Connecticut Public Radio | Media for the curious
WNPR

Presidency

Lloyd Austin Confirmed As Defense Secretary, Becomes 1st Black Pentagon Chief

Lloyd Austin, a retired four-star Army general, has been confirmed by the Senate, making him the first Black defense secretary in U.S. history. The Senate approved President Biden's nomination for Pentagon chief in a near-unanimous 93-2 vote Friday. Austin's nomination was approved despite concerns raised on both sides of the aisle that he hadn't been out of uniform for the legally mandated seven-year period. The National Security Act of 1947 created the rule to ensure civilian control over...

Read More

Updated at 12:43 a.m. ET

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said the sole article of impeachment for incitement to insurrection against former President Donald Trump will be delivered to the Senate on Monday, a move that would trigger the start of a Senate trial against Trump.

"The Senate will conduct a trial on the impeachment of Donald Trump," Schumer said Friday on the Senate floor. "It will be a fair trial. But make no mistake, there will be a trial."

Updated at 2:10 p.m. ET

Hank Aaron, seen as a hero for shattering Babe Ruth's home run record and also for his longtime advocacy for civil rights, has died. "Hammerin' Hank" was 86. The Atlanta Braves confirmed his death on Friday.

When Ezra Levin and his wife, Leah Greenberg, founded the progressive group Indivisible in 2016, they widely circulated a handbook on "resisting the Trump agenda." It took tactical lessons in grassroots politics from the Tea Party, which had prominently resisted President Barack Obama's agenda.

There's another lesson Levin now thinks progressives can take from the conservative Tea Party: It's easier to oppose a policy than to advance one.

The impacts of climate change could prompt millions of Americans to relocate in coming decades, moving inland away from rising seas, or north to escape rising temperatures.

Judith and Doug Saum have moved already, recently leaving their home outside Reno, Nev.

"I just remember being very scared."

That's how Lydia, a 39-year-old mother of three in Canada, describes feeling when she was pregnant in 2008 with her daughter and had questions about vaccinating. She worried it might cause more harm than good.

"I remember feeling some trepidation and saying to my husband, 'We can't undo this once we do it,' " she says. NPR is not using Lydia's full name because she's worried about backlash from a community she once believed in — people opposed to vaccines.

President Biden plans to sign an executive order on Friday that would increase food stamp benefits to help people going hungry amid the financial downturn caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, his top economic adviser, Brian Deese, told reporters.

Biden has already proposed a $1.9 trillion relief package to Congress that includes direct payments and other types of aid for people who have lost their jobs because of the pandemic. In the meantime, he is directing his administration to take steps to tweak programs to try to provide some assistance.

John Amis / Associated Press

Connecticut lawmakers will again consider a controversial bill that would get rid of religious exemptions from vaccinations for schoolchildren.

Updated at 5:50 p.m. ET

A federal judge has refused to restore the social media site Parler after Amazon kicked the company off of its Web-hosting services over content seen as inciting violence.

The decision is a blow to Parler, an upstart that has won over Trump loyalists for its relatively hands-off approach to moderating content. The company sued Amazon over its ban, demanding reinstatement.

The House of Representatives and Senate approved a waiver Thursday for retired Army Gen. Lloyd Austin to serve as President Biden's defense secretary. Both votes were overwhelming and bipartisan.

Normally the House has no role in confirming Cabinet secretaries. But Austin retired from the military four years ago, short of the seven years required by law to take the civilian job without a waiver from both houses of Congress.

A Senate vote on Austin's confirmation is expected as soon as Friday.

As a violent mob descended on the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, lawmakers and aides hid wherever they could, waiting for the military and police to arrive. But many of those who stormed the Capitol were military veterans themselves, who had once sworn to protect the Constitution. In fact, an NPR analysis has found that nearly 1 in 5 people charged over their alleged involvement in the attack on the U.S. Capitol appear to have a military history.

Pages

More From Connecticut Public

A Hartford HealthCare worker prepares a COVID-19 vaccine
Ryan Caron King / Connecticut Public

Conn. COVID-19 Vaccine Advisers Debate Who Will Be Next In Line

Several national polls and surveys show that a growing number of people are willing to get a COVID-19 vaccine when it’s their turn. But with vaccine supply limited in the first weeks and months of distribution, Connecticut will have to prioritize exactly who comes next in line after hospital employees, health workers and people in long-term care facilities.

Read More

CT COVID-19 Map

Tracking COVID Data: Hospitalizations & Your Town's Infection Rate

State public health officials say 164 of Connecticut's 169 towns are now at the highest alert level for COVID-19. That's a slight decrease over last week's total of 166 towns. As of Thursday, public health officials report 1,069 people currently hospitalized with COVID-19.

Read More

CURIOUS Q & A

Disrupted

Join Khalilah Brown-Dean as she explores the disruptions of 2020 to find something more inclusive, and more effective.

Sign Up to Our Newsletter

Colin covers topics that vary widely from day to day. Listen to hear a thoughtful, smart, interesting conversation with amazing guests. Every day at 1 pm and 9 pm.

Seasoned

Explore our state’s seasonal ingredients and the passionate people who grow and cook our food.

Our weekly show is about all of New England, America's oldest place, at a time of change. Every Thursday at 2 pm and Sundays at 6 pm.
Transcend assumptions. Humanize the stereotyped. Understand the misunderstood.