Politics & Government

It's All Politics
12:28 pm
Tue December 16, 2014

With Facebook Post, Jeb Bush Takes A Big Step Toward 2016

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush's Facebook announcement comes following a series of statements that he would soon decide on a presidential run.
Facebook

Originally published on Tue December 16, 2014 7:21 pm

After months of hints and Hamlet-esque worries about the woes of a modern presidential campaign, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush announced on a Facebook post that he is "actively" exploring a presidential run.

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Business
12:23 pm
Tue December 16, 2014

Economists: Congress Gets A Hat Tip (Barely) For Its Efforts

The Capitol's dome and Christmas tree are illuminated on Dec. 11 as Congress worked to pass a $1.1 trillion U.S. government-wide spending bill and avoid a government shutdown.
J. Scott Applewhite AP

Originally published on Tue December 16, 2014 9:59 pm

As the latest Congress draws to a close, economists are looking back — and seeing little.

Lawmakers passed no measures addressing tax reform, trade, immigration or even the minimum wage.

But judged by the very low standards of recent years, the 113th Congress did manage to win at least light applause from economists who are watching as the curtain goes down.

Sure, Congress allowed a disruptive government shutdown in 2013 — but it avoided repeating that drama in 2014.

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The Two-Way
9:38 am
Tue December 16, 2014

Jeb Bush Announces He Will 'Actively Explore' Presidential Run

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush talks to supporters after speaking at the U.S. Cuba Democracy PAC's annual luncheon in Coral Gables, Fla., on Dec. 2.
J Pat Carter AP

Originally published on Tue December 16, 2014 11:06 am

Jeb Bush, the former Republican governor of Florida and the brother and son of two former U.S. presidents, has essentially kicked off the 2016 presidential campaign with a pre-announcement announcement on Facebook.

Saying he had conversations with his family about the future of the country, Bush said he had decided to "actively explore" a presidential run.

He went on:

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Politics
4:15 am
Tue December 16, 2014

Siding With Obama On Deportations Hurts Saldana's Bipartisan Support

Originally published on Tue December 16, 2014 6:31 am

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Law
3:39 am
Tue December 16, 2014

Judge Regrets Harsh Human Toll Of Mandatory Minimum Sentences

The shocking death of basketball player Len Bias from a cocaine overdose in 1986 led Congress to pass tough mandatory sentences for drug crimes.
AP

Originally published on Wed December 17, 2014 2:08 pm

It seems long ago now, but in the 1960s, '70s and '80s, murders and robberies exploded as cocaine and other illegal drugs ravaged American cities.

Then came June 19, 1986, when the overdose of a college athlete sent the nation into shock just days after the NBA draft. Basketball star Len Bias could have been anybody's brother or son.

Congress swiftly responded by passing tough mandatory sentences for drug crimes. Those sentences, still in place, pack federal prisons to this day. More than half of the 219,000 federal prisoners are serving time for drug offenses.

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Law
3:07 am
Tue December 16, 2014

From Judges To Inmates, Finding The Human Casualties Of Mandatory Sentencing

NPR's series looks at the human toll of mandatory minimum prison sentences. The White House and the Justice Department have taken the unprecedented step of asking for candidates who might win early release from prison through presidential pardons or commutations in the final years of the Obama presidency.
Dan Henson iStockphoto

Originally published on Fri December 19, 2014 1:34 pm

The United States spends nearly $7 billion a year to operate a network of federal prisons that house more than 200,000 inmates. About half of them are incarcerated for drug crimes, a legacy of 1980s laws that prosecutors use to target not only kingpins but also low-level couriers and girlfriends. Multiple convictions for small-time offenses under those laws mean thousands of people are locked up for decades, or even the rest of their lives.

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Parallels
2:47 am
Tue December 16, 2014

Kurdish Officials Worry About Kurds Joining The Islamic State

The Iraqi town of Halabja is dominated by Kurds, the group that has been fighting the Islamic State in northern Iraq. However, some Kurdish residents have been slipping away to join the Islamic State.
Yahya Ahmad Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Tue December 16, 2014 5:15 pm

In the northern Iraqi city of Halabja, near the border with Iran, we knock on the door of a 16-year-old boy who disappeared. His family says he lied to them, saying he was going on a picnic with a teenage friend. But they never came home.

"He disappeared in May," says the boy's older sister. "A few days later a letter arrived in his handwriting. It said, 'I'm in Syria. Don't look for me.' "

The boy, like most everyone in this city, is a Kurd, most of whom are Sunni Muslim. He joined the so-called Islamic State, a Sunni Muslim extremist group also known as ISIS.

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Shots - Health News
2:28 am
Tue December 16, 2014

Alaska's Governor Eager To Expand Medicaid

Valerie Davidson was appointed health commissioner by Alaska's Gov. Bill Walker to help him expand Medicaid in the state. She'll look for middle ground with Republicans to get it done, she says.
Lori Townsend/Alaska Public Media

Originally published on Tue December 16, 2014 6:31 am

Alaska's new governor won his election in one of the tightest races in the country, a race that was too close to call even a week after election night. Bill Walker, who ran as an independent (unaffiliated with the Republicans or Democrats), took office on Dec. 1, after campaigning on the promise that he would expand Medicaid as one of his first orders of business.

To make good on that, he'll have to face a Republican-controlled legislature that hasn't been willing to even consider the idea.

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Newscast
5:52 pm
Mon December 15, 2014

GOP Chair Candidates,Huntsville Energy Competition and New Diet Tracker

Huntsville, Al
Credit www.huntsvileal.gov

    

Former state Rep. Mary Sue McClurkin of Indian Springs and Mobile County GOP Chair Terry Lathan have announced their candidacies for the chairmanship of the Alabama Republican Party.

The current chairman, former state Sen. Bill Armistead, announced last week that he will not seek another two-year term when the party's executive committee meets in Montgomery on Feb. 21.

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Judge to Decide on Siegelman
5:47 pm
Mon December 15, 2014

Judge to Decide on Siegelman Case This Week

Former Alabama Governor Don Siegelman
Credit wikipedia.org

 A judge says he will decide by the end of the week if former Governor Don Siegelman should be released from prison while appealing his 2006 bribery conviction.    U.S. District Court Judge Clay Land held a hearing Monday in Montgomery. Siegelman was transported to the hearing from a federal prison in Louisiana.    Land said he has to decide the likelihood of Siegelman winning before the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals next month. Land questioned the prosecution and defense on whether the original U.S.

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The Two-Way
5:44 pm
Mon December 15, 2014

The U.S. Has A Surgeon General, For The First Time In 17 Months

More than a year after he was nominated, Dr. Vivek Murthy was confirmed as the next surgeon general Monday. Back in February, Murthy testified about his nomination before a Senate panel.
Charles Dharapak AP

Originally published on Mon December 15, 2014 6:14 pm

A job that's been open in President Obama's administration since July of 2013 was finally filled Monday, as the Senate voted to confirm Vivek Murthy as America's new surgeon general.

The tally was 51-43, ending a confirmation process that began after Obama nominated Murthy to the post in November of 2013 — yes, that's one year ago.

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Politics
3:55 pm
Mon December 15, 2014

Senate Set To Vote On Surgeon General Nominee

Originally published on Mon December 15, 2014 5:17 pm

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

The Two-Way
3:20 pm
Mon December 15, 2014

Tennessee Governor Moves To Expand Medicaid Coverage

Gov. Bill Haslam announces his proposal to expand Medicaid in Tennessee at the state Capitol in Nashville Monday.
Erik Schelzig AP

Originally published on Tue December 16, 2014 11:45 am

Following the lead of other Republican governors, Tennessee's Gov. Bill Haslam is moving to expand Medicaid in his state, using federal funds from the Affordable Care Act. Haslam announced the plan Monday morning; it'll be debated by the legislature next month.

From Nashville, Bobby Allyn of member station WPLN reports:

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U.S.
9:23 am
Mon December 15, 2014

Is Ted Cruz Running For President ... In 2008?

Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, talks with reporters on Capitol Hill in Washington on Friday, as the Senate considered a spending bill.
Lauren Victoria Burke AP

Originally published on Mon December 15, 2014 12:37 pm

Yes, we know the 2008 presidential election is years in the past and will not come around again. The question is, does Sen. Ted Cruz know this?

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Politics
3:19 am
Mon December 15, 2014

'Warning Shot': Sen. Warren On Fighting Banks, And Her Political Future

Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass. (right), a member of the Senate banking committee, and Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., ranking member of the House financial services committee, express their outrage to reporters that a $1.1 trillion spending bill that was passed in Congress contains changes to the 2010 Dodd-Frank law that regulates complex financial instruments known as derivatives.
J. Scott Applewhite AP

Originally published on Tue December 16, 2014 5:20 pm

Updated at 9:30 a.m. ET

Sen. Elizabeth Warren failed to stop a change in bank regulations last weekend, but she raised her profile yet again.

The Massachusetts Democrat tells NPR that her fight over a provision in a spending bill was a "warning shot." She intends to continue her fight against what she describes as the power of Wall Street, even though that fight brought her to oppose leaders of her own party.

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