NPR politics

For the sake of argument, let's agree that when we use the word "inauguration" in this particular post, we are talking about the multiday, ball-bestrewn, soiree-soaked, tuxedo-dappled extravaganza that costs tens of millions of dollars and often leaves many Americans out in the cold — figuratively and literally.

President Obama meets with labor leaders at the White House on Tuesday to discuss how to steer clear of the so-called fiscal cliff. It's the first of many meetings aimed at avoiding automatic tax increases and spending cuts at the beginning of the new year.

A week ago, the president proved again that he and his team are good at winning elections. The question now is whether he can translate victory at the ballot box to success in shaping policy.

They're asking politely. Malcontents from 20 different states are petitioning the White House to allow them to secede from the union.

Using the White House website's We the People function, in which petitions garnering at least 25,000 signatures get a response from the president, people from the state of Texas are asking to "peacefully ... withdraw from the United States of America and create its own NEW government."

"You're driving up from redwood country, in the most beautiful park in America ... and when it's not on your radar, you have no idea it exists," says photographer H. Lee — referring to the marijuana industry that has proliferated, though unofficially, in that region of Northern California.

(Note, if you're easily offended by juvenile humor, this post and video might not be for you.)

The video's been going around since Friday, but it's too funny not to pass along just because it's a few days old. And we bet many folks missed it over the weekend.

Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney told supporters that "there are 47 percent of the people who will vote for the president no matter what" because they are "dependent upon government ... believe that they are victims ... believe the government has a responsibility to care for them ... these are people who pay no income tax."

Who was he talking about?

The talent show outside the U.S. Supreme Court continued Tuesday as activists for and against President Obama's health care law sought to outdo each other with ever more artistic forms of protest.

At one point a middle-aged group of women started singing in harmony with a young drummer at their side. "Health care for everyone, I'm gonna let it shine," they sang soulfully to the tune of the hymn "This Little Light of Mine."