This week, the Senate blocked the confirmation of Richard Cordray, the former Ohio attorney general chosen by President Obama to lead the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. It boils down to yet another partisan fight: Republicans say the agency has too much power, and the White House says they won't weaken an agency that is supposed to protect consumers. Host Scott Simon talks with Joe Nocera, an op-ed columnist for The New York Times.
European Union leaders completed a marathon of treaty negotiations overnight to address the continent's debt crisis. Host Scott Simon checks in with NPR's Philip Reeves about how this new plan will impact Europe.
Opposition politicians and press pundits in France warn that the Sarkozy-Merkel plan to save the Euro will make France subservient to Germany. They say France will lose its sovereignty by giving a German-dominated EU control over French fiscal policy. NPR's Eleanor Beardsley pounded the pavement of Paris for days, however, and could not find a single rank-and-file French citizen who shared these fears.
While Newt Gingrich may not have universal appeal among Tea Party voters, he seems to be drawing wide support from a key Republican constituency, Christian conservatives. The religious right has significant influence in many early voting states, including Iowa, which has its caucuses coming up on January 3rd.
Last week, we spoke with artist John Morse. He creates traffic warning signs complete with haikus for the New York City Transportation Department.
JOHN MORSE: (Reading) Cyclist writes screenplay. Plot features bike lane drama. How pedestrian.
SIMON: Michael Haslam, in Bellows Falls, Vermont, asks: Is there a potential downside to the New York City haiku signs for pedestrians and bicyclists? Crossing street downtown, signs catch attention, enthrall; fatal distraction.