Week In Review With Daniel Schorr
SCOTT SIMON, host:
This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. Time now for a look back at the week's news. We're joined by NPR senior news analyst Dan Schorr.
DAN SCHORR: Hi, Scott.
SIMON: And, of course, let's begin with the oil spill. Been going on for seven weeks now. But the estimate of just how much oil is leaking out of the well keeps changing. As an experienced reporter, what does this indicate to you?
SCHORR: Well, it indicates that somebody has an interest in having that number high and someone has an interest in having that number low. Clearly, the BP oil company has it in its interest to try to keep it low. That started out with saying maybe 5,000 barrels a day. Now that's come up to maybe 40,000 barrels a day, because when you look at the size of it, you decide where the money has to come from. And BP's aware that a large, large chunk of it will come from BP.
SIMON: Are there some technical considerations too? Certain technologies they can apply if this spill is this much but not that much?
SCHORR: Yes. But all of the technologies are in the hand of BP. That's the other part of it. The government puts a lot of pressure on BP, but can't really take care of this thing by itself, because all the various tools and things to do this are all in the hands of BP.
SIMON: Let me ask you about primary elections this week. And it's being acclaimed as the week of the woman in politics.
SCHORR: Yes. And in a sense it was. There were half a dozen or more women who won nomination, either to Senate or as governor in all of this. And I don't think that we've ever had quite that number before. You take that along with a certain amount of Tea Party support, and you find there are new currents that are entering into American politics, and we're getting different kinds of coalitions than we've had before.
SIMON: Something I noticed - you had the two women who were nominated as senator and governor in California...
SCHORR: California, yes.
SIMON: ...are wealthy corporate figures.
SCHORR: And that's the other side of it. Yes. There is a lot of money involved in this. And when women have money, they can play politics as men do.
SIMON: A conference committee made up of members of the House and Senate sat down this week to try and work out differences between the two versions of the financial regulation bill. What do you detect in the negotiations so far?
SCHORR: Well, it's in conference. And that conference is going to last for several weeks, apparently. But it looks as though it's moving towards passage of some kind of bill which will provide financial regulation. There are lobbyists who are still fighting it, but it does look now as though there will be a bill.
SIMON: General Stanley McChrystal said this week that the long-anticipated offensive in Kandahar and Afghanistan would be delayed. What do you make of -what do you see as being behind this announcement?
SCHORR: Oh, that's easy. This war is not going very well. They wanted to go into Kandahar and first tell all the people that they would support them, but the people apparently are not listening to them. And so General McChrystal's having to postpone the offensive that he's been taking about for all these many, many months.
Now there's talk about come next December or so, he'll have to have another look at what the situation is. It is very, very perilous, and nobody's claiming today that there is a victory being won.
SIMON: And this could affect the administration's timetable, which they had declared a few months ago for withdrawal?
SCHORR: Well, that's right. They talked about starting next summer - summer of next year, they would start withdrawing troops. Now there is a lot of pressure on saying if you start talking about withdrawing troops, you're giving it up, and a lot of pressure on them to keep the troops there, perhaps even to send more. It is very difficult to withdraw troops while losing.
SIMON: U.N. Security Council backed a new round of sanctions against Iran this week. Any confidence that new sanctions are going to change Iran's nuclear program?
SCHORR: Well, these sanctions are not very drastic, as a matter of fact. And Iran seems not to be bothered by it at all. And even though Russia and China voted for it, they voted for it apparently also because there wasn't too much in it.
I mean, one has to say that Iran is winning this round. They have not changed their nuclear program. They give no sign of changing their nuclear program. And whatever the sanctions are seem not to bother them very much.
SIMON: Israel slightly eased some items in its blockade of Gaza this week following last week's uproar about the Israeli raid on an aid flotilla that killed...
SIMON: ...nine activists. Israel said they'll now permit in certain snack food items and spices. This just a gesture or something more?
SCHORR: No. It is a gesture and it could be something more if Hamas were wiling to accept it. But Hamas is not willing to accept it. They will not say you can give us snack food but you can't give us that. They want to see the blockade lifted, and right now they're holding out for it.
SIMON: Finally, Dan, Steven Strasburg.
SIMON: I believe he's 21 years old, 14 strike-outs...
SIMON: ...in his debut with the Washington Nationals. An amazing first game. I believe this is the first time you've ever asked to talk about a sporting event.
SCHORR: Did I say I want to - I just want to say that I think it's quite a remarkable thing that this young man can throw a ball so fast that nobody can hit the ball. I mean...
SIMON: Well, some guy did get a homerun off him. You know what batters say: The faster it comes in, the faster it goes out.
SCHORR: Yeah, when it goes out. But...
(Soundbite of laughter)
SIMON: When they can catch up with it. Right.
SCHORR: But I've been very impressed with the way this man throws a ball. It's very, very fast.
(Soundbite of laugher)
SIMON: He's a major league pitcher, Dan.
SCHORR: And how.
SIMON: Mr. Baseball, Dan Schorr.
SCHORR: Yes, sir.
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