Politics

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Four years after the Citizens United ruling, the U.S. Supreme Court has made a landmark decision that frees the nation's wealthiest donors to have greater influence in federal elections. Today on politics day, analysis of the court's decision.

Host Ben Kieffer talks with political analysts Stephen Schmidt and Timothy Hagle.

Also, a last-minute enrollment surge enabled the White House to meet its original sign-up target for the Affordable Care Act, a surprising victory for the Obama administration. How does this change the political landscape?

John Pemble / IPR

The Iowa Republican party has a new chairman. Former chair A.J. Spiker announced his resignation last month, he left to join Kentucky Senator Rand Paul’s political action committee. Over the weekend the Iowa GOP Board elected former state legislator and lobbyist for social conservative organization The Family Leader, Danny Carroll. He shares his thoughts on several issues with IPR's Clay Masters.

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Video has surfaced of Democratic Congressman Bruce Braley at a private Texas fundraiser with trial lawyers drawing a stark contrast between a future with him serving on the Senate Judiciary Committee, and a future with GOP Senator Charles Grassley Chairing that committee.  In the video, Braley describes Grassley as an "Iowa farmer" who "never went to law school."  Slate has called it the

Durrie Bouscaren / Iowa Public Radio

After speaking with at least half of the administrative law judges who rule cases for unemployment disputes, State Senator Bill Dotzler (D-Waterloo) says he’s gathered evidence that the head of Iowa Workforce Development has pressured judges to rule against employees hoping to receive unemployment insurance benefits.  

John Pemble / IPR

  Last week was another deadline at the Iowa statehouse for lawmakers to get more laws through committee so they can be debated on the floor.   

CSIS PONI

The head of the U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee says the CIA improperly accessed computers used by congressional staff.  What comes next?

Voice of America

Russian President Vladimir Putin put 150,000 Russian combat troops on high alert, rattling nerves in an already unstable Ukraine.  The move along Ukraine's border caused U.S.

Greg Wass

Iowan Sean Strub has lead a distinguished career as a gay rights activist and advocate for people with HIV/AIDS.  He founded POZ Magazine, designed to serve those living with the disease, a community he knows very well since he has been living with HIV since 1980.

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In about two weeks, the first of at least six Republican primaries will feature establishment Senate incumbents versus Tea Party challengers. Host Ben Kieffer and political analysts look at these primaries and the GOP’s bid to retake the U.S. Senate.  Also, A U.N. panel accuses North Korea of crimes against humanity, and Ukraine erupts again.  Guests are Dennis Goldford, Professor of Politics at Drake University and Jim McCormick, Professor and Chair of Political Science at Iowa State University.

Chuck Kennedy (Executive Office of the President of the United States) / White House image, public domain

President Obama stepped to the podium to deliver his 2014 State of the Union address against a backdrop of low approval ratings, a stagnant Congress and the term “lame duck” increasingly being used to describe his presidency.  The State of the Union is often seen as an opportunity to press the reset button.  But, an analysis of the list of priorities requiring Congressional action unveiled in 2013 shows only two measures winning approval.  This may have been what prompted the President to say h

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Iowans gathered for caucuses Tuesday night, not to determine who will win nominations for President, but to determine who will control the parties.  Host Ben Kieffer talks with University of Iowa Associate Professor of Political Science Tim Hagle, and Drake University Professor of Politics, Dennis Goldford about how the midterm caucus results may impact the higher profile Presidential caucuses in two years.  They also discuss Iowa's political leverage to reverse an EPA decision reducing the amount of ethanol blended into gasoline under the Renewable Fuel Standard.

Alexander Gardner / Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.

In this encore edition of River to River, listen back to host Ben Kieffer's conversation with Herbert Hoover Presidential Library and Museum director Tom Schwartz.  Schwartz explains the story behind the passage of the 13th Amendment which outlaws slavery and involuntary servitude.

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"When we talk about leadership, we often think that it's entirely under control of the individual," says Hans Hassell, Assistant Professor of Political Science at Cornell College.  But in reality, "It's not necessarily Boehner's leadership style that's causing the problems, it's the political environment."  Host Ben Kieffer talks with Hassell, David Andersen, Assistant Professor of Political Science at Iowa State University and Steffen Schmidt, University Professor of Political Science at Iowa State University.  Recent stories about New Jersey Governor Chris Christie as well as revelations

John Pemble/IPR file photo

Governor Terry Branstad outlined legislative and spending priorities in his annual Condition of the State address in the House chamber at the Iowa State Capitol.  He is proposing measures to attract veterans, prevent bullying and expand broadband access in the state.  Host Charity Nebbe talked with Chris Larimer, Associate Professor of Political Science at University of Northern Iowa, IPR's Clay Masters and listeners about what was and was not included in the speech.

Thiago Pompeu

For this News Buzz show, Ben Kieffer talks with a variety of guests about new jobs numbers, the 51% four-year graduation rate at the University of Iowa, Matt Schultz running for congress, the Director of Iowa's Public Health Department resigning, new rules for teen drivers, concerns about ice on the Missouri River, an ice fishing update, and the remarkable beginning for ISU Cyclone men's and women's basketball.

John Pemble

Taped on Tuesday 12/17/13 as part of the IPR Insight Series, this is a special edition of River to River with NPR’s Don Gonyea, recorded before a live audience in Des Moines. Host Ben Kieffer asks Gonyea about the 2013 political year, his career, and his connection to Iowa. IPR also tests Gonyea’s Iowa knowledge with a bit of trivia.

Top five moments and quotes from the night:

Lauren Farmer

Join us tonight at 6 PM to hear a new work written for the Dallas Symphony to mark the 50th anniversary of the Kennedy assassination. The composer is Conrad Tao, the 19-year-old  American pianist/composer whose first CD is one of our picks-of-the-year. The work is titled The World Is Very Different Now and is performed by the Symphony and its music director, Jaap van Zweden.

U.S. Embassy New Delhi

Iowa Public Radio listeners share their memories of the death of President John F. Kennedy on the 50th anniversary of his assassination.  Also historian Tom Schwartz of the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library and Museum joins the conversation to share his own reflections of the event and to discuss the 150th anniversary of the Gettysburg Address.

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A Des Moines attorney was a key figure in the official inquiry into President Kennedy's assassination. David Belin investigated the rifle that made history 50 years ago.

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As Americans commemorate the assassination of President Kennedy, we also remember the respected Iowa reporter who was covering the president on that fateful day in Dallas.

Herbert Hoover Presidential Library and Museum

Every presidency ebbs and flows.  President Obama seems to be going through an ebb, as his job approval rating drops to the lowest of his presidency.  Host Ben Kieffer talks with presidential historian Tim Walch, former Director of the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library and Museum and Donna Hoffman, Associate Professor and Chair of Political Science at University of Northern Iowa, about the ebb and flow of presidencies through history, and what they can tell us about presidential popularity today.

David Scrivner / Iowa City Press-Citizen

Getting “primaried” has become a dreaded verb in politics. Host Ben Kieffer talks  about intraparty rivalry and the partisan rancor in Washington with former U.S. Congressman Jim Leach. Also, analyst Jim McCormick of Iowa State University joins the conversation with a wide array of policy discussion and political philosophy.

Emily Woodbury

Marsha Ternus was the first woman to serve as chief justice of the Iowa Supreme Court, but she's perhaps best known as one of the Iowa Supreme Court justices dismissed by Iowa voters three years ago, for her role in the decision that legalized same-sex marriage in the state. Host Ben Keiffer sits down with Ternus to get her thoughts on that ruling, and on justice and judicial independence in the U.S.

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In this off, off-year election local issues and races were the only things on ballots across Iowa. But, a few of those local races drew a lot of outside money and attention.  Host Ben Kieffer talks with Chris Larimer, Associate Professor of Political Science at University of Northern Iowa and Tim Hagle, Associate Professor of Political Science at University of Iowa about whether outside interest groups influenced local races. We also look beyond Iowa’s borders at what gubernatorial races in Virginia and New Jersey may tell us about the current state of our politics and parties.

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$81-million Bond Referendum approved for court services in Polk County

Iowa City bars will remain 21-only after 10 p.m. 

Cedar Rapids approves Local Option Sales Tax for road repair

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Amid allegations that the U.S.

William & Mary ACS

The U.S. Supreme Court’s 2013-2014 term started this month and after last year’s series of surprising and tumultuous rulings eyes again are trained on the nation’s highest court.

Iowa GOP Facebook

The half dozen Republican candidates in the 2014 primary race for U.S. Senate met Wednesday night in Des Moines for a debate. But as Iowa Public Radio’s Clay Masters reports it wasn’t much of a debate… more of a chance for voters to figure out who’s running.

Some Iowa Republicans in the business world  are criticizing their party’s 4th district Congressman Steve King for his role in the federal government shutdown.   But  even before the showdown  in Washington, there was talk of mounting a primary challenge against the six-term incumbent.    

The partial government shutdown the country just came out of is often compared to the face-off nearly 20 years ago between President Bill Clinton and House Speaker Newt Gingrich. This News Buzz edition of River to River looks at the aftermath of the latest clash, compares it to what happened in the 90’s, and examines how Iowa and national politics have changed since then.  

We also hear about the World Food Prize ceremony this week and the protests associated with it.  And, a unit with the Iowa National Guard had a homecoming this week. Plus, Willie the pig has been captured.

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