This week, the Senate blocked the confirmation of Richard Cordray, the former Ohio attorney general chosen by President Obama to lead the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. It boils down to yet another partisan fight: Republicans say the agency has too much power, and the White House says they won't weaken an agency that is supposed to protect consumers. Host Scott Simon talks with Joe Nocera, an op-ed columnist for The New York Times.
Most Americans haven't read the U.S. Constitution in a long time, if ever. They may be able to tell you about the Second Amendment, or the Fifth, maybe even part of the First. But other than that? A lot of blank stares.
Christopher Phillips has been leading what he calls "Constitution Café" discussions with people across the country. He's asking Americans to imagine themselves as framers of our founding document.
Anita Desai's new collection of stories, The Artist of Disappearance, reads a bit like three symphonic movements in a minor key. They're three novellas, set in modern India, where the past is giving way. In one story, a government official inspects the forgotten treasures left behind in a fated mansion. In another story, a translator becomes a little too creative; and in the third, a man living in solitude finds his world upset by roving visitors.
Some climate strategists are looking beyond the United Nations and the idea of remaking the energy economy — and toward the world's tropical forests.
The basic idea is to provide rich countries that emit lots of climate-warming gases another way to reduce their carbon footprint besides replacing or retrofitting factories and power plants. Instead, they could just pay poorer countries to keep their forests, or even expand them. Forests suck carbon out of the atmosphere. It's like paying someone to put carbon in a storehouse.
Originally published on Sun December 11, 2011 10:49 am
While nations wrangle over a new global treaty on climate change, the question on many minds is: What happens next?
Key portions of the Kyoto Protocol are set to expire at the end of 2012. But many of the world's major greenhouse gas emitters have already set national targets to reduce emissions, and they're forging their own initiatives to meet those goals.
Senate Republicans blocked confirmation votes on two of President Obama's most high-profile nominees this week — one for a seat on a federal appeals court, the other to head the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
Traditionally, the end-of-the-year holidays have allowed presidents to bypass Congress and give such thwarted nominees recess appointments. But an angry President Obama is quickly leaning that this might not be the case this year.
Originally published on Fri December 9, 2011 5:42 pm
To become a cab driver in London, you have to acquire "The Knowledge," which is their fancy way of saying that you have to memorize all the streets in London. It's quite a process that takes most three to four years to complete.