Tuesday, January 7, 2014

  • Court Ruling on Gay Marriage Ban Makes Utah an Unlikely New Front in Struggle for LGBT Equality


    Nearly 1,000 same-sex couples have tied the knot in Utah since a federal judge struck down the state’s ban on gay marriage late last month. The ruling by District Judge Robert Shelby had been the first to overturn a state’s gay marriage ban since the Supreme Court’s landmark decisions against the Defense of Marriage Act and California’s same-sex marriage ban last June. Over the past few weeks, Utah courthouses have been the scenes of jubilation for LGBT couples and the movement for marriage equality. But those unions are now in limbo. On Monday, the Supreme Court granted Utah’s request to block same-sex marriages while the ruling is appealed. The case now goes before a federal appeals court in Denver, but many expect it to find its way to the Supreme Court. A Supreme Court decision could have major repercussions across the country: If Utah’s ban is overturned, the same could happen for same-sex marriage bans in nearly 30 other states. We are joined from Utah by Derek Kitchen and Moudi Sbeity, one of three couples who are plaintiffs in the lawsuit challenging Utah’s ban on same-sex marriage.

  • Weather Whiplash: As Polar Vortex Brings Deep Freeze, Is Extreme Weather Linked to Climate Change?


    Record cold temperatures are being recorded across the Midwest and Eastern United States again today as a so-called polar vortex of dense, frigid air has descended as far south as Texas and Florida. According to the National Weather Service, temperatures are 20 to 40 degrees Fahrenheit below average in parts of Montana, North and South Dakota, Minnesota, Iowa, Wisconsin, Michigan and Nebraska. In Brimson, Minnesota, the temperature fell to minus 40 degrees Fahrenheit. Fargo, North Dakota, recorded temperatures as low as 32 degrees below zero. In Illinois, motorists are being urged to stay off the roads for a second day, and schools remain closed in Chicago and other cities. In New York, the temperature dropped by nearly 50 degrees over a few hours on Monday. We are joined by Jeff Masters, director of meteorology at the Weather Underground.

  • From Sandy to Haiyan, Year of Extreme Weather Brings More Coverage of Climate Change


    A new survey of global climate change coverage in 2013 has found a 30 percent increase in the number of mainstream news articles and editorials on the topic. The website The Daily Climate compiles such stories on a daily basis, and their results showed that for the first time since 2009 there was an increase in global warming reporting. Some 24,000 reports were filed on the topic last year compared to about 18,000 the year before, in 2012. Reuters, the Associated Press and The Guardian each filed more than 1,000 stories. The New York Times was the only major publication to see its climate coverage drop in 2013. Meanwhile, the climate coverage on Fox News continued to feature pundits who argue climate change is a hoax. We’re joined by Peter Dykstra, publisher of The Daily Climate, which just published its annual survey and found that "Climate coverage soared in 2013, spurred by energy, and weather." Dykstra is a former journalist, spending 17 years at CNN where he covered the environment and weather.

  • From Funding Climate Deniers to Shadowy Groups, Koch Brothers Network Spent $400 Million in 2012


    The Washington Post and the Center for Responsive Politics have just published an exposé revealing how a labyrinth of 17 tax-exempt groups and limited liability companies tied to the billionaire Koch Brothers raised at least $407 million during the 2012 campaign. The staggering amount is equivalent to the combined spending of all unions in state, federal and local races — it dwarfs nearly all other sources of political spending in 2012. The groups were designed to help conceal the sources of the money, much of which went to voter mobilization and television ads attacking President Obama and congressional Democrats. For more, we are joined by Lisa Graves, executive director of the Center for Media and Democracy, and publisher of PRWatch.org and ALECExposed.org.

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Full News Hour


    Juan González on How Puerto Rico’s Economic "Death Spiral" is Tied to Legacy of Colonialism
    Could Puerto Rico become America’s Greece? That’s a question many are asking as the island faces a devastating financial crisis and a rapidly crumbling healthcare system. Puerto Rico owes $72 billion in debt. $355 million in debt payments are due December 1, but it increasingly looks like the U.S. territory may default on at least some of the debt. Congress has so far failed to act on an Obama administration proposal that includes extending bankruptcy protection to Puerto Rico and allocating more equitable Medicaid and Medicare...


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