President Obama today is scheduled to announce a sweeping plan to address climate change. The president has framed the issue as a moral responsibility, to leave the Earth in good shape for generations. Certainly though, the nitty-gritty of any serious plan to address climate change is a huge challenge because it means gradually moving away from fossil fuels to renewable energy supplies. That will involve economic winners and losers.
Joining us to talk about the plan's specifics is NPR's Richard Harris. Good morning.
Both candidates for U.S. Senate in Massachusetts are finishing a frantic day of campaigning ahead of Tuesday's special election to fill the seat vacated by Secretary of State John Kerry.
Veteran Democratic Rep. Ed Markey is running against Republican businessman Gabriel Gomez. But they are struggling to get voters to the polls in a summer election that has yet to capture much attention.
"Common Core" is one of the biggest phrases in education today. To many educators and policymakers, it's a big, exciting idea that will ensure that America's students have the tools to succeed after graduation.
But a growing number of conservatives see things differently.
For years, states used their own, state-specific standards to lay out what K-12 students should be learning, for everything from punctuation to algebra. But those standards varied wildly, so the Common Core replaces them with one set of national standards for math and English language arts.
And now to an issue that lawmakers are not spending a lot of time debating: climate change. Tomorrow, President Obama will lay out a strategy to address the problem, using executive powers. It's an admission that's sweeping climate legislation stands little chance of passing Congress as NPR's Jennifer Ludden reports.
JENNIFER LUDDEN, BYLINE: Aides say Mr. Obama's plan includes limiting carbon dioxide emissions from power plants. The reaction from House Speaker John Boehner was blunt.
That "be on the lookout list" used to flag Tea Party groups for extra scrutiny of their tax-exemption applications?
It turns out it wasn't the only one the Internal Revenue Service had been using.
There were also other lists, covering a "broad spectrum" of categories and cases, according to a preliminary IRS report released Monday.
"Once we came to that conclusion, we took immediate action to suspend the use of these lists in the Exempt Organizations unit within IRS," said Danny Werfel, the new acting chief of the IRS, in a conference call with reporters.
The U.S. Supreme Court sent a case involving the use of race in the University of Texas' admissions process back to a lower court for stricter scrutiny on Monday. It's one more chapter in the university's long struggle with how it chooses who gets in.
It's no great secret that Republicans are behind in applying digital technology to politics. They admitted as much after the last presidential election. And in an effort to catch up, over the weekend, political conservatives staged an event called the Liberty Hackathon in San Francisco. The sponsor of the app building competition was the Charles Koch Institute, named for its benefactor the billionaire backer of the Tea Party Movement.
NPR's Nathan Rott went to the event and sent us this report.
Vice President Joe Biden and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid insist that gun control legislation is not dead — they say they're strategizing on how to bring the issue back to the Senate floor.
Even if it does return, one proposal unlikely to survive is an assault weapons ban. Military-style assault rifles now form a nearly $1 billion industry supported by gun owners who spend thousands of dollars collecting these firearms.
The Supreme Court is expected to rule this week on a case that may shake up race-conscious admissions in higher education. The justices could change the shape of affirmative action or even strike it down altogether.
California is one of eight states that have already scrapped affirmative action. That means state schools can no longer consider the race of its applicants. At the University of California, Los Angeles, the change has been messy, ambiguous — and sometimes a little ugly.
Immigrant advocates use an image of New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez on a mock state driver's license during a 2012 rally in Santa Fe, N.M., to protest her proposal to repeal a state law that allows undocumented immigrants to obtain driver's licenses.
Originally published on Sun June 23, 2013 11:01 am
The national debate over immigration may be churning on in Washington, D.C., but there's one policy a growing number of states can agree on: driver's licenses for undocumented immigrants.
Vermont, Connecticut and Colorado passed new laws this month allowing drivers without Social Security numbers to receive licenses or authorization cards. They join Nevada, Maryland and Oregon, whose governors signed similar laws in May. Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn started the trend this year when he signed Senate Bill 957 in January.
Working its way through the Ohio Legislature is a state budget bill that has major implications for the way family-planning services are provided. The Ohio budget contains language that puts family-planning clinics at the bottom of the list to receive funding.
Family Planning Association of Northeast Ohio operates several independent family-planning clinics. They do not provide abortions and have no affiliation with Planned Parenthood, but the clinics are still at the end of the line under a new tiered system because they give referrals.
This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News, I'm Scott Simon. The U.S. Congress continues its hearings into the IRS flagging of Tea Party groups that apply for tax-exempt status. What may have been overlooked is the fact that this status would have offered little practical benefit to most of the groups that were targeted.
Joining us now to help explain all this is NPR's S.V. Date who coordinates campaign finance coverage for NPR. Shirish, thanks very much for being with us.
President Obama meets with speechwriter Jon Favreau in the Oval Office in 2009.
Credit Charles Dharapak / AP
President Obama presents outgoing press secretary Robert Gibbs with a framed necktie in the White House briefing room on Feb. 11, 2011. Obama had borrowed the tie from Gibbs to wear for his keynote speech at the 2004 Democratic National Convention.
Credit Carolyn Kaster / AP
President Obama walks through his Hyde Park neighborhood in Chicago with senior adviser Valerie Jarrett in 2012.
Credit Mark Wilson / Getty Images
President Obama shakes hands with Jacob Lew after nominating him for Treasury secretary in January.
Between his trip to Europe last week and his travels to Africa next week, President Obama is doing a lot of gift exchanges with foreign leaders.
In the past, he has gotten mixed reviews. Four years ago, he was panned for giving the queen of England an iPod. Other presents have gone over better. But the president does not personally select these gifts — a staffer does.
Sen. Marco Rubio has a problem. He has transformed from conservative hero to suspect in the eyes of many on the political right because he now supports "a path to citizenship" for people unlawfully in the U.S. after forcefully opposing it in 2010 when he was running for U.S. Senate.
From NPR News this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel.
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And I'm Melissa Block. Seven months ago many voters waited in long lines to cast ballots in the presidential election. Well, today a presidential commission charged with fixing the problem was finally up and running. As NPR's Pam Fessler reports, the panel's looking for answers to questions that have challenged election officials for a long time.
Republicans and Democrats are looking at this year's race for governor in Virginia as a possible harbinger of the 2014 election. The contest pits Republican Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli against Democratic Party fundraiser Terry McAuliffe. Both candidates are strongly supported by their respective bases, but sport strong negatives among moderate voters. The outcome could come down to turnout.
This is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. I'm Celeste Headlee. Michel Martin is away. Coming up, you've heard about gay marriage and affirmative reaction cases before the Supreme Court, but we'll talk about another important case that isn't getting a lot of attention in just a few minutes. But first, over the past few decades, obesity has become a serious health care issue in the United States. The obesity rate was 13 percent in 1962, it now stands at 34 percent of adults and 17 percent of children.
Now we turn to the Supreme Court. The country is waiting on several rulings, important cases dealing with affirmative action, voting rights, and same-sex marriage. But there are other pending cases with lower profiles that still carry really profound implications for the country.
I'm Celeste Headlee and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. Michelle Martin is away today. And it's time, yet again, for our weekly visit to the barbershop. The guys are going to talk about what's in the news, what's on their minds.
Sitting in the chairs for a shape-up this week - writer and culture critic Jimi Izrael, contributing editor for The Root, Corey Dade. Arsalan Iftikhar - he's senior editor of the Islamic Monthly and founder of TheMuslimGuy.com. They're all here in D.C. with me. How're you guys doing?
The Food and Drug Administration Thursday evening approved over-the-counter sale, with no age restrictions, of Plan B One-Step. That's the morning-after pill whose status has been the subject of a dozen years of political wrangling and legal dispute.
NPR's Ron Elving and Ken Rudin weigh in on President Obama leaving controversies like the IRS and the NSA behind as he attended the G-8 summit in Europe. Back in Washington, the House OKs a far-reaching 20-week abortion ban bill. And former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (R) raises eyebrows saying immigrants are "more fertile" than U.S.-born citizens.
Originally published on Fri June 21, 2013 11:00 am
The death penalty has become a bit like the Cheshire cat in Alice in Wonderland. It may never fade away entirely, but capital punishment is certainly less visible or actively pursued than it used to be.
In May, Maryland became the sixth state in as many years to abolish the death penalty. Across the nation as a whole, fewer criminals are being put to death. Last year, 43 were executed, down significantly from the peak of 98 back in 1999.
The chances of an immigration overhaul bill getting through the Senate greatly improved on Thursday. A deal was reached on a border security plan. Steve Inskeep talks about the deal with two of the senators in the so-called "Gang of Eight," who are working on a bipartisan approach to immigration, Arizona Republican Jeff Flake and Illinois Democrat Richard Durbin.
Members of the House on Thursday rejected the measure, studded with Republican priorities. In the past, the farm bill has been a model of bipartisan support. But defections in both parties spelled the bill's doom.
This weekend marks 100 days until people can begin signing up for new health insurance coverage under the federal health care law. It also marks another milestone: the launch of an enormous public relations effort to find people eligible for new coverage and urge them to sign up when the time comes.
But like everything else about the health law, even this seemingly innocuous effort has been touched by controversy.
Comey, a registered Republican and longtime federal prosecutor, is best-known for raising alarms inside the Bush White House about a secret electronic surveillance program. That issue has taken on new resonance after disclosures about the Obama administration's dragnet collection of American phone records.
Gracie Shannon-Sanborn, 5, holds a sign as she joins her father Allen Sanborn (L) and members of Progressive Democrats of America at a rally in front of Rep. Henry Waxman's office on June 17, 2013 in Los Angeles, Calif. The protestors asked the congressman to vote against a House farm bill, which was defeated Thursday.
Originally published on Fri June 21, 2013 12:16 pm
The so-called farm bill came to the floor of the House of Representatives Thursday. And it crashed. The defeat shocked many observers, but the vote wasn't even particularly close: 234-195. (You can see how your own representative voted here.)
The White House is planning a major new push on climate change. The initiative may include rules to limit emissions from existing power plants. That's a controversial move that environmentalists wanted for a long time. For more, NPR's Ari Shapiro joins us from the White House. And Ari, up until now, where has climate change been on the president's list of priorities, would you say?