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When Secretary of State John Kerry goes to Havana to raise a flag over the soon to be reopened embassy this summer, it won't be just an important symbolic moment.

The administration says the U.S. will be able to station more American personnel in Cuba, and that should be a big help in practical terms as more Americans travel to and trade with the Cold War-era foe.

In just over 18 months, Barack Obama will join the ranks of ex-presidents. He'll be 55 when he leaves office, among the youngest to become a former president, alongside Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter.

President Carter remains a model of what an active, productive life can look like after leaving the White House. He looks back on that life in his new memoir, A Full Life: Reflections at Ninety, beginning with growing up with black friends in the Jim Crow South.

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Donald Trump is doubling down on his negative comments about Mexicans and illegal immigration. To recap, here's what he said last month when he announced his presidential run.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

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So will 2016 be a very good year for Donald Trump? That's my first question to our regular political commentators, David Brooks of The New York Times and E J Dionne of the Washington Post, here to talk about the week in politics. Welcome to you both.

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#NPRreads is a weekly feature on Twitter and on The Two-Way. The premise is simple: Correspondents, editors and producers throughout our newsroom share pieces that have kept them reading. They share tidbits using the #NPRreads hashtag — and on Fridays, we highlight some of the best stories.

This week, we bring you five reads.

From Ina Jaffe, NPR's Los Angeles-based correspondent:

This story is part of NPR's series Journey Home. We're going to the places presidential candidates call home and finding out what those places tell us about how they see the world.

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Donald Trump's controversial remarks dispagaging Mexican immigrants led to a series of organizations cutting ties with the Republican presidential candidate.

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, running in the Democratic presidential primaries, has raised about $15 million, his campaign said Thursday.

His campaign emphasized the grass-roots strength of his fundraising: 250,000 donors making nearly 400,000 contributions of $250 or less.

The numbers come from a quarterly disclosure report being filed at the Federal Election Commission, and are measured from when Sanders launched his campaign April 30.

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Maybe it seems like just yesterday that you were storing away your holiday decorations.

Maybe it actually was yesterday because life gets busy and tasks get put off, and before you know it, half the year is over and you're scrambling to catch up.

So in case you have been too busy to pay close attention, here's what we now know about the just-ended half of this year's economy:

Can racism cause post-traumatic stress? That's one big question psychologists are trying to answer, particularly in the aftermath of the shooting at the historically black Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, S.C., and the recent incidents involving police where race was a factor.

What's clear is that many black Americans experience what psychologists call "race-based trauma," says Monnica Williams, director of the Center for Mental Health Disparities at the University of Louisville.

Former U.S. Sen. Jim Webb has become the fifth Democrat to announce he is seeking the party's nomination for president.

"[Our] country needs a fresh approach to solving the problems that confront us and too often unnecessarily divide us," Webb said in a statement. "We need to shake the hold of these shadow elites on our political process."

Webb, 69, joins former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, former Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley and former Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee in the 2016 contest.

The Supreme Court term that just ended included historic rulings in support of same-sex marriage and the Affordable Care Act. "Political scientists will say that this is a liberal term for the ages," Adam Liptak, the Supreme Court correspondent at The New York Times, tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross.

Call it the latest sign of "Bernie-mentum" — Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders' latest event in Madison, Wis., on Wednesday drew an estimated 10,000 supporters. He packed the arena at Veterans Memorial Coliseum in the liberal college town.

Sanders said last month that he was "stunned" by the large crowds showing up for him. Organizers were once shocked by 300 in Iowa, then 5,000 in Minnesota.

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Recreational marijuana is legal in Oregon as of today.

People 21 and older can now possess up to an ounce of pot when away from home and up to 8 ounces at home. It's also legal to grow up to four plants per household.

Late Tuesday evening the State Department released almost 2,000 emails from Hillary Clinton's time as secretary of state. While there was no "smoking gun" regarding the 2012 attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, the latest round of emails gives a look at who she was emailing with, more insight into her daily activities at State — and some daily struggles.

Fundraising is often used as a proxy for the strength of a campaign, and Hillary Clinton's team wants everyone to know she's $45 million strong. Clinton is the first major candidate to announce their fundraising haul this cycle ahead of a midmonth reporting deadline.

It was the least suspenseful cliffhanger in the history of cliffs.

Governor Christie has, essentially, been running for higher office for years. But as of Tuesday he is now, officially, a presidential candidate.

This week the Christie Tracker podcast, from WNYC and New Jersey Public Radio, headed to Livingston High School for analysis on the announcement.

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Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush released 33 years of tax returns on Tuesday, showing that his personal wealth has skyrocketed since he left the Florida governor's office in 2007.

The State Department is set to release about 3,000 pages of emails from Hillary Clinton's time as secretary of state on Tuesday. The release is part of the State Department's schedule to release a bundle of Clinton emails every month through Jan. 29, 2016.

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