FROM Joel Connelly
Income Inequality, Economic Anxiety and the Minimum Wage Fast food workers are back on the streets in 100 cities today. Walmart saw strikes on Black Friday. Yesterday, in a speech about the economy, President Obama said "the defining challenge of our time" is the decline of upward mobility, and called for a hike in the minimum wage. It's all about income inequality, a growing trend since before Great Recession. Instead of upward mobility into the Middle Class, many newly created jobs don't give workers enough to live on — even when they're full-time. We look at reality in some American workplaces and at the politics of restoring the American Dream.
China and the Future of Coal in America The US is getting "greener" as coal is replaced by natural gas, which is cleaner and cheaper, but that doesn't mean the coal industry's going away. Its salvation might lie in exports. Massive coal deposits on federal land in Wyoming and Montana have already been leased to companies with plans for export to China. That's created furious opposition to mile-long coal trains and entire new ports proposed for construction on the Pacific coast. What would it mean for local pollution and global warming? Will the principal benefits go to the public or the coal industry?
The longest US war: Will Trump send more troops to Afghanistan? The Trump White House is divided over the Pentagon's request for more troops in Afghanistan—where the US has been fighting for the past 16 years. Is there a formula -- either for "victory" or a political settlement? Is there an end in sight for America's longest war?
Is the threat from Russia missing from the Russia meddling probe? There's much being made about the Trump administration's possible ties with Russia. But the bottom line is Russia's effort to influence American democracy. Do the President and his aides care enough to take action before voters go back to the polls?
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.