Politics & Government

The Two-Way
5:54 pm
Thu September 13, 2012

Was The American Consulate Attack In Benghazi Planned?

Broken furniture outside the U.S. consulate building in Benghazi on Thursday, following an attack on the building late on September 11.
Gianluigi Guercia AFP/Getty Images

One of the biggest questions still outstanding about the attack on a United States consulate in Libya is whether it was planned or whether it was the result of a protest against a U.S.-made film that criticizes the Prophet Muhammad.

The attack killed four Americans, including Ambassador Chris Stevens.

The bottom line is that nothing is firm. But NPR's Leila Fadel reports that Libya's Deputy Interior Minister, Wanis al Sharef, said this was a sophisticated two-prong attack.

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Sept. Budget Referendum
5:10 pm
Thu September 13, 2012

Critics Urge 'No' Vote On Sept. 18 Ala. Referendum

Protestors are encouraging people to vote "no" on the Sept. 18 budget referendum.

About 50 people gathered on the steps of the Alabama Capitol to urge residents to vote "no" Tuesday on a constitutional amendment to allow the transfer of $437.4 million from the Alabama Trust Fund to be used for Medicaid, prisons and other state services.

Holding signs urging voters to not "bust" the trust fund, the demonstrators Thursday listened to representatives of grassroots groups who said the principle from the fund, established by former Gov. Fob James, was never meant to be spent.

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The Two-Way
4:57 pm
Thu September 13, 2012

The First Amendment: Why The Muhammad Film Is Protected Speech

Protesters carry an American flag pulled down from the U.S. embassy in Cairo, Egypt on Tuesday.
Nasser Nasser AP

The First Amendment guarantee of free speech is in the spotlight this week. If you haven't kept up, a U.S.-produced film depicting the Prophet Muhammad in a less than flattering way has inflamed the Arab world.

In a lot of ways, the story is showing how the sweeping nature of the First Amendment puts the United States at odds with most of the world.

That rift was perhaps most evident when you compare the statements of Egypt's Islamist President Mohamed Morsi and that of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

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It's All Politics
3:54 pm
Thu September 13, 2012

Romney Tempers Foreign Policy Criticism After Flap Over Libya Remarks

Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney speaks Thursday in Fairfax, Va.
Molly Riley UPI /Landov

Originally published on Thu September 13, 2012 4:41 pm

Appearing in Virginia on Thursday, Republican Mitt Romney tried to bring his campaign back to the issues he has focused on before in the swing state: the nation's economy and strengthening the military.

A day after Romney ignited a debate over his criticism of President Obama's handling of events in Libya and Egypt, the Republican presidential nominee largely steered clear of discussing unrest in Egypt and the attack on an American consulate in Benghazi, Libya, that left four Americans dead.

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It's All Politics
3:02 pm
Thu September 13, 2012

Can A Republican Win A Senate Seat In Blue Hawaii?

Former Hawaii Gov. Linda Lingle gives a victory speech in Honolulu after winning the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate on Aug. 11.
Marco Garcia AP

Originally published on Thu September 13, 2012 10:19 pm

Republican hopes of capturing the Senate in November rest on a handful of tossup races in states like Montana, Missouri and Virginia.

Surprisingly, some analysts also are putting Hawaii in the tossup column.

Hawaii is the bluest of blue states; it hasn't elected a Republican to the Senate since 1970. But with the retirement of 22-year incumbent Daniel Akaka, Republicans believe they have a chance.

And regardless of who wins, the state will have its first female senator come January.

In Hawaii, the language of politics is a little different.

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The Two-Way
1:12 pm
Thu September 13, 2012

Welcome To The New Middle East

Security guards were deployed outside the graffiti-covered walls of the U.S. Embassy in Cairo, Egypt, which came under attack Tuesday.
Mohamed Abd El Ghany Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Thu September 13, 2012 2:56 pm

The three attacks on U.S. diplomatic missions this week have a common theme: all took place in countries where autocratic rulers were ousted last year and where new governments are still struggling to keep order.

Last year, many Americans were cheering on Arab Spring uprisings in Egypt, Libya and Yemen. Now the U.S. is the focus of violent anger over an anti-Islamic film produced in this country.

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Politics & Government
9:01 am
Thu September 13, 2012

Ala Historian to Address Hate Crimes Symposium

Alabama historian Wayne Flynt
ethicsdaily.com

The U.S. attorney's office in Birmingham is sponsoring a daylong meeting on civil rights and hate crimes.


The symposium being held Thursday will focus on legal protections that are available as the nation nears the 50th anniversary of events that made the city a national landmark for civil rights in 1963. Those include demonstrations led by the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and a racist church bombing that killed four black girls.

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Politics & Government
8:57 am
Thu September 13, 2012

Bentley Seeks More Tornado Aid for Tuscaloosa

governor.alabama.gov Office of the Governor

Alabama's governor went to Washington this week to try to secure more money for tornado recovery in Tuscaloosa.

Gov. Robert Bentley says he met with the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, Shaun Donovan, of Wednesday.

They talked about Bentley's concerns that HUD's formula caused hundreds of rental homes that were damaged or destroyed in Tuscaloosa to be excluded from the recovery assistance funding. Bentley said he's also wrote a letter to the president.

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It's All Politics
2:36 am
Thu September 13, 2012

In The Ohio River Valley, Voters Aren't Sure Either Candidate Can Help

Towns near the Ohio River, including Steubenville, seen here in 2009, are home to many undecided voters. One of them, Brian Snider, says, "This is pretty much a ghost town."
Rick Gershon Getty Images

Originally published on Thu September 13, 2012 9:17 pm

Most of the election-year attention Ohio gets is focused on the heavily Democratic areas in the northeast around Cleveland, or in GOP strongholds in rural areas and in the south around Cincinnati.

But it's also worth keeping a close eye on the state's less-traveled southeastern border with Pennsylvania and West Virginia — the Ohio River Valley. It's a place where there is a lot of doubt about how much either candidate can help.

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Economy
1:03 am
Thu September 13, 2012

Fed Stimulus Expected, But Remedy May Not Be Right

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke in a hearing of the Joint Economic Committee on Capitol Hill in June.
Brendan Smialowski AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu September 13, 2012 8:02 am

Federal Reserve policymakers are meeting in Washington, trying to decide whether — and exactly how — to boost the sluggish economy. Many analysts are expecting the Fed to take action, but they're also beginning to question whether another stimulus program will have any effect.

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Politics & Government
6:20 pm
Wed September 12, 2012

U.S. Census: Poverty down in Alabama

Microsoft

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — A new U.S. Census report shows the poverty rate in Alabama is mostly unchanged but has gone down some over the last year, while the median income in the state has gone up. The report released Wednesday shows Alabama 42nd among the 50 states in median household income. The census report found Alabama's median household income to be $42,590 compared to the national median household income of $50,054. The U.S. Census Bureau also reported the state was making some progress in the fight on poverty, The Census report showed the poverty rate in Alabama was 15.49 percent.

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Sports
4:58 pm
Wed September 12, 2012

Cameron Apologizes For 1989 U.K. Sporting Disaster

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

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

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

And I'm Audie Cornish. British Prime Minister David Cameron apologized today for a pattern of lies and official cover-ups over Britain's worst sporting disaster. Ninety-six soccer fans were crushed to death at the Hillsborough Stadium in the city of Sheffield in 1989 and then falsely blamed for the disaster. Vicki Barker reports from London.

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Africa
1:49 pm
Wed September 12, 2012

Security, Diplomacy A Difficult Balance For U.S.

An armed police officer stood guard on a machine gun-mounted jeep outside the U.S. embassy in Manila, Philippines, amid warnings of a terrorist plot June 6, 2007.
Romeo Ranoco Reuters /Landov

Originally published on Thu September 13, 2012 10:07 am

The order to tighten security at all U.S. diplomatic posts around the globe following attacks in the Middle East may be necessary, but it will come at a cost.

There has been an enormous increase in security precautions at American embassies and consulates over the past 30 years, and the bubble that many diplomats now operate under makes it more difficult for them to interact with people in other countries, limiting their ability to gather information and promote the American "brand."

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It's All Politics
1:19 pm
Wed September 12, 2012

With No Latino Moderators For Debates, Univision Announces Its 'Own Party'

Univision host Jorge Ramos will be one of the moderators at the "Meet the Candidate" events featuring President Obama and rival Mitt Romney.
Lynne Sladky AP

Originally published on Wed September 12, 2012 1:54 pm

  • Jorge Ramos Talks To 'Tell Me More'

Spanish-language network Univision announced Wednesday that, along with Facebook, it will host discussions with the presidential candidates next week, calling them "the first-ever events of their kind targeting Hispanic Americans."

The "Meet the Candidate" events — featuring Republican nominee Mitt Romney on Sept. 19 and President Obama on Sept. 20 — will be held at the University of Miami and will be broadcast on Univision and streamed online in English.

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It's All Politics
12:11 pm
Wed September 12, 2012

U.S. Embassy Attacks In North Africa Reverberate On White House Campaign

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton looks on as President Obama hugs a State Department employee Wednesday. Obama met with State Department workers after the killing of four Americans in Libya.
Paul J. Richards AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed September 12, 2012 8:45 pm

Updated and revised at 4:26 pm ET:

The death of the U.S. ambassador to Libya and three other Americans at the hands of extremists there became the latest fodder in the 2012 presidential race early Wednesday.

Republican Mitt Romney used the incident to continue his campaign's attacks on President Obama's approach to foreign policy.

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