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Friday, February 25, 2011

Public worker unions are under pressure as states try to balance their budgets. Dean Baker and E.J. McMahon debate whether they’re the root of the fiscal problems.  Plus: if the U.S. doesn’t use Libyan oil, why are prices high at the gas pump? Environmentalist Lester Brown on his concerns for an imminent “global food bubble”; and film critics Dana Stevens and Matt Zoller Seitz talk about the changing nature of documentary films ahead of the Oscars. 

Public and Private Unions

E.J. McMahon senior fellow for Tax and Budgetary Studies at the Manhattan Institute and director of the Empire Center for New York State Policy, and Dean Baker, co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research, discuss the public perception of public unions, and if they should be held in equal standing with private unions.

Read a Recap and Join the Conversation at It's A Free Country

Non-Manhattan Commuting

David Giles, research associate at the Center for an Urban Future, discusses his new report showing that public transportation infrastructure is failing to meet the needs of the outer four boroughs. Population and jobs are growing faster in the outer boroughs, and more people are commuting to places that are not Manhattan than ever before.

If you are an inter-outer-borough commuter, call in and tell us your story. Call in at 10:25 or share your story here!

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World on the Edge

Lester Brown, president of the Earth Policy Institute and author of World on the Edge: How to Prevent Environmental and Economic Collapse, talks about how the world's economic future is tied to the environment. 

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Unrest in the Petrol States

Steve LeVine of "The Oil and the Glory" blog at Foreign Policy, and Dan Dicker author of Oil's Endless Bid: Taming the Unreliable Price of Oil to Secure Our Economy, discuss the unrest in the Middle East and its relationship to the soaring price of oil and the rising price of gas.

Read a Recap and Join the Conversation at It's A Free Country

Open Phones: Teachers and Parents

On the last day of the Presidents Week vacation, we're asking teachers and parents to call in and talk about teaching. Teachers have been in the middle of a national discussion about union benefits, but this is a chance for an honest conversation about teaching from both parents and educators.

This is a Presidents Week opportunity for parents and teachers, while you're both home, to get together here and talk about teaching.

Teachers, what else do you think the public needs to know about job? Parents, what do you want to know about what teachers do?

→ Leave your comments at It's A Free Country or call 212.433.WNYC at 11:20!

The State of Documentary Film

What's more important in a documentary: great filmmaking or great cause? Dana Stevens, Slate's film critic and co-host of the podcast Culture Gabfest, and Matt Zoller Seitz, T.V. and film critic for Salon, discuss this year's Oscar nominated documentaries and just what a documentary should be anyway.

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