"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.
When Barack Obama first took office four years ago, many progressives were on cloud nine. Here was a president pledging to tackle some of the issues closest to the progressive base: climate change, gun control and what he called our "broken immigration system."
That was in 2008. Fast forward to now and these are just a few of the unresolved issues leaving progressives unsatisfied.
With Obama's second term around the corner, some progressives are wondering if President Obama will reboot and follow through with his earlier promises.
It's WEEKENDS on ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Jacki Lyden.
(SOUNDBITE OF SPEECH)
PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: If Congress refuses to give the United States the ability to pay its bills on time, the consequences for the entire global economy could be catastrophic. The last time Congress threatened this course of action, our entire economy suffered for it.
When Congress reconvened on January 3rd, it did so with 84 newly elected members. We've been profiling a few of the newcomers over the past week. Today, we'll learn a bit more about the latest Republican to join Kentucky delegation Andy Barr. Here's Kentucky Public Radio's Kenny Colston.
KENNY COLSTON, BYLINE: The halls of Henry Clay High School in Lexington aren't that much different than the halls of power its namesake served in: loud and busy. But this place brings back memories for Congressman-elect Andy Barr.
If you're just tuning in, this is WEEKENDS on ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Jacki Lyden.
In India, outrage continues unabated over sexual violence against women. A court in New Delhi has ordered five men charged in the murder and gang rape of a young woman last month to appear in court on Monday. The incident ignited demands for bringing the widespread nature of such assaults to light. NPR's Julie McCarthy joins us from New Delhi. Warning, some graphic language ahead. Julie, thanks for being here.
Photographer Eugene Richards had several reasons to visit the Arkansas Delta 40 years after his initial visit.
"I went back, ostensibly, to look at the culture and see if there was anything left of it," he says. Or at least — that was the pitch he gave National Geographic magazine, in hopes that it would send him there, which it did. You can see the story in the magazine's November issue.