Funeral services for New Jersey Senator Frank Lautenberg will be held tomorrow in Manhattan, but the political maneuvering to replace the long-serving Democrat is already underway. Senator Lautenberg died yesterday. And today, New Jersey's Republican governor, Chris Christie, ordered a special election to fill the seat this fall. As NPR's Joel Rose reports, that is not what many in Christie's party wanted.
The civil war in Syria is attracting fighters from all over, increasing sectarian tensions in other Muslim countries, threatening the region's tenuous stability, bringing the threat of Russian missiles, and leaving the U.S with few good options.
More than 80,000 people have been killed so far in Syria's civil war, and 4 million of Syria's 20 million people have been displaced. Robert Malley, the program director for Middle East and North Africa for the International Crisis Group, calls it "one of the most catastrophic humanitarian disasters we're facing."
Former California Rep. Randy "Duke" Cunningham is a free man today, after spending more than seven years in prison on bribery and other charges. A distinguished Vietnam War veteran and former Navy pilot, Cunningham's 15-year career in Congress ended abruptly when he admitting to taking $2.4 million in bribes from defense contractors and evading taxes.
Saying that "insiders and a few party elites" should not choose the person who permanently replaces Sen. Frank Lautenberg, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie announced Tuesday afternoon that there will be primaries on Aug. 13 and a special election on Oct. 16.
Already under fire for how some personnel gave extra scrutiny to conservative groups' applications for tax-exempt status, the Internal Revenue Service is also dealing with an inspector general's criticism of the $4.1 million spent on a conference in 2010.
Posted here, the Treasury Department audit concludes that:
This is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. I'm Michel Martin. Later in the program we are going to dig into a new survey of African-American attitudes about their lives, and some of the findings may surprise you. We'll also talk about how that 401(k) retirement plan, once a fresh idea, may need some new thinking.
It's time to solve this week's ScuttleButton puzzle.
ScuttleButton, of course, is that once-a-week waste of time exercise in which each Tuesday or Wednesday I put up a vertical display of buttons on this site. Your job is to simply take one word (or concept) per button, add 'em up, and, hopefully, you will arrive at a famous name or a familiar expression. (And seriously, by familiar, I mean it's something that more than one person on Earth would recognize.)
Within the U.S. military now, it seems hardly a day goes by without some new accusation of sexual assault. The problem has the attention of top officers, even the Secretary of Defense. Still, lawmakers say the Pentagon is not doing enough to stem a growing number of sex crimes. A Senate committee is holding a hearing today on what Congress can do about sexual assault in the military.
When Democratic Senator Frank Lautenberg died yesterday at 89, he was the Senate's last World War II veteran and its oldest member. Though Lautenberg didn't plan to run again, his passing hands New Jersey Governor Chris Christie a political opportunity: to appoint a Republican to represent the state in the Senate, the first in more than three decades. Still, as New Jersey Public Radio's Nancy Solomon reports, the political choice facing Christie is anything but simple.
This is MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. Good morning. I'm Renee Montagne.
LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:
And I'm Linda Wertheimer.
Today on Capitol Hill, Congress turns its attention to two federal institutions that have been losing the confidence of the American people. In a minute, we'll hear about an effort in the Senate to crackdown on sexual abuse in the U.S. military.
Anyone searching for the place where the friction between the Obama White House and congressional Republicans is throwing off the most angry sparks need look no further than the clashes between the administration and Rep. Darrell Issa.
MOBILE, Ala. (AP) — Former Republican candidate for governor Bradley Byrne has entered the special election in the 1st Congressional District. Byrne announced his candidacy Tuesday at an event on the Mobile Causeway. He is seeking the seat being vacated by Republican Jo Bonner of Mobile, who is taking a job with the University of Alabama System. The governor has not yet set a date for the special election. Byrne says Congress needs to balance the budget by not raising taxes and by holding the line on spending. He called for simplifying the tax code and lowering rates for everyone.