Sports Commentary: Why Wimbledon Still Thrills

30 minutes ago
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The unassuming hero of Jonas Karlsson's clever, Kafkaesque parable is the opposite of a malcontent. Despite scant education, a limited social life, and no prospects for success as it is usually defined, he's that rarity, a most happy fella with an amazing ability to content himself with very little. But one day, returning to his barebones flat from his dead-end, part-time job at a video store, he finds an astronomical bill from an entity called W.R.D. He assumes it's a scam. Actually, it is more sinister-- and it forces him to take a good hard look at his life and values.

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Donald Trump picked a military town, Virginia Beach, Va., to give a speech Tuesday on how he would go about reforming the Department of Veterans Affairs if elected.

He blamed the Obama administration for a string of scandals at the VA during the past two years, and claimed that his rival, Hillary Clinton, has downplayed the problems and won't fix them.

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The season for blueberries used to be short. You'd find fresh berries in the store just during a couple of months in the middle of summer.

Now, though, it's always blueberry season somewhere. Blueberry production is booming. The berries are grown in Florida, North Carolina, New Jersey, Michigan and the Pacific Northwest — not to mention the southern hemisphere.

But in any one location, the season is still short. And this means that workers follow the blueberry harvest, never staying in one place for long.

More than 4 in 10 working Americans say their job affects their overall health, with stress being cited most often as having a negative impact.

That's according to a new survey about the workplace and health from NPR, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

While it may not sound so surprising that work affects health, when we looked more closely, we found one group was particularly affected by stress on the job: the disabled.

If you've stepped foot in a comic book store in the past few years, you'll have noticed a distinct shift. Superheroes, once almost entirely white men, have become more diverse.

There's been a biracial Spider-Man, a Muslim Ms. Marvel, and just last week, Marvel announced that the new Iron Man will be a teenage African-American girl.

Joining this lineup today is Kong Kenan, a Chinese boy who, as part of a reboot of the DC comics universe, is one of four characters taking up Superman's mantle.

On Tuesday, an international tribunal soundly rejected Beijing's extensive claims in the South China Sea, an area where China has been building islands and increasing its military activity.

The case before the international tribunal in the Hague was brought by the Philippines, challenging what's widely seen as a territorial grab by Beijing. The tribunal essentially agreed. Beijing immediately said the decision was null and void and that it would ignore it. There are concerns now that the tribunal's decision could inflame tensions between the U.S. and China.

The deaths last week of three African-American men in encounters with police, along with the killing of five Dallas officers by a black shooter, have left many African-American gun owners with conflicting feelings; those range from shock to anger and defiance. As the debate over gun control heats up, some African-Americans see firearms as critical to their safety, especially in times of racial tension.


College Football's Big Game; NBA's Stalled Start

Nov 5, 2011


SCOTT SIMON, host: Time now for sports.


SIMON: Tonight: Alabama, LSU. College footballs two top-ranked teams play for the number one spot, and new crop of baseball free agents are now on the market - and this just in: still no basketball. Maybe ESPN will pick up that big game next week between the (unintelligible) High School Bulldogs and the Von Steuben Panthers. Howard Bryant, from, ESPN the magazine and ESPN the pesto sauce joins us from the studio of WBUR in Boston. Howard, thanks very much for being with us.

HOWARD BRYANT: Good morning, Scott.

SIMON: And tell us about the big game in Tuscaloosa tonight?

BRYANT: Well, it is the epicenter of all things college football tonight. I like Alabama in this one. Last year, LSU wins on their home field and it wasn't as big a game last year as it is this year.

SIMON: Yeah.

BRYANT: Last year LSU was ranked 10th. Alabama was 6th. It was a close game, 24-21, LSU. This year, it's one versus two for all the marbles. Whoever is going to win will most likely go to the national championship game if they run the table. Whoever loses is not going to be able to get to the national championship game. So this is essentially the super bowl of college football. Alabama's defense is just terrific, especially against the run. Nobody can run the ball against them and Trent Richardson is the best running back in the country.

And so, I tend to like Alabama in a very close game this year.

SIMON: Let's move to baseball, if we can, because the free agent market is about to open up.

BRYANT: Um-hum.

SIMON: And two names obviously that come to the top of everyone's list, and they're first basemen, Albert Pujols and Prince Fielder.

BRYANT: And sure, and that's where the big money is going to be this year. And you've got two things at work. If it's Albert Pujols, if he leaves he's going to be the first superstar player in his prime with a multiple MVP on his mantle and multiple World Series as well to leave a team voluntarily. We've never seen that happen before. We've seen players leave at the end of their careers or be dumped and traded at the end of their careers, but we've never seen a guy in his prime walk away as a homegrown superstar with an MVP and a World Series title under his belt.

This would be the first. And as for Prince Fielder, he made it very, very clear and the Milwaukee Brewers made it very, very clear during the season - and for the last couple of years - that when this day came they weren't going to pony up the big money to try to keep him. So, we're looking at somebody who may just be a $200 million dollar player come December during this free agent period.

SIMON: Howard, NBA owners are set to meet this morning. Any sign of progress towards actually having a basketball season?

BRYANT: On paper, no. Anecdotally, yes. Because I think there's public narrative that suggests that the players are cracking. I don't see it. I'm very disappointed with what we've been hearing and reading, that this conversation will only depend on whether or not the players fold. There's a system in the NBA that's broken. It's a player system and it's an owner system and both sides have to acknowledge their part of it and right now all we're hearing is this blame the player, shut up and play, sort of attitude.

And I think that what really also has to happen is that the owners have to acknowledge one thing; and that is that if you have teams that are supposedly losing money that nobody wants to play for, maybe you shouldn't have them. And also, if you're going to say that your teams are losing money, how do you explain that the Golden State Warriors just sold, as did the Philadelphia 76's during a lockout. So, obviously somebody believes there's money to be made somewhere.

Both sides need to come back to the table and they need to be a little bit more honest about their positions.

SIMON: And will that happen when Key West freezes over?

BRYANT: Probably. As I've been saying all along, everyone that I've spoken to about this for the last couple of years told me that they did not expect to see basketball until February 2012. And I've said right around the All Star break 2012 and I'm going to stick to it, I don't think we're going to see basketball at least until the first of the year.

SIMON: Howard Bryant, with and ESPN the magazine. Thanks so much.

BRYANT: My pleasure. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright National Public Radio.