This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan in Washington. Since this time last week, parts of the Northeast have been transformed. The lights are back on in many areas, the floodwaters retreated, most public transportation is up and running, and most New York City schools reopened this morning. But wreckage still blocks streets, hundreds of thousands still lack power, gas is still short in North Jersey and on Long Island.
Originally published on Mon November 5, 2012 7:44 pm
(Revised at 5:46 pm ET)
On the final day of the 2012 campaign for the White House, President Obama and Mitt Romney are making the last push for votes in states each believes critical to achieving the 270 Electoral College votes needed for victory.
Obama was scheduled to campaign in three swing states, while Romney had events planned in four. The only overlap was in Ohio, considered the linchpin of the election.
Originally published on Mon November 5, 2012 3:50 pm
If you asked most people whether there's too much government in their lives, they'd probably say yes. But when given the chance to eliminate a layer of government, voters often refuse.
That's why a vote to merge the city of Evansville, Ind., with Vanderburgh County may go down to defeat Tuesday. Many residents are concerned that their access to services would be limited under a unified government, while taxes would increase.
Originally published on Mon November 5, 2012 11:33 am
In the end, the election may not settle anything.
If the polls are correct — and there's been heated debate about that — President Obama will be re-elected Tuesday. Even if he is, he'll have to face a Republican House that appears to be no warmer to his agenda than it's been for the past two gridlocked years.
But the polls are still so close that Republican Mitt Romney might be elected. If that's the case, it appears he'll have to contend with a Senate that remains under Democratic control.
A law degree used to pretty much guarantee a stable job. But journalist Elizabeth Lesly Stevens reports that thousands of law students are going into an industry that no longer has room for them. Stevens discusses her article with host Michel Martin, and they hear from NPR Facebook fans about whether a law degree is still worth it.
Election Day 2000 ended in a stalemate and weeks of finger-pointing and legal battles. Host Michel Martin looks at whether the country has learned the lessons from that crisis in time for Tuesday's vote. She speaks with Ilya Shapiro of the Cato Institute, and Robert Pastor of the Center for Democracy and Election Management at American University.
Nearly a week after superstorm Sandy pummeled the East Coast, thousands of Americans are still without basics like power and clean water. Host Michel Martin speaks with New York Times reporter Michael Wilson about how some New York Public Housing residents are facing unique challenges in the storm's aftermath.
Originally published on Sun November 11, 2012 6:32 am
Arab-American voters strongly supported President Obama in 2008, and polls show most are doing so this time around as well. But some of those voters are concerned about the way Obama has handled issues important to their community — even if they still intend to cast their ballots for his re-election.
At the Washington, D.C., headquarters of the Arab American Institute, the walls are full of red, white and blue signs in English and Arabic urging people to vote.
Some schools don't have heat. Others are serving their students shelf-safe milk.
But today, most of New York City's 1,700 schools reopened for the first time since Sandy devastated the northeast. NPR's Margot Adler has been working her way through Manhattan. She visited PS-41 in Greenwich Village and reports everything was great. But then, as she walked west on Houston St. all the way to East River, she stopped by Bard High School Early College.
Each dot represents one case of mumps between late June 2009 and late June 2010.
Credit M. Spencer Green / AP
Two boys study together at a Chicago yeshiva in 2009. Public health officials say this type of close physical contact helped fuel a mumps outbreak throughout several orthodox Jewish communities in and around New York City.
Last week, we wrote about an outbreak of mumps within several Orthodox Jewish communities in and around New York City.
We told you how the outbreak spread so rapidly in 2009 that public health officials tried something that hadn't been done before. Doctors gave uninfected children who'd already been immunized a third booster shot of the measles-mumps-rubella, or MMR, vaccine. Two doses is the usual regimen.
Originally published on Tue November 6, 2012 6:02 am
Tuesday, as those who follow politics probably know, is Election Day. The battle between President Barack Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney has been contentious, expensive, personal, illuminating, ugly, frustrating, petty, enlightening and, above all, long. And it is expected to be close.
This week's Political Junkie column is an attempt to guide you to what's at stake on Tuesday, both in the contest for the White House as well as the 33 Senate and 435 House seats on the ballot.
Originally published on Mon November 5, 2012 11:51 am
Let's hope what happened in Florida over the weekend is not a prelude to Election Day.
Just take what happened at a polling place in Miami-Dade County in South Florida: After early voting on Saturday was plagued by long lines — some voters waited up to six hours — officials decided to allow voters in one location to request and turn in absentee ballots.
Shortly after that polling place opened, it was shut down on directions from Republican Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez.
Asking voters to raise taxes on themselves is a tough sell, but there are initiatives around the country doing just that. In Missouri, it's the cigarette tax. Missouri has the lowest cigarette tax of any state, and some of the highest smoking and lung cancer rates. St. Louis Public Radio's Veronique LaCapra reports.
The U.S. economy has been slowly recovering, but economists warn it could plunge back into recession if Congress does not take action to avoid what's become known as the fiscal cliff.
STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:
That is the name that some clever communications specialist gave to the combination of expiring tax cuts - in other words, tax increases - and broad, mandatory spending cuts aimed at reducing the deficit. The two are set to go into effect at the end of the year.
The final days of an election cycle bring an obsession with the short term — the very short term. Daily tracking polls. A relentless get-it, post-it, blog-it news cycle. Trending topics on Twitter telling us something (though it's not always clear what).
But for just a moment, let's slow it down, look at what's happening over a somewhat longer time frame, and see what it tells us about what the country will look like for the winner of the presidential race.
Women use wordplay to protest Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney's position on women's health care outside the Hyatt Regency, where Romney was scheduled to attend a fundraiser, on March 22 in Washington, D.C.
Anyone who traveled to Breezy Point, Queens, in New York City in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy, even as recently as a few of days ago, would have needed an SUV — its main thoroughfare was under 3 feet of water. Today, you can see pavement. It sounds like a small victory, but this beachfront, blue-collar town is willing to accept progress in increments.
Lianne La Havas was pretty much unknown until she appeared on the influential TV show in Britain called Later with Jools Holland. It was just her, singing and playing guitar. Her voice was clear, pure and soulful. The song she performed — called "Age" — was both jazzy and sassy.
"Time seemed to stand still," wrote one critic of La Havas' live performance. There were much more established artists on the music show that day, but Alison Howe, the producer, says La Havas was the standout.
We made it. After six weeks and nearly 4,000 stories, we've reached the end of Round 9 of our Three-Minute Fiction contest, where we ask listeners to come up with an original short story that can be read in about three minutes.
Graduate students from around the country helped read all the submissions. The winning story was chosen by this round's judge, novelist Brad Meltzer. Meltzer wrote the best-selling books The Inner Circle and The Book of Lies. His new book, due out in January, is called The Fifth Assassin.
Melissa Fults, treasurer for Arkansans for Compassionate Care, holds up cards at the back of a news conference in Little Rock, Ark., with the names of doctors she says support a ballot issue that would legalize medical marijuana.
Credit Alex Brandon / AP
Voters will decide on 174 ballot initiatives across 37 states this election.
Voters will decide 174 ballot propositions across 37 states this election. Reid Wilson, the editor in chief of National Journal's Hotline, says he believes these decisions will change the day-to-day lives of average Americans more than who wins the presidency.
He spoke to Guy Raz, host of weekends on All Things Considered, about some key initiatives across the country.
The final poll released Sunday by the Pew Research Center ahead of Tuesday's election shows President Obama has a 3 percentage point lead over Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney just two days before the general election.
Obama leads Romney 48 percent to 45 percent in the poll of 2,709 likely voters, which has a margin of error of 2.2 percentage points. The poll was conducted Oct. 31-Nov. 3.