Gun control historically has been one of the most divisive issues in Congress, between the parties and even inside the Democratic coalition. Yet some in President Obama's own party say he has put together a gun agenda that is sweeping without being too painful for most Democrats to support.
Originally published on Fri February 8, 2013 2:48 pm
Some observers are wondering why American Crossroads, the Karl Rove-inspired superPAC, would bother to run a political attack ad against Hollywood star Ashley Judd, an outspoken supporter of President Obama who has said she's mulling a 2014 run against Republican Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky.
The Obama administration faces tricky political and legal questions on the subject of gay marriage. By the end of this month, the federal government is expected to file not just one but two briefs in a pair of same-sex marriage cases at the U.S. Supreme Court.
But it is the Proposition 8 case from California that poses the thornier questions for the administration — questions so difficult that the president himself is expected to make the final decision on what arguments the Justice Department will make in the Supreme Court.
Originally published on Fri February 8, 2013 12:00 pm
The controversy over President Obama's targeted-killings-by-drone policy is a reminder that the default position of presidents in times of crisis is generally to side with national security over civil liberties.
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie isn't laughing about his weight anymore. After poking fun at himself earlier this week, he ended up telling a former White House doctor to "shut up," when she commented on his size. Did he overreact? The Barbershop guys weigh in.
As a leader of the Southern Baptist Convention, Richard Land has spent nearly 25 years on the front lines of America's so-called 'culture war'. Now, as social conservatives worry that they're losing key policy battles, Land tells host Michel Martin that he may be stepping down from his post, but not from the fight.
Civil rights advocates have long relied on a principle called, "disparate impact," to prove minorities are discriminated in housing. Now, the Supreme Court is poised to review whether it's a legitimate tool in such cases. Host Michel Martin speaks with investigative journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones, who has written about the issue for ProPublica.
Republicans are trying to find their way in the wake of their second consecutive presidential defeat and immediately they take advantage of the opportunity: Marco Rubio, chosen to respond to Obama's State of the Union address, decides Tupac is not a political action committee. Plus: Karl Rove's group plays sides in GOP primaries, and we remember Ed Koch.
Congress likes to say it no longer does earmarks, the provisions that direct federal dollars to serve local interests or campaign supporters. And though that may be true, it's also a fact that targeted provisions are still useful in moving legislation — even critical legislation like the bill that pulled Washington back from the fiscal cliff last month.
Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta testified before a Senate committee Thursday about the September attack in Benghazi that killed the U.S. ambassador to Libya and three other Americans. Panetta was questioned about whether the U.S. response was fast enough and about why the U.S. military had not been better prepared for the possibility of an attack.
Originally published on Thu February 7, 2013 3:44 pm
The Gallup Organization, one of the polling industry's oldest brand names, is calling in an outsider to do a comprehensive review after its 2012 election polls consistently favored Republican candidate Mitt Romney.
University of Michigan professor Michael Traugott, a past president of the American Association for Public Opinion Research, has been working with Gallup since December to test several of its methods. Among them: how many interviews are conducted by cellphones; how it measures likely voters and early voters; and how it assesses the impact of get-out-the-vote efforts.
Originally published on Thu February 7, 2013 5:12 pm
Immigrants from Asia and Latin America are more conservative than their U.S.-born children, according to a study released Thursday by the Pew Research Center.
And while most immigrants from Asia and Latin America identify with the Democratic Party, the report found that Hispanic members of the second generation — those born in the United States with at least one parent born outside of the country — were even more likely to identify as Democrats than their parents.
This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan in Washington. This afternoon, the Senate Intelligence Committee takes up the nomination of John Brennan to be the next director of the CIA, a hearing that will feature a festival of euphemisms. One man's targeted killing is another man's assassination.
This is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. I'm Michel Martin. Yesterday we told you about how middle class paychecks are feeling the pinch right now for a number of reasons - healthcare co-pays and premiums, rising gas prices, among other reasons. Today we want to tell you who is doing well. And we'll tell you that conversation in just a few minutes.
Now, we want to turn to the challenge of bringing diversity to the newsroom. You've probably noticed that all kinds of issues and stories relating to sexual orientation have been in the news recently - from same-sex marriage to the Pentagon's plan to offer benefits to same-sex partners to the debate over what role gays can play in the Boy Scouts.
Speaking at his fifth National Prayer Breakfast since taking office, President Obama said Thursday morning that the annual gatherings are always "wonderful." But he worries, Obama told the lawmakers and clergy gathered in Washington, D.C., that "as soon as we leave the prayer breakfast, everything we've been talking about the whole time at the prayer breakfast is forgotten ... on the same day as the prayer breakfast."
On a Thursday, it's MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. I'm Steve Inskeep.
DAVID GREENE, HOST:
And I'm David Greene. As soon as today, the Pentagon could announce it is extending some benefits to spouses of gay and lesbian service members. The move comes two years after the repeal of the policy known as "don't ask, don't tell." Since nine states and Washington, D.C. allow same-sex marriage, the Pentagon has struggled with whether and how to recognize these spouses. NPR's Ari Shapiro reports.
The U.S. Postal Service likes to talk about how reliable it is, and they are determined to keep that reputation, even after the change announced yesterday. The Postal Service plans to end Saturday delivery of regular mail. They will continue delivering packages on Saturdays. The decision will save some $2 billion a year, but it's getting mixed reviews, as NPR's Brian Naylor reports.
It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Steve Inskeep.
DAVID GREENE, HOST:
And I'm David Greene.
Let's meet the woman who may be the nation's next Secretary of the Interior. President Barack Obama has named Sally Jewell to the post. She still needs to be confirmed by the Senate. Jewell does not have a background in government or politics. She's CEO of the outdoor gear company REI. Supporters say her love of the outdoors goes much deeper than that. And they say she has a savvy social conscience.
John Brennan, President Obama's choice to lead the CIA, can look forward to a grilling Thursday on Capitol Hill. As Obama's chief counterterrorism adviser, he has been associated with some controversial policies, including the use of armed drones. Brennan's nomination comes before the Senate Intelligence Committee, and members from both parties have their questions ready.
Originally published on Wed February 6, 2013 5:12 pm
What do the Kansas City Royals, C. Everett Koop, Jack Nicholson and the United Methodist Church all have in common?
Turns out the Major League Baseball team, the former surgeon general, the actor and the denomination's general board and church society are all enemies of firearms, and as such have made it onto the National Rifle Association's list of "National Organizations With Anti-Gun Policies."
President Obama's choice to take over at the Department of the Interior comes from the business world. Sally Jewell is the CEO of outdoor equipment supplier REI.
"For Sally, the toughest part of this job will probably be sitting behind a desk," the president said when introducing his nominee Wednesday. "I suspect she'll want to get out of the office quite a bit."
Before Jewell took the reins at REI, she worked in the financial industry at Washington Mutual. Before that, she was an engineer in the oil business, with Mobil.
The economy may be on the rebound, but life is getting tougher for some people in the middle class. With rising gas prices, insurance costs, and higher payroll taxes, people are feeling squeezed. Host Michel Martin asks if there's any financial relief in sight.
This is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. I'm Michel Martin. Coming up, rising gas prices, rising insurance costs, and rising payroll taxes - Happy New Year, middle class. We'll talk with NPR's senior business editor Marilyn Geewax in just a few minutes about all the things that are squeezing the middle class right now - as if you hadn't noticed.
I'm Michel Martin and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. Later in the program, I'm happy I have a chance to tell you more about two women who made or are making an impression, one by speaking up, one by choosing not to. That's coming up later in the program.
But, first, it's time for the Beauty Shop. That's where we get a fresh cut on the week's top issues with our panel of women writers, journalists and commentators.
Originally published on Wed February 6, 2013 12:29 pm
Update at 2:25 p.m. ET. It's Official:
Praising Sally Jewell as an executive who turned outdoors equipment retailer REI into one of the nation's most successful and environmentally conscious companies, President Obama just said he is nominating her to be his next interior secretary.
Noting that Jewell, who in a previous job worked as an engineer for Mobil, has also climbed mountains in Antarctica, the president joked about that being "just not something I think of doing."