The Politics Hour | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

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The Politics Hour

The White House re-installs license plates on the presidential limousine recognizing D.C.'s lack of congressional voting representation. Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley lays out a package of laws targeting guns. And Virginia lawmakers ponder the future of a controversial rector at the University of Virginia. Join us for our weekly review of the politics, policies and personalities of the District of Columbia, Maryland and Virginia.

The Little-Known History Of How D.C.'s 'Taxation Without Representation' License Plates Got Their Start

President Barack Obama announced this week that all presidential limos will sport the District's iconic "Taxation Without Representation" license plates, just ahead of Inauguration Day.

But the idea to use the protest message on the city's official license plates originated years earlier -- and the Politics Hour played a starring role.

In 2000, D.C. resident Sarah Shapiro sent an email to the radio broadcast, which was then helmed by activist Mark Plotkin, suggesting the city adopt the slogan.

After reading the email, Plotkin led the effort at city hall to authorize the anti-tax license plates. He also persuaded former President Bill Clinton to use the plates while in office.

Shapiro said the idea just popped into her head. "One of the problems with our whole situation is that most Americans have no idea that we're not represented in Congress. So I thought people need to know," Shapiro said.

Though Shapiro said she doesn't expect Obama's decision to affect D.C.'s voting rights, she sees the license plates as symbolic and emblematic of a notable fact.

"Life is made up of symbolism," resident analyst Tom Sherwood added.

NPR

Beyond The Bestsellers: Nancy Pearl Recommends 'Under The Radar' Reads

NPR's go-to books guru has sent host Steve Inskeep a stack of books — titles she thinks deserve more attention than they've been getting. Here are her fiction picks, to kick off your summer reading.
NPR

Adios, Trans Fats: FDA Poised To Phase Out Artery-Clogging Fat

Any day now, the FDA could announce a final rule aimed at removing much of the remaining trans fats out of the food supply. It could amount to a near ban on the fats, which wreak cardiovascular havoc.
NPR

Irish Voters Decide Whether To Legalize Same-Sex Marriage

Polls show the "yes" vote is stronger in the conservative, predominately Catholic country. But public opinion surveys could be masking a "shy no vote," observers say.
NPR

Mechanical Turk Workers: Secret Cogs In The Internet Marketplace

There are hundreds of thousands of people doing stuff to your Internet experience that you may think is the work of an algorithm. They're working from home doing tiny tasks computers can't quite do.

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