The House of Representatives has voted to prohibit the Justice Department from hiring more attorneys to deal with thousands of backlogged clemency petitions in a bid to block one of the Obama administration's top criminal justice priorities.
Perhaps validating what public opinion surveys have been showing for some time, the House voted in Friday's wee hours to prohibit the federal government from interfering with medical marijuana laws passed by 32 states and the District of Columbia.
We told you about lawmakers' proposal to give some school districts a way to temporarily opt out of the new, federal healthy school lunch standards.
The waiver provision was put forward by Alabama Republican Robert Aderholt, who says he supports healthy meals for school kids, but has heard complaints from schools in his district about the challenges of mandating kids to eat more fruits, vegetables and whole grains at lunch.
The nation's largest experiment with charter schools is expanding.
The Recovery School District, a state control board that runs most schools in New Orleans, shut down the last of its five traditional public schools this week, making it the first all-charter system in the nation.
The Tewaaraton Award is college lacrosse's equivalent of the Heisman Trophy, given to the best player in the country each year. The award takes its name from the Mohawk word for lacrosse, as a way to honor the sport's Native American origins. The bronze trophy depicts a Mohawk man with a lacrosse stick, surging forward.
Good morning, let's hear more now about the resignation of Eric Shinseki, Secretary of Veterans Affairs. President Obama says he accepted that resignation a short time ago at the White House. He had just finished making a statement after the two men held a short private meeting. The President Shinseki's resignation has been accepted partly for political reasons, in that he says it would be politically difficult for Shinseki to focus on the questions at hand for the VA.
This is MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm David Greene.
STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:
And I'm Steve Inskeep. Good morning. Eric Shinseki, the embattled secretary of Veterans Affairs, meets this hour with President Obama at the White House. Now, earlier today, Shinseki spoke at a conference on homeless veterans, and addressed what he called the elephant in the room. The issue of VA clinics lying about how quickly they were seeing patients.
Edward Snowden says that during his time as a contractor with the National Security Agency he raised concerns about the extent of its electronic surveillance, but the NSA's own search of email shows he only asked the agency's legal department for a single "clarification" on a technical issue.
President Obama's speech this week to the West Point grads was for them, their families, the Army they will help lead and the nation they serve. But through much of the hourlong presentation the president seemed to be addressing another large and varied crowd: his critics.
Critics of the food stamp program have been alarmed in recent years by its rapid growth. Last year, about 1 in 7 people in the U.S. received food stamps, or SNAP benefits, as they're called. That's almost 48 million people, a record high.
But the numbers have started to drop. In February, the last month for which figures were available, 1.6 million fewer people received food stamps than at the peak in December 2012, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which runs the program.
You can find bottles of Sriracha and Tapatio, two of America's most popular hot sauces, sharing space with the ketchup and mayo in millions of American refrigerators, on the shelves of supermarkets and adorning the tables of restaurants across the country.
And until July 12, the fiery condiments are conquering yet another space: the walls of a museum.
The agricultural economies of southern Great Plains states have withered after four years of extreme drought. Farmers in Oklahoma are bracing for one of the worst wheat crops in the state's history. As StateImpact's Joe Wertz tells us, that poor wheat harvest could have national consequences.
JOE WERTZ: Wayne Schmedt adjust's his faded, blue baseball cap and crouches down in a wind-whipped field of stunted wheat.
W. SCHMEDT: We don't have any use for this, so we'll give it to you as a souvenir.
As President Obama continues to take heat for nominating to the federal bench a judge who once wanted to keep the Confederate emblem on the Georgia state flag, the White House says what's partly to blame for the choice is an old Senate tradition.
It turns out that tradition â€” which gives virtual veto power over judicial nominations to home state senators â€” helps explain why almost all the judicial vacancies without nominees are now in states with Republican senators.
From NPR News is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel.
MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:
And I'm Melissa block. More than 65 million Americans have some kind of rap sheet. That's more than one in four adults. Criminal records follow people for the rest of their lives, and those black marks can hurt chances for housing and employment. Well today a new report says it's time to start thinking about forgiveness. NPR justice correspondent Carrie Johnson has the story.
Members of Amish communities in Ohio traveled to the Philippines for heartfelt reasons: They were there on service projects to help less fortunate people. Unfortunately, they came home with unwelcome hitchhikers: measles viruses.
Those travelers hadn't been vaccinated against this highly contagious disease, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Thursday. As a result, they have triggered an outbreak of more than 130 cases, primarily among their unvaccinated friends and relatives in Amish communities.
A federal judge has put Ohio's next two scheduled executions on hold, saying he needs more information about the state's proposed changes to its lethal injection process.
A scarcity of the drugs that were once commonly used to carry out U.S. executions has complicated the lethal injection process â€” and has prompted several death row inmates to challenge whether Ohio and other states are violating the Constitution's protections against cruel and unusual punishment.
From Ohio Public Radio, Karen Kasler reports for our Newscast unit:
In late January, a mentally ill man was shot and killed by two police officers in Lodi, Calif., south of Sacramento. Tragedy often follows a confrontation between the police and a mentally ill person, but the facts of this case are in dispute.
The victim was a Sikh Army veteran, and his death has roiled the Sikh community and the city. On a recent Saturday evening, more than 100 people gathered at the Sikh temple in the largely agricultural community of Lodi, to remember Parminder Shergill.
The attacks near the University of California, Santa Barbara, are renewing focus on programs aimed at requiring treatment for people who are mentally ill as a way to prevent mass shootings and other violence.
In California, a 2002 law allows authorities to require outpatient mental health care for people who have been refusing it. Proponents argue that this kind of intervention could prevent violent acts.
But counties within the state have been slow to adopt the legislation, and mental health professionals are divided over its effects.
President Obama gave the graduation speech Wednesday at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, using the occasion to describe "the next phase" of the U.S. war against terrorism and his ideas about national defense and foreign policy in general. Here are a few general impressions.
Attorney General Eric Holder took his case for overhauling the criminal justice system to an unlikely location on Wednesday â€” a closed-door conference of prosecutors, who were meeting at their national training center in Columbia, South Carolina.
According to a person familiar with Holder's unpublicized remarks, Holder urged an audience of criminal division chiefs from U.S. Attorney's offices to support Smart on Crime initiatives that would reduce some drug sentences and to open up the clemency process to hundreds of inmates with clean records in prison.
U.S. officials are investigating claims circulated on social media sites that an American fighting with Syria's rebels helped carry out a suicide truck bombing in the war-torn country over the weekend.