FROM Jim Mayer
The Justice Department: Too Much Change, or Not Enough? Barack Obama’s nominee for Attorney General faced a Senate confirmation hearing today. He was introduced to the Judiciary Committee by Virginia’s newly-retired Republican Senator John Warner as a man whose “misjudgments will not be repeated.” In response to Vermont Democrat Patrick Leahy, Holder answered one question that his Republican predecessors have avoided…
$40 Billion Hole in State Budget Stays Empty California faces a $40 billion deficit over the next two years, but in a few weeks it will run out of money to pay for operating expenses. Governor Schwarzenegger says new taxes are needed, but Republicans in the legislature won't go along. Democrats have a majority, but not enough to provide the two-thirds vote required for new taxes. They have been negotiating with Schwarzenegger on an $18 billion stop-gap, but today talks broke down. We get an update and learn more about the "dysfunctionality" of California government.
Government Reform Begins with the Lines on a Map By gerrymandering their own district boundaries, Democrats and Republicans in the Assembly and Senate have guaranteed that legislative seats almost never change from parties. Proposition 11 would give the job to a bi-partisan citizens' commission. This is the first step toward real reform of state government, but it's still not clear if it passed. Jim Mayer is executive director of California Forward, a bipartisan group promoting reform.
California Facing Continuing Fiscal Crisis Governor Schwarzenegger and the state legislature may have to re-open the budget, passed grudgingly after Republicans and Democrats deadlocked for 85 days past the date it was due. In the meantime, California schools, law enforcement and local governments may be at risk unless the state gets a $7 billion loan from Washington soon.
The longest US war: Will Trump send more troops to Afghanistan? The Trump White House is divided over the Pentagon's request for more troops in Afghanistan—where the US has been fighting for the past 16 years. Is there a formula -- either for "victory" or a political settlement? Is there an end in sight for America's longest war?
Venezuela spirals into economic and political chaos Venezuela, a country whose potential for prosperity is unmatched, finds itself on the verge of civil war. What sustains the repressive government? With time running out, guest host León Krauze looks at what the international community can do to pull the country from the edge of collapse.
Replacing Obamacare: Now you see it… now you don’t As the Senate deliberates replacing Obmacare, health coverage for millions of people is at stake. There've been no public hearings, and a draft measure won't be made public. Is the House version so unpopular that that Senate is hiding a version that looks much the same?
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.