Sam Sanders

Sam has worked at Vermont Public Radio since October 1978 in various capacities â

As soon as Donald Trump announced that he'd gained the endorsement of 100 black ministers from across the country on Monday, there were skeptics.

The claim came just days after the presidential candidate said of an African-American Black Lives Matter protester who was beaten up at a Trump event, "Maybe he deserved to be roughed up."

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Socialism can mean different things to different people, and as NPR's Sam Sanders reports, that perception depends a lot on your age.

There are certain weeks when one thing, one moment, one meme takes over the entire Internet. Like the week Beyonce's surprise album dropped. Or when Kim Kardashian and her derriere covered Paper Mag. Or when Alex From Target happened, whatever that was.

So far, Jeb Bush's presidential campaign has had some interesting — if not downright awkward — moments, multiple instances in which Bush was close to something exciting, or funny, or powerful, but then it just didn't work.

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And a mega-church near Dallas invited every presidential candidate, Democrat and Republican, to a forum on faith and politics yesterday. Six showed up. NPR's Sam Sanders was there too and has this report.

A few hours before the start of this week's Democratic presidential debate in Las Vegas, the tweets started to pour in.

They all had the same, strange hashtag: #FeelTheChafe, a reference to the #FeelTheBern Bernie Sanders supporters were using to rally around their candidate. But it had a snarky twist for Lincoln Chafee, the former Rhode Island governor and senator, who's been, so far, a much less popular presidential candidate.

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit



Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit



A lot of politicians are being asked what to do about gun violence after a gunman killed nine people in Oregon last week. And the answers from the large field of Republican candidates for president are varied. NPR's Sam Sanders reports.

You might have seen the article by now: " 'No Way To Prevent This,' Says Only Nation Where This Regularly Happens." The Onion, a satirical news site that runs fake news stories, has published a story with that headline three times over the last year and a half: this week after a shooter killed nine people at an Oregon community college; in June of this year after a violent rampage in a black Charleston church that also killed nine people; and last May, after a shooting at the University of California Santa Barbara that killed seven.

Twitter seems simple — just type in 140 characters and hit enter, right? But Twitter can be tough. Building an audience. Keeping that audience. Finding a voice. Cutting through all the chatter. It's a lot, especially if you're a busy elected official.

Well, elected officials, fear not! Twitter itself is here to help. NPR recently discovered that the social media giant has a very special handbook just for people running for elected office. And it's 136 pages long.

There's getting a little choked up. There's shedding a few tears. There's full-on crying. And then, there's John Boehner, American politics' crier-in-chief.

This week, (soon to be former) Speaker of the House Boehner's tear ducts stole the show yet again, definitely upstaging the Pope's little black Fiat and newly-named baby panda Bei Bei to become our #MemeOfTheWeek.

So, what happened?

Here's a riddle: Two senators and two governors walk into a presidential library. Where are they seated once they arrive?

Answer: The kids' table. Well, the kids' table DEBATE. That's what a lot of people have taken to calling the second-tier Republican presidential debates, those held for GOP contenders who haven't cracked the Top 10 in polls.

In his appearance on the first Late Show to feature new host Stephen Colbert on Wednesday night, Jeb Bush seemingly had an opportunity to finally generate some much-needed energy. But for the most part, he did not.

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For some time now, Donald Trump has been attacking Jeb Bush, mostly in media appearances or on Twitter. But, over the last few weeks, Trump has been using Instagram in his fight.

Trump has been posting campaign-style short videos to his Instagram feed, attacking Bush's record of support for the Iraq War and even posting a video of Jeb's mother, Barbara, urging him not to run for president.

In a unanimous decision, the National Labor Relations Board has rejected Northwestern University football players' petition to form a union by declining to assert jurisdiction in the case.

The decision effectively overturns a 2014 ruling by an NLRB regional director that found the athletes meet the broad definitions of employees under federal law and thereby could form what would have been the nation's first student-athlete union.

Jimmy Carter revealed Wednesday that he has cancer. Carter, 90 released a short statement with the news:

"Recent liver surgery revealed that I have cancer that now is in other parts of my body. I will be rearranging my schedule as necessary so I can undergo treatment by physicians at Emory Healthcare. A more complete public statement will be made when facts are known, possibly next week."

Set your alarm clocks. The Perseid meteor shower, the annual celestial lightshow that com calls the most widely observed and dependable meteor display of the year, will peak tonight and early tomorrow morning.

The list of celebrities-turned-politicians grows longer.

Former child actor Melissa Gilbert is running as a Democrat in Michigan's 8th congressional district against first-term Republican Mike Bishop.

The district covers Lansing and some northern Detroit suburbs, and it's a competitive one. President Obama won it in 2008, but Republican Mitt Romney carried it in 2012.

On Monday, Google CEO Larry Page announced the formation of a new parent company for Google called Alphabet. Page describes Alphabet as a collection of companies including Google, Life Sciences (which focuses on medicine and health issues), and Calico (a company that claims to tackle aging), among others.

Last Tuesday, Netflix announced it would begin offering employees who are new parents unlimited paid leave for a year, allowing them to take off as much time as they want during the first 12 months after a child's birth or adoption.

The news drew praise from people who said it would be good for working parents, and would help America catch up to most other developed nations, where paid time off for a new child is mandatory.

Several activists groups celebrated the release of Mazen Darwish, a Syrian journalist and human rights activist, from prison on Monday. In a statement, the Syrian Center for Media and Freedom of Expression, which Darwish helped found, said, "After an arbitrary arrest that lasted three years, five months, and 23 days, Mazen Darwish has been released from prison today."

The AP reports Darwish was imprisoned for his reporting on President Bashar Assad's crackdown on protesters during the early days of an uprising against the presidency, which later became a full-blown civil war.

Netflix maintains a network of DVD distribution centers across the country. Workers there typically report for their shifts at 2:00 a.m. and according to job postings, the work in these centers can be physically demanding and repetitive. It involves lifting, sorting and inspecting thousands of DVDs for damage.

These employees are offered vastly different benefits than are their white-collar colleagues.

Updated at 8:45 p.m.

Jonathan Pollard, who has served almost 30 years in prison after being convicted of espionage, will be granted parole on Nov. 21, according to his attorneys.

The former civilian Navy analyst was arrested in 1985 and charged with passing classified information to Israel. He pleaded guilty and received a life sentence.

"But under laws in place at the time, that meant he could get parole after 30 years," NPR's Carrie Johnson says. "Now, that term is nearly up — and the Justice Department did not stand in the way of his release."

It's official. The 2024 Olympic Games will not take place in Boston.

The Associated Press reports that the U.S. Olympic Committee "severed ties" with Boston on Monday. In a statement, Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh said, "I strongly believe that bringing the Olympic Games back to the United States would be good for our country and would have brought long-term benefits to Boston." He continued, "However, no benefit is so great that it is worth handing over the financial future of our City and our citizens were rightly hesitant to be supportive as a result."

A wave of wage increases in cities across the country, as well as at several major businesses, continued on Wednesday.

President Obama made his seventh appearance on Comedy Central's The Daily Show with Jon Stewart Tuesday night. It was a meeting of two men nearing the end of big chapters in their lives: Obama is in the final 18 months of his second term, and host Jon Stewart will leave The Daily Show next month.

Just after hosting Cuba's foreign minister at the State Department, Secretary of State John Kerry sat down with NPR Morning Edition host Steve Inskeep to discuss the restoration of diplomatic relations with that country, as well as the status of a nuclear deal with Iran.

Kerry defended the Obama administration's stance on both countries, and said if diplomatic relations with Cuba or a nuclear deal with Iran were scuttled — either by a future president or Congress — it would hurt the U.S.

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