You've likely seen or heard a news story in recent years that began something like this: F. Scott Fitzgerald once wrote, there are no second acts in American lives. But Fitzgerald clearly never met - fill in the blank.
It seems a whole generation of American politicians has fallen from grace only to rise again and disprove the line: Bill Clinton, Newt Gingrich, Eliot Spitzer. And just last night, South Carolina's newest congressman, Mark Sanford.
On July 21, 2010, President Obama signed into law the Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, commonly known as the Dodd-Frank bill. Reporter Gary Rivlin says "the passage of Dodd-Frank was something of a miracle." But to the chief lobbyist for the Financial Services Roundtable, a lobbying group that represents 100 of the country's largest financial institutions, it was just "halftime."
This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan in Washington. In the end, it's not close in South Carolina. Polls show it could be in Massachusetts. And the president studies up on Korean culture. It's Wednesday and time for a...
PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: Gangnam style...
CONAN: Edition of the political junkie.
(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDINGS)
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?
President Obama's job approval has inched up in recent weeks, but the percentage of Americans who say they believe he is effective has taken a hit, according to a Pew Research Center survey released Wednesday.
And while the image of Republican leadership remains "deeply negative," and continues bearing the brunt of the blame for Washington gridlock, the survey found that the GOP runs even with Democrats on the key issues of the economy, immigration and guns.
The Alabama Senate worked late Tuesday night to approve an education budget and a 2 percent pay raise for K-12 employees.
The Senate voted 22-11 for a nearly $5.8 billion budget that would increase spending slightly on schools next year. Then it voted 18-16 to give teachers a 2 percent raise. Both the budget and the pay raise bill must return to the House for review on Thursday.
The raise would be the first for K-12 employees since October 2007. It would take effect when the new budget begins on Oct. 1.
The Alabama Legislature has voted to legalize home brewing.
The Senate voted 18-7 Tuesday night for a home brewing bill. The bill passed the House earlier and now goes to the governor for signing into law. Gov. Robert Bentley said recently he had no objections to the bill because it does not allow home brewers to sell their beer or wine.
Alabama has been the only state prohibiting home brewing. The bill allows adults to make 15 gallons of beer or wine every three months.
The Senate is considering legislation to prevent a global helium shortage from worsening in October. That's when one huge supply of helium in the U.S. is set to terminate. The House overwhelmingly passed its own bill last month to keep the Federal Helium Program going.
That was a relief to industries that can't get along without helium. The gas is used in MRI machines, semiconductors, aerospace equipment, lasers and of course balloons.
Updated at 9:29 pm ET--- Former South Carolina Republican governor Mark Sanford easily beat Democrat Elizabeth Colbert Busch to regain the House seat he once held.
For Sanford, the victory in the strongly Republican 1st Congressional District was sure to be widely viewed as a personal redemption. Sanford left the governor's mansion in 2009 after an extramarital affair with an Argentinian woman who is now his fiancee led to the breakup of his marriage.
An Alabama House committee has passed a bill that will allow school systems to hire trained resource officers to provide security in their schools and for the school system to pay for the cost of training and hiring the officers.
The director of Alabama's Department of Homeland Security, Spencer Collier, said it's a way of insuring that Alabama student are safe when at school.
"To get people trained as police officers is the best way to make sure schools are safe," Collier said.