It's planting season, at least for those growing things like summer squash, beans and cherry tomatoes. And we're seeing a change. Rather than buy already developed seedlings, which are more expensive, many gardeners are buying seed packets. It's a sign they want to start their gardens from scratch. And seed companies say they've seen an increase in orders since the economic downturn.
Reporter Sasa Woodruff reports that it's easy to read the directions on these seed envelopes, the hard part is following them.
Now let's look little more deeply at this narrative of scandal. NPR's Scott Horsley has more.
SCOTT HORSLEY, BYLINE: When President Obama gets frustrated with the gridlock in Washington, he sometimes looks back wistfully to the decades after World War II. Back then, he suggests Republicans and Democrats managed to work together, despite their differences, building highways, protecting consumers, and educating generations of workers.
California is about to become the first state to require shore power at its ports. A new law mandates at least half of a shipping line's fleet to shut down their diesel engines and plug into shore-side electric power when they unload their cargo. It's part of a larger effort to cut pollution at the state's busiest ports, but costs have been a sticking point.
Yahoo is expected to announce Monday that it's acquiring the social media site Tumblr, in a deal The Wall Street Journal and other news outlets are reporting to be worth about $1.1 billion. Some analysts are calling the acquisition an effort by Yahoo to be "cool and relevant" again.
The phrase "second term curse" is so familiar that it's become a cliche of American politics. Whether it's President Richard Nixon's resignation or President Bill Clinton's impeachment, presidents tend to have a tough time during the back half of an eight-year presidency.
TD Bank volunteers sort donated food into barrels at the Manna Food Center in Gaithersburg in Montgomery County, Md. Poverty in the county just outside Washington, D.C., has grown by two-thirds since 2007.
Credit Pam Fessler/NPR
Elizabeth Kneebone is co-author, with Alan Berube, of Confronting Suburban Poverty in America, a new book from the Brookings Institution.
Credit Gabriella Demczuk / NPR
Fafaneva Phillip Avudufu (left) and his wife, Akouavi Davi, with their grandson Joshua, 4, in their apartment in Gaithersburg, Md.
Poverty has grown everywhere in the U.S. in recent years, but mostly in the suburbs. During the 2000s, it grew twice as fast in suburban areas as in cities, with more than 16 million poor people now living in the nation's suburbs — more than in urban or rural areas.
Elizabeth Kneebone, a fellow with the Metropolitan Policy Program at the Brookings Institution, says this shift in poverty can be seen in Montgomery County, Md., right outside the nation's capital.
The classic children's show Captain Kangaroo aired on TV for nearly 30 years, starting in 1955. After its creator and star, Bob Keeshan, died in 2004, his estate donated a few of his beloved hand puppets to the Smithsonian.
In China, having too much money is a relatively new problem. But the rapidly growing country is second only to the U.S. in its number of billionaires, according to Forbes magazine. And now an enterprising company has set up a course for kids born into wealthy families, who are learning how to deal with the excesses of extraordinary wealth.
Ellie is a computer simulation designed to engage real people in meaningful conversation and take their measure. The computer system looks for subtle patterns in body language and vocal inflections that might be clues to underlying depression or other emotional distress.
Ellie (right) is a computer simulation designed to engage real people, like the woman on the left, in meaningful conversation and take their measure. The computer system looks for subtle patterns in body language and vocal inflections that might be clues to underlying depression or other emotional distress.
As the country awaits two important Supreme Court decisions involving state laws on same-sex marriage, a small but consistent body of research suggests that laws that ban gay marriage — or approve it — can affect the mental health of gay, lesbian and bisexual Americans.
By all the laws of anything, Winston Chen should not have quit his well-paying, midcareer job at a software company at age 40. But one day he was watching a TED Talk, one of those popular online video presentations, delivered by a New York designer.
"He presented this absolutely irresistible idea," Chen says. "He said, 'Why don't we take five years out of retirement and spread them throughout your working life?' "
Sometimes you need some distance to appreciate a classic.
That was certainly the case for John Williams' novel Stoner. When it was originally published in 1965, the only publication to mention the book at all was The New Yorker, in its "Briefly Noted" column. The novel received admiring reviews over the years, but sold just 2,000 copies and was almost immediately forgotten.
You're out navigating the jammed sidewalks of Kenya's capital city when you suddenly realize you're in desperate need of a toilet. You crane your neck over the crowds, vainly seeking a McDonalds, a Starbucks — no such luck. What next?
There could be an app for that. Twendeloo, which is Swahili for "Let's Go to the Loo," would allow you to use your phone to locate the nearest public restroom in Nairobi's business district, then give it a rating for cleanliness.
President Obama, on Sunday, delivered a rare, very personal commencement address at Morehouse College, the historically black, all-male insitution that is the alma mater of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
It was a short speech, but Obama did not shy away from the subjects of race and responsibility. We've embedded video of the address above, but here are two excerpts you should read. They are taken from his prepared remarks:
The iconic Industrial Trust Tower, knows as the "Superman building," stands in downtown Providence, R.I. The art deco-style skyscraper, the tallest in the state, lost its last tenant when the bank's lease expired in April.
Rhode Island is home to beautiful beaches, top-notch universities and a thriving arts scene. Beneath the surface, however, the state faces challenges similar to other parts of the country: shrinking revenues, lost jobs and general economic malaise.
The main character of Claire Messud's novel, The Woman Upstairs, is a good woman. Nora is a 37-year-old elementary school teacher — responsible, kind and reliable. She is also very, very angry.
Her dreams of being an artist have been suppressed; she is seething inside with rage and resentment. But she keeps her anger in until she meets another woman who has everything she does not: a husband, a child and a successful art career. And then everything begins to unravel. As Nora's relationship with the woman and her family deepens, her inner life begins to come out.