Politics
4:03 am
Fri June 21, 2013

The Death Penalty's Slow But Seemingly Sure Decline

Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn speaks with reporters at the Capitol in 2011 after signing legislation abolishing the death penalty in the state.
Seth Perlman AP

Originally published on Fri June 21, 2013 11:00 am

The death penalty has become a bit like the Cheshire cat in Alice in Wonderland. It may never fade away entirely, but capital punishment is certainly less visible or actively pursued than it used to be.

In May, Maryland became the sixth state in as many years to abolish the death penalty. Across the nation as a whole, fewer criminals are being put to death. Last year, 43 were executed, down significantly from the peak of 98 back in 1999.

Read more
Shots - Health News
1:04 am
Fri June 21, 2013

With Health Exchanges Poised To Open, PR Push Draws Scrutiny

In San Jose, Calif., on June 6, President Obama encouraged people to sign up for insurance in the nation's largest health insurance market.
Stephen Lam Getty Images

Originally published on Fri June 21, 2013 7:07 pm

This weekend marks 100 days until people can begin signing up for new health insurance coverage under the federal health care law. It also marks another milestone: the launch of an enormous public relations effort to find people eligible for new coverage and urge them to sign up when the time comes.

But like everything else about the health law, even this seemingly innocuous effort has been touched by controversy.

Read more
National Security
1:03 am
Fri June 21, 2013

Obama's Pick To Lead FBI Adds New Layer To Privacy Debate

Jim Comey, then deputy attorney general, testifies during a House Judiciary Committee hearing in 2005.
Joe Raedle Getty Images

Originally published on Fri June 21, 2013 2:34 am

President Obama will formally nominate Jim Comey to be the country's next FBI director on Friday.

Comey, a registered Republican and longtime federal prosecutor, is best-known for raising alarms inside the Bush White House about a secret electronic surveillance program. That issue has taken on new resonance after disclosures about the Obama administration's dragnet collection of American phone records.

Read more
StoryCorps
1:02 am
Fri June 21, 2013

For A Boy With Little, Learning To Love A Castoff Trombone

On a visit to StoryCorps in Phoenix, Gilbert Zermeno told his wife, Pat Powers-Zermeno, about what it was like to grow up poor while yearning to join the school band.
StoryCorps

Originally published on Fri June 21, 2013 8:57 am

Gilbert Zermeno came from a big family who didn't have much. They lived on the plains of West Texas and got by on the $100 a week that Gilbert's father made working the cotton fields.

So when Gilbert wanted to join the school band in sixth grade, his parents had to get creative, as he explained to his wife, Pat Powers-Zermeno, during a recent visit to StoryCorps in Phoenix.

Read more

Tanya Ballard Brown is a Southern girl, an optimist and a wild dreamer who laughs loudly and often.

The Two-Way
4:20 pm
Thu June 20, 2013

Gandolfini Suffered Cardiac Arrest On Family Trip, Reports Say

James Gandolfini as Tony Soprano and Edie Falco as his wife, Carmella, in a scene from The Sopranos. Gandolfini died of cardiac arrest in Italy, according to reports citing a doctor at the hospital where was admitted.
Barry Wetcher HBO

Originally published on Thu June 20, 2013 4:45 pm

Actor James Gandolfini died of cardiac arrest, The Los Angeles Times reports, citing the doctor in charge of the emergency department at the hospital in Rome where the Sopranos star was admitted.

Dr. Claudio Modini told the Times that Gandolfini, 51, was already in cardiac arrest when he arrived at Policlinico Umberto I Hospital Wednesday night.

Read more
The Salt
4:05 pm
Thu June 20, 2013

House Smacks Down Farm Bill, And Farm Lobby, Too

Gracie Shannon-Sanborn, 5, holds a sign as she joins her father Allen Sanborn (L) and members of Progressive Democrats of America at a rally in front of Rep. Henry Waxman's office on June 17, 2013 in Los Angeles, Calif. The protestors asked the congressman to vote against a House farm bill, which was defeated Thursday.
Kevork Djansezian Getty Images

Originally published on Fri June 21, 2013 12:16 pm

The so-called farm bill came to the floor of the House of Representatives Thursday. And it crashed. The defeat shocked many observers, but the vote wasn't even particularly close: 234-195. (You can see how your own representative voted here.)

Read more
It's All Politics
3:58 pm
Thu June 20, 2013

Why The Immigration Fight Seems Like The NBA Finals

The final outcome of the congressional fight over immigration will be as unpredictable as the result of Game 6 of the NBA Finals.
Lynne Sladky AP

Originally published on Thu June 20, 2013 4:57 pm

Maybe Game 6 of the NBA Finals has something to teach us about how to watch the immigration debate now taking place in Congress.

Game 6, of course, was the instant sports classic in which the defending champion Miami Heat made an improbable comeback to tie their series with the San Antonio Spurs, three games apiece.

Read more
Code Switch
3:55 pm
Thu June 20, 2013

Stuff You Might Have Missed In The Paula Deen Brouhaha

Celebrity chef Paula Deen poses for a portrait on Jan. 17, 2012, in New York. In her deposition for a lawsuit by a former employee, Deen admits to having used racial slurs, among other things.
Carlo Allegri AP

Originally published on Fri June 21, 2013 3:24 pm

UPDATE 5:15 p.m.: Paula Deen apologizes to Matt Lauer, of NBC's Today show.


UPDATE 4:44 p.m.: "Food Network will not renew Paula Deen's contract when it expires at the end of this month." — Food Network spokeswoman

Read more
The Two-Way
3:25 pm
Thu June 20, 2013

Gay-Therapy Ministry Shuts Down, Says 'We've Hurt People'

Alan Chambers, president of Exodus International, with his wife, Leslie, in a May 2006 photo.
Phelan M. Ebenhack AP

Gay-rights activists have welcomed a decision by a Christian ministry dedicated to "curing" homosexuals to shut its doors, praising the organization's president for his "integrity and authenticity" in offering an apology for the group's actions.

The Orlando, Fla., based Exodus International, which calls itself the oldest and largest Christian ministry dealing with faith and homosexuality, announced Thursday that it would cease its operations.

Read more

Pages