Originally published on Mon August 26, 2013 5:25 pm
The present Syrian crisis ranks among the most vexing moments of President Obama's presidency.
The recent heart-rending images of Syrian civilians, many of them young children apparently killed by chemical weapons used by the government of Bashar Assad, have raised the volume on calls for the president to act.
But while there's a clarity to the outrage itself, for Obama things quickly get murky.
Fifty years ago this week, when hundreds of thousands of demonstrators came from across the country to take part in the 1963 March on Washington, the city was not yet the cosmopolitan capital that it arguably is today.
But it was a mecca for African-Americans, says historian Marya McQuirter.
"Washington was definitely a different city 50 years ago," she says, "for a number of reasons. By 1957, it had become the largest majority black city in the country."
Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca — who oversees the largest municipal jail system in the country — is facing growing pressure to bow out of the race for what could be his fifth term.
There's a lot that's been piling up against Sheriff Baca lately. At the top of the list is an FBI probe into what's been described as a systemic pattern of unnecessary force against inmates in county jails.
Nelson Mandela is officially "improving," though still in critical condition at a South African hospital. His long battle with a lung infection has South Africans anxiously contemplating their "post-Mandela" future in a still racially divided country. In a unique strategy, one man is hoping to help heal those divisions with a pair of barbecue tongs.
Jan Scannell is a 32-year-old former accountant with a dream: To establish a national holiday in South Africa like July 4 called Braai Day.
Originally published on Tue August 27, 2013 8:36 am
The threat of furloughs loomed large early in 2013, when mandatory budget cuts seemed certain to force federal workers to skip anywhere from 10 to 22 days of work without pay this year. A new tally by Federal News Radio shows that many agencies have taken fewer than half the days they had predicted.
The New York Times reported last week on the practice of placing bogus liens against the property of government officials. It's a tactic of self-styled sovereign citizens, people who deny the legitimacy of the federal government. They take advantage of laws, both real estate laws and also the Uniform Commercial Code, that make it easy to file liens even if they're phony. Why do they do it? Well, because a lien can ruin your credit rating, and removing one, even a phony lien, can take countless hours in court and cost thousands of dollars.
And we wrap up this week's All Tech Considered with a story out of Finland.
MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:
This past weekend, 80 people from six countries competed in the annual Mobile Phone Throwing World Championships. The Finns shut out the competition, winning first, second and third place overall.
SIEGEL: The top tosser threw his handheld device an impressive 320 feet. The top woman on the field was a 31-year-old Swede - Asa Lundgren. Her distance: 132 feet. She's a newcomer to the sport but threw javelin in her youth.