Stephen Reader

Stephen Reader appears in the following:

Egypt Protests One Week In

Monday, January 31, 2011

This is Egypt focusing on Egypt. Yes, Mubarak has been one of the major allies of US administrations for decades now, and they knew very well that he was a dictator and ran a police state, but this revolution is about getting rid of his tyranny and his dictatorship of 30 years. It has nothing to do with the US and Israel. It has everything to do with Egypt saying this it the time for our freedom and dignity..

Mona Eltahawycolumnist and public speaker on Arab and Muslim issues, on The Brian Lehrer Show

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At Anti-Mubarak Rally, Anger and Optimism from Egyptians

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Hundreds of protesters gathered outside the United Nations headquarters in New York City Saturday, calling for the resignation of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak. They were optimistic about Egypt's future, though many complained that it was time for the United States government to start supporting the Egyptian people and not their dictator.

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Protests in Yemen

Friday, January 28, 2011

All of them have one common denominator, which is injustice, social injustice. All of those regimes had privileged certain groups in society and amassed wealth through illegal means like corruption...The people needed to be the rulers, not the other way around. If Tunisia did it, why shouldn't we do it?

Walid Al-Saqaf, founder and administrator of Yemen Portal, speaking about protest in Yemen and the rest of the Arab world on The Brian Lehrer Show

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Closing Tax Loopholes: Obama's Best Shot?

Thursday, January 27, 2011

By all measures, President Obama began his 2012 campaign on Tuesday night. He used big numbers—not just ones with dollar signs attached, but ones that exist only in imaginations: 2035. 2020. 2015. The thinking was grand, the planning long-term, the rhetoric Sputnik-ed.

And yet, one of the president’s proposals in his State of the Union address was all about the fine print: closing tax loopholes. Absent from the speech was a broad-stroke promise to raise or lower taxes. The closest Obama came to doing so was a thinly-veiled threat to eventually let the Bush tax cuts expire for the wealthiest Americans, this after agreeing to extend them only last month.

Regardless of what happens to the top tax bracket, focusing on tax loopholes is a shrewd move politically, particularly with the president’s 2012 reelection campaign now in view. It realigns the tax debate on the minutiae of the federal code, getting away from the same old tax-versus-spend back and forth.


The Elephant in the Room? Tea Partier to Lead NH GOP

Monday, January 24, 2011

On Saturday, political newcomer and Tea Party activist Jack Kimball was elected chairman of the New Hampshire GOP, adding new complexity to the 2012 presidential race—the first contest for the presidency with Tea in the mix—since all eyes will be on New Hampshire and its first-in-the-nation primary next January.


How Do You Cut Unfunded Mandates?

Monday, January 24, 2011

If the cap is going to be a vehicle to attempt to have property tax relief, it has to be done in conjunction with or preceded by mandate relief items that we're talking about. The numbers don't add up otherwise, and there will be devastation in communities in terms of the services provided, the employment within municipalities is already way down, it would be decimated even further.

Peter Baynes, executive director of the New York Conference of Mayors (NYCOM), on The Brian Lehrer Show

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Olbermann Departs MSNBC

Monday, January 24, 2011

I think Olbermann peaked in a way during the Bush administration because he was able to play offense, and he really touched a nerve with liberal viewers who felt the media had rolled over for President Bush on the Iraq invasion. Particularly in this Obama year, as he got angrier, people at MSNBC feel like his his anger kind of consumed him. I think he became more predictable, more strident, more partisan, and even some liberals got tired of him.

Howard Kurtz, Washington Bureau chief at The Daily Beast, on The Brian Lehrer Show

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What is 'O' Thinking?: You Tell Us

Friday, January 21, 2011

Next Tuesday sees the release of "O: A Presidential Novel," which tells the story of an incumbent president named 'O' seeking reelection in 2012. It's an anonymous author's (yes, anonymous) attempt to imagine what's going on in the political landscape—and the president's head—at the end of his first term.

Take a look, then play the game and tell us: What is 'O' thinking?


What Tunisia's Revolution Means to Arab Americans

Friday, January 21, 2011

I was with my family two weeks ago in Tunisia for the holidays, and we were surprised. It was a country that was waiting to explode. People, they start talking, they are not scared anymore.

—Sophia, a caller originally from Tunisia, on The Brian Lehrer Show

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House Votes to Repeal 'Obamacare,' Curtain Closes on Political Theater

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

The House of Representatives today voted to pass H.R.2, dubbed “Repealing the Job-Killing Health Care Law Act,” by a vote of 245-189, with only four Democrats joining the Republican bloc in voting for repeal. Members of the House of Representatives spent the past two days on the floor arguing over the bill's merits.

The debate was marked by a now-familiar back-and-forth between Democrats and Republicans, with each trotting out almost as many numbers and anecdotes as there are dollars in the national debt. Given that the bill was certain to pass, but almost certainly has no future beyond the House, this week's proceedings were closer in character to a production of Waiting for Godot than meaningful debate.

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Medicaid: US vs. NYC

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

The US attorney's office stepped into a hornet's nest they weren't expecting here. Not only Mayor Bloomberg, but advocates for the disabled as well have come out and said, "Gee, we want people to stay at home; that's the optimal thing and in general it's less expensive." Their answer of course is, we're not taking sides on policy, this is just out-and-out fraud.

Anemona HartocollisNew York Times reporter, on The Brian Lehrer Show

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Is the Individual Mandate Constitutional?

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

There are very few things the government forces you to do. Participate in the draft, fill out a census form, participate in a jury...but the argument in favor of this is, whether you think it's unprecedented or not, the problems people believe we are confronting with health care are unprecedented, they are certainly commercial in effect, and are therefore squarely within Congress's ability to regulate interstate commerce to force people to participate.

Nathaniel Persily, Charles Keller Beekman Professor of Law and Political Science at Columbia Law School, on The Brian Lehrer Show

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NJ's Pension Problem: 'A Bipartisan Adventure in Malfeasance.'

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

We are basically seeing that the very tough debate is being presaged in the public sector union that we're having nationally about the social contract that existed and was implied in Social Security. Those were drafted in another time when people didn't live so long, and all the actual presumptions were based on that. Now people are living longer and we have to renegotiate those contracts. That said, what the unions are concerned about is that Christie is leaving out the super wealthy who have been doing really well throughout this whole period.

Bob Hennelly, WNYC reporter, on The Brian Lehrer Show

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The Republican Case for Health Care Repeal: Certain Uncertainty

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

The House of Representatives begins debate today on a bill called “Repealing the Job-Killing Health Care Law Act.” (Speaker John Boehner's office dialed back the language on the legislation in a Sunday blog post, calling it "job-crushing" instead of "job-killing," but the bill's name remains the same.)

To make their case for repeal, House Republicans are honing in on the massive health care overhaul's effect on employment, at a time when that’s the most sensitive issue on American minds.

How does the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, which aims to expand health insurance coverage and reduce costs, kill jobs? The Republican majority offers this report, Obamacare: A Budget-Busting, Job-Killing Health Care Law.

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What Would MLK Add to the Debate about Public Employees?

Friday, January 14, 2011

The thing that sort of set it apart from most strikes was the sign the men made themselves, and it said "I am a man." That meant this was about human rights, being respected as person, not only about wages, benefits, the kind of things you try to get when you form a union.

Michael Honey, former Southern civil rights organizer and professor of labor and ethnic history at the University of Washington-Tacoma, on The Brian Lehrer Show.

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Why We're Still Trying to Catch Osama Bin Laden

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Finding people is tricky, particularly if they're not making the kind of errors that get you caught. Typically, criminals go to their mother's house or call their family. Bin Laden is not doing these things. On the other hand, this is a big failure, and we've spent half a trillion dollars on our intelligence agency since 9/11, and this basic question, which after all the war was about, has not been answered, which was bringing Bin Laden to justice.

Peter Bergen, author of The Longest War: The Enduring Conflict between America and Al-Qaeda, on The Brian Leher Show.

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Broad Strokes and Uphill Battles in Christie's State of the State

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

What these addresses usually become, he goes around the room and talks about the environment, law enforcement, transportation, and you can see the various lobbyists and interested parties perk up whenever he mentions their little cookie jar, so to speak. He didn't do that this time. He talked only about very specific issues: education, the pensions problem, taxes. And he was scarce on specifics with taxes, but he did say that he got through the two percent cap on property taxes, and that is an important achievement.

Mike Kelly, columnist at New Jersey's The Record, on The Brian Leher Show.

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Christie Lays Out Budget, Pension, and Education Reform in State of the State

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

On Tuesday afternoon, beginning his second year in office, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie gave his first State of the State address. The speech laid out his plans to reform the state's budget, pension system, and educational institutions, including promises not to raise taxes, and a proposal for merit-based pay for teachers.

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Tucson Shooting: The Continued Fallout

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

All of this bleeds into the mood, and the atmosphere in the country, the sense of urgency. It's the difference between having a debate and political philosophy, and constantly communicating to people, who are unstable and who are on the fringe or who feel deeply threatened and frustrated, that this is the armaggedon, and the fate of the Republic and the fate of our children rests on it. That kind of overheated rhetoric is on cable TV every night, the blogs of both ideologies every night. That kind of rhetoric inevitably leads people to see themselves as actors in a grand human historic drama, in a way that I think becomes closely linked to a tendency toward violence.

Matt Bai writer of the Political Times column for The New York Times, on The Brian Leher Show.

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Keeping Score for Cuomo

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Now that Governor Cuomo has taken office and given his first State of the State address, it's time to track what he does with his mandate. Here's a guide to the campaign promises Andrew Cuomo made as part of his "New NY Agenda." As he enacts these proposals, abandons them, or changes direction altogether, we'll be keeping score. For now, here's how the scorecard looks after the State of the State address.

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