Earlier this week, President Obama announced a plan to help homeowners refinance their mortgages.
The White House says it will help millions of people hold onto their homes through a government-backed modification program. But critics are skeptical the plan will be a success, in part because of the dependence on the good will of banks to voluntarily join up.
Every day for decades, engineer Phil Pressel would come home from work and be unable to tell his wife what he'd been doing all day.
Now, Pressel is free to speak about his life's work: designing cameras for a top-secret U.S. government spy satellite. Officially known as the KH-9 Hexagon, engineers called it "Big Bird" for its massive size.
Until the government declassified it last month, Hexagon had been a secret for 46 years.
GUY RAZ, host: For almost 50 years, workers have filed into the Whirlpool factory in Fort Smith, Arkansas, where they make refrigerators, dishwashers and trash compacters for KitchenAid and Maytag brands. But after months of layoffs and reductions, Whirlpool announced plans to close that Fort Smith plant altogether. And that means a thousand people will lose their jobs.
Mayor SANDY SANDERS: There's no good time for an announcement like this. And particularly with the economy and the situation it is now, it exacerbates the situation.
GUY RAZ, host: In Ohio, voters have been watching TV ads telling them which way to vote on Issue 2. That's a measure on the ballot that could overturn a law passed last spring that limits the collective bargaining rights of public employee unions. Organized labor, including the teacher's unions, are spending heavily to defeat that measure. But at the same time, there are other educators who back the law and are also campaigning.
The Congressional Budget Office released a study this week that revealed a huge shift in the nation's wealth distribution. The top 1 percent of the country's earners more than doubled their take of the nation's wealth in just 30 years. James Fallows, national correspondent with The Atlantic, joins weekends on All Things Considered host Guy Raz to discuss that story and others from the past week.
A suicide bomb in Kabul Saturday killed a dozen Americans, making this the deadliest attack on U.S. forces in Afghanistan's capital since the war began a decade ago. Weekends on All Things Considered host Guy Raz gets the latest from reporter Rod Nordland of the New York Times.
SCOTT SIMON, host: This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. In Afghanistan today, a Taliban suicide bomber slammed a car packed with explosives into an armored bus carrying NATO troops in Kabul. At least 13 U.S. soldiers died in the attack. According to a Pentagon spokesman, the blast incinerated the vehicle and is the latest in a series of recent high-profile attacks in Afghanistan. For more on the incident, we're joined now by NPR's Ahmad Shafi in Kabul. Shafi, what more details can you give us about the attack?
Writer and comedian Andy Borowitz says he initially got into comedy for one simple reason: girls.
In addition to using his jokes to charm women, Borowitz has also written for The New Yorker and runs a satirical blog called The Borowitz Report. His latest project is The 50 Funniest American Writers: An Anthology of Humor from Mark Twain to The Onion.
SCOTT SIMON, host: Jim Bouton knows what it's like to stand on the pitching mound in a World Series with the world watching. He pitched three World Series games for the New York Yankees in 1963 and '64. Of course, he's also wrote the classic baseball memoir about baseball and life, "Ball Four." Jim joins us from Western Massachusetts. Thanks so much for being with us.
JIM BOUTON: Good morning, Scott.
SIMON: Couple of months ago, would a sane observer see the Cardinals winning the World Series?