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The nation's unemployment rate fell to 8.6 percent in November from 9 percent in October as payrolls went up by 120,000 jobs, the Bureau of Labor Statistics says.

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RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

And our last word in business today is comic value. The long-running NBC comedy series "The Office" is about a group of workers employed by a fictitious paper company.

(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW "THE OFFICE")

(New material based on NPR reporting added to the top of this post at 12:30 p.m. ET.)

Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain is reassessing his campaign but still plans to move ahead at this time, his Iowa campaign director tells The Associated Press and NPR.

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney has been labeled a flip-flopper. And when it comes to abortion, the former governor of Massachusetts appears to have changed his position from being in favor of abortion rights to being opposed.

But now some people are asking if Romney ever supported abortion rights at all? Backers of abortion rights don't think so.

American Airlines, one of the giants of the U.S. airline industry, just announced it is filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

Shoppers stormed retail stores this past weekend, and now on Cyber Monday, many are clicking their way to more purchases.

"I am definitely a price-based shopper," said Sarah Kelly, a 28-year-old Washington, D.C., resident who bought a KitchenAid mixer Monday morning as a holiday gift. She also bought shoes, clothes and other presents after waking early to search for online coupons and shipping offers. "I only purchase if the shipping is free," she said.

For the not-so-super debt reduction supercommittee, failure is clearly an option.

As the blame-gaming bipartisan congressional committee stumbled toward collapse Monday, washing out on even the most basic show of common purpose, the "what happens next" scenarios began to take shape.

Supercommittee Admits It's Failed To Reach A Deal

Nov 21, 2011

The co-chairs of the Supercommittee made it official, minutes ago: They said they have failed to reach an agreement over a deficit reduction package.

The AP reports:

"Democratic Sen. Patty Murray and Republican Rep. Jeb Hensarling say that despite 'intense deliberations' the members of the panel have been unable 'to bridge the committee's significant differences.'

Brace yourself for more extreme weather. A group of more than 200 scientists convened by the United Nations says in a new report that climate change will bring more heat waves, more intense rainfall and more expensive natural disasters.

These conclusions are from the latest effort of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change — a consensus statement from researchers around the world.

As The Protest Ends, What Now For Occupy Movement?

Nov 18, 2011

Today's "Day of Action," planned by the Occupy Wall Street movement, culminated at Foley Square near City Hall in New York. In some ways, it felt rather low key, because the space felt wide open and despite a sizable crowd that overflowed onto the streets and nearby sidewalks, the protest felt organized.

With Wednesday's deadline looming, the congressional supercommittee still seems far from an agreement, causing concern that failure could send financial markets into a spiral.

The bipartisan panel, charged with finding budget cuts or new revenues to reduce the deficit by at least $1.2 trillion over the next 10 years, is a child of the summer's debt-ceiling debate. It was an escape hatch for Congress and the president when they couldn't reach agreement on big deficit-reduction measures. That game of chicken helped to send the stock market sliding.

Newt Gingrich served as speaker of the House of Representatives for four turbulent and productive years.

From 1995 through 1998, Congress forced a government shutdown, overhauled the welfare system, balanced the budget for the first time in decades and impeached a president for the second time in history.

Gingrich was in the middle of those debates, fiery in his rhetoric, yet willing to compromise and work with a Democratic president.

The 104th Congress

(Post updated at 8:49 pm.)

Texas Gov. Rick Perry move over. You now have company in the brain-fade department after Herman Cain demonstrated a flamboyant confusion over his position on Libya Monday.

In a meeting Milwaukee Journal Sentinel staff members, a journalist asked the Republican presidential candidate a question that wasn't exactly one of those "gotcha" queries. Paraphrasing, the question was: Do you agree or not with what President Obama's Libya policy?

Today's show features live performances from some of our favorite World Cafe artists, straight from our 20th-anniversary celebration concerts.

Updated at 2:52 p.m. ET: Wal-Mart issued a statement Wednesday saying its request for partners to provide primary care services was "overwritten and incorrect." The firm is "not building a national, integrated low-cost primary health care platform," according to the statement by Dr. John Agwunobi, a senior vice president for health and wellness at the retailer.

Is time real, or is change just a kind of optical illusion resting on a deeper unchanging reality?

As finite creatures, with death hovering just out of our sight, the true nature of time haunts all our endeavors. Tomorrow, physicist Brian Greene tackles time's illusion in his Fabric of Reality PBS series. Science, however, is just one way we ask about the reality of time.

Mitt Romney was in Dubuque, IA Monday partly to demonstrate that he's really serious about competing in a state he has mostly been absent from.

That had been in doubt since he's only been to Iowa just five times compared with more than a score of visits by some of the other candidates.

While in Iowa where he visited a steel plant where a fabricated metal sign made by the plant's workers awaited him, Romney asked his audience to look ahead a year with him.

Used restaurant grease has become a hot item for thieves, who siphon it from barrels behind restaurants to sell on the booming biofuels market.

Late last month, the California Department of Food and Agriculture said it would pay local police target the alleys and parking lots where restaurants typically park their barrels of used grease.

When the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended a half-dozen years ago that preteen girls be vaccinated against human papillomavirus, two things happened.

A lot of parents and some conservative groups were jarred by the idea of immunizing young girls against a sexually transmitted virus. And uptake of the vaccine has been poor — only about a third of 13- to 17-year-old girls have gotten the full three-shot series.

Three-Minute Fiction is All Things Considered's creative writing contest where our listeners submit an original short story that can be read in about three minutes — 600 words — or less. After weeks of reading a couple thousand submissions, a judge picks a winning story. Over the last two years, contestants have submitted about 29,000 stories, and only six have won.

'Farmville' Makers Putting Stock In Virtual Goods

Nov 6, 2011

Zynga is a company that makes money by selling nothing. Or, to be fair, by selling imaginary things, like tractors that plow farms on Facebook.

A "virtual good" is the term of art for an industry that minted $9 billion last year alone. Zynga is America's first virtual goods company to file an initial public offering. The IPO is expected to go through before Thanksgiving and will test whether the company's modern day alchemy — turning virtual goods into real money — is a game-changer for the gaming industry.

The biggest-selling pop artist of the year has gone silent.

The British pop/soul singer Adele was forced to cancel the rest of her 2011 tour. Earlier this year, she suffered two vocal hemorrhages and will need to undergo surgery.

Singers are in a high-risk business. Many famous singers have needed similar treatment.

"Essentially, people who sing are vocal athletes," says Dr. Steven Zeitels, director of the Voice Center at Massachusetts General Hospital. "So you can look at this as a not unusual scenario as an athlete getting an injury in that area."

Initial Agreement Reached In Greece Power-Sharing

Nov 6, 2011

The Greek president's office said Sunday the country's prime minister and the leader of the main opposition party reached an initial agreement on forming an interim government.

In a statement read on Greek media Sunday night, the office said Prime Minister George Papandreou will not head the interim government and that talks on details of who will form the new Cabinet will continue Monday.

Herman Cain and Mitt Romney, the two current front-runners in the Republican presidential race, spoke in Washington on Friday at a conference for the conservative group Americans for Prosperity.

Their speeches came as a new Washington Post-ABC poll found they're running almost even among Republican voters. And on Friday, the two candidates underscored the differences in their appeal to activists.

A distinctive voice — and character — in television news has died. Andy Rooney was a signature essayist on the CBS news program 60 Minutes for decades. He was 92.

CBS said Rooney died Friday night in New York of complications following minor surgery last month. Just a month ago, he delivered his last regular essay on the CBS newsmagazine.

In the news business, time is marked by great events: the anniversaries of elections, wars, hit songs and the births and deaths of famous people.

But each of us also has a personal timeline by which we measure our life: the day we start our first job, fulfill a dream or glimpse history passing by, close enough to touch.

Fresh Air Weekend highlights some of the best interviews and reviews from past weeks, and new program elements specially paced for weekends. Our weekend show emphasizes interviews with writers, filmmakers, actors, and musicians, and often includes excerpts from live in-studio concerts. This week:

Legendary singer-songwriter and folk-rock pioneer T-Bone Burnett is known for his captivating solo material, but also for his role as a legendary producer of records by everyone from Roy Orbison to actor Jeff Bridges. In a new interview on World Cafe, Burnett sits down with host David Dye to reflect on some of his most famous projects.

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, host: Americans are expected to spend nearly $7 billion on Halloween. If you're wondering exactly how, let's go to one street in Concord, New Hampshire, where families take the ghoulish holiday very seriously. New Hampshire Public Radio's Dan Gorenstein reports.

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