This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. A federal judge in Arizona has ruled against the man who calls himself America's toughest sheriff. The judge ruled that the Maricopa County Sheriff's Department has used racial profiling to enforce the state's tough immigration laws. Sheriff Joe Arpaio has maintained that his department has the authority to round up undocumented immigrants. NPR's Ted Robbins has been following the case and joins us now. Ted, thanks for being with us.
This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News, I'm Scott Simon. In the two weeks since the Internal Revenue Service scandal erupted, the acting commissioner has been ousted, the head of the relevant section has been put on administrative leave. The Justice Department has begun investigating the scrutiny given to conservative groups that sought tax exempt status and three congressional committees have held hearings bombarding IRS officials with questions.
In his national security speech Thursday, President Obama discussed drone warfare and the Guantanamo detention camp. But a third controversial issue went largely unmentioned: the use of interrogation methods that are tantamount to torture.
It's difficult for an American president to govern through nuance, especially when it's necessary to persuade a majority of the people that certain actions are essential for national security. And effective persuasion usually requires clarity.
That's how you arrive at President George W. Bush's stark formulation "You're either with us, or you're with the terrorists" after Sept. 11, and much of what sprang from it.
Many school safe rooms, like this one inside Jeffries Elementary in Springfield, Mo., also serve as gymnasiums. Constructed with a $1.6 million grant from FEMA, which covered 75 percent of the cost, the shelter can hold more than 500 people — enough to accommodate all the school's students and employees.
Citi Bike, the country's largest urban bike-sharing system, will soon be rolling in New York City after almost a year of delays. The idea has worked elsewhere, including Paris, Washington, D.C., and Montreal. But critics wonder if it's safe to add tens of thousands of new cyclists to the crowded streets of New York.
Robert Siegel talks with Adam Davidson from Planet Money team about this week's cluster of positive data on the health of the U.S. housing market. Davidson says the strength of the housing sector is now irrefutable, even though a broader economic recovery is still years away.
In Oklahoma on Friday, state emergency officials said Monday's tornado destroyed 1,150 homes. An unknown number of structures were damaged. The state has registered more than 1,800 insurance adjusters.
The Congressional Gold Medal has been posthumously awarded to four girls killed in the 1963 bombing of Birmingham's 16th Street Baptist Church. President Obama signed the legislation Friday, as (from left) Birmingham Mayor William Bell, Dr. Sharon Malone Holder, Attorney General Eric Holder, Rep. Terri Sewell, and relatives of Denise McNair and Carole Robertson look on.
They were just little girls when they were killed in 1963, in what came to be known as the 16th Street Baptist Church Bombing. And now Addie Mae Collins, Denise McNair, Carole Robertson, and Cynthia Wesley have been awarded the Congressional Gold Medal, nearly 50 years after the attack in Birmingham, Ala.
President Obama signed the legislation Friday to award the girls — all of them 14, except for McNair, who was 11 — with the highest honor Congress can bestow upon a civilian.
Former Guatemalan President Alfonso Portillo has been extradited to the United States, where he faces charges of laundering tens of millions of dollars through U.S. banks.
Portillo, who served as president from 2000 to 2004, was snatched from a hospital bed in Guatemala City, where he was recovering from liver surgery. He was placed on an airplane bound for New York, according to his lawyer, Mauricio Berreondo.
Monday's tornado in Moore, Okla., killed 24 people and caused an estimated $2.2 billion worth of damage. As the community reflects on what happened, one question is: How did so many manage to survive such devastating destruction?
Lifelong Oklahoman Kristi Freeman has seen her share of tornadoes, but she says the twister that tore through her neighborhood Monday was something else.
"This tornado was like a monster. It was like something that was alive. It destroyed your peace, your comfort," she says.
As the residents of Moore, Okla., and surrounding communities continue to recover from Monday's devastating tornado that killed at least 24 people and injured more than 375, we're keeping an eye on the news from there:
In 1991, Kentucky residents Sally Edwards and Lue Hutchinson had sons serving in the Gulf War. Sally's son, Jack, was a Marine captain. Lue's son, Tom Butts, was a staff sergeant in the Army. The two men never knew each other, but today, their mothers are best friends.
Both soldiers were killed in February of 1991. Jack was 34. "They were the cover for a medical mission. The helicopter lost its top rotor blade, and they didn't make it back," Sally says.
The Boy Scouts of America has agreed for the first time to allow openly gay boys as members, but a vote of the organization's National Council left in place a ban on gay Scout leaders.
The Associated Press reports that of the local Scout leaders voting at their annual meeting in Texas, more than 60 percent supported the proposal. The policy change approved by the 1,400-member National Council would take effect Jan. 1, 2014, the organization said.
Lois Lerner, the IRS official who oversees the branch of the agency that targeted conservative groups, has been placed on administrative leave a day after she refused to answer questions in a congressional probe of the scandal.
For the first time in seven years, the U.S. Senate has confirmed a judge to sit on the important federal appeals court for the District of Columbia. The Senate unanimously confirmed Deputy Solicitor General Sri Srinivasan on Thursday for the seat previously held by Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts.
Everybody itches. Sometimes itch serves as a useful warning signal — there's a bug on your back! But sometimes itch arises for no apparent reason, and can be a torment.
Think of the itchy skin disorder eczema, or the constant itching caused by some cancers. "A very high percentage of people who're on dialysis for chronic kidney disease develop severe itch that's very difficult to manage," says Dr. Ethan Lerner, an associate professor of dermatology at Harvard Medical School.
Scientists now say they've got a much better clue as to how itch happens.
Bonner, who has represented Alabama's 1st District for six terms since 2003, will become vice chancellor of government relations and economic development at Alabama. His sister, Judy Bonner, serves as president of the university.
Rep. Marcia Fudge, D-Ohio, chair of the Congressional Black Caucus, says her group fears an immigration overhaul that greatly expands high-tech visas could have an adverse impact on blacks aspiring to such jobs.
Sotomayor is escorted onto the field by New York Yankees catcher Jorge Posada to throw out the ceremonial first pitch before the New York Yankees game against the Boston Red Sox at Yankee Stadium on Sept. 26, 2009.
Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor's wicked, waggish sense of humor — and knowledge of baseball — were on full display Wednesday, when she presided over a re-enactment of Flood v. Kuhn, the 1972 case that unsuccessfully challenged baseball's antitrust exemption.
The event, put on by the Supreme Court Historical Society, took place in the court chamber, and as Sotomayor took her place at the center of the bench, normally the chief justice's chair, she remarked puckishly, "This is the first time I've sat here. It feels pretty good."
At the National Defense University in Washington on Thursday, President Obama outlined plans to limit the use of U.S. drone strikes, and pledged to shut down the military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
Ever since the Sept. 11 attacks, the U.S. search for a coherent counterterrorism strategy has revolved around three basic questions:
1. How do we locate suspected terrorists?
2. Once located, how do we go after them?
3. If captured, what do we do with them?
In a major speech at the National Defense University in Washington on Thursday, President Obama addressed all three questions that have been the source of shifting policies and fierce national debates for over a decade.