The concept of "pay what you want" for goods and services is a nostalgic throwback to the days when people trusted one another just a little bit more, and it's something you expect to see at the occasional farm stand or at a hip, independent coffee shop.
The Chicago Public Schools system is teetering on the edge of a strike, just a week into the school year. Teachers say they'll walk out Monday morning if tense weekend negotiations don't bring a contract. It would be the first Chicago teachers strike in 25 years.
At Parker Elementary School on Chicago's South Side, students are jumping double Dutch and hula-hooping. This is the first time many of the kids on this playground have ever had recess. The playtime is part of an extended school day pushed for by Mayor Rahm Emanuel.
Originally published on Fri September 7, 2012 12:44 am
Framing the coming election as a choice between fundamentally different visions, President Obama offered himself to the country Thursday as a fire-tested leader ready to finish the job he started.
"Our problems can be solved," Obama said. "Our challenges can be met."
It was an older, battle-scarred nominee who faced his party in Charlotte, N.C. This message of hope was tempered and longer-view — a good distance if not a full turn from the vision he offered four years ago when he accepted the nomination in a thundering Denver stadium.
Originally published on Fri September 7, 2012 6:25 am
In one of the most closely watched events at the London Paralympics, South African Oscar Pistorius failed in his attempt to win the 100-meter sprint and regain his title as the world's fastest amputee today.
Great Britain's Jonnie Peacock took the lead early and kept it, winning in 10.90 seconds, a Paralympic record. American Richard Browne, 21, of Jackson, Miss., won the silver medal.
Pistorius, the double amputee who ran in the Olympics this year, came in fourth. He finished in 11.17 seconds.
The Standard & Poor's 500-stock index rose to levels it hasn't hit in more than four years today, bolstered by the European Central Bank's plan to buy bonds of struggling countries to help support the euro. Strong U.S. jobs data also contributed to the gains.
Originally published on Fri September 7, 2012 12:29 am
German beer drinkers are eagerly awaiting Sept. 22, when the first Oktoberfest beer barrel will be tapped in Munich and two weeks of revelry begin. But when that happens, they might want to drink up — because the city's brewers are worried they won't be able to supply enough beer for the massive party and its huge beer tents.
The conflict in Syria is sending a staggering number of refugees into neighboring countries. Turkey, Jordan and even Iraq are building tent cities.
But Lebanon has yet to build such camps. The country is already home to more than a dozen teeming, squalid camps for hundreds of thousands of Palestinian refugees who fled the war after Israel's creation in 1948, as well as their descendants.
Drew Peterson, the former Illinois police officer, who became the focus of scrutiny in 2007 after the disappearance of his fourth wife, was found guilty Thursday of murdering his third wife.
The Associated Press reports that Peterson, 58, did not react as the verdict was read. Relatives of his third wife, Kathleen Savio, gasped before hugging each other as they cried quietly in the courtroom, the AP reported.
This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Robert Siegel.
Four years ago, then-Senator Barack Obama took the stage in Denver to accept his party's presidential nomination. He spoke of overcoming partisanship and economic turmoil. Well, tonight, President Obama will do it again with four years of experience under his belt. Since taking office, he has struggled to overcome a crushing recession, a weak recovery and a deeply divided electorate.
NPR's Scott Horsley has this story on the path the president has traveled.
This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED, from NPR News. I'm Robert Siegel. And we begin this hour with a bold move in Europe. The head of the European Central Bank today unveiled a plan that he said will help contain the continent's grinding debt crisis. Mario Draghi announced the ECB will step up its purchases of government bonds. The point is to bring down interest rates in Spain, Italy and other heavily indebted countries.
At the end of July, when NPR's Robert Siegel set off on the longest vacation since his honeymoon 39 years ago, he packed a few books, including the new book The Art of Procrastination by John Perry, emeritus professor of philosophy at Stanford.
After two weeks in Delaware, two weeks in Iberia and a week of work in Tampa, Fla., Siegel finally finished it Wednesday night. He says his timing is fitting: The book is 92 small, double-spaced pages.
It expands on a short confessional essay Perry wrote in 1996 called "Structured Procrastination."
Originally published on Wed September 12, 2012 7:14 pm
These days, Tryon Street here in Charlotte has felt a bit like a carnival. It has some to do with the many temporary structures that have popped up every few blocks and certainly some to do with the street vendors hawking T-shirts and hats and pins and mugs.
I recently listened to the first single from the new Cat Power album with some fellow fans, and the room was deeply divided. Some thought the song was fabulous, but others were startled and upset — which I could understand, sort of. Chan Marshall's songs generally speak to pain and trauma with a hushed and intimate musical vocabulary. But this song, "Ruin," was different — not just a rock 'n' roll song, but one you might even want to dance to.
Originally published on Thu September 6, 2012 4:59 pm
Foreign policy and defense matters are normally a source of vulnerability for Democrats, but they're getting a fair amount of attention from speakers down in Charlotte.
"There are more mentions of Osama bin Laden than unemployment in the Democratic national platform," says Micah Zenko, a fellow with the Council on Foreign Relations. "You play to what your strengths are."
President Obama sounded a bit subdued when he called into a conference call for supporters shut-out of his acceptance speech today.
"My main message is we can't let a little thunder and lightening stop us," he said. "We're gonna have to roll with it."
Yesterday, the campaign announced that because of the threat of thunderstorms, they were moving Obama's acceptance speech from the Bank of America Stadium, which holds more than 65,000 people to the Time Warner Cable Arena, a much smaller venue.
Originally published on Thu September 6, 2012 4:09 pm
In another sign of Democrats' growing embrace of gay-rights issues, an Iowa man who gained national attention for his story of growing up with lesbian mothers was to address the party's national convention Thursday.
Zach Wahls became a bit of an Internet star last year after testifying against a proposed same-sex marriage ban before members of the Iowa House of Representatives. A video of his statement went viral online, garnering millions of views.
Some details are emerging from Washington Post journalist Bob Woodward's new book about the 2011 battle between President Obama and congressional Republicans over the budget, taxes and deficit reduction.