In his State of the Union speech Tuesday, President Obama stepped up to a podium before Congress and the country and declared that the state of our union was strong.
"Here are the results of your efforts: The lowest unemployment rate in over five years; a rebounding housing market; a manufacturing sector that's adding jobs for the first time since the 1990s," the president said.
It's ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR West. I'm Arun Rath.
This week, NPR has been reporting on the effects of the fracking boom in the area known as the Bakken. Williston, North Dakota, offers a haven for a new working class. Tens of thousands of newcomers have flocked to the oil field over the past five years. The region is flush with high-paying, low-scaled work. It's bringing a lot of economic development, and some are hoping it can bring cultural development too. Montana Public Radio's Dan Boyce has the story.
Aaliyah lives in the heart of Lebanon's capital, but she is cut off from parties, war and family.
The title character of Rabih Alameddine's new novel spends her days alone in her Beirut apartment. She translates her favorite books into Arabic, and her manuscripts pile up, unsold. At 72, the former bookstore employee is long divorced without any children.
"She fell in love with books," Alameddine says. "So this is a woman who, whether it is by choice or by circumstance, has been forced into the margins of society."