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Judging The Health Care Law
3:53 pm
Fri June 29, 2012

Court's Recent Rulings Shake Up Partisan Narrative

The U.S. Supreme Court justices — (first row, from left) Clarence Thomas, Antonin Scalia, Chief Justice John Roberts, Anthony Kennedy, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, (back row) Sonia Sotomayor, Stephen Breyer, Samuel Alito and Elena Kagan — pose at the Supreme Court in 2010.
Chip Somodevilla Getty Images

Originally published on Fri June 29, 2012 8:26 pm

It's a bit less likely now than a week ago that you'll hear people accuse the Supreme Court of being politicized.

That's because this week, the court ended its session with two controversial decisions — neither one of which was decided on the usual and predictable split between the five justices appointed by Republican presidents and the four appointed by Democrats.

But that doesn't make the court any less of a political animal.

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It's All Politics
3:50 pm
Fri June 29, 2012

Ironies Abound In New Romney Ad

Originally published on Tue July 3, 2012 9:57 am

In a new anti-Obama ad, Mitt Romney's campaign has struck a mother lode of delicious ironies.

The all-but-official presidential candidate's ad pushes back against the criticisms of his job-creation record as head of Bain Capital, the private equity firm.

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The Two-Way
3:41 pm
Fri June 29, 2012

Students Seen Bullying Bus Monitor Suspended For A Year

From the video of Karen Klein being bullied.
youtube.com

Originally published on Fri June 29, 2012 4:18 pm

The Greece Central School District in Western New York has decided on a punishment for the students seen bullying their 69-year-old school bus monitor on a YouTube video that went viral earlier this month.

Superintendent Barbara Deane-Williams said the parents of the four middle school students agreed to a one-year suspension and 50 hours of community service with senior citizens. They will also be required to complete a bullying prevention program.

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It's All Politics
3:38 pm
Fri June 29, 2012

Opponents Of Secondary Provisions In Health Care Law Look To Lower Courts

A demonstrator protests outside the the Supreme Court Thursday in Washington, D.C.
David Goldman AP

Originally published on Sat June 30, 2012 11:45 am

When the Supreme Court upheld the central tenet of President Obama's health care law, it meant that several lower court fights on other aspects of the sweeping legislation can move forward.

Those cases, including high-profile lawsuits by Catholic organizations challenging the law's contraception coverage rules, would, obviously, have been affected if the court had found the individual mandate unconstitutional or struck down the law in its entirety.

But with the law intact, the lawsuits — many of them held in abeyance pending the high court's decision — will proceed.

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Politics
3:36 pm
Fri June 29, 2012

Tea Party Sees Ruling As New Rallying Cry

The Supreme Court is reflected in the sunglasses of Susan Clark on Thursday as she demonstrates against President Obama's health care law.
David Goldman AP

Originally published on Fri June 29, 2012 8:26 pm

Some of the earliest and most vocal opponents of President Obama's health care law were members of the Tea Party. In fact, health care quickly became the issue fueling the rise of the movement.

Anger over the Affordable Care Act drove the Tea Party and Republicans to big gains in the 2010 elections, but since then the movement has seen its prominence and influence wane.

Now, Tea Party activists say the Supreme Court's decision to uphold the law will reignite that original passion in time for this fall's election.

Call For Repeal Continues

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NPR's Backseat Book Club
3:27 pm
Fri June 29, 2012

Gross-Out Gags AND Life Lessons In 'Wimpy Kid'

Jeff Kinney Abrams

Originally published on Fri June 29, 2012 8:26 pm

We've chosen some popular books for our monthly Backseat Book Club selections, but nothing quite like the boffo best-sellers in the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series.

How popular are these books? Consider the numbers: There are six books, and a seventh is on the way. They've been translated into 40 languages and there are 75 million copies in print worldwide. And it was our 2009 interview with author Jeff Kinney that originally inspired us to start a book club just for kids.

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Music News
2:54 pm
Fri June 29, 2012

Young Musicians Leave Nest For New Opportunities

Nathan Schram (back row, third from left) performs with his students from PS 75 in Brooklyn.
Stephanie Berger Getty Images

Originally published on Sat June 30, 2012 6:48 am

The odds of making it in the classical music business are long, but for the past two years, 25-year-old viola player Nathan Schram has received a stipend, health insurance, lots of amazing performance opportunities and a real-world education teaching violin students at an inner-city elementary school in Brooklyn. Now, Schram and his colleagues have to say goodbye to The Academy.

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Judging The Health Care Law
2:51 pm
Fri June 29, 2012

Doctors Applaud Ruling But Keep Champagne On Ice

"It's a great idea, health care for everyone," says Gary Small, director of the geriatric psychiatry division at UCLA's Resnick Neuropsychiatric Hospital, "but who pays for it?"
Vince Bucci AP

For people in the medical and insurance fields, the Supreme Court's health care ruling cleared up a lot of uncertainty. But by no means all of it.

By upholding the bulk of the federal law passed in 2010, the court allowed the status quo to remain more or less in place.

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Judging The Health Care Law
2:44 pm
Fri June 29, 2012

How Health Law's Taxes, Penalties Will Be Enforced

Originally published on Fri June 29, 2012 8:26 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

We're going to try to break down now just what those penalties will be for those who don't buy health insurance. The Congressional Budget Office projects in the year 2016 four million people will pay the penalty. I'm joined now by Timothy Jost. He's law professor at Washington and Lee University in Lexington, Virginia, and he's been looking into these numbers. We should say, Professor Jost, first off, you are also a supporter of the Affordable Care Act, right?

TIMOTHY JOST: That's correct, yes.

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Around the Nation
2:44 pm
Fri June 29, 2012

Obama Visits Colorado In Wake Of Fires

Originally published on Fri June 29, 2012 8:26 pm

President Obama visited Colorado Springs on Friday to survey the damage caused by the Waldo Canyon fire, which burned more than 300 homes.

Shots - Health Blog
2:32 pm
Fri June 29, 2012

Fast Tests Are Latest Weapons Against Infections

A new lab test could quickly detect methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, or MRSA, bacteria like these in the blood.
Janice Carr CDC

Originally published on Fri June 29, 2012 6:42 pm

Show up at the emergency room or your doctor's office with symptoms of a serious infection, and there's a good chance you'll get an antibiotic. You might even get a few.

But antibiotics don't work on viruses. And a particular antibiotic may be suited for one kind of germ, but not another.

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Animals
2:17 pm
Fri June 29, 2012

Wild Mustangs Give Patrol Horsepower On The Border

Border Patrol Agent Bobbi Schad pets a mustang at the agency's training facility in Willcox, Ariz., last August.
Joshua Lott Reuters /Landov

Originally published on Fri June 29, 2012 8:26 pm

It's all new for Achilles: his name, his horseshoes, the surroundings at his home near Nogales, Ariz.

"To break 'em from what they're focusing on, you want to turn 'em from one side to the next," Border Patrol agent Luis Navarro says as he carefully leads Achilles into a round training arena.

Navarro holds the mustang by a short lead, and teaches it commands to trot and to slow down.

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NPR Story
2:10 pm
Fri June 29, 2012

Congress Passes Bill To Freeze Student Loan Rates

Originally published on Fri June 29, 2012 8:26 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish.

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

And I'm Melissa Block. Here's some evidence that things can still get done on Capital Hill. Today, both the House and Senate passed a compromise bill to reauthorize highway and infrastructure projects and keep student loan interest rates from going up.

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NPR Story
2:10 pm
Fri June 29, 2012

Europe Reaches Deal On To Help Ease Debt Woes

Originally published on Fri June 29, 2012 8:26 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish.

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

And I'm Melissa Block. For once, we have what looks like good news from the eurozone. At least that's how the financial markets view it. Markets shot upwards today after European leaders reached a deal to help Spain and Italy survive the region's financial crisis.

The agreement came at a summit in Brussels. NPR's Philip Reeves was there.

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It's All Politics
2:05 pm
Fri June 29, 2012

'Tax' Designation That Saved Health Care Law Being Used To Fight Obama

President Obama waves after signing the Affordable Care Act at the White House on March 23, 2010.
Chip Somodevilla Getty Images

Originally published on Tue July 3, 2012 9:39 am

In 2009, as President Obama was trying to convince Congress to pass his health care legislation, he stridently refused to characterize as a "tax" the penalty that would be imposed for not obtaining insurance under the law's individual mandate.

On Thursday, Chief Justice John Roberts begged to differ — while using the tax classification to save Obama's signature domestic accomplishment by a single Supreme Court vote.

And Republicans pounced.

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The Two-Way
2:01 pm
Fri June 29, 2012

Justice Will Not Prosecute Holder For Contempt Of Congress

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder.
Gerardo Mora Getty Images

The United States Justice Department said it will not prosecute Attorney General Eric Holder for contempt of Congress.

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Health
1:44 pm
Fri June 29, 2012

Sole Abortion Clinic In Miss. Fights Law To Stay Open

Abortion opponents demonstrate outside Mississippi's only abortion clinic in Jackson.
Rogelio V. Solis AP

Originally published on Fri June 29, 2012 8:26 pm

A new Mississippi law requires doctors who perform abortions in the state to be board-certified OB-GYNs. They also must have privileges to admit patients at a local hospital.

The law is regulatory in nature, but at a bill-signing ceremony in April, Mississippi Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves was clear about the intent.

"We have an opportunity today with the signing of this bill to end abortion in Mississippi," he said.

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Asia
12:34 pm
Fri June 29, 2012

A Portrait Of Chinese Corruption, In Rosy Pink

Artist and filmmaker Zhang Bingjian sits in his Beijing studio in front of his Hall of Fame — portraits of corrupt Chinese officials. He has commissioned portraits of 1,600 officials convicted of corruption.
Angie Quan NPR

Originally published on Fri June 29, 2012 8:26 pm

Corruption is usually thought to be a bad thing. But in China, the answer is no longer crystal clear.

For decades, the country's Communist Party has declared that corruption threatens its very survival. But there are signs that this is changing. Recently, the state-run media have begun arguing that corruption can't be stamped out, so it should be contained to acceptable levels. And some corruption appears to be tacitly condoned.

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The Two-Way
11:31 am
Fri June 29, 2012

House Passes Bill That Will Keep Student Loans Interests From Rising

Originally published on Fri June 29, 2012 12:19 pm

By a vote of 373-52, the House passed a massive bill that among other things keeps the interest rate on student loans from doubling on July 1.

"The U.S. House of Representatives passed a massive bill on Friday combining funding for transportation programs, low-interest student loans, and the National Flood Insurance Program," the Reuters reports.

The Washington Post reports:

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The Two-Way
11:31 am
Fri June 29, 2012

Chief Justice's Critics Don't Understand What Judges Do, Gonzales Says

Sept. 29, 2005: Then-Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, at lower right, watches as Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts speaks after being sworn in.
Win McNamee Getty Images

Conservative critics who say that Chief Justice John Roberts is some kind of traitor to their movement because he was the deciding vote in favor of upholding the Obama administration's Affordable Care Act "don't understand how these judges are supposed to discharge their responsibilities," Bush-era Attorney General Alberto Gonzales told NPR this morning.

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The Two-Way
11:18 am
Fri June 29, 2012

Assange Will Stay In Ecuadorian Embassy, Ignoring Surrender Notice

Julian Assange will defy a British Police notice to surrender. A member of his defense fund said the WikiLeaks founder will remain in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London because asylum law take precedence over an extradition order.

Saying he was afraid of persecution from the United States government and that his extradition to Sweden could hasten that, Assange has sought refuge and asylum from Ecuador.

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World
10:52 am
Fri June 29, 2012

Will Reforms End Myanmar Monks' Spiritual Strike?

Buddhists donate food and other necessities to monks as a way of earning merit for future lives. Monks have refused donations of alms from the military as a political protest in 1990 and 2007, a boycott that some monks insist is still in effect.
Ye Aung Thu AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri June 29, 2012 8:26 pm

In response to political reforms in Myanmar — also known as Burma — the U.S. and other Western countries have eased some sanctions targeting the country's former military rulers.

But so far, one of the most powerful institutions inside the country has kept its sanctions in place. For some time, Myanmar's Buddhist clergy have effectively been on a spiritual strike by refusing to take donations from the military — a serious blow to the former regime's legitimacy.

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The Two-Way
10:39 am
Fri June 29, 2012

Chief Justice Roberts Jokes He's Headed To 'An Impregnable Fortress'

Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts.
Jim Watson AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri June 29, 2012 10:53 am

Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts surprised the country yesterday by siding with the liberal wing of the court in the health care decision.

Roberts was appointed by President George W. Bush and has reliably taken conservative positions. But after yesterday's decision, you can bet his welcome from conservatives who saw him as a hero has chilled.

Speaking to a conference of judges and lawyers outside of Pittsburg, Roberts acknowledged his predicament.

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Law
9:56 am
Fri June 29, 2012

Gonzales On Chief Justice's Surprising Decision

Transcript

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

We want to get another angle on yesterday's Supreme Court decision on health care. The health care law would not have survived without the support of Chief Justice John Roberts. That support was surprising to many people, perhaps even shocking. He'd been seen as a solid conservative vote in the court but this week two opinions are making people rethink that: yesterday's health care decision and one earlier this week striking down much of Arizona's immigration enforcement law.

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Politics
9:56 am
Fri June 29, 2012

Former AG On Eric Holder Contempt Vote

Transcript

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

I'm Michel Martin and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. Coming up, we're going to take a look at elections in Mexico, but first, we're going to continue our conversation on some of the big news in this country.

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Latin America
9:56 am
Fri June 29, 2012

Is Drug War Issue Overrated In Mexico Elections?

Transcript

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Now we turn to presidential politics in Mexico. Americans are not the only people electing a new president this year. Mexicans are heading to the voting booth on Sunday. The frontrunner is Enrique Pena Nieto of the Institutional Revolutionary Party, also known as the PRI. That party dominated politics in Mexico for decades until a relatively recent time. The candidate in second place is Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador. He is with the Democratic Revolution Party.

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Sports
9:56 am
Fri June 29, 2012

Foul Play At Euro 2012 From Racist Fans

Transcript

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Switching gears now to a subject that also inspires passion around the world, the finals are set at Euro 2012. That's Europe's big national team soccer tournament. It's being held in Ukraine and Poland this year. Italy got into the final, thanks to two goals from the striker, Mario Balotelli.

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Law
9:56 am
Fri June 29, 2012

What Does Health Care Decision Mean For Patients?

Transcript

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

This is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. I'm Michel Martin. My thanks to Viviana Hurtado for sitting in for me for a couple of days this week. Coming up we'll ask former attorney general Alberto Gonzales what he makes of the fact that the current attorney general Eric Holder has been declared in contempt of Congress. This is the first time that this has happened to a sitting attorney general.

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'It's All Politics': NPR's Weekly News Roundup
9:45 am
Fri June 29, 2012

It's All Politics, June 28, 2012

A landmark decision by the Supreme Court on health care reverberates across the nation — and now comes the political implications. NPR's Ron Elving and guest host Don Gonyea break down the ruling and what it means for November.

Plus, the House votes to hold the attorney general in contempt of Congress. And a review of key primary races.

The Two-Way
9:10 am
Fri June 29, 2012

Stockton, Calif., Files For Bankruptcy

Among the projects that have helped put Stockton in the red: this downtown multiplex, which opened in 2003 and cost $15 million in public and private money.
Ian Hill KQED

The city of Stockton, Calif., has officially filed for Chapter 9 bankruptcy protection, The Stockton Record writes.

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