BTS 1/15/10: Haiti; Angelides Commission; Health Care Reform

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We begin tonight with the devastating earthquake and humanitarian crisis in Haiti. Frantz Voltaire, film-maker and historian has been appointed by Haiti’s President Rene Preval to coordinate international co-operation linkages between Canadian and Haitian organizations and the Caribbean in Montreal. He was part of Aristide’s first government and is now the head of CIDIHCA (Center of Documentation on Haiti and the Caribbean). He joins us for an update on the devastating disaster in Haiti, its political economic implications and more.

Then, we turn to the continuing drama unfolding around the financial crisis. The Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission (FCIC) is holding its first public hearings, chaired by California’s former State Treasurer Phil Angelides. The Commission is hearing testimony from the CEOS of the largest financial institutions, and many economists have publicly offered and printed the kinds of questions they hope the titans of finance will answer. Is Angelides asking tough enough questions? Or is he just shadow-boxing with CEOS who are playing dumb or trying to pass the buck? We talk to Tom Ferguson, who has written a two part series with Rob Johnson on the financial crisis for the International Journal of Political Economy. Ferguson will discuss his insights.

Finally, we speak with Kevin Drum of Mother Jones, who has been tracking and explaining the politics of the financial crisis. Kevin’s piece “Capital City” in the Jan-Feb issue of Mother Jones is an exposé of the politics of the financial crisis and the role of the finance lobby — the people who own Washington! Kevin has also been watching the negotiations between the house and Senate on the Health Insurance Reform bill, and we’ll ask him what he thinks.

Read more for info on tonight's guests:

1. Frantz Voltaire is a distinguished political scientist, publisher,producer, filmmaker and Director of CIDIHCA (Centre International de Documentation et d'Information Haïtienne). He has been appointed by Haitis’s President René Préval to coordinate international co-operation linkages between Canadian and Haitian organizations.

2. Tom Ferguson is Professor of Political Science at the University of Massachusetts, Boston; a member of the advisory board of the Institute for New Economic Thinking, and a Senior Fellow at the Roosevelt Institute. He is the coauthor, with Robert Johnson, of a two part series on the financial crisis that has just appeared in successive issues of the International Journal of Political Economy.

3. Kevin Drum is a political blogger for MOTHER JONES magazine. Prior to that he was a contributing writer for the WASHINGTON MONTHLY and authored their blog, "Political Animal." During the 1990s he was vice president of marketing for a software company in Irvine, California.