Richard Gonzales is NPR's National Desk Correspondent based in San Francisco. Along with covering the daily news of region, Gonzales' reporting has included medical marijuana, gay marriage, drive-by shootings, Jerry Brown, Willie Brown, the U.S. Ninth Circuit, the California State Supreme Court and any other legal, political, or social development occurring in Northern California relevant to the rest of the country.

Hard Times: A Journey Across America
4:34 am
Tue November 1, 2011

Calif. County Yearns For 'The Way It Used To Be'

Craig and Linda Black sit at a table in the yard of their home in Vacaville, Calif. They are desperately trying to hang on to their home after falling behind on their mortgage payments.

Richard Gonzales NPR

Part of a monthlong series

There's a lot to like about Solano County, Calif., a collection of bedroom communities between San Francisco and Sacramento: great climate, diversity and until recently, very stable neighborhoods.

But it also has the second-highest foreclosure rate in the country. Its largest city, Vallejo, went bankrupt. And unemployment here is 11 percent, higher than the national average.

Read more
Monkey See
4:30 am
Tue November 1, 2011

Mindy Kaling On Diets, High School And Other American Pastimes

Mindy Kaling is an Emmy Award-nominated writer and an actress on NBC's The Office.

Autumn deWilde

Much of Mindy Kaling's humor is rooted in something that might seem unfeasible: using logic to explore American culture. But it works — and works well — because Kaling uses a type of circular logic that's all her own. Just consider this recent Tweet: "Can everyone buy my book please? I wanna quit the business and homeschool my kids real weird."

Read more
Law
4:19 am
Tue November 1, 2011

Supreme Court To Weigh Case Of False Testimony

The U.S. Supreme Court hears arguments Tuesday in a case that sounds more like a John Grisham novel than a Supreme Court case.

The issue is whether police investigators have total immunity from being sued for giving false testimony before a grand jury. The case has all the elements of a spooky saga, involving power, influence and money — all used to silence the critics of Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital, the largest hospital in Albany, Ga.

Read more
Latin America
3:54 am
Tue November 1, 2011

In The Hills Of Rio, Shantytowns Get A Makeover

Santa Marta is one of the many slums that dot the hillsides of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Rio, host of the World Cup in 2014 and the Olympics in 2016, is now trying to remake these slums, or favelas, long wracked by poverty and violence.

Vanderlei Almeida AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue November 1, 2011 8:23 pm

On a recent day in Rio de Janeiro, police radios crackle in Providencia, a warren of cinder-block homes and narrow walkways where drugs and violence were once common.

But these days, it's just routine chatter. All is safe in this favela, one of the hundreds of slums built chockablock on the city's steep hills. A Rio advertising company is leading a tour for its employees and representatives of other companies.

Among those who have come is Raoni Lotar, a 30-year-old Carioca — resident of Rio.

Read more
Around the Nation
3:53 am
Tue November 1, 2011

Starbucks Hopes To Kick-Start Job Creation

Starbucks is teaming up with a network of community-based financial institutions to help create jobs. Beginning Tuesday anyone can make a tax-deductable contribution at a Starbucks store or online to the Create Jobs for USA Fund. The money will go to companies so they can hire or retain American workers.

Read more
Law
3:52 am
Tue November 1, 2011

Official Admits 'Mistake' In Gun-Trafficking Case

U.S. Border Patrol vehicles drive from a checkpoint in December 2010, as teams of border officers comb the Arizona desert about 10 miles north of Mexico in search for a suspect in the fatal shooting of U.S. Border Patrol agent Brian Terry in the rugged terrain in Rio Rico, Ariz.

Ross D. Franklin ASSOCIATED PRESS

A top political appointee in the Obama Justice Department says he made a "mistake" when he didn't flag questionable tactics used by federal agents in a gun-trafficking case for his superiors last year.

Lanny A. Breuer, assistant attorney general in charge of the criminal division, told NPR he found out in April 2010 that agents at the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives had let more than 400 guns connected to suspicious buyers cross the Southwest border during the Bush years, but he didn't tell senior leadership at the Justice Department.

Read more
7 Billion And Counting
3:46 am
Tue November 1, 2011

As Population, Consumption Rise, Builder Goes Small

The world's population has just hit 7 billion people and continues to grow. Population experts are concerned about the rise in consumption that will accompany the increase in people. One California home builder, ZETA Communities, designs and builds small, highly energy-efficient homes.

Zeta Communities

Originally published on Wed November 2, 2011 11:33 am

The planet may not feel any different today, but there are now 7 billion people on it, according to the United Nations.

That number will continue to rise, of course, and global incomes are likely to rise as well. That means more cars and computers, and bigger homes: the kinds of things Americans take for granted. It's that rise in consumption that has population experts worried.

Read more
Author Interviews
3:46 am
Tue November 1, 2011

Sorrowful 'Blue Nights': Didion Mourns Her Daughter

Quintana Roo Dunne takes in the ocean view with her parents, John Gregory Dunne and Joan Didion in Malibu in 1976. Quintana Roo fell ill in 2003, and her father had a fatal heart attack several days later. Blue Nights is Didion's elegy for her daughter who died in 2005 at age 39.

John Bryson Time Life Pictures/Getty Images

In The Year of Magical Thinking, Joan Didion wrestled with the death of her husband, John Gregory Dunne. The book was published in 2005, months after their daughter Quintana Roo Dunne — their only child — died at age 39. In her new book, Blue Nights, the 76-year-old author has pieced together literary snapshots, retrieved memories and unanswered queries about her daughter's life and death.

"It has not left my mind since it happened," Didion says. "I live with it, so naturally I can talk about it. ... I couldn't talk about it at first, but I can now."

Read more

Nationally renowned broadcast journalist Susan Stamberg is special correspondent for NPR.

Stamberg is the first woman to anchor a national nightly news program, and has won every major award in broadcasting. She has been inducted into the Broadcasting Hall of Fame and the Radio Hall of Fame. An NPR "founding mother," Stamberg has been on staff since the network began in 1971.

Beginning in 1972, Stamberg served as co-host of NPR's award-winning newsmagazine All Things Considered for 14 years. She then hosted Weekend Edition Sunday, and now serves as guest host of NPR's Morning Edition and Weekend Edition Saturday, in addition to reporting on cultural issues for Morning Edition.

Pages