'Mad Dog' Defense, Alt Christmas Music, Cuban Poetry and Politics

Email a Friend
From and

Coming up on today's show:

  • Up to 2,000 veterans are planning to gather next week at the site of the Dakota Access Pipeline protests to act as “human shields.” Their timing is crucial: Monday is the deadline for mandatory evacuation of the site, and anyone who remains could be prosecuted for trespassing. Today we hear from Michael Wood Jr., a former Marine Corps sergeant and retired Baltimore City Police sergeant. He's one of the veterans planning to turn out at Standing Rock.
  • At a "thank you" rally last night in Cincinnati, President-elect Donald Trump announced that he has selected Retired Marine Corps General James Mattis, known as "Mad Dog," as his choice to be the next secretary of defense if he is confirmed by the Senate. Mattis retired in 2013 and would need a waiver from Congress to serve based on a requirement that a defense secretary be a civilian for at least seven years. David Rothkopf, CEO and editor of Foreign Policy, has the details on this announcement. 

  • Many Republicans who supported Trump are putting their trust in his ability to resurrect jobs in the coal industry. Can he deliver? Sheryl Gay Stolberg, mid-Atlantic bureau chief for our partners at The New York Times, weighs in. Ruby Couch, a coal miner for 35 years in Kentucky, is hopeful that Donald Trump will be able to save the coal industry.
  • Rafer Guzman, film critic for Newsday and The Takeaway, reviews this week’s big new releases, including "Jackie," "La La Land," and "Silence." Culture reporter Melissa Locker brings us alternative holiday songs to get you through the next few weeks.
  • Cuban-American poet and author Richard Blanco was the first Latino, the first immigrant, and the first openly gay inaugural poet, having read his poem "One Today" at President Obama's second inauguration in 2013. Today, he reflects on the death of Fidel Castro and the future of the relationship between the United States and Cuba.