Disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff has been making the rounds lately. He's out of prison. He has a new book. He's in a talkative mood. So I figured it was a good time to ask him about the business of lobbying — not about what he did that was illegal, but about the ordinary, legal stuff.
The firm he worked for was called Greenberg Traurig. I chose a year at random when Abramoff was working there, and picked a client I hoped would be fairly typical. I chose Tyco International, a multinational corporation that in 2003 gave Abramoff's firm $1.3 million.
Even before the devastating earthquake in 2010, Haiti's public health care system was perhaps the worst in the Western Hemisphere. Then the quake knocked down clinics, killed medical workers and severely damaged the General Hospital in Port-au-Prince, the capital.
Now, the Boston-based group Partners in Health has set out to build a world-class teaching hospital in what used to be a rice field in the Haitian countryside.
A week has passed since the landing of an indictment that shut down the website Megaupload for copyright infringement and racketeering. But it seems like it's still easy for people like college student Bobby Azarbayejani to find whatever music he wants.
He has used Megaupload before, but because that site is gone, he is using MediaFire. It's one of the many sites on the Internet where people share all types of files.
In Cuba this weekend, President Raul Castro will preside over the first meeting of the island's all-powerful Communist Party since last April. Castro has lowered expectations for any new economic reform announcements, saying that internal party affairs will be the business at hand.
But many Cubans will be watching for signs of who is rising in the party's ranks — and who could take over after Raul and Fidel Castro, both in their 80s, are gone.
Comics Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele have known each other for years. They were both in the cast of MadTV. Now they're starting their own sketch-comedy series, due to launch on Comedy Central on Tuesday.
Nearly 21 years ago, Dennis Apple and his wife, Buelah, were thrust into a situation parents dread. Their son Denny had come down with mononucleosis. And as they recall, just before bed one night, Denny took his medicine and then talked about where he wanted to sleep.
At the time, Denny was 18; he had begun competing in triathlons near the family's home in Olathe, Kan., outside Kansas City.
With just four full days to go before Tuesday's crucial Florida primary, the four remaining major Republican presidential candidates gather tonight for another debate.
This time the setting is the University of North Florida in Jacksonville. The host network is CNN. The network's Wolf Blitzer will moderate. The other sponsors are the Republican Party of Florida and the Hispanic Leadership Network, a center-right advocacy group.
If you're a college athlete who's talented enough to play a Division I sport, the NCAA requires that you get a blood test to see if you have sickle cell trait.
People with sickle cell trait carry one copy of a gene that can lead to an abnormal type of hemoglobin, the oxygen-carrying molecule in red blood cells. (Two copies of the gene lead to sickle cell disease.)
In the race for the Republican presidential nomination, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich continues to fend off accusations that he should wear the scarlet "L" — for "lobbyist." This week, he released two of his consulting contracts and said they didn't call for any lobbying.
Like many other former lawmakers, Gingrich was advocating for paying clients, while not officially registering as a lobbyist.
The two contracts disclosed this week came from Gingrich's work for Freddie Mac, the mortgage giant. Between 1999 and 2007, Freddie Mac paid his firm $1.6 million.
Welcome to the fourth installment of NPR's Backseat Book Club, where we select a book for young readers — and invite them to read along with us and share their thoughts and questions with the author.
Our selection for January — The Watsons Go to Birmingham – 1963 by Christopher Paul Curtis — describes the civil rights era from the perspective of a young (and extremely mischievous) boy and his family.
When I first saw the press release, I figured it had to be an April Fools' joke. The Humane Society of the United States, a voice of outrage against all heartless exploitation of animals, joining hands with the United Egg Producers, which represents an industry that keeps 200 million chickens in cages?
Mitch McConnell, the senate Republican leader from Kentucky, was the original author of the United States' sanctions on Myanmar.
So these last six months have been astounding for him. Myanmar, which is also known as Burma, has gone through an amazing transformation. Aung San Suu Kyi, the country's leading opposition figure, has announced she will seek public office and the U.S. has reestablished diplomatic ties with Myanmar.
The Romney campaign has confirmed that the Republican presidential hopeful will attend an event in Salt Lake City next month commemorating the 10th anniversary of the 2002 Olympics.
The event gives the struggling campaign the chance to underscore one of Mitt Romney's signature accomplishments. "I worked at one company, Bain, for 25 years," Romney said in a debate and campaign ad. "And I left that to go off and help save the Olympic Games."
The Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnnell was on the floor Thursday, offering rare praise for the Obama administration. He agrees with the actions of the White House and the State Department in responding to signs of reform in the southeast Asian nation of Myanmar, also known as Burma. McConnell talks about this rare instance of bipartisanship.
The Obama administration released more details Thursday about the energy plan he previewed at the State of the Union this week. He announced an oil-and-gas-lease sale on nearly 38 million acres in the Gulf of Mexico — and proposals for new incentives to increase the use of natural gas in heavy trucks and buses.
One thing that's certain about the uprising against Syrian President Bashar Assad is that there is nothing romantic about it.
Unlike Egypt, there's no Tahrir Square filled with hundreds of thousands of people calling for democracy. Unlike Libya, there's no Mad Max warriors in the desert fighting a dictator with guns they've welded to the backs of their pickup trucks.
Instead, grim news seeps out piecemeal from unofficial sources. Most of the reports are little more than body counts, with most of the fatalities blamed on the Syrian security forces.
Originally published on Thu January 26, 2012 3:18 pm
Defense Secretary Leon Panetta announced that the the Pentagon will propose a $33 billion cut in the military's budget, for the 2013 fiscal year.
The AP reports that will be achieved by reducing ground forces by 100,000 and by eliminating older aircraft.
The AP reports:
"Defense Secretary Leon Panetta tells a Pentagon news conference the administration will request a 2013 budget of $525 billion, plus another $88 billion for operations in Afghanistan. Combined, those totals are about $33 billion less than the Pentagon is spending this year.