Morning Edition for Thursday, November 7, 2013

Why Obama Shouldn't Worry About His Lousy Poll Numbers

It seems obvious to say that a high approval rating helps a president, while a low approval rating hurts him. But there are reasons to think Obama's weak standing in the polls isn't as troublesome as it sounds.

Suspicions Bog Down Talks On Iran's Nuclear Program

Negotiators from Iran and six world powers resume talks Thursday in Geneva on Iran's nuclear program. Iran's Supreme Leader says he's not optimistic, and U.S. officials say "no deal is better than a bad deal." Still, Iran's desire to get out from under crippling economic sanctions may drive progress forward despite the long odds.

Shonda Rhimes Knows Where This 'Scandal' Will End

Shonda Rhimes, the creator of the ABC political drama, spoke with NPR's Renee Montagne about the series — and whether it might survive another administration.

After 100 Years, Search Goes On For 2 Sunken Ships

Thursday marks the 100th anniversary of a storm that ravaged the Great Lakes. Referred to as the "White Hurricane," the storm raged for four days — destroying 19 ships and killing 250 sailors. Eight of the wrecks were on Michigan's Lake Huron. Two ships have never been found, but the search continues.

Feingold: Rare Piece Of Good News Comes Out Of Congo

In the Democratic Republic of Congo, leaders of the once-powerful rebel group M23 announced they are giving up their insurgency. Renee Montagne talks to the U.S. Special Envoy to Congo Russ Feingold about the hopeful signs that peace may come to the eastern part of the country after decades of war.
Research shows suicide is high among military veterans. The Veterans Administration estimates 22 veterans kill themselves each day. Often military families choose to suffer these tragedies quietly. But one Marine widow in Connecticut is telling her husband's story.
As a multitude of mobile devices dominate our work and personal lives, people are buying fewer pens, especially high-end ones. That's doomed many mom-and-pop pen shops, including a century-old New York City store that closed its doors in August. But a few stores are still holding on, relying on those who treat pens like jewelry.

Most Remaining Blockbusters To Close In January

Blockbuster is going to shut all of its company-owned stores. Some franchise stores will stay open. At its peak, the video rental chain had about 9,000 stores.

Movie Rating System Measures Gender Bias

Some Swedish movie theaters are introducing the system. The scale grades films based on a concept introduced by the feminist cartoonist Alison Bechdel. Whether a film passes or fails depends on whether any of its named female characters have conversations with one another about something other than men.
A year ago, newly re-elected President Obama got promises of cooperation from chastened GOP congressional leaders. Since then, Senate Republicans have delivered on some key issues. Ditto for the GOP-led House, at least initially. Then came the partial government shutdown.
The health care law is helping low- and middle-income Americans pay for their insurance. Where does that money come from? In part, it is a matter of the well-off helping pay for those who have less. But that's not the full answer.
A hundred years after his birth, French writer and Nobel laureate Albert Camus is perhaps best-known around the world for novels like The Stranger and The Plague and his philosophy of absurdism. But it's his politics and views about Algeria's brutal fight for independence that continue to make waves in France.

Why Do People Agree To Work In Boring Jobs?

In the essay "The Myth of Sisyphus," philosopher Albert Camus — who would have turned 100 on Thursday — explored the nature of boring work. There's new psychological research into why people end up in boring jobs.

No Instruments? For Pentatonix, It's No Problem

The latest group to win NBC's a cappella competition show The Sing-Off is back with a new album. The group has racked up millions of views on YouTube, but its members say they're ready to be seen as more than novelty singers.
The meteor that burned up over Russia at the beginning of this year produced the largest explosion in more the a century. With the help of cell phone videos and dashboard cameras, scientists were able to pinpoint the trajectory of the meteor, and even trace it back to a specific asteroid.
In 2001, Portland, Ore., was the first to develop a new kind of streetcar system. Success there led to a resurgence, with at least two dozen cities planning, building or expanding trolley lines — places like Atlanta, St. Louis and Tucson, Ariz. But some wonder whether it's the best way to spend limited transit dollars.

'Homesick Hijacker' To Appear In Miami Courtroom

Nearly 30 years ago, William Potts hijacked a plane to Cuba. He is scheduled to be in court in Miami on Thursday. It's the first time he's been in the U.S. for nearly three decades.

Across America, Voices Rise To Reinvent India

Kanniks Kannikeswaran writes groundbreaking Hindu sacred music and forms community choirs to perform it. "When a group of about 20 strangers get together and sing raga-based music with choral harmony for the first time," he says, "something magical begins to happen."
The Olympic torch was launched into space on Wednesday night. It will accompany astronauts on a spacewalk before returning to Earth on Nov. 10.
The womens' basketball team at Kansas State is hoping for a sizzling season. For their home opener Friday night, they're trying a new promotion:Bacon. Students will get in for free and get a boat of bacon, something resembling the paper container nachos are served in.
Find an archived Episode: