From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel.
MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:
And I'm Melissa Block. Americans are utterly fed up with Washington. That's the takeaway from the latest round of public opinion polls. Approval ratings for just about every leader and political institution from the president to Congress are now at record lows. NPR's national political correspondent Mara Liasson reports on why and what the consequences might be.
Education Secretary Arne Duncan is in some hot water over remarks he made last week suggesting that opposition to Common Core of Standards was coming from "white suburban moms." He has since pulled back from those remarks.
This week, millions of Americans in the private insurance market are scratching their heads, trying to figure out where they stand. Last week, President Obama reversed course and said insurance companies could continue to sell policies that don't comply with the Affordable Care Act for another year.
NPR's John Ydstie talked to several people whose policies were cancelled, but now could be re-instated.
At least one group of people has not lost faith with President Obama: wealthy Democratic donors.
Before the 2008 and 2012 presidential elections, Obama was a political rock star, and he shared the stage at fundraisers with more than a few actual rock stars. Thousands of people cheered on Bruce Springsteen, Beyonce and even Katy Perry.
Today, Obama's fundraising events are exclusively quiet affairs, and everyone in attendance writes very large checks to have dinner with the president.
Originally published on Tue November 19, 2013 3:20 pm
The U.S. tax code is messy, complicated and full of loopholes. And if you're searching for the most incomprehensible, technically dense part of that code, international tax law would be a good place to start.
Originally published on Wed November 20, 2013 9:41 am
The "G" in Crossroads GPS stands for "grassroots," but the politically oriented nonprofit received more than 80 percent of its money last year in donations of $1 million or more — including a single gift of $22.5 million.
An NPR review of its latest filing with the IRS shows that 99.8 percent of its $179 million came from donations of $5,000 and above. And because the group operates as a 501(c)(4) "social welfare" organization, the identities of all its donors remain a secret from the public.
Originally published on Tue November 19, 2013 2:38 pm
The conservative-driven movement to expand voter restrictions in the name of reducing polling booth fraud has often been described as a solution in search of a problem.
Despite evidence suggesting voter fraud is rare, it's a crusade that has proved so durable in GOP-dominated states like Arizona and Kansas that its leading proponents are undeterred — even by the U.S. Supreme Court.
Get a high court decision that bars you from requiring residents to produce documentary proof of citizenship like a passport or birth certificate when registering to vote?
Creigh Deeds, a Democratic state senator in Virginia who was his party's 2009 gubernatorial nominee, "is in critical condition at the University of Virginia Medical Center after he was stabbed in his home Tuesday morning," Richmond's WRIC-TV reports.
Okay. We all know about the partisan divide in this country - Democrats, Republicans - but there's another political divide. Part of the country is very engaged in the political process and part is not.
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Older Americans, richer Americans and better educated Americans are more likely to be politically engaged. Now researchers have found one more factor that seems to shape political engagement, the length of your commute. It comes to our attention as MORNING EDITION focuses on commuting.
The cyber-currency was at the center of a Senate panel hearing Monday. Senators are looking into the way Bitcoin was used by the illegal drug marketplace that called itself Silk Road. But even with the scrutiny, Bitcoin investors drove the virtual currency to record highs.
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker is one of 25 Republican governors who are rejecting the health law's expansion of Medicaid. But Wisconsin's own Medicaid program, known as BadgerCare, is more generous than that of many states, and now Walker wants to transfer many people out of BadgerCare and into the insurance marketplace created by the Affordable Care Act.
The digital currency Bitcoin is becoming more prevalent, both for benign purchases and as a way for criminals to conduct illicit transactions. Bitcoins have been used on underground websites to facilitate sales of narcotics and child pornography. But even those most concerned about criminal activity agree that the emerging digital currency has arrived and can have beneficial uses.
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel.
MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:
And I'm Melissa Block. The debate over same-sex marriage is at a furious boil right now inside one famous political family. Liz and Mary Cheney, the daughters of former Vice President Dick Cheney, find themselves on opposite sides of the issue. Mary is gay and married. Liz, her older sister, is running for Senate in Wyoming and she has said she opposes same-sex marriage.
She was asked about that yesterday on Fox News Sunday.
This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Melissa Block.
ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:
And I'm Robert Siegel. This could be a big week for diplomacy with Iran. The U.S. and other world powers are sending diplomats back to Geneva. They're hoping to persuade Iran to roll back some of its nuclear program, in exchange for limited sanctions relief. One key U.S. ally is not happy about that. Israel calls it a bad deal, and is urging the U.S. to stand tough.
Originally published on Mon November 18, 2013 12:55 pm
A family feud between Liz and Mary Cheney, the daughters of former Vice President Dick Cheney, played out in awkward fashion Sunday.
Liz Cheney, who is running for Wyoming's U.S. Senate seat, sparked the dispute on Fox News Sunday, saying she "believe[s] in the traditional definition of marriage" even though her sister, Mary, a lesbian, is married to a woman.
"I love Mary very much. I love her family very much. This is just an issue on which we disagree," Cheney told host Chris Wallace.
Originally published on Mon November 18, 2013 7:15 am
Good morning, fellow political junkies.
This week contains major anniversaries of events that involved the first and last presidents killed in office, a tragic link captured in a famous newspaper editorial cartoon. Friday is the 50th anniversary of President John F. Kennedy's assassination, Tuesday is the 150th anniversary of President Abraham Lincoln's Gettysburg Address.
Several states are trying to do something about so-called hyperpartisanship by changing the way congressional districts are drawn and the way elections are held.
Their goal: force members of Congress to pay more attention to general election voters than to their base voters on the right or left.
John Fortier, the director of the Democracy Project at the Bipartisan Policy Center, which is working on ways to make politics less dysfunctional, says U.S. political parties have become more polarized.
The White House has been fighting to prevent the disastrous rollout of the health care law from defining President Obama's second term. While that struggle continues, another story is unfolding this week that could shape this president's legacy.
Diplomats from the U.S. and other countries are going to meet for a second round of negotiations on Iran's nuclear program, and a breakthrough there could shape history's view of Obama.
Originally published on Mon November 18, 2013 2:20 pm
When you think of Oregon and food, you probably think organic chicken, kale chips and other signs of a strong local food movement. What probably doesn't come to mind? Food stamps.
And yet, 21 percent of Oregon's population – that's one out of every five residents – relies on food stamps to get by. And like many people across the country, these Oregon families who have come to rely on federal food assistance program for meals are learning to make do with less as of this month.
The image of Walter Cronkite taking off his glasses as he announced President John F. Kennedy's death on Nov. 22, 1963, is one that seems seared into our collective memory — even for those of us who weren't around to see it live.
Nearly 40 years later, Cronkite revisited that moment and the rest of that unsettling day in a piece that aired on All Things Considered on Nov. 22, 2002.
Originally published on Sun November 17, 2013 10:57 am
Texas wasn't exactly a backwater in 1963 when President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas, but it wasn't the economic and political powerhouse that it has become today.
Over the past 50 years, three of the nation's presidents have hailed from Texas.
"For the past few decades, Texas politicians have found a natural habitat on the national political stage in the way Dominican shortstops have found a natural habitat in baseball," the humorist Calvin Trillin wrote a couple of years ago.
Not all the action surrounding the health law took place on Capitol Hill this week. Yesterday's vote was just the last of several significant events in the ever-evolving saga that is the Affordable Care Act. NPR's Julie Rovner covers health policy, which these days means pretty much covering the federal health law full time. She joins us in the studio now. Hi, Julie.
This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. Scott Simon is away. I'm Don Gonyea. The Affordable Care Act dominated political headlines again this week. Yesterday, the House passed a Republican bill that would allow insurance companies to renew individual health insurance policies even if the coverage does not provide all the benefits required by the new health care law.
The email landed in my inbox at 7:01 Tuesday morning.
The subject line read, "NBC News Poll: Christie Trails Clinton In Hypothetical 2016 Match-Up, Faces Divided GOP."
My reaction when I got this breaking news with my first cup of coffee? A big, nonverbal, heavy sigh.
The headline correctly states that this is a "hypothetical" matchup. Oh, and if you are fan of New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie — not to worry. A different poll came out this week as well. That one has him leading Hillary Clinton 43-42. Within the margin of error, of course.
The Environmental Protection Agency today proposed to scale back the amount of renewable fuels in our nation's gasoline supply, biofuels like ethanol made from corn. The EPA is responding, in part, to oil companies that say they're already taking as much ethanol as they can. They say any more and it will hurt quality. But there's another reason for the EPA's action. As NPR's Elizabeth Shogren reports, cheap biofuels haven't been developed as quickly as hoped.