The Great Gatsby is on the screen again, re-opening the perennial debate about whether or not it is the great American novel. Or was that Huckleberry Finn? Or are we still waiting for the great American novel? Is the title vacant, like most recent Tour de France championships? In the arts, the argument over the great American novel is a rather unusual great fuss about the greatest. In most disciplines there simply doesn't seem to be a passion to constantly assess who's No. 1. Except, except ...
Across the country, cash-strapped state and local governments are not just cutting services — they're also cutting access to courts. The tip of the iceberg may be small claims courts.
These courts, dealing with disputes involving small sums of money, are the workhorses of the judicial system. There are thousands of such courts across the country, but perhaps nowhere are they being cut more dramatically than in California.
We have more details today on missteps by the Internal Revenue Service, specifically in the way the IRS processed applications for tax-exempt status by Tea Party groups and other conservative organizations. An Inspector General's report says the problems were not limited to low-level agency employees.
Last week the IRS apologized for targeting such groups for special scrutiny when they applied for tax-exempt status. NPR's Scott Horsley joins us now. Scott, what more have you learned from the Inspector General's report?
The sudden eruption of second-term scandals in his administration will have many costs for President Obama, but surely the most grievous will be the lost opportunity to transcend the partisan wars of Washington. That aspiration was his fondest dream for his second term, much as it was for his first. Now it seems destined to be dashed once again.