Welcome to the second installment of NPR's Backseat Book Club! Every month, we invite kids to read a book along with us, and then send in their questions for the author.
Our book club selection for November is a classic that's celebrating a big anniversary. The Phantom Tollbooth — written by Norton Juster and illustrated by Jules Feiffer — was published 50 years ago. Juster tells NPR's Michele Norris that the story sprang from his own childhood.
Joining us now to talk about what the U.S. hopes to accomplish at the UN climate talks in Durban is the chief negotiator for the United States, Todd Stern. He's been negotiating on behalf of the U.S. off and on since the Kyoto Protocol was first forged back in 1997. Todd Stern, welcome to the program.
TODD STERN: Thanks very much, Guy. Happy to be here.
RAZ: As we just heard, the expectations are pretty low for a treaty that limits emissions coming out of Durban. What needs to happen at Durban for you to consider it a success?
An Atlanta woman has told a local TV station that she had a 13-year-long sexual relationship with GOP presidential candidate Herman Cain. For several weeks now, Cain's campaign has been dogged by several accusations of sexual harassment. Melissa Block talks with NPR national political correspondent Don Gonyea.
In the mid-'90s, the big banks set up the Mortgage Electronic Registration System, or MERS, to track mortgages as they're traded by investors in mortgage-backed securities. It's a system set up to let banks skip the process of paying recurring filing fees at county courthouses each time a mortgage was bought or sold. Now, many cash-strapped local governments, big and small, are filing lawsuits against MERS. Politicians contend their communities are owed millions of dollars.
Egyptian voters in Cairo, Alexandria and several other major cities are voting Monday in the first stage of the country's parliamentary election. Turn out is heavy and so far there has been no major violence. Melissa Block talks to NPR's Lourdes Garcia-Navarro.
After 30 years in Congress, Democrat Barney Frank is retiring. A leading liberal voice and one of the first openly gay congressmen, the 71-year-old from Massachusetts says he's leaving, in part, because his district has just been redrawn. He would likely face a grueling re-election campaign.
As NPR's Tovia Smith reports, Frank also says he feels like he's accomplished a lot, and wants to do other things.