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Obama To Raise Minimum Wage For Federal Contracts

The president will announce in his State of the Union address that he's signing an executive order to lift the pay in new federal contracts. A top adviser tells NPR that Obama has "warmed up to" the idea of using executive orders to move his agenda ahead.
NPR

Pete Seeger, Folk Music Icon And Activist, Dies At 94

Seeger had been a mentor and an influence on younger musicians for decades. He will be remembered for his music and his social activism.
NPR

Paid Leave Laws Catch On Across the Nation

The only federally mandated leave covers just half of the workforce, and many people say they can't afford to use it because it's unpaid. States and cities across the U.S. are stepping in with policies that cover both public and private sector workers.
NPR

Folk Activist Pete Seeger, Icon Of Passion And Ideals, Dies At 94

A tireless campaigner for his own vision of a utopia marked by peace and togetherness, Pete Seeger's tools were his songs, his voice, his enthusiasm and his musical instruments.
NPR

Political Rivals Find Common Ground Over Common Core

Tea Party conservatives and some liberals agree on key criticisms as the new education standards roll out in 45 states: that they're a one-size-fits-all approach, create a de facto national curriculum, put too much emphasis on standardized tests and undermine teacher autonomy.
NPR

Winter Census Tallies Homeless Veterans

Every winter the Department of Housing and Urban Development picks a night in January for a "point-in time" survey of the nation's homeless. One group of particular concern is the number of veterans in shelters or on the street.
NPR

Super Bowl Gambling Includes 'Gimmick' Bets

Besides which team is going to win the Super Bowl, gamblers can bet on how many times Peyton Manning says "Omaha." Or even the color of Gatorade that's dumped on the winning coach. The Seattle Times calls those "gimmick bets."
NPR

Capitol Hill Lawmakers Reach Bipartisan Farm Bill

After a more than two-year stall, lawmakers have reached a compromise on the Farm Bill. That mammoth piece of legislation deals with agriculture policy and governs the federal food stamp program. For more on the legislation, Steve Inskeep talks to Derek Wallbank of Bloomberg News.
NPR

Researchers Examine Gap Between Rich And Poor

Steve Inskeep talks to Harvard economist Nathan Hendren, a co-author of the study, which shows social mobility in the United States is not decreasing. David Wessel, of the Brookings Institution and a contributor to The Wall Street Journal, says while mobility isn't getting any worse, there still is a big gap between rich and poor.
NPR

Obama Prepared To Bypass Congress If Needed

When President Obama gives his State of the Union Address, he's likely to hit on familiar themes: expanding opportunity for all Americans, pushing for immigration overhaul and investment in infrastructure. And he's expected to say that if Congress doesn't act, he'll move forward with his own initiatives through executive action. This comes as Congress gave him very little of what he asked for last year.

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