Politics

Politics
12:46 pm
Thu May 16, 2013

Obama Names New Acting IRS Commissioner

Rain fell Thursday during part of President Obama's joint news conference with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan in the Rose Garden of the White House.
Saul Loeb AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu May 16, 2013 6:39 pm

Update at 5:38 p.m. ET. One More IRS Official To Leave

Another official is out at the embattled agency.

The Associated Press reports that Joseph Grant, commissioner of the IRS' tax exempt and government entities division, will retire June 3. The division scrutinized Tea Party groups when the applied for tax-exempt status.

Update at 4:45 p.m. ET. Obama Names New IRS Acting Chief

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Politics
4:35 pm
Wed May 15, 2013

Texas Democrats See Future in Mobilizing Latino Turnout

Latinos in Texas generally don't make their numbers felt at the polls.
flickr.com/buckygail

No one doubts the growth of the Latino electorate in Texas. But its turnout at the polls is lower than in the rest of the country, leading some to question how to change that. Especially Democrats who say this is how to turn Texas blue.

State Rep. Trey Martinez-Fischer, D-San Antonio, and State Sen. Wendy Davis, D-Fort Worth, joined Julie Martinez Ortega of PAC Plus to discuss the challenge at a news conference today.

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Politics
4:11 pm
Wed May 15, 2013

IRS Out of Control, Cornyn Says

Sen. John Cornyn says the IRS overstepped its bounds.
flickr.com/musicfirstcoalition

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder says the FBI's criminal investigation of the Internal Revenue Service could include potential civil rights violations, false statements and potential violations of the Hatch Act, which prohibits federal employees from engaging in some partisan political activities.

President Obama is meeting with Treasury officials today to discuss the IRS targeting of conservative groups for special review.

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Politics
1:32 pm
Tue May 14, 2013

It's True: 'Mistakes Were Made' is the King of Non-Apologies

President Ulysses S. Grant gets the credit β€” or blame? β€” for helping make "mistakes were made" a phrase that politicians can't seem to avoid using.
Spencer Arnold Getty Images

Originally published on Tue May 14, 2013 2:01 pm

Make no mistake, the acting commissioner of the IRS put himself in historic company Tuesday by writing in USA Today that "mistakes were made" when his agency singled out for extra scrut

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Politics
9:37 am
Tue April 30, 2013

Obama: Rumors Of My Demise Are Exaggerated

President Obama during his news conference Tuesday at the White House.
Larry Downing Reuters /Landov

Originally published on Tue April 30, 2013 1:02 pm

  • President Obama's April 30, 2013, news conference

(We updated the top of this post with a recap at 11:45 a.m. ET.)

Joking that a reporter's question Tuesday about whether he has "any juice" left to get things done in Washington made it sound like "I should just pack up and go home," President Obama paraphrased Mark Twain:

"Rumors of my demise may be a little exaggerated," the president said, as he predicted that an overhaul of the nation's immigration laws will be among the things that get accomplished in his second term.

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Politics
4:50 pm
Fri April 26, 2013

Democrats Invoke Boston, West To Defend Government's Role

Last week, FBI investigators and a Watertown, Mass., police officer investigate the scene near the boat where bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was hiding. Democrats have argued that the way the government responded to the Boston attacks makes a case for not cutting too deeply.
Kevork Djansezian Getty Images

Originally published on Fri April 26, 2013 4:23 pm

President Obama has spoken at two memorial services in just over a week β€” one for victims of the Boston Marathon attack and one for those who died in the chemical plant explosions in West, Texas. In both speeches, he focused on victims and survivors.

But other Democrats are using these events to talk about another subject: the role of government.

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Politics
1:03 pm
Tue April 23, 2013

AP Twitter Account Hacked; Tweet About Obama Shakes Market

Originally published on Wed April 24, 2013 8:56 am

A Twitter account from The Associated Press was hacked Tuesday afternoon and the erroneous message β€” to be perfectly clear, it WAS NOT TRUE β€” sent stocks down sharply for a few moments.

The false message claimed there had been two explosions at the White House and that President Obama had been injured. Again, none of that happened.

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Politics
12:43 pm
Tue April 23, 2013

Bush Sees Approval Hike, But Trumanesque Recovery Unlikely

Former President George W. Bush gives a tribute for Van Cliburn at his March 3 funeral in Fort Worth, Texas. This week, Bush's presidential library will open in Dallas.
Joyce Marshall AP

Originally published on Wed April 24, 2013 11:45 am

A poll released days before the opening of George W. Bush's presidential library in Dallas is serving as fodder for some sequestered GOP nostalgia about his two terms in the White House.

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Politics
5:53 pm
Wed April 17, 2013

Obama Uses and Loses His Political Capital on Gun Control

Mark Barden, the father of a young Newtown, Conn., shooting victim, speaks at a White House news conference on Wednesday, with President Obama and former Rep. Gabby Giffords. Obama denounced the Senate's defeat of a measure to expand background checks for gun buyers. "This was a pretty shameful day in Washington," he said.
Carolyn Kaster AP

Originally published on Wed April 17, 2013 5:53 pm

The Senate's rejection of more robust gun purchase background checks was a stinging blow to President Obama that raised questions about his second-term agenda.

Expanding background checks had become a key part of Obama's post-Newtown push for tougher federal gun control laws. And in recent weeks, the president had campaigned for overall gun control legislation β€” especially the bipartisan background-check compromise β€” with a sense of urgency.

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Politics
7:11 am
Wed April 17, 2013

For Thatcher, 'A Great Calm' After A Life Of Controversy

Former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher's funeral was held Wednesday at London's St. Paul's Cathedral.
Christopher Furlong EPA /LANDOV

Originally published on Wed April 17, 2013 1:52 pm

Margaret Thatcher, the prime minister whose time leading Great Britain in the 1980s brought joy to conservatives and despair to liberals, was remembered Wednesday for "a life lived in the heat of political controversy."

With her death last week at the age of 87, "there is great calm" for the Iron Lady, added the bishop of London, the Right Reverend Richard Chartres, during a funeral service at London's St. Paul's Cathedral.

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National
7:57 am
Mon April 15, 2013

'Mila' Is First Grandchild For George W. And Laura Bush

Former President George W. Bush, former first lady Laura Bush with their daughter Jenna Bush Hager (holding baby Margaret Laura "Mila" Hager) and her husband Henry Hager
Today Show

Originally published on Mon April 15, 2013 1:48 pm

Jenna Bush Hager, daughter of former President George W. Bush and former first lady Laura Bush, gave birth over the weekend to a girl.

Margaret Laura "Mila" Hager is named for her grandmothers, the former president announced in a statement. According to The Associated Press, the little girl's nickname is pronounced MEE-luh.

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Politics
6:14 am
Mon April 15, 2013

GOP Donor Bob Perry Dead at 80

Though he became weathy through real estate, Perry became well-known through political donations.
bobperry.us/

Major Republican political donor Bob Perry has died. He was a Houston homebuilder but was best known for writing big checks for GOP candidates.

Perry was not related to Texas Gov. Rick Perry but gave generously to his campaigns. He also supported candidates including Mitt Romney. And he gave millions to the Swift Boat Veterans campaign that helped in the defeat of then-Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry.

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Taxes
9:25 am
Fri April 12, 2013

How the Maker of TurboTax Fought Free, Simple Tax Filing

Intuit, the makers of TurboTax have long fought "return-free" tax filing.
flickr.com/genbug

This story was co-produced with NPR.

Imagine filing your income taxes in five minutes β€” and for free. You'd open up a pre-filled return, see what the government thinks you owe, make any needed changes and be done. The miserable annual IRS shuffle, gone.

It's already a reality in Denmark, Sweden and Spain. The government-prepared return would estimate your taxes using information your employer and bank already send it. Advocates say tens of millions of taxpayers could use such a system each year, saving them a collective $2 billion and 225 million hours in prep costs and time, according to one estimate.

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Politics
6:19 am
Fri April 12, 2013

Kerry Warns North Korea, But Holds Out Hope For Diplomacy

A North Korean soldier on the bank of the Yalu River, near the North Korean town of Sinuiju, along the Chinese border.
Jacky Chen Reuters /Landov

Originally published on Sat April 13, 2013 12:00 pm

Walking a line meant to show both resolve and willingness to trust in diplomacy, Secretary of State John Kerry warned North Korea on Friday not to engage in more warmongering β€” but also said the U.S. is willing to talk with that communist state if it's serious about discussing denuclearization.

"No one is going to talk for the sake of talking," Kerry said, but the U.S. does want to see a peaceful resolution of the latest crisis on the Korean peninsula.

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Education
4:32 pm
Thu April 11, 2013

Education Committee Clarifies Voucher Bill, Sends to Full Senate

Sen. Dan Patrick, who wrote SB 23. It now heads to the full Senate for a possible floor debate.
Filipa Rodrigues for KUT News

The Senate Education Committee Thursday approved a billΒ from Sen. Dan Patrick, R-Houston, that creates a scholarship fund to help low-income students leave failing schools and attend private or religiously-affiliated schools.

The bill offers a 15 percent tax credit to businesses that donate money to the scholarship fund.

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Music
2:40 pm
Thu April 11, 2013

On Cuba Trip, Jay-Z Responds To Washington With Verse

U.S. singer Beyonce and her husband, rapper Jay-Z, right, tours Old Havana as a body guard, left, and tour guide, right, accompany them in Cuba on Thursday, April 4.
Ramon Espinosa AP

Originally published on Fri April 12, 2013 7:14 am

This week, Washington took on hip-hop royalty, when two Florida representatives went after Jay-Z and Beyonce for their recent trip to Cuba.

"We're saying that no one is above the law, even if you are the diva BeyoncΓ©, and that's wonderful that she's famous and rich, and Jay-Z, everybody loves him, too. Terrific. But no one's above the law," Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen told CNN.

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North Korea
9:21 am
Thu April 11, 2013

Will North Korea Claim Victory and Stand Down?

On Wednesday, a North Korean soldier looked on from the banks of the Yalu River on the border with China.
Wang Zhao AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu April 11, 2013 7:21 am

  • From 'Morning Edition': Frank Langfitt and David Greene discuss the latest news from the Korean peninsula

As the world waits for what's expected to be another ballistic missile test by North Korea sometime in the next few days, NPR's Frank Langfitt reports there's reason to think that tensions on the Korean Peninsula might soon ease.

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Business
2:06 pm
Wed April 10, 2013

Postal Service Will Keep Saturday Mail Delivery After All

A Chicago postal worker protests in support of Saturday mail delivery in February.
John Gress Getty Images

Originally published on Wed April 10, 2013 1:50 pm

The U.S. Postal Service has backed off a plan to halt Saturday mail delivery, saying that Congress has forced it to continue the service despite massive cost overruns.

In a statement released Wednesday, the USPS Board of Governors said restrictive language included in the latest Continuing Resolution, which keeps the government operating until September in lieu of a budget, prevents it from going ahead with the plan.

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Gun Violence
10:21 am
Wed April 10, 2013

Bipartisan Bill Would Extend Background Checks to Gun Shows

The scene at a gun show in Alabama last month.
Joe Songer AL.COM /Landov

Originally published on Wed April 10, 2013 12:52 pm

We last updated this post at 1:50 p.m. ET:

Saying "this is a start and it's not the end of our work," Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia confirmed Wednesday morning that he and Republican Sen. Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania have put together a bipartisan plan that they believe will "keep guns out of dangerous hands."

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2013 Legislative Session
6:19 am
Wed April 10, 2013

Bill Would Change DNA Testing Procedures in Death Penalty Cases (Updated)

A bill from Sen. Rodney Ellis would require the state to pay for DNA testing before capital punishment cases go to trial.
Veronica Zaragovia

Story as it aired on KUT 90.5 FM

Update: A Texas Senate committee passed a bill last night that would require DNA testing of evidence in cases involving the death penalty.

The proposal will now go to the full senate for a vote.

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