FROM Jacob Weisberg
Christopher Hitchens Dead at the Age of 62 One of America's most controversial public intellectuals died last night in a Houston hospital of pneumonia brought on by esophageal cancer. He was 62 years old. Christopher Hitchens was a British-born, naturalized American and public intellectual. Targets of his slashing attacks included Henry Kissinger, the British monarchy and Mother Theresa. His recent books included the best-selling God Is Not Great : How Religion Poisons Everything. Jacob Weisberg, now editor in chief of the Slate Group and author of The Bush Tragedy , was befriended by Hitchens early in his journalistic career.
The End of Bush’s Controversial Presidency The presidency of George W. Bush began in controversy over whether he got more votes than Al Gore. After September 11th, his popularity soared, but now 75 percent of Americans tell pollsters they’ll be glad to see him go.
The Last State of the Union Speech and 11 Months to Go President Bush delivered his final State of the Union address last night to a divided Congress. He got a full complement of standing ovations, but mostly from Republicans. The speech contained modest new proposals, positive language about Iraq and a call for bipartisanship on the economy. Democrats called it the last gasp of a failed presidency. Even Republicans were hard-pressed to celebrate. Senator John McCain didn't even show up. Was anybody listening? George W. Bush will be the most powerful man in the world until January of next year. What are the prospects for his lame-duck administration? What will history say about the "compassionate conservative" who ended up focused on partisanship and warfare?
Guns, Abortion and Political Realities This week's tragedy at Virginia Tech and a decision by the US Supreme Court have revived debate on the right to bear arms and a woman's right to abortion. Based on public opinion, it ought to be easier to enact new gun controls than to limit abortion but, in fact, it's not. Majorities of Americans support both--with restrictions, but conservative minorities are dominating the debates on policy. Why are Democrats backing away from an issue that matters to their liberal base? Will Republicans end up hurting their cause by pushing too hard to please conservatives? Has framing both issues in absolute terms made compromise unattainable?
Janesville and the American Dream Janesville, Wisconsin is the hometown of Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan. But he couldn’t prevent the closing of the General Motors factory after 100 years. On this Memorial Day rebroadcast of To the Point, we hear what’s happened to what once was a model of American middle-class unity.
Terrorism and tweets, hate speech and murder Just days before an election, Britain is coping with a rash of deadly terrorism, and Prime Minister Theresa May is on the defensive. And again today, President Trump has tweeted criticism of the Mayor of London. Later, a double murder in Portland, Oregon has revealed the ugly past of a supposedly “progressive” city. One immediate question: is “hate speech” protected by the First Amendment?
Human Rights in the era of Donald Trump President Trump’s UN Ambassador, Nikki Haley, said today the US might pull out of the United Nations’ Human Rights Council. Serious violators of human rights are members of the Council itself–and a US resignation could make things worse. Later on today’s show, now that he’s into his second term, comedian turned US Senator Al Franken is telling jokes again.
The Trump agenda: where's the beef? President Trump says big things are happening. After celebrating a House bill on health care, he doesn’t yet have Senate agreement. With James Comey’s public testimony scheduled tomorrow, the President today tweeted his selection of a new FBI Director. Is the Chief Executive all style and no substance? Later, terror attacks in Iran and conflicting claims about who’s behind them.