Politics & Government

Alabama Tornadoes
4:46 pm
Fri January 11, 2013

Ala. Town To Get $840K For Delayed Demolition Work

Federal officials give Cordova, Alabama $840K for delayed demolition work.

Federal officials say they'll provide an Alabama town with $840,000 to fund the long-delayed demolition of buildings that were badly damaged in the 2011 tornado outbreak.


The Federal Emergency Management Agency says the grant will cover 90 percent of the cost of demolishing what's left of downtown Cordova, which was hit by two twisters in the April 27 onslaught.


But it could still be weeks before any work begins in the Walker County city of 2,100 people.

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Politics & Government
6:37 am
Fri January 11, 2013

Alabama Counties Approved for Disaster Assistance

The front wall of the parish hall at Trinity Episcopal Church on Dauphin Street in Mobile, Ala. was torn off by a tornado Christmas Day Tuesday, Dec. 25, 2012 in Mobile, Ala.
Bill Starling/bstarling@al.com

Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley says Mobile, Pike and surrounding counties have been approved for disaster assistance because of damage sustained in the Christmas Day outbreak of tornadoes.


Bentley says the assistance will come in the form of low interest loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration.


The two primary counties listed on the disaster declaration are Mobile and Pike. But it also includes Baldwin, Barbour, Bullock, Coffee, Crenshaw, Dale, Montgomery and Washington counties in Alabama and George, Greene and Jackson counties in Mississippi.

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Politics & Government
6:22 am
Fri January 11, 2013

Roy Moore to be Sworn-In as Alabama Chief Justice

Roy Moore will be sworn-in as Chief Justice this afternoon.
blog.al.com

Roy Moore is to take the oath of office as Alabama's Supreme Court Chief Justice.


Investiture ceremony for Moore and for Supreme Court Justice-elect Tommy Bryan will be at 1:30 p.m. Friday in the Supreme Court courtroom in the Alabama Judicial Building.


Moore served as chief justice from 2001 to 2003, but was removed from office for refusing to obey a federal judge's order to remove a Ten Commandments monument from the judicial building.

Politics & Government
4:57 pm
Thu January 10, 2013

For Young Republican, Defying Boehner In Washington Plays Well Back Home

Republican House Speaker John Boehner administers the oath of office to Amash during a mock swearing-in ceremony on Jan. 5, 2011, at the start of Amash's first term.
Jacquelyn Martin AP

Originally published on Thu January 10, 2013 5:50 pm

When the rumored rebellion against House Speaker John Boehner's bid for a second term played out last week, the very first Republican to not vote for Boehner was Rep. Justin Amash, R-Mich., just three names into the alphabetical roll call.

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Hiring Rivals
4:38 pm
Thu January 10, 2013

Dale Peterson Out At Ala. Ag Department

Former candidate for Agriculture Commissioner Dale Peterson announced he will not join the Ag department as a special assistant.
Credit dalepeterson2010.com

A plan by state Agriculture Commissioner John McMillan to hire another of his rivals from the 2010 campaign is off.


McMillan had planned to hire Shelby County businessman Dale Peterson, who ran against McMillan in the Republican primary in 2010, but Peterson announced Thursday he's not going to work at the state agriculture department. Peterson says he realized McMillan was trying to neutralize him and keep him from being a potential candidate in 2014.

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Utility Rates
4:27 pm
Thu January 10, 2013

Ala. PSC Rejects Call For Formal Review Of Rates

The Alabama Public Service Commission rejects call for formal review of rates of state's three largest investor-owned utilities.
Credit http://www.psc.state.al.us/ / Alabama Public Service Commission

The Alabama Public Service Commission has blocked Commissioner Terry Dunn's request for a formal review of the rate structures for Alabama's three largest investor-owned utilities.


Dunn made a motion Thursday for formal reviews of Alabama Power, Alabama Gas and Mobile Gas, but commissioners Twinkle Cavanaugh and Jeremy Oden said an informal process is the best way to proceed. That will begin later this month with Mobile Gas.

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Politics & Government
3:45 pm
Thu January 10, 2013

Hugo Chavez Misses Inauguration Day, But Supporters Fill The Streets

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez remained in Cuba, where he's receiving treatment for cancer, and was not present for his planned inauguration in Caracas on Thursday. However, thousands of supporters gathered outside the presidential palace to show their backing.
Leo Ramirez AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu January 10, 2013 5:26 pm

Three Latin American presidents turned up, as did foreign diplomats. And thousands of President Hugo Chavez's supporters flooded the streets Thursday outside the presidential palace in Venezuela's capital, Caracas.

But Chavez himself didn't show — he remained in Cuba, incapacitated after his latest round of cancer surgery.

Still, the carefully choreographed show did go on, and Chavez's aides said he remains in charge.

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Politics & Government
3:39 pm
Thu January 10, 2013

Experience Trumps Hope In Obama's Second-Term Cabinet Selections

President Obama nominates Jacob Lew to be his second-term Treasury secretary on Thursday at the White House.
Mark Wilson Getty Images

Originally published on Fri January 11, 2013 11:34 am

A re-elected president who gets to choose a second-term Cabinet has much more knowledge of the kind of team he needs than he did the first time around.

That's one simple way to understand President Obama's decisions as he creates his Cabinet 2.0.

The choices are not those of a president-elect who hasn't moved into the White House, or of a green president who hasn't watched his first international crisis unfold from his leather seat in the White House Situation Room.

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Politics & Government
3:28 pm
Thu January 10, 2013

Estimated Costs Drive Debate As Florida Weighs Medicaid Expansion

Florida Gov. Rick Scott speaks in Fort Lauderdale in May.
J. Pat Carter AP

Originally published on Thu January 10, 2013 5:26 pm

Florida and several other states are wrestling with a decision: whether to expand Medicaid.

When the Supreme Court upheld the Affordable Care Act last year, the court said states could opt out of that part of the law. But it's key. It would provide coverage to millions of low-income Americans who currently have no health insurance.

Florida Gov. Rick Scott says he's concerned about how much expanding Medicaid would cost. But others charge the governor is exaggerating.

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Politics & Government
12:50 pm
Thu January 10, 2013

More Than 300 College Presidents Push For Changes In Gun Laws

President Elizabeth Kiss, Agnes Scott College (Courtesy of Agnes Scott College, copyright 2012)
Caroline Joe Courtesy of Agnes Scott College, copyright 2012

Originally published on Thu January 10, 2013 2:24 pm

As Vice President Joe Biden meets today with the NRA and other organizations, another group of American leaders is speaking out on the issue of gun safety.

More than 300 college and university presidents have signed an open letter to American lawmakers, urging immediate action to curb gun violence and reform gun safety laws.

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Politics & Government
12:48 pm
Thu January 10, 2013

Small Strike Against Corruption: Afghan Governors Chosen On Merit

Deputy provincial governors and district governors selected under a new merit-based program are sworn in Tuesday in Kabul. The development is part of an effort to address rampant corruption in Afghanistan.
Sean Carberry NPR

Originally published on Thu January 10, 2013 5:26 pm

Regularly ranked as one of the most corrupt countries in the world, Afghanistan has implemented what for it is a novel new program: selecting provincial and district officials on the basis of their skills, rather than connections.

By all accounts, Afghanistan's corruption is endemic at all levels of government. It's hoped the new effort will begin to curb graft, patronage and nepotism in the country's 34 provinces and roughly 360 districts.

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Politics & Government
11:00 am
Thu January 10, 2013

Three New 'Cliffs' Threaten The Economy

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange Jan. 2. Financial market participants will be keeping a close eye on upcoming deadlines affecting the U.S. debt ceiling, scheduled automatic budget cuts and federal funding.
AFP AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri January 11, 2013 2:39 pm

Maybe you were hoping you'd never hear the phrase "fiscal cliff" again after Congress passed legislation Jan. 1 to address that tax-break-expiration deadline.

Sorry.

Three more cliff-type deadlines are fast approaching. They involve: 1) raising the federal debt ceiling 2) modifying automatic, across-the-board spending cuts and 3) funding the government to avert a shutdown.

The deadlines all hit between Valentine's Day and Easter, which means new rounds of chaotic congressional negotiations may start up just after the Jan. 21 presidential inauguration parade ends.

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Politics & Government
8:48 am
Thu January 10, 2013

If Obama Took 'Executive Action' On Guns, What Might He Do?

Vice President Biden and President Obama at the White House on Dec. 19. Biden has been charged with drawing up "concrete proposals" on how to reduce gun violence.
Fang Zhe Xinhua /Landov

Originally published on Fri January 11, 2013 6:29 am

After Vice President Biden said Wednesday that the Obama administration might take some executive actions on the issues of guns and gun-related violence, questions naturally arose:

What kinds of things was he talking about? What might the administration do that doesn't require Congressional action?

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Politics & Government
6:48 am
Thu January 10, 2013

Alabama Governor Becomes Chairman of Oil Group

Governor Robert Bentley is the first Alabama governor to chair the IOGCC.
governor.alabama.gov

Gov. Robert Bentley has become the first Alabama governor to serve as chairman of the Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission.


The commission is an organization of 38 states involved in oil and natural gas production. Bentley's office said his goals as the chairman for 2013 include providing more extensive training for oil and gas inspector certification and bringing the states' regulatory and technical staffs together to share ideas and best practices.

Politics & Government
6:43 am
Thu January 10, 2013

Inauguration Package Includes Social Media Butler

Originally published on Thu January 10, 2013 2:04 pm

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Good morning. I'm Steve Inskeep, with an offer you probably can refuse. Washington, D.C. hotels offer luxury packages for those attending President Obama's second inauguration. The Madison Hotel offers one for $47,000. It includes four nights at the hotel, a car and driver, a shopping spree, and the services of a social media butler. You, too, could have someone follow you around, take your picture and chronicle your moves on Facebook and Twitter.

It's MORNING EDITION. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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