Politics

5:21pm

Mon December 17, 2012
It's All Politics

Some Senators Show Willingness To Take On Gun Laws

Originally published on Mon December 17, 2012 7:19 pm

Sen. Joe Manchin, a West Virginia Democrat, has an "A" rating from the NRA, but questions why anyone would need the kind of semi-automatic assault rifle used in the Newtown, Conn., killings.
Dave Martin AP

As President Obama spoke to mourning families in Newtown, Conn., on Sunday night, he clearly seemed to suggest a need for tougher gun laws.

"Are we really prepared to say that we're powerless in the face of such carnage? That the politics are too hard?" he said.

For Congress, the politics have been too hard.

The combination of a powerful gun owners' lobby in the form of the National Rifle Association and a loss of public support for gun control has stymied efforts in recent years to tighten gun laws.

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5:15pm

Mon December 17, 2012
Shootings In Newtown, Conn.

DeMint's Replacement Has Had Quick Political Rise

Originally published on Mon December 17, 2012 7:19 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

South Carolina is getting a new U.S. senator. Governor Nikki Haley announced today that she is appointing Republican Congressman Tim Scott to fill the seat being vacated by Jim DeMint who's retiring. Scott is a freshman member of the House.

And as NPR's Brian Naylor reports, he will be the first African-American senator from the South since Reconstruction.

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5:13pm

Mon December 17, 2012
U.S.

Federal-State Tug Of War: Drawing The Lines In Immigration Overhaul

Originally published on Mon December 17, 2012 7:19 pm

Maria Lola Melisio, 18, entered the U.S. illegally with her mother when she was 7. Now she's an undocumented resident living in Alabama, which has one of the country's toughest immigration laws.
Debbie Elliott NPR

Inside a modest storefront in Loxley, Ala., 18-year-old Maria Lola Melisio points out the Mexican spices and other products for sale in her mother's market.

"There are the leaves where you make your tamales — you roll them up in that," she says.

Melisio has long dark curls and is wearing a houndstooth scarf in support of the Alabama Crimson Tide. When she was 7 years old, she entered the U.S. illegally from Mexico with her mother, and still has a scar on her back from crawling under the border fence. It's a story she's kept secret until now.

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5:09pm

Mon December 17, 2012
Law

Senators Call For Return Of Assault Weapon Ban

Originally published on Mon December 17, 2012 7:19 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

California Senator Dianne Feinstein, reacting to the shooting deaths in Newtown, Connecticut, called yesterday for reinstating the Assault Weapon Ban, which was in effect from 1994 until 2004 when the law expired. How effective was it?

Well, we're going to ask Professor Daniel Webster who studies firearm policy and gun violence prevention. His field is public health, and he's at Johns Hopkins University. Dr. Webster, welcome to the program.

DANIEL WEBSTER: Thanks for having me.

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4:39pm

Mon December 17, 2012
Politics

What Gun Control Could Look Like

Originally published on Tue December 18, 2012 7:55 am

In a pair of recent decisions, the Supreme Court has made it clear that Americans have a constitutional right to own handguns for self-defense. But the court will nonetheless allow "reasonable regulations" on firearms.

The country appears set, following the mass shootings at a school in Newtown, Conn., to have a debate about what restrictions should be put in place.

Members of Congress have already signaled their intent to introduce gun-control legislation next year, which President Obama has indicated in recent days will be a priority.

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3:33pm

Mon December 17, 2012
The Salt

Wine And Food May Rekindle Love Lost Between Russia And Georgia

Originally published on Thu December 20, 2012 2:10 am

Eating lamb dumplings called khinkali at a table in Tbilisi, Georgia.
ostromentsky Flickr.com

It's a big day in the religious and culinary calendar of the Republic of Georgia. Georgian Orthodox believers observe Dec. 17 as St. Barbara's Day, in honor of an early Christian martyr. And they typically mark the occasion by eating a type of stuffed bread called lobiani, baked with a filling of boiled beans with coriander and onions.

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2:10pm

Mon December 17, 2012
Around the Nation

Sandy Hook Massacre Changes Gun Control Conversations

Originally published on Mon December 17, 2012 2:25 pm

Transcript

NEAL CONAN, HOST:

This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan in Washington. Last night President Obama broke a long silence and called for a meaningful response to Friday's atrocity in Newtown, where a gunman murdered 27 people, including 20 first grade students, and then shot himself.

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2:10pm

Mon December 17, 2012
It's All Politics

What Shut The Back Door To Congressional Compromise

Originally published on Mon December 17, 2012 2:50 pm

President Kennedy speaks with Senate GOP leader Everett Dirksen of Illinois in March 1961. Dirksen's support was critical to passing civil rights legislation through Congress.
Harvey Georges AP

Remember the important contributions Republicans made to civil rights legislation back in the 1960s?

They've almost been lost to memory. When Congress enacted the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the GOP presidential nominee that year, Arizona Sen. Barry Goldwater, opposed it, and Republicans have never recovered their former share of support among African-Americans.

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12:29pm

Mon December 17, 2012
It's All Politics

Open-Government Watchdogs OK With Closed-Door Fiscal Cliff Talks

Originally published on Tue December 18, 2012 12:48 pm

House Speaker John Boehner arrives at the White House on Thursday for a meeting with President Obama. The two men met again in private on Monday in an effort to reach a deal to avoid the "fiscal cliff."
Jacquelyn Martin AP

If President Obama and House Speaker John Boehner's closed-door meetings aimed at solving the fiscal cliff crisis trouble anyone, you'd expect it to be the open-government watchdogs who routinely bark their outrage at public officials who work overtime to avoid public scrutiny.

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11:44am

Mon December 17, 2012
News

The Politics And Psychology Of Gun Culture

Host Michel Martin continues the conversation on America's gun culture. She speaks with author Paul Barrett, journalist Craig Whitney and psychiatrist Carl Bell.

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