Originally published on Wed April 24, 2013 3:37 pm
You think you're so smart. You think it's easy being the president of the United States. OK, pal — here's your chance.
One of the attractions of the new George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum in Dallas — scheduled to be dedicated on Thursday — is Decision Points Theater, an interactive experience. The venue allows visitors to participate in a simplified simulation of the presidential decision-making process.
I'm Michel Martin and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. Later in the program, we will meet one of this country's most influential tech executives. We'll also hear about his very interesting personal story about how he rose from humble beginnings in Mexico to become one of this country's top leaders in high tech. That's later in the program.
But, first, we want to continue our conversation with three thoughtful Muslim Americans in the wake of the attack on the Boston Marathon and the news that two of the suspects were indeed Muslim.
Many Muslim people were hoping the Boston bombers didn't share their religion. However, the surviving suspect, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, is indeed Muslim, according to family members. Host Michel Martin speaks to Muslims from different ethnic backgrounds about the conversations they're having at dinner tables and in their neighborhoods.
The U.S. Senate is poised to pass the Marketplace Fairness Act that allows states to collect taxes from out-of-state merchants. Tax policy experts say this long-sought bill brings fairness to the tax system and much needed money to state and local governments. But small online sellers are incensed at what they see as a new tax burden.
Gun-control groups are regrouping after a bill to tighten background checks for gun sales failed to overcome a filibuster last week in the Senate. The failure was not only a stinging defeat for President Obama, it was also a setback for the new players in the debate.
Even al-Qaida gloats about what's possible under U.S. gun laws. In June 2011, a senior al-Qaida operative, Adam Gadahn, released a video message rallying people to take advantage of opportunities those laws provide.
"America is absolutely awash with easily obtainable firearms," Gadahn says, explaining that "you can go down to a gun show at the local convention center" and buy a gun without a background check.
Then a faint smile crosses Gadahn's face. "So what are you waiting for?" he asks.
Originally published on Wed April 24, 2013 9:02 am
Blame shifting was in high gear Tuesday on Capitol Hill and at the White House as the first air traffic delays tied to the furloughs of Federal Aviation Administration controllers began to get attention.
The Republicans' message: Delays at some airports this week — a result of automatic spending cuts known as the sequester that took effect in March, but whose resulting furloughs are just kicking in — was a "manufactured crisis," and that the administration wants voters angry enough to force Congress to give President Obama the higher taxes he seeks.
More online retailers would have to collect sales tax under a bill making its way through the U.S. Senate this week. The measure won strong bipartisan backing on a procedural vote Monday, and President Obama has said he would sign it.
The political battle over the bill pits online retailers against brick-and-mortar stores — and, in some cases, against other online sellers.
And one other piece of news from the Senate, Democrat Max Baucus is retiring. The powerful chair of the Senate Finance Committee has represented Montana since 1978. Baucus is the sixth Senate Democrat to announce he won't run for reelection in 2014. NPR congressional correspondent Tamara Keith has that story.
Footage from surveillance cameras along the Boston Marathon route gave the FBI early clues about the bombing suspects. And prosecutors say they'll use some of those images to try to prove their criminal case against 19-year-old Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. But the proliferation of cameras in America's big cities is raising some tricky questions about the balance between security and privacy.
It was pictures of two brothers taken by a camera outside the Lord & Taylor department store that provided the first glimpse of the men who allegedly bombed the Boston Marathon.
Following the Republican Party's losses in the 2012 elections, there has been a lot of hand-wringing about what the party should do to improve its electoral fortunes.
Some argue that the GOP should moderate its positions on social issues, as well as policies that affect income inequality and social mobility, and that it should embrace compromise as a way to attract more voters. But others say that changing its positions risks alienating the core Republican base and diluting the party's conservative message — doing more damage in the end.
Originally published on Tue April 23, 2013 11:16 am
Sen. Max Baucus of Montana, an influential red-state Democrat who helped craft Obamacare but bucked his party last week in voting against expanded background checks for gun sales, will retire in 2014, he announced Tuesday.
The chairman of the influential Senate Finance Committee, Baucus was expected to face a potentially tough race for a seventh term after four decades on Capitol Hill. He becomes the sixth Senate Democrat to announce his retirement, as Republicans look for an opportunity to retake Senate control in the midterm elections.
Lots of people have been inquiring about the future of ScuttleButton. While I wish I had an answer — I don't, not yet — I'd like to suggest that you sign up for the Political Junkie/ScuttleButton mailing list. That way, I will be able to share the information once I have it (see info below).
Originally published on Tue April 23, 2013 3:46 am
The Senate Judiciary Committee turned its attention back to the immigration overhaul proposal Monday, even as opponents began to use the Boston bombers' journey to the United States as a cautionary tale.
Originally published on Tue April 23, 2013 4:11 pm
Freshman Sen. Rand Paul insists that he won't decide until next year whether a 2016 presidential run is in his future.
But comments the Kentucky Tea Party Republican made this week at a newsmaker breakfast about a run — "we're considering it" — as well as upcoming speaking engagements in early caucus and primary states Iowa and New Hampshire suggest serious consideration.
Originally published on Fri April 19, 2013 3:49 pm
Sen. Joe Manchin, the West Virginia Democrat who lent his name to bipartisan legislation that would have extended background checks for gun purchasers to gun shows and online sales, isn't letting go.
At least not yet.
To Manchin, the bipartisan compromise he co-sponsored with Sen. Pat Toomey, a Pennsylvania Republican of consistent conservative credentials, fell victim to a steady stream of misinformation spread by some gun rights absolutists, including the National Rifle Association.
Updated 1:50 p.m. ET: (Correcting that brothers shared an apartment in Cambridge, not Watertown.)
The suspects in Monday's deadly Boston Marathon explosions and the Thursday night murder of a police officer at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology are two brothers from a former Soviet republic who were in the United States legally for years, and lived together in a Cambridge, Mass., apartment.
This is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. I'm Michel Martin. Coming up, we are going to dig into the new Senate bill that would dramatically overhaul the country's immigration framework. We want to answer as many questions as we can about the bill and also talk about what it says, or what it might say, about what immigration means to the American people right now.
This is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. I'm Michel Martin. Coming up, we'll check in with the Barbershop guys to hear what they have to say about all the news of the week.
But, first, it's only because of the kind of week that we've had that it would be possible that a major issue like the one we're about to talk about could actually fly under the radar. It was introduced by a group called the Gang of Eight, a bipartisan group who also had the support of a very wide array of interest groups that often do not agree on much of anything.
A somber week, with people wasting no time putting the Boston tragedy in political terms. President Obama unleashes on Congress after a background check amendment to the gun bill goes down in the Senate. At least the latest exploits of Mark Sanford and Anthony Weiner keep NPR's Ken Rudin and Ron Elving amused in the latest episode of the It's All Politics podcast.
Steve Inskeep speaks with NPR's Scott Horsley, who has the White House perspective on news of the Boston Marathon bombings manhunt. NPR has confirmed that the two suspects were from Chechnya. For insights on that region, Morning Edition talks with Matt Rojansky, deputy director of the Russia and Eurasia program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.
Okay, we are continuing to follow the events in Boston this morning. Police there say one of the suspected Boston Marathon bombers has been killed and the other is on the run in the Boston suburb of Watertown. For the moment, let's turn to another major story here in Washington. A bipartisan bill revamping the nation's immigration laws goes to the Senate judiciary committee today.
It was formerly rolled out yesterday by the group of Senators known as the Gang of Eight and critics have weighed in. Here's NPR's David Welna.
Hopefully, the disappointment/frustration of that April Fool's ScuttleButton has subsided and now you're ready for the real stuff.
ScuttleButton, of course, is that once-a-week waste of time exercise in which each Monday or Tuesday I put up a vertical display of buttons on this site. Your job is to simply take one word (or concept) per button, add 'em up, and, hopefully, you will arrive at a famous name or a familiar expression. (And seriously, by familiar, I mean it's something that more than one person on Earth would recognize.)
From NPR News, this is all things considered. I'm Robert Siegel.
MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:
And I'm Melissa Block.
Americans love a political comeback. When it comes to sex scandals, voters seem increasingly willing to forgive, if not forget. That's what former Congressman Anthony Weiner and former South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford are hoping, as they attempt a return to public office.
But, as NPR's Joel Rose reports, both politicians face major hurdles.