AUDIE CORNISH, host: This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Audie Cornish. A political update now, but not about the 2012 presidential race. This Tuesday is election day in some places around the country, so we've invited in NPR's political junkie Ken Rudin to fill us in on who and what's on the ballot, and what the results may say about 2012. Good morning, Ken.
KEN RUDIN: Hi Audie.
CORNISH: So let's start with the two races for governor. Where are they, and what do we need to know about them?
AUDIE CORNISH, host: Nicaraguans go to the polls today and are expected to reelect President Daniel Ortega, who is running in spite of a constitutional ban on presidents serving consecutive terms. Ortega, a Marxist icon of the 1980s, has become a polarizing figure in the Central American nation. NPR's Jason Beaubien reports from the Nicaraguan capital, Managua.
(SOUNDBITE OF DOG BARKING)
JASON BEAUBIEN: Martha Alicia Alvado loves Daniel Ortega. After all, it's because of him that she has her own house.
If your U.S. senator or representative is on the super committee, expect your local airwaves to be peppered with oil industry ads in coming weeks. The basic message: Higher taxes on oil companies don't make financial sense.
The super committee in Congress is racing to find places to cut more than a trillion dollars out of the nation's deficit by Thanksgiving. The oil industry fears that ending its tax breaks may be one way the super committee will decide to raise revenue. That's spurred Big Oil's lobbying machine to work overtime.
For nearly 40 years, voters in Maine have been able to walk into a polling place or town hall on Election Day and register to vote. But the Republican-controlled legislature this year decided to remove the option, citing the stress on municipal clerks and concerns about the potential for voter fraud.
Angry Democrats responded by launching a people's veto campaign, and come Election Day this Tuesday, voters will consider whether to restore same-day registration.
It's afternoon practice for the junior varsity football team at Vasquez High in Acton, Calif. A high desert wind somersaults a discarded paper plate across the line of scrimmage just before it becomes a pile of white jerseys and purple helmets.
"You were offsides," the coach yells after blowing his whistle.
The players dust themselves off and line up for the next play. At center, is Taylor, a lean 15-year-old. His quarterback, Bryan McCauley, is a few yards behind him in shotgun formation.
What goes on inside China's leadership is usually played out behind the closed oxblood doors of the compound where the top leaders live. This year, though, a political debate has sprung out in the open — and it has leaders and constituents considering how to move forward politically.
Federal and state officials are increasingly contracting private companies to run prisons and immigration detention centers.
Critics have long questioned the quality of private prisons and the promises of economic benefits where they are built. But proponents say private prisons not only save taxpayers money, but they also generate income for the surrounding community.