Wednesday, February 13, 2013

  • Beyond Gun Control, Obama Urged to Tackle Joblessness, Incarceration and U.S. "Culture of Violence"


    We spend the hour looking at President Obama’s State of the Union address, beginning with his call for new gun control. Obama asked Congress to vote on new gun reform measures, including background checks and a ban on assault weapons. But with the gun lobby-beholden Congress unlikely to approve Obama’s agenda, we’re joined by two guests who call for a broader approach that includes tackling the root causes of violence. "We’re still waiting for a comprehensive discussion from the president ... about really all of the underlying factors that contribute to gun violence," says Cathy Cohen, a political science professor and founder of the Black Youth Project, which began the petition for Obama to return to Chicago to address the gun violence plague after the murder of 15-year-old Hadiya Pendleton. She says she hopes his Chicago talk on Friday will address "the unemployment that young people face, the inadequate schooling that they face, the problematic policies around incarceration, the trauma that they face from the violence and unemployment in their neighborhoods. And the truth is, is without that type of discussion, we’re never really going to move forward in really trying to deal with and stem the violence in the lives of these young people." Bob Herbert, a distinguished senior fellow with Demos and former op-ed columnist for The New York Times, adds, "If we can begin to change the culture, this gun and violence culture in the country, then we may be able to make some headway." [includes rush transcript]

  • Obama’s SOTU Address Calls for Middle-Class Revival, But Poverty & Inequality Still Get Short Shrift


    President Obama opened his State of the Union with a call to revive the middle class and with a challenge to a divided Congress to back his economic proposals to create jobs. We get reaction from Bob Herbert, distinguished senior fellow with Demos, and Cathy Cohen, professor of political science at the University of Chicago and founder of the Black Youth Project. "Median income in the United States has gone down since the recession ended," Herbert says. "Poverty is expanding. We have nearly 50 million people who are officially poor in this country and another 50 million who are near poor. ... You’re getting close to a third of the entire population. So, there is no way to address challenges that are that enormous without making enormous investments." [includes rush transcript]

  • Despite Planned Troop Withdrawal, Special Ops & Private Forces Prepare to Continue Afghan War


    As President Obama announced plans to withdraw another 34,000 troops from Afghanistan, longtime peace activist Kathy Kelly warns the war shows no end. Kelly, who just returned from Afghanistan, says the company formally known as Blackwater is now running a base just outside of Kabul used by the Special Operations Joint Task Force. On Monday, a U.S. air strike in Afghanistan killed 10 civilians. The strike hit what the NATO occupation force called a suspected Taliban hideout in the province of Kunar. Kelly, co-coordinator of Voices for Creative Nonviolence, warns Afghan civilians continue to suffer from longest-running war in U.S. history. [includes rush transcript]

  • As Obama Touts Pathway to Citizenship, Record Deportations Leave Undocumented Immigrants in Fear


    Addressing the plight of some 11 million undocumented people currently living in the United States, President Obama’s State of the Union address emphasized the benefits of comprehensive immigration reform. Obama urged Congress to send him legislation to sign into law in the next few months. We get reaction on what Obama didn’t say — namely, his record levels of deportation — from Aura Bogado, a reporter who covers immigration and racial justice for The Nation. [includes rush transcript]