Politics & Government

The Two-Way
6:16 am
Fri April 5, 2013

Reports: Obama To Propose Cuts In Social Programs

President Obama in Denver on Wednesday.
Jewel Samad AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri April 5, 2013 7:58 am

There's breaking budget news from several places this morning:

-- "President Obama next week will take the political risk of formally proposing cuts to Social Security and Medicare in his annual budget in an effort to demonstrate his willingness to compromise with Republicans and revive prospects for a long-term deficit-reduction deal, administration officials say." (The New York Times)

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Research News
3:31 am
Fri April 5, 2013

Researchers Question Obama's Motives For Brain Initiative

Originally published on Mon April 8, 2013 1:22 pm

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. Good morning, I'm David Greene.

Earlier this week, President Obama announced his new Brain Initiative. He said he wants $100 million to explore America's next great frontier in science: Mapping the human brain, to understand how the brains neurons and circuits communicate. But now that brain specialists have had a little time to reflect, some are wondering whether the president's announcement has more to do with politics and some good PR?

Here's NPR's Daniel Zwerdling.

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It's All Politics
2:16 am
Fri April 5, 2013

Sequester Scorecard: A Month Later, Effects Still Up In Air

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The U.S. Navy's Blue Angels soar over the Florida Keys during a March 23 air show. The group has canceled several air shows in April and May, reportedly owing to budget cuts.
Getty Images

Originally published on Fri April 5, 2013 9:09 am

Automatic federal budget cuts that kicked in March 1 have had little initial impact in many parts of the government. For a few programs, however, the effect has been real and painful, as the government begins cutting $85 billion from its spending through the end of September.

Many of the earliest signs of the cuts are being seen on the local level, in state programs like education that rely in part on federal dollars.

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Gun Control
5:27 pm
Thu April 4, 2013

Ala. Senate Considers Bill Relaxing Gun Control

The Alabama Senate has started a debate on easing some of the state's gun restrictions.
Credit Mike Saechang / Flickr

The Alabama Senate has started a debate on easing some of the state's gun restrictions.


The Senate voted 26-7 Thursday to consider the bill, which was an indication of its support. The bill by Republican Sen. Scott Beason of Gardendale would allow workers to keep guns locked in their vehicles while at their jobs, and would allow people to get a lifetime permit to keep guns in their vehicles all the time.


The bill is supported by the National Rifle Association and opposed by some sheriffs and the Business Council of Alabama.

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State Computers Hacked
5:02 pm
Thu April 4, 2013

Hackers Got Personal Info From State Computers

Some state employees and vendors are being notified that hackers accessed their personal information.
Credit istockphoto

Some state employees and vendors who do business with the state are being notified that their personal information was accessed when hackers infiltrated a state computer system.


The state Department of Homeland Security announced Thursday that it was making the notifications, but wouldn't say how many state employees or vendors were affected. The department says the hackers accessed personal information such as names, Social Security numbers and taxpayer identification numbers, but they didn't access taxpayer records or tax returns.

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Aviation Jobs
4:27 pm
Thu April 4, 2013

Alabama Legislature Limits Aircraft Lawsuits

The Alabama Legislature has passed a bill designed to attract Airbus suppliers to the state.
Credit Airbus

The Alabama Legislature has passed legislation designed to attract Airbus suppliers to the state.


The Senate gave final approval to the bill 27-0 Thursday and sent it to the governor, who endorsed it. The bill limits lawsuits against a plane's manufacturer and suppliers to causes of action arising within 12 years after a plane is delivered. It applies only to commercial planes with at least 100 seats.

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Bidding Public Buildings
4:23 pm
Thu April 4, 2013

Bill To Allow No-Bid Construction Projects Stopped

A bill that would have allowed the construction of public buildings without going through the traditional competition with sealed bids has been stopped in the Ala. Senate.
Credit Jay Williams / Flickr

An Alabama Senate committee has stopped a bill that would have allowed the construction of public buildings without going through the traditional competition with sealed bids.


The chairman of the Senate Commerce, Transportation and Utilities Committee got his committee to vote Thursday to carry over indefinitely the bill that would create a new option for constructing public buildings. Chairman Gerald Allen of Tuscaloosa said the construction industry was too divided over the bill, and the committee decided not to get involved.

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It's All Politics
3:47 pm
Thu April 4, 2013

Oregon Weighs Own Gun Measures After Mall Shooting, Newtown

Gun rights supporters rally at the Oregon Capitol in February.
Chris Lehman Northwest News Network

Originally published on Thu April 4, 2013 7:20 pm

Oregon state lawmakers have scheduled a marathon public hearing Friday on four gun control bills. The proposals include a ban on guns in schools and criminal background checks for private gun sales.

Opponents are lining up against the measures, but some gun control advocates say the proposals don't go far enough.

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Alabama Medicaid
8:10 am
Thu April 4, 2013

Joint Session Hears Public on Medicaid Overhaul

A joint session of the Alabama legislature heard a recap of bills intended to provide major changes to the way Medicaid is administered in the state.


Dr. Don Williamson, state health officer, says if the bill passes, eight or so regional care organizations would assume financial risk in exchange for set payments for patient care.


"We are creating a community based care system that moves from a `fee for service/state bears risk' model to a capitated model that puts a third party at risk," he told the group.

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Gun Control Legislation
7:17 am
Thu April 4, 2013

Ala. Senate to Consider Bill Relaxing Gun Control

Leaders of the Alabama Senate say they expect to consider a bill easing some of Alabama's gun restrictions.


The bill by Republican Sen. Scott Beason of Gardendale is on the Senate's proposed work agenda for Thursday. The bill is supported by the National Rifle Association and opposed by some sheriffs and the Business Council of Alabama.


It would allow people to carry a pistol in their car without getting a pistol permit, and it would allow people to keep guns locked in their vehicles at work.

Scottsboro Boys Pardon
6:55 am
Thu April 4, 2013

Ala. House Plans Vote on Scottsboro Boys Pardon

Attorney Samuel Leibowitz sitting with Haywood Patterson with his good luck horseshoe. Patterson was one of the nine young black men convicted of raping two white women.
law2.umkc.edu

The Alabama House is to vote on final passage of a bill to clear the names of the Scottsboro Boys.


The action comes more than 80 years after the nine young black men were convicted by all-white juries of raping two white women. Legislation allowing the state parole board to issue the pardons posthumously is scheduled to be first up in the House Thursday.


The bill passed the Senate by a 29-0 vote.

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The Two-Way
5:56 am
Thu April 4, 2013

'Historic' Gun Bill To Become Law In Connecticut

A Bushmaster rifle, similar to the type used by Adam Lanza during the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School, and some ammunition magazines. The sale and possession of this type of weapon, and high-capacity magazines, will be severely restricted in Connecticut under new legislation.
Michelle McLoughlin Reuters /Landov

Originally published on Thu April 4, 2013 11:27 am

Saying that on this "profoundly emotional day" he hoped that his state would serve as an example to the rest of the nation, Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy sat down Thursday at 12:20 p.m. ET to sign into law what's being described as the most sweeping gun control legislation in the nation since the Dec. 14 school shooting in Newtown, Conn.

Malloy praised lawmakers and those who helped craft the legislation for coming together "as few places in our nation have demonstrated the ability to do."

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Around the Nation
4:11 am
Thu April 4, 2013

Villaraigosa Faulted For Not Helping Latino Politicians

Originally published on Thu April 4, 2013 3:25 pm

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Los Angeles is getting ready to elect a new mayor, and the field is down to two: city comptroller Wendy Greuel and city councilman Eric Garcetti. Now, while Garcetti speaks often of his Mexican ancestry on his father's side, neither candidate is seen as a product of L.A.'s Latino community or political establishment.

And this is notable because of all the attention paid to the current mayor's background when he came to office. Here's NPR's Kirk Siegler.

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Politics
4:11 am
Thu April 4, 2013

In Colorado, Obama Pushes For Gun Control

Originally published on Thu April 4, 2013 5:38 am

President Obama was in Colorado Wednesday to highlight the state's gun control efforts as a model of what is possible for the country. Obama plans to visit Connecticut next week, to highlight that state's efforts.

It's All Politics
2:20 am
Thu April 4, 2013

The Hunt Is On For A New FBI Director

FBI Director Robert Mueller is set to leave office this year. Whomever President Obama chooses to replace him could become a big part of Obama's legacy.
Susan Walsh AP

Originally published on Thu April 4, 2013 4:11 am

Robert Mueller became FBI director just days before the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. Since then, he's been the U.S. government's indispensable man when it comes to national security.

But Mueller's term has expired, and the clock is ticking on an unprecedented extension that Congress gave him two years ago.

The first time the Obama White House thought about a replacement for Mueller, back in 2011, officials threw up their hands and wound up begging him to stay. Congress passed a special law to allow it. Then Republican Sen. Charles Grassley of Iowa put his foot down.

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