Originally published on Mon August 26, 2013 4:25 pm
The present Syrian crisis ranks among the most vexing moments of President Obama's presidency.
The recent heart-rending images of Syrian civilians, many of them young children apparently killed by chemical weapons used by the government of Bashar Assad, have raised the volume on calls for the president to act.
But while there's a clarity to the outrage itself, for Obama things quickly get murky.
Fifty years ago this week, when hundreds of thousands of demonstrators came from across the country to take part in the 1963 March on Washington, the city was not yet the cosmopolitan capital that it arguably is today.
But it was a mecca for African-Americans, says historian Marya McQuirter.
"Washington was definitely a different city 50 years ago," she says, "for a number of reasons. By 1957, it had become the largest majority black city in the country."
"I didn't do this to do any hating on anyone. I did this to be funny. I did it to be a joke," says Tuffy Gessling, the rodeo clown behind a skit at the Missouri State Fair earlier this month that sparked outrage when a masked "President Obama" was chased by a bull that Gessling said was "gonna getcha, getcha, getcha, getcha!"
The nation is marking the 50th anniversary of the historic March on Washington this week. Tens of thousands traced the path of civil rights leaders and foot soldiers in the nation's capital this weekend. On Wednesday, President Obama will speak from the Lincoln Memorial, just as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and other speakers did back in 1963. Tell Me More reflects on the role political activism played and is continuing to play in the civil rights movement.
If you're looking for the most interesting gubernatorial races to watch in the coming year, the nation's biggest states are a good place to start.
Democrats Jerry Brown and Andrew Cuomo look like safe bets for re-election in California and New York, respectively. And, despite the pending retirement of Rick Perry, Republicans are confident of maintaining their hold on the governor's mansion in Texas.
Originally published on Sat August 24, 2013 1:13 pm
(This post last updated at 2:20 p.m. ET)
Tens of thousands of people assembled on the National Mall to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.'s 1963 March on Washington, best known as the venue for the iconic "I Have a Dream" speech that helped galvanize the civil rights movement.
Organizers, including the Rev. Al Sharpton and King's son, Martin Luther King III, had hoped to attract 100,000 people to attend Saturday's events leading up the official Aug. 28 anniversary.
Last month, Kentucky Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes declared she'll run against minority leader, Mitch McConnell for the U.S. Senate.
ALISON LUNDERGAN GRIMES: ...Kentucky by running for the U.S. Senate.
SIMON: Her candidacy had been rumored for months. The obvious Web domain name, Grimesforsenate.com, had already been purchased. But not by the Grimes' campaign. By a man who's a kind of political hobbyist.
These days, the Federal Public Defender's Office in Tucson, Ariz., has lots of space. Since the federal budget cuts known as sequestration began, the office has lost a quarter of its staff to layoffs or furloughs.
Under the Constitution, clients still need legal representation, so judges have to appoint private attorneys to replace the public defenders.
The sequester was supposed to save money. But in this case, the sequester is costing federal dollars.
Are we seeing the beginning of a trend from the occupant of the Oval Office — a President Obama unbound?
That's the question after Obama cast aside his usual caution while speaking at a town hall-style meeting in Binghamton, N.Y., on Friday. Asked about his proposals for attacking soaring higher education costs, Obama said:
This is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. I'm Celeste Headlee, Michel Martin is away. Coming up, for some music fans, Robin Thicke's megahit "Blurred Lines" sounds distinctly familiar, kind of like an old Marvin Gaye song. The Barbershop guys step to the mic with their verdict. That's ahead. But first, the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington has given the nation an opportunity to reflect on the legacy of Martin Luther King and the movement that he helped to shape.
This is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. I'm Celeste Headlee. Michel Martin is away. Many thousands of people are expected to attend a commemoration of the March on Washington this weekend. It's the 50th anniversary of the iconic moment in civil rights history when Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his "I Have a Dream" speech from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. Coming up, we'll talk to one writer who explains how Asian-Americans have benefited from the struggle for civil rights of African-Americans.
The daily lowdown on books, publishing, and the occasional author behaving badly.
N.B. — Book News is going on vacation next week. Your faithful correspondent will be in California sans laptop and praying that Jonathan Franzen doesn't choose this week to reignite any feuds with daytime talk show hosts. In the meantime, as always, leave your hot tips, scurrilous attacks and existential questions in the comments section or direct them to @annalisa_quinn on Twitter.
This is MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Renee Montagne.
DAVID GREENE, HOST:
And I'm David Greene. Good morning. President Obama is on a two-day back-to-school bus tour. He's holding a town hall meeting today at the State University in Binghamton, New York. Later he'll visit a community college in Scranton, Pennsylvania. The president is pushing his plan to make college education more affordable. NPR's Scott Horsley is along for the ride. He reports that the bus tour has the president in one of his comfort zones.
Despite promises by President Obama that people can keep the insurance they have once Obamacare is in full effect, millions will have to upgrade their policies to meet the benefit standards laid out by the Affordable Care Act. The measure will be in full swing this January.
Originally published on Thu August 22, 2013 4:47 pm
The big idea in President Obama's new proposal for tackling the growing crisis in college affordability can be boiled down to this: linking federal higher education aid to a new grading system that would rate colleges and universities on the "value" they provide students.
President Obama was in Buffalo, N.Y., today, talking up the college affordability program at the SUNY campus there and urging Congress to do more to support higher education. The president also has a political agenda as he drives from town to town. NPR's Scott Horsley is with the president and joins us now.
Originally published on Thu August 22, 2013 1:50 pm
Update at 3:40 p.m. ET. 'Tentative Agreement':
The law firm that has helped San Diego Mayor Bob Filner navigate the accusations of sexual harassment, says he and representatives of the city have "reached a tentative agreement," but declined to elaborate:
In New York, the city council is poised to vote today on some of the toughest police oversight laws in decades. The vote comes just weeks after a judge ruled that the NYPD violated the civil rights of minorities with its practice of stopping mostly young men of color on the streets.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg is appealing the judge's ruling and refusing to back down on a policing program he has championed. NPR's Joel Rose reports.
President Obama is seen on a video camera as he delivers a speech in Youngstown, Ohio, in 2010. In addition to footage of official events, the White House now has thousands of hours of behind-the-scenes video that it will archive.
Credit Jeff Swensen / Getty Images
White House videographer Arun Chaudhary stands in front of Air Force One in 2010.
There are alarming reports from Syria this morning of a chemical weapons attack near the capital. Syrian opposition activists say government forces have killed hundreds of people in air raids and shelling on rebel neighborhoods close to Damascus and a sizeable number of people, they claim, have died from poison gas. Those claims have not been confirmed and the Syrian government has strongly denied the accusations.
The federal government has awarded about $67 million in grants to groups around the country that will help people shop for health coverage. But Florida Gov. Rick Scott says the guidelines for these so-called navigators are inadequate.