"You scratch my back, and I'll scratch yours" is an old and cherished maxim of our republic. In politics, that's called an earmark, aka pork. One member of Congress gets a road or a monument for his or her state in exchange for a vote on the bill in question.
Congress has lived on this since the era of stovepipe hats. The political vogue lately, however, has been to repudiate those earmarks. But with the recent gridlock in Washington, the feeling is that perhaps some of that grease might help ease things.
On one spring day in the early 1970s, writer David Esterly paused to admire a stunning wooden carving inside a London church.
"On the panel behind the altar, I saw these extraordinary cascades of leaves and flowers and fruits, carved to a fineness and fluent realism, which seemed to me breathtaking," Esterly recalled in an interview with Jacki Lyden, host of weekends on All Things Considered.
Protesters demonstrate outside a Starbucks coffee shop in London last month. Protests were held at Starbucks throughout the U.K. after it was revealed that the coffee chain had paid almost no corporate taxes for the last three years.
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French actor Gerard Depardieu <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2013/01/06/world/europe/gerard-depardieu-in-russia-with-sights-on-citizenship.html?_r=0">arrived Saturday in Russia</a> to meet with President Vladimir Putin. Putin offered Depardieu citizenship after the actor said he was leaving France to protest a new tax rate of 75 percent on incomes of 1 million euros and higher.
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During his New Year's address last week, Pope Benedict XVI decried "unregulated financial capitalism" as a source of global conflict.
Originally published on Sun January 6, 2013 9:17 am
As 2013 begins with wealthy Americans in line for bigger tax bills, they're not alone. Tax fairness takes the spotlight worldwide this year, as cash-strapped governments look to impose more of the burden on well-heeled companies, individuals and institutions, and to catch and punish tax cheaters.
This week, as the U.S. Congress averted a plunge off the fiscal precipice, British Prime Minister David Cameron sent a letter to leaders of the Group of Eight countries that make up about half of the world's economic output.
After the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., the state's governor and President Obama called for stricter gun laws.
In the meantime, at least one small town in Connecticut is drafting new ordinances of its own.
The town meeting in Weston begins with the Pledge of Allegiance. Moving through the agenda, the attendees discuss appointments to the Commission on Aging, there's some talk of the budget and two fourth-graders make their case for eliminating plastic bags.
In Mexico these days, the majority of babies are born in hospitals. That hasn't helped reduce the number of maternal deaths, though. So health officials are re-making the centuries-old tradition of midwifery. They are betting a new kind of midwife, one trained in a clinical setting, can offer a solution.
John Underhill waters flowers at a makeshift memorial for shooting victims outside the University Medical Center in Tucson, Ariz., on Jan. 20, 2011. Many of the plants and flowers at area memorials were replanted at a community garden.
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Meg Johnson and Brad Holland were behind the effort to replant the memorials' flowers and plants. They also used the plastic sticks that hold cards in potted plants for crop labels.