Politics and Government

Shots - Health News
3:38 pm
Mon December 30, 2013

New York City's Bloomberg Leaves Mixed Results On Health

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg holds a 64-ounce cup, as Lucky's Cafe owner Greg Anagnostopoulos stands behind him during a news conference at the cafe in New York.
Seth Wenig AP

Originally published on Tue December 31, 2013 10:40 am

On the November day in 2001 when Michael Bloomberg was elected mayor, two things were prominent in New York City's air: fumes from the World Trade Center's smoldering remains, and tobacco smoke in the city's bars, restaurants and other public spaces.

Now they're both gone.

Bloomberg helped the city rebuild after the attack on Sept. 11, 2001. And he led the charge against smoking.

Read more
The Two-Way
12:58 pm
Mon December 30, 2013

Official In Charge Of Creating HealthCare.gov Steps Down

Originally published on Mon December 30, 2013 3:28 pm

Michelle Snyder, the official who oversaw the creation of the problem-plagued HealthCare.gov website, is retiring.

In a statement on Monday, Marilyn Tavenner, the head of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, announced Snyder's departure from the agency, saying she had originally planned to retire at the end of 2012 but had stayed on at Tavenner's request to help "with the challenges facing CMS in 2013."

Read more
The Two-Way
10:19 am
Mon December 30, 2013

Billionaire Philanthropist, GOP Donor Harold Simmons Dies

Harold Simmons stands by the Dallas courthouse entrance in October 1997. Simmons, the Texas billionaire, philanthropist and GOP donor, died Saturday in Dallas. He was 82.
Flor Cordero Reuters /Landov

Originally published on Mon December 30, 2013 1:49 pm

Harold Simmons, the Texas billionaire, philanthropist and GOP donor, has died. He was 82.

The Dallas Morning News says Simmons died late Saturday at Baylor University Medical Center in Dallas. His wife, Annette, told the newspaper that Simmons was "very sick for the last two weeks" and was in Baylor's intensive care unit. The family spent Christmas at the hospital, she said.

Here's more from the Morning News:

Read more
Oklahoma Voices
10:14 am
Mon December 30, 2013

Changing Demographics May Help Recovery Of Southern Democrats

Lloyd's new military map of the border & southern states from 1864.
Credit Author: Hall, Edward S. Publisher: H.H. Lloyd & Co. / Norman B. Leventhal Map Center at the BPL

Listen to three experts in southern politics discuss the region's political past and future.
Scott Buchanan discusses the politics of the southern U.S. and its role in national elections during fall event sponsored by the Oklahoma Political Science Association.

Three political scientists who study the politics of southern states in the U.S. say shifts in population from rural areas to urban centers could help Democrats win more elections.

Scott Buchanan of the Citadel Symposium on Southern Politics says there is evidence the move is already taking place in Florida and Virginia.

Buchanan also says the coast of South Carolina is seeing an influx of immigration from other states, changing the politics of the area.

The Democrats lost the south, in part, because they failed to develop their party, according to the University of Georgia’s Charles S. Bullock III. He says they took their dominance for granted and did not develop candidates in the face of a rising GOP presence.

Read more
It's All Politics
9:31 am
Mon December 30, 2013

GOP Crafts New Rules To Shorten 2016 Primary Season

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney and vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan on stage with their wives Ann Romney and Janna Ryan at the Republican National Convention on Aug. 30.
Jae C. Hong AP

Originally published on Mon December 30, 2013 11:28 am

A year after losing the popular vote for the fifth time in the past six presidential elections, the Republican Party has crafted a series of rules tweaks designed to regain control of — and dramatically shorten — its presidential nominating process.

The subcommittee charged with looking for fixes has approved five proposed changes for review by the Republican National Committee's rules committee at its January meeting. The full RNC would then need to pass the changes by a three-quarters supermajority.

Read more
Corrections
7:45 am
Mon December 30, 2013

Special Report: How Actions By Gov.'s Staff Led To Weakened Oklahoma Justice Reforms

Oklahoma Watch is a nonprofit organization that produces in-depth and investigative journalism on important public-policy issues facing the state. More Oklahoma Watch content can be found at www.oklahomawatch.org.

Oklahoma Watch reporter Clifton Adcock talks with KGOU about his investigation into efforts to weaken changes in state policy intended to reduce Oklahoma's high incarceration rates.

Behind-the-scenes moves by Gov. Mary Fallin’s senior staff members helped lead to a severe weakening of a program designed to cut the state’s high incarceration rates and save taxpayers more than $200 million over a decade, according to interviews and records obtained by Oklahoma Watch.

The efforts by the governor’s staff, assisted by legislative leaders, to take control of the Justice Reinvestment Initiative took place during periods when staff members met with representatives of private prison companies, which stood to gain or lose depending on how the initiative was implemented, emails and logs of visitors to Fallin’s offices show.

During that time, private-prison company representatives also made donations to Fallin’s 2014 campaign as well as to legislators, Oklahoma Ethics Commission records indicate.

Read more
It's All Politics
6:22 am
Mon December 30, 2013

Assessing Bloomberg's Legacy Is A Complex Task

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg speaks at the opening of the New York Genome Center on Sept. 19 in New York City.
Andrew Burton Getty Images

Originally published on Mon December 30, 2013 10:16 am

At the end of this month, Michael Bloomberg ends his three terms as mayor of New York City. Assessing Bloomberg's legacy, a man who went from Republican to Independent, is not a simple thing to do. His 12 years in office were groundbreaking, locally and even globally.

But at the same time, many New Yorkers found him arrogant and insensitive to the poor. It's a vein that was tapped successfully by Democratic Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio, who described New York as a city of haves and have nots. But the changes implemented by Bloomberg will impact generations of New Yorkers to come.

Read more
Politics
3:52 am
Mon December 30, 2013

If The NAFTA Vote Were Held Today, How Would It Fare?

Originally published on Mon December 30, 2013 6:42 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

This is MORNING EDITION from NPR News. Good morning. I'm David Greene.

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

And I'm Renee Montagne. It's been 20 years since President Bill Clinton signed into law a trade pact that wiped out many of the commercial barriers between the U.S., Canada and Mexico. The North American Free Trade Agreement was controversial. Although Congress in the end approved NAFTA, it divided lawmakers, and on both sides of the aisle.

Read more
Politics
4:42 pm
Sun December 29, 2013

A Look Back At A Rather Rotten Year In U.S. Politics

2013 was a terrible year for politics and politicians of all stripes. Matt Miller of The Washington Post and the public radio program Left, Right, & Center joins NPR's Arun Rath for a wrap-up.

Politics
11:03 am
Sun December 29, 2013

Abortion Rights Groups Say It's Time To Stop Playing Defense

Texas state Sen. Wendy Davis filibustered for 11 hours against sweeping restrictions on abortion back in June, becoming a hero for abortion rights activists.
Eric Gay AP

Originally published on Sun December 29, 2013 12:08 pm

Abortion rights activists are working on a counterattack to the 200 bills that have passed in states across the U.S. since 2010.

In the past three years, Republican-led legislatures have backed bills to regulate abortions and the doctors and clinics that perform them.

Bills to ban abortions at 20 weeks are among the laws that cropped up three years ago and have now passed in about a dozen states. This year, North Dakota pushed to end abortions at around six weeks of pregnancy.

Read more

Pages