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FROM THIS EPISODE

By January of this year, global warming had been added to rumors of nuclear war and the "Doomsday Clock" was moved two minutes closer to midnight.  That hasn't been changed since. On this archived New Year's Eve edition of To the Point, are recent predictions of catastrophe are equally credible? Are they any more likely than what humankind has survived already? Does popular culture promote understanding or increase unreasonable fears? Also, a progress report on congressional ethics reform, and New Year's Eve in Des Moines, Iowa: stereotypes and reality from a New Yorker's point of view.

Producers:
Karen Radziner

Making News Will New Ethics Rules Make a Difference on Capitol Hill? 6 MIN, 10 SEC

After lobbyists and members of Congress went to prison for political corruption, new Democratic majorities were elected last November to the House and the Senate.  Their leaders promised ethics reform by the end of this year.  Melanie Sloan, executive director of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, has a progress report.

Guests:
Melanie Sloan, Executive Director, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington

Main Topic Doomsday Scenarios

When the Soviet Union developed nuclear weapons, the magazine Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists created the Doomsday Clock.  As the prospect of nuclear war gets more likely, the minute hand gets closer to midnight.  In January, when this program first aired, the hand was moved from seven minutes until midnight to five—the closest it's been since the Cold War.  But there's a new twist: global warming has been added as an imminent threat to human kind. 

Guests:
Kennette Benedict, Executive Director, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists
Gregory Stock, Associate Director, UC Berkeley's Center of Life Science Studies
Marc Siegel, internist and professor
Moises Naim, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace (@moisesnaim)

Reporter's Notebook New Year's Eve in Des Moines 9 MIN

This New Year's Eve is almost the eve of the Iowa Caucuses, the first time Americans will record their preferences for the presidential candidates of 2008. In the competition between states to be first to go, Iowa ended up on January 3.  For almost 30 years, political reporters have complained about Iowa's winter weather and about Des Moines, the grimy, decrepit capitol of that Midwestern state. But Adam Nagourney of the New York Times says he's looking forward to New Year's Eve in a Des Moines that has been transformed.

Guests:
Adam Nagourney, New York Times

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