. President Obama says he understands the frustration conveyed by prostesters. He's trying to channel public anger with Wall Street into support for his own financial policies.
Apple's Steve Jobs, who died this week after battling a rare form of pancreatic cancer, didn't just change technology. Lynn Neary learns more about the profound legacy Jobs leaves behind on the world of design from John Maeda, president of the Rhode Island School of Design.
LYNN NEARY, host: It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Lynn Neary. Steve Inskeep is away.
RENEE MONTAGNE, host: And I'm Renee Montagne.
When the U.S. tracked down and killed Osama bin Laden in his hiding place in northwest Pakistan, it chose to keep the Pakistani army and its intelligence service in the dark about that mission. The fact that Pakistan was caught with the world's most wanted man living within walking distance of a premiere military academy humiliated and angered many in the country.
Mortgage rates are now below 4 percent. The average 30 year fixed rate loan is at an all time low. But high unemployment, weak consumer confidence, and tougher standards for getting credit, are keeping many Americans from buying homes.
The Obama administration is urging Congress to rescind a decision blocking some aid to the Palestinians.
The congressional decision to put a hold on $200 million of aid money was prompted by the Palestinian Authority's bid for statehood recognition at the United Nations — something both the administration and Congress oppose. The funding cut is already having an impact in the Palestinian territories.
An Iranian who was studying physics in Texas went on trial in Tehran this week on charges related to espionage.
Omid Kokabee, 29, a graduate student at the University of Texas, Austin, went home to Iran to visit his family back in February. When Kokabee failed to return to Austin, his friends discovered he had been jailed and charged in Iran with communicating with a hostile government and taking illegal funds.
His case is only now becoming public knowledge, just a few weeks after Iran released two young Americans accused of espionage and held for more than two years.
Long-term joblessness is one of the unfortunate legacies of the recession. Earlier this year, the Labor Department started tracking longer periods of unemployment. According to that data, there are now more than 2 million people who have been jobless for at least two years, and 700,000 of those have been looking for work for at least three years.
Thriller writer Barry Eisler has turned his back on traditional publishing — or as he calls it, legacy publishing. His latest book, The Detachment, was released as an e-book in September. It comes out in paperback in October. Both versions are published by Amazon.
As a child growing up on his family's farm in the 1980s, Jere Gettle didn't spend his evenings watching TV; instead, he read seed catalogs. To him, the endless varieties of seeds with exotic sounding names were full of possibility. He loved the idea of planting them in the ground, tending the crops that grew from them and preparing the harvested vegetables for a family meal.
Though most central bankers hate inflation, policies that promote inflation may boost the U.S. economy, some economists say.
Ken Rogoff, former chief economist at the International Monetary Fund, says the Federal Reserve's efforts to boost growth haven't worked and the central bank needs to be more forceful.
"They need to be willing, in fact actively pursue, letting inflation rise a bit more," says Rogoff, who is now a professor at Harvard. "That would encourage consumption. It would encourage investment. It would bring housing prices into line."
Rick Perry first won public office in 1984, when he was elected to the Texas House of Representatives. In that and in every campaign since, he has run as a man shaped by his time working a dryland farm.
Businessman and GOP presidential candidate Herman Cain has been taking advantage of his recent rise to fame. Since he won the Florida straw poll late last month, he is everywhere: appearing on Sunday talk shows, promoting his new book and taking every opportunity to try to maintain his momentum.
People like the way he talks. His frank, motivational style has come out in GOP debates and in speeches.
Pot dispensaries have flourished in California, one of 16 states where the use of medical marijuana is legal. But the federal government is now giving some of the state's pot shops 45 days to close down.
The state's four U.S. attorneys gave notice to at least 16 stores that they must close, or face criminal charges and the seizure of their property, according to the Associated Press.
The stereotypical Fantasy Football fan is a 30-something suburban man-child. And the FX program The League is about their ilk. But even though fantasy football is what brings several friends together in the TV show, you don't have to be a fantasy football fan to enjoy it.
News that a Florida legislator wants to bring back the banned activity of "dwarf tossing" has people shaking their heads, and wondering why in the world you would want to do something like that. Of course, they're also curious as to whether he'll succeed.
Fake products permeate nearly every corner of China's economy. Earlier this year, the trend seemed to reach a new low when phony Apple stores were exposed in southwestern China.
Each fall, the fakery even extends to the world of seafood and East China's Yangcheng Lake, which is just a short train ride from Shanghai. Yangcheng is home to what are reputed to be China's tastiest and most expensive hairy crabs.