This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. Eight-point-two percent, that's the number economists and politicians are looking at closely. It is the unemployment rate for the month of June. The U.S. Labor Department reported that the economy added only 80,000 jobs last month. As the economy continues its very slow recovery, it's worth asking, is the jobs report always the best indicator? NPR's Sonari Glinton has more.
Abraham Lincoln is not just America's greatest president. To many, his very face is an emblem of America: honest, homespun, strong and sad, haunted, brooding and humorous.
So where does some famous Yale Law School professor get off writing a novel in which President Lincoln is accused of subverting the Constitution?
In Stephen Carter's new novel, The Impeachment of Abraham Lincoln, the man we know as the Great Emancipator imprisons critics, invokes martial law, suspends the writ of habeus corpus, and throttles the press — all to win the Civil War.
Can a murderer ever be redeemed? That's the question journalist Nancy Mullane takes on in her new book, Life After Murder: Five Men in Search of Redemption. Over the past few years, Mullane has made dozens of trips to California's San Quentin prison to interview men locked up for committing the most heinous crimes.
In Texas, there is still the drought against which all other droughts are measured: the seven-year dry spell in the 1950s. It was so devastating that agriculture losses exceeded those of the Dust Bowl years, and so momentous that it kicked off the modern era of water planning in Texas.
From 1950 to 1957, the sky dried up and the rain refused to fall. Every day, Texans scanned the pale-blue heavens for rainclouds, but year after year they never came.
This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. Time for sports.
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SIMON: And Wimbledon is underway, the world's oldest, most esteemed, greenest and strawberries and creamiest tennis tournament. Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic seem set on the collision course for a semifinal. Maria Sharapova on course for a potential showdown with Kim Clijsters. Howard Bryant of ESPN.com, ESPN the magazine, and ESPN the full grain, fibrous and nutritious snack cracker on the line from the All England Club.
The heat and drought that brought much of Colorado Springs into danger has also hit the Midwest. Temperatures broke 100 degrees in the Great Plains, and the heat and the lack of rain is endangering what was expected to be a bumper crop of corn. Tim Lenz is a farmer near the town of Strasburg in south central Illinois, where he grows corn and soybeans. Mr. Lenz, thanks for being with us.
TIM LENZ: Thank you.
SIMON: What's it been like there for the past couple of weeks?
This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. President Obama told residents of Colorado yesterday that the country has their back. The president visited an evacuation center and met with some of the firefighters who have been battling the deadly Waldo Canyon fire near Colorado Springs.
Facing an unexpected ruling validating the Affordable Care Act, Republicans in Congress promised to redouble efforts to repeal it, starting with another vote in the House early next month. Host Scott Simon talks with NPR's David Welna to explain the battle ahead.
Now, to our occasional WEEKEND EDITION series Taste of Summer.
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SLY AND THE FAMILY STONE: (Singing) Hot fun in the summertime.
SIMON: A few weeks ago, Alton Brown shared some grilling secrets with us. Today, it'll be ice cream. Whether plain old standard vanilla, or artisanal organic squash blossom rhubarb poblano crunch - a flavor I just made up, by the way - summer is the season of ice cream. And so today, we head to the Pumphouse Creamery in Minneapolis.
Of course, Egypt has a new president - an Islamist from the once-banned Muslim Brotherhood. Mohamed Morsi took the oath of office in Cairo today, a day after appearing at Tahrir Square to proclaim that the people are the real source of power, not the generals and the supreme military council. NPR's Peter Kenyon reports from Cairo that despite the swearing-in ceremony, Mr. Morsi may not have really taken hold of the reins of power.
PRESIDENT MOHAMED MORSI: (Foreign language spoken)
Firefighters are slowly gaining ground on the Waldo Canyon fire in Colorado. It's scorched about 17,000 acres and believed to have claimed two lives.
More than 300 homes have burned. There's been a lot of talk about how many houses were lost in the fire, but Colorado Springs Fire Chief Rich Brown wants you to know there's a flip side to that: He says crews worked hard to minimize damage.
For more than 30 years, Richard Miles and Reg Mead scoured the fields of their native Jersey with metal detectors, hoping to one day come across an ancient coin or two. Earlier this week, the detector beeped and they found the world's largest-ever stash of Celtic coins. Host Scott Simon speaks with Reg Mead about their find.
It came down to the wire, but finally, Republicans and Democrats agreed on a deal that keeps the interest rate on government-backed student loans from doubling. It will save the average borrower about $1,000 a year, but the compromise is likely to cost students a lot more than that over the long term.
The agreement that lawmakers passed Friday will keep interest rates at 3.4 percent for another year. Anthony DeLaRosa, a 23-year-old University of Colorado graduate, says it's a big victory.
More than 10,000 athletes are headed to London this summer to run, swim, cycle, shoot, fence and compete in the events of the Olympic Games. Each of them has a story — what they've won, what they've lost and what they've sacrificed just to get their chance to get there.
Chris Cleave's latest novel, Gold, tells the stories of three world-ranked cyclists — Zoe, Jack and Kate — who are training for their last chance at Olympic gold. Zoe and Kate are friends as well as rivals; Jack and Kate are raising an 8-year-old who suffers from leukemia.
George Needleman is the chief bean counter of an investment bank who, in Madea's Witness Protection, is too consumed with family problems to realize he's being set up to take the fall for a Ponzi scheme. When he grasps what's going on, he's placed in witness protection — at Madea's house.
Tyler Perry, who wrote and directed the movie, plays Madea, as well as most other members of her family. Needleman, the latest fussy, funny, bushy-eyebrowed, precise and put-upon man, is portrayed by Eugene Levy.