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

'Guardians' Director: This Movie Needed Me!

Morning Edition's David Greene talks to director James Gunn about his new film, Guardians of the Galaxy, which Marvel hopes to make its next big franchise. Characters include a raccoon and a tree.
NPR

When China Spurns GMO Corn Imports, American Farmers Lose Billions

China has been a big and growing market for U.S. corn. But then farmers started planting a kind of genetically engineered corn that's not yet approved in China, and the Chinese government struck back.
NPR

Congress Approves $16.3 Billion VA Health Care Bill

A 91-3 vote in the Senate will send the landmark VA legislation, meant to address widespread problems in the VA health care system, to President Obama for his signature.
NPR

Big Data Firm Says It Can Link Snowden Data to Changed Terrorist Behavior

For months, U.S. officials have said secret data from former NSA contractor Edward Snowden was affecting the way terrorists communicate. A Massachusetts company says it has found proof.

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