The actor Alec Baldwin is in Washington, speaking in favor of the National Endowment for the Arts. The government-funded arts organization long ago supported the Sundance Film Festival and the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. In more recent years, the NEA has supported writers, arts education for kids, and everything from jazz musicians to urban design. It has also faced political controversy; most notably in the 1990s, when its funding was slashed.
Likely GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney is reaching out to a segment of the Republican base that has given him trouble in this year's primary season: the Tea Party. Last night in Philadelphia, he spoke to activists from Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware. And as NPR national political correspondent Don Gonyea reports, what might have been a tough crowd turned out to be just the opposite.
Zach Houston runs his Poem Store (on any given sidewalk) with these items: a manual typewriter, a wooden folding chair, scraps of paper, and a white poster board that reads: "POEMS — Your Topic, Your Price."
Houston usually gets from $2 to $20 for a poem, he says. He's received a $100 bill more than once. The Oakland, Calif., resident has been composing spontaneous street poems in the San Francisco Bay Area since 2005. Five years ago, it became his main source of income.
The 2012 presidential election is approaching, and President Obama's fate may hinge on how well the economy fares over the coming months.
On the campaign trail, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney has been highlighting the economy's weaknesses. The former Massachusetts governor has made a similar claim about the president, and the recession, at almost every campaign stop.
"I don't blame the president for the downturn," Romney told a crowd in New Hampshire earlier this year. "He didn't cause it. But he made it worse and made it last longer."
Oil field workers drill into the Gypsum Hills near Medicine Lodge, Kan. Hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking," to coax out oil and gas has led to a natural gas boom that the U.S. market is having trouble absorbing.
There's a boom in natural gas production in the United States, a boom so big the market is having trouble absorbing it all.
The unusually warm weather this winter is one reason for the excess, since it reduced the need for people to burn gas to heat their homes. A bigger reason, however, is the huge increase in gas production made possible by new methods of coaxing gas out of shale rock formations.