Streams

Ever feel like you missed the beginning of an important news story? Leonard will catch you up during Backstory. 

Recently in Backstory

Backstory: South Sudan Independence

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Last month, the southern Sudanese people voted 99% in favor of breaking away from northern Sudan and creating an independent state. Oliver August, Africa correspondent for The Economist, and Jehanne Henry, Sudan researcher for Human Rights Watch, explain the 2005 peace agreement that led to this vote and the challenges South Sudan faces in setting up a new nation.

Comment

Backstory: Obama's 2012 Defense Budget

Thursday, February 17, 2011

We’ll examine President Obama’s proposed 2012 defense budget with Winslow Wheeler, Director of the Straus Military Reform Project at the Center for Defense Information.

Comments [3]

Backstory: Omar Suleiman and the CIA

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Egypt’s new vice president, Omar Suleiman, has been heading up negotiations with the opposition. He’s also been described as “the CIA’s man in Cairo.” Lisa Hajjar, associate professor at University of California at Santa Barbara, examines Mr. Suleiman’s relationship with our government and his role in controversial U.S. rendition and interrogation operations in Egypt.

Comments [5]

Backstory: Earmarks

Thursday, February 10, 2011

We’ll explore how the Congressional earmarks process works, its history, why it has become so controversial and whether earmarks are a “necessary evil.” We’ll speak with Steve Ellis, Vice President of Taxpayers for Common Sense, and Dave Levinthal, editor of OpenSecrets.org.

Comments [1]

Backstory: Egypt & the Internet

Thursday, February 03, 2011

This week’s complete shutdown of the internet in Egypt was unprecedented in the history of the web. While the internet is up and running again in the country, the lessons from that decision still remain unclear. On today’s Backstory segment we’ll look at what the shutdown means for the internet service providers, human rights and the future of online activism. We'll speak with Andrew McLaughlin, former deputy chief technology officer in the Obama Administration and with Cynthia Wong an attorney at the Center for Democracy & Technology.

Comment

Backstory: Hosni Mubarak

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Earlier this week, people took to the streets of Cairo, protesting the government of President Hosni Mubarak. On today’s Backstory, Human Rights Watch researcher Heba Morayef and Ashraf Khalil, a Cairo-based journalist who has been covering the protests for Foreign Policy, discuss how Mubarak came to power and how he’s maintained control of Egypt over the last 29 years. Plus, we’ll get an update on one of the largest protests that the country has seen in more than 30 years.

Ashraf Khalil, a Cairo-based journalist who has been covering the protests for Foreign Policy.

Comment

Backstory Update: The Filibuster

Thursday, January 27, 2011

The U.S. Senate is poised to vote today on a number of rules changes, from making it harder for individual senators to hold up legislation to potentially limiting the filibuster.Susan Liss, Director of the Democracy Program at the Brennan Center for Justice, and Mimi Marziani, counsel for the Democracy Program, explain the potential change to the filibuster. They are both authors of a new study released by the Brennan Center for Justice called “Filibuster Abuse.”

Comment

Backstory: The Duvaliers

Thursday, January 20, 2011

This week “Baby Doc” Duvalier unexpectedly returned to Haiti after decades in exile. We’ll speak with Amy Wilentz, contributing editor for The Nation and the author of numerous books on the Duvaliers and their long and brutal history in Haiti. 

Comments [2]

Backstory: The Second Amendment

Thursday, January 13, 2011

The shooting in Arizona that resulted in the death of 6 people and the injury of 14 others, including Representative Gabrielle Giffords, has prompted a new round of soul-searching about one of the most contentious topics in American politics: gun-control. Both Representative Peter King (R-NY) and Representative Carolyn McCarthy (D-NY) have announced intentions to introduce new gun control legislation in Congress, but many the powerful National Rifle Association (NRA) lobby maintains that the right to bear arms is enshrined in the Bill of Rights and should not to be changed. Harvard University History Professor and New Yorker contributor Jill Lepore explains that the 2nd amendment was not always interpreted as the right to bear arms in the literal sense. She'll trace the history of this contentious amendment through its drafting to the present--and, along the way, will explain how the right to bear arms is inextricably linked with the unique way in which murders have been carried out on American soil.

Comments [15]

Update: Post-Communist Hungary

Thursday, January 06, 2011

Adam LeBor, Budapest correspondent for the London Times and the Economist magazine, gives us an update on the political situation in Hungary, including a new law passed by parliament that gives the government tighter control over the media.

Comments [3]

Backstory: Post-Soviet Moldova

Thursday, January 06, 2011

The year 2011 marks the 20th anniversary of Moldova—a nation created after the break-up of the Soviet Union and the subsequent reshuffling of borders. On this week's Backstory, Charles King, Professor of Government and International Affairs at Georgetown University, discusses Moldova's struggle to define itself. He's the author of the book The Moldovans: Romania, Russia, and the Politics of Culture, and of Odessa: Genius and Death in a City of Dreams, to be published in February.

Comment

Backstory: Cote d'Ivoire's Election Troubles

Thursday, December 30, 2010

After the results of Cote d'Ivoire's most recent election found the current president, Laurent Gbagbo, losing to Alassane Ouattra, Gbagbo refused to cede power and instead barricaded his opponent in the Golf Hotel. On this week's Backstory, we'll take a look at how a Cote d'Ivoire came to find itself in political chaos. We'll be joined by Adam Nossiter, the West Africa bureau chief of the New York Times, and Matt Wells, a West African researcher with Human Rights Watch.

Comments [1]

Backstory: What the WikiLeaks Documents Reveal about Corruption Around the World

Thursday, December 23, 2010

The revelations contained in the State Department cables that were published by WikiLeaks have captured headlines for the last few weeks. On today’s Backstory, Elizabeth Dickinson, Assistant Managing Editor for Foreign Policy, explains what the WikiLeaks cables have revealed about government corruption around the world—and how the United States has responded.

Comments [3]

Backstory: Europe’s Shaky Economy

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Last week, the European Union voted to help bail out Ireland’s government, hoping that it would help calm the markets. Matthew Bishop, the U.S. Business Editor and New York Bureau Chief for The Economist, explains whether the EU has succeeded, has helped stabilize the markets, and why investors continue to be worried about Spain, Portugal and Italy. Plus, a look at what the current crisis means for the future of the Euro.

Comments [4]

Backstory: The Food Safety Bill

Thursday, December 02, 2010

On Tuesday, the Senate passed a bill that would overhaul the nation’s food safety system. On this week’s Backstory, Time staff writer Bryan Walsh explains what’s in the Food Safety and Modernization Act, how it aims to improve food safety and minimize recalls, and how it compares to food safety systems in other countries.

Comments [1]

Backstory: Viktor Bout

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout was arraigned yesterday in a New York court on terrorism charges. On today’s Backstory, Stephen Braun, National Security Editor with the Associated Press and co-author of the book Merchant of Death, explains how Bout has shipped goods for everyone from the Taliban to the United Nations. Plus, we’ll find out why the United States wanted to prosecute him and why the Russian government has protested his extradition from Thailand, where he was arrested in 2008.

Comments [3]

Backstory: 130 Liberty Street

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Ten years after 9/11, workers are still dismantling the Deutsche Bank building, which was damaged after the South Tower of the World Trade Center fell. WNYC reporter Bob Hennelly discusses why it has taken so long to take it down and why it has cost $400 million (and counting).

Comments [1]

Backstory: This Week's G-20 in Seoul

Thursday, November 11, 2010

As the meeting of the world’s 20 richest economies gets under way in Seoul, Gillian Tett, the U.S. managing editor and an assistant editor for the Financial Times, describes what leaders hope to accomplish at the G-20 summit. Plus, a look at the global reaction to last week’s announcement that the Federal Reserve would buy $600 billion in Treasury Bonds.

Comments [2]

Backstory: The History of PTSD

Thursday, November 11, 2010

It’s Veteran’s Day, and on today’s first Backstory segment: Jon Alpert and Matt O’Neill, two of the producers of new documentary Wartorn: 1861-2010, discuss history of post traumatic stress disorder. Wartorn debuts on HBO tonight at 9:00 pm.

Comments [4]

Backstory: The Fed's Balance Sheet

Thursday, November 04, 2010

Yesterday the Federal Reserve announced it was buying $600 billion dollars in Treasury Bonds. We’ll find out why and what else is currently on the Fed’s swelling balance sheet on today’s Backstory segment. We’ll speak with Ryan Avent, online economics editor for The Economist.

Comments [1]