Four-year-old Bobby Tufts was re-elected "mayor" over the weekend in the tiny northern Minnesota community of Dorset. We say "mayor" because Dorset doesn't really have a government. It doesn't even have many people — "22 to 28, depending on whether the minister and his family are in town," according to CBS Minnesota.
Over the weekend the tiny town of Fancy Farm, Kentucky was the scene of a political brawl worthy of the Hatfields and McCoys. No one was run out of town, but Mitch O'Connell, the Senate Republican leader, who is asking Kentuckians for a sixth term, did get pretty roughed up - verbally. You'd hardly guess it all began as a church picnic.
This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. Scott Simon is away. I'm Linda Wertheimer. Members of Congress are back in their home districts this morning at the start of a five-week summer recess. They left town with more of a whimper than a bang. They leave a whole lot of unfinished business. We're joined now by NPR congressional correspondent, Tamara Keith. Welcome.
TAMARA KEITH, BYLINE: Thank you.
WERTHEIMER: Let's start with what the Congress did accomplish. There was student loan legislation. What else?
In a musty, old row house in the Germantown neighborhood of Philadelphia, Jim Bear is about to begin his radio show.
"Good afternoon, everybody," he says into the microphone. "You're listening to G-town Radio at GtownRadio.com. We are the sound from Germantown."
Right now G-town is just an Internet radio station. But if the folks at G-town Radio are successful, they'll soon be broadcasting their signal over low-power FM, a new class of non-commercial FM radio.
Originally published on Fri August 2, 2013 4:32 pm
As Congress heads off for its 2013 summer recess, who could blame a citizen for thinking that maybe the slogan above the House dais should be changed from "In God We Trust" to "Abandon Hope All Ye Who Enter Here."
Experts in government like Norman Ornstein and Thomas Mann have repeatedly warned that compromise, the lubricant that makes the U.S. system work, has been a missing ingredient in recent Congresses, especially in the House. And there were no signs Friday that anything will be different when Congress returns in September from its five-week break.
Foreign Intelligence Surveillance courts received increased attention following the leaks about programs monitoring U.S. citizens. Some lawmakers are proposing changes to secret courts, including Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.). He speaks with Melissa Block about the proposal.
Audie Cornish talks with political commentators David Brooks of The New York Times and Amy Sullivan of the National Journal. They discuss Friday's job numbers; the speculation over who President Obama will appoint to replace Ben Benanke as Fed chairman; and the intra-party sniping between Republicans Chris Christie and Rand Paul.
North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory sent out a plate of cookies to abortion law protesters who had gathered outside the governor's mansion on Tuesday. Audie Cornish speaks with Mary C. Curtis, who writes for the Washington Posts' blog She the People, about the incident and North Carolina politics.
This is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. I'm Michel Martin. Later today, we'll hear more about Pope Francis' recent visit to Brazil and we'll hear about why he made headlines around the world. That's in just a few minutes. But first, back here in this country, we want to hear about today's jobs numbers. One-hundred sixty-two thousand jobs were added last month, bringing the unemployment rate down to 7.4 percent. That's even below last month's report of 7.6 percent. The report also shows, though, that wages are going down for many workers.
Pat McCrory hasn't fared too well with protesters.
The Republican governor of North Carolina has signed off on a vast array of conservative legislation this year, cutting taxes, slashing unemployment benefits and abolishing teacher tenure. So much change so fast has led to protests, including "Moral Monday" events staged at the capitol a dozen weeks in a row by the NAACP.
You know how school kids can get as summer break is getting closer: a little rowdy.
MONTAGNE: Not how you'd normally describe the U.S. Senate, which is widely considered the more gentile congressional body. But tempers flared yesterday when Senators Patty Murray and Susan Collins had the floor and were trying to talk about transportation spending, but were being not just ignored, but drowned out by talkative colleagues.
Originally published on Thu August 1, 2013 5:54 pm
Now that the dust has settled somewhat on the rhetorical skirmish between Rand Paul and Chris Christie over NSA data-gathering, it's easier to see the irony of the confrontation.
We witnessed not just the punching and counterpunching of politicians considered likely contenders for the 2016 GOP nomination. It was also a clash between men who each possess a key to winning the White House.
House Republicans' plans to hold the line on federal spending and maintaining the cuts demanded by sequestration were thrown into doubt this week. Leaders abruptly pulled a transportation spending bill off the floor, prompting a rare public statement from the Republican chairman of the appropriations committee to lash out at the decision.
And now we turn to immigration and the debate within the Republican Party over the issue. Republican leaders, including Florida Senator Marco Rubio, are pressing the party to embrace a comprehensive immigration plan. But many House Republicans want to increase border security first and are wary of any policy that could create a path to citizenship for the millions of immigrants who are currently in the country without proper authorization. Now, a new group is hoping to tip the balance. It's called Republicans for Immigration Reform.
Originally published on Thu August 1, 2013 1:41 pm
San Diego Mayor Bob Filner, accused by at least eight women of sexually harassing them, never received a mandated training course on sexual harassment from the city, according to his attorney.
Harvey Berger says the city failed to meet its legal requirement and therefore should foot the mayor's legal bills. Filner and the city of San Diego are being sued by the mayor's former communications director, Irene McCormack Jackson.
It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Renee Montagne.
DAVID GREENE, HOST:
And I'm David Greene. Good morning. This is likely the last day the Senate will be in session until mid-September. Tomorrow members of the House will lave town as well. They're heading out for their August recess with none of the frantic legislative scrambles and deal making that typically end a summer session. Instead, lawmakers seem to be saving their strength for epic battles when they get back. Here's NPR's David Welna.
Back in the day, when Anthony Weiner was still a youthful Democratic representative from Brooklyn, before the dirty texts and the penis photos chased him from Washington, before his scrabbling, sinking campaign for New York City mayor, he strove to emulate his predecessor.
Congressional Republicans are accusing the IRS of dodging their questions and requests for documents in the inquiry into the flagging of Tea Party groups seeking tax exempt status. One House committee warns the agency it could use its investigative powers to enforce compliance. And a second committee says it now has proof that conservative groups were treated worse than progressive groups.
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish.
MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:
And I'm Melissa Block.
President Obama rarely visits Capitol Hill, but today, he traveled down Pennsylvania Avenue to meet with House and Senate Democrats. He wanted to rally their support on a range of issues before Congress sets off on its long August recess. NPR congressional reporter Ailsa Chang joins us from the Capitol. And, Ailsa, meeting just with Democrats, no Republicans this time.
Friday is the last day before the 113th Congress scatters for their summer recess. And what has it accomplished so far? Almost nothing, says New York Times congressional correspondent Jonathan Weisman. As he points out in a recent article: