Experts and pundits' predictions of the future aren't particularly accurate, according to University of Pennsylvania professor Philip Tetlock. He tells host Rachel Martin that making accurate predictions might be a trainable skill.
It's easy to tune out when the Senate goes through its morning rituals. The president pro tem calls the chamber to order; there's the Pledge of Allegiance. One morning could sound like any other.
Except for the past two weeks. Barry C. Black, the Senate chaplain, has been using his morning prayers to say exactly what he thinks is wrong with Washington lawmakers: "Remove from them that stubborn pride, which imagines itself to be above and beyond criticism."
Speaker of the House John Boehner leaves after discussing the government shutdown with his fellow Republicans on Capitol Hill Saturday. Boehner reportedly told his colleagues that talks with the White House had ended without a deal.
Originally published on Sat October 12, 2013 4:02 pm
President Obama hosted the Senate's leading Democrats at the White House for more than an hour Saturday afternoon, in a session that came the same day that Majority Leader Harry Reid met with Republican Sen. Mitch McConnell.
No details were available about the Democrats' discussion, which is one of several lines of communication that are aimed at reaching consensus on a budget deal. Earlier Saturday, House Speaker John Boehner said negotiations with the White House were over, after the president rejected the GOP's most recent plan.
Tourists stop on the roadside near Mount Rushmore, after their visit was canceled due to the government shutdown. South Dakota and other states have reached an agreement to fund operations to reopen the parks.
Thanks to agreements between the Department of the Interior and several states, a dozen popular national parks are open again, at least temporarily. The parks range from the Statue of Liberty to the Grand Canyon; the states are paying to keep them open for up to 10 days.
State officials say it's particularly important to have the parks open during the Columbus Day holiday weekend. National Park Service employees began opening some facilities Friday; others will reopen today or Monday.
Ahead of an expected — and repeatedly delayed — news conference, an Afghan worker leaves the area where Secretary of State John Kerry and Afghan President Hamid Karzai were expected to speak Saturday in Kabul.
Originally published on Sat October 12, 2013 9:12 am
The U.S. desire to maintain a military presence in Afghanistan is the subject of talks today in Kabul, where Secretary of State John Kerry is in prolonged discussions with President Hamid Karzai. Most of the U.S. troops would continue training Afghan forces, while another contingent works against terrorist groups.
As for how many Americans would be posted to Afghanistan, NPR's Sean Carberry says a precise number hasn't emerged, but he adds that "through conversations and comments by military officials, the range is about 5,000 to 10,000."
Polls show the Republican Party is taking the biggest hit politically for the government shutdown, and leaders are wondering how to appeal to more diverse voters nationwide. But Tea Party leaders are holding the line on the shutdown, and have no interest in muting their message. Host Scott Simon talks with political correspondent Don Gonyea about the strategy crisis for Republicans.
This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. Both the Senate and the House are meeting today for the second Saturday in a row. It's Day 12 of the government shutdown and Republican lawmakers are so far getting much of the blame for the lapse in federal funding that caused the shutdown. But they appear to have dropped their central demand of the budget standoff, a dismantling or delay of the Affordable Care Act. NPR's David Welna reports.
Research season was just getting started when the government shutdown put McMurdo Station into "caretaker" mode, halting data collection. Host Scott Simon speaks to Gretchen Hofmann, a professor at University of California, Santa Barbara, about the government shutdown's impact on research in Antarctica.
Will the bottom fall out of the economy on Oct. 17 if Congress refuses to raise the debt ceiling? New York Times columnist Joe Nocera talks to Weekend Edition Sunday host Scott Simon about what the extended government shutdown and the debt limit could mean for our economy.
The International Monetary Fund and World Bank are holding their annual meeting this week. That means top finance officials and economists from all over the world are in Washington, D.C., during a display of brinksmanship from members of Congress.
The shutdown of the U.S. government has sparked lots of finger-pointing and name calling in Congress. But our friend A.J. Jacobs says this is hardly the nastiest dispute in the history of our democracy. A.J., an editor-at-large at Esquire Magazine - until they come to their senses - joins us now from New York. A.J., thanks so much for being with us.
Originally published on Sat October 12, 2013 6:05 am
SCOTT SIMON, HOST:
The government shutdown is now entering its second week. That's left many lawmakers with little to do and many tourists in Washington, D.C. wandering wanly through the streets of the city, wondering how to spend their pre-planned vacations. NPR's Alan Yu checks in with some of them.
The annual meetings of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank began Thursday in Washington amid a partial government shutdown. Many delegates are concerned that the U.S. budget impasse may threaten global economic stability.
Originally published on Sat October 12, 2013 9:19 am
When you invite guests over, you probably straighten up the house to make a good impression.
This week, the nation's capital is welcoming guests from all over the world. Thousands of finance ministers, central bankers, scholars and industry leaders are in Washington, D.C., for the annual meetings of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank.
With the government shutdown now in its 11th day, polls show that voters think Republicans bear the biggest share of the blame.
Nowhere is this more apparent than in Virginia — a state that's home to some 172,000 federal civilian workers and where federal spending is a big part of the economy. In the race to be Virginia's next governor, GOP candidate Ken Cuccinelli is falling in the polls.
Both sides have gone to great lengths to make one thing clear, while they're talking, they're not yet compromising. That's because many lawmakers don't want to. For House members backed by the Tea Party who come from strongly Republican districts support is high for taking a hard line.
NPR's Don Gonyea visited one district this week. It's in the northwest corner of Georgia, and it's home to Congressman Tom Graves. He was elected in 2010 and has helped lead the movement to defund the health care law.
The government is still shut down. And the debt ceiling still needs to be raised or the country may not be able to pay all of its bills after next week. And how either of those issues is resolved remains unclear. But as NPR congressional correspondent Tamara Keith reports, there has been some movement.
The government shutdown means that more than 9,000 children have been shut out of Head Start, which provides meals and preschool programs for low-income children. Last week, we heard from a regional director for Head Start in Alabama, Dora Jones. She told us she had to close programs serving 770 children in six counties.
David Dinkins served as New York City's first African-American mayor. But his rise through the political ranks came with hard-learned lessons. Host Michel Martin speaks with former Mayor Dinkins about his book, A Mayor's Life: Governing New York's Gorgeous Mosaic. This segment initially aired September 2, 2013 on Tell Me More.
Originally published on Fri October 11, 2013 1:19 pm
The partial government shutdown was part of the buzz this week at an international gathering of mayors, city planners and urban experts in New York City.
Passing mentions of the U.S. government during several seminars at the CityLab conference sent knowing chuckles rolling through the audience. As in: "Those guys? They're closed for business! At least we're still on the job."
Originally published on Fri October 11, 2013 12:25 pm
Most Americans say they aren't directly affected by the shutdown. But some pockets of society, beyond furloughed federal workers and their families, are being severely hit.
We used NPR's social media network to ask about the impact and were deluged by messages from people who are worried and scared, especially veterans and the disabled, and many others who are angry and frustrated.
Originally published on Fri October 11, 2013 7:05 am
Happy Friday, fellow political junkies. It's the 11th day of the partial federal government shutdown, 2013 edition.
President Obama and House Republicans at least opened a line of communications before the second week of the shutdown ended, so that was good news.
Less positive was that it came only a week before the Oct. 17 expiration date Treasury Secretary Jack Lew gave for when he would run out of tricks to keep the U.S. government from defaulting on its obligations.
It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. Good morning. I'm Renee Montagne.
STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:
And I'm Steve Inskeep.
One sign of potential progress in Washington is what President Obama and House Republicans did not say. After meeting last night at the White House, the two sides issued polite and diplomatic statements stripped of partisan rhetoric. They have not agreed to extend the federal debt ceiling or reopen the government, but they suggested they're working on it. Their meeting came at the end of an eventful day.
There's been a lot of speculation about whether John Boehner could lose his job as speaker of the House if he doesn't placate the Republican's vocal Tea Party faction. So far there's been no attempt to oust Boehner.
And as NPR's Ailsa Chang reports, it would actually be quite hard to kick him out of the job in the middle of a congressional term.
Originally published on Fri October 11, 2013 7:49 am
Steve Stevens wants politicians in Washington to know that the budget stalemate is having real consequences back home.
"There comes a point where they've got to know about the pain in their district," says Stevens, who is president of the Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce. "We've got to put a real face on it."
That kind of argument isn't having much effect, at least not in his own backyard. The local congressman, Rep. Thomas Massie, is a freshman Republican who has remained an adamant supporter of his party's shutdown strategy.
A possible deal is brewing between the White House and the GOP House leadership, but it's unclear if Congressional Democrats will go along with it. To find out, Robert Siegel talks to Maryland Rep. Chris Van Hollen, the top Democrat on the House Budget Committee, to hear how the proposal to extend the debt ceiling deadline into late November is being received by his fellow party members.