Politics & Government

'It's All Politics': NPR's Weekly News Roundup
8:33 am
Fri June 21, 2013

It's All Politics, June 20, 2013

Evan Vucci AP

NPR's Ron Elving and Ken Rudin weigh in on President Obama leaving controversies like the IRS and the NSA behind as he attended the G-8 summit in Europe. Back in Washington, the House OKs a far-reaching 20-week abortion ban bill. And former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (R) raises eyebrows saying immigrants are "more fertile" than U.S.-born citizens.

Politics & Government
6:52 am
Fri June 21, 2013

Grant to Help Victims of Midland City Bus Killing

Jay Hare / Dothan Eagle
Law enforcement officials outside of the area where Tuesday's school bus shooting suspect was barricaded in a bunker.

The Southeast Alabama Child Advocacy Center in Dothan has been awarded a federal grant of nearly $142,000 to assist people affected by the Midland City school bus shooting.

   The grant was announcement by the U.S. Justice Department's Office of Justice Programs.

   The office said the grant is the result of Jimmy Lee Dykes killing a bus driver and kidnapping a student on Jan. 29. The office said the victims include 35 children who lost their bus driver and 20 who witnessed the bus driver's death.

Politics & Government
6:34 am
Fri June 21, 2013

State Adds Second Bloodhound to Sniff Out Arson

Blaze is a Forestry Commission dog with Alabama. He's stationed in south Alabama.
Amanda Sowards/Montgomery Advertiser

The Alabama Forestry Commission is adding a new dog to help sniff out possible cases of arson.

   The agency says it recently bought a second bloodhound to help investigate cases of suspected woodlands arson.

   The commission's head law enforcement officer, Craig Hill, says the hound will be based in north Alabama to help track down possible crimes there. Her name is "Ember."

   Hill says the agency's first bloodhound, named "Blaze," is stationed in south Alabama and it's not practical to have one animal for the entire state.

Politics
5:03 am
Fri June 21, 2013

The Death Penalty's Slow But Seemingly Sure Decline

Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn speaks with reporters at the Capitol in 2011 after signing legislation abolishing the death penalty in the state.
Seth Perlman AP

Originally published on Fri June 21, 2013 12:00 pm

The death penalty has become a bit like the Cheshire cat in Alice in Wonderland. It may never fade away entirely, but capital punishment is certainly less visible or actively pursued than it used to be.

In May, Maryland became the sixth state in as many years to abolish the death penalty. Across the nation as a whole, fewer criminals are being put to death. Last year, 43 were executed, down significantly from the peak of 98 back in 1999.

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Politics
4:27 am
Fri June 21, 2013

Compromise Deal May Speed Immigration Bill Through Senate

The chances of an immigration overhaul bill getting through the Senate greatly improved on Thursday. A deal was reached on a border security plan. Steve Inskeep talks about the deal with two of the senators in the so-called "Gang of Eight," who are working on a bipartisan approach to immigration, Arizona Republican Jeff Flake and Illinois Democrat Richard Durbin.

Politics
4:22 am
Fri June 21, 2013

House Votes Down 5-Year Farm Bill

Members of the House on Thursday rejected the measure, studded with Republican priorities. In the past, the farm bill has been a model of bipartisan support. But defections in both parties spelled the bill's doom.

Shots - Health News
2:04 am
Fri June 21, 2013

With Health Exchanges Poised To Open, PR Push Draws Scrutiny

In San Jose, Calif., on June 6, President Obama encouraged people to sign up for insurance in the nation's largest health insurance market.
Stephen Lam Getty Images

Originally published on Fri June 21, 2013 8:07 pm

This weekend marks 100 days until people can begin signing up for new health insurance coverage under the federal health care law. It also marks another milestone: the launch of an enormous public relations effort to find people eligible for new coverage and urge them to sign up when the time comes.

But like everything else about the health law, even this seemingly innocuous effort has been touched by controversy.

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National Security
2:03 am
Fri June 21, 2013

Obama's Pick To Lead FBI Adds New Layer To Privacy Debate

Jim Comey, then deputy attorney general, testifies during a House Judiciary Committee hearing in 2005.
Joe Raedle Getty Images

Originally published on Fri June 21, 2013 3:34 am

President Obama will formally nominate Jim Comey to be the country's next FBI director on Friday.

Comey, a registered Republican and longtime federal prosecutor, is best-known for raising alarms inside the Bush White House about a secret electronic surveillance program. That issue has taken on new resonance after disclosures about the Obama administration's dragnet collection of American phone records.

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Politics
3:48 pm
Thu June 20, 2013

Immigration Bill Breaks Through Stall With Security Compromise

Originally published on Thu June 20, 2013 5:42 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

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.

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Environment
3:48 pm
Thu June 20, 2013

White House Plans Major New Push On Climate Change

Originally published on Thu June 20, 2013 5:42 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

The White House is planning a major new push on climate change. The initiative may include rules to limit emissions from existing power plants. That's a controversial move that environmentalists wanted for a long time. For more, NPR's Ari Shapiro joins us from the White House. And Ari, up until now, where has climate change been on the president's list of priorities, would you say?

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Politics
3:48 pm
Thu June 20, 2013

Farm Bill Meets Surprise Defeat In U.S. House

Originally published on Thu June 20, 2013 5:42 pm

The U.S. House defeated its version of the farm bill this afternoon. The bill would have cut the food stamps program and transformed subsidies for farmers from direct payments to crop insurance premium support. But Republicans lost 60 of their own members who voted no, along with most Democrats.

It's All Politics
3:31 pm
Thu June 20, 2013

4 Facts You Might Not Have Known About The IRS Scandal

Dennis Brack Landov

Originally published on Mon July 8, 2013 12:52 pm

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.

Here are four of them:

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Author Interviews
1:50 pm
Thu June 20, 2013

'The Center Holds' Sees Victory For Moderates In Obama's Win

In his new book, The Center Holds, Jonathan Alter looks at President Obama's re-election campaign.
Simon & Schuster

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.

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Politics & Government
7:36 am
Thu June 20, 2013

State Officials Approve New Hospital in Florence

State officials voted to allow RegionalCare Hospital Partners to build a 280-bed facility in Florence.

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.

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National Security
3:34 am
Thu June 20, 2013

Director Mueller Told Senate Panel FBI Uses Drones

Originally published on Thu June 20, 2013 6:07 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

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.

NPR's Carrie Johnson has more.

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