This month, NPR's Backseat Book Club hits the high seas for an adventurous novel called Heart of a Samurai by Margi Preus. The book begins in 1841, and is based on the sprawling true-life tale of Manjiro, whose destiny was almost determined before birth as a son in a long line of fishermen. But a storm blew his life on a new course, and he became one of the first Japanese to set foot in America.
Poised to triumphantly clinch the Republican nomination for president, Romney instead was upstaged Tuesday by supporter Donald Trump's new birther-on-steroids shtick that stole the headlines and the candidate's big moment.
Then on Thursday, ready to embarrass President Obama by holding a "surprise" press event in front of Solyndra, the Obama-touted California solar energy company that failed after getting a $535 million government loan guarantee, Romney was upstaged yet again.
Spain's borrowing costs hit record highs this week and European stock markets have slumped over fears Madrid can't afford the price tag required to prop up its ailing banks. It's looking ever more likely the country will need some kind of bailout.
After watching Greece from afar for years, many Spaniards now believe Spain's number is up.
A tourist in Madrid might wonder where the crisis is. Traffic is heavy and the tapas bars are packed.
But listen in on some of the conversations, and it's clear that Spaniards are scared.
The school year's winding down, meaning teenagers around the country will soon be trying to pull in some extra cash scooping ice cream or manning those kiosks at the mall.
But with the job market still weak, teens are facing stiff competition landing summer jobs. And while the downturn has hit young job seekers particularly hard, it's not just the lingering effects of the Great Recession working against them: the drop-off in teen summer hiring actually began long before 2007.
If nothing else, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has apparently done President Obama a favor.
His Honor's proposed ban on the sale of supersized sugary fountain drinks in his city made the mayor, at least for some, the epitome of Big Government excess, a place many critics, particularly conservatives, typically reserve for the Obama.
Wal-Mart has joined the list of major corporations withdrawing their support from a conservative political group that advocates the "Stand Your Ground" laws that came under intense focus after the Trayvon Martin killing became a national story.
This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan in Washington. Dedicated runner and family doctor Tom White coped for years with the consequences of a traffic accident, but over time, his left leg gave him more and more trouble and pain, to the point where he decided to have it amputated.
Relations continue to deteriorate between the United States and Pakistan, a country some described as a nominal ally. A Senate panel voted last week to reduce aid to Islamabad after a doctor who helped the CIA find Osama bin Laden was sentenced to 33 years in prison. And Pakistan continues to refuse to reopen U.S. supply lines into Afghanistan that it cut in response to American air strikes that killed 24 Pakistani soldiers last year.
The Supreme Court is expected to rule on the controversial health care law in June. Many legal analysts expect the Justices to strike down parts of the law in a split, 5-4 decision, prompting a debate among legal scholars about what the decision will reveal about the politics of the High Court.
In a rare moment of harmony in Washington, President Obama hosted former President George W. Bush and former first lady Laura Bush for the unveiling of the couple's official portraits.
It's a tradition that dates back to 1800, when the White House acquired its first work of art: a full-length portrait of George Washington by Gilbert Stuart.
During a ceremony in East Room of the White House, President Obama noted that fact saying that while Washington is constantly engulfed in partisan bickering, the "Presidency transcends those differences."
By resisting efforts at the United Nations to bring concerted pressure on Syrian President Bashar Assad to end the killing in his country, Russia is "in effect, propping up the [Assad] regime at a time when we should be working on a political transition," Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said earlier today in Copenhagen.
Clinton also told an audience that Russia's implicit support for Assad could "help contribute to a civil war" in Syria, The Associated Press reports.
Democrat Elizabeth Warren, who is in a tight Senate race in Massachusetts against Republican incumbent Scott Brown, acknowledged for the first time that she told the law schools at Harvard and University of Pennsylvania of her Native American heritage.
Increasingly, Internet users are working "in the cloud" — creating and sending data that isn't stored on local hard drives. It's easy to imagine our emails and photos swirling around in cyberspace without a physical home — but that's not really how it works. Those files are still stored somewhere, but you can only find them if you know where to look.
In our recent poll on what it means to be sick in America, one ethnic group stands out as having special problems – Hispanic Americans.
The national survey, conducted by NPR with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Harvard School of Public Health, sheds new light on Hispanics' health issues. It runs counter to the widespread impression that African-Americans are worst-off when it comes to the cost and quality of health care.
"A federal appeals court Thursday declared that the Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutionally denies federal benefits to married gay couples, a ruling all but certain to wind up before the U.S. Supreme Court," The Associated Press reports from Boston.
Most of what they're catching isn't all that exciting, but the folks at the Sunlight Foundation have launched something that has the potential to expose elected officials and politicians as they try to hide embarrassing things that get on to their Twitter feeds.
Politwoops, Sunlight says, is "the only comprehensive collection of deleted tweets by U.S. politicians. From minor typos to major gaffes, Politwoops is now there to offer a searchable window into what they hoped you didn't see."
The Scripps National Spelling Bee is down to the 50 semifinalists. Today at 10:00 Eastern, they'll compete in the semifinals (broadcast on ESPN2), and then tonight at 8:00, they'll hold the finals (broadcast on ESPN). You can also follow an online streaming version at ESPN online, but to be honest, it's an extremely cumbersome process that I haven't yet gotten to work for me.
ADP's monthly report is sometimes a decent barometer of what the Bureau of Labor Statistics will say when it issues its employment estimates. We're due to hear from BLS about the May employment situation on Friday at 8:30 a.m. ET.
(NPR's Eric Westervelt reported from Germany on Morning Edition about the effort to remember Holocaust victims by engraving their names on bricks, or "stumbling stones," placed on sidewalks throughout Germany. Some of those stones bear the names of Jeffrey Katz's relatives.