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?
Who's to blame for the opioid crisis? Some of the lawyers who took on Big Tobacco are now going after Big Pharma. It’s all about the deadly epidemic of opioid use. Are the drug companies to blame? What about the users? Later, on today’s Talking Point: making sense of Britain’s upset election.
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.
Venezuela spirals into economic and political chaos Venezuela, a country whose potential for prosperity is unmatched, finds itself on the verge of civil war. What sustains the repressive government? With time running out, guest host León Krauze looks at what the international community can do to pull the country from the edge of collapse.