One argument used by some conservatives in the Supreme Court cases is that gay Americans have become so politically powerful and prominent they don't need special consideration from the courts. Whether or not that's true, it is clear that lesbian-gay-bisexual-and-transgendered advocacy groups have built a strong network of lobbyists and political activists in Washington, D.C.
This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. And President Obama heads home from the Middle East today after a mixed reception to his four-day visit. Mr. Obama spent much of that time in Israel trying to lay the groundwork to revive the long-stalled peace process with Palestinians. He also traveled to the West Bank and met with Jordan's King Abdullah. NPR's Scott Horsley has a recap.
The soul-searching over the Defense of Marriage Act went viral last week after Ohio Republican Sen. Rob Portman, a social conservative and original co-sponsor of the 1996 bill, sought out CNN to say something no one saw coming.
Portman said he'd decided to oppose DOMA and support same-sex marriage, two years after learning his college-age son was gay.
As the U.S. Supreme Court prepares to weigh in on gay marriage, Maggie Gallagher, one of the nation's leading voices in opposition to same-sex marriage, is also preparing for what might come next.
Gallagher, co-founder of the National Organization for Marriage, likes to call herself an "accidental activist." After graduating from Yale in 1982, she thought she'd become a writer and focus on what she called "important things," like money and war. She never fathomed she'd end up on TV almost daily, smack in the middle of the war zone over gay marriage.
A lot of fanfare followed last November's election, when the number of women in the U.S. Senate surged to 20 — more than ever before.
But quieter victories came after. Female senators now claim an unprecedented number of leadership positions, and for the first time in history, women are at the helm of both the Appropriations and Budget committees — as well as half of the Armed Services subcommittees.
Now we begin a series of stories that will continue next week on the program, a story that's central to our economy but rarely discussed. It's about 14 million Americans who don't have jobs and who don't show up in any of the unemployment measures we use - 14 million Americans who are invisible to the American economy and essential to understanding it. Here's NPR's Chana Joffe-Walt with our Planet Money team.
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Melissa Block.
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And I'm Robert Siegel. More than two dozen detainees at the prison at Guantanamo Bay are on a hunger strike. U.S. officials say the prisoners are refusing meals because after a decade in detention without trial, they feel they have been forgotten. But lawyers for the men tell a different story. NPR's Dina Temple-Raston reports.
This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED, from NPR News. I'm Robert Siegel.
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I'm Melissa Block. And first up this hour, President Obama's tour of the Middle East. There are two headlines from that trip today - new aid for people fleeing Syria's civil war; and new diplomatic ties between two of Washington's key allies in the region, Turkey and Israel. First, the aid money. The president met with Jordan's King Abdullah today. He pledged $200 million to Jordan, to help care for the flood of refugees from Syria.
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Melissa Block.
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And I'm Robert Siegel. Former NFL quarterback Drew Bledsoe has been a lot of places since his glory days with the New England Patriots. He went on to play for Buffalo and Dallas and in his retirement, he returned to his hometown of Walla Walla, Washington, where he founded a winery. Bledsoe has not forgotten his New England fans. In fact, he wants people in Massachusetts to be able to buy his wine and, for that matter, other wines online.
Doctors and hospital administrators in parts of the country that are heavy Medicare spenders can relax their grips on their prescription pads and billing computers.
An influential panel on Friday panned the idea raised in Congress to pay them less for Medicare services if their regions are heavy users of medical services.
The idea is an outgrowth of decades of research into why Medicare spends more per beneficiary in some places such as New York City, Florida and McAllen, Texas, and significantly less in parts of Minnesota and Wisconsin.
Originally published on Fri March 22, 2013 12:46 pm
Feeding toddlers can be a challenge, so it's easy to see the lure of prepackaged favorites like mac and cheese. But many of those foods deliver startlingly high amounts of sodium, some with three times more than recommended in a single serving, according to a new survey.
The offenders include not just savory snacks but also healthful-sounding foods like pasta and chicken, according to Joyce Maalouf, a fellow at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Two teens accused of rape in Steubenville, Ohio were convicted and sentenced this week. Host Michel Martin talks to the Barbershop guys about how the victim — and the perpetrators — were treated in the press. Writer Jimi Izrael, political science professor Lester Spence, civil rights attorney Arsalan Iftikhar and Republican strategist R. Clarke Cooper discuss the week's news. ADVISORY: Please note, this conversation includes a discussion about rape and may not be suitable for all listeners.
Originally published on Fri March 22, 2013 8:59 am
A 61-year-old French man on a US Airways flight out of Philadelphia almost got an upgrade by playing pilot.
Philippe Jernnard of La Rochelle, France, had a ticket and was denied an upgrade for the West Palm Beach, Fla., flight departing Philadelphia International Airport on Wednesday. He later showed up in the cockpit jump seat wearing a white shirt with an Air France logo and a black jacket with epaulets, CBS News reports.
Originally published on Fri March 22, 2013 6:25 am
Earlier this week, we told you about the head of Colorado's Department of Corrections who was shot and killed after answering the front door of his home.
On Thursday, a Colorado parolee who may be linked to Tom Clements' killing led Texas deputies on a high-speed car chase that ended only when he crashed into a semitrailer, opened fire and was subsequently shot down.
The tiny dynamo asking the U.S. Supreme Court to turn the world upside down looks nothing like a fearless pioneer. At age 83, Edith Windsor dresses in classic, tailored clothes, usually with a long string of pearls, and she sports a well-coiffed, shoulder-length flip. She looks, for all the world, like a proper New York City lady.
Proper she may be, and a lady, but Windsor, who likes to be called Edie, is making history, challenging the federal Defense of Marriage Act, known as DOMA. The law bans federal recognition and benefits for legally married same-sex couples.
Now to the ever-entertaining world of South Carolina politics. Candidates in a special election for Congress include a former governor who gave hiking the Appalachian Trail entirely new meaning. That's Republican Mark Sanford, who wasn't hiking back in 2009, as reported by his staff, but was having an extramarital affair in Argentina that ended his marriage and his political aspirations for a time.
Originally published on Fri March 22, 2013 1:30 pm
Small children aren't great at sharing, as any parent or preschool teacher knows. But little kids get cut a lot of slack on the presumption that they don't know any better.
Well, the jig is up. Researchers have found that 3-year-olds know darned well that sharing is the right thing to do. But when given the chance to share stickers with another child, they hoarded instead.
That flipped around by age 8, the children shared stickers, giving half to another child.
We'd like to turn to a surprisingly emotional and difficult issue in education right now. It's the debate over closing schools. Cities across the country are talking about this, especially in areas where budgets are tight and there is pressure on educators to achieve better results.
Originally published on Fri March 22, 2013 1:29 pm
Now children's doctors say it's time for same-sex marriage to be the law of the land.
For the first time, the American Academy of Pediatrics said in a policy statement Thursday that it favors "civil marriage for same-gender couples — as well as full adoption and foster care rights for parents regardless of their sexual orientation ...."
For vegetable lovers, the start of spring can be a cruel tease, hinting of a feast of just-picked peas and spinach and beets, but delivering instead tired iceberg and romaine shipped from distant climes.
"It's zero here right now," Terry Nennich reported Wednesday morning, the first official day of spring, from Grand Rapids, Minn. So much for spring. Not only was it well below freezing, but the ground remained blanketed by 2 feet of snow.