Episode 51 - Leaders Retreat


  • berlusconi_publish.jpgGo Greek for a Week
  • Berlusconi Sings
  • Call of Duty A Ntl. Pastime
  • Heidecker vs Herman Cain 
  • Michael Jackson Reconsidered
  • Tom Hayden on Occupy
  • The Other 7 Wonders
  • 5 Reasons Not to Bomb Iran


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berlus_econ_publish.jpgExecutive Casualties

The economic crisis in Europe claimed two leaders this week. Papandreou and Berlusconi had decades of leadership experience between them, but that didn't save them from the force of the storm.

Anxious leaders in France scrambled to avoid the same fate, bringing in new taxes and cutting spending before it's too late. The French cut pensions, schools, heatlh spending- considered the toughest austerity measures go greek_publish.jpgsince World War II- all to try and save their AAA credit rating.

If Greece could roll back the clock, they would've made the same cuts years ago.

The perks and pensions of Greek workers are exposed in a new British reality TV show Go Greek for a Week.

The program explains the backstory of the Greek economic meltdown, but it doesn't sit well with the average Greek. Critics call the show "humiliating" and say it misrepresents the harsh reality of post-austerity Greece.

The producer of Go Greek for a Week defends her show.

berlusconi_wave1_publish.jpgExit Silvio

Berlusconi, once derided on the cover of The Economist as "unfit to lead", may well retire to hedonistic pursuits. But those lurid parties and inappropriate consorts will not be his legacy as the leader of Italy.

Berlusconi failed to grow the Italian economy, didn't invest in infrastructure, created huge debt, and made no reforms.

Now Italy, the world's 8th largest economy, sits atop $2.6 trillion in debt. Italy's options are grim. We look at one of the options that may be open to Silvio Berlusconi: a music careeer.

call of duty_publish.jpgCall of Duty Kills

The latest video game in the Call of Duty series racked up a record-breaking $400 million US in sales in North America and the U.K. on the first day after its release.

Now the manufacturers are eyeing the kind of year-round moneymaking that pro sports franchises are able to spin off.

They've created a virtual league that any player can join, track stats and watch other communities (or empires) rise and fall.

It might be the next step for a pasttime that has a huge a passionate fanbase but no non-virtual real estate. We ask a gaming expert for his opinion. 

caine_nov10_publish.jpgSongs in the Key of Cain

Herman Cain got a gift at the Republican debates on Wednesday night: Rick Perry.

Perry's gaffe took the heat off Cain, who was sinking under the emerging details of alleged sexual harrassment.

During the debate he offered this lukewarm defense: "For every one person that comes forward with a false accusation, there are probably thousands who will say that none of that sort of activity ever came from Herman Cain."

Herman Cain got anopther gift this week, a nine song tribute album from comedian Tim Heidecker called Cainthology. Tim puts hinself in the stange twilight of the Cain true believer to create the music. He'll explain as best he can.

MJ_publish.jpgThis is It

Dr. Conrad Murray was found criminally responsible for the death of Michael Jackson on Monday, a final dark chapter in Jackson's extrordinary life. Obscured by drugs, surgeries, allegations and weirdness, Jackson's enormous talent grows even more elusive.

John Jeremiah Sullivan looks at Jackson's genius with new eyes in his essay "Michael" from his perceptive anthology of essays Pulphead.

John Jeremiah Sullivan talks to us about the King of Pop.

hayden_publish.jpgOccupy Challenged

Occupy Halifax was dismantled on Friday. Tents were seized and protestors arrested.

In London Ontario earlier, the occupy site was removed during the night. Police closed the area and no one was arrested. "There had come a time after 17 days of occupation of our park where it became untenable because we needed to prepare the park for events," said the mayor.

City goverments all over Canada are saying a variation of the same thing this week, with some citing the London example as their motivation.

Tom Hayden was part of one of the longest and most organized protests of the 1960s, the demonstrations around the Democratic convention of 1968 and the ensuing Chicago 7 trials. He's been following the occupy protests and offers advice to the movement as they face challenges from civic governments.

iran nukes_publish.jpg5 Reasons Not to Bomb Iran

The IAEA says Iran's moving closer to building nuclear weapons. That's reopened discussions of an Israeli military strike on Iran's installations to stall or wipe out their nuclear program.

Aaron David Miller writes "The Israelis might decide for any number of reasons that they must launch a military strike at some point...as a tiny nation living on the knife's edge with a dark history and a track record of successful pre-emption against military threats."

But he recommends caution. Aaron David Miller gives us 5 reasons why the strike is a bad idea.

7 wonders_publish.jpg7 Wonders

And the Bay of Fundy, a wonderful, awe-inspiring, magnificient body, an ecosystem onto itself, failed to get the votes it needed to make the short list for the 7 new wonders of the natural world.

No worries.

Kathleen Phillips sees plenty of omissions on the short list.  She alerts us to the precarious beauty of the stuff on her list.

Take that, The Dead Sea.

We're back next week. Have a jolly mid-November weekend!


Brent Bambury @CBCDay6

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