Politics and Government

3:21 pm
Tue July 15, 2014

Congress Pulls A Smooth Maneuver To Make Highway Payments

Traffic passes a construction zone at the interchange of U.S. Highway 65 and Interstate 80 on May 30 in Altoona, Iowa.
Charlie Neibergall AP

Originally published on Tue July 15, 2014 10:39 pm

Chances are you've never heard of the budget gimmick known as "pension smoothing." We'll try to explain.

1. What is pension smoothing?

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3:21 pm
Tue July 15, 2014

House GOP Counters Obama's Request By Promising Own Proposal

Originally published on Tue July 15, 2014 6:23 pm



From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish.


And I'm Robert Siegel. It's a familiar dance in Washington - President Obama makes a request to Congress and the House says no. This time, the no is in response to the $3.7 billion dollars the president requested to respond to an influx of unaccompanied immigrant children at the U.S.-Mexico border.

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It's All Politics
3:14 pm
Tue July 15, 2014

Why Some Politicians Turn Down Free Money

The salary for Duluth, Minn., mayors hadn't been raised for a decade, but last year Don Ness decided 25 percent was too much at once.
Julia Cheng AP

Originally published on Tue July 15, 2014 3:56 pm

All politicians are crooks, right?

Not really. Sometimes, elected officials will surprise you by being genuinely self-sacrificing when it comes to compensation.

Steve Novick, a city commissioner in Portland, Ore., just refused a $7,280 cost-of-living increase. He told The Oregonian accepting the raise "doesn't feel right."

He'll continue to earn $103,522, while his colleagues will pull in $110,802.

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The Two-Way
2:08 pm
Tue July 15, 2014

Two Former State Attorneys General Arrested In Utah

Former Utah attorneys general Mark Shurtleff (left) and John Swallow were taken into custody Tuesday as part of a bribery investigation.
Salt Lake County Sheriff AP

Originally published on Tue July 15, 2014 4:03 pm

Two former Utah state attorneys general were arrested Tuesday. Both face numerous charges, including receiving and soliciting bribes.

Mark Shurtleff served as attorney general for a dozen years before completing his third term at the beginning of 2013. John Swallow was elected to succeed him but resigned in November, less than a year into the job. Both are Republicans.

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The Two-Way
11:23 am
Tue July 15, 2014

Plan To Make 6 States Out Of California May Head To Ballot

An image from the Six Californias website shows the proposed borders of its plan to slice the state into areas that the plan's backers say would be more manageable.
Six Californias

Originally published on Tue July 15, 2014 12:01 pm

Backers of a plan to cut California into six states say they now have enough signatures from supporters to get their proposal on a general-election ballot in the state. The plan would create new states with names like Jefferson, Silicon Valley and South California.

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Movie Interviews
11:20 am
Tue July 15, 2014

In 'Underwater Dreams,' Robotics Team Puts Lens On Immigration Debate



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Oklahoma Tornado Project
9:30 am
Tue July 15, 2014

Auditing The Storm: Disaster 4117 - Moore Public Schools

A new Briarwood Elementary School in Moore is near completion, paid for by insurance and federal public assistance money.
Lindsay Whelchel Oklahoma Watch

The smell of freshly cut lumber rides a south breeze to the front of the steel and concrete skeleton rising out of red clay. Construction workers and machines move about.

The new incarnation of Plaza Towers Elementary School, where seven children died in the May 20, 2013, tornado, is set to open this fall. And in front on this day stand Mikki Davis and family members, there for a rally calling for the state to help pay for safe rooms in schools. Davis holds a picture of her 8-year-old son Kyle, one of the seven children who died.

“I didn’t want him taken (from life),” Davis said. “I expected to come here (on May 20) and find him looking for mama to pick him up.”

Returning to the site brings back memories and emotions. But knowing that the new school will have a safe room gives Davis some consolation.

“If my son’s life was taken so that others in the future could be saved in the future, then that makes me proud to be his mom,” Davis said.

The inclusion of safe rooms in the three schools damaged or destroyed in last year’s tornadoes is part of the FEMA disaster aid enabling the district to  rebuild. The assistance covers three-fourths of the cost of what is not paid for by insurance and donations.

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Code Switch
8:46 am
Tue July 15, 2014

The George Zimmerman Trial, One Year Later

George Zimmerman's trial became the locus of heated debate about racial profiling, gun laws and the criminal justice system.

Originally published on Tue July 15, 2014 10:25 am

George Zimmerman's trial for killing Trayvon Martin became a flashpoint for raucous, heated debates — conversations about racial profiling, gun laws and the criminal justice system. Zimmerman's acquittal was seen by many as an outrage, but any outcome would have been unsatisfying for many people, since criminal trials are horrible proxies for the resolutions of big, thorny social issues.

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Around the Nation
6:10 am
Tue July 15, 2014

Colorful Politician Buddy Cianci Wants To Be Providence Mayor...Again

Former Providence Mayor Buddy Cianci speaks with reporters moments after announcing he will again run for mayor. Cianci, who made the announcement June 24 on WPRO-AM, was mayor for 21 years - longer than anyone else.
Steven Senne AP

Originally published on Tue July 15, 2014 5:35 pm

Buddy Cianci, the man known as Rhode Island's "Rascal King," is attempting another political comeback.

The 73-year-old Cianci served over two decades as mayor of Providence – though his time in office was split up by a felony conviction for assault, another for corruption, and time in federal prison.

Now he wants the people of Providence to elect him as mayor once again.

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It's All Politics
5:59 pm
Mon July 14, 2014

Showdown At The UT Corral

University of Texas, Austin President Bill Powers (center) speaks with the media following a December 2013 regents meeting in Austin.
Eric Gay AP

Originally published on Mon July 14, 2014 9:54 pm

Like any ugly, long-running confrontation between a husband and wife or next-door neighbors — or between anybody, really — it's hard to know exactly when the dispute between University of Texas President Bill Powers and Texas GOP Gov. Rick Perry truly began.

But in the end, when the dust settled, one thing was clear: When powerful university presidents and powerful governors tangle, the politician usually ends up on top.

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