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February 21 2014

09:00

February 20 2014

22:11
07:31

January 31 2014

08:41

Week In The News: Southern Freeze, State Of The Union, So Long Bernanke

A southern deep freeze. State of the Union. Bye, bye, Ben Bernanke. Our weekly news roundtable goes beyond the headlines.

In this aerial view looking at I-75 north at Mt. Paran Rd., abandoned cars are piled up on the median of the ice-covered interstate after a winter snow storm Wednesday, Jan. 29, 2014, in Atlanta. Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal said early Wednesday that the National Guard was sending military Humvees onto Atlanta's snarled freeway system in an attempt to move stranded school buses and get food and water to people. Georgia State Patrol troopers headed to schools where children were hunkered down early Wednesday after spending the night there, and transportation crews continued to treat roads and bring gas to motorists, Deal said. (AP)

In this aerial view looking at I-75 north at Mt. Paran Rd., abandoned cars are piled up on the median of the ice-covered interstate after a winter snow storm Wednesday, Jan. 29, 2014, in Atlanta. Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal said early Wednesday that the National Guard was sending military Humvees onto Atlanta’s snarled freeway system in an attempt to move stranded school buses and get food and water to people.  (AP)

Guests

David Wessel, director, Hutchins Center on Fiscal & Monetary Policy at the Brookings Institution. Contributing correspondent for The Wall Street Journal.  (@davidmwessel)

Kelly O’Donnell, Congressional correspondent for NBC News. (@KellyO)

Jack Beatty, On Point news analyst.

From Tom’s Reading List

Atlanta Journal-Constitution: Interstate-clearing focus turns over 2,000 abandoned cars — “More than 2,000 cars still left abandoned on metro Atlanta interstates as of Wednesday evening, and with road conditions now passable city-wide, state officials were turning their focus Thursday to getting those cars safely off the roads.”

Reuters: Households, trade keep U.S. economy humming in fourth quarter – “Gross domestic product grew at a 3.2 percent annual rate in the final three months of last year, the Commerce Department said on Thursday, in line with economists’ expectations. While that was a slowdown from the third-quarter’s brisk 4.1 percent pace, it was a far stronger performance than had been anticipated earlier in the quarter and welcome news in light of some drag from October’s partial government shutdown.”

The Economist: Praying for peace — “Only  a few weeks ago the dismissal of the Ukrainian government by President Viktor Yanukovych and his offer to appoint an opposition leader as the country’s new prime minister would have had an electric effect. It would have been cheered by protesters on Kiev’s Independence Square (the Maidan) as an important victory. It might even have persuaded them to unblock the roads in the capital. Not any more. On January 28th Mr Yanukovych at last surrendered Nikolai Azarov, a long-serving but ineffectual prime minister. But that was met with a shrug of the shoulders by those manning the barricades in Kiev. “

December 26 2013

15:49

The Final Straw: An Ukrainian Anarchosyndicalist perspective on Euromaidan

In late November of 2013, Kiev and other parts of Ukraine saw the building of spontaneous plaza occupations and street demonstrations against President Yanukovich apparent decision to stall steps towards integrating Ukraine into the European Union. The protests, known as euromaidan or EuroPlaza in Ukrainian, called on the ruling government to move forward with the integration, fearing that the stalling was a sign that the Ukraine was giving in to pressure from the competing Customs Union (made up of Russia, Belarus and Kazhakstan) which had been courting Ukrainian participation. The protests are ongoing, despite the signature of Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych into a deal with Russia for promised purchases of billions of dollars of Ukrainian products and a 30% discount on Russian Natural Gas. Euromaidan have been compared in scale, and sadly in lack of critical debate about issues among the populace, to the 2004 Ukrainian Orange revolution which saw the rising to power of those who would become the status quo today. This week on the Final Straw, we'll be speaking with Denys. Denys is an organizer and activist with the Kiev Local of the Autonomous Worker's Union, a Revolutionary Syndicalist turned Anarcho-Syndicalist organizing and propaganda group in the capital of the Ukraine. We'll spend the hour discussing the political system in that country, the spectrum of parties, influence of media and oligarchs and radical groups on the far left and far right. Later on in the hour, Denys will address his philosophy, Anarchosyndicalism via Synthesist Anarchism, and what the AWU in Kiev and elsewhere has been able to achieve. More on the AWU can be found at http://avtonomia.net . We'll also speak briefly about a protest in Kiev in solidarity with struggling workers in Kazakhstan on the anniversary of the Zhanaozen Massacre of December 16, 2011. Archives of this show can be found at thefinalstrawradio.noblogs.org and you can contact us at thefinalstrawradio at riseup dot net.

December 13 2013

08:32

Week In The News: Budget Deal, Mourning Mandela And The Struggle In Ukraine

A budget deal, a handshake, a struggle in Ukraine and the world mourns Mandela. Our weekly news roundtable goes behind the headlines.

Guests

Nancy Cordes, Congressional correspondent for CBS News. (@nancycordes)

Michael Hirsh, chief correspondent for the National Journal. (@michaelphirsh)

Jack Beatty, On Point news analyst.

From Tom’s Reading List

National Journal: Behind the ‘Volcker Rule’: The Mutt-and-Jeff Team That Tackled Wall Street – “The Volcker Rule was, in fact, in grave danger of being loopholed to death right up until its adoption this week. And in the end it was largely one regulator, more than any other, stood firm against those efforts and managed to avert the worst of the watering down: Gary Gensler, the outgoing chairman of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission. As diminutive in stature as Volcker is towering, Gensler was the Jeff to Volcker’s Mutt, an essential part of a de facto team.”

Washington Post: Sebelius: Enrollment up with improving HealthCare.gov; review of problems launched — “The administration announced Wednesday that about 365,000 Americans chose health plans during the first two months of the federal and state insurance marketplaces, bringing the total to more than triple the meager enrollment from October. A report accompanying the announcement showed that the number of people who collectively signed up for coverage in the 14 states running their own insurance exchanges continued to outpace the total enrollment from the three dozen states relying on the federal marketplace.”

Reuters: U.S. schools look to guards, technology a year after Sandy Hook — “Schools are aiming to stop gun scares and killings, such as the shooting deaths of three students at an Ohio high school in February 2012, the wounding of two students at a California high school in January 2013 and a potential mass shooting at a Georgia elementary school in August that was averted when a school bookkeeper talked the gunman into laying down his AK-47 assault rifle. The number of school resource officers or law enforcement officers assigned to schools has risen to levels not seen since the aftermath of the 1999 Columbine High School ‘massacre’ in Colorado, in which 13 people were shot to death, said Maurice Canady, executive director of the National Association of School Resource Officers.”

December 04 2013

05:52

Ukraine Splits Over East-West Economic Rivalry

The battle over Ukraine. The reach of the West. Russia’s sphere of influence. Ukrainians in the streets.

Guests

Sergei Loiko, Moscow correspondent for The Los Angeles Times, covering the protests in Kiev.

Serhii Plokhii, professor of Ukrainian history at Harvard University. Author of “Ukraine And Russia; Representations of the Past” and “The Origins of the Slavic Nations: Premodern Identities in Russia, Ukraine and Belarus.”

Gwendolyn Sasse, professor of politics and international relations at the University of Oxford. Author of “The Crimea Question: Identity, Transition And Conflict,” “Europeanization and Reorganization in the EU’s Enlargement to Central and Eastern Europe: The Myth of Conditionality” and “Ethnicity and Territory in the Former Soviet Union: Regions in Conflict.”

From Tom’s Reading List

Los Angeles Times: Ukrainian opposition fails to pass no-confidence vote in parliament — “After several days of of mass protests over President Viktor Yanukovich’s refusal to sign the trade and association agreement with Europe, the opposition leaders counted on support from communist lawmakers and defectors from the ruling Party of Regions faction to pass the measure. A vote of no confidence was seen as a first step in bringing down the government.”

Reuters: Ukraine government survives in parliament while rage boils outside — “The government’s November 21 decision to reject a deal on closer trade ties and integration with the EU has laid bare once more a split in world view between Ukraine’s Russian-speaking East and Ukrainian-speaking West.Protesters see the rejection of the EU trade deal as a fundamental shift in the future outlook of their country, away from the European mainstream and back into the orbit of their former Soviet masters in Moscow.”

The Economist: Battle for Ukraine – “Ukraine is not Belarus. It has a vibrant middle class, television is controlled by oligarchs (many of whom are extremely angry with Mr Yanukovych) and, most importantly, a diverse population. Although Mr Yanukovych, whose popularity rating is less than 20%, is still backed by his native Russian-speaking industrial region of Donetsk, he has never had much legitimacy in the Ukrainian-speaking west of the country. His latest actions could lead to a split in the country, with its western part and Kiev simply refusing to recognise the government’s authority.”

May 24 2011

14:16

DocArchive: Alive In Chernobyl (Part One - 26 April 2011)

On the 25th anniversary of the nuclear disaster at the Chernobyl power plant, presenter Olga Betko travels to Chernobyl - in her native Ukraine - to find the people who are living in what is known as the "dead zone".

April 03 2011

06:10

Bloodlands: Europe Between Hitler and Stalin on WNYC

"Yale University's Timothy Snyder discusses the mass murders committed by the Nazi and Stalinist regimes, and looks at how both the German and the Soviet killing sites fell behind the iron curtain after World War II, leaving the history of mass killings there in darkness. In Bloodlands: Europe Between Hitler and Stalin, he looks at what happened under totalitarianism, when Stalin killed millions of his own citizens and Hitler murdered six million Jews, as well as nearly as many other Europeans." From http://www.wnyc.org/shows/lopate/2010/dec/10/bloodlands-europe-between-hitler-and-stalin/ This is the best book I've read on WWII in years, from a reading habit of nearly 100 books. It's a side of the war only glimpse.
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