The Sunday morning party in suburban Washington, D.C., had all the trappings of anticipation.
A lace-trimmed bassinet, a jumble of gifts tied with pink and blue ribbons, a "diaper cake" on the table. And chatter about babies, diets, new spring outfits and the coming end of the school year.
But for Sue Costello, the grandmother-in-waiting, the happy cacophony of the baby shower masked an abiding anxiety about the future of her daughter's family and the twins — a boy and a girl — who are due before June's end.
The search is over for the winner of Round 11 of Three-Minute Fiction, the contest where listeners submit original short stories that can be read in about three minutes.
We received help this round from graduate students at 16 different writing programs across the country. They poured through thousands of submissions and passed the best of the best along to our judge this round, novelist Karen Russell.
Here was your challenge for this round: A character finds something he or she has no intention of returning.
"I'm a carpenter/cabinet-maker/woodworker, and I think I'll be retiring the day I die."
Michael Powers, 47, is not alone in his retirement insecurity. According to a Pew study published in May, members of Generation X — aged 38 to 47 — are on track to be the first generation to do worse in retirement than their parents. Assuming they retire at all.
A self-described conservative Republican who oversees IRS screeners dealing with non-profit groups has told lawmakers that he doesn't think the White House played a role in stonewalling "Tea Party" and "patriot" groups, according to the ranking Democrat on the committee investigating the matter.
Major League Baseball is preparing to hand down suspensions to some of its marquee players according to a recent ESPN report. It's the result of information the league obtained through a man named Tony Bosch, who reportedly supplied banned substances to athletes through his company Biogenesis of America.
Dave Zirin is sports editor for The Nation, and he joins us. Hello.
DAVE ZIRIN: Hey. Great to be here. Thanks for having me.
In 1845, Frederick Douglass sailed to Ireland on a speaking tour to raise money for the abolitionist cause back home. About 75 years later, two airmen, Jack Alcock and Teddy Brown, performed the first nonstop trans-Atlantic flight, flying 16 hours from Newfoundland to land in an Irish bog. And 79 years after that, George J. Mitchell, the former senator from Maine, repeatedly crisscrossed the ocean — New York, Belfast, New York, Belfast — to steer the Northern Ireland peace process on behalf of President Clinton.
A 60-year-old wound in Kenya has finally found its recompense.
Last week, the British government finalized an out-of-court settlement with thousands of Kenyans who were tortured in detention camps during the end of the British colonial reign. The historic apology — and the unprecedented settlement — has been years in the making.
"There are times when one's faith is restored in the judicial system here, in Pakistan," writes a gentleman called Sajjid Khan, in an unusually optimistic letter published by one of his nation's leading newspapers The Daily Times.
Pakistanis generally take a bleak view of their system of law and order, which tends to be dysfunctional and corrupt. Khan was inspired to put pen to paper by a criminal case that seems to buck that trend.
"Guardian" reporter Glenn Greenwald on weekends on "All Things Considered"
The Guardian newspaper has identified the source for a series of reports it's published in recent days on secret U.S. surveillance activity as a former technical assistant for the CIA who now works for a private-sector defense and technology consulting firm.