The first major gun bills in nearly two decades had their first hearing in the Senate on Thursday, including an assault weapons ban and a ban on so-called "straw purchases." Still, even in the aftermath of the shootings in Newtown, Conn., the legislation faces an uphill battle. Ailsa Chang talks to Melissa Block.
Think your job is bad? Quit whining, unless you're a shrimper in the Gulf of Mexico.
Commercial fishermen have the highest rate of on-the-job fatalities of any occupation in the country — 116 deaths per 100,000 workers in 2010. A majority of the deaths happen when a fishing vessel sinks. About a third occur when someone goes overboard.
This is TELL ME MORE, from NPR News. I'm Michel Martin. Coming up, reggae soul singer Etana tells us how she's been cracking the glass ceiling in reggae. Yes. She says there is one. That's later in the program.
But first, you might have heard about what appeared to be a series of racial incidents at Oberlin College. That's in northern Ohio. Scrawls of racially offensive graffiti and reports of someone wearing a Ku Klux Klan-style robe have upset students and caused administrators to cancel classes there earlier this week.
Originally published on Thu March 7, 2013 10:52 am
Update at 12:45 p.m. ET. One Measure Approved So Far:
"The Senate Judiciary Committee approved legislation Thursday making gun trafficking a federal crime as lawmakers cast the first vote in Congress to curb firearms since December's horrific shootings at a Connecticut elementary school," The Associated Press writes.
A federal judge in Michigan could rule as soon as Thursday on a challenge to the state's ban on same-sex marriage and civil unions. The challenge comes as the U.S. Supreme Court is set to hear two cases dealing with gay marriage later this month.
In the Michigan case, a lesbian couple sued not because they want to be married, but because they want to be parents.
When President Obama signs an updated version of the Violence Against Women Act on Thursday afternoon, the law will include new requirements for how colleges and universities handle allegations of sexual assault.
Laura Dunn, who's been invited by the White House to attend, plans to be there.
Bacon and bologna are hardly health food. But a huge new study offers the strongest evidence yet that eating processed meat boosts the risk of the two big killers, cancer and heart disease.
A multinational group of scientists tracked the health and eating habits of bacon-loving Brits, wurst-munching Germans, jamon aficionados in Spain, as well as residents of seven other European countries — almost a half-million people in all.
The House has approved a bill to fund the federal government through the end of September. The $982 billion continuing resolution introduced by Rep. Harold Rogers (R-KY), who heads the Appropriations Committee, would avoid a potential government shutdown on March 27.
President Obama recently acknowledged the obvious: He doesn't have the supernatural powers necessary to do a mind meld, Jedi or otherwise, with Republican congressional leaders that would lead to pacts on fiscal policy or anything else for that matter.
But if he doesn't have the power to force meetings of the minds with his Republican opponents, he can at least still get meetings with them.
Popping up on the president's schedule all of a sudden was a Wednesday night dinner at a Washington, D.C., hotel with a group of GOP senators.
Attorney General Eric Holder appeared before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday to answer questions on everything from gun control to the Department of Justice's failure to prosecute Wall Street. But he was also asked about an issue proponents of marijuana legalization have been following closely: what the DOJ plans to do about Colorado and Washington state, which have defied federal law by legalizing recreational use of the drug.
CLAUDIO SANCHEZ, BYLINE: This is Claudio Sanchez in Washington, D.C. By mid-afternoon, some parts of west and northern Virginia had gotten a foot of snow. Washington, D.C. was expecting at least half that, so area airports cancelled more than a thousand flights. Schools closed. So did federal and local government offices. Things look bad.
CHRIS VACCARO: This is certainly a significant storm and a dangerous storm.
SANCHEZ: That's Chris Vaccaro with the National Weather Service.
This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Melissa Block.
AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:
And I'm Audie Cornish. Today in Arkansas, the country's most restricted ban on abortion survived a veto challenge. The Arkansas House voted to override the Governor's veto. The new law bans most abortions after 12 weeks of pregnancy. NPR's Kathy Lohr has this story.
In the nation's capitol, that Snowquester, the storm we mentioned, has mostly been rain so far. But across the country a blanket of freshly fallen snow, some of it more than a foot deep, now extends from the Dakotas to the Eastern Seaboard. Thousands of flights have been cancelled and nearly 200,000 homes and businesses in the Mid-Atlantic region lost power. We have two reports, starting in Chicago with NPR's David Schaper.
Now, more on the long speech Carrie mentioned from Republican Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky. He's engaged in an old fashioned stand on the floor and talk till you can't filibuster. It began shortly before noon, aimed at blocking the president's nomination of John Brennan to head the CIA.
SENATOR RAND PAUL: I've chosen to make a stand on this one and not so much the person, but the principle of this. I have nothing personally against Brennan. I have nothing personal against the president.
Arkansas has approved a law banning most abortions after 12 weeks of gestation, as both houses of the state's legislature vote to override a veto by Democratic Gov. Mike Beebe. The Republican-backed Human Heartbeat Protection Act will become the nation's most restrictive law.
In vetoing the Senate version of the bill Monday, Beebe said that it "would impose a ban on a woman's right to choose an elective, nontherapeutic abortion well before viability."
Finally today, I read this sentence a couple of weeks ago and I've been thinking about it since: "When you can't change what's bothering you, a typical response is to convince yourself it's not really bothering you."
Let me try that again: "When you can't change what's bothering you, a typical response is to convince yourself it's not really bothering you."
William Moody, who as the pro wrestling character Paul Bearer embodied a sense of theater that was equal parts morbid and absurd, has died at age 58. A portly man known for his wild-eyed stare and habit of carrying a brass urn under his arm, Paul Bearer was most notably the manager of The Undertaker and Kane.
A rash of public school closings in some U.S. cities has parents and teachers reeling. School officials say the closings are needed to save money, but some argue it's a form of discrimination. Host Michel Martin talks with a Chicago reporter and a Philadelphia activist about how the closings could affect students and local communities.
Originally published on Wed March 6, 2013 11:16 am
The winter storm that has dumped several inches of snow from the Dakotas to Maryland is expected to linger over the mid-Atlantic on Wednesday, bringing another 5 to 9 inches to many areas in the east.
Federal government offices in the nation's capital were closed Wednesday in anticipation of the wet, heavy snow, and many schools were closed in Washington, D.C., and Baltimore. Hundreds of flights were canceled at Dulles and Reagan National airports.
Secretary of State John Kerry describes himself as a recovering politician. He's just getting used to the fact that he can't speak quite as freely as he did when he was a senator.
"Each word means more, each relationship is played differently," he said in an interview with NPR, at the end of a nine-nation swing through Europe and the Middle East. "As a senator, you just don't have those stakes riding in it."
A judge in Alabama has blocked the state's governor from signing a school choice bill, after a lawsuit alleged that lawmakers bypassed state rules when they substantially revised the legislation in committee. The vote to pass the bill last week was marked by confusion, anger, and accusations of "sleaziness" and "hypocrisy," as AL.com reported.
Here was the scene last week, as the bill's backers sought to end debate and hold a vote: