Ben Philpott covers politics and policy for KUT 90.5 FM. He has been covering state politics and dozens of other topics for the station since 2002. He's been recognized for outstanding radio journalism by the Radio and Television News Directors Association, Public Radio News Directors Incorporated, the Texas Associated Press Broadcasters and twice by the Houston Press Club as Radio Journalist of the Year. Before moving to Texas, he worked in public radio in Birmingham and Tuscaloosa, Ala., and at several television stations in Alabama and Tennessee. Born in New York City and raised in Chattanooga, Tenn., Philpott graduated from the University of Alabama with a degree in broadcast journalism.

Middle East
2:29 am
Wed May 29, 2013

Opposition In Syria Stalls Peace Talks Decision

Originally published on Wed May 29, 2013 7:47 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

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Politics
2:29 am
Wed May 29, 2013

Redistricting Issue Heats Up In Texas

Originally published on Wed May 29, 2013 7:47 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. Good morning, I'm David Greene.

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

And I'm Renee Montagne.

We're going to hear now about drawing and redrawing the political map in two big states, beginning with Texas, where the legislature has had some legendary battles over the years, few more contentious than those involving revising legislative and congressional districts. One of the more dramatic saw Democratic lawmakers fleeing the state in an effort to block the process.

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Business
2:29 am
Wed May 29, 2013

White House Economic Advisers To Leave

Originally published on Thu May 30, 2013 7:19 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

One of President Obama's top economic advisers is leaving the White House later this year, to return to his teaching job at Princeton. Since 2011, Alan Krueger has chaired the President's Council of Economic Advisers.

NPR's Scott Horsley takes this look back at his time in the White House.

SCOTT HORSLEY, BYLINE: One of Alan Krueger's tasks at the White House is deciphering the many different signals the economy sends, including the closely watched jobs report that typically comes out on the first Friday of the month.

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Parallels
11:58 pm
Tue May 28, 2013

Syria's Civil War: The View From A Damascus Shrine

Zeinab
Nishant Dahiya NPR

Originally published on Wed May 29, 2013 7:47 am

Traveling to Damascus gives you a view of Syria's war turned inside out.

The international community talks of arming Syria's rebels against President Bashar Assad, but in the capital many people still hope the rebels will lose.

That's the thinking we found around a Muslim shrine in Damascus, a tribute to the granddaughter of the Prophet Muhammad. She lived centuries ago, but a Damascus doctor we met spoke of her in the present tense.

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It's All Politics
11:56 pm
Tue May 28, 2013

Immigration Measure Faces Test In Senate, Rival Bill In House

A bill proposed by the Senate's Gang of Eight (from left, Jeff Flake, R-Ariz.; Marco Rubio, R-Fla.; Charles Schumer, D-N.Y.; John McCain, R-Ariz.; Lindsey Graham, R-S.C.; Bob Menendez, D-N.J.; Dick Durbin, D-Ill.; and Michael Bennet, D-Colo.) has passed out of committee and is headed for the full Senate. But the fate of the issue in the House is less clear.
Alex Wong Getty Images

Originally published on Wed May 29, 2013 7:47 am

Members of Congress are back in their home states this week for a Memorial Day recess. It's a chance to talk with constituents about what could become the year's biggest legislative story: the push on Capitol Hill to fix what Democrats and Republicans alike agree is a broken immigration system.

A bill proposed by the Gang of Eight, a bipartisan group of senators, to revamp the nation's immigration rules passed out of committee last week and will soon be brought before the Democratic-led Senate. Less clear, though, is where the issue is headed in the GOP-controlled House.

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It's All Politics
11:56 pm
Tue May 28, 2013

Senators Tussle Over Proposal To 'Unpack' Key D.C. Court

Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, has proposed cutting three seats from a key D.C. appeals court.
Cliff Owen AP

Originally published on Wed May 29, 2013 7:47 am

More than 75 years ago, President Franklin Roosevelt caused an uproar with his plan to "pack" the Supreme Court with friendly justices. It was an audacious effort to protect his New Deal initiatives.

Now, Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, has floated the reverse — legislation that would cut three seats from the important D.C. Circuit appeals court, just as President Obama prepares to announce his nominees for those jobs.

The Court-Packing Plan

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Parallels
11:55 pm
Tue May 28, 2013

After The War, A Bitter Feud Remains In Two Libyan Towns

A destroyed home in Tawargha, south of Misrata, on June 5, 2012. Residents have not returned home for fear of death.
John W. Poole NPR

Originally published on Wed May 29, 2013 6:04 pm

Little boys play soccer in the afternoon heat at a makeshift camp near Libya's capital Tripoli. Their homes, or what's left of them, are in Tawargha, a small town about 20 miles from the Mediterranean coast.

The town has been empty since August of 2011. Its residents fled in cars and on foot, under fire from rebel militiamen from the nearby town of Misrata.

The siege of Misrata was one of the bloodiest battles of the Libyan war. Forces loyal to Moammar Gadhafi shelled Misrata relentlessly, killing hundreds.

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Economy
11:54 pm
Tue May 28, 2013

Once A Boon For Investors, House Flipping Is Back

This home in the Glassell Park neighborhood of Los Angeles was bought by Dossier Capital for $390,000, records show. It's now listed for more than $720,000.
Courtesy of Dossier Capital

Originally published on Wed May 29, 2013 7:47 am

House flipping is back.

A popular phenomenon during the housing boom, flipping is when a house is bought and sold within a six-month period. Flippers are real estate investors who buy houses, fix them up quickly and then resell them, making money off the renovation. In parts of California, it's happening at some of the fastest rates in a decade.

At a recent open house in Glassell Park, a neighborhood in northeast Los Angeles, curious buyers and neighbors streamed into a green stucco house that had just come onto the market.

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Energy
11:54 pm
Tue May 28, 2013

Natural Gas Export Plan Unites Oregon Landowners Against It

Rancher Bill Gow doesn't want the proposed Pacific Connector Gas Pipeline to travel across his Douglas County, Ore., ranch. While he has refused to negotiate with the pipeline company, ultimately a court may force him and other landowners to allow the project on their land.
Jeff Brady NPR

Originally published on Wed May 29, 2013 7:47 am

A radical shift in the world energy picture is raising environmental concerns in the United States.

Until recently, the U.S. had been expected to import more natural gas. But now, because of controversial technologies like "fracking," drillers are producing a lot more domestic natural gas; so much that prices are down, along with industry profits. And drillers are looking overseas for new customers.

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