The U.S. government has begun a partial shutdown for the first time in 17 years after Congress failed to break a partisan deadlock by a midnight deadline. Some 800,000 federal workers are to be furloughed, and more than a million others will be asked to work without pay. The shutdown was spearheaded by tea party Republicans who backed a House bill tying continued government funding to a one-year delay of the Affordable Care Act and the repeal of a tax to pay for it. In addition to the furloughs, the shutdown will halt dozens of services provided by government agencies. We discuss the impact of a cutback in government services with Mother Jones reporter Tim Murphy, whose latest article is "48 Ways a Government Shutdown Will Screw You Over."
Beyond the well-known devastation caused by the BP oil spill in 2010, the oil and gas industry in Louisiana has also been blamed for destroying coastal wetlands that provide a vital barrier against flooding from storms like Hurricane Katrina. Speaking from the front lines of this issue in the Lower Ninth Ward of New Orleans, we hear from community organizer Jacques Morial, the son of the city’s first African-American mayor, Dutch Morial. We are also joined by John Barry, vice president of the Southeast Louisiana Flood Protection Authority — East, the levee board responsible for protecting most of greater New Orleans. Barry led the authority’s lawsuit against 97 oil and gas companies for destruction of the coast. On Monday, following pressure from Gov. Bobby Jindal, who opposed the lawsuit, the board’s nominating committee decided not to renominate Barry to another term on the flood board. Barry is also an award-winning historian and author of several books, including "Rising Tide: The Great Mississippi Flood of 1927 and How It Changed America."
The oil giant BP is back in court for the April 2010 accident that caused the worst offshore oil spill in U.S. history, killing 11 workers and leaking almost five million barrels of crude oil into the Gulf of Mexico. On Monday, the second phase of the trial began with lawyers accusing the oil company of lying about how much oil was leaking, failing to prepare for how to handle the disaster, and for not capping the leak quick enough. We are joined in New Orleans by Monique Harden, co-director of Advocates for Environmental Human Rights and an attorney who specializes in environmental justice concerns in New Orleans. In the aftermath of the BP spill, Harden’s organization exposed how the oil giant had contracted with a claims processing company that promoted its record of reducing lost dollar pay-outs for injuries and damage caused by its client companies. We are also joined by John Barry, vice president of the Southeast Louisiana Flood Protection Authority — East, which has brought a lawsuit against 97 oil and gas companies for destruction of the Gulf coastline, making the area more at risk from flooding and storm surges.
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