This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon.
Sequestration is official. President Obama signed an executive order on spending late last night as required by law. He sent the order to Congress and that triggered budget cuts known as sequestration. Earlier in the day, the president met with congressional leaders and when they left without a deal, he took questions at the White House.
This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News, I'm Scott Simon. Jeffrey Beard has watched America's prisons grow larger and larger every year adding prisoner after prisoner. He began working in the Pennsylvania Corrections system in the early 1970s when there were about 8,000 prisoners. He was secretary of corrections by the time he left in 2010 and by that time Pennsylvania had more than 50,000 people in its prisons.
Wall Street hardly seemed rattled by the $85 billion across-the-board spending cuts that went into effect Friday. As just one indicator, the Dow closed the week within 100 points of hitting an all-time high. For more, host Scott Simon talks with New York Times columnist Joe Nocera.
It was a big week at the Supreme Court. The court heard arguments on a case challenging the landmark 1965 Voting Rights Act. Plus, the Obama administration filed an important brief in an upcoming gay marriage case. NPR's Nina Totenberg joins host Scott Simon for analysis.
The president is always the star of the show. When just about any major event occurs — whether it's a downturn in the unemployment rate, a natural disaster or some crisis overseas — much of the news media ask how it's going to play out for the president, the central actor in our national drama.