Tuesday, April 29, 2014

  • As Unrest Grows, Is Ukraine Paying the Price of U.S.-Russian Ties Stuck in Cold War Era?


    The United States and the European Union have imposed new sanctions on Russia that target individuals and companies linked to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s inner circle. The moves come as the crisis in eastern Ukraine faces continued chaos. On Monday, pro-Russian separatists seized a new town and continued to detain seven European monitors. The mayor of the Ukraine’s second-largest city, Kharkiv, was shot in the back and is now in critical condition. Ukraine’s government and Western powers have accused Russia of orchestrating the unrest as a pretext for an invasion. We host a roundtable discussion with three guests: Christopher Miller, an editor at Kyiv Post, who has been based in Ukraine for four years; Jack Matlock, the U.S. ambassador to the Soviet Union from 1987 to 1991; and Nina Khrushcheva, a professor of international affairs at The New School, and author of forthcoming book, "The Lost Khrushchev: Journey into the Gulag of the Russian Mind."

  • Secret Tape Could Oust Clippers Owner Donald Sterling, But Has NBA Long Ignored His Public Racism?


    The National Basketball Association is set to announce its response to the racist comments of Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling heard on a secret recording of an argument with his girlfriend. On the tape, Sterling is upset she posted a picture on Instagram with NBA legend Earvin "Magic" Johnson, telling her not to publicize her association with African Americans. Sterling’s comments have set off one of the NBA’s biggest controversies in decades. NBA stars, past and present, have called for his removal, and more than a dozen advertisers have canceled or suspended their sponsorships with the Clippers. While Sterling’s comments shocked the sports world, they came as no surprise to those who have followed his record. In 2009, he paid more than $2.7 million to settle federal allegations of driving out people of color from apartment buildings he owns. A former Clippers general manager also sued Sterling for racial bias, but lost in court. All this has raised the question of why it has taken a secret tape to draw attention to practices that have been out in the open for years. "The warning signs of Donald Sterling’s racism, egregious behavior and misogyny go back more than a decade — and the league has coddled him," says Dave Zirin, sports columnist for The Nation and host of Edge of Sports Radio on SiriusXM. Zirin is the author of several books on sports, including "Bad Sports: How Owners Are Ruining the Games We Love," which includes an essay on Sterling. Zirin also discusses the flawed handling of a rape case involving star Florida State University football player Jameis Winston and the historic vote by Northwestern University football players on whether to unionize.

  • "As Consumers, We are Guinea Pigs": Vermont Set to Become First State to Require GMO Food Labeling


    Vermont is poised to become the first state to require the labeling of genetically modified organisms in food products. Governor Peter Shumlin said he would sign the pro-GMO-labeling bill as early as this week. The new law would take effect in July 2016 and would also make it illegal to label foods containing GMOs as "all natural" or "natural." Vermont could prove to be the tipping point in a national movement to inform consumers about whether their food contains GMOs. Twenty-nine other states have proposed bills requiring labeling this year, and two have already passed similar bills. But those measures only take effect when neighboring states also approve the requirements. We speak with Vermont State Sen. David Zuckerman, who first introduced GMO labeling bills more than a decade ago when he served in the House.