At the start of the fall TV season, HBO gave us the best new series of the year with Boardwalk Empire, which was set in the Prohibition era in Atlantic City, N.J. This Sunday, HBO launches an ambitious, impressive five-hour miniseries — and as with Boardwalk Empire, it's set during the Depression.

It takes a deft hand to do justice to the ordinary. Most novelists don't even bother to try, which is why most novels are about a rip in the fabric of the routine. It's tough to find fiction ambitious enough to tackle the story of a run-of-the-mill job, a hum-drum family; but, if the mundane matters to you, then Stewart O'Nan is your man.

In California's Silicon Valley, the economy is finally showing signs of a turnaround. Social media companies like Twitter and Facebook are generating a lot of new excitement, and there's even been a slight uptick in hiring. Still, the recession has done considerable damage to the region's economy, and the unemployment rate remains high.

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STEVE INSKEEP, Host:

It's MORNING EDITION. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

You simply cannot appreciate the brilliance of Angry Birds unless you play the game. So go get your iPhone or borrow one from a friend. You can download the first game for free.

There are many spoilers ahead in this piece, and by spoilers, we mean this: If you want to be surprised by the final few episodes of Big Love, you should not read or listen to this piece until you finish the season.

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SIMON: Warren Christopher died last night at the age 85, at home in Los Angeles. He was the son of a North Dakota bank clerk who became a blue chip, L.A. lawyer in splendid suits, and a famously self-effacing diplomat.

H: the best public servant I ever knew.

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P: Mr. Breslin, thanks so much for being with us.

JIMMY BRESLIN: Good. I'm here.

: Yeah, you...

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

: Indeed, and it's good to have you here, sir.

BRESLIN: Yeah

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NPR's Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson reports voter turnout is unusually high in some districts.

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Ohio Valley ReSource

Public Radio East

The U.S. Senate Agriculture Committee has passed it’s version of the Farm Bill with Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s provisions to remove hemp from a list of Schedule 1 controlled substances. 

McConnell’s Hemp Farming Act of 2018 legalizes the growing of hemp and also allows hemp cultivators to receive federal crop insurance. Lawmakers made amendments during Wednesday's Agriculture Committee meeting and passed the revised version of the bill with only one dissenting vote from Republican Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa. 

White House

President Donald Trump last week told the Department of Energy to “prepare immediate steps” to stop the closures of coal and nuclear power plants in the Ohio Valley region that are no longer economical to operate.

But a number of energy analysts say the administration’s unprecedented effort to prop up struggling utilities will do little to solve their underlying problems and will likely end up costing consumers more.   

Benny Becker | Ohio Valley ReSource

A new study from the Government Accountability Office finds that the federal fund supporting coal miners with black lung disease could be in financial trouble without Congressional action. As NPR has reported, the GAO found that the fund’s debt could rise dramatically at the same time that black lung disease is surging

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