A print in The Illustrated London News of Dec. 3, 1864, depicts Election Day in a wealthy (top) and poor (bottom) neighborhood in New York. The top caption reads: "A polling-place in the 'upper ten.' " The bottom caption reads: "A polling-place among the 'lower twenty.' " Click Here To See A Full-Size Image
It's Tuesday — exactly two weeks out from Nov. 6, Election Day. Why is voting day for American federal elections always a Tuesday? The answer is a bit obscure and has to do with buggies.
Let me explain.
The story starts all the way back with the Founding Fathers. "The Constitutional Convention just met for a very brief time during the summer of 1787," Senate Historian Don Ritchie says. "By the time they got finished they were exhausted and they hadn't made up their minds on a lot of things."
Originally published on Mon October 22, 2012 11:55 pm
For most American viewers, including this one, much of Monday night's presidential debate on foreign policy was conducted as though it were in a foreign language.
References to Mali, to former U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan, missile shields in Poland, "status of forces" agreements — could only have befuddled the voting public.
It's not that the candidates invoked unimportant issues. And it's not that the two held so elevated a conversation mere mortals could not understand. It's that they were debating almost entirely in tone rather than content.
Originally published on Tue October 23, 2012 12:10 am
In at least one sense, the final presidential debate of the year looked a lot like the previous ones between Mitt Romney and President Obama.
Regardless of what they were asked, each offered talking points he had prepared and was determined to make. The candidates, not moderator Bob Schieffer of CBS News, set both the tone and the pace of the debate.
That included switching gears far from the nominal subject of Monday's debate in Boca Raton, Fla., which was foreign policy. The domestic economy received at least as much attention and verbiage as Iran, Libya or China.
Originally published on Tue October 23, 2012 9:55 am
Fact checkers got a shout out Monday night from President Obama when he declared that Republican challenger Mitt Romney had repeated "the biggest whopper that's been told during the course of this campaign."
"Every fact checker and every reporter who's looked at it, governor, has said this is not true," the president pointed out — correctly — during Monday's debate after Romney charged that Obama went on an "apology tour" during his first year in office.
Foreign policy proved to be a subject that kept the tone mostly substantive tonight in the third and final debate between President Obama and Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney before the Nov. 6 election.
Originally published on Mon October 22, 2012 9:42 pm
Arlington National Cemetery, which has come under intense criticism in recent years because of unmarked graves, misplaced records and mishandling of some veterans' cremated remains, today launched an online database (and apps) that it hopes will allow "family members and the public to find gravesites and explore Arlington's rich history."
Former felon Vikki Hankins has been fighting for civil rights for convicts for years. After applying to have her own civil rights restored in 2008, 2009 and 2011, Hankins was recently informed that she will not be eligible to apply again until 2017.
Vikki Hankins wants nothing more in the world than to have her civil rights restored. Hankins, 43, lost the right to vote — and many others — when she went to a federal prison for selling cocaine in December 1990. She spent almost two decades behind bars for her crime.
Today, Hankins is an author and an undergrad who dreams of going to law school. She got out of prison four years ago and quickly applied to have her rights — like voting, serving on a jury and becoming a lawyer — restored.
Young debaters at the Bay Area Urban Debate League in Oakland, Calif., say that there are a lot of differences between the way that they debate the issues and what they see the presidential candidates doing on debate nights.
The high school debaters at the Bay Area Urban Debate League get together every week in downtown Oakland, Calif., to hone their arguments and debating styles. But the young debaters have had a chance during the recent presidential debates to see how it's done on the national stage.
They watch with pen and worksheet, taking notes and analyzing the candidates' debating styles, hoping to glean some lessons from the pros.
There is a lot for these young debaters to observe and compare, but they have also noticed some key differences.
Two Republican lawmakers investigating the botched gun trafficking operation known as Fast and Furious say they aren't finished yet.
In a letter obtained by NPR, Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, and Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., are demanding an update on personnel actions taken by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives after a lengthy investigation by Congress and the Justice Department inspector general.