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Organizers of the 2012 Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C., face a bit of a conundrum as they try to honor their party's deep ties to organized labor in a state with the lowest percentage of unionized workers in the nation. Local businesses worry they'll be passed over for unionized competitors, which are few and far between in the right-to-work state.

"This is a make or break moment for the middle class, and for all those who are fighting to get into the middle class," President Obama said in a speech in Osawatomie, Kansas. The speech threw the president in the middle of the conversation about economic inequality that's been central to the demands of the Occupy movement.

The speech also laid down some markers in preparation for the president's reelection battle and he did so with a big bow to Teddy Roosevelt, who delivered a speech calling for a "New Nationalism" in the same city more than 100 years ago.

Gossip is arguably one of humanity's oldest pastimes. It can be entertaining, it's occasionally helpful, it's often salacious and even, at times, vicious.

What it's not, argues Joseph Epstein, is trivial.

The author and essayist has already traced the history and practice of two other human weaknesses, snobbery and envy. In his new book, Gossip: The Untrivial Pursuit, he turns his eye on our deep desire to hear — and share — the secrets of others, even if we feel guilty about doing so.

Remembering Larry Levan, 'The Jimi Hendrix of Dance Music'

Dec 6, 2011

The audio link above is a radio story for All Things Considered about the late Larry Levan, the producer and DJ whose residency at New York's Paradise Garage between 1977 and 1987 remains the most storied in clubland.

This piece of news is perhaps a testament to the mystery that was Apple's late CEO Steve Jobs: Walter Isaacson's authorized biography of Jobs, a 656-page epic that has been well received critically, has just taken the top spot on Amazon's 2011 best-seller list.

Here Come The Food Trend Lists

Dec 6, 2011

It's that time of year when media organizations, consultants and marketers try their hands at summarizing and forecasting the past year and the coming year's food trends. It's a tricky business, because it really depends who you're talking about and where they actually eat (home, work, out?).

Days after angry Iranian students overran the British embassy in Tehran, The U.S. has opened its new "embassy" for Iranian citizens. Senior U.S. diplomats haven't returned to Tehran after more than 30 years - this department is web only.

The front page features a welcome video from Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and the seal of the State Department, with the banner "Virtual Embassy of the United States, Tehran - Iran" set at the very top.

But as the welcome message reads,

The U.S. Postal Service has announced it will move forward with plans to close some 250 processing centers and lay off workers. The cuts may help save $3 billion a year by 2015, and could add a day to the delivery time of many shipments. The USPS is also reviewing post offices for possible closures.

Court Rules Bone Marrow Donors Can Be Paid

Dec 6, 2011

A federal appeals court ruled that most bone marrow donors can be paid. The decision has sparked debate among advocates who believe compensation will create incentives for people to donate bone marrow, and the Justice Department, which argues compensation may compromise patient safety.

Letters: NPR's New CEO And Becoming A Poet

Dec 6, 2011

NPR's Neal Conan reads from Talk of the Nation listener comments on previous show topics, including advice for NPR's new CEO, Gary Knell, and the moments when a writer realizes he or she has become a poet.

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