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Teacher Strike In Chicago Becomes Political

Sep 10, 2012

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AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Audie Cornish.

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

And I'm Melissa Block.

In Chicago today, teachers walked picket lines at more than 600 schools. It's the city's first teacher strike in 25 years. Over the weekend, negotiators failed to reach agreement on a contract. They're back at the bargaining table today in hopes of sending 350,000 students back to school before the public's patience wears thin.

From member station WBEZ in Chicago, Becky Vevea has the story.

Eight weeks before the presidential election, new laws passed by Republican legislatures that concern who can vote and when remain in the hands of federal and state judges.

Among the cases: The Pennsylvania Supreme Court this week will hear an appeal to overturn that state's new voter ID law. An appeal is expected in a case involving early voting in Ohio. And a federal court is still considering whether South Carolina can go ahead with its new voter ID law.

It's ScuttleButton Time!

Sep 10, 2012

They may have shut down Stephen Strasburg, but they'll never shut down ScuttleButton.

ScuttleButton, of course, is that once-a-week waste of time exercise in which each Monday or Tuesday I put up a vertical display of buttons on this site. Your job is to simply take one word (or concept) per button, add 'em up, and, hopefully, you will arrive at a famous name or a familiar expression. (And seriously, by familiar, I mean it's something that more than one person on Earth would recognize.)

Former Aides Talk Strategy For Homestretch

Sep 10, 2012

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MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

I'm Michel Martin, and this is TELL ME MORE, from NPR News. Coming up: The designers are sending their creations down the runway at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week in New York City. And just in case your invitations to some of those big-name shows got lost in the mail, we will bring the runway to you. We'll talk with a reporter who's in the mix to tell us what's hot and what's not. That's later in the program.

The Democrats were no sooner out of Charlotte when the bad economic news came.

A more disappointing job report than had been forecast. Economic numbers weaker than expected. Just 96,000 jobs were created in August, far fewer than what economists were anticipating. And even a lower unemployment rate — down to 8.1 percent from 8.3 — was explained as that more people had simply stopped looking for work. The hope of four years ago is quickly becoming a fading memory, especially for those whose lives have not seen the change Barack Obama once promised.

Foreign policy has not been a major focus of this election campaign, but whoever wins in November will have a messy inbox when it comes to the delicate tangle of issues in the Middle East.

For decades, the U.S. relied on authoritarian regimes to provide stability in the region. Now, it must deal with a new government in Egypt, an intensifying conflict in Syria, nervous allies in the Persian Gulf — and a major decision about Iran.

There's a new stimulus plan underway in America: $5.8 billion is being injected into the U.S. economy, particularly in states like Ohio, Virginia, Colorado and Florida.

We're talking of course about campaign spending, and this year's elections will be the most expensive in history. In fact, by the time we all head to the voting booth on Election Day, nearly $6 billion will have been spent on campaigns — big and small — all across America.

Parsing The 2012 Party Platforms

Sep 9, 2012

One overlooked part of the convention frenzy was the party platforms. They seemed to cause more embarrassment than excitement at the DNC, where party leaders fumbled at reinserting clauses about Jerusalem and God into their platform. And at the RNC, Rep. John Boehner admitted he'd never even read his party's platform. NPR senior Washington editor Ron Elving joins weekends on All Things Considered host Guy Raz to talk about the platforms and what — if anything — they mean in 2012.

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GUY RAZ, HOST:

And if you're just joining us, this is WEEKENDS on ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Guy Raz. There was a time when the Senate would, every once in a while, use a special tool to protect the rights of the minority party.

(SOUNDBITE OF MOVIE, "MR. SMITH GOES TO WASHINGTON")

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Half of official Washington is here to see democracy's finest show, the filibuster, the right to talk your head off, the American privilege of free speech in its most dramatic form.

Paul Ryan has a reputation as a deficit hawk. Mitt Romney's running mate has proposed budgets that cut non-defense spending significantly, and advocated controlling Medicare costs by making it a voucher program. But critics argue there's a lot in the Wisconsin congressman's record that undermines his deficit-hawk reputation.

When Ryan gave the GOP response to President Obama's State of the Union address last year, he restated his commitment to debt and deficit reduction.

If you grew up in a bilingual Hispanic household, listening to the Democratic and Republican conventions may have sounded a lot like home.

It's no coincidence that both parties highlighted politicians like Florida Sen. Marco Rubio and San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro.

Rubio, whose parents are from Cuba, introduced Mitt Romney at the Republican convention; Castro, whose grandmother immigrated from Mexico, became the first Latino to give the Democrats' keynote address.

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LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Linda Wertheimer.

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DON GONYEA, BYLINE: This is Don Gonyea in Florida, the perpetual battleground state that President Obama is touring by bus this weekend.

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: Hello, St. Pete.

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Post-Convention, Democrats Gain Momentum

Sep 9, 2012

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LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

We're joined now by NPR's national political correspondent Mara Liasson. Good morning, Mara.

MARA LIASSON, BYLINE: Good morning, Linda.

Twenty-five thousand Chicago teachers are planning to walk off the job Monday if they don't have a contract by midnight Sunday. As the Democrats look to unions to help them get out the vote, a strike by Chicago teachers might just put a crimp in those plans.

On Friday during rush hour, a handful of parents and students stood on a bridge over the Eisenhower Expressway, holding signs that read, "Honk if you support teachers." Among them is Rhoda Gutierrez, who has two children in a Chicago public elementary school.

U.S. House candidate Richard Tisei is openly gay. He's also openly Republican.

"You know what, in Massachusetts, it's a lot easier to be gay than be a Republican," he says, "as far as trying to get elected to office."

But Tisei could make political history for the Massachusetts GOP. Not just because they could win their first U.S. House seat in 15 years, but also because Tisei would be the first openly gay Republican to be elected to a term in Congress.

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GUY RAZ, HOST:

In 2008, then-Senator Barack Obama won nearly all the African-American vote. And this year, a recent poll found that less than 1 percent of black voters will back Mitt Romney. But in Ohio, as NPR's Allison Keyes found out, some black voters are agonizing over whether to vote in November at all.

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GUY RAZ, HOST:

It's WEEKENDS on ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Guy Raz.

(SOUNDBITE OF CHEERING)

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: Hello, St. Pete.

RAZ: President Obama campaigning today in St. Petersburg, Florida, two days after accepting his party's nomination for president...

OBAMA: I am fired up.

RAZ: ...where his new stump speech emphasizes job creation.

OBAMA: We can keep giving more tax breaks to companies that are shipping jobs overseas just like the other side is arguing for.

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Now that Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel is in charge of raising really big dollars for a superPAC that supports President Obama, wealthy Democrats all over the country may be eyeing their phones nervously.

Emanuel, the former Obama White House chief of staff, is known for not taking no for an answer and for aggressively going after what he wants.

Indeed, he's a ferocious fundraiser who gets to the point, often throwing in an epithet or two for emphasis, just the sort of rainmaker needed by Priorities USA Action, the pro-Obama superPAC that desperately needs cash.

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SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

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(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

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Melissa Block talks to Robert Farley, deputy managing editor of FactCheck.org, to truth squad some of the comments made Thursday night by President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina.

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MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Melissa Block.

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

Robert Siegel speaks with Susan Glasser, editor-in-chief of Foreign Policy magazine, about Russia. Speakers at both the Republican and Democratic conventions brought up America's relations with the country.

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ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

Joining us now to talk about today's jobs numbers is Alan Krueger. He's the chairman of the White House Council of Economic Advisers. Welcome.

ALAN KRUEGER: Thank you.

SIEGEL: Is it fair to say that the good news here, the lower unemployment rate is produced by bad news, so many people leaving the workforce and that 96,000 jobs in a month is a discouraging jobs report?

It wasn't what President Obama was hoping for: another disappointing jobs report the morning after he accepted the Democratic nomination and asked Americans to stay the course.

The U.S. economy added just 96,000 jobs last month, according to the Labor Department, and a drop in the unemployment rate to 8.1 percent was mostly due to people giving up on job searches.

When former President Bill Clinton referred to present President Barack Obama at the Democratic National Convention as "cool on the outside," Clinton was underscoring the notion that Obama is, well, cool.

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