Thursday, May 26, 2011

  • Vermont Poised to Become 1st State to Enact Single-Payer Healthcare

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    Today Vermont is set to make history by becoming the first state in the nation to offer universal, single-payer healthcare when Gov. Peter Shumlin signs its healthcare reform bill into law. The Vermont plan, called the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, will attempt to stem rising medical care prices and provide universal coverage. We speak with Dr. Deb Richter, president of Vermont Health Care for All. She moved from Buffalo, New York, to Vermont in 1999 to advocate for a universal, single-payer healthcare system in the state. Gov. Shumlin calls her the “backbone” of the grassroots effort that helped persuade the Democratic-led state legislature to pass the bill this spring. [includes rush transcript]

  • Bill McKibben: From Storms to Droughts, Devastating Extreme Weather Linked to Human-Caused Climate Change

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    2011 has already become the deadliest year for tornado outbreaks in the United States since 1953, with more than 500 people killed. Extreme weather has made headlines across the world, as well, with megafloods occurring in Colombia, Vietnam, Pakistan and Australia, even as the Amazon just faced its second hundred-year drought in the past five years. News audiences are seeing the warning "severe weather" increasingly flash across TV screens, but little connection has been made to the role humans have played in driving climate change. We speak with environmentalist Bill McKibben, founder of the grassroots climate campaign, 350.org. "We’re making the earth a more dynamic and violent place," McKibben says. "That’s, in essence, what global warming is about." [includes rush transcript]

  • "Toma la Plaza": Frustration with Unemployment, Budget Cuts Fuels Grassroots Protests in Spain

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    Tens of thousands of Spanish protesters are demonstrating across the country calling for better economic opportunities, a more representative electoral system, and an end to political corruption. The pro-democracy protests started on May 15 in Madrid when people gathered in the central plaza to advocate for change, calling the budding movement “Toma la Plaza,” or “Take the Square.” In the past week, protests have spread to more than a dozen cities across Spain. The country has the highest unemployment rate in Europe — nearly half of its population under 30 years old is jobless. Protesters are sustaining their decentralized movement through donations of food, fuel and even computers. Daily assemblies democratically vote on all decisions, and local committees are assigned different tasks, from cleanup operations to legal affairs. We speak with independent journalist Maria Carrion and protest spokesperson Ivan Martinoz in Madrid. [includes rush transcript]