Politics & Government

Religion
10:31 am
Thu March 28, 2013

Bishop: 'I See Marriage As A Sacred Institution'

Transcript

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

I'm Michel Martin and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. Coming up, if you follow sports you might have sympathy - or not - for heartbroken March Madness fans whose schools have already flunked out. We're going to ask why we care so much when our brackets are broken. That conversation is in just a few minutes. But first we want to return to two important cases being argued in the Supreme Court this week.

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Air Traffic Control Cuts
5:50 am
Thu March 28, 2013

FAA Cutting Funding to Control Towers May 5

Dothan's air traffic control tower is in danger of closing after the FAA announced it will cut funding May 5, 2013.
JAY HARE / DOTHAN EAGLE

The Federal Aviation Administration has announced dates it plans to cut funding to 149 contract air traffic control towers — including two in Alabama.


Federal officials Wednesday announced funding will be cut to regional airports in Tuscaloosa and Dothan on May 5. FAA officials say airport operators have the choice to continue operating as a non-towered airport or continue providing services as a non-federal control tower.

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Politics
4:51 am
Thu March 28, 2013

Senators Get First-Hand Look At Border Security

Originally published on Fri March 29, 2013 8:38 am

Transcript

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Linda Wertheimer.

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

And I'm David Greene. Good morning. There is new momentum for a major overhaul of the nation's immigration laws. As usual, it's just a matter of closing the deal. Among those trying to hash out a compromise is the so-called Gang of Eight, a bipartisan group of U.S. senators. Yesterday, four of them took time out of their congressional recess to visit Arizona for a firsthand look at border security.

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Around the Nation
4:51 am
Thu March 28, 2013

Chicago School Closings Widens Gap Between Teachers, City

Originally published on Thu March 28, 2013 8:18 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

This is MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. Good morning. I'm David Greene.

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

And I'm Linda Wertheimer.

The city of Chicago wants to close dozens of public schools, claiming that money could be better spent. But protests are growing. Hundreds of members of the Chicago Teachers Union and other labor groups rallied yesterday.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Whose schools?

UNIDENTIFIED GROUP: Our schools.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Whose schools?

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Home Brewing
4:42 pm
Wed March 27, 2013

Alabama Last State To Prohibit Home Brewing

Alabama is now the only state that prohibits home brewing.
Credit Tim Pearce / Flickr

With Mississippi legalizing home brewing, Alabama is now the only state that doesn't allow citizens to brew small amounts of beer or wine at home for personal use.


Home brewing enthusiasts have been trying since 2009 to get the Alabama Legislature to legalize what several thousand people are already doing illegally. But they have always met with strong opposition. Home brewing bills have won approval from legislative committees and could come up for a vote in the House or Senate soon.

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It's All Politics
3:23 pm
Wed March 27, 2013

Skim Milk, States' Rights And Political Clout: The High Court And DOMA

This artist rendering shows Roberta Kaplan, attorney for plaintiff Edith Windsor, addressing the Supreme Court during arguments on the Defense of Marriage Act on Wednesday.
Dana Verkouteren AP

Originally published on Wed March 27, 2013 5:17 pm

The U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments Wednesday in a challenge to the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act, which defines marriage as between "one man and one woman as husband and wife."

It was the court's second and final day of hearing appeals involving same-sex marriage laws. And it served up some memorable observations from the high court denizens.

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg characterized same-sex unions under DOMA, which limits federal spousal benefits to heterosexual couples, as the equivalent of "skim milk" marriages.

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Politics
1:17 pm
Wed March 27, 2013

The Politics Of Guns And The Influence Of Advertising

Originally published on Thu March 28, 2013 10:50 am

Transcript

NEAL CONAN, HOST:

This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan, in Washington. Another Democrat steps away from the Senate, the price of previous presidents, and the present president calls out Congress on immigration. It's Wednesday and time for a...

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: Political courage...

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?

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Around the Nation
11:19 am
Wed March 27, 2013

Respectful Gay Marriage Debate An 'Enormous Step'

Transcript

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

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The Two-Way
11:18 am
Wed March 27, 2013

Votes May Be There To Strike Down DOMA, But There's A Big 'If'

Demonstrators gathered again outside the Supreme Court Wednesday as the time approached for another case to be heard about issues related to same-sex marriage.
Chip Somodevilla Getty Images

Originally published on Wed March 27, 2013 1:52 pm

  • NPR's Nina Totenberg: If the court strikes down DOMA, what would be the grounds?
  • NPR's Nina Totenberg: An interesting exchange about the 'power' of DOMA opponents.
  • NPR's Nina Totenberg: On what happens if the court declines to decide.

(We most recently updated the top of this post at 1:45 p.m. ET.)

There seem to be four solid votes on the Supreme Court — and possibly a fifth — to strike down the Defense of Marriage Act that bars federal recognition of same-sex marriages, NPR's Nina Totenberg told us after Wednesday's oral arguments before the nine justices.

But there's a big "if."

As in: There's possibly a 5-vote majority to strike down the law if the court first decides it should even issue an opinion.

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Orange Beach T-shirt ban
7:35 am
Wed March 27, 2013

Orange Beach Votes to Ban Items Deemed Offensive

Orange Beach Mayor Tony Kennon started pushing for a law banning T-shirts and other merchandise deemed offensive after a recent trip to an Orange Beach souvenir shop.
cityoforangebeach.com

The city council in Orange Beach has approved a measure banning T-shirts and other items deemed offensive.


The council voted 4-1 on Tuesday in favor of the ordinance, which prohibits stores from openly displaying merchandise that could be considered offensive. Al.com (http://bit.ly/13wB8o4) reports that the ordinance restricts items that could be considered offensive to the areas of the stores that only adults can enter.


Mayor Tony Kennon started pushing for the law following a recent trip to an Orange Beach souvenir shop.

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Politics & Government
6:56 am
Wed March 27, 2013

Ala Seeking Again to Close Abortion Clinic

Alabama health officials want to shut down New Woman All Women Health Care in Birmingham, calling it an unlicensed abortion provider.
WBRC-TV

Alabama health officials say they're again trying to shut down a Birmingham abortion clinic they claim is operating illegally.


The state asked a judge in Birmingham on Tuesday to close New Woman All Women Health Care, calling it an unlicensed abortion provider.


Operators agreed to shut down the clinic last year after a state investigation found irregularities.


But an attorney for the Department of Public Health, Brian Hale, says the clinic still advertises itself as an abortion provider, and a doctor there still performs the procedure.

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EWTN Health Care lawsuit
6:28 am
Wed March 27, 2013

Judge Tosses Health Lawsuit by Ala-Based EWTN

EWTN's main studio in Irondale, Alabama. The Roman Catholic broadcasting organization is talking with its attorneys after a federal judge dismissed its lawsuit challenging part of the new health care law.
en.wikipedia.org

An Alabama-based religious broadcasting organization is reviewing its options after a federal judge dismissed its lawsuit challenging part of the new federal health care law.

U.S. District Judge Sharon Lovelace Blackburn threw out the lawsuit filed the Irondale-based Eternal Word Television Network in February. The judge says the issue isn't ready for court because rules are still changing.

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The Two-Way
5:42 am
Wed March 27, 2013

Day 1 Didn't Tell Us Too Much About Day 2 Of Same-Sex Marriage Cases

An artist's sketch of the scene inside the U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday.
Reuters /Landov

Originally published on Wed March 27, 2013 10:22 am

  • From 'Morning Edition': Nina Totenberg previews Wednesday's case

As we wait for the Supreme Court to convene again at 10 a.m. ET and begin the second of two historic days of oral arguments focusing on legal issues surrounding same-sex marriage, there's a natural question:

Did Day 1 — a case about California's Proposition 8 ban on gay marriage — tell us much about how the justices will tackle Wednesday's case?

NPR's Nina Totenberg told us Tuesday that the short answer is no.

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Politics
4:09 am
Wed March 27, 2013

GOP Eyes S.D. Senate Seat, Tim Johnson To Retire

South Dakota Senator Tim Johnson says he will not seek a fourth term in the U.S. Senate. The Democrat has served in Washington since winning the lone House seat in 1986. The decision thrills Republican in the state who see a chance to pick up a seat. Democrats are hoping they can field a strong enough candidate to prevent that.

State Park Cuts
10:38 pm
Tue March 26, 2013

Cuts To State Park Operations May Be Ahead

Cuts to the state parks system could be coming due to new legislation.
Credit Trance Mist / Flickr

  The state conservation department says it may eliminate some services and cut back hours of operation at state parks across Alabama.


The department's state parks director, Gregory Lien, has written a letter to community leaders explaining the circumstances.


Parks officials said the possible cuts stem from pending legislation that would divert $5 million in tax revenue that has been used in prior years to support the parks. Instead, the parks would rely only on the money they generate, which is not sufficient to maintain services.

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