James Fallows of The Atlantic talks to weekends on All Things Considered host Guy Raz about President Barack Obama's compromise on providing reproductive services mandated by health care law after resistance from religious institutions and his latest cover story for The Atlantic on Obama's demeanor and a recent deal reached with five of the biggest banks in the country to pay back individuals whose homes were wrongly foreclosed on.
Well, every single state in the country will get a piece of that $26 billion to help troubled homeowners keep their homes, every single state except Oklahoma. The attorney general in Oklahoma decided to opt out of the multistate settlement to hold banks accountable for questionable lending and foreclosure practices.
Scott Pruitt is Oklahoma's attorney general, and he joins me now on the line. Attorney General, welcome.
Okfuskee County in Oklahoma is the birthplace of Woody Guthrie, who would have turned 100 this year. Much of the economic problems Guthrie sang about were from what he saw in the county, which was once the largest all-black community in the country. Guthrie's music still resonates there, especially in the town of Boley, where hope is hard to come by. Logan Layden of State Impact Oklahoma reports.
President Obama's latest proposed change in how contraceptives are covered by employer health insurance may not have ended the controversy that has raged for the past three weeks. But what the administration is calling an "accommodation" for religious employers has apparently mollified key allies who had opposed his original plan.
Archbishop Thomas Wenski, shown celebrating Mass at the Cathedral of St. Mary in Miami last month, says the new birth control policy is a "smoke screen."
Credit Mario Tama / Getty Images
Archbishop Timothy M. Dolan, head of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, shown at Ash Wednesday services at Saint Patrick's Cathedral last year, has called the Obama administration's decision "a first step in the right direction."
Reaction from the Catholic community to the Obama administration's decision to revise its birth control policy was swift and mixed.
Under the new rule, employers with a religious objection to offering contraceptive coverage as part of their health care plans wouldn't have to provide it directly. Instead, the requirement to provide that coverage free of charge would fall on the insurance companies.
Some Catholics believe the president's new rule resolves the religious liberty issues. But others, including key bishops, say it is smoke and mirrors.
It's appropriate that Darwin, the tropical capital of Australia's Northern Territory, is named for the English naturalist.
The massive, powerful and deadly saltwater crocodile — the world's largest living reptile — is the evolutionary triumph of 50 million years of natural selection. And in Darwin, the crocodile is equally dreaded and beloved.
Crocodylusporosus was hunted to near extinction in the last century. But in 1974, the Australian government put the species, known affectionately as the "Australian salty," under federal protection.
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel.
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The Republican presidential race came here to Washington today. Rick Santorum, Newt Gingrich, and Mitt Romney all spoke at the annual Conservative Political Action Conference. The gathering brings thousands of activists across the conservative spectrum together for three days.
NPR's Ari Shapiro joins us now from the conference. Hey there, Ari.
The House ethics bill has stirred up conversation on Capitol Hill about how closely regulated the "political intelligence" industry should be. Robert Siegel talks with Wall Street Journal investigative reporter Brody Mullins about what the political intelligence industry does and why Senator Chuck Grassley and others feel strongly that it should be regulated.
The nation's big banks are writing death plans — living wills that spell out how, in a future crisis, they could be safely dismantled. The idea is that the death plans will help avoid another government bailout of the banks.
"You're technically writing your own funeral, down to the color of the flowers" says Dolores Atallo.