Politics & Government

Politics
3:55 pm
Sun September 9, 2012

Who Benefits In Money Game: Democracy Or Donors?

Originally published on Sun September 9, 2012 5:07 pm

There's a new stimulus plan underway in America: $5.8 billion is being injected into the U.S. economy, particularly in states like Ohio, Virginia, Colorado and Florida.

We're talking of course about campaign spending, and this year's elections will be the most expensive in history. In fact, by the time we all head to the voting booth on Election Day, nearly $6 billion will have been spent on campaigns — big and small — all across America.

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Politics
3:55 pm
Sun September 9, 2012

Parsing The 2012 Party Platforms

Originally published on Sun September 9, 2012 4:08 pm

One overlooked part of the convention frenzy was the party platforms. They seemed to cause more embarrassment than excitement at the DNC, where party leaders fumbled at reinserting clauses about Jerusalem and God into their platform. And at the RNC, Rep. John Boehner admitted he'd never even read his party's platform. NPR senior Washington editor Ron Elving joins weekends on All Things Considered host Guy Raz to talk about the platforms and what — if anything — they mean in 2012.

The Two-Way
2:32 pm
Sun September 9, 2012

States' Rights And DOMA Clash On A Shifting Battlefield

Carri Jo Anderson joins the protest in front of a Chick-fil-A restaurant in Pompano Beach, Fla., in August. As views on homosexuality change, more states are challenging the federal definition of marriage
J Pat Carter AP

Originally published on Sun September 9, 2012 3:07 pm

The debate over states' rights versus federal power is as old as our country. The latest brush-up comes in a doubly-sticky challenge to the federal Defense of Marriage Act, or DOMA, which defines marriage as being between one man and one woman.

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Election 2012
1:59 pm
Sun September 9, 2012

Critics Say Ryan's Record Belies Tough Deficit Talk

Paul Ryan waves as he takes the stage at the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla., on Aug. 29. Ryan has been celebrated as a deficit hawk with bold vision, but some critics have called his record on deficit-reduction "dismal."
Chip Somodevilla Getty Images

Originally published on Sun September 9, 2012 4:08 pm

Paul Ryan has a reputation as a deficit hawk. Mitt Romney's running mate has proposed budgets that cut non-defense spending significantly, and advocated controlling Medicare costs by making it a voucher program. But critics argue there's a lot in the Wisconsin congressman's record that undermines his deficit-hawk reputation.

When Ryan gave the GOP response to President Obama's State of the Union address last year, he restated his commitment to debt and deficit reduction.

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It's All Politics
8:53 am
Sun September 9, 2012

For Both Parties, Spanglish Is The Unofficial Convention Language

Cristina Saralegui waves at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C., on Wednesday.
Joe Raedle Getty Images

Originally published on Mon September 10, 2012 10:34 am

If you grew up in a bilingual Hispanic household, listening to the Democratic and Republican conventions may have sounded a lot like home.

It's no coincidence that both parties highlighted politicians like Florida Sen. Marco Rubio and San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro.

Rubio, whose parents are from Cuba, introduced Mitt Romney at the Republican convention; Castro, whose grandmother immigrated from Mexico, became the first Latino to give the Democrats' keynote address.

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Education
4:48 am
Sun September 9, 2012

Chicago Teachers May Strike, Teach Political Lesson

Members of community group Parents 4 Teachers display pro-teacher posters outside City Hall Friday in Chicago. The Chicago Teachers Union has threatened to strike Monday if negotiations fail.
Sitthixay Ditthavong AP

Originally published on Sun September 9, 2012 12:43 pm

Twenty-five thousand Chicago teachers are planning to walk off the job Monday if they don't have a contract by midnight Sunday. As the Democrats look to unions to help them get out the vote, a strike by Chicago teachers might just put a crimp in those plans.

On Friday during rush hour, a handful of parents and students stood on a bridge over the Eisenhower Expressway, holding signs that read, "Honk if you support teachers." Among them is Rhoda Gutierrez, who has two children in a Chicago public elementary school.

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Around the Nation
4:46 am
Sun September 9, 2012

VFW Posts Become Refuge For Women, Too

From left, Linda Ausen, Marvin Jansma, Diane Sandberg and David Griffith volunteer during bingo night in July at the VFW post in Rosemount, Minn.
Jennifer Simonson MPR

Originally published on Sun September 9, 2012 12:43 pm

For decades, Veterans of Foreign Wars posts have played vital roles in small towns throughout America. But in recent years, as World War II veterans have passed away, membership in VFWs has fallen drastically, and many posts have closed. Now, though, some are facing a possible renaissance, thanks to female soldiers returning from overseas.

The main room of the VFW post in Rosemount, Minn., is half-bar and half-bingo hall, with long card tables. In a corner, two men on a stage rotate a round cage of balls and call out bingo numbers.

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House & Senate Races
4:45 am
Sun September 9, 2012

GOP Has Rare Shot At Winning House Seat In Mass.

Richard Tisei is running for U.S. House in Massachusetts, where he could be the first Republican in that seat in 15 years.
Josh Reynolds AP

Originally published on Sun September 9, 2012 12:43 pm

U.S. House candidate Richard Tisei is openly gay. He's also openly Republican.

"You know what, in Massachusetts, it's a lot easier to be gay than be a Republican," he says, "as far as trying to get elected to office."

But Tisei could make political history for the Massachusetts GOP. Not just because they could win their first U.S. House seat in 15 years, but also because Tisei would be the first openly gay Republican to be elected to a term in Congress.

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Africa
4:39 am
Sun September 9, 2012

Yet Again, Congo Faces The Specter Of Civil War

The eastern part of the Democratic Republic of Congo has been ravaged by rebel groups for years. A new faction, the March 23 Movement, or M23, already controls a large area, and there are fears this could ignite another war. Here M23 fighters go out on a patrol.
Mackenzie Knowles-Coursin for NPR

Originally published on Sun September 9, 2012 12:43 pm

For years, armed militias have been stalking the lush forests in the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of Congo, committing all sorts of atrocities against villagers. And now one of the most war-ravaged countries in the world has another looming problem: an emerging rebel group.

"A notorious group of human rights violators" is how the U.N. human rights commissioner describes the group, known as the March 23 Movement, or M23.

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Europe
4:39 am
Sun September 9, 2012

Istanbul, A City Of Spies In Fact And Fiction

Though not the capital, Istanbul is the cultural, economic and financial heart of Turkey. Situated on the Bosporus strait, this metropolis spans Europe and Asia — and has a storied history as a gathering place for spies.
Dan Kitwood Getty Images

Originally published on Sun September 9, 2012 12:43 pm

Headlines today in Turkey feature stories of alleged Iranian spies, gathering information about Kurdish militants who are responsible for many deaths in Turkey this summer.

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Politics
7:55 pm
Sat September 8, 2012

Social Issues Hold Sway Over Ohio's Black Voters

Transcript

GUY RAZ, HOST:

In 2008, then-Senator Barack Obama won nearly all the African-American vote. And this year, a recent poll found that less than 1 percent of black voters will back Mitt Romney. But in Ohio, as NPR's Allison Keyes found out, some black voters are agonizing over whether to vote in November at all.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

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The Two-Way
4:37 pm
Sat September 8, 2012

Bomb Explodes Near NATO Headquarters In Kabul

Afghan police carry the remains of a suicide attack victim in the Kabul's diplomatic quarters, home to many Western embassies, on Saturday.
Shah Marai AFP/Getty Images

A suicide bomber has blown himself up near NATO headquarters in Kabul, Afghanistan. There are conflicting reports, but The Associated Press cites the police, saying at least six people were killed. The International Security Assistance Force, the NATO-led coalition in Afghanistan, says on Twitter that there have been no reports of ISAF casualties.

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NPR Story
3:44 pm
Sat September 8, 2012

Is The 'Better Off' Question The Right One?

Originally published on Sat September 8, 2012 7:55 pm

Transcript

GUY RAZ, HOST:

It's WEEKENDS on ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Guy Raz.

(SOUNDBITE OF CHEERING)

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: Hello, St. Pete.

RAZ: President Obama campaigning today in St. Petersburg, Florida, two days after accepting his party's nomination for president...

OBAMA: I am fired up.

RAZ: ...where his new stump speech emphasizes job creation.

OBAMA: We can keep giving more tax breaks to companies that are shipping jobs overseas just like the other side is arguing for.

(SOUNDBITE OF BOOING)

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NPR Story
3:44 pm
Sat September 8, 2012

Week In News: The Post-Convention Push

Originally published on Sat September 8, 2012 7:55 pm

Transcript

GUY RAZ, HOST:

It's WEEKENDS on ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Guy Raz.

(SOUNDBITE OF POLITICAL AD)

MITT ROMNEY: In the last four years, we've seen that promise fade away. Hispanics are hurting.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: But Mitt Romney would break that promise, replace your benefits with a voucher.

RAZ: Some of the latest political ads coming out of the Romney and Obama campaigns. James Fallows of The Atlantic joins me now, as he does most Saturdays, for a look behind the headlines. Jim, welcome.

JAMES FALLOWS: Hello, Guy.

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It's All Politics
9:36 am
Sat September 8, 2012

Words Wealthy Democratic Donors Should Get Used To: 'It's Me, Rahm'

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel wants you ... if you're a wealthy Democrat who can write a $10 million or $20 million check.
Lynne Sladky AP

Originally published on Sat September 8, 2012 1:11 pm

Now that Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel is in charge of raising really big dollars for a superPAC that supports President Obama, wealthy Democrats all over the country may be eyeing their phones nervously.

Emanuel, the former Obama White House chief of staff, is known for not taking no for an answer and for aggressively going after what he wants.

Indeed, he's a ferocious fundraiser who gets to the point, often throwing in an epithet or two for emphasis, just the sort of rainmaker needed by Priorities USA Action, the pro-Obama superPAC that desperately needs cash.

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