FROM Roger Salazar
Republicans Bring a Hatchet to the Budget Debate With the shortfall between spending and income growing day by day, Republicans yesterday offered their ideas for a balanced budget : $15.6 billion in cuts -- more than $10 billion from education -- and $6.5 billion in so-called "new" money. Governor Schwarzenegger and the Democrats scoffed at the plan, but conceded it was better than no plan at all. We get three perspectives.
Top Democrats Use Campaign Funds for Staff Pay, Legal Fees Democrat Don Perata of Oakland is president pro tem of the State Senate. He’s also been under federal investigation for four years. FBI agents have raided his home. E-mails and other documents have been subpoenaed. The Sacramento Bee says Perata’s legal expenses have added up to almost two million dollars. Now, the paper reports that the state Democratic Party has helped him out with 450,000 dollars from political contributions. Some party members are saying that money was supposed to be spent on campaigns against Republicans.
Indian Gaming Propositions Last year, Governor Schwarzenegger negotiated contracts with four California Indian tribes. Two of the tribes could have twice as many slot machines as the largest Las Vegas casinos; the two others could vastly expand their operations. In return, the tribes would increase the percent of the take they pay to the state from the current 7% to 13% percent, to 25% percent. The Democratic-controlled legislature approved the deals, but two other tribes, some labor unions and local governments were among those opposed. They raised enough signatures to put Propositions 94 , 95 , 96 and 97 on next month’s ballot. TV viewers have already seen that a very expensive campaign is under way.
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.
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.
Will the Senate write a healthcare bill in secret? While Democrats and Republicans argue White House relations with Russia, another question is being decided behind closed doors: who gets help buying health insurance and who doesn't? We hear how the pros and cons are being shrouded in secrecy.