Originally published on Mon April 15, 2013 4:16 pm
Texas homebuilder Bob Perry was a behind-the-scenes political player who helped bankroll the Mitt Romney campaign last year, and who even before the era of superPACs spent tens of millions of dollars to influence the nation's politics.
I'm Michel Martin, and this is TELL ME MORE, from NPR News. Coming up, Kenyan author Ngugi wa Thiong'o supported independence from Britain for his country, but when he felt it necessary, he criticized the new government's human rights abuses. For that he was arrested, jailed and hounded into exile, but never silent. He joins us for a Wisdom Watch conversation, a special rebroadcast, as we settle into our new headquarters. And that's in just a few minutes.
Originally published on Mon April 15, 2013 12:10 pm
Maybe Barack Obama would be happier as a governor.
It's early days in his second term, but the president's agenda doesn't appear to have a whole lot of momentum. His budget last week was greeted with more criticism than applause from Democrats and Republicans alike.
Since President George W. Bush left office in 2009, The Dallas Morning News writes, he has been "a punching bag for [President] Obama, Democrats and even some Republicans."
But while Bush told the Morning News during an interview for a long story posted over the weekend that "nobody likes to be criticized all the time," he also indicated that the criticism hasn't caused him to question his decisions:
"I'm comfortable with what I did," he said. "I'm comfortable with who I am."
Evangelical Christians in the United States are raising their voices in support of immigration overhaul. Church leaders were largely mute during the earlier contentious debates over how to fix the nation's immigration laws, but now they are speaking out, telling conservative Christians and their friends in Congress that it's OK to embrace compassionate solutions. Here's NPR's John Burnett.
Here's a bit of Washington language: getting on all five of the Sunday morning TV political talk shows is known as the full Ginsburg, named for William H. Ginsburg, Monica Lewinsky's lawyer, who was the first to achieve this feat back in 1998.
Same-sex marriage got huge headlines at the Supreme Court last month, but in the world of science and medicine, the case being argued on Monday is far more important. The lawsuit deals with a truly 21st century issue — whether human genes may be patented.
President Obama's nominee to lead the Labor Department has been one of the most aggressive advocates for civil rights in decades. Tom Perez prosecuted a record number of hate crimes cases and extracted huge settlements from banks that overcharged minorities for home loans.
But some Republican lawmakers say those same qualities give them pause about voting to confirm Perez as a Cabinet member.
Originally published on Sun April 14, 2013 11:06 am
Inmates fought guards at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, after military authorities decided to end communal housing in one of the prison's camps, and instead put prisoners in individual cells. At least one detainee was reportedly injured by a rubber bullet in the clash Saturday.
The violence began after the facility's commander ordered the move Saturday morning. According to the U.S. Southern Command, the decision was made after detainees covered windows and surveillance cameras, limiting guards' ability to monitor them at all times.
The gun control debate continued to dominate the news this week with President Obama coming out strongly in support of reforming the current gun control laws alongside the Newtown families. Host Jacki Lyden speaks with James Fallows, national correspondent with The Atlantic, about that story along with the bird flu in China, North Korea and the Postal Service.
Originally published on Sat April 13, 2013 1:16 pm
In a rare departure from tradition, Saturday's weekly presidential address was delivered not by President Obama but instead by Francine Wheeler, whose son Ben, 6, died in the Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings last December.
Flanked by her husband, David, Wheeler called for Americans to urge the Senate to pass gun control legislation that it is scheduled to begin debating in the coming week.
President Obama's newly released tax return shows his effective income tax rate was 18.4 percent last year. He'll likely pay a somewhat higher rate in 2013, and that tax bill would be even bigger if Congress were to adopt the recommendations in the president's own budget, unveiled this week.
A new immigration bill is expected to be introduced in the U.S. Senate next week, calling for better border security and a path to citizenship for 11 million immigrants in the United States without legal status.
One big hurdle toward that was cleared this week when the United Farm Workers reached a deal with growers that would address wages and caps the number of visas allowed for new workers.
Originally published on Sat April 13, 2013 5:19 am
So who exactly comprises Progress Kentucky, the superPAC linked to the surreptitious recording of a meeting at Sen. Mitch McConnell's campaign headquarters? In the recording, an aide is heard disparaging actress Ashley Judd, who was then considering a Senate run to challenge the Senate's top Republican.
Nearly 500,000 people have petitioned the Securities and Exchange Commission to make publicly-traded corporations disclose their political spending. The question is: How much clout do 500,000 people actually have?
Mark Zuckerberg and other tech leaders in Silicon Valley are banding together to push for comprehensive immigration reform, the Facebook co-founder announced this week. But Zuckerberg has dabbled in politically charged matters in the past.
Originally published on Fri April 12, 2013 11:03 am
Zack Kopplin has been fighting to have the "Louisiana Science Education Act" overturned since it was first passed in 2008, and he was in high school. Critics of the SLEA say it's used to introduce creationism and other non-scientific theories into public school science class. Kopplin, now at Rice University discusses his continuing campaign against the act.
It may be temporary, but it was a week of promise. There's been movement on guns and immigration. Obama hopes to work out a deal on the budget. And Rand Paul reaches out at Howard University. But a return of Anthony Weiner? It could only happen in a post-Annette Funicello America. NPR's Mara Liasson joins Ken Rudin for this week's podcast.
This is MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. Steve Inskeep is reporting for us this week from Caracas, Venezuela. I'm David Greene, in Washington, Where the Senate is now officially moving towards debate on gun control legislation. To get there, Democratic leaders had to defeat a Republican filibuster yesterday, and they did so with the help of 16 Republicans. The procedural vote was a victory for gun control supporters, but as NPR's Ailsa Chang reports, more battles lie ahead.
Congress took a major step toward its first gun bill in nearly two decades on Thursday morning, as Democratic leaders broke a Republican filibuster to stop a proposal expanding criminal background checks for gun buyers. Sixteen Republican joined all but two Democrats to move forward with the bill. Ailsa Chang joins Audie Cornish from the Capitol to explain what it means, and what happens next.
Originally published on Thu April 11, 2013 4:26 pm
It's comeback season for public figures who have been disgraced by their own sex lives.
Former South Carolina Republican Gov. Mark Sanford, who received national attention after leaving the country to pursue an extramarital affair five years ago, is favored to win a May 7 special House election. He won Speaker John Boehner's endorsement this week.
Originally published on Thu April 11, 2013 2:09 pm
The president's $3.77 trillion fiscal 2014 budget plan is expansive. But the part getting the most attention is his proposal to change the way the government calculates inflation using a measure known in economics-speak as chained CPI.
House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan tells NPR that he's "cautiously optimistic" that a budget deal can be reached with the White House.
Speaking to NPR a day after President Obama unveiled a 2014 budget proposal that includes cuts to Social Security and Medicare, as well as tax increases and new investments in education and infrastructure, Ryan said he was encouraged by the broad outlines from the White House.