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FROM THIS EPISODE

James Cameron's Avatar is more than a 3-D blockbuster. The New York Times says it has "burrowed into the cultural consciousness" from the US to China. It's even accused of causing a heart attack in Taiwan. We hear from critics and fans. Also, a possible power shift at the Treasury Department and Federal Reserve. On Reporter's Notebook, will there be snow in Vancouver for the Winter Olympics?

Avatar

James Cameron

Producers:
Frances Anderton
Christian Bordal
Gary Scott

Main Topic Avatar: Science Fiction Channels the Culture Wars 35 MIN, 45 SEC

avatar.jpgOn its way to becoming the top grossing film of all time, James Cameron's Avatar is already famous for more than its mind-boggling 3-D special effects. It's causing arguments about war and peace, religion, the environment and technology, race relations, patriotism and chain smoking. What is it about what some call a flimsy script and cartoon characters that transforms a sci-fi entertainment into a forum on real-world issues? We talk with critics and fans about the latest Hollywood blockbuster and its influence on culture worldwide.

Guests:
Rebecca Winters Keegan, Los Angeles Times
Michael Medved, Film Critic and Host, 'The Michael Medved Show'
Annalee Newitz, Editor-in-Chief, io9.com
Scarlet Cheng, Senior Lecturer in Film Studies, Otis College of Art and Design
Stephen Asma, Professor of Philosophy, Columbia College Chicago

Reporter's Notebook Winter Olympics without All the Snow 7 MIN, 26 SEC

vancouver.jpgCanada has poured big money into the 2010 Winter Olympics, with high hopes of winning its first gold medal on home soil. But with competition scheduled to begin three weeks from today, it may take what amounts to a military effort to get enough snow to Cypress Mountain, a major venue 30 minutes from Vancouver. Where there is snow, two hours away at Whistler Mountain, there could be financial trouble. That's according to Bruce Constantineau, who covers business and sports for the Vancouver Sun.

Segment image of Whistler Mountain Sliding Center. © VANOC

Guests:
Bruce Constantineau, Reporter, Vancouver Sun

Making News Obama Picks a Fight with the Big Banks 7 MIN, 47 SEC

obama-volker.jpgFormer chair of the Federal Reserve, Paul Volker, is gaining clout with the Obama Administration, pushing a crackdown on Wall Street. Meantime the current chair, Ben Bernanke, may not have the votes to be reconfirmed when his term runs out in a little over a week. David Cho reports for the Washington Post.

Segment image of yesterday's Obama-Volker. Official White House Photo: Pete Souza

Guests:
David Cho, Staff Writer, Washington Post

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