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With the last national election twelve months ago and the next one twelve months away, the political world is focused on state contests less than two weeks from now. What will races for Governor in New Jersey and Virginia mean for President Obama and Democrats in Congress? Will Maine change the momentum on same-sex marriage? Also, President Obama's 'Pay Czar' cuts executive pay, and in the age of Facebook and Twitter, television may still be the world's most powerful agent for social change.

Banner image: US President Barack Obama clasps hands with New Jersey Governor Jon Corzine after speaking yesterday during a rally for Corzine at the Rothman Center of Fairleigh Dickinson University in Hackensack, New Jersey. Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images

Making News Pay Czar Cuts Executive Pay 7 MIN, 33 SEC

Executives at seven companies bailed out with taxpayer money got the word today. Kenneth Feinberg, the President's so-called "Pay Czar," cut their salaries and changed their compensation to try to prevent excessive risks in the future. Columnist David Weidner covers Wall Street for MarketWatch and the Wall Street Journal.

David Weidner, MarketWatch and the Wall Street Journal

Main Topic Local Politics with National Impact 33 MIN, 44 SEC

Twelve months after the US chose Barack Obama as the first black president, there is widespread disillusionment with politics in general. In two states that helped him win the Electoral College, Republicans are all fired up and Democrats don't care the way they did when Obama was on the ballot. In Virginia and New Jersey, local issues dominate in races for Governor — but if Democrats go down to defeat, Obama may be perceived as a loser. Maine could become the first state where voters approve same-sex marriage, or the 31st state where they turn it down. We look at elections to be held in less than two weeks that could help set the political stage for months to come.

Walter Shapiro, Roll Call / Yale University (@MrWalterShapiro)
Larry Sabato, Director of the University of Virginia’s Center for Politics and editor of Sabato’s Crystal Ball. He’s author of “The Kennedy Half Century; The Presidency, Assassination, and Lasting Legacy of John F. Kennedy.” (@larrysabato)
Kevin Miller, Reporter, Bangor Daily News
Jonathan Rauch, Brookings Institution (@jon_rauch)

Gay Marriage

Jonathan Rauch

Reporter's Notebook Television, a Power for Good or Cultural Suicide? 9 MIN, 22 SEC

Since the first broadcast in 1928, television "has been as reviled as it has been welcomed." In 1953, science fiction writer Ray Bradbury called it "that insidious beast…that Siren which called and sang and promised so much and gave, after all, so little." But is TV really responsible for "poor health, ignorance and moral decline?" In the current issue of Foreign Policy, World Bank economist Charles Kenny writes that television still rules our world -- even in the age of the Internet -- and often for good, rather than evil.

Charles Kenny, Economist, World Bank

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