Mervel Parker fills out his ballot at Aldersgate United Methodist Church in Montgomery, Ala., on Tuesday. Alabama is one of nine states with a history of discrimination that the Voting Rights Act requires to obtain pre-clearance before changing any election procedures.
Originally published on Fri November 9, 2012 7:17 pm
The U.S. Supreme Court said Friday it would consider eliminating a key provision of the Voting Rights Act, the federal law that for decades has been the government's main tool for fighting discrimination at the polls.
The law, first enacted in 1965 and reauthorized three times by Congress since then, is generally considered the most effective civil rights legislation in American history. Its provisions were extended by a Republican Congress in 2006 and signed into law again by President George W. Bush.
Originally published on Fri November 9, 2012 5:52 pm
If you fell asleep Rip Van Winkle-like earlier in the year only to wake up Friday, you might be forgiven for thinking no time had passed.
Because on Friday, President Obama called for higher taxes on the wealthy to be part of any agreement to avoid the fiscal cliff, while House Speaker John Boehner strongly indicated that proposal was a non-starter with House Republicans.
But, of course, we just had an election in which the president won a second term and, through that, some political capital. Exactly how much remains to be seen.
Since Superstorm Sandy ravaged the New Jersey and New York coastlines last week, FEMA has already put more than 30,000 residents in hotels and motels and given out roughly $300 million in rental assistance.
New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg on Friday announced more help for residents: a new program called NYC Rapid Repair for people whose houses were damaged by the storm. The program, paid for by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, will cut through bureaucracy and get contractors to many damaged homes starting next week, he said.
Here are some statistics from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. By November 1st, Hurricane Sandy had poured some 600 million gallons of water into the train and auto tunnels of New York. The corps' pumps can expel 696,000 gallons of water per minute. To a lot of us, this sounds like a set-up for an algebra problem, but for the Corps of Engineers and the Metropolitan Transportation Authority and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, these have been the measure of real life for the past nearly two weeks.
When Democratic Senator Kent Conrad announced his retirement, his seat in North Dakota was all but written off to the Republicans. Instead, on Tuesday, North Dakota voters chose Conrad's onetime protege at the State Tax Commissioner's Office, the state's former attorney general, Heidi Heitkamp, and she joins us now from her home. Welcome to the program.
SENATOR-ELECT HEIDI HEITKAMP: Thank you so much for having me.
Originally published on Fri November 9, 2012 2:08 pm
The post-election negotiations over taxes, the economy and the so-called fiscal cliff moved into a new phase this afternoon when President Obama stepped up to a microphone at the White House to lay out his latest thoughts about what needs to be done.
In many ways, this words were echoes from the hard-fought campaign.
With most Americans fat or fatter, you'd think we'd be lightening up on the anti-fat attitudes.
Alas, no. Even doctors often think their overweight patients are weak-willed.
But changing negative attitudes about body size might be as simple as changing what you see. When women in England were shown photos of plus-sized women in neutral gray leotards, they became more tolerant.
Election Day has come and gone, but NPR's Ron Elving and Ken Rudin are still trying to make sense of it all. Was it close? Well, a 50-to-48 percent popular-vote edge for President Obama certainly indicates that.
But the president won just about every battleground state, pushing his Electoral College totals into landslide proportions. And, the Democrats did far better in the Senate than anyone expected.
I've covered hurricanes, earthquakes and even tsunami cleanup, but I've never had a disaster hit home.
My fiancee's family is from one of the areas suffering the most after Superstorm Sandy — Rockaway Park in New York City. You don't just live in Rockaway, it's a place that you're from. Sarah's mom grew up in Rockaway. It's where her parents bought their first home and where her grandmother has lived for more than 40 years.
I'm Michel Martin, and this is TELL ME MORE, from NPR News. Later, we want to hear what the Barbershop guys have to say about some of the ballot initiatives that made headlines around the country in this week's election. They include measures that will allow same-sex marriage in two additional states and permit the recreational use of marijuana in another state.
The guys also want to talk about the how the country's changing demographics contributed to this year's election results. That conversation is coming up.
Originally published on Fri November 9, 2012 1:03 pm
If Congress fails to act, some $15 billion will be cut from science funding in January 2013. Physics professor and Beltway insider Michael Lubell talks about how science can escape that "fiscal cliff," and what to expect for climate change, healthcare and space under four more years of President Obama.