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FROM THIS EPISODE

Polls show George W. Bush is the most unpopular President in American history, but Congress is more unpopular still. Even though their party took over two years ago, progressive Democrats say the White House is getting whatever it wants. So what's the problem for the Republicans? We hear both sides. Also, President Bush marks progress by shortening tours in Iraq. On Reporter's Notebook, marijuana--legal in 12 states--has surpassed corn as America's leading cash crop. We hear about the industry in California.


Banner image: Speaker Nancy Pelosi and House Democratic leaders

Madam Speaker

Marc Sandalow

Producers:
Katie Cooper
Dan Konecky
Sonya Geis

Main Topic Democratic-Led Congress to Recess on a Very Low Note 34 MIN, 29 SEC

When the Democrats took over Congress 18 months ago, there were expectations of major change. But it hasn’t happened, partly because a lot of the new Democrats are "Blue Dogs," almost as conservative as the Republicans they defeated. Between angry progressive Democrats and Republicans, Congress now has the lowest approval ratings in the history of the Gallop Poll.  Speaker Nancy Pelosi says if Democrats increase their majorities next year, change finally will come. Do Progressives believe it? Since Republicans have been getting pretty much what they wanted, what are they complaining about?

Guests:
Chris Van Hollen, Congressman (D-MD)
Jane Hamsher, Founder-Editor of FireDogLake.com
Marsha Blackburn, Congresswoman (R-TN)
Jay Newton-Small, Time magazine (@JNSmall)
Marc Sandalow, former Washington Bureau Chief, San Francisco Chronicle

Making News Marking Progress, Bush Shortens Troop Tours in Iraq 6 MIN, 4 SEC

Announcing that increased stability in Iraq will likely allow the withdrawal of more American forces, President Bush today reduced the length of assignments there for Marines and soldiers—immediately. Nancy Youssef, former Baghdad Bureau Chief and now Chief Pentagon Correspondent for McClatchy News Service, was in Baghdad yesterday.

Guests:
Nancy Youssef, McClatchy News Service (@nancyayoussef)

Reporter's Notebook California's Marijuana Industry 8 MIN, 33 SEC

The Drug Enforcement Administration says marijuana is as dangerous to users as heroin and PCP. It's strictly illegal under federal law. Democratic Congressman Barney Frank wants to decriminalize the medicinal and recreational use of marijuana, although he concedes that will never pass. In the meantime, the pot industry is more than alive and well—especially in California, where medical use was legalized by voters in 1996.  David Samuels wrote extensively about it in last week's issue of the New Yorker magazine.

Guests:
David Samuels, freelance writer on pop culture

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