Good morning. I'm David Greene. You ever wonder why it took a big snowstorm to close school and on beautiful, sunny days there we are sitting in a classroom? Well, enter Bob Sampson. He's the principal at Bellingham Christian School in Washington state and he canceled school today to, quote, "celebrate an exceptionally nice day." The forecast there: 68 and sunny. No resentment here in the dark studio, all of us at work. Nope, not jealous, because it's always sunny at MORNING EDITION. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.
On a Friday morning, this is MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm David Greene. Earlier this week, President Obama said that the use of chemical weapons in Syria would be a game changer. And although there is evidence that chemical weapons have been used, the president insists he needs all the facts before taking further action - the who, the how, the when.
Chicago's plan to shut down 54 schools would be the largest school closure in U.S. history. And it has taken a step closer to becoming a reality. After a month of public hearings, officials will hand over reports to the school board with recommendations for how many of the schools in question should be closed. As NPR's Cheryl Corley reports, parents, educators and students in Chicago say they are not ready to quit fighting for their schools.
The state of Mississippi has one clinic where abortions are performed and its future is in doubt. A new law could force the clinic to close. Meanwhile, the governor says he wants Mississippi to become the first abortion-free state in the nation. But NPR's Kathy Lohr reports that a recent ruling from a federal judge is allowing the clinic to say open - for now.
It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm David Greene.
It's one of the basic lessons in school - how a bill becomes a law - sounds so finite. Of course the part they don't always teach is how the political debate over a law can just keep going. The Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, is now the law of the land. The Supreme Court ruled it constitutional.
But as NPR national political correspondent Mara Liasson reports, the fight of the law will likely just intensify ahead of the next elections.
After any contentious debate in Washington, it's often interesting to see how a lawmaker is welcomed home, depending on how he or she voted. Some of the senators who voted down bipartisan gun control legislation last month are taking heat in the aftermath of December's mass killing at Sandy Hook Elementary School in the state of Connecticut. The bill would have expanded background checks, and the only New England senator who opposed it was New Hampshire Republican Kelly Ayotte. NPR's David Welna traveled to her state and sent this report.
Growing up in a rough housing project on Chicago's South Side during the early 1960s, Alexis Martinez had to hide that she was transgender.
Back then, her name was Arthur, Alexis tells her daughter, Lesley Etherly Martinez, on a visit to StoryCorps in Chicago.
"When I came out to my mom that I was transgender, I think I was 13 or 14," Alexis says. "And she called the police. And I always remember that when the police showed up, they just laughed and told her, 'You've got a fag for a son, and there's nothing we can do about it.' "
In Birmingham, Ala., on Thursday, children took to downtown streets in a reenactment of historic events there 50 years ago. It's part of a series of events this year marking Birmingham's crucial role in the civil rights movement.
In December, six-year-old Benjamin Wheeler was among those killed in the attack on Sandy Hook Elementary School. Since then, his father, David Wheeler has met with officials in Washington, D.C., urging tighter controls to rein in gun violence. He speaks with Melissa Block about his views on the legislative process and what his path forward is from here.