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We start with a look ahead to tonight’s State of the Union speech, and how President Obama is likely to address income inequality. What has and hasn’t he done on the issue? Also, could universal Pre-K education help ease that inequality? Next up, the film American Sniper about the life and work of the late Navy SEAL Chris Kyle is becoming a kind of political litmus test. Then, author Christopher Noxon discusses his new novel, which is based on his real life as a Hollywood house husband. And finally, in our weekly TV roundup, we size up Comedy Central’s The Nightly Show and other new offerings from the small screen.

Banner Image: Still photo from American Sniper.

The State of the Wealth Gap 9 MIN, 57 SEC

Oxfam reported in a study yesterday that the richest one percent will control more than half the world’s wealth by next year. The 80 wealthiest people in the world are now worth about as much as the poorest 3.5 billion. In the U.S., wealth inequality is worse than at any time since the Great Depression. But what has President Obama done to confront the issue, and what plans will he lay out in his State of the Union speech tonight?

Sudeep Reddy, Wall Street Journal (@Reddy)

Can Preschool Help Ease Income Inequality? 7 MIN

During the president’s speech tonight, we’re likely to hear more about his plan to make community college free for all. But to really close the income gap, it’s more effective to start earlier: with four-year-olds. Several studies show that children who attend preschool are more likely go to college, keep a full-time job, and own homes as adults. Obama has called for universal pre-kindergarten in his last two State of the Unions. But given everything we know about its benefits, why isn’t universal Pre-K everywhere?

Bruce Fuller, UC Berkeley

'American Sniper' Controversy 8 MIN, 11 SEC

The Clint Eastwood-directed film American Sniper opened over the weekend and raked in more than $105 million, the biggest opening for an R-rated movie ever. American Sniper is based on a best-selling memoir by Chris Kyle, a Navy SEAL who’s said to be the most lethal sniper in U.S. military history. But Kyle, who was murdered two years ago by a veteran with PTSD, was also controversial for comments he made about his time in Iraq. Now, American Sniper has become a flashpoint between liberals and conservatives. We examine the fight.

David Weigel, Washington Post (@daveweigel)

'Plus One,' the Tale of a Hollywood House Husband 14 MIN, 3 SEC

Christopher Noxon is an author, a father… and the husband of Jenji Kohan, creator of the very successful TV shows Weeds and Orange Is the New Black. Because of Jenji’s success and long hours, Christopher has taken on more of the homemaker role in the marriage. He also recently wrote a novel inspired by his experience. He talks to Madeleine about the book and what it’s like to be “domestic first responder.”

Christopher Noxon, author, 'Plus One' (@cnoxon)

Plus One

Christopher Noxon

'The Nightly Show' Debuts, and More Small Screen News 8 MIN, 54 SEC

Comedy Central debuted its brand new talk show, The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore, last night. It’s the only late-night program not hosted by a white guy, and the show features panel-style discussions instead of one-on-one interviews. We talk about The Nightly Show’s premiere, how it’s breaking the mold, and other news from the small screen in our weekly television roundup.

Eric Deggans, NPR (@Deggans)
Michael Schneider, Indiewire / Variety (@Franklinavenue)

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