I was baffled by the cover of The New York Times Magazine two Sundays ago. You may remember that the headline of the cover story was: "George Saunders Has Written The Best Book You'll Read This Year." I was baffled because the only George Saunders I could think of was that old movie star who was always playing cads in films like Rebecca and All About Eve.
I'm Michel Martin and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. Coming up, we get an update on developments in Mali in West Africa. That's a country known to many for its cultural heritage. French soldiers have started an assault to repel Islamist militants who have already taken northern territory. NPR's Ofeibea Quist Arcton is going to bring us up to date in just a few minutes.
And now, we turn to matters of personal finance and, as we are about midway through January, we thought we'd ask, how's that new year's resolution going? According to a poll from Marist University, spending less and saving more money is one of the top five resolutions Americans made for 2013.
But what if you just can't resist those cute pumps or that stress-relieving massage or you really need some new sheets and towels or that oil change? It turns out that there are actually optimal times in the year to buy certain things.
At Sunday's Golden Globes, Ben Affleck looked genuinely surprised and delighted twice toward the end of the evening: first when he won best director for Argo, and then again when the film won for best motion picture/drama.
The film, which Affleck produced and in which he also stars, is the mostly true story of the CIA operative who helmed the rescue of six U.S. diplomats who managed to escape at the outset of the 1979 Iran crisis that held 52 Americans hostage for 444 days after militants took over the American Embassy in Tehran.
Britain's Observer newspaper ran a 2012 investment challenge pitting stockbrokers and wealth managers against Orlando. The calculating kitty chose stocks by batting a toy mouse onto a grid of options. The cat's portfolio came out ahead.
Good morning, I'm Steve Inskeep with a word from Clarence Thomas - we're just not exactly sure what it is. The Supreme Court justice had gone seven years without saying a word in oral arguments. Then yesterday, Justice Thomas spoke.
Several justices were talking at once, leaving his exact remark unclear. But a detailed contextual analysis by The New York Times suggests he told a joke, saying a law degree from Yale or Harvard might be proof of incompetence. He's a Yale grad.
Wal-Mart is expected to announce that it will hire every veteran who wants a job as part of a new program beginning on Memorial Day. The only requirements: that he or she left the military in the previous year and wasn't dishonorably discharged.
Now a look at who's fighting in Mali and why that far away conflict might affect the United States. Yesterday, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta offered the most basic take on America's interests in Mali - al-Qaida is there.
SECRETARY LEON PANETTA DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE: The fact is, we have made a commitment that al-Qaida is not going to find any place to hide.
MONTAGNE: And that includes Mali.
NPR's counter-terrorism correspondent Dina Temple-Raston joins us now to talk more about this. Welcome.