Tag: andrew wheeler

Background Briefing: April 16, 2019


Paris the Day After the Burning of Notre Dame

We will begin and go to Paris for an update on local reactions following Monday’s fire which devastated the 850 year old Notre Dame cathedral, destroying its roof and spire and possibly damaging the surviving outer structure. With unconfirmed reports of an industrial accident during ongoing renovations, and the Paris prosecutor’s office ruling out arson and terrorism, we speak with Marie Verdier, a journalist at the daily French Catholic newspaper La Croix. She joins us to look into promises by billionaires to fund repairs with a 90% tax deduction and as the French people who looked on in stunned silence yesterday as this eight-centuries-old symbol of civilization burned in the heart of Paris, we will assess today’s mood of determination to rebuild and President Macron’s response to this national tragedy.


Amnesty International’s Condemnation of Ortega’s Brutality

Then on this first anniversary of the Nicaraguan government’s April 18, 2018 violent crackdown on protesters over social security reforms, we will look into today’s new report by Amnesty International that details continued violent repression by President Ortega and his wife’s government which is going under the radar due to so much focus on a similar failed state under an unpopular dictatorship spiraling into chaos and collapse in Venezuela. Christopher Sabatini, a professor at the School of International and Public Affairs at Columbia University and the founder and executive director of the new research non-profit, Global Americans and the editor of its news and opinion website LatinAmericaGoesGlobal.org, joins us to discuss Amnesty International’s condemnation of Ortega’s brutality in killing 535 and torturing and jailing over 600 students, activists and journalists.


Trump Sneaks in a Coal Lobbyist to Head the EPA

Then finally we will discuss today’s swearing-in of the former coal lobbyist Andrew Wheeler as Trump’s pick to run the Environmental Protection Agency. Though the ceremony was closed to the press and flew under the radar, we will look into Andrew Wheeler’s conflicts of interest and record of working against the EPA’s mission and his recent efforts to keep alive uneconomical coal-fired power plants which are the worst emitters of CO2 as well as mercury and hazardous air pollutants. Jeff Biggers, an award-winning historian, journalist, and author of “The United States of Appalachia” and “Reckoning at Eagle Creek”, joins us to discuss how Wheeler, who openly dismisses the science of climate change, is expected to cut the EPA’s budget by 30% and further this administration’s deregulatory agenda and futile attempt to revive one of the most environmentally-costly sources of energy, coal.