Listen to the StoryMedicare's Math Problem, And The Cars Ride Again
In this week's podcast of Weekends on All Things Considered, figuring out why Medicare just doesn't add up, slashing the Pentagon's budget, trying to remake American TV in Russia, and the good times roll again with the first new Cars album in more than two decades.
Every few years or even months since 1917, Congress has voted to raise the national debt ceiling — the maximum amount the federal government is allowed to borrow.
"Basically it's served, for quite some time now, as a speed bump along the road," says Maya MacGuineas, president of the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget at The New America Foundation. "Which just means, government stops, looks at what it's been doing and says, okay, we're going to borrow some more, and they approve...an increase."
Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca has a big job. He's responsible for the country's largest local jail jurisdiction, which held over 160,000 inmates last year alone.
But Baca isn't interested in locking up criminals and throwing away the key; he wants to give them an education.
His Education-Based Incarceration initiative focuses on promoting intellectual growth in prisoners, he tells Guy Raz, host of weekends on All Things Considered. Baca wants inmates to use jail time to study for success once their sentence is up.
The latest numbers on the toll from the tornadoes that roared through parts of the Southeast on Tuesday and Wednesday are sobering: "at least 342 people died across seven states, including 250 in Alabama," The Associated Press says. Thousands more were injured and thousands more than that are homeless.
For centuries, the Dalai Lama has served as both spiritual and political leader for Tibetans. Now, for the first time, they have elected a secular political leader. The Dalai Lama, however, will remain the spiritual head. Host Liane Hansen speaks with newly elected Prime Minister Lobsang Sangay, the political leader of Tibet's government-in-exile.
Recent events have reduced U.S.-Pakistani relations to their lowest point in years. On a recent visit to Kabul, the Pakistani premier reportedly pushed for Afghanistan to reject a strategic partnership with Washington, which has left American officials seething, and Afghans feeling caught in the crossfire. NPR's Quil Lawrence reports.
The beatification of Pope John Paul II has sparked both celebration and controversy among Catholics in the U.S. and around the world. Host Liane Hansen talks with John Allen, senior correspondent of the National Catholic Reporter in Rome, about reactions to the beatification of Pope John Paul II and what it means for the popular pope's legacy.