Thursday, January 9, 2014

  • Will New Jersey’s Traffic Scandal Jam Gov. Christie’s Presidential Hopes for 2016?

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    A political controversy surrounding New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie has grown into a scandal after it emerged a top aide deliberately ordered traffic delays to exact political revenge. Newly released documents show Christie’s Deputy Chief of Staff Bridget Anne Kelly personally ordered the closure of lanes leading to the George Washington Bridge, which connects New Jersey to New York City, to punish the mayor of Fort Lee for declining to endorse Christie’s bid for re-election. In an email to another Christie appointee and high school friend, David Wildstein, Kelly wrote: "Time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee." The closures caused massive traffic jams with just one lane operational over a four-day period. In a statement, Christie denied involvement, saying he was "outraged and deeply saddened" by his deputy’s actions. Amy Goodman and Juan González discuss how the scandal could threaten Christie’s expected candidacy for the Republican presidential nomination in 2016.

  • In New York City’s Transformed Political Era, Progressives Take Major Posts Under Mayor de Blasio

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    One week after the inauguration of new mayor Bill de Blasio, Melissa Mark-Viverito has been elected speaker of the New York City Council. Democracy Now! co-host and New York Daily News columnist Juan González says Mark-Viverito’s election cements a new political era in New York City where progressives have now filled several major posts, from the mayor on down.

  • 50 Years After LBJ’s "War on Poverty," a Call for a New Fight Against 21st Century Inequality

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    Fifty years ago this week, President Lyndon B. Johnson launched his "war on poverty," which led to many of the federal and state initiatives low-income Americans rely on today — Medicaid, Medicare, subsidized housing, Head Start, legal services, nutrition assistance, raising the minimum wage, and later, food stamps and Pell grants. Five decades later, many say another war on poverty is needed. We are joined by Peter Edelman, author of "So Rich, So Poor: Why It’s So Hard to End Poverty in America." A faculty director at the Center on Poverty, Inequality and Public Policy at Georgetown University, Edelman was a top adviser to Senator Robert F. Kennedy and a member of President Bill Clinton’s administration until he resigned in protest after Clinton signed the 1996 welfare reform law that threw millions of people off the rolls.

  • As U.S. Rushes Weapons to Iraq, New Assault on Fallujah Threatens Explosion of Sectarian Conflict

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    Iraqi forces have surrounded Fallujah in preparation for a potential assault to retake the city from Sunni militants who have also seized parts of Ramadi. Thousands of Fallujah residents have fled to avoid being trapped in the crossfire. This comes as the United States is ramping up its delivery of Hellfire missiles and surveillance drones as part of a "holistic" strategy to oust the militant group known as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant. We speak to two guests: Feurat Alani, a French-Iraqi journalist who was based in Baghdad from 2003 to 2008 and has made several documentaries, including "Roadtrip Iraq" and "Fallujah: A Lost Generation?"; and Peter Van Buren, a 24-year State Department veteran who served in Iraq and later wrote a book critical of U.S. policy there, titled "We Meant Well: How I Helped Lose the Battle for the Hearts and Minds of the Iraqi People." Van Buren faced dismissal after criticizing U.S. reconstruction efforts in Iraq.

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