When Michael Hartnett was getting kicked out of the U.S. Marine Corps, he was too deep into post-traumatic stress disorder, drugs and alcohol to care as his battalion commander explained to the young man that his career was ending, and ending badly.
"Do you understand what I'm saying to you, son? It's going to be six and a kick," Hartnett recalls the commander telling him.
The "six" was an expected six months of hard labor in the brig. The kick happened at Hartnett's court-martial, and finally woke him up out of the haze.
The Grammy nominations are in, and the talk now is of what actors will be chosen for the Academy Awards, but not once have I heard anyone suggest that any of the singers or actors may not be nominated because of some character deficiency.
Likewise, when it comes to awards in theater or television or dance or literature, I don't ever recall any candidate losing out because of a personal flaw.
South African President Jacob Zuma likes to see himself as following in the footsteps of Nelson Mandela: They made their names in the anti-apartheid movement, they were imprisoned together on Robben Island and they both were elected president.
But that's where the comparison ends.
Zuma, who has been embroiled in multiple corruption and sex scandals, thought he might catch a break and bask in Mandela's reflected glory as the world pays tribute to the iconic figure following his death last week.
The Affordable Care Act has produced a surge in the number of people signing up for Medicaid. The ACA offers billions of federal dollars to states to expand Medicaid coverage for the poor. But only 25 states have accepted the federal government's offer, and those that haven't could face economic and budget losses.
Thousands of riot police jostled with protestors in Ukraine overnight. The protestors want their country to sign a trade deal with the European Union. The elected president of the country does not. At issue here is whether their nation tilts a little more toward Western Europe or toward neighboring Russia. NPR's Corey Flintoff is on the line with us from the scene of these protests. And Corey, what's happening now?
Shortly before eulogizing Nelson Mandela in South Africa on Tuesday, President Obama shook hands with Cuban leader Raul Castro and set off much discussion about a possible shift in U.S.-Cuba relations. David Greene talks to Dan Restrepo, a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress and former adviser to Obama on Latin America.
Originally published on Wed December 11, 2013 2:32 pm
Editor's Note: Roberto Schmidt, the Agence France-Presse staffer who took the photographs discussed in this blog post, has now weighed in on the discussion and provided context. In his own blog post, Schmidt wrote "photos can lie. In reality, just a few seconds earlier the first lady was herself joking with those around her, Cameron and Schmidt included. Her stern look was captured by chance."
Originally published on Tue December 10, 2013 8:07 pm
Congressional negotiators announced Tuesday that they'd reached a budget proposal to restore about $65 billion worth of sequestration cuts in exchange for cuts elsewhere and additional fees.
If approved by both the House and Senate, the plan — hammered out by Republican Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin and Democratic Sen. Patty Murray of Washington — would avoid another government shutdown on Jan. 15.
Speaking at a news conference Tuesday evening, Ryan said the budget plan doesn't raise taxes and that it's a "step in the right direction."
House and Senate negotiators said late Thursday that they reached a budget deal. The agreement would restore some of the automatic spending cuts known as sequestration, and includes some relatively small deficit reduction over the next two years. Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wisc., and Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., hammered out the deal, which they characterized as a step in the right direction that would avoid another government shutdown in mid-January if both the House and Senate approve the budget.
Originally published on Tue December 10, 2013 8:09 pm
The fight over taxes, entitlements and income inequality has clearly been reignited in the Democratic Party, sparking questions about whether, and how hard, to push economic populism as the party approaches the 2014 midterm elections and beyond.
The latest flare-up came between centrist Democrats at the Third Way think tank and liberals who view Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., as their champion.
Originally published on Tue December 10, 2013 7:14 pm
House and Senate negotiators working to finish a farm bill say it is unlikely their work will be completed before the end of the year. The House is only in session for the rest of the week, and according to one of the negotiators, this week's snowy weather has delayed some numbers-crunching needed to figure out how much elements of a possible deal will cost.
"We're going to pass it in January," said Senate Agriculture Committee Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., as she left a closed-door meeting to negotiate details of the five-year farm bill.
Originally published on Tue December 10, 2013 7:36 pm
A former actress who sent ricin-laced letters to President Obama and New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg has pleaded guilty in federal court in Texarkana, Texas, as part of a deal to limit her sentence to no more than 18 years.
Shannon Guess Richardson, a mother of six from Texas, had minor roles in The Walking Dead and The Blind Side. She mailed three ricin-laced letters from New Boston, Texas, near Texarkana, and then contacted police to say that her estranged husband had done it.