Politics & Government

Politics & Government
1:48 pm
Thu February 21, 2013

Petition To Legalize Unlocking Cellphones Meets White House's 100K Requirement

Frustration over a change in federal copyright policy that makes it illegal to unlock new cellphones has resulted in more than 100,000 signatures on a petition at the White House's website, meaning the executive branch must now respond to calls to rescind the ruling or "champion a bill that makes unlocking permanently legal."

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Politics & Government
1:34 pm
Thu February 21, 2013

15 Republican Senators Call On Obama To Withdraw Chuck Hagel Nomination

Sen. Lindsey Graham, a Republican from South Carolina, talks on the phone at the Capitol in Washington, DC.
Alex Wong Getty Images

Originally published on Thu February 21, 2013 8:28 pm

Fifteen Republican senators sent a letter to President Obama asking him to withdraw the nomination of former Republican Sen. Chuck Hagel to be secretary of Defense.

The senators pointed to his lackluster performance during his confirmation hearing as well as what they said were his untenable positions on Iran.

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The Two-Way
11:30 am
Thu February 21, 2013

Sen. Graham Says 4,700 Killed In U.S. Drone Strikes

U.S. "Predator" drone over Afghanistan in Jan. 2009.
Joel Saget AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu February 21, 2013 1:09 pm

We've all heard that drone strikes directed against al-Qaida and other militants have been on the rise, but now Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., has put a number on deaths by U.S. unmanned aerial vehicle: 4,700.

Graham, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, rattled off the death toll during a talk he gave to the Easley Rotary Club in Easley, S.C., Tuesday afternoon.

"We've killed 4,700," Graham said.

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Politics
10:28 am
Thu February 21, 2013

Former Social Security Boss On The Real Problem

Originally published on Thu February 21, 2013 1:55 pm

Transcript

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

This is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. I'm Michel Martin. Coming up, another family is grieving in Chicago after another young person was killed by gun violence this past weekend. Today we're going to bring you some very blunt, powerful perspectives from young people affected by the violence that you might not have heard. This from our colleagues with the public radio program "This American Life." And that's coming up later in the program.

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It's All Politics
10:22 am
Thu February 21, 2013

Failure To Ratify: During Amendment Battles, Some States Opt To Watch

George Washington is depicted addressing the Constitutional Convention of 1787 in this painting by Junius Brutus Stearns. Presumably, no representative from Rhode Island is in the picture; Rhode Island boycotted the gathering and originally rejected the Constitution.
AP

Originally published on Thu February 21, 2013 10:37 am

Mississippi has received lots of attention this week for finally having ratified the 13th Amendment, which abolished slavery. But the state is hardly alone in being slow about blessing some long-established national principle.

After a sufficient number of states have ratified an amendment, it can feel like a moot point for legislatures to give belated approval to laws that are already in effect.

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Government Spending Cuts
9:03 am
Thu February 21, 2013

Ala. Governor: 24,000 Jobs at Stake on Budget Cuts

Alabama Governor Robert Bentley says automatic government spending cuts could cost the state 24,000 jobs.
dyn.politico.com

Alabama's governor said the state stands to lose 24,000 jobs if automatic government spending cuts kick in on March 1.

Gov. Robert Bentley said the impact was calculated by the National Governors Association. It forecast the biggest impact in Alabama would be on defense-related jobs. Bentley said the Huntsville area would be the hardest hit.

Sales Tax Holiday
8:59 am
Thu February 21, 2013

Ala. Bad Weather Sales Tax Holiday This Weekend

news.consumerreports.org

Alabama residents buying supplies they need to make it through times of severe weather will not have to pay sales tax for certain items this weekend.

Gov. Robert Bentley said Wednesday people need to take advantage of the break from Alabama's sales tax to stock up on supplies such as battery-powered radios, weather radios, first aid kits, portable generators and plywood.

The holiday from sales tax will begin at 12:01 a.m. Friday and will run through the end of the day on Sunday.

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Alabama Probate Judges Association
8:56 am
Thu February 21, 2013

Alabama Probate Judges Elect New President

Jefferson County Judge Alan King ahs been elected as president of the Alabama Probate Judges Association.
judgealanking.com

The Alabama Probate Judges Association has a new president.

Members of the organization elected Judge Alan King of Jefferson County to the position.

King previously served as treasurer, secretary and vice president of the group.

King won a third term as Jefferson County probate judge in November.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.

Around the Nation
4:52 am
Thu February 21, 2013

Fla. Gov. Scott Reverses Medicaid Decision

Originally published on Thu February 21, 2013 5:49 am

Florida Governor Rick Scott announced late Wednesday that he will expand Medicaid to an estimated 900,000 residents. The move is a surprise because the governor has previously been a vocal critic of President Obama's health care overhaul.

It's All Politics
2:06 am
Thu February 21, 2013

Defense Cuts May No Longer Be Political Sacred Cow

Originally published on Thu February 21, 2013 8:17 am

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has warned that the automatic spending cuts due to hit the Pentagon and other branches of government next week will damage U.S. national security.

In a letter to Congress, he said those cuts would put the military on a path toward a "hollow force." But the warnings don't appear to be moving the needle with lawmakers or the American public.

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It's All Politics
2:03 am
Thu February 21, 2013

Meet The Virginian Shaping The House GOP's Immigration Plan

Rep. Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., checks his phone before a hearing on Capitol Hill in September.
Chip Somodevilla Getty Images

Originally published on Thu February 21, 2013 7:24 am

Comprehensive immigration reform seems to top everyone's legislative wish list this year, and bills are already taking shape in the White House and the Democratic-led Senate.

A bipartisan group of senators recently laid out a path to citizenship for millions living in the country unlawfully. Less clear is where the Republican-led House is headed on immigration.

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It's All Politics
2:02 am
Thu February 21, 2013

One Place You May Notice The Sequester: At The Airport

A passenger jet flies past the FAA control tower at Washington's Ronald Reagan National Airport in 2011.
Cliff Owen AP

Originally published on Thu February 21, 2013 4:52 am

Unless Congress acts, across-the-board spending cuts scheduled to take effect March 1 will be felt throughout the government. Some of the most visible effects will be noticed by air travelers.

Officials predict that cutbacks at the Federal Aviation Administration could lead to takeoff delays and fewer flights overall.

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Trust Fund Payback
7:29 pm
Wed February 20, 2013

Ala. Governor Signs Law To Repay Trust Fund

Gov. Bentley signed a bill today that mandates repaying the Alabama Trust Fund by 2026.
Credit http://governor.alabama.gov / Office of the Governor

Gov. Robert Bentley and legislative leaders kept a promise Wednesday to enact legislation requiring the repayment of $437 million taken from a state trust fund to bolster state budgets.

Bentley signed a bill passed by the Legislature that mandates the repayment to the trust fund through annual appropriations concluding in 2026. The bill was the first passed by the Legislature in the current session.

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School Flexibility
7:23 pm
Wed February 20, 2013

School Flexibility Bill Headed To Senate For Vote

A bill to allow city and county school systems to opt out of state education laws could come up in the Senate for final vote next week.

Legislation that would allow city and county school systems to opt out of state education laws could come up for a final vote in the Senate next week.

A school flexibility bill cleared the House on Feb. 14 and was approved by the Senate Education Committee in a 5-3 vote Wednesday, with Republicans voting yes and Democrats voting no. A spokesman for Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh says the bill is a priority and could come up for a vote as early as Tuesday.

Gov. Robert Bentley says he's ready to sign whatever version of the bill the Legislature passes.

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Historic Rehabilitation
4:44 pm
Wed February 20, 2013

House Panel Votes For Credits For Historic Work

A bill now goes to the full House for debate that would give tax credits for rehabbing structures built before 1936.
Credit Trance Mist / Flickr

A House committee has approved a bill that would provide tax credits for rehabilitating historic structures or non-historic buildings that were built before 1936.


The House education budget committee approved the bill unanimously. The sponsor, Republican Sen. Victor Gaston of Mobile, told committee members it would encourage home and business owners to make improvements to historic structures.

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