Politics & Government

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GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney said Thursday that he's paid a rate of at least 13 percent in taxes over the past 10 years. But the Obama campaign again called on Romney to release more tax returns. Guest host Jacki Lyden discusses this and other political news with Univision's Fernando Vila and Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel's Craig Gilbert.

Florida Atlantic University

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) — The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights is holding a public hearing about crackdowns on illegal immigration in Alabama and other states. The panel will meet in Birmingham on Friday to hear from both supporters and opponents of the laws. Speakers include Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, who's pushed for such measures nationwide, and Republican state Sen. Scott Beason of Gardendale, a sponsor of Alabama's law. Critics of the measures are on the agenda, but they're complaining that members of what they call hate groups are being allowed to participate.



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


And I'm Renee Montagne.

For more than 30 years, Charles Daum made a living by defending people accused of run-of-the-mill crimes. Then he met a charismatic Washington, D.C.-area man charged with distributing cocaine.

What happened next is a plot worthy of a television crime drama.

The accused drug dealer, Delante White, turned the tables and helped convict his own defense lawyer of manufacturing evidence and putting on false testimony to help the drug dealer's case.

Former Democrat Davis To Address GOP Convention

Aug 16, 2012
Artur Davis campaign / Wikimedia Commons

Former Democratic Rep. Artur Davis will address the Republican National Convention in Tampa.

Davis served as Barack Obama's Alabama campaign chairman four years ago and gave the seconding speech for Obama's nomination at the Democratic National Convention. But the Republican National Convention announced Thursday that Davis will speak later this month at the GOP convention in Tampa, Fla., to support Mitt Romney.

Davis lost Alabama's Democratic primary for governor in 2010. Then he moved to Virginia and switched parties.



This is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. I'm Jacki Lyden. Michel Martin is away. Coming up, we go to the Democratic Republic of Congo where a rebellion has displaced hundreds of thousands of people. Could it lead to a wider regional war? We'll ask.

Update at 11:35 a.m. ET. Charges Filed:

The man arrested for opening fire at the Washington, D.C., offices of the Family Research Council on Wednesday faces charges of "assault with intent to kill" and illegal transportation of a gun and ammunition. He has not been charged with attempting a terrorist act.

In a statement emailed a short time ago to reporters, the Justice Department says:



It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. Good morning. I'm David Greene.


And I'm Renee Montagne.

When Mitt Romney put Paul Ryan on the ticket, it had the potential to reset the presidential race - that is, offer a choice between two radically different visions of government, in a campaign seemingly stuck in tit-for-tat attacks over the economy. So far, though, the campaigns have a somewhat different fight on their hands. NPR's Mara Liasson reports.

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Beginning today, undocumented immigrants under the age of 31 can apply for so-called "Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals."

The program is designed to allow migrants to live and work in the U-S openly without fear of deportation.

State Homeland Security Director Spencer Collier says this will create a bureaucratic hurdle for Alabama law enforcement and businesses. Collier says since the policy change potentially could apply to anyone between 16 and 30 years of age, this new layer encompasses a substantial portion of the undocumented alien population.

Judge Refuses To Block New Ala. Bail Bond Fees

Aug 15, 2012

A Montgomery County judge has declined to temporarily block a new state law that adds fees to bail bonds. Several individuals and bail bond companies filed a lawsuit seeking to stop the law, which added a $35 fee to every bail bond. Circuit Judge Tracy McCooey denied a preliminary injunction, but still must rule on other issues in the suit. The Legislature passed the law to provide money for Alabama's court system. The plaintiffs say it infringes on the constitutional right to bail.

Gage Skidmore / Flickr

Mitt Romney is coming to Alabama to raise money for his Republican presidential campaign.

The former Massachusetts governor will be in Birmingham for a reception being held tonight at an exclusive private club overlooking the city.

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.

One of the candidates is House Speaker John Boehner's close friend and golfing buddy.

The other is an ally of House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi.

Both have their roots in rural Iowa, have long served together in the U.S. House, and are pretty darn well-liked by their constituents.

But Iowa, the focus of the political world this week, lost a House seat in congressional redistricting that came after the 2010 census.

By telling a racially mixed audience in Virginia on Tuesday that the Republican ticket's economic plans would "put y'all back in chains," Vice President Biden sparked the latest campaign controversy.

Republican presidential contender Mitt Romney called it an "outrageous charge" and said called on President Obama to "take your campaign of division and anger and hate back to Chicago."



It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. Good morning. I'm David Greene.


And I'm Renee Montagne.

You could say that the presidential campaign got a jolt of energy this week. President Obama was in Iowa yesterday, touting the electric potential of wind power. Republican rival Mitt Romney was in Ohio, talking up that old standby, coal. Each man accused the other of standing in the way of a rival energy source.

NPR's Scott Horsley has more.

Timothy Courtois' family had been worried about him for weeks. They repeatedly told police in Biddeford, Maine, that the 49-year-old was off his meds for bipolar disorder. And police were also told he had guns. But still, because he wasn't doing anything that rose to the legal definition of imminent threat, police said their hands were tied.

Young people brought to the U.S. illegally began applying for a deportation deferral and a two-year work permit on Wednesday. It's the boldest immigration program yet by the Obama administration — putting into effect elements of the so-called DREAM Act even though it has not passed Congress.

Lizbeth Mateo has high school and college diplomas from California and evidence that she has been in the country continuously for at least five years. What she wants now is assurance that she won't be deported.

Broke Ala. County Delays Decision On Indigent Care

Aug 14, 2012

Commissioners in bankrupt Jefferson County have delayed a decision on whether to close its charity hospital serving the poor. Commission President David Carrington recessed a meeting indefinitely Tuesday after chaos erupted in the packed commission chamber. Demonstrators yelling and singing civil rights protest songs prevented members from discussing the future of Cooper Green Mercy Hospital. The hospital is costing the county millions of dollars annually, and supporters of the shutdown say the county can't afford it.

GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney's choice of Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin as his running mate may help energize support from conservative voters who like his tough approach to overhauling the federal budget.

But there's a risk that Ryan may turn off an important voting bloc: senior citizens.

There's a story out of Hungary that has received quite a bit of play from the religious press but hadn't quite risen to the mainstream until the AP ran a piece about it today.

It's quite dramatic with an incredible plot twist: One of the leaders of Hungary's Jobbik Party, which the Anti-Defamation League says is one of the few political parties in Europe to overtly campaign with anti-Semitic materials, has discovered that he is himself a Jew.

People are saying that Mitt Romney's selection of Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan as his running mate creates an opportunity to hold what Ryan likes to call an "adult conversation" about entitlement spending. In the present political climate, it would be heartening to have an adult conversation about anything. But bear in mind that "entitlement" doesn't put all its cards on the table. Like a lot of effective political language, it enables you to slip from one idea to another without ever letting on that you've changed the subject.

The man some Republicans once hoped would be their party's 2012 presidential nominee, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, will instead deliver the keynote speech at the national convention that will make Mitt Romney the GOP's official standard-bearer.

Christie has won plaudits from Republicans for an everyman style, for taking on the New Jersey teachers unions, and for generally not suffering lightly those he considers fools — whether they're voters, members of the media or even some members of his own party.

A power struggle on the Louisiana Supreme Court is headed to federal court this week. Lawyers are seeking to reopen an old voting rights case that gave the Deep South state its first black Supreme Court justice. What's at stake in the racially charged fight is whether Louisiana will now have its first African-American chief justice.

With Rep. Paul Ryan officially in the mix as Mitt Romney's vice presidential pick, the 2012 race for the White House was fully engaged Monday, as all four members of the two major-party presidential tickets campaigned in swing states.

Both President Obama and Ryan were in Iowa, while Romney, the all-but-official Republican nominee, campaigned in Florida. Meanwhile, Vice President Biden was in North Carolina, hitting a state the Republican ticket visited over the weekend.

Business Council Of Alabama Supports Sept. Ballot

Aug 13, 2012

A prominent business group, the Business Council of Alabama, has voted to support approval of a proposed constitutional amendment that will be on the ballot Sept. 18.

The amendment would permit the removal of nearly $146 million a year for three years from a state trust fund for use in balancing the state General Fund budget.

BCA President William Canary said Alabama is in a "predicament because of a sustained, ongoing failure of leadership," but imminent hardship will occur if the constitutional amendment is not approved.

Oklahoma Tribe Opposes Creek Casino In Alabama

Aug 13, 2012
PCI Gaming / Poarch Band of Creek Indians

An Indian tribe in Oklahoma wants Alabama's Poarch Creek Indians to halt plans to build a 20-story hotel and casino on tribal land in Wetumpka. The Muscogee Nation has historic ties to the land and is objecting to the graves of its ancestors being exhumed and moved to make way for the expansion by the Poarch Creeks. Principal Chief George Tiger says the Poarch Creeks don't share their respect for traditional ways and the burial ground should be restored to the way it was.


Cullman's Oktoberfest is adding more beer to a small-town celebration that was dry for years.

Organizers sold beer at the German-themed festival for the first time last year after city voters opted to legalize alcohol sales. But beer was only offered in one area of the Oktoberfest venue.

Alcohol sales proved popular, and this year organizers plan to sell beer at other locations in Cullman's Oktoberfest.

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The addition of Rep. Paul Ryan to the GOP ticket is certain to elevate health care as a campaign issue this fall.


TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (AP) — A man accused of a shooting rampage in Tuscaloosa that injured 18 people has been indicted on charges of attempted murder and assault. A grand jury returned a 68-count indictment Thursday charging 44-year-old Nathan Wilkins with 19 counts of attempted murder and 19 counts of first-degree assault. He was also charged with 17 counts of second-degree assault and two counts of shooting into an occupied building. The suspect also faces arson charges for allegedly setting fires before and after last month's shooting.

In Paul Ryan, Obama Finds Familiar Foe

Aug 12, 2012

President Obama has long used House Republicans as a foil. Now that one of the leaders in that group, Paul Ryan, is on the ticket alongside Mitt Romney, the connection is that much clearer. NPR's Scott Horsley joins host Guy Raz to talk about the president's response to the newly formed GOP ticket.