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.

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Tea Party Looks To Recapture Election Magic In 2012

Nov 8, 2011

It was one year ago that the Tea Party movement helped Republicans take control of the U.S. House of Representatives. With the presidential election a year away, the movement finds itself searching for ways to have the same kind of impact this time around.

The Tea Party celebrated on election night last year with candidates like Rand Paul, who captured a Senate seat in Kentucky.

"Tonight there's a Tea Party tidal wave, and we're sending a message to them," Paul said in his victory speech.

With the House victories, the congressional Tea Party caucus doubled in size to more than 60. Among them was Illinois Republican Joe Walsh, who said the group needs to keep the pressure on House Speaker John Boehner and other Republicans.

"I've been hard on our leadership because I'm one of these Tea Party freshmen who want as many spending cuts as we can get," Walsh said in an NPR interview in April.

The Tea Party caucus took a hard line in debate over raising the debt ceiling this summer, pushing the government to the brink of default. The movement didn't get the result it wanted, but it did take credit for forcing a debate.

Through it all, the Tea Party kept an eye on 2012, with events like a summertime bus tour organized by Ryan Rhodes of the Iowa Tea Party.

The Tea Party's goal is to have as big an impact on the presidential race as it did on congressional contests last year. An early favorite of the movement was Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota. She kicked off her presidential campaign in Waterloo, Iowa, describing a GOP made up of fiscal and social conservatives.

"It's made up of the Tea Party movement, and I am one of those," Bachmann said.

But Bachmann has since dropped in the polls as other candidates have courted Tea Party votes. They are Herman Cain, who's battling allegations of sexual harassment, Ron Paul, Rick Perry, Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum.

The one thing most Tea Party activists seem to agree on is that they don't like Mitt Romney, whose big sin was signing a Massachusetts health care law. But the chill goes both ways. He was asked about the movement by NBC's Brian Williams at a debate in California.

"Governor Romney, are you a member of the Tea Party?" Williams asked.

"I don't think you carry cards in the Tea Party," Romney answered. "I believe in a lot of what the Tea Party believes in."

Romney remains at or near the top of the polls even with little or no Tea Party backing. But he's not entirely without friends in the movement.

"Governor Romney is not getting a fair shot from the Tea Party, from some in the Tea Party," said former U.S. Senate candidate Christine O'Donnell of Delaware.

While a favorite of the Tea Party, O'Donnell lost the 2010 race for the seat once held by Vice President Joe Biden. It was a race Republicans expected to win, had O'Donnell not knocked off moderate Republican Rep. Mike Castle in the primary. O'Donnell's primary win was a victory of ideology over electability. Now she defends Romney, citing electability.

"We need to consider who is going to be able to beat Barack Obama, and right now we've got a field of candidates, and some of them are going to get crushed by the Obama machine and some of them have the infrastructure to beat Barack Obama," O'Donnell said.

The Tea Party does have a much higher profile this election. It even flirted with the establishment by teaming up with CNN for a televised debate.

But that event also brought about memorable moments, like when moderator Wolf Blitzer asked candidate Ron Paul what happens if someone chooses not to purchase health insurance, has an accident and winds up in the hospital in a coma.

Should society just let him die, Blitzer asked?

Paul answered "no," but an audience member shouted "yes." It prompted a new round of criticism of the Tea Party as heartless and ready to dismantle the social safety net.

Over the past year, public support for the movement has fallen off. In a September CNN poll, 53 percent of Americans surveyed had an unfavorable opinion of the Tea Party.

"We have taken some hits," says Matt Kibbe of FreedomWorks, one of several national organizations that has given financial and other support to the movement. "Our negatives are up some, but that's the price of leadership."

Kibbe says the Tea Party of today is very different from the one that began in 2009.

"It's a natural evolution," Kibbe explains. "We started as a protest movement. We morphed into a get-out-the-vote machine, but now we're literally thinking locally and acting nationally, and that to me is an exciting and maturing of the Tea Party movement."

Kibbe says it's too soon to say if there will be a presidential nominee the movement can rally around. If not, he says, the focus will be on House and Senate races. He says they know they can have an impact there — just as they did one year ago.

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