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.
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.
Originally published on Tue August 20, 2013 3:54 pm
If Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) really wanted to put some positive spin on his birth in Canada, he could point out that none of the first seven presidents were born in the United States either.
Of course, that was because the U.S. didn't exist when presidents from George Washington through Andrew Jackson were born. They were all technically British subjects at birth. Martin Van Buren, born in 1782 in Kinderhook, N.Y., was the first president actually born in the U.S.
On this side of the Atlantic, the debate over the Snowden leaks and the NSA data sweeps have revealed renewed civil liberties concerns and criticism of the Patriot Act. A key provision of the act known as Section 215 allows investigators to seek business records or, quote, "any tangible things as long as they are relevant to a counter terror investigation." It's a mile-wide definition and the legal foundation that the Obama administration has used to justify its mass collection of Americans' phone logs.
Originally published on Tue August 20, 2013 10:34 am
President Obama, back from his vacation, is scheduled to address the college affordability crisis in a campaign-style bus tour that will take him to New York and Pennsylvania.
The tour, which takes place Thursday and Friday, is part of the president's overarching effort to highlight his agenda for middle-class Americans and to raise pressure on congressional Republicans to act on his second-term priorities.
Originally published on Tue August 20, 2013 3:39 am
The Heritage Foundation and its political activist arm Heritage Action are turning to the town hall format to try to stop the health care law. Foundation president and former GOP senator Jim DeMint was in Fayetteville, Arkansas, Monday night as part of a nine-city defund Obamacare tour.
Originally published on Tue August 20, 2013 6:41 am
Republican Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas has been mentioned as a possible presidential candidate in the 2016 election. But to run for president, the U.S. Constitution says a candidate must be a "natural born" U.S. citizen; it doesn't mention dual citizenship.
As the school year begins, districts in cities such as Oakland, Fresno and Los Angeles have not gone on a hiring spree.
But they might soon.
California has revamped its school funding formula in ways that will send billions more dollars to districts that educate large numbers of children who are poor, disabled in some way or still learning to speak English.
It's an approach that numerous other states, from New York to Hawaii, have looked into lately. But none has matched the scale of the change now underway in the nation's largest state.
"There is no question that there is a civil war that is waging within the party."
That Republican conflict, political science professor David Cohen adds, isn't between just two sides, but among a number of factions, including libertarians.
One of the most public battles has involved national security and civil liberties. Leaks about the National Security Agency's surveillance programs raised alarms for libertarians about the government's reach.
They talked about the Hillary Clinton documentary and miniseries. They talked about how well they're doing raising money. They talked about how they're building a state-of-the-art data mining and voter turnout operation.
Here's what the Republican National Committee members didn't talk about at their summer meeting, but, rather, talked around: their existential need to broaden their base of support, and how so far their traditional base is not exactly embracing the idea.
This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. The Republican National Committee held its summer meeting this week in Boston. The party's hoping to lay groundwork to try to turn things around by the next presidential election, exploring everything from better software to track voters to changing their nominating process. Yet they're also wrestling with a more fundamental problem - finding new voters to identify with the party.
Immigrant and farm worker rights groups came from Los Angeles to Bakersfield, Calif., by the busload this week. Bakersfield, in the state's Central Valley, is farm country, and immigration is a complex issue here.
The groups were converging on the home of the third-most powerful Republican in the House, Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy.
Activists across the country are targeting a number of Republican members of Congress this summer, trying to pressure the House to take up the immigration reform bill passed in the Senate.
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie agreed to ease restrictions on medical marijuana for chronically ill children, but he won't go as far as lawmakers would like.
NPR's Joel Rose reports that Christie, a Republican, has rejected part of a bill that would allow young patients access to an ingestible form of marijuana at state-approved dispensaries without the approval of a psychiatrist and pediatrician.
His partial veto sends the bill back to the Democratic-controlled Legislature for approval before it becomes law.
Originally published on Fri August 16, 2013 12:24 pm
Following through on an earlier warning, the Republican National Committee on Friday "unanimously passed a resolution preventing the committee from partnering with CNN and NBC for debates if they don't drop their Hillary Clinton productions ahead of the 2016 presidential election."
"CNN and NBC have shown clear favoritism, and they won't be hosting a single Republican primary debate," said RNC Chairman Reince Priebus.
Sikhs have a long history of fighting in wars. But in the US, their turbans and beards often prevent them from being able to join the military. Guest host Celeste Headlee speaks with Major Kamaljit Kalsi who's hoping to change that.
Congress has gone home for its annual August recess, so Tell Me More takes a look at headlines in places across the country. Guest host Celeste Headlee talks with Mike Leary from the San Antonio Express-News and Dana Coffield of The Denver Post.
Originally published on Fri August 16, 2013 5:36 am
Remember back when President Bill Clinton argued that his truthfulness about his affair with intern Monica Lewinsky depended on the meaning of the word "is"?
Though the topic may be decidedly less salacious, the Republican Party is embroiled in its own semantics gymnastics this week as its national committee members gather in Boston for their summer meeting.