Politics & Government

Politics, elections, law, military and veteran's affairs

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

APR

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.

Wisconsin's Sen. Johnson On Rep. Ryan

Aug 11, 2012

Transcript

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Linda Wertheimer. We are following the big political story this hour. Mitt Romney has announced the other half of his ticket, congressman Paul Ryan of Wisconsin. He's been a champion of conservative fiscal principles as chairman of the House Budget Committee. Let's listen to Paul Ryan from an interview with NPR in May of 2012, shortly after he released his first budget.

     Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney has selected Wisconsin Representative  Paul Ryan to be his running mate. The candidate made his announcement to supporters via a phone app, saying -- quote -- "Mitt's Choice for VP is Paul Ryan."

     The GOP ticket appeared together at 9 A.M. Eastern in Norfolk, Va. Romney and Ryan are kicking off a four-day bus tour that will take them to as many states.

     At 42, Ryan is a generation younger than the 65-year-old Romney.

Blacks In Ala. Legislature File Redistricting Suit

Aug 10, 2012
Alabama Reapportionment Office / State of Alabama

The Alabama Legislature's black caucus has filed a lawsuit against the plan passed by the Republican-controlled House and Senate to redraw lawmakers' districts. The Legislature's 33 black members claim the redistricting plan approved by lawmakers earlier this year is racial gerrymandering and reduces the voting influence of blacks by packing black residents into as few districts as possible. The lawsuit was filed Friday morning in federal district court in Montgomery.

Ala. Knocking Down Voter Registration Hoax

Aug 10, 2012
sos.state.al.us / Alabama Secretary of State

State officials say an online hoax is spreading untrue rumors about voting registration in Alabama. Secretary of State Beth Chapman says email messages and Facebook posts are claiming people need to re-register to vote in the upcoming election if they haven't voted since 2008. But Chapman says the messages aren't true. She says voters' names will still be on the voter lists regardless of whether they voted in past elections. Chapman says federal law specifically prohibits states from removing people from voter rolls for failing to cast ballots Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) — Former Gov. Don Siegelman's daughter has created a petition on the Internet that asks President Barack Obama to grant him clemency. Dana Siegelman's petition says her father was wrongfully convicted on government corruption charges, and it asks the president to restore justice. She's already received more than 1,200 signatures. Siegelman's daughter created the petition after a federal judge resentenced him a week ago. U.S. District Judge Mark Fuller sentenced Siegelman to six and one-half years in prison, but he will get credit for nine months already served.

As the presidential election nears, Morning Edition has begun a series of reports from an iconic American corner: First and Main. Several times in the next few months, we'll travel to a battleground state, then to a vital county in each state. In that county, we find a starting point for our visit: First and Main streets, the intersection of politics and real life.

How many votes can President Obama gain or Mitt Romney lose because of the Republican's opposition to renewing federal tax credits to wind energy producers? The answer, with apologies to Bob Dylan, is blowin' in the wind.

Obama hopes to influence the answer by relentlessly pounding the all-but-official Republican presidential nominee's opposition to the renewal.

MIAMI (AP) — U.S. forecasters are raising their estimate of potential storms in the remainder of the Atlantic hurricane season, which enters its peak period this month. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration released its updated forecast Thursday. Forecasters say wind patterns conducive to storm formation and warmer-than-normal sea temperatures mean chances are higher for an above-normal Atlantic hurricane season. NOAA forecasters say they expect a total of 12 to 17 tropical storms, with as many as five to eight hurricanes, for the season from June 1 to Nov. 30.

Alabama’s Department of Education is out with a new report on how the state is doing in the federal program called no child left behind. Alabama says seventy five percent of Alabama schools made adequate yearly progress. That’s up from seventy three percent year. However, the state got federal permission to use last year’s standards for this year to judge if Alabama students are passing or not. The results come out as state officials announced which schools and which school systems made adequate yearly progress under the No Child Left Behind Law.

Television crime dramas may draw big audiences, but they don't seem to work as a recruiting tool for forensic pathologists.

As we said two weeks ago, China's state-controlled media had already concluded that Gu Kailai was guilty of murder even before any sort of a trial.

Today in central China the wife of once-prominent politician Bo Xilai got her day in court.

Literally.

Judge Clears Way For Suit Over APTV Firings

Aug 8, 2012
www.aptv.org

A judge says a fired network executive can go ahead with his lawsuit claiming Alabama Public Television commissioners violated the state's open meetings law by holding a closed-door session to discuss his firing. Jefferson County Circuit Judge Joseph Boohaker issued the ruling Wednesday in a lawsuit filed by Allan Pizzato over his dismissal as executive director of the state's public television network. Pizzato sued after commissioners fired him and another executive. The judge says lawyers can continue collecting evidence, and he scheduled another hearing for Sept. 4.

Laptop computers are replacing textbooks for public school students in Huntsville. The city school system is passing out laptop computers to students in grades four through 12 as it converts from paper texts to digital curriculum.

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.

At 6 p.m. every Friday — with the kind of precision timing the Japanese live by — the protests in downtown Tokyo begin.

Thousands of Japanese — young, old, in wheelchairs and on skateboards — shout anti-nuclear slogans from behind police barricades that snake around the office of Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda. Over the past four months, the protests have swelled; at least 75,000 people turned out at a recent demonstration.

Nobuyuki Miyazaki, an office worker, says this is the first time he's ever been to a demonstration.

Petitions Seek To Remove Ala. Court Nominees

Aug 7, 2012
montgomeryadvertiser.com

A Huntsville woman has filed petitions with Alabama's Democratic and Republican parties asking them to disqualify several candidates for the Alabama Supreme Court. Sherry Broyles says the Democratic Party should disqualify its nominee for chief justice, Harry Lyon, for not filing monthly campaign finance reports as required by a new law enacted by the Legislature. Lyon calls the complaint bogus and says he hasn't raised enough money to file. Party Chairman Mark Kennedy says he will seriously review the matter.

Bankrupt Ala. County Considers Hospital Shutdown

Aug 7, 2012
nelsonglass.com

Leaders in bankrupt Jefferson County are nearing a decision on whether to quit admitting patients to the county's charity hospital as a cost-saving move. The Jefferson County Commission will vote next Tuesday on whether to cease in-patient care at Cooper Green Hospital in Birmingham. The hospital would continue seeing patients at its emergency room, but it would quit admitting patients. Opponents of the proposed closing say they'll stage protests if the commission decides to end hospital admissions.

City Explores Hosting Teams Displaced By Disasters

Aug 7, 2012
Ralph Daily / Flickr

Birmingham's mayor has commissioned a study to determine whether the city could be home to sports teams displaced by hurricanes and other natural disasters. The Birmingham News reports that Bravis Building Solutions was hired partly to research whether Birmingham has the capacity to serve as an evacuation city for pro teams when natural disasters strike their home cities. The study also explored the possibility of Birmingham hosting National Football League summer training camps. Recruiting some type of professional team to Birmingham has been among Mayor William Bell's goals.

As its stock tumbled today following word that New York State regulators have labeled it a "rogue institution" that allegedly hid about 60,000 secret transactions involving $250 billion in Iranian funds, Britain's Standard Chartered Bank strongly denied the accusations.

It "rejects the position or portrayal of facts as set out in the order," the bank said.

Tech President reminds us that one way to possibly figure out who will be a vice presidential pick is to watch the various contenders' Wikipedia pages in the days before such an announcement is likely.

Schedule Set For Special Alabama House Election

Aug 6, 2012
Sutherland Boswell / Wikimedia Commons

Gov. Robert Bentley has called a special election to fill the Alabama House seat vacated when Rep. Blaine Galliher of Gadsden joined the administration. Party primaries for the House District 30 seat will be held on Oct. 23, followed by any runoffs that are needed. The general election will be either Dec. 11 or Jan. 29, 2013, depending on whether there's a runoff. The district includes parts of Etowah and St. Clair counties. Galliher held the seat until he resigned to become Bentley's new legislative director.

Tuscaloosa Gets FEMA Grant For Warning System

Aug 6, 2012
ci.tuscaloosa.al.us / City of Tuscaloosa

The city of Tuscaloosa plans to begin using a system that will warn residents of threats ranging from tornadoes to chemical spills.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency has approved a $124,000 grant for the city to implement an early warning system that sends alerts by telephones, pagers and text messages.

City officials say a computer linked to a phone system will send alerts to any resident who signs up for the service.

The system is similar to one that the University of Alabama uses to send alerts to students and staff members during an emergency.

OAK CREEK, Wis. (AP) — More details are emerging about yesterday's deadly shootings at a Sikh temple in Wisconsin. Authorities say 40-year-old Army veteran Wade Michael Page walked into the suburban Milwaukee temple without saying a word and opened fire with a 9mm handgun that was purchased legally. They say he killed a woman and five men before being shot dead in an exchange of gunfire with a police officer. The police chief says that officer was shot eight to nine times at close range. He's in critical condition. Two other people were critically wounded.

The Board of Education in Baldwin County meets today to hire additional teachers and other employees before classes begin on Aug. 20. A school system spokesman told The Mobile Press-Register that enrollment has increased roughly 2 percent.
 

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.

FEMA.gov

Residents of several Alabama communities ravaged by last year's tornadoes are completing storm shelters with some help from federal money.

The Florence TimesDaily reports (http://bit.ly/NwmoHX) that the Federal Emergency Management Agency approved 100 individual shelters for Franklin County with the promise that it would cover 75 percent of the cost of the shelter, as long as 75 percent of the cost did not exceed $4,000.

Ex-Ala. Gov. Going Back To Prison For Bribery

Aug 3, 2012
Dave Martin / Associated Press

Former Alabama Gov. Don Siegelman is going back to prison.

Federal judge Mark Fuller sentenced Siegelman on Friday to 6 and a half years for his conviction on bribery and other charges. Earlier in court, Siegelman apologized for his actions.

Siegelman and former HealthSouth chief Richard Scrushy were convicted in 2006. They arranged $500,000 in contributions to Siegelman's campaign for a state lottery in exchange for the governor appointing Scrushy to an important hospital regulatory board.

Alabama Prisons To Scan Fingerprints Of Visitors

Aug 3, 2012
Exercise Tradewinds / Flickr

State prison officials say visitors to Alabama prisons will have their fingerprints scanned for security reasons.

The the policy begins this weekend.

Prison officials say the new system will improve security by making sure visitors are who they claim to be, and that the new system will also speed up the process of checking in.

Some are expressing concerns about the new system.

State Sen. Cam Ward, who chairs a joint legislative committee that oversees prisons, said he's troubled by the idea of fingerprinting people who have not broken laws.

Dave Martin / Associated Press

Former Alabama Gov. Don Siegelman heads back to federal court in Montgomery today for a new sentencing hearing for his conviction on bribery and other charges.

A judge will decide Siegelman's new sentence and could order the 66-year-old former governor to immediately return to federal prison after more than four years of freedom. 

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. 

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