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The new House majority wants to reduce federal spending, and every commission on the deficit has called for cuts in the Pentagon. So, why are they off the table? How much could be saved without endangering national security? Also, new editions of Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn have been edited to eliminate the "N" word. Will that make them more accessible to contemporary readers? Does it distort America's racist past?

Banner image: Legislators of the 112th US Congress say the Pledge of Allegiance prior to roll call votes on the election of the next Speaker of the House January 5, 2011 in Washington, DC. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Prophets of War

William D. Hartung

Making News Speaker Boehner Sworn In as New Congress Opens 7 MIN, 28 SEC

Republican John Boehner has been elected Speaker of the House of Representative.  Democrat Nancy Pelosi now leads the minority. Michael Crowley is senior correspondent for Time magazine.

Michael Crowley, Politico (@MichaelCrowley)

Main Topic The New Congress, the Deficit and the Pentagon 36 MIN, 6 SEC

In his farewell speech warning about the "military-industrial" complex, President (and former Army General) Dwight Eisenhower said that defense spending has to be weighed in the balance along with every other national program.  The new House majority, led by newly sworn in speaker, Republican John Boehner, wants to cut $100 billion from next year's budget. The Pentagon makes up more than half the spending that could be reduced, but cuts in the Defense Department are off the table. Even the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff says the deficit is a threat to national security, and the Pentagon is a paradigm of government waste. Why is it immune from the cost-cutting voters have asked for?  Will the Tea Party make a difference? We look at the prospects.


Hendrik Hertzberg, Senior Editor, New Yorker magazine
Chris Littleton, Littleton and Associates (@clittleton)
William Hartung, Center for International Policy (@williamhartung)
Stephen M. Walt, Harvard University (@stephenWalt)

Reporter's Notebook New Edition of 'Huck Finn' Purges the 'N' Word 6 MIN, 58 SEC

book.jpgIn Mark Twain’s 1884 classic, Huckleberry Finn, the "N" word appears no less than 219 times. But in New South Books' upcoming edition, it doesn't appear at all. Does replacing the "N" word with "slave" make Twain accessible to young readers or is it censorship that distorts the realities of 19th Century America? Peniel Joseph is Professor of History at Tufts University and author of Dark Days, Bright Nights: From Black Power to Barack Obama.

Peniel Joseph, University of Texas at Austin (@PenielJoseph)

Dark Days, Bright Nights

Peniel E. Joseph

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