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Civil Rights Attorneys On Biden Administration Plans For Law Enforcement Reforms

Sat, 01/16/2021 - 6:02pm
MICHEL MARTIN, HOST: President-elect Joe Biden has compared the challenges he faces coming into office to those faced by Franklin Delano Roosevelt when he became president in 1932. And like FDR, Biden wants to meet the moment with bold action and an ambitious legislative agenda that includes most urgently passage of his proposed $1.9 trillion pandemic economic relief package. (SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING) JOE BIDEN: It includes much more, like an increase in the minimum wage to at least $15 an hour. People tell me that's going to be hard to pass. Florida just passed it. As divided as that state is, they just passed it. The rest of the country's ready to move as well. MARTIN: Biden and his supporters also want sweeping measures to address climate change, health care and tax reform, among other priorities. But to get anything passed in Congress, Biden and his team will have to contend with political realities on Capitol Hill, especially in the Senate, where the chamber will be split

When An Ambitious White House Agenda Meets A Split Senate

Sat, 01/16/2021 - 5:30pm
MICHEL MARTIN, HOST: President-elect Joe Biden has compared the challenges he faces coming into office to those faced by Franklin Delano Roosevelt when he became president in 1932. And like FDR, Biden wants to meet the moment with bold action and an ambitious legislative agenda that includes most urgently passage of his proposed $1.9 trillion pandemic economic relief package. (SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING) JOE BIDEN: It includes much more, like an increase in the minimum wage to at least $15 an hour. People tell me that's going to be hard to pass. Florida just passed it. As divided as that state is, they just passed it. The rest of the country's ready to move as well. MARTIN: Biden and his supporters also want sweeping measures to address climate change, health care and tax reform, among other priorities. But to get anything passed in Congress, Biden and his team will have to contend with political realities on Capitol Hill, especially in the Senate, where the chamber will be split

D.C. Metro Police Describe Being First Responders To Insurrection At The Capitol

Sat, 01/16/2021 - 5:11pm
MICHEL MARTIN, HOST: President-elect Joe Biden has compared the challenges he faces coming into office to those faced by Franklin Delano Roosevelt when he became president in 1932. And like FDR, Biden wants to meet the moment with bold action and an ambitious legislative agenda that includes most urgently passage of his proposed $1.9 trillion pandemic economic relief package. (SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING) JOE BIDEN: It includes much more, like an increase in the minimum wage to at least $15 an hour. People tell me that's going to be hard to pass. Florida just passed it. As divided as that state is, they just passed it. The rest of the country's ready to move as well. MARTIN: Biden and his supporters also want sweeping measures to address climate change, health care and tax reform, among other priorities. But to get anything passed in Congress, Biden and his team will have to contend with political realities on Capitol Hill, especially in the Senate, where the chamber will be split

Michigan's Capitol Prepares For Threatened Violence From Far-Right Extremists

Sat, 01/16/2021 - 5:05pm
Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit MICHEL MARTIN, HOST: With just four days to go before Joe Biden is scheduled to be inaugurated as the nation's 46th president, law enforcement officials in Washington and across the country are on high alert monitoring for possible violent protests by pro-Trump armed extremist groups. Here in Washington, D.C., the nation's capital, thousands of National Guard troops have been deployed ahead of the inauguration, and the U.S. Capitol has been effectively sealed off from the public with high steel fences and barbed wire, all to avoid any attempt at a repeat of the mob attack on the Capitol last January 6. Similar precautions are being taken at state Capitols around the country, especially in states that have already been dealing with the threats posed by violent far-right groups. We're going to begin tonight by focusing on one of those states, Michigan. For that, we're joined now by that state's attorney general, Dana Nessel. Attorney General, thank

Biden To Quickly Sign Orders Mandating Masks, Reversing Trump Travel Ban And More

Sat, 01/16/2021 - 5:02pm
For more than a year and a half, President-elect Joe Biden campaigned promising to undo several Trump administration policies on Day 1 of his presidency, and now his team is filling in the details of that and more as he prepares to take office. Biden's incoming chief of staff, Ron Klain, on Saturday laid out in a memo the executive orders the new president will issue on Jan. 20 and in the early days of the new administration. As Biden promised from the very beginning of his campaign, he will sign an order returning the United States to the Paris climate agreement, the international accord to lower greenhouse gas emissions that the Obama administration played a lead role in crafting. President Trump withdrew the U.S. from the agreement. Biden has promised to implement sweeping changes to the energy and transportation sector to reach the country's Paris emissions goals. Biden will also sign orders to direct the Education Department to extend a pause on federal student loan payments and

House Lawmakers Open Investigation Into Capitol Attack

Sat, 01/16/2021 - 4:54pm
The U.S. House of Representatives has opened an investigation into this month's attack on the U.S. Capitol. In a letter to the heads of America's leading intelligence and law enforcement agencies, House lawmakers asked for any information that could help them understand whether warning signs were missed. Lawmakers want to know what the intelligence community and federal law enforcement knew about the threats of violence and whether that information was shared with the right people. Capitol Police have said they were unprepared for the ferocity of the attack, which left one of its officers dead . "Security and logistical preparations before January 6 were not consistent with the prospect of serious and widespread violence," lawmakers wrote Saturday. "Yet, according to media accounts that have surfaced in recent days, federal and other authorities earlier on possessed — and may have shared with some parties — intelligence and other information forecasting a dire security threat against

Monroe County COVID-19 data: 423 new cases, 36 more deaths

Sat, 01/16/2021 - 4:09pm
The latest data from Monroe County released Saturday shows 423 new cases of COVID-19. There were 36 new deaths. One person died 12/21/2020, and the remaining occurred between 1/5/21 through 1/12/21. The total is 802 deaths to date. The 7-day rolling average of new cases is 508 new cases per day. The 7-day rolling average positivity rate for Monroe County is 7.0%. In the Finger Lakes region, the COVID positivity rate stands at 7.32%. That is now 5th highest in the state, behind the Mohawk Valley, Long Island, the Capital Region and the Mid-Hudson region. 773 people in the Finger Lakes Region are hospitalized, 148 of them are in ICU. The percentage of total hospital beds available in the Finger Lakes region on a 7-day rolling average is 33%. The percentage of ICU Beds available in the Finger Lakes region on a 7-day rolling average is 23%. The percentage of COVID patients hospitalized is highest in the Finger Lakes, Mohawk Valley and Long Island (all three regions are at the same level).

Statehouses Brace For Potential Violence As Biden's Inauguration Approaches

Sat, 01/16/2021 - 3:40pm
Governors across the nation are fortifying statehouses amid fears of possibly violent protests in the lead-up to President-elect Joe Biden's inauguration on Wednesday. The Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol raised fears across the nation of armed protesters amassing at statehouses. Many states began putting new security measures in place , including increasing law enforcement personnel and activating National Guard troops as legislators returned to work. The FBI specifically warned this week of potentially violent protests in all 50 states ahead of Biden's swearing-in as the nation's 46 th president. As the weekend drew near, statehouses began erecting barricades, fencing and boards as officials braced for potential violence. On Friday, Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, who had been the target of an alleged kidnapping plot last year, activated the state's National Guard ahead of a protest reportedly planned for Sunday. "The security enhancements that we have made are both seen —

Up To 25,000 Troops Descend On Washington For Biden's Inauguration

Sat, 01/16/2021 - 3:04pm
Next week's swearing-in of President-elect Joe Biden will see the biggest security presence of any inauguration in U.S. history. For days, thousands of National Guard troops have been pouring into the capital, and by Wednesday's ceremony, up to 25,000 troops will be in place to guard against security threats. The nation's capital will look much different than it did in the days leading up to the attack on the U.S. Capitol building earlier this month. The area around the Capitol has been blocked off by barricades, and the National Mall is already closed to the public across its entire length — from the Capitol down to the Lincoln Memorial, 2 miles away. "We cannot allow a recurrence of the chaos and illegal activity that the United States and the world witnessed last week," Matt Miller, head of the U.S. Secret Service's Washington field office, told reporters Friday. Troops are pouring in from all over the country. "I'm sorry I have to ask you to leave your families and head down to our

URMC opens downtown COVID-19 vaccination clinic

Sat, 01/16/2021 - 12:26pm
The University of Rochester Medical Center opened a downtown COVID-19 vaccination clinic on Friday. It’s located at Manhattan Square Family Medicine on East Broad Street. John Clark is Regional Administrative Director with URMC’s Center for Primary Care. He said they started off with a small number of vaccinations on Friday, but they expect to ramp that up in the weeks ahead. “This was targeted at patients of ours who are 65 years and older, and in particular patients who live in the city. We’re hoping really to use the Manhattan Square site as our platform for reaching people in the inner city.” Clark said that URMC will launch a second vaccination clinic in the next week at the university’s campus. Clark said that eventually, they would like to be able to vaccine a couple of thousand people per day and that will require opening up dedicated mass vaccination clinics. “We’d want to have a site that is accessible by public transportation, is large enough to accommodate social distancing

India Kicks Off A Massive COVID-19 Vaccination Drive

Sat, 01/16/2021 - 8:59am
Cheers erupted in hospital wards across India on Saturday as a first group of nurses and sanitation workers rolled up their sleeves and got vaccinated against COVID-19, at the start of what's likely to become the biggest national vaccination campaign in history. India aims to vaccinate 300 million people by July, though it could take an additional two or more years to inoculate all nearly 1.4 billion Indians. The shots are voluntary. Hospitals and clinics have been setting up and rehearsing for weeks. "A proud moment indeed! This is what we've been waiting for," Dr. R. Jayanthi, dean of the Omandurar Medical College in the southern city of Chennai, told local media moments after receiving her shot. "I'm truly a very privileged beneficiary today, and I'm feeling absolutely fine." Earlier this month, the Indian government granted emergency authorization to two vaccines — one developed by Oxford University and the pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca, and a homegrown formula developed by an

The Republican Party After Trump

Sat, 01/16/2021 - 8:49am
Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit SCOTT SIMON, HOST: Just a few months ago, the Republican Party had lost the presidency but won millions of votes, including gains among Black and Latino voters, gained seats in Congress and controlled more state legislatures. Now the president they promoted and assisted is widely unpopular for lying and inciting insurrection. The identity of the Republican Party is tied up with white supremacists. What is the Republican Party now? Well, we'll ask Ryan Costello, former conservative Republican and congressman who represented Pennsylvania's 6th District, who joins us now. Mr. Costello, thanks so much for being with us. RYAN COSTELLO: Great to be with you. SIMON: I feel like I have to put it this bluntly. Has the party of Lincoln and Frederick Douglass and Ed Brooke become the party of the Proud Boys and Confederate flags and racism? COSTELLO: Well, you know, I certainly don't want that. And I think the predominantly overwhelming majority of

How Biden Is Preparing For His Inauguration

Sat, 01/16/2021 - 8:39am
Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit SCOTT SIMON, HOST: Preparations for the 59th inaugural ceremonies continue this weekend. In Washington, D.C., there are flags and bunting, but also miles of protective fencing, masses of emergency vehicles and tens of thousands of National Guardsmen. It's far beyond what's been seen for past inaugurations. Matt Miller of the Secret Service's Washington, D.C., field office may explain why. (SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING) MATT MILLER: We cannot allow a recurrence of the chaos and illegal activity that the United States and the world witnessed last week. SIMON: Tony Allen is CEO of the Biden-Harris Inaugural Committee. He's also president of Delaware State University and joins us now. Thanks so much for being with us. TONY ALLEN: Hi. Glad to be with you. SIMON: I have to ask, Mr. President - we get to call you as head of the - president of Delaware State University - why not just move the ceremonies to the Rotunda? That's been done in the past. I

The Latest On The Federal Investigation Into The Riot At The Capitol

Sat, 01/16/2021 - 8:38am
Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit SCOTT SIMON, HOST: A nationwide hunt is underway for the rioters who stormed the U.S. Capitol last week. Federal prosecutors say they're focused on the most serious crimes, including assaults on police officers. More significant felony charges still to come. NPR's Carrie Johnson joins us now. Carrie, thanks for being with us. CARRIE JOHNSON, BYLINE: Good morning, Scott. SIMON: What are the latest on the cases that have already been brought? JOHNSON: More than 300 people are under investigation, and prosecutors have already filed criminal charges against about 100 people. Some of them are pretty serious. There's an Arkansas man caught on tape allegedly beating a police officer with an American flag pole. There's another case involving two off-duty cops from Rocky Mount, Va. One of them had allegedly posted online about their actions inside the Capitol, then deleted the post. And authorities also charged a retired firefighter from Pennsylvania. He

Uganda Election: President Yoweri Museveni Declared Winner As Bobi Wine Alleges Fraud

Sat, 01/16/2021 - 8:19am
Updated at 9:41 a.m. ET Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni has won a sixth term in office, fighting off a challenge by former singer Bobi Wine — who was just a child when Museveni came into power back in 1986. Wine's run drew many young Ugandans to pay attention to politics. The nation's electoral commission announced on Saturday that Museveni received 58% of the vote to 34% for Wine, according to The Associated Press. But Wine is alleging that the vote was rigged, as election officials face questions over how results were tallied amid an Internet blackout, according to the AP. Ahead of Thursday's election, Museveni's government shut down social media outlets — including Facebook, Instagram and Twitter— in Uganda. It also sent military vehicles into the streets. Soldiers and police were out in force in the capital of Kampala on Saturday. In an interview with NPR, Wine said security forces were not allowing anyone in or out of his home, and he urged Ugandans to reject the results. In a

Can The Forces Unleashed By Trump's Big Election Lie Be Undone?

Sat, 01/16/2021 - 7:57am
Last Wednesday, just before a mob of pro-Trump extremists stormed the U.S. Capitol in an insurrection that left five dead, the president stood before a huge crowd gathered in front of the White House for a so-called "Save America" rally. Trump whipped up his supporters , repeating a false claim that he has made over and over in the weeks since Nov. 3: "We won this election, and we won it by a landslide," he insisted. "This was not a close election!" "They say we lost," the president went on. "We didn't lose." Among the thousands of falsehoods Trump has uttered during his presidency, this one in particular has earned the distinction of being called the "big lie." It's a charged term, with connotations that trace back to its roots in Nazi Germany. Hitler used the phrase "big lie" against Jews in his manifesto Mein Kampf. Later, the Nazis' big lie — claiming that Jews led a global conspiracy and were responsible for Germany's and the world's woes — fueled anti-Semitism and the Holocaust.

The Democratic Credibility Of The U.S. Has Taken A Hit. Here's How To Fix It.

Sat, 01/16/2021 - 7:55am
Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit SCOTT SIMON, HOST: President-elect Biden has promised to host a democracy summit in his first year on the job. The idea is to try to restore American leadership by promoting democratic values. The country's credibility has taken a hit, especially in the wake of the insurrection on Capitol Hill. NPR's Michele Kelemen has been talking to American democracy promoters on how to restore that. MICHELE KELEMEN, BYLINE: For the past couple of decades, Donald Bisson has worked on rule of law programs in the former Soviet Union, monitored elections in the Balkans and is now trying to support Tunisia's fragile democracy. He runs the Carter Center there and says the Tunisians who work with him were sad and disappointed to watch angry mobs overrun the Capitol. DONALD BISSON: It makes them frightened for their own democracy. It makes them nervous about it and say, well, if this can happen in the United States, you know, we just started. We've only had it for 10

How Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear Is Preparing For Threats In The State

Sat, 01/16/2021 - 7:55am
Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit SCOTT SIMON, HOST: Washington, D.C., is bracing for what might happen as Wednesday's inauguration approaches. States around the country are also on alert against attacks by extremists. They're boarding up windows, fortifying government buildings in their capitals and also calling out the National Guard. We're joined now by the Democratic governor of Kentucky, Andy Beshear. Governor, thanks so much for being with us. ANDY BESHEAR: Thanks for having me. SIMON: May I ask if you heard specific, credible threats to your capital, Frankfort? BESHEAR: What we are hearing are threats made generally and sometimes specifically against capitals all over the United States. And my commitment as the governor of Kentucky is that we will not let what happened at the U.S. Capitol happen here. And to do that takes two things - No. 1, being prepared with sufficient personnel and, No. 2, recognizing these folks for what they are. They are domestic terrorists. It's

How Social Media Can Approach Free Speech During A Polarizing Time

Sat, 01/16/2021 - 7:55am
Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit SCOTT SIMON, HOST: After President Trump was permanently suspended from Twitter, right-wing social media platform Parler was booted off of Apple's App Store and Amazon's web-hosting services, effectively putting them both offline. Parler is suing Amazon. We should note that both Apple and Amazon are NPR underwriters. These decisions followed last week's deadly attack at the U.S. Capitol launched by President Trump's extreme supporters and are applauded by many. But many also are concerned the actions might set a precedent for censoring free speech on social media. Daphne Keller, who is the Platform Regulation director at the Stanford Cyber Policy Center, joins us now. Professor, thanks so much for being with us. DAPHNE KELLER: Thanks for having me. SIMON: First big question - do you consider these bans a violation of the First Amendment? KELLER: No, and I can't imagine a court considering them violations of the First Amendment either. There have

Opinion: The Fringe Of America's Fabric

Sat, 01/16/2021 - 7:55am
I have interviewed some truly hateful people. It's part of what we have to do in the news business. As a young reporter, I spoke with Nazis who paraded in brown shirts and swastika armbands while they pursued a long legal case to march through a heavily Jewish suburb of Chicago. I never felt at ease when I went to their headquarters, with a swastika in the front window of their storefront on Chicago's southwest side. But after a few visits, I also wasn't scared. They were not like the storm troopers I'd seen in old newsreel footage, strutting alongside tanks. These storefront Nazis looked like they were playing dress-up games: young, pasty-faced, inept and stammering. No matter how much publicity they got — or we gave them — the Chicago Nazis could never turn out more than a few members. They seemed the fringe of the fringe. Years later, I had much the same impression of Ku Klux Klan members we profiled when they burned a cross at midnight in a field in Pennsylvania. Decades after the