FROM Joel Connelly
Income Inequality, Economic Anxiety and the Minimum Wage Fast food workers are back on the streets in 100 cities today. Walmart saw strikes on Black Friday. Yesterday, in a speech about the economy, President Obama said "the defining challenge of our time" is the decline of upward mobility, and called for a hike in the minimum wage. It's all about income inequality, a growing trend since before Great Recession. Instead of upward mobility into the Middle Class, many newly created jobs don't give workers enough to live on — even when they're full-time. We look at reality in some American workplaces and at the politics of restoring the American Dream.
China and the Future of Coal in America The US is getting "greener" as coal is replaced by natural gas, which is cleaner and cheaper, but that doesn't mean the coal industry's going away. Its salvation might lie in exports. Massive coal deposits on federal land in Wyoming and Montana have already been leased to companies with plans for export to China. That's created furious opposition to mile-long coal trains and entire new ports proposed for construction on the Pacific coast. What would it mean for local pollution and global warming? Will the principal benefits go to the public or the coal industry?
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.
Trump plays scolder-in-chief with NATO allies At the opening of NATO’s dramatic new headquarters in Brussels today, President Trump acknowledged that Article 5 — promising that “an attack on one nation is an attack on all” -- has only been invoked one time: in the aftermath of September 11. But the President failed to provide what 27 other Alliance members have been waiting for: a re-commitment by America’s new leader to Article 5. Instead, they got a scolding.
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.