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In a mid-term election year, is political rhetoric obscuring the real issues in the debate of trying the alleged Christmas Day bomber? Republicans have attacked the Obama Administration's decision to prosecute Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab in civilian court, and administration officials are fighting back. Sara Terry guest hosts. Also, Iran raises international alarm with its uranium enrichment plans, and the "who dat" nation of the New Orleans Saints got more than a Super Bowl victory yesterday. It's the story of a city coming back to life.

Banner image: Assistant to US President for Counterterrorism and Homeland Security John Brennan (L) speaks as Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano (R) listens during a media briefing at the White House January 7, 2010. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Making News Iran Raises International Alarm with Uranium Enrichment Plans 7 MIN, 47 SEC

Iran's nuclear ambitions are ratcheting up tensions again today. Today the Iranian government announced that it plans to begin enriching its stockpile of uranium for a medical reactor as early as Tuesday. The US, France and Russia have all called for stronger sanctions against the regime. Barbara Slavin is author of Bitter Friends, Bosom Enemies: Iran, the US and the Twisted Path to Confrontation.

Barbara Slavin, Atlantic Council / Al-Monitor (@barbaraslavin1)

Main Topic Terror on Trial: Politics as Usual 35 MIN, 18 SEC

Within the war on terror, there's another war going on, a political one. The Obama Administration says it's getting valuable information from the man accused of trying to blow up a plane on Christmas Day. Conservatives say Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab's case is being handled wrong, and that the government should be tougher on terror suspects. It all makes for potent mix of politics, counter-terrorism and national security – in an election year. Amid news that top al Qaeda leaders have been killed, are Obama's terror policies more effective than the Bush Administration, or are they just presenting a kinder American face to the world? How prepared is the country to deal with renewed terror threats?

Josh Gerstein, Politico (@joshgerstein)
Brian Fishman, New America Foundation (@brianfishman)
Reuel Marc Gerecht, Foundation for Defense of Democracies (@followFDD)
David D. Cole, American Civil Liberties Union / Georgetown University (@DavidColeACLU)

Torture Memos

David Cole

Reporter's Notebook Saints' Super Bowl Win Gives New Orleans a Morale Boost 7 MIN, 54 SEC

It was more than a win for a team that had never even made it to the Super Bowl, one whose fans used to come to games with paper bags over their heads and “aints” written across their foreheads. Those days are gone for the New Orleans Saints, whose Super Bowl victory is wrapped in the arms of a city that's embracing a story of hope and rebirth. Political satirist Harry Shearer lives part-time in New Orleans, and is directing a documentary about its catastrophic flooding in the wake of Katrina in 2005.

Harry Shearer, Political satirist (@theharryshearer)

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