A job fair was held at the The Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, D.C., last month. The U.S. unemployment rate declined in August in part because the number of "discouraged workers" climbed.
Geoff Dutton, an unemployed software developer, has given up on finding a job. He says the market has shifted, and he could not keep up. "I wasn't up on the new version of everything anymore," he says.
The U.S. population is growing. In normal times, the labor force — working or not — would be growing too. But these are not normal times, and the labor force is actually smaller than it was four years ago, meaning millions of people who should be there aren't.
The reasons people drop out of the workforce are myriad. People go back to school. Others have health issues or family priorities that keep them from looking for work. But some stop looking because they are discouraged.
Originally published on Thu September 13, 2012 5:54 pm
One of the biggest questions still outstanding about the attack on a United States consulate in Libya is whether it was planned or whether it was the result of a protest against a U.S.-made film that criticizes the Prophet Muhammad.
The attack killed four Americans, including Ambassador Chris Stevens.
The bottom line is that nothing is firm. But NPR's Leila Fadel reports that Libya's Deputy Interior Minister, Wanis al Sharef, said this was a sophisticated two-prong attack.
Originally published on Fri September 14, 2012 6:55 am
The opening moments of Francine find Melissa Leo, playing the title role, standing naked, wet and blankly confused in a prison shower. She's on the verge of release after an unspecified crime and an unspecified period of incarceration, and the visual metaphor is an obvious one: a woman in middle age experiencing rebirth, coming into her new world in much the same way she entered at the start.
Originally published on Thu September 13, 2012 6:23 pm
Stolen is very different from Pierre Morel's 2008 exploitation megahit Taken: There are six letters in its title, not five. It's set in New Orleans, not Europe. And it stars Nicolas Cage, not Liam Neeson. So any resemblance between these two films about fathers who'll stop at nothing to get their kidnapped offspring back is purely coincidental.
The First Amendment guarantee of free speech is in the spotlight this week. If you haven't kept up, a U.S.-produced filmdepicting the Prophet Muhammad in a less than flattering way has inflamed the Arab world.
In a lot of ways, the story is showing how the sweeping nature of the First Amendment puts the United States at odds with most of the world.
That rift was perhaps most evident when you compare the statements of Egypt's Islamist President Mohamed Morsi and that of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
Originally published on Fri September 14, 2012 7:08 am
In his first big-screen sitcom, HappyThankYouMorePlease, writer-director-star Josh Radnor emulated Woody Allen. Radnor's second feature, Liberal Arts, is less Allenesque, except for one crucial, and vexing, aspect: It's about an older man's infatuation with a younger woman.
Originally published on Fri September 14, 2012 12:12 pm
Overheard after a screening of The Master:
"So I guess this is an unfinished print?"
"Nope. This is the one they're rolling out."
And it's true that there are moments, especially toward the end of its meandering 137 minutes, when The Master feels like a series of brainy but disconnected thoughts about 20th-century America. That's how writer-director Paul Thomas Anderson works, and for those who don't insist on coherence or closure in narrative any more than they do in life, it's part of the thrilling madness of his method.