This is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. I'm Michel Martin. Coming up, officials in a number of major cities around the country are looking to close public schools to save money, but some parents and activists say the cost of that move is higher than you might think. We'll talk with a reporter and an activist in her city in just a minute.
Look around your kitchen table and you'll see the work of Ambassador Ron Kirk. He's the United States Trade Representative, which is a cabinet-level position, and he's negotiated trade deals all around the world. Host Michel Martin talks to him about why he's choosing to step down from his post and the importance of U.S. trade.
A judge in Alabama has blocked the state's governor from signing a school choice bill, after a lawsuit alleged that lawmakers bypassed state rules when they substantially revised the legislation in committee. The vote to pass the bill last week was marked by confusion, anger, and accusations of "sleaziness" and "hypocrisy," as AL.com reported.
Here was the scene last week, as the bill's backers sought to end debate and hold a vote:
Some members of Congress have put aside partisan sparring in defense of a legendary fighter. Republican Senator John McCain and Democratic Senator Harry Reid are among those calling for a posthumous pardon for the heavyweight boxing champion Jack Johnson. Johnson became the first black man to win that title back in 1908. His next win in 1910 sparked race riots and his relationships with white women added to the controversy.
Here's actor Samuel L. Jackson as Johnson in the 2005 Ken Burns documentary, "Unforgivable Blackness."
When former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush got to work on his new book on immigration, he was expected to be out in front of his party urging a broader conversation with Hispanics and more open legislation. After all, he had previously supported a pathway to citizenship for immigrants here illegally. Instead, it's fellow Florida Republican Marco Rubio in the lead, and Bush who's explaining an apparent reversal on the issue of citizenship. Both are likely candidates for president in 2016.
If Nov. 7 brought pangs of withdrawal from the end of the presidential race — good news!
The next one has already started.
Witness last week's dust-up over the American Conservative Union's failure to invite New Jersey's Chris Christie, one of the most popular Republican governors in the country, to its annual Conservative Political Action Conference. And if that flew under the radar, this week's book tour launch by former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush has removed all doubt that the countdown to Iowa has begun.
For years, federal programs for seniors and those that help kids have been on a collision course.
Now, given the automatic spending cuts taking place under sequestration, the moment for real competition may have arrived.
While Medicare and Social Security will come through the sequester mostly unscathed, a broad swath of programs targeted toward children — Head Start, education, nutrition assistance, child welfare — stand to lose hundreds of millions or even billions of dollars.
If Michigan Governor Rick Snyder has his way, Detroit will become the sixth and largest city there to come under state control. But steering a city out of crisis can be a tricky task. Host Michel Martin speaks with Jerome Vaughn, of WDET, and Robert Bobb, a former emergency financial manager for Detroit Public Schools, about the situation.
Apologies for those on my Political Junkie/ScuttleButton mailing list who didn't get a notification last week about the new column and new puzzle. NPR has adjusted its e-mail server and my mass mailing from last week didn't see the light of day. I'm hoping the problem will be addressed this week.