When the sun rises over the Rio Grande Valley, the cries of the urracas — blackbirds — perched on the tops of palm trees swell to a noisy, unavoidable cacophony. That is also the strategy, it could be said, that local officials, health care providers and frustrated valley residents are trying to use to persuade Gov. Rick Perry and state Republican lawmakers to set aside their opposition and expand Medicaid, a key provision of the federal health law.
I'm Michel Martin, and this is TELL ME MORE, from NPR News. Coming up, when you think about poverty in this country, you might think about certain people living in certain places. It turns out that some of those old assumptions are wrong. For example, more poor people now live in the suburbs. We'll talk about why that is in just a few minutes.
Now let's look little more deeply at this narrative of scandal. NPR's Scott Horsley has more.
SCOTT HORSLEY, BYLINE: When President Obama gets frustrated with the gridlock in Washington, he sometimes looks back wistfully to the decades after World War II. Back then, he suggests Republicans and Democrats managed to work together, despite their differences, building highways, protecting consumers, and educating generations of workers.
The phrase "second term curse" is so familiar that it's become a cliche of American politics. Whether it's President Richard Nixon's resignation or President Bill Clinton's impeachment, presidents tend to have a tough time during the back half of an eight-year presidency.
Outgoing acting Internal Revenue Service Commissioner Steve Miller (right) and Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration J. Russell George are sworn before a full House Ways and Means Committee hearing Friday.
The IRS was in the hot seat Friday, with its outgoing acting commissioner testifying before a House committee. A Senate panel is scheduled for Tuesday. Congress is prodding to find out why the agency singled out conservative groups for special scrutiny.
The Tesla Model S, Motor Trend Car of the Year, is introduced at the 2013 North American International Auto Show, in Detroit in January. Tesla's attempts to sell its cars without going through dealerships is meeting resistance.
Credit Stan Honda / AFP/Getty Images
Tesla Motors, the American maker of luxury electric cars, has been riding a wave of good publicity.
Its Model S sedan (base priced at $62,400, after federal tax credits) was just named Motor Trend Car of the Year. Reviewers at Consumer Reports gave the lithium-ion battery powered vehicle a rave.
And the company, headed by billionaire innovator Elon Musk, 41, posted a profit for the first time in its 10-year history — powered in part by zero-emission environmental credits.