This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Linda Wertheimer.
Just under two months to go before Election Day. The national conventions are over. We're weeks away from debates. And while Democrats and Republicans try to win the White House, they are also locked in a battle for control of Congress. Republicans made historic gains in the House in 2010. And while the GOP didn't quite get a majority in the Senate, they had great expectations of this year because the numbers are in their favor.
Rose Syracuse has held one job - one job only - for her entire life. For 73 years, she worked mainly in the accounts department at the Macy's Department store on 34th Street in Manhattan. She's worked for Macy's longer than anyone else - ever. And last week, after all those decades, she retired. Rose Syracuse joins us on the line from New York. Thank you very much for taking the time to talk to us.
ROSE SYRACUSE: Oh, that's fine. And Rose Syracuse would not have retired if she hadn't broken her hip.
If you're one of those people who covet the latest, greatest thing (assuming you can afford it), life's been pretty tough for you lately. The announcements of new handheld electronic gadgets — and rumors of those to come (Apple fans are standing by) — have come so rapidly that it's been hard to keep up with them all.
Twenty-five thousand Chicago teachers are planning to walk off the job Monday if they don't have a contract by midnight Sunday. As the Democrats look to unions to help them get out the vote, a strike by Chicago teachers might just put a crimp in those plans.
On Friday during rush hour, a handful of parents and students stood on a bridge over the Eisenhower Expressway, holding signs that read, "Honk if you support teachers." Among them is Rhoda Gutierrez, who has two children in a Chicago public elementary school.
<em>Knitting Is for Pus****</em> is a work by <a href="http://40u40.beancreative.com/artist28.html">crochet sculptor Olek</a>. He has created an entire apartment blanketed in brightly colored, crocheted camouflage.
Credit Olek / Courtesy Jonathan LeVine Gallery, New York, N.Y.
<a href="http://40u40.beancreative.com/artist24.html">Cat Mazza</a>'s <em>Knit for Defense</em> is a nine-minute, black-and-white video made from footage of 20th century conflicts. The war footage is rendered with software that makes each pixel look like a knitted stitch. "For me, 9/11 made a huge impact and had an impact on this piece as well," she says.
Credit Smithsonian American Art Museum
<em>Green Balance </em>is a 2011 work by <a href="http://40u40.beancreative.com/artist08.html">Erik Demaine</a> and his father, Martin Demaine. As a scientist, Erik Demaine says he works to "explore curved creased folding from both a mathematical and an artistic perspective."
Credit Gene Young / Smithsonian American Art Museum
<a href="http://40u40.beancreative.com/artist38.html">Anna Von Mertens</a> made a series of quilts depicting what the night sky looked like if you looked up during a moment of terrible violence in American history. Above, <em>2:45 a.m. Until Sunrise on Tet, the Lunar New Year, January 31, 1968, U.S. Embassy, Saigon, Vietnam (Looking North).</em>
When museum curator Nicholas Bell was putting together the show Craft Futures: 40 Under 40 at the Smithsonian Institution's Renwick Gallery, he realized the artists had something in common besides their under-40 status. Because of their youth, he felt that each of them could be classified as "post 9/11" artists.
"Their worldview is defined by the angst, the unease, the trepidation of the difficulties of the 21st century," he says.
For decades, Veterans of Foreign Wars posts have played vital roles in small towns throughout America. But in recent years, as World War II veterans have passed away, membership in VFWs has fallen drastically, and many posts have closed. Now, though, some are facing a possible renaissance, thanks to female soldiers returning from overseas.
The main room of the VFW post in Rosemount, Minn., is half-bar and half-bingo hall, with long card tables. In a corner, two men on a stage rotate a round cage of balls and call out bingo numbers.
U.S. House candidate Richard Tisei is openly gay. He's also openly Republican.
"You know what, in Massachusetts, it's a lot easier to be gay than be a Republican," he says, "as far as trying to get elected to office."
But Tisei could make political history for the Massachusetts GOP. Not just because they could win their first U.S. House seat in 15 years, but also because Tisei would be the first openly gay Republican to be elected to a term in Congress.
In the 1960s, Lynn Povich worked at Newsweek — where she became part of a revolution.
"At Newsweek, women were hired on the mail desk to deliver mail, then to clip newspapers, and, if they were lucky, became researchers or fact checkers," Povich tells NPR's Linda Wertheimer, whom she knows personally. "All of the writers and reporters were men, and everyone accepted it as that was the way the world was — until we didn't."
Though not the capital, Istanbul is the cultural, economic and financial heart of Turkey. Situated on the Bosporus strait, this metropolis spans Europe and Asia — and has a storied history as a gathering place for spies.
Credit Dan Kitwood / Getty Images
Harold "Kim" Philby (shown here in 1955), the infamous double agent who spied on Britain for the Soviets, is one of many spies who prowled Istanbul.
British writer Ian Fleming, author of the James Bond spy thrillers, visits the set of the film <em>From Russia, with Love</em> in Istanbul on June 23, 1963.
The eastern part of the Democratic Republic of Congo has been ravaged by rebel groups for years. A new faction, the March 23 Movement, or M23, already controls a large area, and there are fears this could ignite another war. Here M23 fighters go out on a patrol.
Credit Mackenzie Knowles-Coursin for NPR
A Congolese man who fled eastern Congo for shelter at a Ugandan refugee camp lugged his sewing machine with him. U.N. officials say tens of thousands have fled for Uganda and Rwanda in recent months.
Credit Mackenzie Knowles-Coursin for NPR
Boys pile into a movie theater that shows Jackie Chan-style action films dubbed in Swahili, in the town of Rutshuru, eastern Congo. The theater offers a brief respite from tensions outside.
For years, armed militias have been stalking the lush forests in the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of Congo, committing all sorts of atrocities against villagers. And now one of the most war-ravaged countries in the world has another looming problem: an emerging rebel group.
"A notorious group of human rights violators" is how the U.N. human rights commissioner describes the group, known as the March 23 Movement, or M23.