And now we'll turn from New Jersey to Detroit, where tensions are really building around the public school system there. The U.S. Department of Education is looking into whether recent school closures have disproportionately hurt black and Latino students. Also, an emergency financial manager is shaking things up at Detroit Public Schools after getting some new authority from the state.
Here to explain is Jerome Vaughn, news director at member station WDET in Detroit. Welcome back, Jerome.
This is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. I'm Celeste Headlee. Michel Martin is away. Coming up, we'll talk about school takeovers and whether or not taking a drastic action like that really fixes broken schools. But first we'll bring you up to date on the latest political news. There is a lot going on both here and overseas - the debate over gun control, immigration, and a little saber rattling from North Korea.
Many political leaders say the solution for failing school systems is a takeover. But can mayors, governors or other government leaders actually fix broken schools? Guest host Celeste Headlee discusses the expectations and consequences of school takeovers with Emily Richmond of the National Education Writers Association.
Polls show a majority of Americans now support gay marriage. During Supreme Court's arguments last week, Chief Justice John Roberts marveled at the political muscle advocates for same-sex marriage appeared to be flexing. But the political path for gay marriage could be long and bumpy.
Originally published on Sun March 31, 2013 11:37 pm
A final deal on a changing immigration laws is at hand but still incomplete, according to two of the bipartisan "Gang of Eight" senators collaborating on it.
On NBC's Meet the Press on Sunday, Democratic Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York and Republican Sen. Jeff Flake of Arizona discussed a new agreement on a low-skilled worker program as a positive sign of progress, but both said there is more to be done.
The uneasy confluence of sports and politics is featured in a new book by The Nation's Dave Zirin, called Game Over: How Politics Has Turned the Sports World Upside Down.
During the civil rights movement and the Vietnam War, athletes routinely made their political views known. In some cases, that isolated them from sports fans. In other cases, their influence led to real change. But in recent decades, those voices fell silent. Some say the siren's call of endorsement deals made them gun-shy about speaking their minds.
Originally published on Sat March 30, 2013 1:07 pm
There are still unanswered questions about the politically active 501(c)(4) "social welfare" groups. The anonymously funded entities' multimillion-dollar ad budgets helped to clog the airwaves last year.
How much did they really spend to intervene in the 2012 campaign? What kinds of sources supplied their money? What ties do they maintain with other nonprofit organizations or for-profit companies?
The IRS is now trying to address some of the unknowns by asking organizations to fill out a questionnaire about their finances.
This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon and we'll have to wait until June to learn what the U.S. Supreme Court has decided on the two gay marriage cases before it. But this week, the justices heard oral arguments and they gave perhaps some hints of their thinking. One case concerns the constitutionality of California's ban on gay marriage, the other case is a challenge to what's called DOMA, the Defense of Marriage Act.
We're joined now by NPR legal affairs correspondent, Nina Totenberg. Thanks for being with us.
The Environment Protection Agency has proposed new rules that will require cars to run on cleaner gas. The rules are intended to lower sulfur emission and reduce smog, and they'd go into effect in 2017. NPR's Sonari Glinton reports they're similar to standards in place in California.
Calling them "sensible standards for cars and gasoline that will significantly reduce harmful pollution, prevent thousands of premature deaths and illnesses [and lead to] efficiency improvements in the cars and trucks we drive," the Environmental Protection Agency on Friday proposed national rules to reduce the amount of sulfur in gasoline.
House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, on Friday condemned the use of the term "wetbacks" by Rep. Don Young, R-Alaska, one of the party's most senior members of Congress.
Young's statement, his quick apology, and Boehner's statement that the remark was "beneath the dignity of the office he holds," come at a particularly sensitive time for the Republican Party in its relationship with Hispanic voters.
The Supreme Court heard arguments over same-sex marriage this week, and the Barbershop guys have their own arguments to offer. Guest host Celeste Headlee checks in with culture critic Jimi Izrael, sports writer Pablo Torre, Kai Wright of Colorlines.com, and Republican strategist R. Clarke Cooper.
As Democrats belatedly line up behind marriage equality and Republicans see it as a losing cause for them, all that's left is what the Supreme Court decides. And as Mayor Bloomberg unleashes a $12 million campaign to sway senators on guns, public opinion polls show the issue has less urgency than it had right after Sandy Hook. Plus: South Dakota's Tim Johnson retires and Ashley Judd won't run in Kentucky.
There were dozens of rallies across the nation yesterday, to support a cause that might be losing steam. It's the fight for new gun control laws. President Obama joined family members of recent gun victims at the White House to urge Congress to take action.
PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: Right now, members of Congress are back home in their districts and many of them are holding events where they can hear from their constituents, so I want everybody who's listening to make yourself heard right now.
Originally published on Fri March 29, 2013 11:34 am
Now and then, an issue before the U.S. Supreme Court changes the course of the nation's political history — whether the justices like it or not.
It's happening again with gay marriage. This week the court heard oral arguments in two key cases. One could restore legal same-sex marriage in California; the other could end discrimination against gay married couples in the administration of more than 1,000 federal programs.
In Washington State, radioactive waste at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation is leaking from underground containment tanks. The site contains the leftovers from plutonium production, some from World War II, most from the Cold War. And it turns out the federal budget sequester is slowing the cleanup.
From Richland, Washington, Anna King of the Northwest News Network has that story.
Originally published on Thu March 28, 2013 2:30 pm
President Obama has established a new bipartisan commission on election administration, something he promised to do in his Feb. 12 State of the Union address. He signed an executive order Thursday making it official.
I'm Michel Martin and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. Coming up, if you follow sports you might have sympathy - or not - for heartbroken March Madness fans whose schools have already flunked out. We're going to ask why we care so much when our brackets are broken. That conversation is in just a few minutes. But first we want to return to two important cases being argued in the Supreme Court this week.
In 2004, Jim McGreevey was the governor of New Jersey and a rising political star. That was until he admitted his homosexuality, and an improper relationship with a male staff member. What happened next is the subject of the new HBO documentary, Fall To Grace. Host Michel Martin speaks with McGreevy and filmmaker Alexandra Pelosi.
This is MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. Good morning. I'm David Greene.
LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:
And I'm Linda Wertheimer.
The city of Chicago wants to close dozens of public schools, claiming that money could be better spent. But protests are growing. Hundreds of members of the Chicago Teachers Union and other labor groups rallied yesterday.
It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Linda Wertheimer.
DAVID GREENE, HOST:
And I'm David Greene. Good morning. There is new momentum for a major overhaul of the nation's immigration laws. As usual, it's just a matter of closing the deal. Among those trying to hash out a compromise is the so-called Gang of Eight, a bipartisan group of U.S. senators. Yesterday, four of them took time out of their congressional recess to visit Arizona for a firsthand look at border security.
This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan, in Washington. Another Democrat steps away from the Senate, the price of previous presidents, and the present president calls out Congress on immigration. It's Wednesday and time for a...
PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: Political courage...
CONAN: Edition of the Political Junkie.
(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDINGS)
PRESIDENT RONALD REAGAN: There you go again.
VICE PRESIDENT WALTER MONDALE: When I hear your new ideas, I'm reminded of that ad: Where's the beef?
NPR's Nina Totenberg: On what happens if the court declines to decide.
(We most recently updated the top of this post at 1:45 p.m. ET.)
There seem to be four solid votes on the Supreme Court — and possibly a fifth — to strike down the Defense of Marriage Act that bars federal recognition of same-sex marriages, NPR's Nina Totenberg told us after Wednesday's oral arguments before the nine justices.
But there's a big "if."
As in: There's possibly a 5-vote majority to strike down the law if the court first decides it should even issue an opinion.