The Talk of Connecticut
 
Show Rundown for Thursday, July 2, 2015
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JESSE BYRNES (Staff writer at The Hill PRESIDENT OBAMA ANNOUNCES OPENING OF U.S. EMBASSY IN CUBA President Obama formally announced on Wednesday that the United States and Cuba have both agreed to open embassies in each other’s capitals following more than a half-century of hostilities between the two nations. "This is an historic step," Obama said. The U.S. Embassy in Havana is scheduled to open on July 20. The U.S. and Cuba have been negotiating the re-establishment of embassies following a surprise announcement in December that secret talks between the global foes had led to a landmark agreement, but not everyone is on board with the U.S.-Cuba thaw. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., has vowed to oppose the confirmation of an ambassador unless “substantive progress is made” on human rights issues that have dogged Cuba for decades. While the president has power over establishing embassies, nominations for ambassador must go through a Senate confirmation vote. The U.S. had imposed sanctions and then broke off diplomatic relations entirely with Fidel Castro’s communist regime in the early 1960s. President George W. Bush’s administration increased travel restrictions and tightened the embargo with Cuba, but when Obama took office in 2009 he loosened them. Obama took it even further in 2011 when he undid even more Bush-era restrictions, which led to Americans being able to communicate more freely with friends and loved ones in Cuba as well as travel there for educational and religious purposes. The president has long argued that freezing out Cuba, a communist island 90 miles off the coast of Florida, has been ineffective. The top Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Sen. Ben Cardin of Maryland, said even though opening the embassies was part of a “common sense approach to Cuba,” the U.S. must be cautious about the move. He called on Cuba to admit to being out of step with the international community on human rights. He also said Cuba must stop its "arrests and detention of dissidents” and said “genuine political pluralism is long overdue."

SUSAN KNIEP (Former East Hartford mayor and current president of the Federation of Connecticut Taxpayer Organizations) Susan was quoted in an article posted by the Connecticut Mirror talking about more details surrounding the new state budget package. Among the few "winners" in this budget - the state's retired teachers.

Fox News Radio's RACHEL SUTHERLAND HILLARY CLINTON’S LATEST E-MAIL DUMP Are we learning anything new from the latest release of Hillary Clinton's e-mails by the State Department? Also will the email scandal hurt Hilary's chances in the upcoming presidential election.

Prof. PHIL GODUTI (Professor of history at Quinnipiac University. He also has degrees from Providence College and UConn.) PRESIDENT OBAMA ANNOUNCES OPENING OF U.S. EMBASSY IN CUBA Professor Goduti has some thoughts on the announcement that the United States and Cuba will reopen embassies in Washington and Havana for the first time in more than 50 years. "Reestablishing relations with Cuba points to the evolution of American foreign policy in the last 50 years,” Goduti said. “Cuba was once a place where Americans like Ernest Hemingway went for inspiration in the 1930s and 40s. In the 1960s, it became a hotbed for the Cold War. Events such as the Bay of Pigs in 1961 and a near nuclear exchange between the Soviet Union and the United States under JFK in 1962 created further tension in the relationship between the Cuban government and the United States. The current president, Raul Castro, was instrumental in the revolution that brought the government to power in 1959. Opening an embassy in Cuba, in addition to negotiating with Iran over its nuclear program, demonstrates that American foreign policy has moved beyond a zero-sum philosophy and is embracing a realpolitik approach more like the days of FDR."

Dr. GENE KIM - (Ophthalmologist at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston) FIREWORKS SAFETY FOR THE FOURTH The Fourth of July is this weekend, and with the holiday comes barbecues, yard games and fireworks. While sparklers seem like a safer option, even those can burn up to 1,200 degrees and can be dangerous. The best way to stay safe is to enjoy a public fireworks display. The American Academy of Ophthalmology just did a fireworks survey of 2,000 adults and the results aren't encouraging. One-third of those polled have been injured or know someone who has been injured by fireworks. Only 10 percent say they wear protective eye wear when using fireworks. 54 percent say that it is OK for children age 5 to 10 to play with sparklers. What is the importance of wearing protective eye wear and how can you make sure children are safe and well supervised?

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