President Obama's newly released tax return shows his effective income tax rate was 18.4 percent last year. He'll likely pay a somewhat higher rate in 2013, and that tax bill would be even bigger if Congress were to adopt the recommendations in the president's own budget, unveiled this week.
A new immigration bill is expected to be introduced in the U.S. Senate next week, calling for better border security and a path to citizenship for 11 million immigrants in the United States without legal status.
One big hurdle toward that was cleared this week when the United Farm Workers reached a deal with growers that would address wages and caps the number of visas allowed for new workers.
CARL KASELL: From NPR and WBEZ-Chicago, this is WAIT, WAIT...DON'T TELL ME!, the NPR News quiz. I'm Carl Kasell. We're playing this week with Alonzo Bodden, Luke Burbank, and Faith Salie. And here, again, is your host at the Chase Bank Auditorium in downtown Chicago, Peter Sagal.
PETER SAGAL, HOST:
Thank you, Carl. Right now, it is time for the WAIT, WAIT...DON'T TELL ME! Bluff the Listener game. Call 1-888-Wait-Wait to play our game on the air. Hi, you're on WAIT, WAIT...DON'T TELL ME!
Now it is time for our final game Lightning Fill in The Blank. Each of our players will have 60 seconds in which to answer as many fill in the blank questions as he or she can. Each correct answer is now worth two points. Carl, can you give us the scores?
CARL KASELL: We have a tie for first place, Peter. Alonzo Bodden and Faith Salie both have three points. Luke Burbank has two.
Coming up, it's Lightning Fill in the Blank. But first, it's the game where you have to listen for the rhyme. If you'd like to play on air, call or leave a message at 1-888-Wait-Wait, that's 1-888-924-8924. You can click the Contact Us link on our website, waitwait.npr.org. There you can find out about attending our weekly live shows right here at the Chase Bank Auditorium in Chicago, and our show later this summer on August 29th at Tanglewood in Lenox, Massachusetts. Hi, you're on WAIT, WAIT...DON'T TELL ME!
Originally published on Sat April 13, 2013 5:19 am
So who exactly comprises Progress Kentucky, the superPAC linked to the surreptitious recording of a meeting at Sen. Mitch McConnell's campaign headquarters? In the recording, an aide is heard disparaging actress Ashley Judd, who was then considering a Senate run to challenge the Senate's top Republican.
This week marked a new step in Michelle Obama's evolution as first lady. In her hometown of Chicago, she delivered one of the most emotional speeches of her career — about kids dying from gun violence.
"I'm not talking about something that's happening in a war zone halfway around the world," she said. "I am talking about what's happening in the city that we call home."
On Sunday, voters in Venezuela will head to the polls, and in Caracas, the noise level is as high as voters' emotions. There is a background noise that accompanies everyday life in Latin America, a constant soundtrack: music blaring from food stands and cars, loud automobiles that are so run-down they defy the laws of physics, street vendors yelling product names. I've spoken to many immigrants to the U.S. who, like me, first arrived to live in the suburbs and found the absence of bochinche, or ruckus, maddening.
Melissa Block talks to regular political commentators E.J. Dionne of The Washington Post and Brookings Institution, and David Brooks of The New York Times. They discuss gun control legislation, immigration and President Obama's budget.
Originally published on Fri April 12, 2013 3:43 pm
Joining the Senate, the House of Representatives approved a measure today that repeals a requirement that top government officials post financial disclosures on the Internet.
The House, like the Senate, acted quietly without a vote. Instead, they sent the measure to the president's desk by unanimous consent.
The provision was part of the Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge Act (Stock), which became law in March of 2012. The act was intended to stop members of congress from profiting from nonpublic information.
In the age of hundreds of cable channels, millions of 140-character bulletins and an untold number of cat videos, a fear has been growing among journalists and readers that long-form storytelling may be getting lost.
Originally published on Fri April 12, 2013 4:54 pm
While many in Chicago immediately thought of the famous "Billy Goat curse," when a severed goat's head was delivered to Chicago Cubs Chairman Tom Ricketts at Wrigley Field this week, I immediately wondered if it was a message from the "Rahm-father," Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel.
After all, Ricketts is in the midst of intense negotiations with Emanuel's administration over renovating the iconic 99-year old ballpark, as I reported last week.
Many office workers will tell you that proximity to a vending machine is both a blessing and a curse.
A walk to the automated food dispenser takes all of 11 seconds for me. It can be a welcome break from hours in front of a computer, or an antidote to absurd deadlines or gnawing hunger pains. But of course, the sugary, salty contents also shout at you, interrupting your writing and editing, in less dire situations — especially when they're so close by.
Mike Brodie's life, when narrated by an outsider, seems a lot like free association — where one thing leads to the next, leads to the next, etc.
Before he discovered trains, Brodie was bagging groceries in Pensacola, Fla., and really into BMX. Then he met a girl. She worked at the Chinese restaurant in the same strip mall and, he says, "she was like a punk rocker."
Vermont became the first state to provide a glimpse, although an imperfect one, of how much individual health insurance might cost under the Affordable Care Act.
Rates made public there last week, while of limited relevance to the rest of the country because of the state's unusual insurance market, showed little change from current prices. The prices reassured health law supporters fearing headlines about sticker shock.
Originally published on Mon April 15, 2013 6:04 pm
Coachella, the massive outdoor music festival that kicks off this weekend in Indio, Calif., has become an "incubator" not just for new bands, but for rising food entrepreneurs, according to a story in the San Jose Mercury News earlier this week.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg recently announced the launch of FWD.us, an organization promoting immigration and eduction reform. But it's not the first issue he's taken up. In the past, he's donated money to superPACS, politicians and education.
Mark Zuckerberg and other tech leaders in Silicon Valley are banding together to push for comprehensive immigration reform, the Facebook co-founder announced this week. But Zuckerberg has dabbled in politically charged matters in the past.
Jonathan Winters, known to one generation for his 1960s comedy albums, frequent Tonight Show with Johnny Carson appearances and comic movie characters, and to another generation as Robin Williams' baby on Mork & Mindy, has died. The news is coming from The Associated Press, TMZ, the NPR Arts Desk and other news outlets.
Winters was 87. TMZ says he died Thursday night "of natural causes in Montecito, Calif. ... surrounded by friends and family.
Next up, a case of life imitating art. A few months ago, we talked to writer Barbara Kingsolver about her latest book, "Flight Behavior." The book is a fictional account of an ecological disaster in the making, and the fate of millions of monarch butterflies is at the center of the plot. Would the species survive? That's the art part.
The announcement came from President Vladimir Putin as he spoke to orbiting astronauts aboard the International Space Station on Cosmonaut's Day, the 52nd anniversary of the first manned space flight by Russian spacefarer Yuri Gagarin.
It has been more than six years since Daniel Handler, aka Lemony Snicket, concluded his enormously popular 13-volume young adult series, A Series of Unfortunate Events. Handler recently revived the Snicket narrator, however, in his YA novel Who Could That Be at This Hour?
The voiceovers from Terrence Malick's To the Wonder, which has a lot of them, are intoned on the soundtrack while the characters stare into sunrises or sunsets — whenever the light is right, what cinematographers call, "the magic hour." This film and Malick's last, The Tree of Life, suggest that he's evolved into a blend of director and Christian minister: These are psalms writ on film.
Honky-tonk veteran Dale Watson has an impressive white pompadour and arms that tell his story: flag tattoos of Alabama, where he was born, and Texas, where he lives. Musical notes circle his biceps. And he has an inked portrait of his first musical inspiration — his late father, a truck driver and sometime country singer who passed on to Dale his love of traditional country, from Hank Williams to Lefty Frizzell.
This is SCIENCE FRIDAY, I'm Flora Lichtman, filling in for Ira today. You know the phrase you are what you eat? Well, new research suggests a slight modification: Your gut bacteria are what you eat. And if you eat more red meat, for example, you'll nurture populations of microbes that like to eat red meat, too, which might not seem like a bad thing except that researchers have pinpointed a compound in red meat called L-carnitine that when broken down by gut bacteria might contribute to heart disease.