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

Centenarian Poet Was A Fearless Guide To 'The Country Of Old Age'

Poet and author Margaret Howe Freydburg died last week at 107; she wrote and published well past her 100th birthday. Her friend Nancy Slonim Aronie has an appreciation of a remarkable woman.
NPR

Margaret Hamburg Ends Six-Year Run As FDA Commissioner

Margaret Hamburg ended her run this week as one of the longest serving Food and Drug Administration commissioners in recent decades.
NPR

Sen. Robert Menendez Indicted On Corruption Charges

Sen. Menendez of New Jersey has been indicted on corruption charges. These are the first criminal charges brought against a sitting U.S. Senator in seven years.
NPR

U.S. Creates First Sanctions Program Against Cybercriminals

President Obama signed a new executive order that will allow the administration to freeze the assets of any individual or group involved in "malicious" cyberattacks.

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