In his 16 years in Congress, Republican Mickey Edwards came to a strong conclusion: Political parties are the "cancer at the heart of our democracy," he tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross.
In his new book, The Parties Versus the People, the former Republican congressman from Oklahoma details how party leaders have too much control over who runs for office, what bills make it to the floor and how lawmakers vote.
This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan, in Washington. In just over two months in office, Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi has asserted himself on several fronts. Just weeks after his election, he fired several senior defense officials, effectively seizing power from the military government that ruled after former President Hosni Mubarak stepped down.
Originally published on Wed September 19, 2012 4:13 pm
McDonald's, home of the iconic Big Mac, is going vegetarian. Well, at least in India, where 20 to 42 percent or more of the population (depending on how you count) eschews meat, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization.
Last week, on the first day of classes at a Baltimore high school, panic broke out when a student opened fire in the cafeteria. One student was shot in the back and remains in critical condition, but it might have been much worse if not for guidance counselor Jesse Wasmer, who wrestled the shooter to the ground. He's being called a hero.
This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan in Washington. Students in many schools across the country will notice something new as classes' resume. Clifton High School in New Jersey, Garnet Valley High School in Pennsylvania, Ottumwa High School in Iowa, just three of the many schools that installed security cameras in hallways, classrooms, cafeterias, in buses and gymnasiums.
It was the absence of feathers that got conservation biologist Thor Hanson thinking about the significance of them. Hanson was in Kenya studying the feeding habits of vultures, and he noticed the advantages that vultures had relative to other birds because of their bare, featherless heads.
"Having lost their feathers allows [vultures] to remain much cleaner and more free from bacteria and parasites and disease," Hanson tells Fresh Air contributor Dave Davies.
Recently, I was listening to a new tribute album covering the songs of Fleetwood Mac, and thought once again how dreadful most tribute albums are: They don't add much to the legacy of the artists being saluted, while inadvertently freezing vital old music in an amber of sentimentality. Then I turned to When I'm President, an album of new songs by Ian Hunter.