Nearly 50 years ago, the Supreme Court ruled that people accused of a crime deserve the right to a defense lawyer, no matter whether they can afford to pay for one. But there's no such guarantee when it comes to civil disputes — like evictions and child custody cases — even though they have a huge impact on people's lives.
For decades, federal and state governments have pitched in to help. But money pressures mean the system for funding legal aid programs for the poor is headed toward a crisis.
In Europe, the concept of austerity has meant deep, painful cuts to government spending. In India, however, austerity looks a little different.
India's government has started by reeling in departmental spending on things like hotel space and foreign travel. It may seem like window dressing, but it can be difficult to make deep spending cuts in that country. Many voters see government largesse as a right and usually applaud pork-barrel spending.
It has been 20 years since four police officers were acquitted in the beating of Rodney King, and L.A. erupted in race-fueled riots. Many in Los Angeles, including students who weren't born when the riots hit in April 1992, are reflecting on those days of anger, looting and destruction, asking why it happened and how to make sure it doesn't happen again.
Welfare changes in the 1990s helped slash cash benefit rolls, yet the use of food stamps is soaring today. About 15 percent of Americans use food stamps. The program has become what some call the new welfare.
A big reason why is a deal struck between President Clinton and the Republican-controlled Congress in 1996. At that time, the number of Americans who received cash payments — what's often thought of as welfare — was at an all-time high.
Mitt Romney may want to see if there's anything his new Secret Service team can do to protect him from Jon Stewart's comedic barbs.
On The Daily Show Wednesday, after playing the infamous CNN clip in which Romney spoke of not being concerned about the very poor because they have a safety net, or the very rich, Stewart reacted thusly: