Sports Commentary: Why Wimbledon Still Thrills

32 minutes ago
Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit

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.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit

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.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit

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.


'Occupy' Presents Big Problems For Big-City Mayors

Nov 7, 2011
Originally published on November 7, 2011 8:06 pm

The nationwide Occupy movement might be targeting Wall Street, but it's arguably municipal governments that have felt the biggest impact so far.

Protesters have staged weeks-long sit-ins at public spaces in cities from New York to Atlanta to Pittsburgh to Oakland, Calif. Although the demonstrations have been largely peaceful, hundreds of protesters have been arrested and there have been a handful of violent clashes with law enforcement.

Occupy has put mayors of these cities in a delicate situation: balancing respect for civil liberties with the need to maintain law and order and limit the protests' physical toll. The cost of policing the demonstrations has skyrocketed, and there is increasing concern over public sanitation in occupied parks and about keeping protesters safe, especially as winter nears.

And so far, there's no sign that cold weather will put an end to the demonstrations.

"I'm planning to be the last one left in the park," says 18-year-old Ethan Johnson, a North Carolinian at the Occupy D.C. encampment in the city's McPherson Square. "And that's at least until New Year's."

A Unique Challenge

David Sklansky, a law professor at the University of California, Berkeley, says the protests present a unique challenge for city officials and law enforcement.

"There are political questions to be answered here about how municipalities and their police forces weigh not only the interests in public safety but also their interests in maintaining public order and access to public spaces," Sklansky says. "How do they do that in the context of a movement that has many members of the public as well as elected representatives sympathetic to it?"

A national poll published this week by the University of Massachusetts, Lowell, and The Boston Herald suggests that Americans have a better impression of Occupy than of Wall Street. Of the 1,005 adults surveyed, 35 percent had a favorable impression of the Occupy movement, while 16 percent said the same for Wall Street and big business.

Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, who is president of the U.S. Conference of Mayors, has said he supports protesters' right to assemble but that they can't camp outside City Hall indefinitely. He led a recent conference call with seven other mayors to discuss how to handle the Occupy movement and, among other things, the impact on transportation, city services and costs.

Officials in Atlanta said late last month that the Occupy movement could cost the city $300,000. And in New York — where Occupy Wall Street began — police Commissioner Raymond Kelly has put the costs of extra security due to the protests at $2 million.

In Oakland — where protests shut down the city's port last week and police fired tear gas during violent clashes with some demonstrators — Mayor Jean Quan told The San Jose Mercury News that the overtime bill for law enforcement would "bite heavily" into the city's budget.

She put the cost at $700,000 and said the outlay meant that fewer community services would be available.

Tolerance For How Long?

Quan is among several mayors who have expressed both sympathy and concern over the protests. Despite the Oct. 25 police crackdown in Oakland that left several people injured, the mayor has taken pains to declare that her city is "progressive and tolerant of many opinions."

"We support the goals of the Occupy Wall Street movement. We have high levels of unemployment and we have high levels of foreclosure that makes Oakland part of the 99 percent, too," Quan said days after the incident. "We may not always agree, but we all have a right to be heard."

George Edwards, a political science professor at Texas A&M University, says he thinks officials have shown a fair amount of tolerance toward protesters.

"When you had the civil rights movement, one of the things they wanted to do was precipitate violence. Not that they wanted to get their heads bashed in, but that they wanted to show the rest of the country the nature of the opposition," Edwards says. "I don't think, as far as I know, that this is a major goal of the occupiers — to precipitate violence against them. In that case, it's easier to be more tolerant of them."

Perhaps no one exemplifies the difficult situation that officials find themselves in better than New York City's Michael Bloomberg.

On Thursday, Bloomberg seemed conciliatory toward the demonstrators who have stood their ground in Manhattan's Zuccotti Park since mid-September. Speaking with reporters, he conceded that "there is no easy answer ... but the right answer is to allow people to protest."

But the next day, he lashed out at protesters during his weekly radio address.

"What they are trying to do is take away the jobs of people working in the city, take away the tax base that we have," the mayor said. "We're not going to have money to pay our municipal employees or anything else."

The Gamble Of Winter

As cold weather approaches, a whole new set of concerns will arise, said Sklansky, the Berkeley law professor.

The storm that hit the Northeast, including New York, the last weekend in October did little to dissuade demonstrators — and it gave officials a glimpse of the problems that winter might bring. Protesters in Zuccotti Park were using gas-powered generators to stay warm, but fire officials were forced to remove the six generators, along with 13 cans of gasoline, as illegal safety hazards.

Sklansky says city officials can't afford to gamble that freezing temperatures will send the protesters home.

"I don't think that any mayor should just cross his arms and say, 'This will take care of itself,' " he says. "I do think that the weather can sometimes help make the situation less volatile. It's no accident that lots of urban disturbances happen in the summer."

If the Occupy camps don't break up on their own, city officials and protesters will eventually have to come to some sort of an agreement. Otherwise, the situation could devolve into further violence, says Francesca Polletta, a sociology professor at the University of California, Irvine.

Either way, she notes, the loose structure of the Occupy movement could complicate a solution.

"There is no single leader for police and officials to negotiate with," Polletta says.

"On the other hand," she says, "the movement's insistence on people's autonomy makes it harder to keep everyone nonviolent — and if some in the movement destroy property or threaten people's safety, the police will have justification for cracking down even if most in the movement remain nonviolent."

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit