The revelations by National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden has raised many complicated issues. NPR's national security correspondent Tom Gjelten answers questions submitted by NPR listeners and readers.
Count Chocula, Boo Berry and Franken Berry first went on sale in the early 1970s, but since 2010, they've only been available during the Halloween season. The scarcity has created a frenzy, with nostalgic parents stocking up on the sweet cereals.
Not only are Chicago's schools troubled, the city's homicide rate spiked last year to its highest point in 10 years. Unemployment is 9 percent. And the city's deficit is looming near the $1 billion mark. That's just the short list of urgent problems facing Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel.
In this curious base ball league, the umpire wears a top hat and the players drink water out of pewter mugs. The rules and equipment follow 19th-century protocol. A history-lover's dream, the games take place on a farm, evoking the sport's pastoral early years.
Solomon Northup, an African-American musician from New York, was kidnapped and sold into slavery in 1841. He was eventually freed and wrote about his experience in Twelve Years a Slave, a memoir that has inspired a new film adaptation. But by the end of the Civil War, he dropped off the public record.
When Saudia Arabia cut off direct oil shipments to the U.S. 40 years ago, the country was thrown into shock. Calls for energy independence grew louder. The U.S. is now producing more of its own oil and natural gas than ever, but the commitment to efficiency has been uneven.
Several new studies show the political battles in Washington have been seriously hurting companies and workers. Some economists estimate that over the past few years, partisan standoffs have been stunting growth to the tune of hundreds of billions of dollars — and close to a million jobs.
The Web is full of sites promoting views that many find offensive — and often, those sites do business with credit card companies. Some advocacy groups are pressuring Visa and MasterCard to end those relationships, but others worry these campaigns will have a chilling effect on free speech online.
When Congress voted to end the shutdown, the measure also included $2 billion for a troubled lock and dam project on the Ohio River. Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell, a supporter of the project, has been attacked by hard-line conservatives who call it pork-barrel spending, but he says he didn't put it in the bill.
It's been a tough week for the Tea Party and its supporters in Congress. But activist Sal Russo and others say that their movement isn't going away. They're looking ahead to next year's midterm elections, as well as to next month's local races.