Originally published on Tue February 25, 2014 2:43 pm
Many religious leaders are feeling under siege. They believe the Obama administration is at worst hostile but at least "tone deaf" to the demands of faith. In their view, the government is attempting to makethem act in ways that violate their convictions.
That is the context in which so-called religious freedom bills are being considered in Arizona and numerous other states.
The bills, which would allow business owners to refuse service to gays or other groups that offend their religious beliefs, appear discriminatory on their face.
It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. Good morning, I'm Renee Montagne.
DAVID GREENE, HOST:
And I'm David Greene.
I n 1955, Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat on an Alabama bus. "Rock Around the Clock" by Bill Haley and his Comets was a top hit on the music charts, and John Dingell became a member of Congress. Nearly six decades later, the Michigan Democrat, the longest-serving member of Congress is leaving. He announced his retirement yesterday.
When it comes to political discourse, Twitter chatter splits along liberal and conservative lines that rarely cross, according to a new report.
The Pew Research Center and the Social Media Research Foundation together used software to map and analyze words, hashtags and urls that define Twitter conversation. The results show that when the nature of a conversation on Twitter is political, two distinct and polarized groups tend to form.
Originally published on Mon February 24, 2014 1:37 pm
The leader of an influential Justice Department office that offers legal advice on surveillance, drones and other issues at the center of security and executive power quietly left government before Christmas.
OK. So in the words of that political scientist in Peter's piece, wealthy donors like Tom Steyer are putting a pistol to someone's head, forcing their pet issues on candidates. Steyer himself sees things very differently. He quit his hedge fund with $1.5 billion and now in his view he's fighting as hard as he can with money and passion to do something very noble - save the planet. When he sat down to speak with us he said his goal is to use his money to limit carbon emissions.
This is MORNING EDITION from NPR News. Good morning. I'm David Greene.
RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:
And I'm Renee Montagne. Some of America's richest political activists are pouring money into new SuperPACs as they seek to influence the issues in upcoming Senate and House races. Billionaires including Sheldon Adelson, the Koch Brothers, and Fred Eychaner used SuperPACs to support their favored presidential candidates in 2012.
I don't know about you but if I make it to the age of 100, I plan on spending my time in some beach town with a lot of friends and family, a pile of books and the occasional highball. In other words, I would plan to relax. Joe Newman is not that kind of centenarian. The resident of Sarasota, Florida is running for Congress at the age of 101. Candidate Joe Newman joins me from his campaign headquarters. Thanks so much for being here, Mr. Newman.
This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. The dying and suffering in Syria gets worse every week, even as turmoil in other areas demands coverage, too. Last September 10th, President Obama seemed to make the case for U.S. involvement following Bashar al-Assad's use of chemical weapons against civilians. This is not a world we should accept, said the president. It is in the national security interests of the United States to respond to the Assad regime's use of chemical weapons through a targeted military strike.
It may not be in full retreat, but the Federal Communications Commission certainly seemed to be in a major strategic withdrawal from a plan that has caused a political firestorm: a study that would have asked journalists and media owners how they decide what is and isn't news.
In northeast Texas, from the Dallas suburbs to Texarkana, Republican Ralph Hall is seeking an 18th term in Congress. Hall is 90 years old and the oldest member of Congress. At a time of deep voter anger with Washington, Hall's long incumbency and his age have drawn a crowded field of primary challengers. He's assuring his constituents that it will be his last campaign, but if there's an anti-incumbent wave building, his east Texas district may be an early barometer.
NPR national political correspondent Don Gonyea reports.
I'm Michel Martin and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. We'd like to take a moment now to check in on the evolving debate over crime and punishment. Right now we want to focus on the voting rights of people who have served their sentences.
This is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. I'm Michel Martin. We'd like to start the program today talking about two disturbing situations from two different parts of the world that have been very much in the news this week. There are the violent protests in Ukraine that have been going on all week. More than 70 people have died there. And while the Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych and opposition leaders have reached an agreement to end the violence, tensions are still very high there.
For a political party already facing a difficult midterm election the way the Democrats are, the fewer internally divisive issues the better.
And few items were more divisive among Democrats than President Obama's previous proposal to reduce Social Security entitlement spending by using a less generous formula to calculate cost-of-living increases, so long as Republicans agreed to raise revenue by ending or reducing loopholes that would raise revenue.