Federal Budget, 1st Amendment Issues in S.F., Slurry Spill – Today on Here and Now

by Brad Yost on September 19, 2011

1:06pm: President Obama is calling for over half a trillion dollars in cuts to programs like Medicare and Medicaid, but he also wants to repeal the Bush era tax cuts for couples earning more than $250-thousand a year, and a new tax on the wealthy.  The White House said that the President will veto Medicare cuts unless they include a tax increase on the wealthy.  In both tone and details, the plan represents a shift from the compromise deal the President had offered Republican leaders during the debt ceiling debate.

1:12pm: A battle over First Amendment freedoms is being waged in San Francisco, after transit police shot and killed a homeless men they say lunged at them with a knife.  Protests followed.  Then last month officials from BART, Bay Area Rapid Transit, cut cell phone service to some  stations to try to stop a planned flash mob protest they said was going to interrupt service — this caused more protests.  And on Sept. 8th, the  transit police handcuffed and detained journalists they said were interfering with their handling of a protest.  All this comes as other cities try to figure out how to handle sometimes-violent flash mobs organized via social media.

1:35pm: It’s been a bit more than 10 years since the Martin County Coal Slurry Spill, when the bottom of a coal sludge impoundment owned by Massey Energy broke into an abandoned underground mine below. The slurry came out of the mine openings, sending an estimated 306 million gallons of sludge down two tributaries of the Tug Fork River. By morning, Wolf Creek was oozing with the black waste; on Coldwater Fork, a 10-foot-wide stream became a 100-yard expanse of thick sludge. The spill was over five feet deep in places and covered nearby residents’ yards. The water supply for over 27,000 residents was contaminated, and all aquatic life in Coldwater Fork and Wolf Creek was killed. WFPL’s environmental reporter, Erica Peterson, speaks with a sociologist about how this spill affected attitudes of area residents, and continues to reverberate in their lives.

1:50pm: Wilco frontman Jeff Tweedy discusses “The Whole Love,”  the new studio album scheduled for release next week.

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