A bipartisan budget deal to avert another government shutdown comes before the Senate this week. The vast majority of House members from both parties approved the two-year budget agreement last week in a 332-to-94 vote. It is being hailed as a breakthrough compromise for Democrats and Republicans. The bill eases across-the-board spending cuts, replacing them with new airline fees and cuts to federal pensions. In a concession by Democrats, it does not extend unemployment benefits for 1.3 million people, which are set to expire this month. To discuss the deal, we are joined by David Cay Johnston, an investigative reporter who won a Pulitzer Prize while at The New York Times. He is currently a columnist for Tax Analysts and Al Jazeera, as well as a contributing editor at Newsweek.
Saturday marked one year since the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School that killed six educators and 20 first-graders in Newtown, Connecticut. The anniversary came a day after two students were shot and wounded by another student at a school in Colorado. The gunman later died, reportedly from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. President Obama marked the anniversary by urging Americans to push for tighter gun control. To talk more about gun violence, we are joined by poet, activist and educator Nikki Giovanni. She briefly taught the student responsible for the 2007 Virginia Tech massacre that left 32 people dead. She is currently a distinguished professor of English at Virginia Tech. She is the author of 28 books, most recently, "Chasing Utopia: A Hybrid."
We continue our conversation with award-winning poet, activist and educator Nikki Giovanni. She is currently a distinguished professor of English at Virginia Tech. In 1968, 45 years ago, she published her first collection of poetry, "Black Feeling Black Talk." She was soon dubbed the "Princess of Black Poetry." She has since published more than 30 books. Her latest is "Chasing Utopia: A Hybrid," a remarkable mix of poetry, essays and memoir. She was the first recipient of the Rosa L. Parks Woman of Courage Award, and she has also been awarded the Langston Hughes Medal for poetry. We also ask her to comment on the life and legacy of Nelson Mandela.
Nelson Mandela was laid to rest on Sunday as South Africa bid farewell to the leader of its long walk to freedom. Mandela was buried in his home village of Qunu 10 days after his death at the age of 95. More than 100,000 people visited Mandela’s coffin as it lay in state over the past several days. We hear from anti-apartheid activist Ahmed Kathrada, who was imprisoned at Robben Island with Mandela, speaking at Sunday’s funeral. And we are joined by journalist David Goodman, author of the book, "Fault Lines: Journeys into the New South Africa."
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