Sports Commentary: Why Wimbledon Still Thrills

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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.


Generation X Divided Over 2012 Candidates

Nov 5, 2011

Generation Xers — grown up now and in their 30s and 40s — are feeling hardest-hit by the recession, and are the most divided over the presidential candidates for 2012, according to a new report by the Pew Research Center.

Generation X has always been a diverse demographic and hard to peg, politically or otherwise. Older members came of age idolizing President Reagan, at a time when Hollywood's Gordon Gekko became an icon with his declaration that "greed is good." Younger members revered the saxophone-playing President Clinton and were dubbed the MTV generation, defined by slackers and grunge.

"They are a generation that was brought up in the boom days to some extent," says Pew researcher Michael Dimock. "Their early adulthood was the 1990s, and those were great times. And now this economy has turned around on them, and many are feeling more pinched than any other generation."

The Pew survey on generational politics finds a big spike in Generation Xers' concern about their personal financial situation. Dimock says that for many, the impact of the recession seems to be cumulative.

"When we interviewed Xers two years ago, they weren't thinking about retirement," Dimock says. "They had other problems. But now they're becoming increasingly worried about having enough money to get through their retirement."

That's true for people like Dan Sullivan, 36, with decades of employment ahead of him.

"I don't see myself retiring. I don't think it's possible," Sullivan says, pushing his 3-month-old son in a stroller in downtown Frederick, Md., a colonial-era town of red brick storefronts. Sullivan is an active-duty soldier and says he has been sheltered from a lot of the economic turmoil. But like a third of Generation X, according to the Pew poll, he has lost faith in the social programs set up to cushion old age.

"I don't think Social Security's going to be there for us," he says. "And Medicare, I don't think that's gonna be there. And, even if so, at this point I don't want the government's Medicare. I think you have to plan to be totally independent."

Although Sullivan admits that doesn't actually seem possible either.

Sullivan is a lifelong conservative, but he's not thrilled with any of the GOP presidential candidates. In a hypothetical matchup between President Obama and Mitt Romney?

"I'd probably lean a little bit more towards Romney," he says, "but I don't think he's all that great either."

Hard Hit By Housing Crisis

A block away, 33-year-old Leah Fuhrman-Fell sits with her dog outside the Starbucks where she is a barista.

"Obviously I'm not making any money right now for retirement," she says.

Fuhrman-Fell is making plans to get back into her former field of Internet marketing; she says her fiance is a gainfully employed architect. Still, like many Generation X members, they had the misfortune to buy their house at the height of the market.

"Oh, we're screwed!" she says, laughing. "The house next door to us went into foreclosure for less than half what we paid. We'll never leave."

Fuhrman-Fell is a lifelong liberal, although like many Gen Xers she says she is open to persuasion. As a group, Generation X leaned Democratic in 2008, then Republican in the 2010 midterms. Fuhrman-Fell says she likes some Republican politicians, but none are moderate enough to get her vote.

"But I still really like Barack Obama," Furhman-Fell says. "I think that he's been too nice. But I think if he comes in for a second term, he'll do what he wants to do, and I hope that's what he does."

Today, the Pew survey finds that a majority of Generation Xers have an unfavorable view of the Republican Party. Most are also disappointed with President Obama. They're not as down on him as older voters, but then the older generation never got on the Obama bandwagon to start with, researcher Dimock says.

"I think the Xers and boomers in some respects have moved farther on Obama," Dimock says, "going from being supporters to at least on the fence, if not somewhat unhappy with what he's done."

The Pew survey finds an even split in Gen X support for President Obama and Mitt Romney. Those on either side, though, say they're waiting to be impressed.

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