DeSantis Rising

He hasn’t yet entered the contest, but even so, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis is one of the leading Republicans in the race for the GOP presidential nomination.

DeSantis has just released a new book that highlights his pugnacious style and hardline stance on issues ranging from education to public health. And he has attracted even more attention as Florida’s Republican-led legislature began its session Tuesday.

NPR’s Greg Allen has this look at how DeSantis became what some believe is the future of the Republican Party.

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Restrictions On Drag Shows Have A History In The U.S.

Tennessee passed a bill last week restricting drag shows. The law specifically bans “adult cabaret performances” in public or in the presence of children.

In more than a dozen states, Republican lawmakers have been pushing similar bills.

Historian Jules Gill-Peterson of Johns Hopkins University says laws that target drag have a long history in the U.S, and LGBTQ people have fought back before.

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Finding Solutions For Crime – Without Politics Getting In The Way

When Chicago mayor Lori Lightfoot lost her re-election bid this week, many people saw the result as a referendum on how she handled crime.

But crime is not just a Chicago issue. Nationally, murders, shootings, and thefts are up. Communities that feel under siege are looking to hold elected leaders accountable for their failure to address the problem. But when agreements on how to solve crime break down along party lines -and even within parties- are politics hindering potential solutions?

Host Michel Martin talks to Thomas Abt, senior fellow at the Council on Criminal Justice, about non-partisan, research-based solutions. We also hear from Ja’Ron Smith, a fellow with Right on Crime, a conservative criminal justice reform coalition.

The Dominion Lawsuit Pulls Back The Curtain On Fox News. It’s Not Pretty.

Documents released as part of a $1.6 billion defamation lawsuit reveal that many Fox News stars knew conspiracy theories about the 2020 election were baseless but invited guests who spewed those claims on air anyway.

The documents were released by Dominion Voting Systems as part of its lawsuit against both Fox News and its parent company. They include text messages sent by Fox News personalities and statements made under oath by the network’s controlling owner Rupert Murdoch.

NPR Media Correspondent David Folkenflik explains that the lawsuit is the latest in a series of ethical breaches during Murdoch’s decades-long reign at the helm of one of the most powerful media companies in the world.

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While The Fate Of The CFPB Is In Limbo, The Agency Is Cracking Down On Junk Fees

The Supreme Court is weighing whether or not the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is constitutional based on how it receives its funding.

Last fall a panel of three Trump appointees on the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals outlined that if funding for a federal agency like the CFPB is not appropriated annually by Congress, then everything that agency does is deemed unconstitutional.

While the agency’s fate is in limbo, its latest initiative is aimed at cracking down on junk fees that can cost Americans a lot of money.

We speak with CFPB’s director, Rohit Chopra, on how unnecessary fees impact everyday people.

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Iconic Indian-American Chef Reflects On His Life And The Healing Power Of Food

Raghavan Iyer built his career helping Americans get to know the fundamentals of Indian cooking. Now, after years of treatment for aggressive cancer, he has released what he says will be his last book.
NPR’s Ari Shapiro talks to Raghavan Iyer, about the book, “On The Curry Trail: Chasing the Flavor That Seduced the World.”
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One Uprooted Life At A Time, Climate Change Drives An American Migration

Margaret Elysia Garcia tried hard to rebuild her life in Greenville, California after it was devastated by a wildfire in 2021.

But the difficulty of life there — power outages, mud slides, razed streets she could barely recognize — eventually it all became too much. She left her home there and moved to Southern California.

Jake Bittle’s new book, The Great Displacement: Climate Change And The Next American Migration, argues that stories like this are becoming more common. From drought-hit farms in Arizona to flooded coastlines in Virginia, it’s a close look at the way climate-fueled disasters are forcing people to move.

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How EPA Plans To Keep East Palestine Residents Safe After Derailment

The Environmental Protection Agency says tests have not shown any contamination of air or drinking water linked to the train derailment near East Palestine, Ohio.

But residents in the area still have safety concerns.

NPR’s Ari Shapiro asks EPA Administrator Michael Regan about those concerns and about the agency’s response to the disaster.

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How to Talk About Politicians and Mental Health

Republican presidential candidate Nikki Haley’s call for mandatory mental competency tests for politicians over 75 seemed like a direct challenge to President Joe Biden, who is 80. But she could have been referring to the other announced candidate in the race: former President Donald Trump, who is 76. Or other high ranking leaders over the age of 75 – Senators Mitch McConnell and Bernie Sanders, both 81. Republican Senator Chuck Grassley is 89, but the oldest sitting member of Congress, by a few months, is Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein, also 89. She has announced that she will not run for re-election next year, however her term does not end until January 2025.

On the heels of Haley’s announcement, Democratic Senator John Fetterman checked himself into Walter Reed National Military Medical Center to seek treatment for clinical depression, a condition often associated with recovery from a stroke, which he experienced last May.

While Fetterman’s case differs from age-related cognitive decline, both issues raise questions about how much the public has the right to know about a public figure’s mental health, and whether acknowledging these very common, very human conditions alleviates stigma or just reinforces it.

Host Michel Martin talks to former Rep. Patrick J. Kennedy about how his decision to speak publicly about his own issues with mental health.

We also hear from Matthew Rozsa, who writes about health and science for Salon.

A Ukrainian City Marks A Year Of Loss—And Resistance

Kherson was the the first major Ukrainian city to fall to Russian troops. With deep historical ties to Russia, it was not expected to be a center of resistance.

But an army of citizen spies defied Moscow’s expectations, and helped Ukrainian forces liberate the city last November.

A year after Russia launched its invasion, NPR’s Joanna Kakissis has the story of Kherson’s partisans: teachers and accountants and landscape designers, who became eyes and ears for the Ukrainian military.

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