WBEZ | Politics http://www.wbez.org/news/politics Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en 'Before You Watch This, I Want You to Know You Are Loved' http://www.wbez.org/news/you-watch-i-want-you-know-you-are-loved-113956 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/beforeyouwatchscreencaps.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>The <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/chicago-officer-charged-murder-killing-black-teen-113933">dashcam video</a> of Chicago Police Officer Jason Van Dyke shooting Laquan Mcdonald 16 times made its way quickly across the Internet on Tuesday.</p><p>But it wasn&#39;t the only video being widely shared.</p><p>As protesters gathered in downtown Chicago chanting &ldquo;16 shots, 16 shots,&rdquo; and gave speeches about the need to combat racism, social media lit up with angry tweets and outraged Facebook posts.&nbsp;</p><p>Organizers in Chicago deliberately added another message: Black people, we love you.</p><p>While the city tensely awaited the dashcam video, the Black Youth Project 100 invited people to upload their own videos with the hashtag #BeforeYouWatch.</p><p>&ldquo;This is a love letter to all black people. Very soon a video of the execution of 17-year old Laquan Mcdonald will be spread across the Internet. I just want to let you know we love you,&rdquo; said Charlene Carruthers in <a href="https://www.facebook.com/BYP100/videos/1010910915626906/">one video</a>.</p><div class="fb-video" data-allowfullscreen="1" data-href="https://www.facebook.com/BYP100/videos/1010910915626906/"><p>&ldquo;Before you watch this I want you to know you are loved. And no matter what is on this video your life matters, &ldquo; said Malcolm London <a href="https://www.facebook.com/BYP100/videos/1010894855628512/">in another</a>.</p><div class="fb-video" data-allowfullscreen="1" data-href="https://www.facebook.com/BYP100/videos/1010894855628512/"><p>Later that night, London was arrested at a protest. All charges were dropped on Wednesday.</p><p>As the Associated Press reported:</p><blockquote><p>Malcolm London, 22, was among five people who were arrested on charges that included weapons possession and resisting arrest.</p><p>He was charged with hitting an officer. On Wednesday, Cook County Judge Peggy Chiampas dismissed the charge said the state&#39;s attorney&#39;s office recommended that the charge be dropped. and told London he was free to go.</p><p>London, wearing a T-shirt with the phrase &quot;Unapologetically black&quot; on it, walked outside the courthouse to loud cheers.</p><p>A crowd of supporters chanted, &quot;We&#39;re going to be all right&quot; and &quot;Set our people free.&quot;</p><p>Prosecutors did not explain why their office recommended dropping the charge.</p></blockquote><p>As his fellow activists waited outside the courthouse for London, they chanted,&nbsp; &quot;I love you like you were me.&quot;&nbsp;</p><p>Organizers said&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/why-chicago-didnt-riot-after-laquan-mcdonald-video-release-113955">stereotypes about black people</a>&nbsp;being &#39;reckless&#39; and not caring about their own communities, had led the media to expect violent riots.</p><p>To counter that narrative, an organizer for the Black Youth Project stood up on the courthouse steps and invited the crowd to continue uploading videos.</p><p>&ldquo;We have to be subversive of the media,&rdquo; she said. &ldquo;We have to create our own media that generates positive messages.&rdquo;</p><p><em>Shannon Heffernan is a WBEZ reporter. Follow her <a href="http://twitter.com/shannon_h">@shannon_h</a></em></p></div></div><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Wed, 25 Nov 2015 17:54:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/you-watch-i-want-you-know-you-are-loved-113956 The Pitfalls Of Politics At Holiday Dinner — And How To Handle Them http://www.wbez.org/news/pitfalls-politics-holiday-dinner-%E2%80%94-and-how-handle-them-113948 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/5062735194_5ab8c353b5_z.jpg" alt="" /><p><div id="storytext"><p>This week&#39;s Barbershop will explore whether politics or mobile phones should be allowed at the Thanksgiving dinner table with Steven Petrow, who writes the Civilities column for the Washington Post, Harriette Cole, who writes the syndicated advice column Sense and Sensitivity, and NPR&#39;s Sam Sanders.</p><hr /><p><strong>MICHEL MARTIN, HOST</strong>:</p></div><div><p>Now it&#39;s time for our weekly trip to the Barbershop. That&#39;s where we gather some interesting folks to talk about what&#39;s in the news and what&#39;s on their minds. And this week, what is on our minds is Thanksgiving - specifically, how to navigate those sometimes tricky dynamics at the holiday dinner table. Sitting in the chairs for a shapeup this week are Steven Petrow. He&#39;s <em>The Washington Post&#39;s </em>Civilities columnist. He&#39;s with us from WUNC in Chapel Hill, N.C. Good to have you, Steven.</p><p><strong>STEVEN PETROW</strong>: Great to be with you, Michel.</p><p><strong>MARTIN</strong>: And at NPR&#39;s New York bureau, Harriette Cole, who&#39;s also a syndicated advice columnist. Her column is called Sense and Sensibilities. Hi, Harriette.</p><p><strong>HARRIETTE COLE</strong>: How are you?</p><p><strong>MARTIN</strong>: And last but certainly least, with us here in Washington, D.C., is Sam Sanders, NPR political reporter. Welcome to the Barbershop, Sam.</p><p><strong>SAM SANDERS, BYLINE</strong>: Thanks for having me.</p><p><strong>MARTIN</strong>: So is anybody looking forward to Turkey Day?</p><p>(LAUGHTER)</p><p><strong>COLE</strong>: I am.</p><p><strong>MARTIN</strong>: Well, see...</p><p><strong>PETROW</strong>: I&#39;m looking forward to the pie. I&#39;m a dessert man.</p><p><strong>MARTIN</strong>: Well, exactly. OK, but one reason we started thinking about this - and Sam, I heard your (groans) is that holidays are a time when people catch up with family. And oftentimes, family are spread out. But it&#39;s often the case that people with different points of view are getting together...</p><p><strong>SANDERS</strong>: Exactly...</p><p><strong>MARTIN</strong>: ...Right...</p><p><strong>SANDERS</strong>: ...Yeah.</p><p><strong>MARTIN</strong>: ...Which, you know, there&#39;s a lot of potential, especially at a time when there are a lot of things happening in the news, that people could really...</p><p><strong>SANDERS</strong>: There&#39;s a lot to argue about this season...</p><p><strong>MARTIN</strong>: Exactly...</p><p><strong>SANDERS</strong>: ...A lot to argue about...</p><p><strong>MARTIN</strong>: Exactly...</p><p><strong>SANDERS</strong>: ...You know?</p><p><strong>MARTIN</strong>: Right. So is that why you&#39;re not necessarily looking forward to it, Sam?</p><p><strong>SANDERS</strong>: You know, I mean - well, for one, it&#39;s my job to get the food for the family. So I&#39;m literally running from, like, three to four places to get the turkey from that place and the green beans from that place, so that&#39;s the first reason. But secondly, you know, talking politics with my family is going to be hard, I think. And it&#39;s going to be hard for most families this year because there&#39;s so much to talk about, with the Paris attacks and the aftermath of that and discussions of terrorism and refugees. There&#39;s a lot going on and people...</p><p><strong>COLE</strong>: And the election...</p><p><strong>SANDERS</strong>: ...All over the map on it.</p><p><strong>PETROW</strong>: Oh, yeah, that, too.</p><p><strong>MARTIN</strong>: So Harriette, what about the dinner table? Because, you know, there used to be this - I don&#39;t know, was it a rule - I don&#39;t know whether it was a rule - but no politics or religion discussed at the dinner table. I don&#39;t - does that rule still exist? Does anybody observe it?</p><p><strong>COLE</strong>: Well, I would like to say that I think it should, and let me give you the context. I definitely think that we should all talk about these issues, but not over food. The reason that it was recommended to not talk about challenging issues over food is because it can mess up your digestion, literally.</p><p>(LAUGHTER)</p><p><strong>COLE</strong>: I mean, it&#39;s one of those scientific realities. If you&#39;re really upset and you&#39;re fussing or your insides are going crazy, you&#39;re not going to digest your food. So it&#39;s with your coffee and your digestive wine or, you know, one of those - your cigar after your meal that you can go for it. And I think in this case because there&#39;s so much to talk about, you invite your family to get ready for the discussion before or after - not during the meal.</p><p><strong>MARTIN</strong>: Interesting. Steven, what about that? You know, I - there are people who believe that if they don&#39;t take an opportunity to stand up to drunk Uncle Joe, OK, that they are somehow letting down the side, right, that they&#39;re not standing up for their values, especially if someone makes a comment that they deem to be morally questionable. What do you say about that?</p><p><strong>PETROW</strong>: Well, I&#39;m going to respectfully disagree with my etiquette colleague up in New York, Harriette...</p><p><strong>COLE</strong>: OK.</p><p><strong>PETROW</strong>: ...Because I think that, you know, if we&#39;re going to take religion and politics away from the dinner table, honestly, I don&#39;t know what&#39;s left to talk about these days because...</p><p><strong>MARTIN</strong>: The Kardashians, please. What are you saying?</p><p><strong>PETROW</strong>: Well, that&#39;s political, too, you know...</p><p><strong>MARTIN</strong>: OK.</p><p><strong>COLE</strong>: My family...</p><p><strong>PETROW</strong>: You tie that into Caitlyn Jenner and there you are...</p><p><strong>MARTIN</strong>: Oh, yeah, well, you&#39;re right. You&#39;re right, yeah.</p><p><strong>PETROW</strong>: ...In the middle of the LGBT stuff. So I think that we need to learn how to talk to each other again and converse, argue, debate in a civilized way, not taking cues from what&#39;s happening, you know, from our political campaigns. But Michel, going back to what you said, you know, if a topic is in play and you don&#39;t say something, I think it&#39;s fair that people are going to assume - unless you&#39;ve got a real, you know, history with the issue - that you&#39;re on board. So I think we need to be authentic, and we need to be respectful.</p><p><strong>MARTIN</strong>: Sam, where are you on this?</p><p><strong>SANDERS</strong>: My thing with these conversations around the dinner table or - for my family, we often have these conversations in the car going to church, which is always weird to me. But with all these conversations I rarely, rarely find anyone&#39;s mind actually changes. So I&#39;ve just kind of...</p><p><strong>PETROW</strong>: Yeah, that&#39;s true.</p><p><strong>SANDERS</strong>: ...Stopped trying to engage.</p><p><strong>MARTIN</strong>: So what do you do? Do you say nothing, or do you try to offer - do you...</p><p><strong>SANDERS</strong>: Well, now that I&#39;m a journalist, I can just say well, you know, I&#39;m not going to go to that as a journalist, et. cetera.</p><p><strong>PETROW</strong>: Copout, copout.</p><p><strong>SANDERS</strong>: Yeah, like, I&#39;m not going to change my mother&#39;s mind. She&#39;s probably not going to change mine, so we just end up talking about gossip back at church.</p><p><strong>MARTIN</strong>: Interesting.</p><p><strong>COLE</strong>: Well...</p><p><strong>MARTIN</strong>: Well - go ahead, Harriette, one more bite at that apple.</p><p><strong>COLE</strong>: Yeah, I want say that my point was about where you&#39;re having the discussion. I think the discussion is really important, and I agree that you have to learn how to listen carefully, speak civilly. And to your second question, if it&#39;s a drunk uncle - a drunk anybody - they&#39;re not listening.</p><p><strong>SANDERS</strong>: Yeah.</p><p><strong>COLE</strong>: So really it&#39;s pointless, and I think sometimes you can get up and walk away, too, because those people tend to not change and - but you don&#39;t have to be complicit.</p><p><strong>PETROW</strong>: You know, I think also bringing a sense of humor into these topics is important and remembering that these are people that you&#39;re connected to. They&#39;re your community whether they&#39;re your family of origin or choice, and we need to get along and not attack. My own personal strategy&#39;s also not to drink because there are lots of drinkers in my family, and that can sort of take it down, you know, a rabbit hole.</p><p><strong>MARTIN</strong>: OK, so you are the designated not-drunk person.</p><p><strong>SANDERS</strong>: It also helps to, if you can, sit at the kids&#39; table because they&#39;re not having those discussions.</p><p><strong>MARTIN</strong>: OK. But I do have to ask you about the kids&#39; table. I personally have a rule - no phones on the table.</p><p><strong>SANDERS</strong>: Oh...</p><p><strong>MARTIN</strong>: No phones on the table.</p><p><strong>SANDERS</strong>: Oh, my.</p><p><strong>MARTIN</strong>: But I am told that there are people who feel they could not get through a dinner without their Facebook or social media...</p><p><strong>SANDERS</strong>: And then there&#39;s the people that are taking...</p><p><strong>MARTIN</strong>: ...Friends, taking...</p><p><strong>SANDERS</strong>: ...Pictures of family throughout the dinner and sharing them, so it is actually part of the community building.</p><p><strong>MARTIN</strong>: At the table you have - you have your phone at the table - what?</p><p><strong>SANDERS</strong>: I mean, I have it, like - yeah.</p><p><strong>MARTIN</strong>: What&#39;s your mother&#39;s number? Can I call her...</p><p><strong>SANDERS</strong>: Go for it, she will talk your ear off.</p><p><strong>MARTIN</strong>: ...To discuss...</p><p><strong>COLE</strong>: We do not have the table at my mother&#39;s table, absolutely not.</p><p><strong>PETROW</strong>: I have a column next week. And I interview about two-dozen teenagers, and I asked them for their advice about keeping phones away from the table. They were generally in favor of creating a basket where phones would be placed before you sat down at the table for that hour or hour and a half or making it into a game that whoever took out their phone first either would be the last to get dessert or would have to do all the dishes.</p><p><strong>MARTIN</strong>: Sam is like - Sam&#39;s about to leave.</p><p><strong>SANDERS</strong>: My phone, my choice.</p><p><strong>MARTIN</strong>: His head is spinning off his neck here.</p><p><strong>COLE</strong>: Where did you find those young people?</p><p><strong>PETROW</strong>: So Sam, you don&#39;t want to come to my Thanksgiving anymore?</p><p><strong>MARTIN</strong>: No, I think he is.</p><p><strong>COLE</strong>: I think you have to get those pictures, the Instagram photos of the perfect table first and then put the phones in the basket.</p><p><strong>SANDERS</strong>: Yeah. But, I mean, like...</p><p><strong>PETROW</strong>: Well...</p><p><strong>SANDERS</strong>: ...Two Thanksgiving ago, I got the best little candid photo of my mother and my aunt sleeping after the pecan pie on the back porch. And it was just so sweet, and, like, it captured the beauty of that entire day. And I was glad I had my phone. Like, I was glad...</p><p><strong>PETROW</strong>: And did you...</p><p><strong>SANDERS</strong>: ...I was able to capture that moment.</p><p><strong>MARTIN</strong>: That was after...</p><p><strong>PETROW</strong>: Did you post that?</p><p><strong>MARTIN</strong>: ...The dinner though.</p><p><strong>SANDERS</strong>: I sure did post it - got a lot of likes, too.</p><p><strong>PETROW</strong>: Oh, well...</p><p><strong>MARTIN</strong>: From them, though - I don&#39;t know...</p><p><strong>COLE</strong>: Did you get your mother&#39;s permission?</p><p><strong>PETROW</strong>: Yeah, you need your mother&#39;s permission...</p><p><strong>SANDERS</strong>: That&#39;s right, that&#39;s right.</p><p><strong>PETROW</strong>: ...Before you post.</p><p><strong>MARTIN</strong>: I think I am getting her number, and I am calling her.</p><p><strong>PETROW</strong>: Yeah.</p><p><strong>SANDERS</strong>: (Laughter) Bring her to the Barbershop.</p><p><strong>MARTIN</strong>: I&#39;m calling her, and I&#39;m going to bring her and get her take on - OK, so switching gears now - switching gears now - it wouldn&#39;t be Thanksgiving without pie. And you know I&#39;m going to bring this up, the Patti Labelle sweet potato pie.</p><p><strong>SANDERS</strong>: Patti pies.</p><p><strong>MARTIN</strong>: Patti Pie - if you can&#39;t...</p><p><strong>COLE</strong>: Can&#39;t find them anywhere.</p><p><strong>MARTIN</strong>: At some Wal-Marts, they&#39;re actually answering the phones with an announcement of whether or not they are sold out of the Patti Pie.</p><p><strong>COLE</strong>: Good for her.</p><p><strong>MARTIN</strong>: And it&#39;s all because of...</p><p><strong>SANDERS</strong>: Go ahead, Patti, get your money.</p><p><strong>MARTIN</strong>: ...It&#39;s all because of this guy right here.</p><p>(SOUNDBITE OF YOUTUBE VIDEO)</p><p><strong>JAMES WRIGHT CHANEL</strong>: I went and bought the Patti Labelle pie - sweet potato Patti Labelle - this is the Patti edition, honey. This is the (singing) on my own...</p><p><strong>SANDERS</strong>: He can really sing.</p><p>(SOUNDBITE OF YOUTUBE VIDEO)</p><p><strong>CHANEL</strong>: (Singing) ...Why did it end this way?</p><p><strong>MARTIN</strong>: I just...</p><p><strong>PETROW</strong>: And he can eat, too. When you see that video...</p><p><strong>COLE</strong>: Oh, man, he got a big-old piece.</p><p><strong>PETROW</strong>: ...He&#39;s had, like, three pieces. Yes.</p><p><strong>SANDERS</strong>: In the follow-up video, where he recaps finishing the whole pie, that&#39;s even better.</p><p><strong>MARTIN</strong>: This really does raise an important question in my mind, and I just really need to ask all of you. Are you ready?</p><p><strong>COLE</strong>: Yes.</p><p><strong>MARTIN</strong>: Are you ready for it? OK.</p><p><strong>PETROW</strong>: This is it, yeah.</p><p><strong>MARTIN</strong>: Sweet potato or pumpkin?</p><p><strong>PETROW</strong>: Pecan.</p><p><strong>SANDERS</strong>: Right. Yes, pecan.</p><p><strong>PETROW</strong>: Pecan with bourbon.</p><p><strong>SANDERS</strong>: I don&#39;t to want to be the first say it, but I&#39;m team pecan. I am some from Seguin, Texas, which is the pecan capital of the world, actually. We have a large pecan sculpture in front of our city courthouse. Like, I just grew up team pecan.</p><p><strong>PETROW</strong>: And Michel, I&#39;m, like, known as the pecan pie king throughout the Western Hemisphere.</p><p><strong>SANDERS</strong>: Oh, my.</p><p><strong>MARTIN</strong>: Oh, wow. I think I hear a challenge. I hear a challenge.</p><p><strong>SANDERS</strong>: A challenge.</p><p><strong>PETROW</strong>: I&#39;m going to try the Patti pie. I think I&#39;m going to make it this year.</p><p><strong>SANDERS</strong>: If you can get it.</p><p><strong>COLE</strong>: If you can get it.</p><p><strong>MARTIN</strong>: How are you going to get one? You must have a hookup.</p><p><strong>PETROW</strong>: I&#39;m going to bake it; recipe&#39;s online at The Washington Post. So I&#39;m going to make it.</p><p><strong>MARTIN</strong>: And everybody&#39;s hating on pumpkin. There&#39;s no pumpkin love...</p><p><strong>SANDERS</strong>: I got into this really weird...</p><p><strong>MARTIN</strong>: ...In this room. There&#39;s no pumpkin love here. I don&#39;t understand.</p><p><strong>SANDERS</strong>: I got into this really interesting conversation with Karen Bates from our Code Switch team...</p><p><strong>MARTIN</strong>: Yeah.</p><p><strong>SANDERS</strong>: ...About the racial divisions...</p><p><strong>COLE</strong>: Oh, yeah.</p><p><strong>SANDERS</strong>: ...Between sweet potato and pumpkin pie, which I had never thought of.</p><p><strong>COLE</strong>: It&#39;s also regional. So African-American people - if you took a vote, most African-American people are going to vote for sweet potato. It really is kind of true. Pumpkin is very popular among white Americans. But also, in the South, if you&#39;re - now pecan - OK, fine - but in the South, if you&#39;re choosing, it&#39;s usually sweet...</p><p><strong>PETROW</strong>: It&#39;s pecan...</p><p><strong>COLE</strong>: Excusez-moi.</p><p>(LAUGHTER)</p><p><strong>PETROW</strong>: ...In the South.</p><p><strong>COLE</strong>: See? I&#39;m not Southern enough. I&#39;m from Baltimore. I&#39;m from that border state.</p><p><strong>PETROW</strong>: Sorry, Harriette.</p><p><strong>COLE</strong>: Border city-state, right? But we like sweet potato and get mad if pumpkin&#39;s on that table, man. And I could close my eyes and take a piece of pumpkin pie and a piece of sweet potato pie and I know the difference, and I&#39;m choosing sweet potato.</p><p><strong>MARTIN</strong>: OK, that is settled here, all right? That is Harriette Cole, who is a syndicated advice columnist. Her column is called Sense and Sensibility. Steven Petrow is with us. He&#39;s writer of The Washington Post&#39;s Civilities column. And NPR&#39;s Sam Sanders - they&#39;re all here with us in our Barbershop conversation. Thank you all. Happy Thanksgiving.</p><p><strong>COLE</strong>: Thank you.</p><p><strong>SANDERS</strong>: Thank you.</p><p><strong>PETROW</strong>: You too.</p></div><p>&mdash;<a href="http://www.npr.org/2015/11/21/456942196/the-pitfalls-of-politics-at-holiday-dinner-and-how-to-handle-them?ft=nprml&amp;f=456942196"><em> &nbsp;via NPR</em></a></p></p> Wed, 25 Nov 2015 15:32:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/pitfalls-politics-holiday-dinner-%E2%80%94-and-how-handle-them-113948 How To Dodge Political Squabble This Gobble Day http://www.wbez.org/news/how-dodge-political-squabble-gobble-day-113947 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/hires_custom-c93300253e3504e533e6249a142b4bd278d232de-s800-c85.jpg" alt="" /><p><div id="res456895961" previewtitle="The arrival of election year could mean even more opportunity for cringe-worthy conversation around the holiday dinner table."><div data-crop-type=""><img alt="The arrival of election year could mean even more opportunity for cringe-worthy conversation around the holiday dinner table." src="http://media.npr.org/assets/img/2015/11/21/hires_custom-c93300253e3504e533e6249a142b4bd278d232de-s800-c85.jpg" style="height: 233px; width: 620px;" title="The arrival of election year could mean even more opportunity for cringe-worthy conversation around the holiday dinner table. (Vanda Grigorovic/iStockphoto)" /></div><div><div><p>It&#39;s common wisdom that families should avoid talking about politics around the Thanksgiving table.</p></div></div></div><p>But if you&#39;re reading this, you might be in an NPR family. And coming up on election year &mdash; with polls and gaffes every day &mdash; won&#39;t it be hard to talk about Car Talk the whole night?</p><p>So we turned to Miss Manners, aka&nbsp;<a href="http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=901868">writer Judith Martin</a>, to ensure our etiquette&#39;s up-to-date this holiday season.</p><p>For Martin, the age-old rule, &quot;don&#39;t talk politics,&quot; still stands.</p><p>&quot;If you don&#39;t know what the politics are of the people,&quot; she advises, &quot;it&#39;s a good thing to avoid it.</p><div>&nbsp;</div><p><strong><span style="font-size:18px;">Interview Highlights</span></strong></p><p><strong>On what happens if a Bernie Sanders supporter sits next to a Ben Carson supporter</strong></p><p>Let&#39;s hope that one of them doesn&#39;t hit the other one with a drumstick. But things tend to get nasty. You know, I think of Thanksgiving as this adorable holiday. Personally, I love it. Gratitude is a wonderful thing. But, on my column, I hear nothing but squabble, squabble, squabble.</p><p>It&#39;s &quot;Do we have to go?&quot; and, negotiating the terms, &quot;We have to go to three different households because we have divorced parents,&quot; and this. They start dictating, and &quot;You should have it at this hour because we have to go there.&quot; Then there&#39;s the food issue. &quot;We don&#39;t eat this or that. We don&#39;t like this or that.&quot; People fight over the leftovers. I mean, I can&#39;t believe it.</p><div id="res456889922"><div>&nbsp;</div></div><p>First time I got a letter, saying that grandma had been charged for Thanksgiving dinner. I thought it was a joke, and every year I get them. There are people who might give out food assignments but if they don&#39;t, they say well, it&#39;s &#39;x&#39; dollars a head. The spirit of gratitude &mdash; isn&#39;t that wonderful.</p><p><strong>On family issues possibly being the most hazardous topic of conversation</strong></p><p>The people who think it&#39;s a good opportunity to ask the single people why they&#39;re not married. Or the pregnant woman, why she&#39;s adding to the world population. Or that kind of thing.</p><p>&quot;Oh, it&#39;s family, we can talk about anything.&quot;</p><p>&quot;Momma liked you best,&quot; and so on.</p><p>Yes, that&#39;s even worse. It would be better to fight over politics than to go down that road.</p><p><strong>On topics of discussion not off-limits</strong></p><p>Oh, &quot;How&#39;s the weather?&quot; How about that? ... maybe there isn&#39;t a safe topic. Art, what movies did you see, sports, anything can turn nasty if you really put your mind to it. But let&#39;s hope that there&#39;s a certain amount of restraint that people will exercise and realize this is a day to be thankful. You&#39;re there with your loved ones, you have enough to eat. Where&#39;s the gratitude? And that&#39;s what I ask myself every year when I get all these letters. I mean, it&#39;s turned into a melee. What&#39;s the matter with us? I know what&#39;s the matter and I&#39;m trying to solve it, but let me tell you, it&#39;s an uphill battle.</p><p>&mdash;<a href="http://www.npr.org/2015/11/21/456884913/how-to-dodge-political-squabble-this-gobble-day?ft=nprml&amp;f=456884913" target="_blank"><em> via NPR</em></a></p></p> Wed, 25 Nov 2015 15:23:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/how-dodge-political-squabble-gobble-day-113947 Turkey, Russia Promise Not To Go To War Over Downing Of Russian Fighter Jet http://www.wbez.org/programs/here-and-now/2015-11-25/turkey-russia-promise-not-go-war-over-downing-russian-fighter-jet <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/1125_russia-turkey-624x416.jpg" alt="" /><p><div id="attachment_96763"><img alt="Protesters hold placards and shout slogans as they take part in an anti-Turkey picket outside the Turkish embassy in Moscow on November 25, 2015. Turkey shot down a Russian war plane on the Syrian border on November 24, sending tensions spiraling as Russian President Vladimir Putin warned Ankara its &quot;stab in the back&quot; would have serious consequences. (Kirill Kudryavtsev/AFP/Getty Images)" src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/media.wbur.org/wordpress/11/files/2015/11/1125_russia-turkey-624x416.jpg" style="height: 413px; width: 620px;" title="Protesters hold placards and shout slogans as they take part in an anti-Turkey picket outside the Turkish embassy in Moscow on November 25, 2015. Turkey shot down a Russian war plane on the Syrian border on November 24, sending tensions spiraling as Russian President Vladimir Putin warned Ankara its “stab in the back” would have serious consequences. (Kirill Kudryavtsev/AFP/Getty Images)" /><p>Tensions are still running high, a day after Turkey shot down a Russian fighter jet that it says strayed into its airspace and did not respond to warnings. Russia disputes both assertions.</p></div><p>The Russian captain who survived the downing of the plane says he was flying over Syrian territory, and also says Turkey did not issue any warnings. Both Turkey and Russia promised today not to go to war the incident, but there are still many questions about what the fallout might look like.</p><p><a href="http://hereandnow.wbur.org/2015/11/25/turkey-russia-promise-no-war" target="_blank"><em>Here &amp; Now&rsquo;s</em></a> Indira Lakshmanan gets the latest from&nbsp;Nadia Bilbassy-Charters, Washington bureau chief for Al Arabiya news channel.</p></p> Wed, 25 Nov 2015 14:56:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/programs/here-and-now/2015-11-25/turkey-russia-promise-not-go-war-over-downing-russian-fighter-jet A Muslim Parliamentarian’s View On Fighting Terrorists http://www.wbez.org/programs/here-and-now/2015-11-25/muslim-parliamentarian%E2%80%99s-view-fighting-terrorists-113944 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/1125_syed-kamall-624x417.jpg" alt="" /><p><div id="attachment_96737"><img alt="MEP Syed Kamall speaks at a plenary debate this week on terrorism and the Paris attacks. (© European Union 2015 - European Parliament via Flickr)" src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/media.wbur.org/wordpress/11/files/2015/11/1125_syed-kamall-624x417.jpg" style="height: 414px; width: 620px;" title="MEP Syed Kamall speaks at a plenary debate this week on terrorism and the Paris attacks. (flickr/European Union 2015 – European Parliament)" /><p>Brussels remains under high security, following the Nov. 13 Paris attacks, though Belgian school children returned to their classrooms today. The manhunt continues for Belgians suspected of supporting, planning and implementing the attacks.</p></div><p>Meanwhile, Europe&rsquo;s elected officials are scrambling to come up with a response. EU member states want the EU Parliament to pass a measure to share airline passenger information with intelligence services, but opposition has held up that measure for at least two years. And there is heated debate over how to reinforce security in a borderless Europe.</p><p>Syed Kamall, a member of the European Parliament representing London, who is also chairman of the European Conservatives and Reformists Group, discusses this with&nbsp;<em><a href="http://hereandnow.wbur.org/2015/11/25/muslim-mp-syed-kamall" target="_blank">Here &amp; Now&rsquo;s</a></em> Indira Lakshmanan.</p></p> Wed, 25 Nov 2015 14:32:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/programs/here-and-now/2015-11-25/muslim-parliamentarian%E2%80%99s-view-fighting-terrorists-113944 Caught Between A Turkey Leg And A Political Diatribe? We're Here To Help http://www.wbez.org/news/caught-between-turkey-leg-and-political-diatribe-were-here-help-113940 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/gettyimages-3332255_wide-1872406aa778d342c754d6eb9a15d769a753c6ca-s600-c85.jpg" alt="" /><p><div id="res457393888" previewtitle="Talking about children and food — two great ways to avoid discussing politics."><div data-crop-type=""><img alt="Talking about children and food — two great ways to avoid discussing politics." src="http://media.npr.org/assets/img/2015/11/25/gettyimages-3332255_wide-1872406aa778d342c754d6eb9a15d769a753c6ca-s600-c85.jpg" style="height: 348px; width: 620px;" title="Talking about children and food — two great ways to avoid discussing politics. (Getty Images)" /></div><div><div><p>It starts with seemingly benign questions: Who are you voting for? Did you see that exposé about candidate X on Facebook? Before long, somebody is storming off to the basement or slamming the mashed potatoes on the table. And&nbsp;<a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e2zyjbH9zzA" target="_blank">playing&nbsp;</a><a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e2zyjbH9zzA" target="_blank">Adele&#39;s new song &quot;Hello&quot;</a>won&#39;t be a Thanksgiving miracle for every family.</p></div></div></div><p>We asked NPR listeners for their best and worst experiences talking politics over turkey. Maybe not surprisingly (surveys show one thing most Americans actually unite over is a disdain for politicians), most of the stories we received were not exactly heartwarming &mdash; from asking the atheist in the family to please say grace and a refusal to go to church to racist epithets thrown around.</p><p>Occasionally, as Stephanie Brown wrote in, duking it out over turkey&nbsp;can&nbsp;actually help clear the air and improve a family dynamic &mdash; and there is something to be said for listening to and learning from some one else&#39;s point of view.</p><p>But most people find talking about children and sports and shutting people up with a duck quacker way more fun &mdash; so NPR&#39;s politics team, and our listeners are serving up some advice to help get you through.</p><p>First, the stories:</p><p>Saying grace:</p><blockquote><div><p>&quot;A couple of years ago, at dinner, my father-in-law, who had recently re-devoted himself to the Mormon religion of his youth, decided that I should say grace at the table, when he knew quite well I was (and am) an atheist.</p><p>I said, &#39;That&#39;s OK. Someone else can do it.&#39;</p><p>He asked why and I replied that any prayer I said would be insincere and thus disrespectful to the people at the table who were religious.</p><p>This immediately started a diatribe about how I was going to hell and corrupting his daughter. This eventually turned into a shouting match between him and my sister-in-law, as it was her house.&quot; -Aaron Harmon</p></div></blockquote><p>Unresolved angst:</p><blockquote><div><p>&quot;What started out as an innocent conversation about me not wanting to go to church that weekend ... turned into a hotly contested political debate which then turned into a series of heated character attacks. After one emotional blow too many I started to pack up my car to head back to my empty college campus. My sister took over yelling at my dad, and my usually stoic little brother left the house for a walk around the park. I made it as far as the town grocery store before I received a call from my mom asking me to come back home. After much cajoling on her part, I drove back. Our family sat around the dinner table and had our first ever conversation on how we had been hurting each other over the years. Neither side had truly been innocent in the fight, but we realized that this fight wasn&#39;t really over 2012 election results. Talking about the results had brought up some unresolved anger that unfortunately came to a head on Thanksgiving night.</p><p>Subsequent years have been better, and we&#39;ve all been more respectful of each other&#39;s politics throughout the year. Mostly :)&quot;-Stephanie Brown</p></div></blockquote><p>&#39;This was my last Thanksgiving at home&#39;:</p><blockquote><div><p>&quot;I think my worst Thanksgiving was when politics ruined more than the meal. We had just seated ourselves around the table and started passing food when someone claimed that Abraham Lincoln should be ashamed for having emancipated the slaves. There was mutual agreement around the table, and even some N words thrown in, and laughter. But, it wasn&#39;t a joke. My girlfriend at the time was horrified, and I was offended and utterly humiliated. I wish I could say I got up and stormed out of the room or challenged them or something, but I just remember being mortified and shocked at the conversation. I couldn&#39;t believe this was happening. I decided in that moment that this was my last Thanksgiving at home. It was, and it was also the last conversation I ever had with my family. Thanksgiving, 1999.&quot; -Jeremy Brown</p></div></blockquote><p>And the advice:</p><p>Duck quacker:</p><blockquote><div><p>&quot;We have both very liberal and ultra conservatives in the family so we decided to nip it in the bud. Discussion of politics and religion are out when we are all together. My sister-in-law got a great &quot;duck quacker&quot; (yellow plastic, looks like a duck&#39;s bill and quacks when you blow in it). The instant someone forgets and launches in to one of those subjects, we blow the quacker and it&#39;s over. It has worked great for several years. Of course, you need the buy-in from everyone to abide by the quacker.&quot; -Sally Carleton</p></div></blockquote><p>Children ... or pets ... or sports:</p><blockquote><div><p>&quot;Focus on what you&#39;re there for &mdash; each other and the celebration. Talk about the food, and the kids. Small children are an excellent distraction because they are, well, distracting &mdash; and everyone in the family can generally agree that they are beautiful and are benefiting from a fantastic gene pool and/or a brilliant collection of relatives. If there are no kids, pets are a good stand-in, as are sports.&quot;&nbsp;-NPR&#39;s Sarah McCammon</p></div></blockquote><p>Practice humility:</p><blockquote><div><p>&quot;We can love people with whom we disagree, even those by whom we are offended. Humility is intrinsic in love, and it means putting the other person (not their views) before yourself. Instead what I so often hear is condescending remarks and gross generalizations of both sides.&quot; -Luke Aldridge</p></div></blockquote><p>Passively argue about the food instead of politics:</p><blockquote><div><p>&quot;Everyone&#39;s there for the food anyway, so make food that causes conversation &mdash; even arguments, if you have to. Put something new into the stuffing (in the Midwest, this list includes exotic items like pecans, apples, or literally any spice at all) or introduce a totally out-of-left-field side dish (What? Mozzarella sticks aren&#39;t Thanksgiving food?&nbsp;They are now.). An argument over what &quot;belongs&quot; on the Thanksgiving table is infinitely less uncomfortable than an argument about politics.&quot;&nbsp;-NPR&#39;s Danielle Kurtzleben</p></div></blockquote><p>Ground rules a.k.a. behave or eat on the porch:</p><blockquote><div><p>&quot;My mother has set ground rules for dinner talk that involve politics. If you want to talk about politics you need to respect the other parties opinion (or fake it).</p><p>If you don&#39;t you can sit on the back porch and finish dinner in chilly New York weather.&quot; -Brad Heil</p></div></blockquote><p><em>And our last plea, (actually, a shameless plug), if you&#39;re going to talk politics,&nbsp;go in informed.&nbsp;<a href="http://www.npr.org/sections/politics" target="_blank">NPR Politics</a>&nbsp;and our new&nbsp;<a href="http://www.npr.org/podcasts/510310/npr-politics-podcast" target="_blank">podcast</a>&nbsp;can help.</em></p></p> Wed, 25 Nov 2015 14:08:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/caught-between-turkey-leg-and-political-diatribe-were-here-help-113940 Lawsuit Challenges Illinois Ban on Marijuana Campaign Money http://www.wbez.org/news/lawsuit-challenges-illinois-ban-marijuana-campaign-money-113928 <p><p>CHICAGO&nbsp;(AP) &mdash; Two Libertarian political candidates have asked a federal court to declare unconstitutional an Illinois ban on political contributions from the state&#39;s new medical marijuana industry.</p><p>The candidates &mdash; Claire Ball of Addison and Scott Schluter of Marion &mdash; filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court in&nbsp;Chicago&nbsp;last week in which they say they support marijuana legalization and want to solicit campaign donations from marijuana businesses. Illinois law bars such contributions.</p><p>Ball is running for state comptroller. Schluter is running for state representative in southern Illinois&#39; 117th District. They argue that banning campaign donations from marijuana businesses infringes on the First Amendment&#39;s guarantee of free speech, citing among other cases the U.S. Supreme Court&#39;s 2010 decision in the case known as Citizens United.</p><p>The lawsuit acknowledges that preventing corruption is a legitimate reason for governments to restrict campaign donations. However, it says &quot;medical cannabis cultivators and producers are not singularly more corrupting than similarly situated individuals.&quot;</p><p>The lawsuit names Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan and members of the Illinois Board of Elections. The office has until Dec. 10 to respond to the lawsuit, Madigan spokeswoman Annie Thompson said Tuesday.</p><p>Ball and Schluter are represented by attorneys with the Liberty Justice Center inChicago&nbsp;and the Pillar of Law Institute in Washington.</p><p>Illinois now has 15 medical marijuana cultivation centers authorized to grow the plant for legal sales. Nearly a dozen marijuana dispensaries have active licenses and 3,300 patients have been approved for the program.</p><p>The Medical Cannabis Alliance of Illinois, an industry group, hasn&#39;t had a chance to consider the lawsuit, said spokeswoman Kim Morreale McAuliffe.</p></p> Tue, 24 Nov 2015 14:59:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/lawsuit-challenges-illinois-ban-marijuana-campaign-money-113928 The Obama Administration’s Strategy In The Fight Against ISIS http://www.wbez.org/programs/here-and-now/2015-11-23/obama-administration%E2%80%99s-strategy-fight-against-isis-113892 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/1120_mcgurk-624x404.jpg" alt="" /><p><div id="attachment_96488"><hr /><img alt="US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Iraq and Iran in the Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs Brett McGurk, testifies before the House Foreign Affairs Committee on &quot;Terrorist March in Iraq: The U.S. Response.&quot; on July 23, 2014 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. AFP PHOTO/Mandel NGAN (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)" src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/media.wbur.org/wordpress/11/files/2015/11/1120_mcgurk-624x404.jpg" style="height: 401px; width: 620px;" title="US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Iraq and Iran in the Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs Brett McGurk, testifies before the House Foreign Affairs Committee on “Terrorist March in Iraq: The U.S. Response.” on July 23, 2014. McGurk is also the Special Presidential Envoy to the Global Coalition to Counter ISIL. (Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images)" /><p>In an interview before the Paris attacks, President Barack Obama&nbsp;<a href="http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/president-obama-vows-completely-decapitate-isis-operations/story?id=35173579" target="_blank">said</a>&nbsp;ISIS had been contained, that the militants were losing ground. In Turkey on Monday, he&nbsp;<a href="https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2015/11/16/press-conference-president-obama-antalya-turkey" target="_blank">acknowledged</a>&nbsp;the terrorism ISIS claimed responsibility for, but continued to defend his strategy to combat the group.</p></div><p>&ldquo;As I outlined this fall at the United Nations,&rdquo; he said, &ldquo;we have a comprehensive strategy using all elements of our power, military, intelligence, economic, development and the strength of our communities.&rdquo;</p><p>But critics are firing back. Republican Senator John McCain&nbsp;<a href="http://www.npr.org/2015/11/17/456326738/sen-john-mccain-on-isis" target="_blank">told</a>&nbsp;NPR&rsquo;s&nbsp;<em>Morning Edition</em>&nbsp;this week that the White House really doesn&rsquo;t have a strategy to fight ISIS, and&nbsp;<a href="http://www.msnbc.com/andrea-mitchell-reports/watch/feinstein---i-ve-never-been-more-concerned--567674435736" target="_blank">on MSNBC</a>, Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein disagreed with Obama&rsquo;s assertion that ISIS has been contained.</p><p>&ldquo;I&rsquo;ve never been more concerned,&rdquo; Feinstein said. &ldquo;I read the intelligence faithfully. ISIL is not contained. ISIL is expanding. They just put out a video saying it is their intent to attack this country.&rdquo;</p><p><em>Here &amp; Now&#39;s </em>Indira Lakshmanan talks to&nbsp;Brett McGurk, Special Presidential Envoy to the<a href="http://www.state.gov/s/seci/" target="_blank">Global Coalition to Counter ISIL</a>, about the challenges of fighting ISIS and how the attacks in Paris and Beirut and the downing of the Russian plane over Egypt are affecting the U.S. and coalition strategy.</p><hr /><p><strong><span style="font-size:20px;">Interview Highlights</span></strong></p><p><strong>Explain what you&rsquo;ve noticed in your role as presidential envoy.</strong></p><p>&ldquo;What&rsquo;s going on within this jihadist community is the competition for the mantle of global jihad. It&rsquo;s a competition between al-Qaida senior leadership in Pakistan and ISIL, Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi. It&rsquo;s a dangerous phenomenon and we&rsquo;re not focused on only one and not the other, but the difference is that ISIL is focused on actually establishing its phony self-declared caliphate and establishing a state. I&rsquo;ve traveled to almost 30 capitals all around the world from Europe to the gulf region to Asia, and what we&rsquo;re finding in this phenomenon of foreign fighters &ndash; and 30,000 from a hundred countries all around the world, it&rsquo;s almost twice as many of the jihadist fighters that went into Afghanistan in the &rsquo;80s and those only came from a handful of countries &ndash; is that the attraction to be part of this phony self-declared caliphate is something that is a magnet and a draw. That is why ISIL in particular has been drawing so many young men and women from around the world and it&rsquo;s one reason why we are so focused on Iraq and Syria on retaking territory from ISIL and we&rsquo;ve had some real success in that regard. In Iraq we&rsquo;ve now retaken about 40 percent of territory that ISIL controlled, but that figure isn&rsquo;t as important as the actual strategic ground that we&rsquo;re taking back.&rdquo;</p><p><strong>Have you been asking other countries to do more on military side in the coalition?</strong></p><p>&ldquo;We are. I think if you look at the airstrikes statistics, we have a very broad air coalition both in Iraq and Syria. The French were one of the first countries to strike with us back in September in Iraq, they also were one of the earliest Western partners to join the air campaign in Syria. The Australians are also doing airstrikes with us in Syria. But we&rsquo;re obviously always asking about a little bit more in the air, a little bit more intelligence collection of information, but right now we&rsquo;re also focused on not only special forces on the ground but also the training of Iraqi security forces, of Iraqi police, of indigenous forces such as the Iraqi Kurdish Peshmerga.&rdquo;</p><p><strong>What are the&nbsp;most important elements of counter ISIL strategy?</strong></p><p>&ldquo;Number one, we&rsquo;re looking to degrade and suffocate and destroy them in their core. And their core is in Iraq and Syria, and we&rsquo;re doing that by working with indigenous forces on the ground combined with an air campaign to degrade their networks and take out their leaders, and to take out their command control platforms and their supply lines. We&rsquo;ve been doing that consistently week to week, it took a long time to set up the conditions by which we could get our special forces into Syria and work effectively with forces on the ground there. It took us a while to work with the Peshmerga to get them in place to begin to do an operation like they did last week to retake Sinjar. All of that is going on. Anytime we see their leaders, we&rsquo;re able to quite effectively take out their leaders. The military is very connected with the economic &ndash; this is the most well funded terrorist organization in history.</p><p>So for example, their number one financier was a terrorist name Abu Sayyaf, we did a Special Forces raid into Syria, about six months ago, we collected more information off of that site than any Special Forces raid in history, and from there we&rsquo;ve been working with the coalition partners and with the Iraqis to really cut into their finances. And based on all intelligence we started about two weeks ago, on the military side, a concerted campaign to take out their ability to get resources out of the ground, in oil trade, and actually move it by trucks. This is all a fusion of economics, intelligence, and military.&rdquo;</p><p><strong>On the videos where ISIS threatens to attack Washington and New York</strong></p><p>&ldquo;We take any threat very seriously. FBI Director James Comey and the Attorney General spoke yesterday about the fact that we have no actual direct intelligence on threats now, but this is something we take extremely seriously. This is why we are at war against this barbaric terrorist organization, and we&rsquo;re working across all multiple lines of efforts from military to economic to diplomatic to suffocate it at its core and outside of the networks the feed it.&rdquo;</p><p>&mdash; <em><a href="http://hereandnow.wbur.org/2015/11/20/us-strategy-isis" target="_blank">via Here &amp; Now</a></em></p></p> Mon, 23 Nov 2015 11:56:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/programs/here-and-now/2015-11-23/obama-administration%E2%80%99s-strategy-fight-against-isis-113892 White House Appeals Immigration Case To Supreme Court http://www.wbez.org/news/white-house-appeals-immigration-case-supreme-court-113876 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/gettyimages-462749516_wide-b43ecd1399a998f33dcfbe6e529a7fd90af7367e-s800-c85.jpg" alt="" /><p><div id="res456789951" previewtitle="President Obama speaks about immigration reform during a meeting with young immigrants in the White House on Feb. 4. The president's 2014 executive actions on immigration have been caught up in a legal dispute, which the White House has appealed to the Supreme Court."><div data-crop-type=""><img alt="President Obama speaks about immigration reform during a meeting with young immigrants in the White House on Feb. 4. The president's 2014 executive actions on immigration have been caught up in a legal dispute, which the White House has appealed to the Supreme Court." src="http://media.npr.org/assets/img/2015/11/20/gettyimages-462749516_wide-b43ecd1399a998f33dcfbe6e529a7fd90af7367e-s800-c85.jpg" style="height: 348px; width: 620px;" title="President Obama speaks about immigration reform during a meeting with young immigrants in the White House on Feb. 4. The president's 2014 executive actions on immigration have been caught up in a legal dispute, which the White House has appealed to the Supreme Court. (Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images)" /></div><div><div><p>One year after President Obama announced new executive actions on immigration, his administration is asking the Supreme Court to weigh in on the new policies.</p></div></div></div><p>The executive actions in question &mdash; the Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents, or DAPA, as well as an expansion of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Program, or DACA &mdash; would have affected millions of immigrants.</p><p>They would permit parents of American citizens, as well as immigrants brought to the U.S. as children, to apply for &quot;deferred action,&quot; which would allow them to live and work in America without fear of deportation.</p><p>But the executive actions have been caught up in a legal dispute&nbsp;<a href="http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2015/02/17/386905806/federal-judge-blocks-obama-s-executive-actions-on-immigration">since February</a>&nbsp;and have never been implemented. (The original DACA executive action, from 2012, has already granted deferred action to some immigrants and is not affected by this case.)</p><p>Most recently, a federal appeals court decided in favor of Texas and other states challenging the Nov. 20, 2014, executive actions.&nbsp;<a href="http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2015/11/10/455438464/appeals-court-deals-blow-to-obamas-immigration-plan">The court ruled</a>&nbsp;that President Obama had overreached his authority in issuing the orders.</p><p>Now, the Obama administration&nbsp;<a href="http://www.scotusblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/US-v.-Texas-Petition-15-674.pdf">has appealed that decision</a>&nbsp;to the Supreme Court.</p><p>The case centers on the question of whether the administration&#39;s actions are a matter of prosecutorial discretion &mdash; the executive branch deciding which immigrants to deport, on a case-by-case basis &mdash; or an attempt to unilaterally alter the nation&#39;s immigration laws.</p><p>In the appeal to the Supreme Court, the administration argues that deferred action falls under the &quot;longstanding authority&quot; of the secretary of homeland security &mdash; and that given the impossibility of deporting every &quot;removable alien&quot; in America, the administration must have the ability to prioritize deportations.</p><p>The administration also cites &quot;the irreparable injury to the many families affected by delay&quot; in implementing the executive actions.</p><p>&mdash;<a href="http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2015/11/20/456782713/white-house-appeals-immigration-case-to-supreme-court?ft=nprml&amp;f=456782713" target="_blank"><em> via NPR</em></a></p></p> Fri, 20 Nov 2015 13:06:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/white-house-appeals-immigration-case-supreme-court-113876 4 Things To Know About Visa Waivers and Security http://www.wbez.org/news/four-things-know-about-visa-waivers-and-security-113867 <p><div id="res456719401" previewtitle="Passengers wait to get their passports checked at Miami International Airport earlier this year. The visa waiver program allowed 20 million travelers into the U.S. last year, with much less screening than refugees receive."><div data-crop-type=""><img alt="Passengers wait to get their passports checked at Miami International Airport earlier this year. The visa waiver program allowed 20 million travelers into the U.S. last year, with much less screening than refugees receive." src="http://media.npr.org/assets/img/2015/11/19/gettyimages-465228486_wide-058dd4ca4d2e8267cfc0ced36608e4633ea0ebc9-s1600-c85.jpg" style="height: 349px; width: 620px;" title="Passengers wait to get their passports checked at Miami International Airport earlier this year. The visa waiver program allowed 20 million travelers into the U.S. last year, with much less screening than refugees receive. (Getty Images)" /></div><div><div><p>While Congress took steps to pause the Syrian refugee program this week, there is another concern that many say poses a bigger threat of a allowing a potential terrorist into the U.S. It&#39;s known as the visa waiver program, and it allowed 20 million travelers into the U.S. last year, with much less screening than refugees receive.</p><p>President Obama said recently that &quot;the idea that somehow [refugees] pose a more significant threat than all the tourists that pour into the United States every single day just doesn&#39;t jibe with reality.&quot;</p></div></div></div><p>Here are four things to know about that program, and the security concerns that have been raised about it:</p><p><strong>1. How does it work?</strong></p><p>It used to be that if you were a person living abroad and you wanted to see the U.S., you had to first go to an American embassy and get a visa. You would be interviewed by an embassy official who would ask about your background. But since the 1980s, residents of many countries no longer have to go thru that process. In fact, 38 nations, including most of Europe are visa waiver countries. It&#39;s a largely hassle-free way to come to the U.S. for tourists and business people. You&#39;ll need to answer a few questions on a form on the internet, and have a passport with a digital photograph.</p><p><strong>2. What are the concerns?</strong></p><p>Some lawmakers, including Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California, say the process has gaps. She calls it &quot;the soft underbelly&quot; of America&#39;s national security. She and other lawmakers are worried about the thousands of Europeans who have gone to Syria to fight alongside ISIS.</p><p>They return to France or Belgium, say, and with no screening could then easily hop on a flight to the U.S.</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/AP_360930717092.jpg" style="height: 411px; width: 620px;" title="(AP Photo/Susan Walsh)" /></div><p><strong>3. How can those gaps be closed?</strong></p><p>Feinstein is proposing legislation to tighten the visa waiver program and attempt to keep those foreign fighters out. The bill would require people who have traveled to Syria or Iraq in the past five years to go through an interview in order to get a U.S. visa. Of course, given the porous Syrian border it&#39;s not easy to say for sure who has traveled there.</p><p>The Department of Homeland Security did tighten the program earlier this year, including requiring foreign travelers from waiver countries to carry passports with biometric data embedded on computer chips.</p><p><strong>4. Would </strong><strong>changing</strong><strong> the visa waiver program make it more difficult for legitimate visitors coming to the U.S.?</strong></p><p>That&#39;s what concerns many, including the travel and tourism industry and some business groups. All those foreign visitors to the U.S.&nbsp;<a href="https://vwp.ustravel.org/?utm_source=MagnetMail&amp;utm_medium=email&amp;utm_term=ncarpenter@ustravel.org&amp;utm_content=11.19.15%20-%20Press%20-%20VWP%20Response&amp;utm_campaign=PROOF%3A%20Travel%20Leaders%20Warn%20Against%20Headlong%20Rush%20to%20Gut%20Visa%20Waiver%20Program" target="_blank">spend on average</a>&nbsp;$4,700 per person per trip, according to the U.S. Travel Association.</p><p>Roger Dow, the group&#39;s president and CEO, supports closing loopholes, but warns against making any major changes. The Obama administration says its open to amending the program.</p><p>It&#39;s a delicate balance, said Frank Cilluffo, who runs the Center for Cyber and Homeland Security at George Washington University. &quot;We want to be open to foreign travelers, we want to be open to foreign cultures, we want to be open for business. But the flip side is we&#39;ve got an acute security threat right now.&quot;</p><p>Feinstein says she intends to introduce her legislation after Thanksgiving.</p><p><a href="http://www.npr.org/2015/11/20/456715124/4-things-to-know-about-visa-waivers-and-security?ft=nprml&amp;f=456715124" target="_blank"><em>&mdash; via NPR</em></a></p></p> Fri, 20 Nov 2015 11:08:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/four-things-know-about-visa-waivers-and-security-113867