The death penalty has become a bit like the Cheshire cat in Alice in Wonderland. It may never fade away entirely, but capital punishment is certainly less visible or actively pursued than it used to be.
In May, Maryland became the sixth state in as many years to abolish the death penalty. Across the nation as a whole, fewer criminals are being put to death. Last year, 43 were executed, down significantly from the peak of 98 back in 1999.
The chances of an immigration overhaul bill getting through the Senate greatly improved on Thursday. A deal was reached on a border security plan. Steve Inskeep talks about the deal with two of the senators in the so-called "Gang of Eight," who are working on a bipartisan approach to immigration, Arizona Republican Jeff Flake and Illinois Democrat Richard Durbin.
Brushes are pretty simple: a bunch of flexible fibers sticking out of something stiff. Not surprisingly, Chinese manufacturers have grabbed a big share of the U.S. brush market. But several hundred small U.S. brush factories are still hanging on. Here are three strategies they're using to survive.
If you'd like your summer reading to take you beyond the beaten path, librarian Nancy Pearl is here to help. NPR's go-to books guru joins us regularly to reveal "under the radar" reads — books she thinks deserve more attention than they've been getting. Pearl talks with NPR's Steve Inskeep about some of the titles she picked out for the summer reading season.
This weekend marks 100 days until people can begin signing up for new health insurance coverage under the federal health care law. It also marks another milestone: the launch of an enormous public relations effort to find people eligible for new coverage and urge them to sign up when the time comes.
But like everything else about the health law, even this seemingly innocuous effort has been touched by controversy.
Comey, a registered Republican and longtime federal prosecutor, is best-known for raising alarms inside the Bush White House about a secret electronic surveillance program. That issue has taken on new resonance after disclosures about the Obama administration's dragnet collection of American phone records.