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Capitol Insider: Raising Revenue Is Mission Impossible, Gun Law Clears Committees

After the Step Up Oklahoma package of revenue-raising bills failed in the Oklahoma House of Representatives Monday, a message on the plan’s website read, “ Step Up Oklahoma’s effort has run its course” and that fixing the state’s financial problems is worth continued deliberations. However, in a press conference following the bill’s defeat, House Speaker Charles McCall said the negotiations were final, saying, "We've made it very clear: This was the final package we would consider." eCapitol...

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The torture of alleged terrorism suspects at Guantanamo Bay — first reported by the Red Cross in 2004 and since attested in thousands of declassified memos and acknowledged by a top official in the administration of George W. Bush — has never been far from the headlines, and rightly so. But another breach of human rights and American values at the Cuban prison camp gets far less attention: the secretive military commissions that prosecute these suspects away from the American justice system.

The daily lowdown on books, publishing, and the occasional author behaving badly.

  • A new James Bond novel by William Boyd will come out in the U.S. in October. The novel will be a return to the "classic" Bond, and will be set in the 1960s. Ian Fleming, the original Bond author, died in 1964.

Transcript

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Fans of the National Hockey League's Washington Capitals were likely the first to learn of the meteorite that exploded over central Russia this past week - that is, if they were reading the Russian Machine Never Breaks. It's a website devoted to the Washington Capitals hockey team. Chris Gordon and Peter Hassett blog for the site, and they join us in our studios to explain how they unexpectedly broke this story. Welcome to the program, guys.

CHRIS GORDON: Thank you so much.

PETER HASSETT: Thank you.

Economist Sonali Deraniyagala lost her husband, parents and two young sons in the terrifying Indian Ocean tsunami of 2004. They had been vacationing on the southern coast of her home country Sri Lanka when the wave struck. Wave is her brutal but lyrically written account of the awful moment and the grief-crazed months after, as she learned to live with her almost unbearable losses — and allow herself to remember details of her previous life.

"I just got the phone call one day," is how poet Richard Blanco describes to Fresh Air's Terry Gross how he learned he had been selected to write and read the inaugural poem for President Obama's second swearing-in on Jan. 21.

A new surge of Syrian refugees is swamping humanitarian aid agencies in southern Turkey, where official refugee camps are full.

But the newcomers may be just the tip of the iceberg. In central Syria, civilians under attack by combat jets, tanks and artillery have fled towns and villages north of the city of Hama, and thousands are on the move.

"What they do now, they burn everything ahead of them. They bomb this area with everything they've got," says Hossan Hamadah, a Syrian-American from Texas.

Legislative Leaders Answer Questions from OKC Chamber

Feb 18, 2013

Republican and Democratic leaders of the state House and Senate responded to several questions from the Oklahoma City Chamber. Changing Oklahoma's workers' compensation system was the top issue for the chamber. Other issues included the governor's refusal to expand the Medicaid program in the state.

Transcript

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

The fate of new gun control legislation for now lies in the U.S. Senate. And we turn to Senator Patrick Leahy. He's a Democrat from Vermont and the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

SENATOR PATRICK LEAHY: This is the first Judiciary Committee hearing of the 113th Congress.

MARTIN: His committee has been holding hearings to try to come up with possible ways to address gun violence.

Transcript

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

It is one of the most iconic American Westerns of all time. "The Searchers," directed by John Ford, hit the big screen in 1956. John Wayne starred in the lead role of the film as Ethan Edwards.

(SOUNDBITE OF MOVIE, "THE SEARCHERS")

JOHN WAYNE: (as Ethan Edwards) Our turning back don't mean nothing. On the long run, she's alive. She's safe.

Fresh Air Weekend highlights some of the best interviews and reviews from past weeks, and new program elements specially paced for weekends. Our weekend show emphasizes interviews with writers, filmmakers, actors and musicians, and often includes excerpts from live in-studio concerts. This week:

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