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Brian Naylor

NPR News' Brian Naylor is a correspondent on the Washington Desk.

In this role, he covers politics and federal agencies, including transportation and homeland security.

With more than 30 years of experience at NPR, Naylor has served as National Desk correspondent, White House correspondent, congressional correspondent, foreign correspondent and newscaster during All Things Considered. He has filled in as host on many NPR programs, including Morning Edition, Weekend Edition and Talk of the Nation.

During his NPR career, Naylor has covered many of the major world events, including political conventions, the Olympics, the White House, Congress and the mid-Atlantic region. Naylor reported from Tokyo in the aftermath of the 2011 earthquake and tsunami, from New Orleans following the BP oil spill, and from West Virginia after the deadly explosion at the Upper Big Branch coal mine.

While covering the U.S. Congress in the mid-1990s, Naylor's reporting contributed to NPR's 1996 Alfred I. duPont-Columbia Journalism award for political reporting.

Before coming to NPR in 1982, Naylor worked at NPR Member Station WOSU in Columbus, Ohio, and at a commercial radio station in Maine.

He earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Maine.

AM radio once played a central role in American life. The family would gather around the Philco to hear the latest Western or detective drama. The transistor radio was where baby boomers first heard the Beatles and other Top 40 hits. And, of course, there's no better way to take in a ballgame.

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Let's hear a little recent history now, a history of federal IT failures. The troubled healthcare.gov website has many ancestors, as NPR's Brian Naylor reports.

BRIAN NAYLOR, BYLINE: The new software system was glitchy, it was behind schedule and over budget. University of Pennsylvania computer scientist Matt Blaze said the problems were foreseeable.

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Discouraged by the Republican candidate for governor's showing in the polls, GOP donors begin pouring money into the Virginia attorney general race. Now, that contest is showing a 117 vote margin with Democrat Mark Herring ahead, though there have been several lead changes as provisional ballots have been tallied.

Nov. 22 will mark the 50th anniversary of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy in Dallas, a moment that left an indelible mark on those who remember it.

It also permanently changed the agency charged with protecting the president — the U.S. Secret Service.

Looking back at the images of Kennedy, first lady Jackie Kennedy, Texas Gov. John Connally and his wife waving as they rode through the streets of Dallas in an open Lincoln, it all looks terribly innocent and naive.

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Good news for air travelers who can't get enough of their electronic devices: The FAA is relaxing rules on their use aboard airliners.

Meanwhile on Capitol Hill, an unlikely scene unfolded as a bust of Winston Churchill was unveiled in Statuary Hall Wednesday. The entertainment: Roger Daltrey. Who? Yes, Roger Daltrey of the 1960s rock band The Who.

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Political professionals like to keep an eye on the only two governors races to come year after each presidential election. In 2005, Democrats won the races in New Jersey and Virginia. They went on to dominate congressional races the year after.

This has not been an easy month for Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius.

Republican Sen. Pat Roberts of Kansas — who learned the political ropes working for Sebelius' father-in-law, then a Kansas congressman — called for her to step down over the debut of HealthCare.gov, the problem-plagued website where people are supposed to apply for coverage under the Affordable Care Act.

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OK, with the government funding and debt ceiling deal now reached, passed and signed, government agencies are set to reopen. But don't expect all federal offices to take your calls just yet. NPR's Brian Naylor reports.

BRIAN NAYLOR, BYLINE: University of Alabama geologist Samantha Hansen has been conducting a research project in Antarctica that, in one way, is like most everything else, funded by the federal government. After 16 days down, it's going to take some time to restart.

With the government shutdown now in its 11th day, polls show that voters think Republicans bear the biggest share of the blame.

Nowhere is this more apparent than in Virginia — a state that's home to some 172,000 federal civilian workers and where federal spending is a big part of the economy. In the race to be Virginia's next governor, GOP candidate Ken Cuccinelli is falling in the polls.

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Congress has until Tuesday to agree on funding for federal agencies in order to avoid a partial government shutdown. So let's look this morning at exactly what that shutdown would mean.

For those old enough to remember, the government shutdown skirmishing now underway in Washington brings back some not-so-fond memories of late 1995 and early 1996.

That's the last time a divided government, unable to settle its differences before the money from previous years' spending bills ran out, forced dozens of agencies to close. Some 800,000 federal workers were told to stay home and millions of Americans were shut out of everything from their national parks to small-business loans.

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Officials in Washington are answering hard questions today in the aftermath of Monday's mass shooting at a Naval office complex. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel ordered a review of access and security procedures to U.S. military bases. Hagel also said there were red flags about gunman Aaron Alexis that people somehow missed

NPR's Brian Naylor reports.

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Today is Janet Napolitano's last day as Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security. Napolitano is leaving Washington D.C., heading for California, to become at the end of this month, president of the University of California System. NPR's Brian Naylor sat down with Napolitano yesterday for a look back at her tenure as head of one of the government's largest and most complex departments.

In the grand days of railroad travel, passengers arrived in monumental terminals. There was grandeur, style and comfort — qualities that today's equivalent for long-distance travel, the airport, mostly lack. Especially in the United States.

In a survey of international travelers by the British firm Skytrax, not a single U.S. airport ranked anywhere near the top of the list. Singapore got top honors, while the best the United States could do was Cincinnati's airport — which came in at No. 30.

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Well, the last speaker today was President Obama. He delivered remarks from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, where King gave his speech five decades ago.

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: We rightly and best remember Dr. King's soaring oratory that day, how he gave mighty voice to the quiet hopes of millions, how he offered a salvation path for oppressed and oppressors alike.

Fifty years ago this week, when hundreds of thousands of demonstrators came from across the country to take part in the 1963 March on Washington, the city was not yet the cosmopolitan capital that it arguably is today.

But it was a mecca for African-Americans, says historian Marya McQuirter.

"Washington was definitely a different city 50 years ago," she says, "for a number of reasons. By 1957, it had become the largest majority black city in the country."

One aim of the organizers of the 1963 March on Washington was to get Congress to pass civil rights legislation. President John F. Kennedy had proposed a wide-ranging measure earlier that summer. But he faced unrelenting opposition from lawmakers, many in his own party.

The cars we drive have gotten ever more sophisticated. They can just about park themselves; they tell us if we're drifting out of our lane; they can prevent skids. Some even automatically apply the brakes if they sense that a collision is imminent.

Engineers at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh are developing a car that can do all of those things and more — it can actually drive itself. Imagine that commute to work.

The U.S. Postal Service lost some $16 billion last year and continues to bleed red ink. Congress has been unable to agree on a rescue plan.

The latest proposal would allow the post office to end Saturday delivery in a year and enable it to ship wine and beer.

The Postal Service's woes are familiar: People don't really send letters anymore, so first-class mail is down, and Congress makes the post office prepay future retiree benefits to the tune of $5.5 billion a year.

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The Internal Revenue Service, under attack by congressional Republicans, has been operating without a permanent commissioner. President Obama nominated John Koskinen on Thursday for what might be seen as a thankless job.

The president called his nominee "an expert at turning around institutions in need of reform." But Koskinen will have his work cut out for him, starting with his Senate confirmation hearing.

History With Struggling Agencies

Janet Napolitano's announcement that she'll be stepping down as Department of Homeland Security secretary after four years on the job leaves an opening at the top of the key Cabinet agency. But it's not the only job opening at Homeland Security.

Fifteen top posts at DHS, including secretary, are now vacant or soon will be. Many are being filled on a temporary basis, and lawmakers from both sides of the aisle want the Obama administration to get busy filling those jobs, too.

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It's already been a long summer for Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell. A steady stream of news reports have revealed gifts and loans he and his family accepted from a campaign donor, totaling some $145,000. McDonnell has been mentioned as a possible future presidential candidate, though with these revelations some now express doubt about his chances.

As NPR's Brian Naylor reports the trouble for McDonnell could also affect the Republican who hopes to succeed him in the governor's office.

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