A judge in Alabama has blocked the state's governor from signing a school choice bill, after a lawsuit alleged that lawmakers bypassed state rules when they substantially revised the legislation in committee. The vote to pass the bill last week was marked by confusion, anger, and accusations of "sleaziness" and "hypocrisy," as AL.com reported.
Here was the scene last week, as the bill's backers sought to end debate and hold a vote:
Economists look at many tea leaves as they try to determine the health of the economy. One of the most important surrounds vehicle sales, and more specifically pickup truck sales, which are tied to the construction industry. And as last month's sales rose 18 percent, the auto industry is betting big on a real estate rebound.
It's arguable that the Ford F-150 is the most important vehicle to come out of Detroit since the Model-T. It's also built where many parts for the old Model-T were made in Dearborn, Mich.
Twenty years ago, theatrical clowns Bill Irwin and David Shiner collaborated on a Broadway show called Fool Moon — a giddy mixture of slapstick, improv and audience participation that proved such a success that it came back to Broadway for two more runs and toured both the U.S. and Europe. Now Irwin and Shiner have put together a new show called Old Hats, and it's been receiving rave reviews off-Broadway.
Irwin and Shiner's rubber-faced, loose-bodied clowning hasn't gotten easier over two decades.
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Every spring, you hear that almost anyone can win March Madness. Well, this year, it's true. There's no obvious favorite in this month's NCAA men's basketball tournament, at least a dozen contenders from schools big and small. And conference championships began today. So who knows which contender will fall on its face and which dark horse no one considered will emerge in the next two weeks?
Venezuela's President Hugo Chávez, has died, Vice President Nicolás Maduro announced in a televised statement.
Chávez died at a military hospital in Caracas at 4:25 p.m. Tuesday. He was 58.
In power since 1999, the former military commander became an icon of socialist policies in Latin America. With his country's oil wealth as backup, he launched fierce and unyielding criticism of the United States and its allies.
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez speaks in a televised address in January 2002 at Miraflores presidential palace in Caracas. Chavez vowed justice for two men who were shot and killed Jan. 3 at a political rally in a battle between Chavez supporters, opposition marchers and security forces.
Credit Miraflores/Getty Images
Venezuelans wait for hours in gas lines in Caracas on Dec. 21, 2002, the 20th day of a general strike protesting Chavez's rule. The strike temporarily crippled Venezuela's vital oil industry.
Credit Paula Bronstein / Getty Images
Cuban President Fidel Castro greets Chavez upon his arrival in Havana in December 1994. The two leaders were steadfast allies.
Credit Adalberto Roque / AFP/Getty Images
Standing next to a portrait of independence hero Simon Bolivar, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez speaks during a press conference at Miraflores Palace in the capital, Caracas, in October 2012.
Credit Rodrigo Abd / AP
Chavez delivers a televised address on Jan. 5, 2002, two days after clashes between his supporters and opponents left two men dead. He was briefly deposed a few months later in a coup that he claimed the Bush administration was behind.
Credit Miraflores/Getty Images
Chavez attends a welcoming ceremony for his Bolivian counterpart, Evo Morales (left), at the presidential palace in Caracas in September 2011.
Credit Juan Barreto / AFP/Getty Images
Chavez and his wife, Marisabel, wave to supporters in July 1998, as Chavez arrives at the National Electoral Council to register for the presidential election. He won the election by a landslide.
Credit AFP/Getty Images
As a lieutenant colonel in 1992, Chavez led a failed attempt to oust President Carlos Andres Perez. Here he speaks with reporters at the Defense Ministry after he surrendered to troops loyal to the president.
Credit Ali Gomez / AP
A man holds up an image of Chavez as people gather to pray for him at Simon Bolivar Square in Caracas on Dec. 11, 2012. Chavez was in Cuba at the time for cancer treatment.
Credit Fernando Llano / AP
Chavez addresses a crowd in Caracas on Feb. 4, 1998, the anniversary of the failed 1992 coup that would launch his military career.
Credit Jorge Santo / AP
Chavez inspects the Air Force in Catilletes, near the border with Colombia, in March 2001.
Credit Egilda Gomez / AFP/Getty Images
Chavez waves next to his daughter, Rosa Virginia, during a military parade in Caracas in February 2012, commemorating the 20th anniversary of the failed coup attempt that launched his political career.
Credit Ariana Cubillos / AP
Chavez speaks with Cuban leader Fidel Castro in Havana in June 2011. Chavez went to Cuba to undergo surgery.
Fred Butler has done many things in his 106 years, from serving in two military theaters of World War II to helping raise five children. But he had never gone to high school, or earned a diploma — the result of leaving school after the eighth grade to work full-time in a print shop to help support his family.
If Nov. 7 brought pangs of withdrawal from the end of the presidential race — good news!
The next one has already started.
Witness last week's dust-up over the American Conservative Union's failure to invite New Jersey's Chris Christie, one of the most popular Republican governors in the country, to its annual Conservative Political Action Conference. And if that flew under the radar, this week's book tour launch by former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush has removed all doubt that the countdown to Iowa has begun.
The Masters Tournament is still a month away, but the green jackets that grace the winners' shoulders are already in the news, thanks to a lawsuit over a proposed auction of a former champion's jacket.
On one side is tournament host Augusta National Golf Club, which says the jacket, won by Art Wall Jr. in 1959, was stolen; on the other is Florida doctor Stephen Pyles and Heritage Auctions of Texas, who insist the jacket was obtained legally and can thus be sold to the highest bidder.
Hikers walk on the Mist Trail to Vernal Fall at Yosemite National Park in California. The National Park Service has to cut $134 million from sites around the country, including Yosemite, due to the lack of a budget deal in Congress.
Spring has come early to the Yosemite Valley, and the melting snow makes for a spectacular rush of water off the granite face of Yosemite Falls, the tallest in North America.
Early March is when park officials would normally be gearing up for the busy tourist season. Instead, they're figuring out how to cut $1.5 million from their budget. Without a budget deal, the sequestration has forced the Park Service to cut a total of $134 million from sites around the country.
Throwback Brewery in New Hampshire is one of almost 20 New England breweries using malts from Massachusetts' micro-malt house Vally Malt.
Credit Courtesy of Throwback Brewery
Valley Malt, in Hadley, Mass., works with 25 farmers growing six different types of grain in the Northeast.
Credit Courtesy of Valley Malt
North Carolina farmers Buddy Hoffner (left) and son Chris have been growing barley for Riverbend Malt House in Asheville since 2010. Riverbend then processes the grain into malt for use by local breweries.
Brent Manning is a maltster on a mission. The co-founder of Riverbend Malt House in Asheville, N.C., wants people to be able to taste local grains in North Carolina's beers, just as vino aficionados can identify the provenance of fine wines.
"In the wine industry ... they will tell you that the No. 1 Syrah grape grows on this hillside over here because it's a bit rockier," Manning explains. "It's that very same connection to the soil and the underlying geology that creates these nuances in flavors."
Federal officials warned Tuesday that an especially dangerous group of superbugs has become a significant health problem in hospitals throughout the United States.
These germs, known as carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae, or CRE, have become much more common in the last decade, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And the risk they pose to health is becoming evident.
A North Korean (right) and a South Korean soldier facing each other at the Panmunjom truce village in the demilitarized zone (DMZ) separating the two Koreas in Paju, about 30 miles north of Seoul. (2011 file photo.)
While diplomats move ahead at the United Nations on a package of new sanctions aimed at North Korea in another effort to convince that Stalinist state to give up its nuclear and ballistic missile programs, there's also this news:
During a long, fiery speech, Venezuelan Vice President Nicolás Maduro said the country had expelled American diplomat David del Monaco because of what Maduro said was his work trying to "destabilize the country."
"Mr. David del Monaco has 24 hours to pick up his bags and leave the country," Maduro said in the televised speech.
Federal spending on seniors already far outpaces that devoted to children. Last year, overall spending on children dropped for the first time in 30 years. The sequester, which expressly protects programs for the elderly, will exacerbate that difference.
Credit Anne de Haas / iStockphoto.com
Credit The Urban Institute
The nonprofit group Next Generation took out this full-page ad in <em>The Washington Post</em> on Sunday, arguing that "America made a choice to help lift seniors out of poverty. We need to do the same for our kids."
For years, federal programs for seniors and those that help kids have been on a collision course.
Now, given the automatic spending cuts taking place under sequestration, the moment for real competition may have arrived.
While Medicare and Social Security will come through the sequester mostly unscathed, a broad swath of programs targeted toward children — Head Start, education, nutrition assistance, child welfare — stand to lose hundreds of millions or even billions of dollars.
Originally published on Tue March 5, 2013 12:25 pm
Three people are in custody Tuesday in California, accused of commandeering an 82-foot luxury sailboat in Sausalito, partying through the night, and then running the yacht aground in the pounding surf off the beach at Pacifica.
Now this week, doctors announced a breakthrough in HIV research. A Mississippi toddler who was born with the virus appears to have been cured. Doctors credit an aggressive regimen of anti-retroviral drugs administered just after the girl was born. This is the second well-documented case of someone being cured. The other involved a middle-aged San Francisco man who received a bone marrow transplant from a donor who was genetically resistant to HIV.
This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Ari Shapiro, in Washington. Neal Conan is away. Last week, two pro football players asked the Supreme Court to support same-sex marriage. It was an unusual moment for the NFL. Not long ago, nobody in pro sports talked publicly about sexual orientation, and now the issue seems to be everywhere.
This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Ari Shapiro in Washington, filling in for Neal Conan. It's a bird! It's a plane! Nope, it's an unmanned aircraft, also called a drone. Some can be as small as a microwave. Others can recognize a tennis shoe from 60,000 feet above the ground. And now, law enforcement agencies across the country are getting approval from the federal government to use these mechanical eyeballs here in the U.S.
Originally published on Thu March 7, 2013 10:32 am
Americans are all for government efforts to get them to eat more healthfully, as long as they don't feel like they're being bullied into it. That's what people said in a new survey about government efforts to influence how we eat, like New York City's ban on supersized sodas.
In the past decade, state and federal governments have launched dozens of new laws and programs to promote healthful eating and exercise. They've put a lot of effort into measuring what works, but surprisingly little effort into finding out what the people at the receiving end think.
Washington State Rep. <a href="http://houserepublicans.wa.gov/ed-orcutt/">Ed Orcutt</a> has apologized for saying "the act of riding a bike results in greater emissions of carbon dioxide from the rider," after an email with a bike shop owner sparked criticism. Here, a cyclist rides in Seattle last year.
Originally published on Tue March 5, 2013 11:19 am
Days after angering cyclists with his contention that people who ride bikes don't help pay for roads — and stating that "the act of riding a bike results in greater emissions of carbon dioxide from the rider," Washington State Rep. Ed Orcutt has apologized for his words, and any confusion they created.
The high lonesome sound of Ashley Monroe's Tennessee voice in "Like a Rose" serves as a clear signal that she's working within a tradition that extends back well beyond her twentysomething years on Earth. One of Monroe's collaborators in that song was Guy Clark, a seventysomething Texas country veteran who's often too tough-guy romantic for his own good.
An iceberg in or just outside the Ilulissat fjord, which likely calved from Jakobshavn Isbrae, the fastest glacier in western Greenland, in May 2012. Polar ice sheets are now melting three times faster than in the 1990s.
Credit Ian Joughin / AP
A graphic excerpted from <a href="http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2013/02/27/1214212110.full.pdf+html">the original PNAS study</a>.
Originally published on Tue March 5, 2013 11:22 am
Climate change will make commercial shipping possible from North America to Russia or Asia over the North Pole by the middle of the century, a new study says.
Two researchers at the University of California ran seven different climate models simulating two classes of vessels to see if they could make a relatively ice-free passage through the Arctic Ocean. In each case, the sea routes are sufficiently clear after 2049, they say.