The Salinas Valley in Northern California grows about 80 percent of the country's lettuce, and it takes a lot of people to pick and pack it. In a field owned by Duda Farm Fresh Foods, a dozen lechugueros, or lettuce pickers, are bent at the waist, cutting heads of iceberg lettuce. They work frantically to stay in front of a line of 12 more packers, who seal them with tape and toss them onto a conveyor belt.
An openly gay basketball player? Next thing you know, there will be openly clever ScuttleButton puzzles.
Only not this week.
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.)
Host Michel Martin continues her conversation about the first 100 days of President Obama's second term. She turns to two Americans with different perspectives on the president's record so far. Tracey Winbush is an Assistant Treasurer of the Ohio Republican Party, and Aracely Panameno is Director of Latino Affairs at the Center for Responsible Lending.
I'm Michel Martin and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. Today marks the 100th day of President Obama's second term. At his inauguration he set up an ambitious agenda and revived his campaign theme of hope.
(We updated the top of this post with a recap at 11:45 a.m. ET.)
Joking that a reporter's question Tuesday about whether he has "any juice" left to get things done in Washington made it sound like "I should just pack up and go home," President Obama paraphrased Mark Twain:
"Rumors of my demise may be a little exaggerated," the president said, as he predicted that an overhaul of the nation's immigration laws will be among the things that get accomplished in his second term.
There's a high profile congressional race going on in South Carolina and last night the two candidates met in their first - and only - debate. For the Republican, former South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford. This is an attempted political comeback, but it's being hindered by new allegations by his ex-wife that reminds some voters of how Sanford left office in the first place.
As outgoing Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood prepares to hand off the baton to President Obama's nominee, Charlotte Mayor Anthony Foxx, Morning Edition reflects on Lahood's legacy. What have he and the president accomplished? What's still to be done?
It's one of the smallest law enforcement agencies in the federal government, but the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives has sure had a busy couple of weeks.
Dozens of its agents raced to Boston, where they analyzed bombs left near the finish line of the marathon. Others went south to Texas, where a fertilizer plant exploded under mysterious circumstances. Members of the ATF's national response team are still on the scene in tiny West, Texas, sifting through rubble at the blast site, near a crater that's 93 feet wide.
Charlotte Mayor Anthony Foxx has been nominated to head the U.S. Department of Transportation in President Obama's final term. What the soon-to-be 42-year old mayor lacks in transportation credentials, he makes up for in loyalty to the President and a shared vision of the need for better transit systems.
A bi-partisan Senate immigration policy plan has won support of many key political leaders. But some within the African-American community say it could hurt low wage black workers. Guest host Celeste Headlee discusses the issue with Harry Holzer of Georgetown University; and Lesley Jordan, a food industry worker from Los Angeles.
Last year, something surprising happened: A piece of legislation about abortion made it through both chambers of Congress and was signed into law by President Obama.
It was a law providing insurance coverage for abortion for military women in the case of rape or incest. The bipartisan support enjoyed by the military trumped politics as usual, which generally holds that Republicans and Democrats have to fight over anything involving abortion.
But will the women who volunteer for the Peace Corps inspire a similar truce on the same issue?
Originally published on Mon April 29, 2013 7:09 am
Sen. Joe Manchin says he's going to reintroduce his bill that expands background checks for gun purchases to sales made at gun shows and online, and he predicts that the second time around, it will get enough votes to move out of the Senate.
Across the country, state budgets are back in the black after years of belt-tightening and spending cuts. From California to Florida, in nearly every state, the economic recovery has produced a surge in tax revenue.
For governors and state legislators, that's produced a new question: how to spend the money.
The past three years have not been easy ones for elected officials. Nearly every state requires them to produce a balanced budget. And with declining revenue from sales, property and income taxes, that has meant big spending cuts.
The House was set to vote this week on a bill modifying the president's health care law. The Republican bill was supported by the leadership, but ran into trouble and was pulled from the floor before the scheduled vote.
It's an example of the kind of obstacles Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, faces in getting legislation through the House. In many recent cases, his problem hasn't been the Democrats as much as members of his own party, backed by proudly conservative outside groups.
Karl and Twilla Eisele, of Wellsville, Kan., leave the old Brown School after voting on Nov. 6, 2012, in rural Wellsville, Kan. Recent elections have made the Kansas Legislature the most conservative in the state's history.
Credit Charlie Riedel / AP
Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback, shown delivering the State of the State address last month, is pushing to get rid of the state's income tax, which has some Republicans concerned.
Kansan journalist Jason Probst says the Kansas he knows has disappeared.
"The great state of Kansas passed away on March 31, 2013 after a long and difficult battle with extremism," he wrote in an editorial for The Hutchinson News.
His faux obituary, lamenting Kansas' embrace of conservatism, went viral. Tens of thousands of people read it. Many were fellow Kansans who wrote to Probst to say they, too, were disturbed by their state's dramatic swing to the right.
North Korea has accused an American tourist of committing crimes against the state and trying to bring down the country's regime, according to the North's official news agency.
The KCNA said Saturday that 44-year-old Kenneth Bae, imprisoned since November, confessed to the crimes and would be facing judgement in a North Korean court. He is identified in the report by his Korean name, Pae Jun Ho.
The 2012 election was the most expensive in history, but there remain some gaping holes in our knowledge about who paid for what. The Securities and Exchange Commission is considering a proposal to add more transparency in future elections, but it won't happen without a fight.
This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. The first great sequester showdown has ended and the White House says President Obama will sign a bill that effectively ends furloughs for air traffic controllers. The House yesterday approved the measure, which was passed by the Senate Thursday night, and the action comes after a week of flight delays that angered air travelers and set off a flurry of finger-pointing in Washington, D.C. NPR's Brian Naylor reports.
New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg speaks at a news conference at City Hall on April 25. The billionaire mayor has been spending from his personal fortune to provide a "political counterweight to the NRA," his policy adviser says.
Last week, FBI investigators and a Watertown, Mass., police officer investigate the scene near the boat where bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was hiding. Democrats have argued that the way the government responded to the Boston attacks makes a case for not cutting too deeply.
President Obama has spoken at two memorial services in just over a week — one for victims of the Boston Marathon attack and one for those who died in the chemical plant explosions in West, Texas. In both speeches, he focused on victims and survivors.
But other Democrats are using these events to talk about another subject: the role of government.
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel.
AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:
And I'm Audie Cornish. The White House tried to clarify its message on Syria today, saying it is still studying evidence that the government there has used chemical weapons. Here's press secretary Jay Carney.
JAY CARNEY: We are continuing to work to build on the assessments made by the intelligence community. The degrees of confidence here are varying, this is not an airtight case.
We also have some sequester news today. The House approved a bill, and the president says he'll sign it, to end the furlough of air traffic controllers. Short-staffed control towers translated into thousands of flight delays this week, all because of those automatic across-the-board spending cuts. NPR's Tamara Keith has that story.
Originally published on Fri April 26, 2013 1:33 pm
President Obama on Friday became the first sitting president to address Planned Parenthood's annual meeting, delivering a strongly worded speech defending the embattled organization.
"We shouldn't have to remind people that when it comes to women's health, no politician should get to decide what's best for you," said Obama, who was greeted by sustained applause when he took the stage.