Originally published on Mon February 25, 2013 9:55 am
Barring a last-minute deal that at the moment seems unlikely, months of brinkmanship are set to culminate on Friday.
The sequester — $85 billion worth of across-the-board cuts in federal spending — will begin to kick in, with potentially serious economic consequences, including federal furloughs and the slashing of programs.
Here are three stories we've plucked from the ether that should give a good picture of what's going on as we approach sequester D-Day:
The daily lowdown on books, publishing, and the occasional author behaving badly.
A group of prominent Canadian authors are stripping down for a (mostly) nude calendar. Proceeds from the Bare It For Books project will go to PEN Canada, an organization that promotes freedom of expression. The (actually kind of hunky) Life of Pi author Yann Martel will be Mr. December.
-- Britain's most senior Roman Catholic cleric has resigned and will not be taking part in the conclave of cardinals that will select the next pope. As NPR's Philip Reeves reports from London, "Cardinal Keith O'Brien's decision was announced a day after revelations that he behaved inappropriately with several priests."
Good morning, I'm Steve Inskeep. Betty LeMaster watched a television program in Smyrna, Tennessee - a show about geology - and it got Ms. LeMaster wondering about the 10-pound rock she'd used as a doorstop for years.
She took it to Middle Tennessee State University and according to the Daily News Journal, testing revealed her doorstop is fossilized coral 450 million years old. Older than the dinosaurs, and still holds the door just fine.
It's MORNING EDITION. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.
Jennifer Lawrence won the Best Actress Oscar for "Silver Linings Playbook." Surely, that will be remembered longer than her performance at the Academy Awards. On the red carpet she used a four-letter word which ABC bleeped. Inside, she fell on her way to accept the award. Later, reporters asked how she'd prepared for the evening. Lawrence said her family had taken over her house and at some point, quote, "I did a shot." It could happen to anybody.
NPR's business news starts with a new economic forecast.
(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)
INSKEEP: The latest survey of economic forecasters by the National Association of Business Economics predicts 2 percent growth this year. That is down from last year's 2.2 percent. The current budget battle in Congress is partly blamed for slowing the economy now.
The survey goes on to say that next year could be better if budget issues are resolved by then. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.
And today's last word in business is: pirates beware.
If you download copyrighted material illegally, you might get a warning from your Internet service provider starting as soon as today. That's according to blogs covering file-sharing communities like Bit Torrent, where users share and download movies and music for free. Big copyright holders like the Motion Picture Association of America, have been working with Internet providers on ways to punish online pirates, although we do not yet know what the punishment might be.