Chris Matthews; Mariusz Kwiecien on "Eugene Onegin; Soldiers at Home; Reddit Co-founder Alexis Ohanian

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Wednesday, October 02, 2013

Between the looming fiscal cliff, a government shutdown, and ideological differences, relationship between President Obama and the Speaker of the House John Boehner has been rocky for months. On today’s show: Hardball host Chris Matthews talks about how President Reagan and House Speaker Tip O’Neill worked together throughout the 1980s. Baritone Mariusz Kwiecien on singing the title role in the Metropolitan Opera’s production of “Eugene Onegin.” David Finkel shares stories of being embedded with an infantry battalion in Iraq—and again when they returned home. Alexis Ohanian, co-founder of Reddit, suggests ways to use the power of the Web to do good in the world.

Chris Matthews Remembers Tip O'Neil, Ronald Reagan, and Political Compromise

From 1980 to 1986, Speaker of the House Tip O’Neill waged a principled war of political ideals with President Reagan. The two men made compromises that shaped America’s future and became one of history’s most celebrated political pairings—and they remain a prime example of how ideological opposites can get things done. Chris Matthews was a top aide to Tip O’Neill, and in his book Tip and the Gipper, Matthews tells how the two leaders fought over the major issues of the day—welfare, taxes, covert military operations, and Social Security—but found their way to agreements that reformed taxes, saved Social Security, and brought peace to Northern Ireland.

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Baritone Mariusz Kwiecien in “Eugene Onegin”

Polish baritone Mariusz Kwiecien discusses playing the title role in Tchaikovsky’s tragic romance “Eugene Onegin” at the Metropolitan Opera. The title role of Eugene Onegin, a handsome but emotionally repressed playboy, has become one of his most famous roles, and he’s sung it all over the world, but this is his first time singing it at the Met. “Eugene Onegin” is staged by the actress and director Fiona Shaw. Russian maestro Valery Gergiev conducts.

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Soldiers at War and at Home

In The Good Soldiers, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist David Finkel gave an account from the front lines of Baghdad, embedded with the 2-16 Infantry Battalion during a grueling 15-month tour that changed them all forever. In his latest book, Thank You for Your Service, Finkel has again embedded with some of the men of the 2-16—this time at home. He creates a portrait of what life after war is like—not just for these soldiers, but for their wives, widows, children, and friends.

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Reddit Co-founder Alexis Ohanian on Entrepreneurship

Alexis Ohanian, co-founder of, share his ideas, tips and even his own doodles about harnessing the power of the Web for good. At 29, Ohanian has come to personify the dorm-room tech entrepreneur. Within a couple of years of graduating from the University of Virginia, Ohanian sold Reddit for millions of dollars. Without Their Permission is his personal guidebook for other aspiring entrepreneurs.

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Jellyfish Strike Again!

Last week, Lisa-ann Gershwin, Director of the Australian Marine Stinger Advisory Services and author of Stung!, called us all the way from Tasmania to talk about jellyfish. She explained that the recent surge in the global jellyfish population is more than just a pain in the neck (or side, or leg...) for beach swimmers. As it turns out jellies also pose a serious threat to our global infrastructure.

"There have been some amazing things that jellyfish have been getting up to -- behaving very, very badly," she says.

So we weren't all that surprised to see that jellyfish are making headlines again. The New York Times reported today that, "in an episode that evokes B-grade sci-fi movie plots from the 1950s," a bloom of moon jellyfish in the Baltic Sea brought down a nuclear reactor in southeastern Sweden.

The cooling system intake pipes at the Oskarshamn nuclear power plant became clogged by the otherwise innocuous animal, forcing a shut down. The plant's operator said a similar incident occurred in 2005.

The pipes have been unclogged... for now, but engineers are concerned a new jellyfish bloom could be lurking just around the corner. Cue Jaws music.



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