Eric Weiner's most recent book is Man Seeks God: My Flirtations with the Divine.
Surveys show religious people are happier than the secular? Why is this? Is it — as an atheist friend quipped — that "ignorance is bliss?" Not long ago, that's what I would have concluded. Like many people of my ilk — cerebral East Coaster, highly skeptical, and, yes, latte drinking — I reflexively viewed the religious as less sophisticated. And, if I'm brutally honest here, somehow less intelligent, or at least more narrow-minded. I don't feel that way anymore.
A "Bo" made from plastic garbage bags sits in front of the fireplace in the library. Mrs. Obama drew a laugh from the crowd when she said Bo, "the most famous member of the Obama family," has been a little confused walking around the house and seeing himself in "gigantic form."
"Shine, Give, Share" is the theme for the Obama family's third Christmas in the White House. This year, a total of 37 Christmas trees and a 400-pound White House made of gingerbread, white chocolate and marzipan decorate the mansion.
When NPR's Ari Shapiro earlier this month filed a report on the 2011 holiday decorations at the executive mansion, he focused some of his attention on the diverse group of volunteer decorators who were called on to help dress up 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.
The title of Garland Jeffreys' latest album is an apt description of his life's work overall: The King of in Between. A singer-songwriter whose blend of rock 'n' roll, reggae, blues and soul is as edgy as it is full of social commentary, Jeffreys knows what it means to be an outsider, as evidenced by his accessible yet unclassifiable music.
The House blew up the end-of-year deal to extend the payroll tax holiday, but it insists it's the Senate's fault. If both chambers fail to forge a compromise, taxes go up, unemployment benefits expire and payments to Medicare doctors get cut by 27 percent — all starting Jan. 1.
The Family Leader, an influential social conservative organization based in Iowa, has decided to remain neutral in the race for the Republican presidential nomination. But the group's founder, Bob Vander Plaats, surprised many political observers Tuesday by throwing his support to former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum.
A committee that advises the government says that details of two controversial experiments on bird flu virus should not be made public, because of fears that the work could provide a recipe for a bioweapon.
The government-funded experiments were done by researchers who wanted to understand if bird flu virus might change in the future to cause a pandemic in people. By tweaking genes, they made the deadly bird flu virus more contagious between lab animals.
Here's some interesting news about the car market in the United States: Citing increased competition, Honda said it is taking the unusual step of redesigning its Civic sedan months after a unveiling its 2012 model this summer.
"The penalty means Ohio State automatically is out of the running for any bowl, or a Big Ten or national championship next year, just as newly appointed head coach Urban Meyer is wooing recruits to the Buckeyes."