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It's All Politics
1:51 pm
Thu November 21, 2013

GOP Enraged After Filibuster Vote, But Does It Change Much?

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) speaks to the media on Thursday after passing the so-called nuclear option, which changes the Senate rules to eliminate the use of the filibuster on presidential nominees except those to the Supreme Court.
Jim Lo Scalzo EPA/Landov

Originally published on Thu November 21, 2013 2:48 pm

The political class was aflame Thursday with outrage (Republicans) and triumph (Democrats) as Senate Democrats voted to hem in the minority party's ability to filibuster most presidential nominees.

By a 52-48 vote, the Democratic-controlled Senate carried out the so-called nuclear option. The leadership will now allow a simple majority of senators to override filibusters on nominations, with the exception of those to the Supreme Court.

Previous precedent, in place since the 1970s, required a 60-vote "supermajority" to end a filibuster.

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The Two-Way
12:34 pm
Thu November 21, 2013

Alabama Pardons Scottsboro Boys In 1931 Rape Case

Attorney Samuel Leibowitz, confers with seven of the defendants in the Scottsboro rape case in 1935 in Alabama. Thursday, a judge pardoned the remaining three men who hadn't already been pardoned.
AP

Originally published on Thu November 21, 2013 3:05 pm

"Today, the Scottsboro Boys have finally received justice."

That was Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley's reaction to a parole board's decision Thursday that brought an end to an eight-decade-old case that came to represent racial injustice in the Deep South.

The parole board unanimously approved a posthumous pardon for Haywood Patterson, Charlie Weems and Andy Wright — the three black men who weren't pardoned in the 1931 rape case.

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Parallels
11:58 am
Thu November 21, 2013

The European Union Says It Wants To Join The Drone Club

A handout picture shows Europe's biggest drone, Eurohawk, made by Northrop Grumman, at the start of its first test flight in Manching, Germany, on Jan. 11. If European officials have their way, the European Union will have its own drones within the next decade.
Cassidian DPA /LANDOV

Originally published on Thu November 21, 2013 2:44 pm

Seven EU countries say they want to join forces and start making their own military drones by 2020 rather than relying on the Americans.

The EU Observer website reported that the proposed "Medium Altitude Long Endurance (Male) craft ... can be used to strike military targets or for surveillance of migrant boats in the Mediterranean Sea."

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The Two-Way
11:11 am
Thu November 21, 2013

Kennedy Cousin Skakel Gets Bail As He Awaits New Murder Trial

Michael Skakel, pictured in October 2012, was granted bail Thursday.
Jessica Hill MCT /Landov

Originally published on Thu November 21, 2013 6:00 pm

Michael Skakel, a cousin of the Kennedy family, was granted bail Thursday and released from prison as he awaits a new trial in the 1975 murder of his neighbor Martha Moxley.

The Associated Press reports:

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The Two-Way
11:04 am
Thu November 21, 2013

Senate Democrats Detonate 'Nuclear Option' To Curb Filibusters

Senate Majority Leader Senator Harry Reid, D-Nev.
Alex Wong Getty Images

Originally published on Thu November 21, 2013 12:09 pm

(We added to the top of this post at 2:08 p.m. ET.)

There was high drama Thursday on the floor of the Senate as Democrats significantly changed the way business in the chamber is done.

In what Republicans cast as a "power grab" but Democrats defended as a way to break gridlock, the Senate's rules were changed to make it much more difficult for a minority of the members to hold up action on key presidential nominees.

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Shots - Health News
10:50 am
Thu November 21, 2013

Reinventing The Condom With Easy-On Tabs And Beef Tendon

One experimental condom has tabs on either side so it's easier to put on in the dark.
Courtesy of California Family Health Council

Originally published on Fri November 22, 2013 10:42 am

When you hear the term "next-generation condom," beef tendon probably isn't the first thing that pops into your mind.

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Parallels
10:45 am
Thu November 21, 2013

Everything You Wanted To Know About An Afghan Loya Jirga

Afghan delegates to the Loya Jirga, or grand assembly, listen to Afghan President Hamid Karzai on Thursday. Some 2,500 elders and community leaders have gathered in Kabul to discuss a U.S.-Afghan security agreement that would define the role of U.S. troops after the combat mission ends next year.
S. Sabawoon EPA/Landov

Originally published on Thu November 21, 2013 1:25 pm

The U.S. military has been fighting in Afghanistan for 12 years, and its future role could be determined, or at least heavily influenced, in the next few days by an Afghan Loya Jirga.

So, what is a Loya Jirga?

It's a "grand assembly," an Afghan tradition dating back at least three centuries, that brings together elders and community leaders from across the land to discuss matters of major national importance.

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Intelligence Squared U.S.
10:45 am
Thu November 21, 2013

Debate: Has The Right To Bear Arms Outlived Its Usefulness?

Alan Dershowitz and Sanford Levinson argue in favor of the motion "The Constitutional Right To Bear Arms Has Outlived Its Usefulness" in an Intelligence Squared U.S. debate on Nov. 14.
Samuel LaHoz Intelligence Squared U.S.

Originally published on Thu November 21, 2013 12:48 pm

  • Listen To The Broadcast Version Of The Debate
  • Listen To The Full Audio Of The Debate

If Americans were writing the Constitution over again in 2013, would it make sense to include the right to bear arms? Or has it become outdated?

Some argue that states should have the ability to decide the laws they want around guns, instead of having a national standard. And they point to the Second Amendment's language about the need for well-regulated militias as evidence of its anachronism.

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The Two-Way
10:19 am
Thu November 21, 2013

Three Women May Have Spent 30 Years As Slaves In London

A very disturbing story is emerging from the U.K.:

-- "Two people have been arrested as part of an investigation into slavery and domestic servitude at a house in London sparked by a report on Sky News. The inquiry was launched after one of three alleged victims told a charity she had been held against her will for more than 30 years." (Sky News)

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The Protojournalist
9:13 am
Thu November 21, 2013

Project Xpat: Recalling Thanksgivings Abroad

Kate Brantley in Lille, France, 2012.
Kate Brantley

Originally published on Fri November 22, 2013 6:31 am

When we asked American members of the NPR community who are living in other countries to let us in on their plans for Thanksgiving 2013, we received hundreds and hundreds of responses.

Some expatriates say they plan to trot out the turkey and dressing and Mama Stamberg's cranberry relish. Others say they don't plan to celebrate one whit. Many folks sent us stories and photos of past Thanksgivings spent abroad.

Here are a few examples:

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