Originally published on Tue December 6, 2011 3:18 pm
Alabama's attorney general is calling for changes in the state's tough immigration law. The letter from Luther Strange comes weeks after a Mercedes-Benz executive was jailed, after he left his passport and license at his hotel. The incident embarrassed lawmakers and put the immigration law back in the national spotlight.
Many people who've joined the Occupy Wall Street movement say the months of communal living have been the experience of a lifetime. One of the movement's hallmarks — the "people's mic" — has come to represent the movement's collective spirit.
At the end of this month, a payroll tax cut is set to expire that the White House says would result in a tax increase of about $1,000 per year on most middle-class families. The benefit is popular with the American people, which may be one reason President Obama has been relentlessly promoting it.
The president argues that extending the payroll tax "holiday" through 2012 is vital to the economy. Republicans in Congress are divided over that, but they strongly disagree with the president's plan to pay for it with a surtax on millionaires.
Originally published on Tue December 6, 2011 4:23 pm
Senate Republicans have blocked the nomination of Caitlin Halligan to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia. A Senate majority of 54 voted to break the filibuster, but that number falls short of the 60 votes needed under Senate rules.
Although Halligan won bipartisan praise from legal and law enforcement groups, Republicans portrayed her as a left-wing activist for positions she took while representing the state of New York as its chief appellate lawyer.
Alan Heathcock is the author of the collection Volt.
Last week, my wife suggested we have a dance floor installed in our family room. She was smiling ear-to-ear, wiping sweat from her eyes. Behind her, our three kids took turns showing off their moves as Michael Jackson's P.Y.T. blared over the speakers.
Originally published on Wed December 7, 2011 3:02 pm
Deadly suicide attacks in Afghanistan aimed at minority Shiite Muslims have experts wondering whether the war there could be taking a dangerous new sectarian turn.
Tuesday's twin attacks, in the capital of Kabul and the city of Mazar-i-Sharif, killed at least 60 Shiite worshippers as they celebrated Ashura, one of their sect's holiest days. It was the first such large-scale attack against Shiites in Afghanistan in more than a decade.
The hip-hop band The Roots might currently be the hardest-working band in show business. Five nights a week, it's the house band on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, and is constantly collaborating with other artists. And this week, the band issued its 10th studio album.
Time now for a home-viewing recommendation from our film critic, Bob Mondello. With a new movie version of Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy opening this week, Bob's suggesting the TV original.
At some point in my youth, I must have known the nursery rhyme "Tinker, tailor/ soldier, sailor/ rich man, poor man/beggar man, thief," but since 1979, the instant someone says "Tinker Tailor," the next two words that occur to me are "Alec Guinness."
Election-day dirty tricksters be forewarned: getting caught trying in a voter-suppression scheme can draw you a prison term, at least in Maryland.
That's one take away message from Tuesday's conviction of the man who served as campaign manager for the effort of Maryland's former Republican Gov. Robert Ehrlich Jr.'s to regain the governorship.
A Baltimore jury found Paul Schurick guilty of election fraud on state charges related to 2010 voter-suppression robocalls meant to keep some African American voters, predominantly Democrats, away from the polls on election day.
Organizers of the 2012 Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C., face a bit of a conundrum as they try to honor their party's deep ties to organized labor in a state with the lowest percentage of unionized workers in the nation. Local businesses worry they'll be passed over for unionized competitors, which are few and far between in the right-to-work state.
"This is a make or break moment for the middle class, and for all those who are fighting to get into the middle class," President Obama said in a speech in Osawatomie, Kansas. The speech threw the president in the middle of the conversation about economic inequality that's been central to the demands of the Occupy movement.
The speech also laid down some markers in preparation for the president's reelection battle and he did so with a big bow to Teddy Roosevelt, who delivered a speech calling for a "New Nationalism" in the same city more than 100 years ago.
The audio link above is a radio story for All Things Considered about the late Larry Levan, the producer and DJ whose residency at New York's Paradise Garage between 1977 and 1987 remains the most storied in clubland.
This piece of news is perhaps a testament to the mystery that was Apple's late CEO Steve Jobs: Walter Isaacson's authorized biography of Jobs, a 656-page epic that has been well received critically, has just taken the top spot on Amazon's 2011 best-seller list.
It's that time of year when media organizations, consultants and marketers try their hands at summarizing and forecasting the past year and the coming year's food trends. It's a tricky business, because it really depends who you're talking about and where they actually eat (home, work, out?).
Days after angry Iranian students overran the British embassy in Tehran, The U.S. has opened its new "embassy" for Iranian citizens. Senior U.S. diplomats haven't returned to Tehran after more than 30 years - this department is web only.
The front page features a welcome video from Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and the seal of the State Department, with the banner "Virtual Embassy of the United States, Tehran - Iran" set at the very top.
Rep. Peter King is set to continue his series of controversial hearings on the radicalization of American Muslims with a fourth one tomorrow. King, a New York Republican along with Sen. Joe Lieberman, an independent from Connecticut, will explore how radicalization threatens the military.
When new GOP presidential front-runner Newt Gingrich recently advocated a "humane" approach to addressing illegal immigrants in America, some conservatives questioned whether it would fatally damage the former House Speaker's campaign.
After all, Texas Gov. Rick Perry saw his bid for the GOP nomination falter in part because of his support for a program that allows children of illegal immigrants to pay in-state tuition at state colleges and universities.
Originally published on Thu December 8, 2011 6:47 am
Bedbugs don't mind sleeping with their sisters and brothers, if you know what I mean.
And bedbugs' eagerness to mate with their kin is one reason their populations have taken off so dramatically. Inbreeding comes naturally to them, and it doesn't seem to hurt their offspring much, as is the case with most other creatures.
In the first part of his career, J. Edgar Hoover was often hailed as a hero. As a young man, he helped reorganize the cataloging system at the Library of Congress. Later on, after Hoover became the first director of the FBI, he introduced fingerprinting and forensic techniques to the crime-fighting agency, and pushed for stronger federal laws to punish criminals who strayed across state lines.
Jazz has long been a staple of European television programming. American musicians on tour frequently turn up on the tube, caught live or in a studio. That's partly because such shows are relatively cheap to produce, and because jazz makes for good cultural programming.
Originally published on Tue December 6, 2011 9:54 am
When it comes to polls, Newt Gingrich is a strong frontrunner. New surveys in Iowa and South Carolina show him lapping the rest of the Republican presidential field and holding strong double digit leads.
But when it comes to money, the essential for running an effective modern campaign, Gingrich is still not a top-tier candidate.