From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Melissa Block.
ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:
And I'm Robert Siegel. We begin this hour with what appears to be a major breakthrough in the Senate on immigration. The legislation has been stalled, as some senators complained that it did not do enough to secure the border with Mexico. Well, today, a compromise has been struck. It would nearly double the number of border patrol agents at the Mexican border.
For a little more than a month now, we've been reporting on the IRS's flagging of Tea Party and conservative groups for extra scrutiny. Through it all, some basic questions remain: Who ordered the targeting? And why?
We don't have any satisfying answers to those questions yet — and it seems neither do the congressional investigators. But along the way, as new revelations have trickled out, we've noticed some surprising and even puzzling facts about the situation that haven't gotten much attention.
Journalist Jonathan Alter sees the 2012 presidential contest as the most consequential election of recent times. In his new book, The Center Holds, Alter argues that President Obama's re-election prevented the country from veering sharply to the right.
State officials have voted to allow a nearly 300-bed hospital to be built in northern Alabama.
The TimesDaily of Florence (http://bit.ly/14KN7fM) reports the Certificate of Need board voted unanimously Wednesday to allow RegionalCare Hospital Partners to build a 280-bed facility in Florence.
The facility is set to replace the Eliza Coffee Memorial Hospital. Representatives from the Helen Keller Hospital in Sheffield spoke out against RegionalCare's plan to build the new 280-bed facility, saying a hospital of that size could put Helen Keller out of business.
On a Thursday, it's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Steve Inskeep.
RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:
And I'm Renee Montagne. Good Morning.
In one of his final appearances on Capitol Hill, normally media-shy FBI Director Robert Mueller made some news. Mueller, who's retiring in September, acknowledged that the FBI has started to deploy unarmed drones in the U.S. Still, he played down how often agents use those drones.
As the Senate debates a massive overhaul of the nation's immigration laws, one of its newest members has emerged as a leading opponent of the bill's most controversial feature: a path to citizenship for millions living in the country unlawfully.
The views of that freshman senator — Texas Republican Ted Cruz — have been significantly colored by the saga of his own father, an immigrant from Cuba.
"In my opinion, if we allow those who are here illegally to be put on a path to citizenship, that is incredibly unfair to those who follow the rules," Cruz has said.
Republican Gov. Rick Scott, who is already executing prisoners faster than any Florida governor in modern times, signed a bill Monday designed to speed up the death penalty process.
Six weeks ago, Democratic Gov. Martin O'Malley moved in the opposite direction: He signed a bill abolishing the death penalty, making Maryland the sixth state to end capital punishment in as many years.
A 7-foot-tall statue of famed, lion-maned abolitionist Frederick Douglass that was dedicated Wednesday on Capitol Hill is perhaps best understood as a bronze symbol of the partisan divide in Washington and of racial politics.
The ex-slave, who later became a friend of President Abraham Lincoln, was a federal official and an important journalist of his day. It took years for a statue of him to land a spot because it became a proxy in the fight over voting rights and statehood for Washington, D.C.
The world's wealthiest nations are promising to fight what they call the scourge of tax evasion. This week's meeting of the Group of Eight industrialized countries concluded with a pledge to end the use of tax shelters by multinational corporations.
But there are still big questions about how they will make a dent in the problem.
In the aftermath of the global recession, countries all over the world have struggled with budget shortfalls. More and more of them have come to blame part of their revenue problems on one culprit — tax avoidance.
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel. In front of Berlin's Brandenburg Gate today, President Obama stood, as he said, along the fault line where a city was divided. In a speech on the former path of the Berlin Wall, Mr. Obama said that while the barbed wire and checkpoints are gone from the city, the struggle for freedom and prosperity continues in many other parts of the world.
This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan in Washington. The speaker clamps the Hastert Rule on immigration reform. Three Republican senators now support gay marriage. And the Bay State Senate race goes into its last week. It's Wednesday and time for a penultimate edition of the political junkie.
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PRESIDENT RONALD REAGAN: There you go again.
VICE PRESIDENT WALTER MONDALE: When I hear your new ideas, I'm reminded of that ad: Where's the beef?
Originally published on Wed June 19, 2013 12:01 pm
We didn't plan it, but somehow, it has turned into Potato Week here at The Salt. The latest twist in the tater tales takes us to Capitol Hill.
Americans love to pile on the potatoes – we consumed a whopping 112 pounds per capita last year. But lately, the potato industry has been playing the part of jilted lover and taking its heartache to Congress.
According to the National Potato Council, the U.S. Department of Agriculture "discriminates" against fresh, white potatoes.
The White House says the United States will arm Syrian rebels, but a new poll shows most Americans don't like the idea. Guest host Celeste Headlee speaks with Shadi Hamid of The Brookings Institution, about America's current and future involvement in Syria.