If you've applied for a mortgage recently, you know how hard it can be. The bank demands all kinds of obscure documents and wants proof of almost every asset you own. But an innovative mortgage program halfway around the world will evaluate your application without any extra documentation — and if you're approved, it will give you a 15-year fixed-rate mortgage. There's just one catch: The mortgages are only for low-income people in Cambodia. The program is a throwback to the days when bankers got to know their customers — and trusted them.
It's a funny thing about dictionaries. First we're taught to revere them, then we have to learn to set them aside. Nobody ever went wrong starting a middle-school composition with, "According to Webster's ..." but that's not how you start an op-ed commentary about terrorism or racism. When it comes to the words that do the cultural heavy lifting, we're not about to defer to some lexicographer hunched over a dusty keyboard.
As a Mormon missionary, Ryan McIlvain spent two years ringing strangers' doorbells, even as he experienced doubts about his own faith. McIlvain left the church in his mid-20s. His debut novel, Elders, is based on the experiences he had trying to convert people to join the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. "Elder" is the term used for a young Mormon on his mission.
It's hard to determine how seriously to take these threats. War on the Korean Peninsula could be catastrophic, so the bluster can't be dismissed. On the other hand, North Korea has a long history of hyperbole, of making threats it doesn't follow through on.
This is TELL ME MORE, from NPR News. I'm Michel Martin. Coming up, you probably know Jada Pinkett Smith as an actress from films like "Set it Off" or "Jason's Lyric," but she is going to tell us about a film she is supporting behind the scenes. It's a documentary about the 1960s icon Angela Davis. She executive produced it. That conversation is coming up in a few minutes.
I'm Michel Martin, and this is TELL ME MORE, from NPR News. Coming up, it took a while, but you can now see women of color on the covers of so-called mainstream women's or lifestyle magazines. So now we're asking: Should it go the other way? Will there ever be a white woman on the cover of a major black or Latina magazine? We'll talk about that in a few minutes.
And now the latest in our series, Muses and Metaphors. We are celebrating National Poetry Month by hearing poetic tweets - poems at 140 characters or less. And we've been hearing from famous poets and not so famous.
Today, we hear from freelance writer and poet Yahia Lababidi. And we'll let him tell you more.
YAHIA LABABIDI: My name is Yahia Lababidi. I live, now, in Silver Spring, Maryland. I'm from Egypt and I'm mad for short forms. Here's the tweet.
Originally published on Thu April 4, 2013 11:27 am
Update at 11:15 a.m. ET. Armstrong Pulls Out:
After an objection was raised Thursday by FINA, swimming's international governing body, Lance Armstrong has withdrawn from a masters swim meet being held this weekend in Austin, Texas, The Associated Press and other news outlets are reporting.