There are two big factors that will determine the outcome of the presidential election: the economy and demographics.
The economy is weak and doesn't look likely to improve by much, but the makeup of the electorate on the other hand is highly dynamic. It continues a trend underway for years: a rapid rise in the number of people who are not Anglos in both the population and at the polls.
That percentage actually doubled between 1992 and 2008, says Alan Abramowitz, a political scientist at Emory University.
Weekends on All Things Considered host Guy Raz speaks with NPR's Kelly McEvers about her reporting trip to towns in southern Yemen, which recently came under fire from what are believed to be unmanned drones.
A professor at The University of Texas has figured out how to intercept drones while in flight. Todd Humphreys and his team taps into the GPS coordinates of a civilian drone and can alter the flight path, even land it. Weekends on All Things Considered host Guy Raz speaks with Humphreys about how he did it and the dangers that hacking can present.
Liberia is launching its first large-scale military operation since the end of its brutal civil war. Liberia's army, which has been trained by the U.S. military over the last six years, is going after mercenaries and rebels who are using thick forest as cover from which to launch ambushes in neighboring Ivory Coast.
The first openly gay congressman is now the first sitting congressman to be in a same-sex marriage. Democratic Rep. Barney Frank married his longtime partner, James Ready, in a ceremony officiated by Massachusetts Gov. Deval L. Patrick on Saturday.
The setting was low-key — a Marriott hotel in suburban Boston — and the ceremony lasted less than five minutes. Attendees including Rep. Nancy Pelosi and Sen. John Kerry lent suitable gravitas.
Theweekends on All Things Considered series Movies I've Seen a Million Times features filmmakers, actors, writers and directors talking about the movies that they never get tired of watching.
For actor Gabriel Macht, whose credits include The Good Shepherd, The Spirit, Love and Other Drugs and the USA TV show, "Suits," the movie he could watch a million times is the rock musical, The Rocky Horror Picture Show. "Tim Curry is just amazing," Macht says.
Collapsing to the ground, Switzerland's Roger Federer rolled right back up with a look of joy Sunday as he took in his record-tying seventh title at the All England Club. He beat Britain's Andy Murray 4-6, 7-5, 6-3, 6-4 in a match that electrified fans and came close to giving the U.K. its first Wimbledon men's singles title since 1936.
Some people call it the art of diplomacy. Well, it sure is an art with a lot of rules. When an American president is meeting with a foreign leader, it is so important to respect the country's customs, use proper greetings, serve the right food, above all, avoid mistakes that could make things awkward. You might remember this scene from the TV drama, "The West Wing.
This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm David Greene.
Yesterday, for the first time since the fall of Moammar Gadhafi, Libyans cast votes to elect their government. These were parliamentary elections. And while Libyans celebrated the landmark event in the street, it is clear the transition to democracy is running into trouble.
For more, we're joined by Fred Wehrey in the BBC Studios in London. He's a senior associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and he was in Libya during the run-up to the elections.
This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. Good morning, I'm David Greene.
It's been pretty warm here on the East Coast the last few days. No, check that - it has been downright scorching. Temperatures have climbed so high many cities warned residents that they should avoid strenuous activity and stay hydrated.
From member station WHYY, Elizabeth Fiedler reports on how some are beating the heat in Philadelphia.
SISTER WINONA CARR: (Singing) Life is a ball game being played each day. Life is a ball game...
DAVID GREENE, HOST:
That big stadium organ in that tune seems so appropriate this week because the Major League Baseball is heading into its All-Star break. And WEEKEND EDITION star, Mike Pesca joins us now to talk sports.
MIKE PESCA, BYLINE: Thanks. I was named in fan balloting. I don't really deserve it.
The men's Wimbledon final has just ended, and Swiss star Roger Federer has now tied Pete Sampras' all-time record of seven Wimbledon victories in the modern era. It was a dramatic win for Federer, but also a dramatic loss for Britain's Andy Murray, who had a whole country watching today. He was the first British man to even reach the Wimbledon finals in 74 years. Like millions of people all over Britain, NPR's Philip Reeves tuned in. And, Phil, are you still breathless after that match?
And let's talk about the presidential campaign with Mara Liasson, NPR's national political correspondent. Mara, good morning.
MARA LIASSON, BYLINE: Good morning, David.
GREENE: So, we just heard in Cheryl's piece that the NAACP is meeting. They're going to hear from Mitt Romney. They're going to hear from Vice President Joe Biden. They are not expected to hear from President Obama. What do you make of him sitting this one out?
And let's turn from political to science. Researchers discovered what looks to be the elusive Higgs boson. It's a subatomic particle they've spent nearly 50 years searching for. So, this was special vindication for their efforts, and special vindication for one of the scientists who's been searching for the particle - a man named Gordy Kane. Kane won $100 in a bet with Stephen Hawking, arguably the world's smartest person alive today. Hawking admitted defeat on the BBC.
Twenty years ago, a dozen basketball players were dispatched to Barcelona to represent the United States in the Summer Olympics. The team was something the world of sports had never seen before and probably never will again. They were simply known as the Dream Team and that's the title of a new book written by Sports Illustrated reporter Jack McCallum. He looks back on a team stacked with big names: Michael Jordan, Larry Bird, Charles Barkley and Magic Johnson.
Jennifer Weiner writes what is often referred to as women's fiction. But that term is imperfect for many reasons — so we'll just refer to her as the author of multiple best-sellers.
Weiner's written a bookshelf's worth of hits, like Good in Bed, and In Her Shoes, which became a hit movie starring Cameron Diaz. She also created and ran the ABC Family television series State of Georgia. And in her copious free time? She live tweets The Bachelorette.
I get saltwater taffy. You're at an ocean that is made of salt water. But doughnuts?
I'm clearly missing something, because many summer communities have doughnut shops, often open just for the season. Critical summer doughnut mass seems to be concentrated in the north and east — maybe because it's always summer in California, where they have their own different doughnut culture.
The summer shops usually are simple shacks with awnings and screen windows, no inside seating and a picnic table outside in the hot sun.
Old Crow Medicine Show didn't count on the runaway success of its 2004 song "Wagon Wheel." In fact, say members Ketch Secor and Critter Fuqua, the Nashville band was just trying to finish a job Bob Dylan had started.
The NAACP, the nation's oldest civil rights organization, holds its annual convention in Houston this week. As in any election season, the group is focused on voting rights and voter turnout. But this year, there's another issue that's front of mind: the dramatically high rate of unemployment rate among African-Americans.
Presidential candidate Mitt Romney will address the NAACP convention on Wednesday, and Vice President Joe Biden is scheduled to speak the following day. NAACP members are ready to hear their plans.
An Afghan boy pushes a wheel on the Naderkhan hill in Kabul, Afghanistan, in May. As more people have crowded to Kabul, the city center has become like a buoy floating in a sea of sprawl.
Credit Rahmat Gul / AP
An Afghan girl stands among garbage near her home in Kabul on May 17. Some 5 million people live in Kabul, but the Afghan capital is woefully short of the infrastructure needed to support the large population.
Credit Sean Carberry / Sean Carberry
Kabul continues to sprawl in all directions, and a brown haze often hangs over the dusty city.
Credit Sean Carberry / Sean Carberry
Poorly constructed houses cling precariously to hillsides in Kabul. Such neighborhoods often lack electricity and running water.
On-Air Challenge: For each six-letter word given, rearrange the letters to make two three-letter words that rhyme. Example: For the word "tweets," the pair of rhyming three-letter words would be "wet" and "set."
Last Week's Challenge From Listener Fred Orelove Of Richmond, Va.: Think of a well-known retail store chain in two words. Remove one letter from its name. The remaining letters, in order, will spell three consecutive words that are synonyms of each other. What are they? Hint: The three words are all slang.
Many of us were introduced to the term LIBOR for the first time this week, when it was revealed that some banks might have been manipulating the dull but vital interest rates to gain an edge in the market.
"I will be outspent." This simple phrase headed an email President Obama recently sent to supporters.
"We can be outspent and still win," the message read. "But we can't be outspent 10 to 1 and still win." Obama asked for donations of as little as $3 to compete against the deep pockets of Republican challenger Mitt Romney and the super political action committees that back him.