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Election 2012
6:26 pm
Tue February 7, 2012

Obama Changes Tone On SuperPACS, Endorses Own

Originally published on Tue February 7, 2012 6:31 pm

As a candidate and as president, Barack Obama has disparaged the role of big money in politics. At his 2010 State of the Union address, he even called out the Supreme Court for a ruling that opened the door to unlimited personal and business contributions. But, faced with a Republican opposition that's raising millions from a handful of sources, President Obama let his fundraisers loose to play the game too.

The Two-Way
6:10 pm
Tue February 7, 2012

Holding Source Code, Hackers Try To Extort $50K From Symantec

Symantec's pcAnywhere program.
Symantec

A case of what appears to be a high-tech extorsion came to an abrupt end last night, when hackers, which call themselves Lords of Dharmaraja, made good on their promise to release the source code of Symantec's PCAnywhere software, which allows a user to access their computers remotely.

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Health
6:00 pm
Tue February 7, 2012

Poll: Many Catholics Support Birth Control Coverage

A new federal policy would require most employers, including Catholic hospitals and universities, to include birth control in their employees' health insurance.
Kevork Djansezian Getty Images

Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney has joined the chorus criticizing President Obama over a controversial policy that would require most employers, including Catholic hospitals and universities, to include birth control in their employees' health insurance.

Catholic opinion leaders have denounced the policy as an assault on their religious freedom.

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It's All Politics
5:59 pm
Tue February 7, 2012

South Carolina Sues Justice Department For Blocking Its Voter ID Law

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder speaks last month in Columbia, S.C. The state is now suing Holder over the Justice Department's decision to reject its new voter ID law.
Mary Ann Chastain AP

Originally published on Tue February 7, 2012 6:46 pm

In the escalating fight over voter identification laws, South Carolina has filed a federal lawsuit to overturn a Justice Department decision blocking the state's new photo ID requirement.

South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson, representing his state in the case, said in the complaint filed Tuesday that the law "will not disenfranchise any potential South Carolina voter," as the Justice Department contends.

The lawsuit further argues:

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Opinion
5:46 pm
Tue February 7, 2012

Cabaret Wanes As The Oak Room Is Felled

American comedy duo Jerry Lewis (left) and Dean Martin (right) with the English playwright and actor Noel Coward at an unknown location in 1953. Lewis and Martin were famous for their cabaret acts in the 1940s and 1950s.
R. Mitchell Getty Images

Originally published on Tue February 7, 2012 7:13 pm

One of New York City's most famous cabaret clubs, the Oak Room at the Algonquin Hotel, is closing. At least one person will feel the loss — Murray Horwitz, the author of two Broadway musicals and numerous cabaret acts.

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It's All Politics
5:36 pm
Tue February 7, 2012

In South Carolina, Dead-Voter Fraud Doesn't Live Up To Suspicions

South Carolina's suit against the Department of Justice over the state's new voter ID law comes amid a big to-do in the state over whether hundreds of "dead" voters cast ballots in past elections.

The issue has been used by ID supporters as evidence that voter fraud in the state is a serious problem. But it looks as though that's not going to turn out to be the case.

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Law
5:35 pm
Tue February 7, 2012

Calif. Decision Puts Marriage Politics In Spotlight

Couple John Lewis (left) and Stuart Gaffney celebrate the gay-marriage ruling outside of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Feb. 7 in San Francisco. The pair had married during the brief time in 2008 when same-sex unions were legal in California.
Justin Sullivan Getty Images

The 9th Circuit Court's 2-1 decision Tuesday to strike down California's ban on same-sex marriage as unconstitutional could propel the issue to the U.S. Supreme Court.

It also promises to inject marriage politics into an election year during which states from New Jersey to Minnesota to Washington will grapple with the issue of gay citizens' right to legally marry.

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Shots - Health Blog
5:31 pm
Tue February 7, 2012

Planned Parenthood Still In Cross Hairs

Originally published on Tue February 7, 2012 6:26 pm

One of the driving forces behind the now-reversed decision to cancel funding to Planned Parenthood has stepped down from her executive position at the Susan G. Komen for the Cure foundation.

But the resignation of Karen Handel, an outspoken opponent of the reproductive health group, hasn't slowed down foes of Planned Parenthood.

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Shots - Health Blog
4:59 pm
Tue February 7, 2012

Rotavirus Vaccine Doesn't Boost Risk of Intestinal Problem

A baby is inoculated against rotavirus in Honduras in early 2009.
Orlando Sierra AFP/Getty Images

When a vaccine for rotavirus debuted in 1998, it was hailed as a huge plus for children's health. Before that, rotavirus killed more than 400,000 young children a year worldwide by causing severe diarrhea. Problem solved? Not quite.

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The Two-Way
4:49 pm
Tue February 7, 2012

Report: U.S. Could Cut Its Staff At Expansive Iraq Embassy By Up To Half

The New York Times is reporting that the United States is planning to cut its staff by as much as half at its 16,000-person strong embassy in Baghdad.

The $750 million embassy building is the largest of its kind in the world and the Times adds that a major cut in staffing just two months after American troops withdrew from the country signals a "declining American influence."

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Music Interviews
4:40 pm
Tue February 7, 2012

Search For A Singer To Hit 'Low E' Spans Globe

Welsh composer Paul Mealor, who scored the music for Prince William and Kate Middleton's royal wedding, has a new composition in the works. For it, he's seeking a rich and low singing voice — one capable of reaching the "low E" note. And as he's learning, reaching the low E is no easy feat. To find a singer up to the task, Mealor has had to embark on an international search. Robert Siegel catches up with Mealor to hear how his search is going.

It's All Politics
4:34 pm
Tue February 7, 2012

Romney Campaign Preemptively Downplays MN, CO And MO Contests

Originally published on Tue February 7, 2012 4:36 pm

Mitt Romney's campaign had a message Tuesday for those who would try to stop his forward momentum to the Republican presidential nomination — he's got this.

Oh, and Tuesday's contests really don't add up to much of anything really.

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Africa
4:27 pm
Tue February 7, 2012

In Morocco, The Arab Spring's Mixed Bounty

Relatives of Abdelwahab Zaydoun, a 27-year-old Moroccan who set himself on fire to protest his unemployment and died from his burns, react to his death in Casablanca last month. A year after street protests in Morocco prompted some reforms, Moroccans remain discontent with the gap between rich and poor, and the slow strides toward democracy.
Abdeljalil Bounhar AP

Originally published on Tue February 7, 2012 6:26 pm

If you're looking for the reasons for unrest in Morocco, you can find some answers while zipping along in a golf cart at a resort in the historic town of Marrakech.

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Shots - Health Blog
4:15 pm
Tue February 7, 2012

Controversy Over Stem-Cell Research Keeps Charities On Sidelines

There's a funding tempest in a cell culture.
Andrei Tchernov iStockphoto.com

The Susan G. Komen for the Cure foundation has been in the news because of its clash with Planned Parenthood Federation of America.

But another aspect of Komen's activities hasn't received much attention: Komen's position on research using human embryonic stem cells.

Despite raising millions of dollars for breast cancer research, Komen hasn't funded any of this work, prompting questions about whether that decision is rooted in politics.

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The Salt
3:58 pm
Tue February 7, 2012

To Hold The Salt, It's Time To Hold The Bread

Sodium content can vary widely even between two sandwiches that look the same.
CDC

It's no secret that some of the tastiest snacks around — potato chips, french fries, and processed deli meats — are terrific vehicles for salt. Without salt, they'd be bland, too starchy, or just plain dull.

But would you guess that the white bread on your turkey sandwich could be delivering as much or more than the turkey — up to 400 mg of sodium, or about one-third of the daily recommended limit for 6 of every 10 adults?

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Religion
3:42 pm
Tue February 7, 2012

A Pulpit For The Masses: YouTube, Christians Click

Created by liberal Christians, the YouTube video "Tea Party Jesus" is a spoof on conservative politics.
AmericanValuesNet/YouTube

Originally published on Tue February 7, 2012 6:26 pm

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U.S.
3:37 pm
Tue February 7, 2012

Rhode Island District Weighs Student's Prayer Lawsuit

A banner hanging in the auditorium at Cranston High School West. After a federal judge ordered it removed, the school covered the banner with plywood and a school flag.
Steven Senne AP

There are not many 16-year-olds who take a police escort to school, but until recently, Jessica Ahlquist was one of them.

An atheist, Ahlquist sued the city of Cranston, R.I., over a banner hanging in the auditorium of her high school, Cranston High School West. Printed on the banner, a longtime feature at the school, is a prayer to "Our Heavenly Father."

In January, a federal judge ordered the banner removed. The school board is expected to decide Thursday whether to appeal.

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Education
3:22 pm
Tue February 7, 2012

Meaningless In Missouri? Not In Santorum's View

A sign supporting former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum outside the O'Fallon, Mo., city hall on Tuesday, as the state's Republican primary was under way.
Alan Greenblatt NPR

Originally published on Wed February 8, 2012 11:31 am

For an election that shouldn't matter on paper, Missouri's primary on Tuesday may carry a lot of weight.

The state's Republican electorate tends to be both populist and conservative. That could give former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, who has campaigned in Missouri the most — and the most recently — among GOP presidential candidates, the chance for a strong showing.

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Shots - Health Blog
3:16 pm
Tue February 7, 2012

A Fresh Look At Antidepressants Finds Low Risk Of Youth Suicide

Originally published on Tue February 7, 2012 5:35 pm

In 2004, after an extensive review, the Food and Drug Administration issued a strong warning to doctors who prescribed antidepressants to teens and children.

Antidepressants, the FDA said, appeared to increase suicide among kids and teens. Doctors needed to be careful. The FDA even mandated that a "black-box warning," the strongest type, be placed on antidepressant packaging.

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Latin America
3:11 pm
Tue February 7, 2012

Can Vaccines Break Cholera's Deadly Hold On Haiti?

Haitians suffering from cholera symptoms rest at the treatment center in Mirebalais, a dusty town north of Port-au-Prince, Haiti, last June. The cholera epidemic in Haiti began in Mirebalais, believed to be the result of overflowing bathrooms from a nearby U.N. compound.
Eduardo Verdugo AP

Originally published on Wed May 23, 2012 11:05 am

The cholera outbreak in Haiti is currently the worst ongoing episode in the world.

Over the past 15 months, it has sickened more than half a million people and killed roughly 7,000. The bacteria has now spread throughout the Caribbean island, and medical experts say it will be around for years to come.

Partners in Health, a Boston-based nonprofit, is planning to launch an unprecedented cholera vaccination campaign to try to curb the outbreak — but it faces many challenges, including a shortage of the vaccine.

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It's All Politics
3:06 pm
Tue February 7, 2012

Why Missouri Voters Have The 'Beauty Contest' Blues

There's no waiting in line at O'Fallon City Hall. A half-dozen election volunteers have been eagerly hoping that more people will turn up for Tuesday's Republican primary.

After five hours, they've seen a grand total of 33 voters. Normally, the City Hall precinct gets about 250 people to turn out for a primary.

"We haven't had many," says Vince Scully, a retired printer and election official. As for a late rush in the evening, he says, "We won't have that today."

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NPR Story
3:00 pm
Tue February 7, 2012

Letters: All About Cheese

Robert Siegel and Audie Cornish read emails from listeners responding to a story about a group that's trying to reduce the amount of cheese Americans consume.

The Two-Way
2:55 pm
Tue February 7, 2012

Flipping 'The Bird' Just Isn't Obscene Anymore, Law Professor Argues

M.I.A.'s now famous finger during halftime of the Super Bowl.
Christopher Polk Getty Images
(Note: This is a post about obscenity. Proceed with caution if the subject bothers you.)

We've got one more thing to say about "the bird" and singer M.I.A.'s flipping of her middle finger on national TV during Sunday's halftime show at the Super Bowl.

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It's All Politics
1:54 pm
Tue February 7, 2012

Poll: Majority Of Voters Support Birth-Control Benefit Rule

Originally published on Tue February 7, 2012 1:57 pm

The Obama administration's controversial decision to require religiously affiliated institutions like universities and medical centers to provide workers with health insurance that covers prescription birth control without a co-pay appears to have support from a majority of voters, according to a new poll by Public Policy Polling.

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It's All Politics
1:10 pm
Tue February 7, 2012

For Obama, The SuperPAC Rubber Has Met The Road

President Obama telegraphed his campaign's reversal on superPAC funding during an interview aired Monday with NBC's Matt Lauer.
Saul Loeb AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue August 7, 2012 3:41 pm

The late conservative writer William F. Buckley Jr. once said that "idealism is fine, but as it approaches reality, the costs become prohibitive."

That seems to be the political calculation being made by President Obama and his campaign team when it comes to opposing superPACs.

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