Politics and Government

The Two-Way
11:18 am
Sun December 21, 2014

GOP Sens. Rubio, Paul Square Off Over Cuba Policy Shift

Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., the son of Cuban immigrants, expresses his disappointment in President Obama's initiative to normalize relations between the U.S. and Cuba, on Wednesday.
J. Scott Applewhite AP

Originally published on Sun December 21, 2014 1:47 pm

In what could prove a sneak peek at the 2016 Republican presidential primaries, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, a strong critic of President Obama's decision to open relations with Cuba, appears to be stepping up an attack on fellow Republican Sen. Rand Paul over his support of the policy shift.

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Latin America
8:36 am
Sun December 21, 2014

Ready To Hit The Cuban Beach? Americans Still Have To Wait

A couple walks on the beach in the resort area of Varadero, Cuba. Varadero is home to upscale hotels and resorts that cater to foreign tourists, but there aren't yet enough to handle a potential influx of Americans.
David Gilkey NPR

Originally published on Mon December 22, 2014 11:12 am

With President Obama beginning the process of normalizing relations with Cuba this week, many may envision soon soaking up the sun on a warm Cuban beach, sipping a refreshing rum drink.

In reality, that's not likely to happen for quite a while. But just the increased opportunity for travel between the two countries has those with longtime ties to Cuba already thinking about the possibilities it will bring.

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The Two-Way
8:18 am
Sat December 20, 2014

North Korea Has An Interesting Offer. And Another Threat

A banner for The Interview is posted outside Arclight Cinemas, in the Hollywood section of Los Angeles on Wednesday. The theatrical release of the film has been cancelled following cyber attacks and threats believed to originate in North Korea.
Damian Dovarganes AP

Originally published on Sat December 20, 2014 3:34 pm

North Korea, which denies that it had anything to do with a hack against Sony Pictures Entertainment, now wants to help the U.S. root out the real culprit. But true to form for Pyongyang, the dubious offer comes tinged with a threat of "serious" consequences should Washington decline.

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Politics and Government
6:32 am
Sat December 20, 2014

Fallin Suggests Overhauling Budget Process And Use Of Dedicated Tax Revenue

Governor Mary Fallin
Credit Governor Mary Fallin / www.ok.gov

Gov. Mary Fallin said Thursday she hopes to work with lawmakers on what she called an “overhaul” of the state’s budgeting process.

“We need to look at making fundamental changes in our budgeting process, even how the Legislature runs its legislative session,” Fallin said following Thursday’s meeting of the Board of Equalization. “In other words, I think we need to focus more on the budget and revenue streams and even possibly look at doing budgeting every year but maybe doing substantive legislation session every other year.”

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This Week's Must Read
5:33 pm
Fri December 19, 2014

'Rum, Rumba, And Romance': A Book On Cuba's Enduring Mystique

Originally published on Sun December 21, 2014 4:24 pm

Cuba is dominating the news, following President Obama's announcement that he will begin to normalize relations with the island nation.

For our series This Week's Must-Read, poet and Cuban-American writer Richard Blanco turns to literature for another perspective on this story.

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The Two-Way
4:31 pm
Fri December 19, 2014

Obama Says 'James Flacco.' The Internet Says, Thank You

Actor James Franco (left), seen here with The Interview co-star Seth Rogen, was called "James Flacco" by President Obama Friday. Afterward, the jokes poured in.
Getty Images

Originally published on Fri December 19, 2014 4:49 pm

It was an honest mistake. But when President Obama meant to talk about James Franco and instead said "James Flacco" — on a Friday marking the full-on start of the holidays, no less — the slip was eagerly received by people on Twitter and elsewhere.

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Politics
4:04 pm
Fri December 19, 2014

Obama Says Sony Made A 'Mistake' In Cancelling 'The Interview'

Originally published on Fri December 19, 2014 6:11 pm

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Law
2:37 pm
Fri December 19, 2014

Sentenced For Life, Inmate Still Holds Hope For Release

David Padilla with his grandchildren. Seventeen years ago, a judge found Padilla guilty of conspiracy and possession with intent to distribute cocaine.
Courtesy of the Padilla Family

Originally published on Mon December 22, 2014 4:50 pm

Thousands of people sentenced under the tough drug laws of the 1980s and '90s are still behind bars, serving mandatory minimum prison sentences requiring them to spend decades, if not life, in prison. Nowadays people convicted of the same crimes serve far less time.

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The Two-Way
12:31 pm
Fri December 19, 2014

Obama's Wide-Ranging, Year-End News Conference

President Obama speaks in the Brady Press Briefing Room at the White House during a media briefing last month.
Manuel Balce Ceneta AP

Originally published on Fri December 19, 2014 5:02 pm

Updated at 6 p.m. ET

President Obama spoke to reporters in a year-end news conference at the Brady Press Briefing Room at the White House.

One of the topics that came up was Sony Pictures Entertainment's decision to cancel distribution of the film The Interview following North Korea's cyber attack against the company's servers.

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It's All Politics
10:38 am
Fri December 19, 2014

Advocacy Groups Tell Lawmakers To Back Off

Workers with the Pebble Mine project test-drill in July 2007 in the Bristol Bay region of Alaska near the village of Iliamma.
Al Grillo AP

Originally published on Fri December 19, 2014 3:00 pm

Three advocacy organizations — across ideological lines — are telling congressional investigators to back off in a probe of EPA ties to a leading environmental group, the Natural Resources Defense Council.

Republican Rep. Darrell Issa of California and Sen. David Vitter of Louisiana are leading the investigation. They contend that NRDC lobbyists have exerted too much influence over EPA on the issues of carbon reduction and the proposed Pebble Mine at Bristol Bay, Alaska.

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