Lindsay Reynolds lives in Waterloo, Wis. Even before the recent economic downturn, Reynolds and her husband struggled to make ends meet. They quarreled, especially over money.
"We never had enough income to pay bills, to pay rent. We were constantly late on rent," Reynolds says. "He always wanted to go do things. He wanted to go buy things. And I said, 'No, we can't. We have to be fiscally responsible.' "
Eric Weiner's most recent book is Man Seeks God: My Flirtations with the Divine.
Surveys show religious people are happier than the secular? Why is this? Is it — as an atheist friend quipped — that "ignorance is bliss?" Not long ago, that's what I would have concluded. Like many people of my ilk — cerebral East Coaster, highly skeptical, and, yes, latte drinking — I reflexively viewed the religious as less sophisticated. And, if I'm brutally honest here, somehow less intelligent, or at least more narrow-minded. I don't feel that way anymore.
A "Bo" made from plastic garbage bags sits in front of the fireplace in the library. Mrs. Obama drew a laugh from the crowd when she said Bo, "the most famous member of the Obama family," has been a little confused walking around the house and seeing himself in "gigantic form."
"Shine, Give, Share" is the theme for the Obama family's third Christmas in the White House. This year, a total of 37 Christmas trees and a 400-pound White House made of gingerbread, white chocolate and marzipan decorate the mansion.
When NPR's Ari Shapiro earlier this month filed a report on the 2011 holiday decorations at the executive mansion, he focused some of his attention on the diverse group of volunteer decorators who were called on to help dress up 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.
The title of Garland Jeffreys' latest album is an apt description of his life's work overall: The King of in Between. A singer-songwriter whose blend of rock 'n' roll, reggae, blues and soul is as edgy as it is full of social commentary, Jeffreys knows what it means to be an outsider, as evidenced by his accessible yet unclassifiable music.
The House blew up the end-of-year deal to extend the payroll tax holiday, but it insists it's the Senate's fault. If both chambers fail to forge a compromise, taxes go up, unemployment benefits expire and payments to Medicare doctors get cut by 27 percent — all starting Jan. 1.
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Piers Morgan, the man who took over Larry King's chair at CNN, was forced to confront his past today. Morgan was hooked up by video link to London to field questions at a public inquiry into media ethics. The inquiry was convened because of the News of the World phone hacking affair. That scandal has so far led to the resignation of top executives in Rupert Murdoch's media empire and more than 20 arrests.