Iranians went to the polls in parliamentary elections today. With many reformists and opposition leaders not participating, the vote is a contest between hard-line supporters of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. Pressure from the West over Iran’s nuclear program has been a central issue. Barbara Slavin is Washington correspondent for AL-Monitor.com, a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council, and the author of Bitter Friends, Bosom Enemies: Iran, the US and the Twisted Path to Confrontation.
Guests: Barbara Slavin: AL-Monitor.com, @barbaraslavin1
Also Vladamir Putin is almost certain to regain the presidency in elections in Russia on Sunday, but that victory may be more a reflection of voters’ resignation than broad support for his twelve-year rule. Putin, who has been suggesting Russia could walk away from the Start II treaty and is accusing Hillary Clinton of funding protests in his country, is heavily favored. Matthew Rojansky is Deputy Director of the Russia and Eurasia Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.
Guests: Matthew Rojansky: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, @MatthewRojansky
The stock market’s roaring, and applications for unemployment are down, but there was disappointing news in Thursday’s economic data. In January manufacturing growth slowed, construction spending dipped, and Americans’ after-tax income fell, leading to a fourth straight month of weak consumer spending. Guest host Terrence McNally explores the continued gap between Wall Street and Main Street, and what we can do about it.
Although it’s down a bit today, the Dow hit 13,000 this week for the first time since May, 2008. NASDAQ flirted with 3000. One US company, Apple, is now valued at over $500 billion, higher than the gross domestic product of Poland, Belgium, Sweden, Saudi Arabia or Taiwan. Yet manufacturing growth has slowed, construction spending has slipped, and consumer spending remains weak. Both housing construction and Americans’ after-tax income actually fell in January. What accounts for the disparity? How important is it? What can be done about it? And how will all this play out in this year’s elections?
* Daniel Gross: Yahoo! Finance, @grossdm
* Robert H. Frank: Cornell University
* Tom Donlan: Barron’s National Business and Financial Weekly
* Dean Baker: Center for Economic and Policy Research, @DeanBaker13
* Gross’ ‘Better, Stronger, Faster: The Myth of American Economic Decline’
* Frank’s ‘The Darwin Economy: Liberty Competition and the Common Good’
* Baker’s ‘The End of Loser Liberalism: Making Markets Progressive’
How did the Egyptian people overthrow longtime ruler Hosni Mubarak and are the people of Egypt better off today?
I am very excited to speak with WAEL GHONIM, the Egyptian web exec who played a leading role in last year’s Tahrir Square protests. With the first anniversary of those protests and the recent elections in Egypt, we have a lot to talk about.
WAEL GHONIM was a little-known 30-year-old Google manager, unwilling to publicly criticize the Egyptian regime — silenced like many by resignation and the fear of reprisals — until he anonymously launched a Facebook campaign to protest the death of one particular Egyptian man at the hands of security forces. In his new memoir, he tells us – from his experience — why and how the Egyptian people finally rejected 30 years of oppression and found their voice.
Let me read two quotes from WAEL GHONIM: “Social media allow ideas to be shared. They are places where people can unite, Revolutions can begin. A new type of Revolution – Revolution 2.0”
and finally — “People have called me a hero, but that is ridiculous – this has not been a revolution of heroic individuals, but about people coming together to overcome dictatorship.
HAPPY. Are you happy? What makes you happy? Does money make you happy? Kids and family? Your work? Do you live in an environment that values and promotes happiness and well-being? Do you expect you’re going to get happier? How?
ROKO BELIC’S documentary HAPPY explores these sorts of questions. It weaves the latest scientific research from the field of “positive psychology” with stories from around the world of people whose lives illustrate what we’re learning.
The basic approach to the pursuit of happiness taken by many of us and by society in general isn’t delivering. We know more than we ever have about what science can tell us about happiness. And we have access to more diverse models and worldviews than ever before. This is a good time to ask some basic questions.
Though change has never been as rapid as it is today, adapting to new circumstance is so crucial to our survival that “love of the new” is hardwired into our brains at the deepest levels. The number of new things we confront – from products to information – has quadrupled in the last thirty years with no signs of slowing.
In NEW: Understanding Our Need for Novelty and Change, WINIFRED GALLAGHER points out that 15% of us are “neophiliacs,” biologically predisposed to passionately pursue new experiences. Another 15% are “neophobes” who resist change. Most of us fall in the middle.
WINIFRED GALLAGHER has written for magazines from The Atlantic Monthly to Rolling Stone. Her books include Just the Way You Are: How Heredity and Experience Create the Individual, a New York Times Notable Book of the Year, The Power of Place: How Our Surroundings Shape Our Thoughts, Emotions, and Actions; and Rapt: Attention and the Focused Life.