Warning: The following story may be upsetting to some people.
That's because it's about clowns.
Yes, clowns. Painted white faces, red lips, receding hairlines with tufts of wild hair, and — of course — the red foam nose. Fun for all ages, yet plenty of people are downright scared of them. There's even a word for it: coulrophobia, though that's not an official diagnosis.
In one week, voters in New Jersey go to the polls in a special primary election for a U.S. Senate seat.
No one on the ballot has more name recognition than Cory Booker, the 44-year-old mayor of Newark, who is considered a rising star in the Democratic Party. But Booker's critics say he's been more focused on his own ambitions than on governing New Jersey's largest city.
The sale of The Washington Post to Amazon billionaire Jeff Bezos could bring up conflict between the owner's interests and the paper's editorial independence. I talked about some of those issues with longtime media executive and consultant Merrill Brown. Among his jobs, he was a reporter and then corporate executive for The Washington Post. Later, he was founding editor-in-chief of msnbc.com. I asked Brown what he sees as potential conflicts of interest with Bezos at the helm of The Post.
Apple has been notoriously disinterested in Washington politics. But two decisions coming from the Obama administration in the past few days indicate that Washington is increasingly interested in Apple.
A gene that affects the brain's dopamine system appears to have influenced mothers' behavior during a recent economic downturn, researchers say.
At the beginning of the recession that began in 2007, mothers with the "sensitive" version of a gene called DRD2 became more likely to strike or scream at their children, the researchers say. Mothers with the other "insensitive" version of the gene didn't change their behavior.
The man who pushed the book publishing industry into the digital age is now buying one of the country's most storied newspaper companies. Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon.com, is acquiring The Washington Post and its small sister papers. The news broke after the markets closed today. NPR's David Folkenflik covers the newspaper industry, and he joins me now. And, David, this was, I think, the best-kept secret in Washington. Tell us some details of this transaction and how it came about.