Politics & Government

'It's All Politics': NPR's Weekly News Roundup
8:43 am
Fri March 8, 2013

It's All Politics, Mar. 7, 2013

Eric Gay AP

Proving they can't be outdone by Rand Paul, NPR's Ken Rudin and Ron Elving filibuster their way through the latest podcast, assessing Jeb Bush's words on immigration, President Obama's strategy on sequestration, Donald Trump's attendance at the CPAC occasion and the results of the Los Angeles mayoral election.

Politics
3:39 am
Fri March 8, 2013

Senate Finally Confirms John Brennan As CIA Director

Originally published on Fri March 8, 2013 10:50 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

John Brennan is the new director of Central Intelligence Agency. He was sworn in this morning. The Senate confirmed him yesterday with a 63 to 34 vote, but as NPR's Tamara Keith reports, it did not come easy.

TAMARA KEITH, BYLINE: John O. Brennan comes to the job as the nation's top spy with 25 years of experience at the CIA. Most recently he served as the president's top counter-terrorism advisor. California Democrat Dianne Feinstein, leads the Senate Intelligence Committee.

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Politics
3:39 am
Fri March 8, 2013

Senate Committee Passes First Of 4 Gun Control Bills

Originally published on Fri March 8, 2013 10:50 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Now, the Senate Judiciary Committee here in Washington has approved a new gun control bill. It strengthens penalties for those who buy weapons for people who are legally barred from purchasing firearms themselves. This is the first federal gun law to head to the Senate floor since the Newtown massacre. We should say proposed federal gun law. And as NPR's Ailsa Chang reports, it's just the beginning of what looks to be a long legislative fight.

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It's All Politics
2:34 am
Fri March 8, 2013

Senate Mostly Blamed For Agency And Court Vacancies, But Obama Isn't Helping

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives has not had a permanent administrator since Congress required that the director be confirmed by the Senate in 2006.
AFP AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri March 8, 2013 10:50 am

Hear Brian Nayor, Julie Rovner, Yuki Noguchi and Carrie Johnson talk with Morning Edition's Steve Inskeep about the many federal entities operating without permanent leadership by clicking the audio link.

Some workers may dream about how productive they'd be without a boss. But for thousands of federal employees, being without a boss is a reality. And productivity isn't necessarily the result.

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It's All Politics
5:14 pm
Thu March 7, 2013

Watchdogs Not Celebrating Obama Group's Switch On Big Donors

Jim Messina (left), the head of Organizing for Action and a former top Obama campaign and White House aide, watches President Obama make a statement in the White House Cabinet Room in 2010.
Charles Dharapak AP

Originally published on Thu March 7, 2013 5:49 pm

Caught between the gritty political realities of needing cash and being linked to a political leader who has repeatedly denounced money's influence in Washington while raising record sums, former campaign aides to President Obama appeared to side with the money.

That had opened officials now heading Organizing for Action — which was formed from the Obama for America campaign committee to promote the president's second-term agenda — to charges of hypocrisy.

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School Safety
5:03 pm
Thu March 7, 2013

Ala. House Won't Override School Safety Bill Veto

The Alabama House will uphold Governor Bentley's veto of a bill to allow teachers and other school personnel to train as reserve sheriff's deputies.
Credit Trance Mist / Flickr

The Alabama House has voted to uphold Gov. Robert Bentley's veto of a bill to allow teachers and other school personnel to train as reserve sheriff's deputies.


The bill was a school safety measure by Democratic Rep. Johnny Mack Morrow of Red Bay. After training, the teachers could carry firearms in school as protection against shooting incidents.


Morrow says law enforcement officials and educators in his northwest Alabama county had endorsed the measure.

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Politics & Government
4:57 pm
Thu March 7, 2013

Michigan Sen. Carl Levin Announces He Will Not Seek Re-Election

Senate Armed Services Chairman Carl Levin (D-MI), looks at his papers while talking about U.S. companies recieving large tax breaks, during a news conference on Capitol Hill.

Mark Wilson Getty Images

Originally published on Thu March 7, 2013 6:03 pm

Michigan Sen. Carl Levin announced today that he would not seek reelection in 2014. Levin chairs the Armed Services Committee.

In a statement, he called the decision "extremely difficult."

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Court Finances
4:56 pm
Thu March 7, 2013

Chief Justice Moore Orders Clerks' Offices Closed Wednesdays

Chief Justice Roy Moore has ordered that Ala. circuit and district clerk offices be closed to the public on Wednesdays starting March 20.
Credit Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press

Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore has ordered that circuit and district clerk offices in Alabama be closed to the public on Wednesdays because of a financial crisis facing the court system.


The order was released Thursday. Moore ordered the clerks' offices be closed every Wednesday beginning March 20. Moore ordered clerks to place notice of the closings in public places inside and outside their offices. The chief justice said the employees of the clerks' offices would continue to work their regular office hours on Wednesdays.

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Right-To-Work State
4:48 pm
Thu March 7, 2013

Ala. Senate Votes To Strengthen Right-To-Work Law

Republican Sen. Gerald Dial sponsored the bill to put Alabama's right-to-work law into the state constitution.
Credit blog.al.com

The Alabama Senate has approved a proposed constitutional amendment that would put Alabama's right-to-work law into the state constitution.


The Senate's 21-10 vote Thursday sent the legislation for the House. If passed by the House, it will require approval by Alabama voters in next year's general election.

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Politics & Government
4:20 pm
Thu March 7, 2013

Federal Probe Targets Uneven Discipline At Seattle Schools

Originally published on Thu March 7, 2013 5:13 pm

The Education Department has launched an investigation into discipline rates in Seattle public schools.

Students of color have long been punished in far higher numbers than white students in Seattle, but now the department's Office for Civil Rights is looking at whether black students are disciplined more frequently and more harshly than white students for the same behavior.

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Politics
4:01 pm
Thu March 7, 2013

Rand Paul Wouldn't Crack Top 5 In Filibuster Talking Hall Of Fame

Originally published on Thu March 7, 2013 5:13 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

Senator Rand Paul did get a lot of attention for his nearly 13-hour filibuster, but the Kentucky Republican wouldn't even crack the top five for the longest talking filibusters. The top spot goes to South Carolina Senator Strom Thurmond back in 1957. He held the floor for over 24 hours. For more on that and other notable filibusters, we talked to Senate historian Donald Ritchie. He says back in 1957, Senator Thurmond came to the Senate floor ready.

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Politics
4:00 pm
Thu March 7, 2013

Obama Reaches Out To Republicans With Dinner Invitations

Originally published on Thu March 7, 2013 5:13 pm

President Obama continued his outreach to congressional Republicans on Thursday with a lunch with Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, chairman of the Budget Committee and author of a plan to balance the budget in a decade.

Politics
3:55 pm
Thu March 7, 2013

Senate Committee Passes Bill Meant To Reduce 'Straw Purchases' Of Guns

Originally published on Thu March 7, 2013 5:13 pm

The first major gun bills in nearly two decades had their first hearing in the Senate on Thursday, including an assault weapons ban and a ban on so-called "straw purchases." Still, even in the aftermath of the shootings in Newtown, Conn., the legislation faces an uphill battle. Ailsa Chang talks to Melissa Block.

Politics
3:55 pm
Thu March 7, 2013

Departing Obama Speechwriter: 'I Leave This Job Actually More Hopeful'

Jon Favreau, President Obama's former chief speechwriter, is pictured on the South Lawn of the White House in 2010.
Charles Dharapak AP

Originally published on Thu March 7, 2013 6:09 pm

Behind most politicians is a speechwriter, typing rapidly somewhere in a small office and trying to channel the boss's voice.

The man who has held perhaps the most prominent speechwriting job of the new millennium is Jon Favreau, a 31-year-old from Massachusetts who was President Obama's chief speechwriter until this month. He started writing for Obama when the president was just a senator in 2005.

He tells Audie Cornish, host of All Things Considered, that writing for the president means walking a line between two worlds.

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Politics
3:46 pm
Thu March 7, 2013

Senate Confirms Brennan As CIA Director

Originally published on Thu March 7, 2013 5:13 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Melissa Block.

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

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