Monday, January 23, 2012

  • Medical Whistleblower Dr. Steven Nissen on "Escape Fire: The Fight to Rescue American Healthcare"

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    As the Republican presidential candidates propose to dismantle President Obama’s 2010 healthcare reform package, we speak to Dr. Steven Nissen, one of the nation’s leading cardiologists. His research into Vioxx and Avandia led to severe restrictions by the Food and Drug Administration, reducing the use of both drugs. Nissen is profiled in the documentary, "Escape Fire: The Fight to Rescue American Healthcare," which is being featured this year at the Sundance Film Festival. The film tackles the powerful forces behind the battle over heathcare costs and access. "Healthcare has become such a huge business that the forces that don’t want change—the insurance industry, the hospital industry, even physician professional societies—have so aligned to keep the system as it is that it’s very hard to overcome that," said Dr. Nissen, who chairs the Department of Cardiovascular Medicine at the Cleveland Clinic. "My fear in this election, because of the Citizens United ruling, is massive amounts of money from people with a huge stake in making a profit from healthcare are going to influence the electorate with just an amazing amount of money." [includes rush transcript]

  • Raj Patel: In Attacks on Obama, Food Stamps, Newt Gingrich is "Racially Coding Poverty"

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    The new documentary "Finding North" premiering here at the Sundance Film Festival exposes how one in every four American children suffers from hunger, despite living in the wealthiest nation in the world, and nearly 30 percent of American families, more than 49 million people, often go without meals. While Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich decries President Obama as "the food stamp president," author Raj Patel says what is really needed is a conversation about poverty and why the need for food stamps is so high. "It’s true that disproportionately people of color are affected by food insecurity. But what Gingrich is doing, of course, is racially coding poverty by calling President Obama 'the food stamp president,'" Patel said. "He’s invoking these ideas of racialized poverty. Of course, if you look at the people who are on the food stamp program, you see that the majority of them are white and poor." Patel is author of the popular book, "Stuffed and Starved: The Hidden Battle for the World Food System." [includes rush transcript]

  • Robert Redford Praises Rejection of Keystone Pipeline: We Can’t Afford to Be at the Mercy of Big Oil

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    We’re broadcasting from Park City, Utah, home of the Sundance Film Festival, the nation’s largest festival for independent cinema. Over the weekend, we spoke with Robert Redford, the founder of Sundance. He’s well known as an actor, a director, a producer, but part and parcel of who he is is an activist. We asked him about President Obama’s decision last week to reject the proposal for the Keystone XL tars sands oil pipeline from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico. "Oil, coal and gas still dominate, in terms of control, because of their relationship with members of Congress they give a lot of money to," Redford said. "But because times have changed so drastically, and I don’t think we can be at the mercy of what Big Oil wants to do anymore." [includes rush transcript]

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