Last night at the Sotheby's auction house in New York, there was something to scream about. Our last word in business is: "The Scream."
STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:
As we reported yesterday, the Expressionist masterpiece by Edvard Munch went up for sale. There are four versions of this composition, but just one had been privately held by an heir of one of Munch's patrons.
Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin proposed slashing state income tax rates this year and eventually phasing out the tax.
Credit Daniel Acker / Bloomberg via Getty Images
North Dakota, which is in the midst of an oil boom that has filled government coffers, is considering property tax legislation that would cut taxes by $812 million a year, according to the state Tax Department.
Credit John Hanna / AP
Kansas state Rep. Joe Patton, a Topeka Republican, talked about proposals to eliminate the state's income tax during a November news conference.
It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Steve Inskeep.
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And I'm David Greene.
Our own Renee Montagne is in Afghanistan at a moment when its relationship with the United States is turning a corner. And for the next couple of weeks, Renee is going to be bringing us a range of voices and also opinions about what lies ahead. Renee joins us now from Kabul.
Steve Inskeep talks to Steve Coll about his new book, Private Empire: ExxonMobil and American Power. In it, Coll delves into the business model of one of the country's largest and most profitable corporations. He explores how the Exxon Valdez oil spill in 1989 shaped the culture at the company for years to come.
The sports world is mourning the death of a great football player, and by many accounts a great man. Junior Seau was only 43 years old when he died yesterday of a gunshot wound to the chest. Police in Oceanside, California, where Seau lived, and died, say they're investigating the death as a suicide.
Junior Seau played in the NFL for 20 years - 13 of them for the San Diego Chargers. He established himself as one of the greatest linebackers in NFL history. Joining me now is NPR sports correspondent Tom Goldman.
Let's talk about this more with NPR diplomatic correspondent Michele Kelemen. She's traveling with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. She's in Beijing. And Michele, how did this seem to go so wrong so quickly?
As the presidential campaigns refocus on November, they're zeroing in on digital domains. In fact, the Obama campaign has spent six times as much money advertising online as it has on TV so far, though that's certain to change.
And Republicans are fighting back with a new Facebook app called the "Social Victory Center." (You have to be a Facebook user to access the site.)
Newt Gingrich is officially out of the presidential race. The former House speaker said Wednesday that he's suspending his campaign, and he's ready to help the presumptive Republican nominee, Mitt Romney, battle President Obama. But Gingrich might have a more pressing problem: His campaign has about $4 million in debt.
In Gingrich's exit speech, he opened by thanking people — first his family, then his financial backers.
"I also want to single out, first of all, the over 179,000 donors who helped us at Newt.org and who helped make the campaign possible," he said.
Hank Aaron breaks Babe Ruth's record for career home runs as he hits No. 715 at Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium on April 8, 1974, on his way to a career 755 home runs. Research suggests that in a wide variety of professions, including collegiate and professional sports, a small but significant number of individuals perform exceedingly well and the rest of individuals' performance trails off.
For decades, teachers, managers and parents have assumed that the performance of students and employees fits what's known as the bell curve — in most activities, we expect a few people to be very good, a few people to be very bad and most people to be average.
The bell curve powerfully shapes how we think of human performance: If lots of students or employees happen to show up as extreme outliers — they're either very good or very bad — we assume they must represent a skewed sample, because only a few people in a truly random sample are supposed to be outliers.
When I went to see The Avengers the very day it was released, I texted a friend in San Francisco. It seems kind of unfair, I said, that because of the 12-hour time difference, I get to see The Avengers before you do.
Turns out I was a week off. The Avengers actually released in 39 countries around the world, including India, a week before it opens in America.
The African-American experience is reflected, right now, on the walls of the Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington, D.C. Exuberant dancing in Chicago. Laundry on a line in the nation's capital. A girl smiling out from her father's warm jacket — all captured in photographs, paintings and sculptures from the 1920s through the 1990s.
As you can probably tell, at least one person on this blog's masthead likes ants.
So we've always been bummed that we haven't had the opportunity to tell you about zombie ants, but today we are glad to report there is a new development in the field. Luckily, it's a good-news report about a fungus that limits the fungus that turns ants into zombies.
The news keeps getting worse for Spain. This week came word that the country has fallen back into recession. Meanwhile, Spain's unemployment rate is the highest in Europe. Investors are once again fleeing the country and interest rates on government debt are climbing.
The numbers coming out of Spain these days are stark. The economy contracted at a 0.3 percent rate during the first part of this year. Housing prices are down 21 percent from their peak, and unemployment is nearly 25 percent.
The prosecution at the perjury trial of baseball great Roger Clemens suffered another major setback Wednesday. One of its key witnesses, pitcher Andy Pettitte, conceded that he may have misunderstood his former teammate as saying he used human growth hormone (HGH).
Clemens is charged with lying to Congress when he testified before a House committee that he had never used performance-enhancing drugs.
California Faculty Association Vice President Douglas Domingo-Foraste (right) helps Cal State, Long Beach, professor Mark Sugars vote last month on whether to authorize a strike. The strike was authorized Wednesday.
Credit David McNew / Getty Images
Students walk between classes at California State University, Fullerton. Because of cuts, some students have trouble getting into classes they need to graduate.
California State University, the nation's largest four-year, public university system, is in trouble. Wednesday, professors authorized a strike over working conditions and pay, and students began a hunger strike demanding a tuition freeze.
The faculty authorization allows for two-day strikes at each of the schools in system, one after the other. A strike date is pending, though, and will only take place if negotiations fail.
This unfolding crisis is the result of massive state cuts in funding that have pushed higher education in California to the breaking point.
Gary Thulin, 70, says he used to dream of financial stability. Now, the New Hampshire co-op resident and mobile home owner says he and his wife could sell their home, pay off the loan they took out on it, and still walk away with $10,000.
Credit Dan Gorenstein for NPR
Co-op resident Gary Thulin had almost no credit when a nonprofit lender approved him for a loan to replace the single-wide home he had nicknamed "The Dump" with this new model.
Credit Courtesy of ROC USA
ROC USA is working with the residents of Cranberry Village, including Judy Stoddard, in Carver, Mass., to help them purchase the land they live on from its current owner.
The political civil war that has gripped Wisconsin since Republican Gov. Scott Walker's 2010 election will intensify next week when Democrats pick a candidate to post up against the governor in a historic recall election in June.
Tuesday's Democratic gubernatorial primary has developed into a two-person race between Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, who lost to Walker in the GOP landslide of 2010, and former County Executive Kathleen Falk, the favorite of the state's public employee unions.
Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology are teaming up in a $60 million venture to provide classes online for free. The move is the latest by top universities to expand their intellectual reach through the Internet — a trend that is changing higher education.
Zahra was an anti-government activist and graffiti artist in Syria. He and his friends spray-painted slogans against President Bashar Assad around the suburbs of Damascus, the Syrian capital.
Mourners carry the body of activist Nour Hatem Zahra, 23, during his funeral procession, in Damascus, Syria, on Monday. Friends and fellow activists say Zahra, who posted anti-government graffiti all around the Syrian capital, bled to death after being shot by Syrian security forces on Sunday.
Two self-employed florists prepare bunches of flowers in Havana last year. The Cuban government is stepping up economic reforms and estimates that in four or five years, nearly half the workforce will be employed in the private sector.
Credit Juan Barreto / AFP/Getty Images
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez (right) speaks with his Cuban counterpart, Raul Castro, during a military parade earlier this year in Caracas, Venezuela. Chavez has provided an economic lifeline to Cuba. Now, that lifeline is under threat as the Venezuelan leader fights cancer and faces re-election.
Socialism has been Cuba's official economic policy for more than a half-century, and some 85 percent of the Cuban workforce is employed by the state.
But that is changing fast. Communist authorities say that nearly half of Cuba's economic activity will shift to the private or "non-state" sector in the next four or five years.
Those plans signal a new urgency to Cuban President Raul Castro's economic reforms, and one reason is that Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, the island's biggest benefactor, is battling cancer and facing re-election in October.
Communist Party of Greece lawmaker Liana Kanelli enters her car after protesters threw yogurt at her as she tried to reach the Greek Parliament on June 29, during a 48-hour general strike in Athens. Such attacks are not uncommon in Greece, where ordinary Greeks' anger over the debt crisis and austerity measures is boiliing over.
Credit STR / AP
A protester shouts slogans during a May Day protest in Athens on Tuesday. In debt-crippled Greece, more than 2,000 people marched through central Athens in subdued protests centered on the country's harsh austerity program, ahead of elections scheduled for May 6.
Greeks will vote Sunday in what is expected to be the most fractious parliamentary election in decades.
People are so divided that no party is expected to get enough votes to form a government. Voters blame politicians for bankrupting the country and then selling it out to international lenders, who forced the government to impose painful austerity measures in exchange for billions of euros in bailout loans.
This election is an early one; the economic crisis forced out the previous elected government led by George Papandreou.
What secret ingredient makes the pie crust so crisp and flaky? If you're from the Midwest, you may have guessed: Lard. The pig fat reviled for decades as supremely unhealthy is undergoing a lipid rehabilitation by American chefs and home bakers.
President Obama and Afghan President Hamid Karzai signed a long-term partnership agreement on Tuesday in Kabul. The deal calls for the U.S. to remain engaged in Afghanistan for another decade, even as U.S. combat troops are withdrawn. Still, there are few details in the agreement. Pentagon correspondent Tom Bowman is in Kandahar, Afghanistan, and talks to Audie Cornish about the practical implications of the new deal.
Maybe you needed a good cry, but you were at work and didn't have easy access to your DVD of "The Notebook." So, you searched for that heart wrenching break-up scene on YouTube and let the tears flow freely.
Could be, nostalgic for times past when "real" men wore suits and drank bourbon, you were itching to watch Humphrey Bogart tell Ingrid Bergman, "Here's lookin' at you kid."