Republicans took over Congress promising big change, but internal battles and refusals to compromise have made them historically unproductive. With public approval at 14%, is this Congress more dysfunctional than those of the past? Also, a British Panel finds Rupert Murdoch unfit to run News Corporation, and the largest fossil forest ever discovered is 300 million years old. Was it done in by climate change?
FROM THIS EPISODE
"Rupert Murdoch is not a fit person to exercise the stewardship of a major international company." That's the conclusion of a committee of Britain's parliament after months of investigation. But it's not unanimous. Andrew Edgecliffe-Johnson is Media Editor for the Financial Times.
Even some long-time Republicans are calling the current Congress the most dysfunctional since the Civil War. Public approval is 14 percent -- up from nine. What do Tea Party members have to do with it? Are they idealistic Mr. Smiths lost in Washington or another group of obedient servants to special interests? Are both parties helping plutocrats hijack the government, despite the priorities of most voters? How does this Congress compare to those of the past when it comes to addressing the urgent problems that face the American people?
Robert Draper, New York Times Magazine / National Geographic / GQ (@DraperRobert)
Heidi Przybyla, Bloomberg News (@HeidiPrzybyla)
Jacob Hacker, Yale University (@ISPSYale)
Gregory Wawro, Columbia University
Springfield Coal is a series of coal seams under southern Illinois, Kentucky and Indiana. Miners have known them for years and now, after all that digging, paleontologists are studying what's been left behind. They have to go down… and look up, because the largest fossilized forest ever discovered is on the roof of a massive coal mine. One scientist calls it "the closest thing you'll find to time travel." Bill DiMichele, curator of fossil plants at the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History, is one of those who discovered the 300-million-year-old forest.
Bill DiMichele, Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History
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Imprisoning our mentally ill? American jails and prisons have become hospitals for the mentally ill. A murderer doing 20 years at New York’s Sing Sing prison works with schizophrenics serving 24 months for misdemeanors. He tells Warren that sick people should be treated outside. The Sheriff in Chicago says it’s not just inhumane but a waste of taxpayers’ money. How did we get here? What can be done?
Did Trump get conned by Kim? Six months after threatening nuclear warfare, “little rocket man” and the “dotard” were talking peace in Singapore. Beyond the hype, did President Trump and Kim Jong Un really mean it? A seasoned diplomat, a UN nuclear weapons inspector and veteran journalists provide contrasting assessments.
Post primary wrap, what’s the takeaway? California’s billed as the heart of “resistance” to President Trump. But in this month’s Golden State primary, young and Latino voters stayed home. That’s produced a clash of voices between Progressive Democrats and Clinton-era Centrists. What will that mean come November with control of the Congress at stake?
The politics of prison reform Prison reform is moving in Red States, Blue States and (maybe) on Capitol Hill. But America still incarcerates more people than any other country-- including China. Meantime, the Trump White House is divided. Jared Kushner is pushing sentence reform, while Attorney General Jeff Sessions wants to stay “tough on crime.” What are the prospects for much needed change?
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