Stephen Reader

Stephen Reader appears in the following:

Congressman Explains GOP Schism Over Budget Battle

Friday, March 18, 2011

We're not repudiating leadership on the end game, we're just saying, 'We were sent here with a mission, the mission was to reign in spending, and we are going to be more conservative than others are in the Senate on this, so we want to push the bargaining position as far as we can.'

—Congressman Scott Garrett (R-NJ) talking about his "no" vote on the continuing resolution to fund the federal government for three more weeks on the Brian Lehrer Show.

Comments [32]

For Libya, What's Next After No-Fly?

Friday, March 18, 2011

This is now a direct, full-scale intervention. The no-fly zone, I think even from the beginning it was clear, was going to essentially be a slippery slope into other things...It was always a fake debate, a fake issue in the sense that it would not matter on the ground, it would not change the equation, and it was always going to be in this direction.

Steve Clemons, director of the American Strategy Program at the New America Foundation and the man behind the popular political blog "The Washington Note" on the Brian Lehrer Show.

Comments [19]

Labor Clashes Gain Momentum in Ohio, Michigan, Tennessee

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Taking Wisconsin as an example, several states seeking to close budget gaps have put collective bargaining rights for public employees on the table. Some Governors have also proposed layoffs or the sale of prisons and other government holdings in order to make ends meet.

The unintended consequence of such measures is that public workers have been energized to protest what they call an "assault" on unions. With more budgets and pieces of union-related legislation making the rounds in state capitals this week, here's a look at three states where new standoffs could be on the horizon.


Gauging the Nuclear Risk to Japan

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

The bottom line is, 57 cancer deaths are anticipated for every 100,000 [people exposed.] Very low doses of radiation would not produce radiation sickness; it would produce a very tiny elevated risk of cancer death, but that low probability multiplied by the 13 million people who live in Tokyo does represent a statistical prediction that some cancer deaths would occur.

Matthew McKinzie, a senior scientist at the Natural Resource Defense Council's (NRDC) nuclear program, on the Brian Lehrer Show.

Comments [17]

Bernie Sanders: Speaking Independently

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

The reason I went to the floor is not only because I thought the agreement was extremely unfair. The main point is, America today has the most unequal distribution of wealth in any major country on earth...It seems to me, when you have that kind of inequality, you don't give more tax breaks to the richest people in this country, drive up the national debt, and ask our kids to have to pay that off.

Bernie Sanders, U.S. Senator from Vermont (I), and author of The Speech: A Historic Filibuster on Corporate Greed and the Decline of Our Middle Class,  on the Brian Lehrer Show.

Comments [17]

The Nuclear Conversation, Post-Quake

Monday, March 14, 2011

The earthquake and tsunami just overwhelmed these systems. They evacuated 180,000 people, and I think even senators like Joe Lieberman, who have been pretty favorably disposed to nuclear, said we need to put a halt to new plants in this country until we understand exactly what the failure modes have been in these Japanese plants.

Joseph Romm, senior fellow at Center for American Progress and founder of the blog, on the Brian Lehrer Show.

Comments [26]

For New York, A Slim Chance of Quake Damage

Monday, March 14, 2011

Given that New York City is a coastal metropolis only a few dozen miles downriver from a nuclear power plant, the recent disaster in Japan raises some questions about what impact seismic activity would have on our neck of the woods.

More: A Look at the Tri-State's Active Fault Line


Europe's Multicultural Challenge

Friday, March 11, 2011

The U.S. is a nation of immigrants; it has a social pact that is based on everybody coming and building a future together, so a high level of tolerance is required...In Europe, people have a much more static culture. Identities are tied to long, long histories in certain places, among certain races, with certain religions, and it's much more sensitive to anything that disrupts the norms.

Christopher Dickey, Paris bureau chief and Middle East regional editor for Newsweek Magazine, on the Brian Lehrer Show.

Comments [17]

King Hearings: Did We Learn Anything?

Friday, March 11, 2011

There were obvious omissions from the witness stand. Namely, the Muslim community groups that were not called to sort of speak to the accusations against them, like CAIR. What people were saying was inappropriate or wrong about the hearing was not simply its premise, but what they saw as King's cherry-picking of witnesses.

Arun Venugopal, WNYC reporter, talking about yesterday's hearings on American Muslims on the Brian Lehrer Show.

Comments [22]

Rep. King Hearing on Muslim Extremism: The Guest List

Wednesday, March 09, 2011


»» WNYC's Arun Venugopal is live-blogging the hearings from Washington DC Thursday morning

Rep. Peter King (R-NY) is set to hold a long-awaited (and for some, long-lamented) hearing on Muslim extremism in the United States Thursday. Specifically, the hearing will focus on what relationship, if any, exists between radical Islamists, American mosques and other domestic Muslim organizations.

Leading up to this week's hearings, a pro-Muslim demonstration was held in New York City on Sunday, where King was vilified for his insistence on such a hearing. However, another demonstration in favor of King's hearing was held at the same time, during which protesters said it was time for an inquiry into the activities of Muslim Americans.

The list of attendees for the Thursday hearing was released to the public on Monday. Here's a look at who is slated to speak.

Comments [6]

Ignoring Entitlements, Budget Battle Misses the Point

Tuesday, March 08, 2011


One understands why lawmakers aren't chomping at the bit to rein in entitlement spending: it's clear that broad reform is necessary, that systemic change is needed, and that attempts to fix these problems will amount to political suicide more often than not.

That's why, relative to the challenge of redesigning the United States' largest and most sacred social programs, Republicans have picked an incredibly easy fight. In 2012, they will be able to say that they campaigned on spending reduction during the midterms, and they followed through on their promise.


This Week in Politics, from Wisconsin to Libya

Monday, March 07, 2011

I think there are some bigger questions about what kind of foreign policy Barack Obama really believes in here. He doesn't want the U.S. to take direct military action without having true international involvement—not just a coalition of the willing, like President Bush had (that's not real), but something where our allies genuinely join us in addressing this problem.

Jonathan Alter, correspondent for Newsweek, discussing Libya and other political issues in the week ahead on the Brian Lehrer Show.

Comments [9]

Krugman on Labor, Debt, and the GOP's 'Magic Asterisk'

Friday, March 04, 2011

Remember how many schools and bridges and other things we have now were in fact built during the 1930s, done by the WPA. We could have been doing useful stuff. We had a lot of workers sitting idle when they could have been producing stuff that would actually make us richer in the long run. The weakness of the economy is the single biggest reason why we have deficits; it's not government spending. Spending has actually grown less since the recession hit than it did in the years prior to the recession.

New York Times columnist Paul Krugman, talking about the fate of the economic recovery on the Brian Lehrer Show.

Comments [20]

Much Ado About Newt Thing

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

This week in politics, the biggest news is barely news.

In the last days of February, reports surfaced that former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich was expected to announce the formation of a presidential exploratory committee "in 10 days," without Gingrich's official spokesman—or the man himself—saying a word.


Women and Democracy Building in the Middle East

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

They're demanding a new law to protect women from violence, and in fact they know they need democracy to do that work. They are focusing on these issues including the issue of democracy as an enabler for work, and social justice for young people in the country. When we think about what we should push for, we should really take the lead from them.

Karima Bennoune, professor at Rutgers School of Law and a specialist on the democracy movement, women's rights and religious extremism in the Middle East, on the Brian Lehrer Show.

Comments [4]

Talking to Madoff

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

He was not somebody who woke up one morning deciding to fleece everyone he knew and cared for. I frankly think that's true. He made hundreds of millions of dollars legitimately, which makes this whole Ponzi scheme that much more bizarre, because in some ways it's a vanity project.

Steve Fishman, contributor to New York Magazine, talking about his exclusive interviews with imprisoned Bernard Madoff on the Brian Lehrer Show.

Comments [12]

What's an 'Essential' Government Service?

Monday, February 28, 2011

Our government does a lot of things, which is why the prospect of a shutdown to begin later this week can be so daunting and confusing. Basically, during a shutdown, federal agencies must freeze all non-essential services. How does each organization decide what's essential? And what does that word even mean to a government that rarely agrees on what's important?

A shutdown would be bad; hopefully, the budget battle doesn't come to that. Best to be prepared, so here's a rundown of how our government makes these difficult choices.

Comments [2]

Medicaid Redesigned

Monday, February 28, 2011

We're trying to move more patients, the more difficult, high cost ones—people with disabilities, people on long term care, with mental illness—to move these populations into various forms of care coordination and management. Increasing investment in primary and preventive care: that's what the bulk of this package is about, and that's smart, right directions. What I'd hope is that if Medicaid moves in that direction, it will help bring the rest of the health care system along with it.

Richard Gottfried, New York's Assemblyman for District 64 and Health Committee chairperson, on the Brian Lehrer Show.

Comments [12]

Libyan Unrest and Gas Prices Here

Friday, February 25, 2011

[Prices] are not being moved by fundamentals. Supply is ample...What you have instead is a price being driven merely by the amount of money that flows into oil as an asset class, which in fact the oil market, or any commodity market, was never intended to be—an investment, a bet or a wager. In fact, it's become that, so when these geopolitical things happen you have this flood of money into a marketplace that was never designed to accept it, and you have an enormous spike in prices.

Dan Dicker, author of Oil's Endless Bid: Taming the Unreliable Price of Oil to Secure Our Economy, on the Brian Lehrer Show.

Comments [13]

Has the Huntsman Become the Hunter?

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Popular wisdom, at least since February, tells us that Jon Huntsman, Jr., is now a threat to President Barack Obama’s 2012 re-election campaign.

On January 31, Huntsman tendered his resignation as U.S.  Ambassador to China, a position for which he was tapped by the current president. In 2009, Huntsman resigned as the Republican Governor of Utah in order to join the Obama administration in this capacity. During his tenure as Ambassador, reports indicated that Huntsman and the president got along well, enjoying a solid working relationship despite coming from opposite parties. His term as Ambassador does not officially end until April, but Huntsman got into hot water in February by attending an anti-government protest in Beijing and getting caught on video.

Now that the band is breaking up, Obama’s camp is worrying—quite publicly—that Huntsman may go solo.