At the end of this month, a payroll tax cut is set to expire that the White House says would result in a tax increase of about $1,000 per year on most middle-class families. The benefit is popular with the American people, which may be one reason President Obama has been relentlessly promoting it.
The president argues that extending the payroll tax "holiday" through 2012 is vital to the economy. Republicans in Congress are divided over that, but they strongly disagree with the president's plan to pay for it with a surtax on millionaires.
Caitlin J. Halligan, then a lawyer for New York State, and attorney David Boies spoke in the Court of Appeals in Albany in 2005. On Tuesday, Senate Republicans blocked Halligan's nomination to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia.
Originally published on Tue December 6, 2011 5:23 pm
Senate Republicans have blocked the nomination of Caitlin Halligan to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia. A Senate majority of 54 voted to break the filibuster, but that number falls short of the 60 votes needed under Senate rules.
Although Halligan won bipartisan praise from legal and law enforcement groups, Republicans portrayed her as a left-wing activist for positions she took while representing the state of New York as its chief appellate lawyer.
Alan Heathcock is the author of the collection Volt.
Last week, my wife suggested we have a dance floor installed in our family room. She was smiling ear-to-ear, wiping sweat from her eyes. Behind her, our three kids took turns showing off their moves as Michael Jackson's P.Y.T. blared over the speakers.
Relatives comfort an Afghan man outside a Kabul hospital where victims of Tuesday's suicide bombing were taken. A suicide bomber struck a crowd of Shiite worshippers marking a holy day in the Afghan capital.
Originally published on Wed December 7, 2011 4:02 pm
Deadly suicide attacks in Afghanistan aimed at minority Shiite Muslims have experts wondering whether the war there could be taking a dangerous new sectarian turn.
Tuesday's twin attacks, in the capital of Kabul and the city of Mazar-i-Sharif, killed at least 60 Shiite worshippers as they celebrated Ashura, one of their sect's holiest days. It was the first such large-scale attack against Shiites in Afghanistan in more than a decade.
The hip-hop band The Roots might currently be the hardest-working band in show business. Five nights a week, it's the house band on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, and is constantly collaborating with other artists. And this week, the band issued its 10th studio album.
Time now for a home-viewing recommendation from our film critic, Bob Mondello. With a new movie version of Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy opening this week, Bob's suggesting the TV original.
At some point in my youth, I must have known the nursery rhyme "Tinker, tailor/ soldier, sailor/ rich man, poor man/beggar man, thief," but since 1979, the instant someone says "Tinker Tailor," the next two words that occur to me are "Alec Guinness."
Election-day dirty tricksters be forewarned: getting caught trying in a voter-suppression scheme can draw you a prison term, at least in Maryland.
That's one take away message from Tuesday's conviction of the man who served as campaign manager for the effort of Maryland's former Republican Gov. Robert Ehrlich Jr.'s to regain the governorship.
A Baltimore jury found Paul Schurick guilty of election fraud on state charges related to 2010 voter-suppression robocalls meant to keep some African American voters, predominantly Democrats, away from the polls on election day.
Many local businesses fear they won't win contracts for the 2012 Democratic National Convention because they can't boast a "union bug," like the small blue oval above, that can be found on some material printed by Consolidated Press.
Credit Courtesy of Consolidated Press
Tim Mullaney heads Consolidated Press, one of Charlotte's few union print shops. His business has been contracted for several jobs for the upcoming Democratic National Convention.
Organizers of the 2012 Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C., face a bit of a conundrum as they try to honor their party's deep ties to organized labor in a state with the lowest percentage of unionized workers in the nation. Local businesses worry they'll be passed over for unionized competitors, which are few and far between in the right-to-work state.
"This is a make or break moment for the middle class, and for all those who are fighting to get into the middle class," President Obama said in a speech in Osawatomie, Kansas. The speech threw the president in the middle of the conversation about economic inequality that's been central to the demands of the Occupy movement.
The speech also laid down some markers in preparation for the president's reelection battle and he did so with a big bow to Teddy Roosevelt, who delivered a speech calling for a "New Nationalism" in the same city more than 100 years ago.
Gossip is arguably one of humanity's oldest pastimes. It can be entertaining, it's occasionally helpful, it's often salacious and even, at times, vicious.
What it's not, argues Joseph Epstein, is trivial.
The author and essayist has already traced the history and practice of two other human weaknesses, snobbery and envy. In his new book, Gossip: The Untrivial Pursuit, he turns his eye on our deep desire to hear — and share — the secrets of others, even if we feel guilty about doing so.
Larry Levan, who made the highlight of a new collection of DJ mixes recorded at London superclub Ministry of Sound. Levan's work at New York club Paradise Garage was the inspiration for the London club.
The audio link above is a radio story for All Things Considered about the late Larry Levan, the producer and DJ whose residency at New York's Paradise Garage between 1977 and 1987 remains the most storied in clubland.
This piece of news is perhaps a testament to the mystery that was Apple's late CEO Steve Jobs: Walter Isaacson's authorized biography of Jobs, a 656-page epic that has been well received critically, has just taken the top spot on Amazon's 2011 best-seller list.
It's that time of year when media organizations, consultants and marketers try their hands at summarizing and forecasting the past year and the coming year's food trends. It's a tricky business, because it really depends who you're talking about and where they actually eat (home, work, out?).
It has become a new and depressing holiday tradition. Every year on Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, thousands of human beings stampede into big-box stores searching for "deals." And, every year, by days-end the horror stories emerge on the newsfeed: fights break out among frenzied shoppers or worse, someone gets trampled to death. This year's award goes to the woman who pepper sprayed a crowd of fellow shoppers who were scrambling to get cheap Xbox consoles.
Days after angry Iranian students overran the British embassy in Tehran, The U.S. has opened its new "embassy" for Iranian citizens. Senior U.S. diplomats haven't returned to Tehran after more than 30 years - this department is web only.
The front page features a welcome video from Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and the seal of the State Department, with the banner "Virtual Embassy of the United States, Tehran - Iran" set at the very top.
The U.S. Postal Service has announced it will move forward with plans to close some 250 processing centers and lay off workers. The cuts may help save $3 billion a year by 2015, and could add a day to the delivery time of many shipments. The USPS is also reviewing post offices for possible closures.
A federal appeals court ruled that most bone marrow donors can be paid. The decision has sparked debate among advocates who believe compensation will create incentives for people to donate bone marrow, and the Justice Department, which argues compensation may compromise patient safety.
NPR's Neal Conan reads from Talk of the Nation listener comments on previous show topics, including advice for NPR's new CEO, Gary Knell, and the moments when a writer realizes he or she has become a poet.
Facebook has developed new privacy features and agreed to 20 years of independent audits of its privacy practices. Google and Twitter previously settled similar cases with the Federal Trade Commission. Farhad Manjoo argues that Facebook, or any social network, can never be truly private.
Rep. Peter King is set to continue his series of controversial hearings on the radicalization of American Muslims with a fourth one tomorrow. King, a New York Republican along with Sen. Joe Lieberman, an independent from Connecticut, will explore how radicalization threatens the military.
When new GOP presidential front-runner Newt Gingrich recently advocated a "humane" approach to addressing illegal immigrants in America, some conservatives questioned whether it would fatally damage the former House Speaker's campaign.
After all, Texas Gov. Rick Perry saw his bid for the GOP nomination falter in part because of his support for a program that allows children of illegal immigrants to pay in-state tuition at state colleges and universities.
Originally published on Thu December 8, 2011 7:47 am
Bedbugs don't mind sleeping with their sisters and brothers, if you know what I mean.
And bedbugs' eagerness to mate with their kin is one reason their populations have taken off so dramatically. Inbreeding comes naturally to them, and it doesn't seem to hurt their offspring much, as is the case with most other creatures.