BTS 1/1/10: New Year's Day Special

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Happy New Year to all of our listeners!

Today we'll be featuring some of Suzi's great interviews from 2009. It's been a tumultuous year of deeping economic crisis and political dysfunction. We start with Suzi's interview with Harvard law professor Elizabeth Warren, who also chairs the Congressional Oversight Panel of the government's rescue of the financial system. She discussions the Wall Street rescue, what could be in store for the near future in terms of the economy, and what this will mean for the crisis of the disappearing middle class.

Then, we feature an installment of Suzi's "Sounds Like Socialism" series, which aired earlier this year. She speaks with Bill Fletcher Jr. about his thoughts on socialism, bailouts, and the prospects for labor and the Left in the current economic climate.

Finally, we look at the cultural crisis at the root of our political impasse. Chris Hedges, Pulitzer Prize winning journalist, joins Suzi to talk about his new book, Empire of Illusion: the End of Literacy and the Triumph of Spectacle. He sees our culture as detached from intellectualism, instead on relying on spectacle to distract us from the economic, political, and moral collapse around us.

Read More for info on tonight's guests:

1. Professor Elizabeth Warren is the Leo Gottlieb Professor of Law at Harvard University. She chairs the Congressional Oversight Panel that oversees the government's rescue of the financial and at the same time has emerged as Main Street’s greatest ally against the credit card industry and their lobbyists who keep finding ways to entrap and gouge. Matt Taibbi thinks she should run for President, others want her in charge of the new Consumer Financial Protection Agency. (and she is still teaching at Harvard!) She has written eight books and more than a hundred scholarly articles dealing with credit and economic stress. Her latest two books, The Two-Income Trap and All Your Worth, were both on national best seller lists. Warren was the Chief Adviser to the National Bankruptcy Review Commission, and she was appointed as the first academic member of the Federal Judicial Education Committee. The National Law Journal has repeatedly named Professor Warren as one of the Fifty Most Influential Women Attorneys in America, and SmartMoney Magazine recently designated her one of the SmartMoney 30 for 2008.

2. Bill Fletcher Jr. is a longtime labor activist (AFL-CIO, SEIU, Mail Handlers, and UAW, District 65), former President of TransAfrica Forum, is a Senior Scholar for the Institute for Policy Studies in Washington, DC. Fletcher is a graduate of Harvard and has written numerous articles published in a variety of newspapers and magazines. He is also co-author (with Fernando Gapasin) of Solidarity Divided, University of California Press (2008), and co-author of the pictorial booklet The Indispensable Ally: Black Workers and the Formation of the Congress of Industrial Organizations, 1934-1941.

3. Chris Hedges, weekly Truthdig columnist, was a foreign correspondent for nearly two decades in The Middle East, Central America, Africa and the Balkans. Hedges was part of the New York Times team that won the 2002 Pulitzer Prize coverage of global terrorism and he received the 2002 Amnesty International Global Award for Human Rights Journalism. He is the author of the best selling American Fascists and War Is a Force That Gives Us Meaning. Other books include: I Don’t Believe in Atheists (2008), Losing Moses on the Freeway: The 10 Commandments in America (2005), and What Every Person Should Know About War. He is a senior fellow at The Nation Institute and a Lecturer in the Council of the Humanities and the Anschutz Distinguished Fellow at Princeton University.