FROM Dee Davis
Independence Day in a divided country The Pledge of Allegiance calls the US "indivisible," but that’s beginning to sound like wishful thinking. A century and a half since the Civil War, divisions remain between North and South, between cities and countryside. Democrats and Republicans are enemies. The fracturing of the media allows for different entertainment and news coverage-- reflecting different cultural values. And Donald Trump is the first American President to openly divide, rather than unify. What are the prospects for a Happy Fourth of July?
President Trump's opening offer America's deal-maker-in-chief has proposed a budget so draconian it's already called "dead on arrival" in Congress. Massive cuts in domestic programs would fund the biggest jump in military spending since Ronald Reagan faced down the Soviet Union. But many Republicans are disturbed that the biggest losers would be in rural areas where Trump himself won the most votes. Democrats are predictably outraged over threats to environmental protection and help for the working poor. The give-and-take is just beginning.
Does the Government Shutdown Matter Outside the Beltway? The government shutdown is having ripple effects beyond the furloughing of hundreds of thousands of federal workers. The CDC has delayed this year’s flu program; food-safety operations have been curtailed; so have some Head Start programs . Direct benefits to veterans and the disabled could be disrupted. If the debt ceiling’s not lifted, the world’s most powerful nation won’t pay its bills. But, despite the endless debate in Washington, that’s not what most people are talking about in New York City. In New York City and rural Kentucky, it’s hard to find people directly feeling the loss of government services. Elsewhere, it’s a different story.
Terrorism and tweets, hate speech and murder Just days before an election, Britain is coping with a rash of deadly terrorism, and Prime Minister Theresa May is on the defensive. And again today, President Trump has tweeted criticism of the Mayor of London. Later, a double murder in Portland, Oregon has revealed the ugly past of a supposedly “progressive” city. One immediate question: is “hate speech” protected by the First Amendment?
Trump's 'America First' goes missing abroad In the Middle East, President Trump is changing some policies of the Obama Administration—and reversing his own campaign attacks on Islam as a religion that "hates us." We hear about his visit to Saudi Arabia and what's at stake for the rest of his foreign excursion.
Who's to blame for the opioid crisis? Some of the lawyers who took on Big Tobacco are now going after Big Pharma. It’s all about the deadly epidemic of opioid use. Are the drug companies to blame? What about the users? Later, on today’s Talking Point: making sense of Britain’s upset election.
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.