First Topic – Most under-reported Vatican stories of 2010
If it’s true that the only thing worse than negative publicity is no publicity, then 2010 was a banner year for the Vatican. It opened with a sexual abuse crisis in Ireland that would sweep across Europe and put the personal record of Benedict XVI under a spotlight, and it ended with frenzy over the pope’s comments on condoms and various Vatican efforts to explain what Benedict did, and didn’t, mean. As is always the case when a few massive narratives dominate coverage, other storylines tend to slip through the cracks. Therefore we look at John Allen’s run-down of the “Top Five Under-Reported Vatican Stories of the Year” – five stories with important implications for the Vatican and the way it thinks about the world, which didn’t get the traction they deserve.
Second Topic - Dangerous debt games
As the president prepares his State of the Union speech, he must worry that another regular Washington event will overshadow it: the vote to increase the national debt ceiling. Today's debt limit is nearly $14.3 trillion; we've already borrowed $13.8 trillion. Since, as usual, the government is running a deficit, not a surplus, the House and Senate must vote to allow Obama's Treasury Department to borrow more. Nicole Gelinas, author of After the Fall: Saving Capitalism from Wall Street and Washington, is here to discuss these dangerous debt games.