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.
It's official: Gardeners and farmers can count on warmer weather. If that's you, it might be a good time to rethink those flower and vegetable beds for this year's growing season.
That's the word from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which released a new version of its "Plant Hardiness Zone Map" this week, the first update since 1990. The color-coded zones on this map of the United States are widely used as a guide for what perennial flowers will survive in a particular area, or when to plant your vegetables.
Best-selling author Walter Mosley's book All I Did Was Shoot My Man tells the story of a woman trying to get her life back on track after serving an eight-year prison sentence. Leonid McGill, a private investigator, knows she is innocent and tries to help her start over.
Couples planning their weddings are forced to make scores of difficult decisions — matching the guest list to the budget, and juggling their own values and the expectations of family and friends. Wedding-planning books and blogs can add more pressure than guidance — they make newly engaged couples feel like their weddings must be showstoppers, never mind the bad economy.
This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Jennifer Ludden in Washington, sitting in for Neal Conan. In Nigeria, long-held tensions between Christians and Muslims are flaring again. An Islamist sect called Boko Haram, suspected of having links to al-Qaeda, killed at least 185 people in the past week with coordinated bombings in the northern city of Kano.
As baby boomers age and young people struggle to find work, more families than ever before are choosing to pool resources by moving in together. The economic downturn accelerated this already growing national trend toward multiple generations living under the same roof.
Originally published on Thu January 26, 2012 1:38 pm
It was so clear for a moment: Mitt Romney was in the lead in the presidential nomination race. Newt Gingrich was a distant second. Rick Santorum — the youthful candidate — was appealing to the socially conservative voters. And Ron Paul was hanging on.