House Democrats rebelled Thursday against President Barack Obama's tax cut deal with Republicans, threatening to keep it off the floor. This comes after the House Democratic Caucus met yesterday and approved a motion to reject the provisions of the compromises — most notably the provisions related to the estate tax. Currently the deal struck between the President and Republicans would extend Bush-era tax cuts for the super-rich, and drastically ease the estate tax burden. We speak with the man leading the charge in the House Democratic caucus, Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.). He also weighs in on whether President Obama can count on his support in 2012.
A soon-to-be-released film about marital drama just won a rare victory. “Blue Valentine,” starring Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams, was initially given an NC-17 rating by the Motion Picture Association of America. The stated reason? Because the film contains “a scene of explicit sexual content.” Many people familiar with the scene described it as a fairly tame sex scene in which William's character receives oral sex. The studio and film's cast and crew appealed the rating, which was changed yesterday by the MPAA. The film is now rated R.
Thirty years ago today, music sensation John Lennon was shot and killed outside the Dakota building where he lived with his wife, Yoko Ono, in New York City. Radio reporter Tom Brook was the first British reporter on the scene. He explains his memory of that day and how Lennon's legacy continues to live on.
In a press conference yesterday, President Obama reaffirmed his commitment to the current deal on tax cuts that has been reached between the White House and Republicans in Congress. If passed, the compromise would extend Bush-era tax cuts for two years, including those for the wealthiest households. It would also extend unemployment benefits for 13 more months and give businesses a major tax break. Economists say the deal would add $900 billion to the deficit over the next two years.
President Obama has already received strong opposition from members of his own party who believe the President is compromising too easily with Republicans. We talk with Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), a member of the Democratic leadership who has come out in opposition to the deal.
After 35 years representing Minnesota constituents in the U.S. House of Representatives, Democratic Rep. Jim Oberstar will empty his office on Capitol Hill at the end of this month. Oberstar currently serves as the chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, a position he has held since 2007. He is one of dozens of incumbents voted out of office earlier this year during midterm elections. What are his thoughts on the eve of his departure?
Among the State Department cables leaked on WikiLeaks and analyzed in The New York Times were messages from the U.S. Ambassador to Pakistan about the country's nuclear fuel resources. In a cable dating May 27, 2009, Amb. Anne W. Pateron reported her concern over a stockpile of highly enriched uranium, which had been sitting for years near an aging research nuclear reactor in Pakistan. There was enough to build several “dirty bombs” or, in skilled hands, possibly enough for an actual nuclear bomb.
The cables show that underneath public assurances lie deep clashes over strategic goals on issues like Pakistan’s support for the Afghan Taliban and tolerance of Al Qaida.
On Tuesday, the Pentagon's top leaders said the 17-year-old "don't ask, don't tell" law, which prohibits gay and lesbian armed forces members from openly admitting their sexuality, would not pose a problem if scrapped. A survey conducted among troops showed that over 70 percent wouldn't have a problem serving alongside gay troops. The poll results put new pressure on Republican opponents to repeal the law; President Barack Obama is urging the Senate to do so before adjourning in the next few weeks.
While President Obama has received much criticism for failing to close the Guantánamo Bay prison camp in the first year of his presidency, new classified documents released by WikiLeaks reveal the attempted dealings between the administration and other governments to try and move detainees out of the detention center. In an article in The New York Times, reporter Charlie Savage details attempted deals with Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Lithuania and Albania, among other countries.
Currently 174 inmates remain at the facility: a third of them are from Yemen.
On Thanksgiving, many of us give thanks. On Black Friday, retailers give thanks. Black Friday is the biggest shopping day of the year; and many stores open before dawn and remain open late into the night to capitalize on the holiday. For the past two years, the economic downturn has hurt Black Friday sales. We're checking in with a few of our listeners to see whether they're super shoppers or shopping cynics.
Millions in Pakistan are still without a home as winter quickly approaches. The BBC's Jill McGivering just returned from one of the most affected regions. McGivering reports that many of the victims say government officials are corrupt and are withholding resources, including blankets, money and shelter. But Pakistan Interior Minister Rehman Malik tells McGivering "this is dishonesty on the part of the people."
Thanksgiving approaches, a holiday full of yearly traditions for families across the country. As Americans begin to prepare turkey, mashed potatoes and cranberries for their Thanksgiving meals, we decided to take look at how our nation's capital celebrates this holiday. It seems that Washington lobbyists have their own special traditions in November, and the food we enjoy each Thanksgiving arrives infused with political influence.
After the death of two South Korean marines in a North Korean artillery attack on Tuesday, the United States has called on countries in the region to join with the U.S. in a unified diplomatic front. Since that call, China has condemned the attack and Hong Lei, the spokesman for the Chinese Foreign Ministry called for "peace and stability on the Korean peninsula."
China has long been a strategic ally for North Korea, providing much needed food and humanitarian resources, but even the Chinese were taken by surprise by the attacks this week. And they seemed to be in the dark just a few days earlier when reports surfaced about North Korea's new uranium enrichment plant.
It's no more changing diapers and preparing dinner for Brian St. Pierre, who went from stay-at-home dad to starting quarterback for the North Carolina Panthers this weekend. We talk with Nando Di Fino, sports reporter for the Wall Street Journal, about St. Pierre's performance on the field, and how other football teams fared over the weekend.
The Transportation Security Administration has begun more thorough pat-downs at airport security checkpoints just weeks before holidays' heavy travel season. Many passengers have already complained of inappropriate contact and others are upset with the intimacy of the search. Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano explains the new search procedures and the full-body scanning machines that have been set up in airports. She and the TSA are asking passengers to be patient and cooperate.
"The vast majority of the traveling public understands that this is a safety and security measure," Napolitano said. Read a full transcript.
At a time when citizens in Britain are bracing for sharp spending cuts, Prince William, the heir to the throne, proposed to his longtime girlfriend Kate Middleton. Many Britons hope the upcoming wedding will be a boost to the country's economy, with people in industries ranging from tourism to fashion and food retail reaping the financial benefits of the media storm. But some economists say royal weddings do not bring as much revenue they once did. We talk with Gillian Tett, a managing editor of the Financial Times, about the tourism revenue the wedding could bring in.
Today marks the third and most important day of the Hajj, an annual Islamic pilgrimage that has drawn as many as three million Muslims to Mecca, Saudi Arabia. The four-day trip is arduous, packed with rituals and prayers. Most pilgrims begin planning for the trip up to six months in advance and set aside around $2,000 to make the journey. Some are encouraged to get in good physical shape, build their immune system, prepare a will, and go through counseling so they are mentally prepared.
Smokers going to buy a pack of cigarettes will soon be greeted with a warning label containing graphic images of dead bodies, blackened organs and women crying. As of 2011, the Food and Drug Administration will require cigarette packs and ads to show more detailed images of the consequences of smoking, and 36 images (pdf) (some of them fairly graphic) have been approved. But how effective will this approach be in preventing smokers from lighting up?
As a part of his 10-day tour in Asia, President Barack Obama delivered a very personal speech at the University of Indonesia Wednesday morning. Echoing some of themes he raised in his famous speech in Cairo in 2009, Obama spoke about the need for mutual respect among Muslims and the importance of a joint effort to combat extremism. Indonesia is home to the largest population of Muslims in the world, and Muslims in Southeast Asia tend to practice a more moderate form of Islam than those farther west. Did President Obama navigate those differences in his speech?
The American Ballet Theatre traveled to Cuba for the first time in 50 years to participate in the 22nd Havana International Ballet Festival. The last time the dance company took the stage in Cuba, Fidel Castro had just taken power. We hear music from the Karl Marx theatre and talk with Rachel Moore, the executive director of the American Ballet Theatre, about the trip.