President Obama is set to hold a news conference at the White House on Friday at 3 p.m. ET — his first such formal give-and-take with the press corps since "NSA leaker" Edward Snowden starting spilling secrets about National Security Agency surveillance programs in June.
So we should expect questions about Snowden, spying and civil liberties, as well as strained relations with Russia, the economy and other subjects.
Hillary Clinton has been one of the big stories this week, both in Washington and also in the entertainment world. Two movies were recently announced about the former Secretary of State, former senator, former first lady and also possible 2016 presidential candidate. These projects, one from NBC, the other from CNN, are only in the planning stages right now. But they've already sparked a lot of criticism from the both the right and the left.
The U.S. Postal Service lost some $16 billion last year and continues to bleed red ink. Congress has been unable to agree on a rescue plan.
The latest proposal would allow the post office to end Saturday delivery in a year and enable it to ship wine and beer.
The Postal Service's woes are familiar: People don't really send letters anymore, so first-class mail is down, and Congress makes the post office prepay future retiree benefits to the tune of $5.5 billion a year.
More than six months have passed since Hillary Clinton stepped down from her position as Secretary of State. At the time she said she was eager for some down time — to rest and do the things she didn't normally have time for, like catch up on episodes of Love It or List It. But Amy Chozick of the The New York Times, who has been following Clinton's transition out of office, tells Melissa Block that there hasn't been much R & R in her agenda.
The federal government runs out of money on Oct. 1, unless spending authority is granted to agencies for the new fiscal year. If Congress can't pass its spending bills by then, most of the government will shut down.
It's no empty threat. Many who watch the budget process closely think there's a very good chance that's exactly what's going to happen.
President Obama, like his predecessors George W. Bush and Bill Clinton, has chafed at the conventions of communicating through the mainstream media. So while he uses print and broadcast every day, he and staff have sought out a host of non-traditional media means for reaching new audiences in new ways.
Every year, the U.S. Congress appropriates more than $1 billion in military aid to Egypt. But that money never gets to Egypt. It goes to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, then to a trust fund at the Treasury and, finally, out to U.S. military contractors that make the tanks and fighter jets that ultimately get sent to Egypt.
The U.S. started sending M1A1 Abrams tanks to Egypt in the late '80s. In all, the U.S. sent more than 1,000 tanks to Egypt since then — valued at some $3.9 billion — which Egypt maintains along with several thousand Soviet-era tanks.
Originally published on Wed August 7, 2013 5:33 pm
Commotion over a pair of movies that haven't even been made proves, if anything, that the Clintons need not lift a finger to inspire a controversy.
That said, the hubbub over a planned CNN documentary and a proposed NBC Entertainment miniseries on Hillary Clinton, the former first lady and secretary of state, does feel somewhat premature. Clinton hasn't said whether she intends to run for president in 2016.
But it's never too early to take a Democratic Party titan down a few pegs, especially one who polls well ahead of all Republican presidential possibilities.
Originally published on Wed August 7, 2013 8:59 pm
Two military veterans are the latest women making allegations against San Diego Mayor Bob Filner.
Eldonna Fernandez, a retired master sergeant from the Air Force, and Gerri Tindley, an Army veteran, said Filner made unwanted advances back when Filner was serving his 10th term as a U.S. congressman in 2012. What's more, they told CNN in an interview, he did so knowing the two women had said they were raped while in the military.
Members of the audience argue before a town hall forum on the health care overhaul hosted by Rep. Jim Moran, D-Va., and former Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean, in Reston, Va., on Aug. 25, 2009.
Credit Bradley C. Bower / AP
Democratic Sen. Arlen Specter listens to a man voice his complaints during a town hall meeting on Aug. 11, 2009, in Lebanon, Pa. Specter was voted out of office the following year and died in 2012.
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish.
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And I'm Melissa Block.
President Obama has canceled a planned summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin. The decision comes not long after Russia announced it was granting temporary asylum to Edward Snowden. He faces charges in the U.S. that he leaked secret documents on government surveillance programs. As NPR's Michele Kelemen reports, today's reversal is just the latest sign that U.S.-Russia relations are not in a good place.
Originally published on Wed August 7, 2013 8:48 am
Tim Oviatt was once a successful businessman. For 32 years, he owned an apparel store in San Francisco called All American Boy.
"If you wore my logo T-shirt, people knew you were gay all over the world," he says.
Now, Oviatt finds himself symbolizing something stark about the gay community. Having lost his business, his longtime partner and finally his home, Oviatt, who is 64, has mostly been sleeping in his car the past nine months.
President Obama is in California, where he'll visit Marines at Camp Pendleton. On Tuesday, he spoke about housing in Phoenix. Among other items, he talked about winding down Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the companies that guarantee most long-term fixed-rate mortgages in the U.S.
Originally published on Wed August 7, 2013 4:10 am
Less than four weeks after Detroit filed for the nation's largest municipal bankruptcy in history, city residents went to the polls Tuesday to narrow down the field of 16 mayoral contenders for the November election. There are also more than 50 hopefuls seeking nine city council seats.
Sit down with the attorney general to ask him about his priorities, as NPR did earlier this year, and he'll talk about voting rights and national security. But if you listen a bit longer, Eric Holder gets to this: "I think there are too many people in jail for too long, and for not necessarily good reasons."
This is the nation's top law enforcement officer calling for a sea change in the criminal justice system. And he's not alone.
"We don't have a domestic spying program," Obama said on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno. "What we do have is some mechanisms that can track a phone number or an email address that is connected to a terrorist attack. ... That information is useful."
In one week, voters in New Jersey go to the polls in a special primary election for a U.S. Senate seat.
No one on the ballot has more name recognition than Cory Booker, the 44-year-old mayor of Newark, who is considered a rising star in the Democratic Party. But Booker's critics say he's been more focused on his own ambitions than on governing New Jersey's largest city.
President Obama was back on the road talking about the economy today. Lately, he's been taking a trip or two a week all over the country with a different focus each time. Today, he was talking about housing in Phoenix, where the 2008 crash was louder and more painful than in most places. The president laid out some new proposals to help the housing industry, and he described some old ones too.
Originally published on Tue August 6, 2013 1:11 pm
"Former President George W. Bush has successfully undergone a heart procedure after doctors discovered a blockage in an artery," The Associated Press writes.
According to the wire service, "Bush spokesman Freddy Ford says a stent was inserted during a procedure Tuesday at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas. The blockage was discovered Monday during Bush's annual physical at the Cooper Clinic in Dallas, where the nation's 43rd president lives."
Originally published on Tue August 6, 2013 9:16 am
If you like your gubernatorial campaigns negative and nasty, then Virginia's race for governor is for you, and will likely remain so until Election Day in November.
How could it not be with such good raw material for attack ads?
The Republican standard-bearer is controversial Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, who has acknowledged receiving vacations and other gifts valued at $18,000 from the same businessman who plied GOP Gov. Robert McDonnell and his family with money and gifts valued at more than $145,000.
Senate Finance Committee Chairman Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., (center) and House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Rep. Dave Camp, R-Mich., (right) speak about overhauling the tax code at the 3M Innovation Center in Maplewood, Minn., on July 8.
Credit Tamara Keith / NPR
Lawmakers meet to discuss an overhaul of the tax code at Kelly's Irish Times on Capitol Hill.
Ask Americans about the most pressing concerns for the nation, and overhauling the tax code probably isn't all that high on the list — that is, unless those Americans happen to be Rep. Dave Camp, R-Mich., and Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., the chairmen of the congressional tax-writing committees.
The two lawmakers are on a mission to simplify the tax code.
When they're out on the road selling that tax overhaul, they don't wear ties and they skip much of the formality of Washington — like last names even. Just call them Max and Dave.
It's not often that a state senator draws the attention of the national news media, but Texas Democrat Wendy Davis did today when she addressed a packed house at the National Press Club here in Washington. Davis, you may remember, lead an 11-hour filibuster earlier this summer against a bill in the Texas legislature that restricted access to abortions. NPR's Brian Naylor explains how that act of defiance has led to speculation about her political future.
Scrutinizing the books of government agencies can turn up lavish parties or illicit trips at the taxpayers' expense. But not every investigation turns out that way. And when they don't, the hunt for waste can appear to be a waste itself.
Such appears to be the case with a recent inquiry involving NASA and Viking re-enactors. This whole saga began with an idea from Ved Chirayath, an aeronautics graduate student at Stanford University who loves photography. He was talking over what to shoot one day with a colleague, and thought of Vikings.
Originally published on Mon August 5, 2013 4:20 pm
All of a sudden, Sen. John McCain matters again.
It's not like he disappeared. But after being sidelined for a time by his 2008 defeat in the presidential election against Barack Obama, the Arizona Republican has re-emerged as one of Obama's most important allies in the Senate.
McCain took the lead in crafting immigration legislation that passed the Senate in June. Last month, he came up with the deal that prevented the Senate from abolishing judicial filibusters, allowing several Obama Cabinet and agency nominees to win confirmation.