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Program Archives - 2006

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(01 Jan) 030302 Barbara Bernstein - Rivers That Were (Pt. 2)

The Columbia River, flowing through the Pacific Northwest, is the fourth largest river in North America. The Colorado River, the major river in the desert Southwest, is a tiny stream compared to the Columbia, but it is probably the most litigated river in the world. Both these rivers once flowed with a force that overwhelmed the people who tried to navigate their rapids or control their currents and flood flows. That was until the Hoover, Bonneville and Grand Coulee Dams were built in the 1930s, finally taming these wild rivers and conscripting them into industrial service. These two hours explore the long-term consequences of over a century of redesigning nature to suit commercial and industrial needs. The programs contrast these historic mindsets with new approaches that try to design with nature. The programs juxtapose the voices and viewpoints of Native Americans, barge operators, water engineers, environmentalists, policy makers and others who live and work in the watersheds of these two mythic Western rivers.

Part One: Working Water compares two environmental crises. On the Colorado River Basin, it's the ongoing effort to restore the Salton Sea. On the Columbia, it's the confounding crisis of how to clean up one of the most toxic sites in the world, the Hanford Nuclear Reservation. Part Two: Beaver Taught Salmon How To Jump recreates the once natural and free-flowing tributaries and mainstem of the Columbia River, the Great River of the West and compares what was with a transformed landscape of culverted urban creeks, inundated waterfalls and rapids and industrialised waterways.

Barbara Bernstein is a nationally acclaimed radio producer. Recipient of many awards, she is one of this country's finest independent producers.

(25 Dec) 030302 Barbara Bernstein - Rivers That Were (Pt. 1)

The Columbia River, flowing through the Pacific Northwest, is the fourth largest river in North America. The Colorado River, the major river in the desert Southwest, is a tiny stream compared to the Columbia, but it is probably the most litigated river in the world. Both these rivers once flowed with a force that overwhelmed the people who tried to navigate their rapids or control their currents and flood flows. That was until the Hoover, Bonneville and Grand Coulee Dams were built in the 1930s, finally taming these wild rivers and conscripting them into industrial service. These two hours explore the long-term consequences of over a century of redesigning nature to suit commercial and industrial needs. The programs contrast these historic mindsets with new approaches that try to design with nature. The programs juxtapose the voices and viewpoints of Native Americans, barge operators, water engineers, environmentalists, policy makers and others who live and work in the watersheds of these two mythic Western rivers.

Part One: Working Water compares two environmental crises. On the Colorado River Basin, it's the ongoing effort to restore the Salton Sea. On the Columbia, it's the confounding crisis of how to clean up one of the most toxic sites in the world, the Hanford Nuclear Reservation. Part Two: Beaver Taught Salmon How To Jump recreates the once natural and free-flowing tributaries and mainstem of the Columbia River, the Great River of the West and compares what was with a transformed landscape of culverted urban creeks, inundated waterfalls and rapids and industrialised waterways.

Barbara Bernstein is a nationally acclaimed radio producer. Recipient of many awards, she is one of this country's finest independent producers.

(18 Dec) 060903 George Lakoff - Framing the Debate: Politics and Language

Behind every catchy right-wing slogan, there are a set of facts that tell a different story. Bush's "No Child Left Behind Act" has never been fully funded. The "Clear Skies Act" weakens mercury pollution control, poisoning our air. The "Healthy Forests Initiative" allows the lumber industry to plunder our forests. And "The War on Terror," has failed to connect Iraq to 9/11. But research shows that most Americans do not cast their votes based on facts alone. Republicans have had great success in framing the debate. They know that values, identity and language matter. How can progressives use language more effectively to express their ideas? How can they re-frame the debate?

George Lakoff is a Professor of Cognitive Science and Linguistics at the University of California at Berkeley. He is a founding senior fellow at the Rockbridge Institute where he applies cognitive linguistics to the study of politics, especially the framing of public political debate. He is the author of Moral Politics: How Liberals and Conservatives Think and Don't Think of An Elephant: Know Your Values and Frame the Debate.

(11 Dec) 060902 Noam Chomsky - Latin America: Stirrings in the Servants Quarters

In his first full-length interview since Hugo Chavez's UN speech which made his books bestsellers, Noam Chomsky talks about developments in Latin America and challenges to U.S. hegemony. Since the Monroe Doctrine, the U.S. has viewed Latin America as an area it could easily dominate and control. With the elections of Chavez in Venezuela and Evo Morales in Bolivia, the region's traditional subordination to the colossus in the north, is changing. There are stirrings in the servants' quarters. Chavez's comments at the UN calling Bush "the devil" received maximum media attention while his substantive political comments and the long applause he received at the end of his presentation were ignored.

Noam Chomsky, internationally renowned MIT professor, practically invented modern linguistics. In addition to his pioneering work in that field he has been a leading voice for peace and social justice. He is in huge demand as a public speaker all over the world. The New York Times calls him, "a global phenomenon, perhaps the most widely read voice on foreign policy on the planet." Author of scores of books, his latest are Failed States and the bestseller Imperial Ambitions.

(04 Dec) 060901 Kevin Phillips - American Theocracy

By most standards, the Bush Administration, more than any other in U.S. history, has blurred the distinction between church and state. Never before has so much taxpayer money, some $2 billion, gone to religious groups via the "faith-based initiative" program. According to Kevin Phillips, the base of Bush's political support is "a huge evangelical. fundamentalist, and Pentecostal community" with their own "broadcast, publishing, and direct-mail empires". A 2006 Baylor University poll finds Americans in large numbers believe in a wrathful, authoritarian God. And many agree that "God favors the U.S. in international politics." As religious fervor grows, is democracy edging toward theocracy?

Kevin Phillips was chief political analyst for the 1968 Republican presidential campaign, which culminated in the victory of Richard Nixon. One year later he wrote the influential book The Emerging Republican Majority. His politics have evolved over the ensuing decades. He is the author of many books including Wealth & Democracy and American Dynasty. His latest is American Theocracy.

(27 Nov) 060805 Greg Palast - Armed Madhouse

Once journalists were celebrated for digging up dirt and exposing corrupt and lying politicians. Today most of them have become lambs. The sycophancy of reporters and news organizations to toe the line and not rock the boat have resulted in a huge loss of credibility for the media. Fed up with the same old, same old, young people in particular are leaving traditional broadcast and print media in droves. As the political system is rife with doubletalk and doublethink, the need for fearless, independent pull no punches reporting is acute. One such journalist is Greg Palast.

Greg Palast won Britain's highest journalism honors for his undercover investigation of influence peddling by Enron and other US corporations within Tony Blair's cabinet. He then turned to the Bush Administration and exposed its refusal to investigate Saudi financing of terror. Palast's reports have been front-page news in Europe, yet absent from America's mainstream media. He reports for BBC Television's Newsnight and the Guardian newspaper. His book The Best Democracy Money Can Buy was a bestseller. His latest is Armed Madhouse.

(20 Nov) 060804 Andrew Bacevich - The New American Militarism

In a famous exchange, in the 1990s, Madeleine Albright demanded of General Colin Powell, "What's the point of having this superb military that you're always talking about if we can't use it?" Well, the U.S. is using that military all over the world and has constructed an empire of more than 700 bases. Not only that, the Pentagon operates a ski and vacation center in the Bavarian Alps and 234 golf courses worldwide. A fleet of luxury jets ferry the top brass to R&R sites. The operations of the military-industrial complex is under the radar of most people. There is far more information, if one could call it that, on Jon Benet Ramsey than there is on what Seymour Melman called "the permanent war economy."

Andrew Bacevich, a graduate of West Point and a Vietnam War veteran, is Professor of International Relations at Boston University. He is the author of American Empire. His latest book is The New American Militarism.

(13 Nov) 060803 Gore Vidal - Perppetual War for Perpetual Peace

Politicians in Washington of all stripes, whatever the occasion, love to quote the Founding Fathers. But there's one quote you'll never hear. It's from James Madison. He said, "Of all the enemies of public liberty, war is perhaps the most to be dreaded, because it comprises and develops the germ of every other. War is the parent of armies. From these proceed debts and taxes. And armies, debts and taxes are the known instruments for bringing the many under the domination of the few. No nation could preserve its freedom in the midst of continual warfare."

Gore Vidal is one of the singular literary figures of this era. A scion of a political family, he grew up in a milieu of power and politics. Winner of the National Book Award, he's the author of scores of historical novels, plays, and screenplays. He also has written a number of bestselling non-fiction books including Dreaming War, Imperial America and Perpetual War for Perpetual Peace. The Washington Post calls him "the master essayist of our age"

(06 Nov) 060802 Noam Chomsky - Lebanon and the Middle East Crisis

The Middle East is a war zone. The region is drenched in conflict and the threat of conflict. According to the Bush administration, the evildoers Syria and Iran and their proxies in Iraq and in Lebanon are the "root cause" of the violence. It's a relief to learn that the massive U.S. naval, air, and ground forces in and ringing the region are not a factor. And anyway, the White House adds, relying on the old standby, they hate us because of our freedom. Maybe the president didn't see the Pentagon advisory panel report issued last year which said, "Muslims do not hate our freedom but rather they hate our policies," adding "when American public diplomacy talks about bringing democracy to Islamic societies, this is seen as no more than self-serving hypocrisy."

Noam Chomsky, internationally renowned MIT professor, practically invented modern linguistics. In addition to his pioneering work in that field he has been a leading voice for peace and social justice. He is in huge demand as a public speaker all over the world. The New York Times calls him, "a global phenomenon, perhaps the most widely read voice on foreign policy on the planet." Author of scores of books, his latest are Failed States and the bestseller Imperial Ambitions.

(30 Oct) 060601 Angela Davis - Abolition Democracy

In American history the abolitionists fought to end slavery, lynching, and segregation. In our current times, one of the greatest challenges in the work to dismantle such repressive institutions is racism, morphed and hidden within all levels of governmental structures. The U. S. now has the largest prison population in the world. 70% of its more than 2 million inmates are poor people of color. As profits from the punishment industry increase, employment opportunities decrease and funding for education, housing, mental health, and drug treatment programs are drastically cut. As the race to the death penalty accelerates, images from Guantanamo Bay & Abu Ghraib reveal the global impact of U.S. crime policy.

In the early 1970's Angela Davis was called "an enemy of the State" and a "terrorist" by Nixon and Hoover. She was acquitted of conspiracy charges in 1972 after one of the most famous trials in US history. She went on to become an internationally regarded scholar and writer. She is the author of many books, including Women, Culture and Politics. Her latest is, Abolition Democracy: Beyond Empire, Prisons, and Torture. She teaches at the University of California-Santa Cruz.

(23 Oct) 060703 Michael Parenti - Superpatriotism

Samuel Johnson in the 18th century said, "Patriotism is the last refuge of scoundrels." Maybe it is, maybe it isn't. But for certain today, patriotism is a battleground. Being labeled unpatriotic or anti-American have become routine terms of abuse. Somehow the state has been invested with some extraordinary power and citizens are to be silent and obey in respectful awe. As Martin Luther King, Jar said in his great Riverside Church speech in1967, "Even when pressed by the demands of inner truth, citizens do not easily assume the task of opposing their government's policy, especially in a time of war." Perhaps true patriotism would be to raise uncomfortable questions that challenge the official story. Principled dissent has historically been a hallmark of a vibrant democracy.

Michael Parenti is one of America's foremost independent political analysts. He has taught at major colleges and universities in the US and abroad. He is the author of numerous books including the classic Democracy for the Few, Against Empire and the highly acclaimed The Assassination of Julius Caesar. His latest book is The Culture Struggle.

(16 Oct) 060702 Alfred McCoy - The Politics of Torture

Bush Administration claims of moral superiority are becoming increasingly difficult to sustain. Its record is littered with ghost detainees, ghost flights, kidnappings, extraordinary rendition, black sites, secret prisons, extrajudicial executions. And a pattern of torture. From Guantanamo to Iraq to Afghanistan, the U.S. has created an archipelago of gulags. Incidents of torture, when they are discovered, are routinely attributed to a few out of control rogue elements like Charles Graner and Lynddie England. They and a handful of low ranking soldiers have been punished but the higher ups have gotten a free ride. Evidence amassed by Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch strongly suggest that torture is part of U.S. policy. The Leader of the Free World reassuringly asserts, "If they are saying we torture people, they're wrong. Period."

Alfred McCoy is professor of history at the University of Wisconsin. He is the author of the classic The Politics of Heroin: CIA Complicity in the Global Drug Trade. For Closer than Brothers, his pioneering book on the impact of CIA torture on the Philippine military, he was awarded the Association of Asian Studies' Goodman Prize. His latest book is A Question of Torture.

(09 Oct) 060701 Noam Chomsky - Facts Matter: The War on Terror

Doris Lessing, the eminent British writer, once said of Tony Blair: "He believes in magic. That if you say a thing, it's true." She could describing George Bush. The American president, who has commented that he has "war on his mind," proudly proclaims that he goes by his "gut" instinct when he makes decisions. That's scary. Stated simply, facts matter. Shortly after 9/11, Bush declared a "war on terror," not knowing or recalling that years before Ronald Reagan beat him to the slogan. Anyway, some heads did turn. Gore Vidal found it absurd. "It's like a war on dandruff," he observed

Noam Chomsky, internationally renowned MIT professor, practically invented modern linguistics. In addition to his pioneering work in that field he has been a leading voice for peace and social justice. He is in huge demand as a public speaker all over the world. The New York Times calls him, "a global phenomenon, perhaps the most widely read voice on foreign policy on the planet." Author of scores of books, his latest are Failed States and the bestseller Imperial Ambitions.

(02 Oct) 060801 Stephen Zunes - US & Iran: Collision Course

Iran and the United States are on a collision course. The U.S. has never forgiven or accepted the 1979 Islamic revolution. The overthrow of its satrap, the shah was a major blow to U.S. hegemony in the Middle East. That it came in a country with some of the world's largest oil and natural gas reserves made it doubly painful for Washington. The ensuing hostage ordeal was a humiliation. The Weekly Standard, the influential neocon journal says the U.S. has a "blood debt" with Iran. Israel's Ariel Sharon advised the U.S. to go after Iran "the day after Iraq is crushed." Slight problem there. Bush keeps saying that "all options are on the table." Reports circulate of U.S. forces already operating inside Iran. Plans go forward on bombing.

Stephen Zunes is a specialist on the Middle East. His articles appear in leading journals and magazines. He teaches at the University of San Francisco. He also serves a senior policy analyst and Middle East editor for the Foreign Policy in Focus Project. He is the author of Tinderbox: US Middle East Policy & the Roots of Terrorism.

A series of programs in tribute to Edward Said who died on September, 25th 2003

Edward Said, internationally renowned Columbia University professor, practically invented the field of post-colonial studies. His great work, Orientalism has been translated into many languages and is widely used in colleges and universities. The New York Times called him, "one of the most influential literary and cultural critics in the world." As one of the few advocates for Palestinian rights in the US, he was the target of vilification, death threats and vandalism. The Economist said he "repudiated terrorism in all its forms and was a passionate, eloquent and persistent advocate for justice for the dispossessed Palestinians." He was a trenchant critic not just of Israeli policies, but also of Arafat, the corrupt coterie around him and the despotic Arab regimes. He felt strongly that intellectuals had a special responsibility to speak out against injustice, challenge power, confront hegemonic thinking and provide alternatives. His memoir Out of Place won the New Yorker Book of the Year Award.

(25 Sep) 031203 040705 Edward Said - Out of Place

A fatal medical diagnosis prompted Edward Said to leave a record of his youth in Palestine, Lebanon and Egypt. "The start of chemotherapy had been a point of no return, he said, "but a memoir would be the opposite-a going back, an effort to rescue from oblivion a time and place that had all but disappeared." But Out of Place, his book, set off a controversy. His very origins were challenged by Commentary magazine and then picked up by others. Said said, the attack "is to smear Palestinian claims to dispossession and the right of return."

(18 Sep) 040705 040705 Edward Said - Culture and Imperialism

Imperial power is constructed on a bedrock not only of force but of culture as well. Culture provides the underpinning, justification and validation of empire. Its crudest manifestation is perhaps Kipling's White man's burden. A more refined version is the French 'mission civilisatrice', civilising mission. Imperialism is often thought of as a European phenomenon of the past. In fact it continues today in new shapes and forms. The US carries out its imperial policies behind the facade of democracy and freedom. Culture and politics produce a system of control that transcends military power to include a hegemony of representations and images that dominate the imaginations of both the oppressor and the oppressed.

(11 Sep) 021102 Edward Said - A Palestinian Perspective on the Conflict with Israel

The Palestinian viewpoint is rarely heard in the mainstream media and when it is, like on The O'Reilly Factor or Hardball, it is interrupted and cut off. Palestinians have been demonised and have become virtually synonymous with terrorist. They simply lust for the blood of innocents. There is little or no rational discourse. Context and background are reduced to formulaic constructions. That they have been living under the longest military occupation in modern times is not even mentioned. The great Uruguayan writer and journalist Eduardo Galeano says, "Palestinians have been damned to play the scapegoat for European anti-Semitism and to pay with their land and blood for the holocaust they did not commit".

(04 Sep) 011001 Edward Said - Origins of Terrorism

The horrendous terrorist attacks on New York and Washington stunned the country and the world. The images from September 11 are etched in our memories forever. Now, slowly the collective psyche is healing and questions are being asked. What would prompt people to inflict such terrible carnage and in the process take their own lives? Do they, as the White House and the media repeat in tandem, simply 'hate' America? Or were there deeper reasons connected to US alliances and policies? It is clear that a more nuanced understanding, background and context are needed.

(28 Aug) 990302 David Wilson - Return to the Nuclear Cross Roads (Pt. 2)

This special two-part program produced by David Wilson received the NFCB's Golden Reel Award for 1998's best documentary. It explores the history of protest at Rocky Flats nuclear weapons production facility from the early 1970s through the present, using rare archival tape and recent interviews to relate stories and music of many of the nation's leading anti-nuclear activists: Daniel Ellsberg, Helen Caldicott, Bonnie Raitt, Jackson Browne and Allen Ginsberg, who read his famous "Plutonian Ode" while blockading the plant in 1978. This compelling program will put you back on the railroad tracks of resistance at Rocky Flats while bringing you up to date on the nuclear disarmament movement.

David Barrett Wilson fell in love with public radio while studying physics and mathematics at Oxford University on a Rhodes Scholarship. David started selling radio stories nationally in 1996, focusing primarily on nuclear issues. In 1999, he received a Golden Reel from the National Federation of Community Broadcasters for his two part documentary, Return to the Nuclear Crossroads: Protest and Resistance at Rocky Flats, a history of protest at the Rocky Flats nuclear weapons plant.

On October 13, 2005 the clean up of the Rocky Flats site was declared clean and the Rock Creek Reserve and wild life refuge was established.

(21 Aug) 990301 David Wilson - Return to the Nuclear Cross Roads (Pt. 1)

This special two-part program produced by David Wilson received the NFCB's Golden Reel Award for 1998's best documentary. It explores the history of protest at Rocky Flats nuclear weapons production facility from the early 1970s through the present, using rare archival tape and recent interviews to relate stories and music of many of the nation's leading anti-nuclear activists: Daniel Ellsberg, Helen Caldicott, Bonnie Raitt, Jackson Browne and Allen Ginsberg, who read his famous "Plutonian Ode" while blockading the plant in 1978. This compelling program will put you back on the railroad tracks of resistance at Rocky Flats while bringing you up to date on the nuclear disarmament movement.

David Barrett Wilson fell in love with public radio while studying physics and mathematics at Oxford University on a Rhodes Scholarship. David started selling radio stories nationally in 1996, focusing primarily on nuclear issues. In 1999, he received a Golden Reel from the National Federation of Community Broadcasters for his two part documentary, Return to the Nuclear Crossroads: Protest and Resistance at Rocky Flats, a history of protest at the Rocky Flats nuclear weapons plant.

On October 13, 2005 the clean up of the Rocky Flats site was declared clean and the Rock Creek Reserve and wild life refuge was established.

(14 Aug) 060704 Helen Caldicott, Hillel Freedman & Jacob Grech - Nuclear Power is Not the Answer

The Australian government has refused to sign the Kyoto Protocol to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and have stood by the major Kyoto refuser, the US under former oilman president, George Bush. On a recent visit to the US, Prime Minister Howard reignited the nuclear debate in Australia by calling for an expansion of uranium mining and he even floated the idea that nuclear power could replace green house gas producing coal fired power stations. Critics were quite willing to point out the weaknesses of Howard's arguments and those of the nuclear industry promoters. After half a century and billions of dollars of public money subsidising the nuclear power industry, the threats remain the same and no progress has been made in finding solutions to the dangers posed by nuclear power.

In the 1950s Dr Helen Caldicott trained as a paediatrician but by the 1970s was fully enmeshed as part of the emerging global anti nuclear movement. She has devoted the past thirty-five years to an international campaign to educate the public about the medical hazards of the nuclear age. Dr. Caldicott is a Nobel Peace Prize nominee, the recipient of the 2003 Lannan Prize for Cultural Freedom and the inaugural Australian Peace Prize awarded by the Peace Organisation of Australia. She is the bestselling author of uclear Madness and Missile Envy. Dr Caldicott divides her time between the central coast of New South Wales and Washington, DC where she is President of the Nuclear Policy Research Institute. She launched her latest book, Nuclear Power Is Not The Answer to Global Warming or Anything Else at Melbourne's Trades Hall in July 2006.

The opening speaker for the evening was Hillel Freedman from Nuclear Free Australia. He was followed by Jacob Grech a long time anti-nuclear campaigner, a former Nuclear Disarmament party candidate and co founder of the Victorian Peace Network. We begin with Hillel Freedman.

(07 Aug) 050702 Gar Alparovitz - Hiroshima: New Facts & Old Myths

60 years after the atomic bombing of Hiroshima, the event still arouses controversy and passionate perspectives. Ever since the Enola Gay dropped the bomb on Hiroshima on 6 August 1945, questions surrounding the first use of what is now called weapons of mass destruction persist. Advocates say it quickly ended the war and saved a million U.S. casualties. Critics argue that Japan was essentially defeated and looking for a settlement. They also say the bomb was really about setting the stage for post-war power relations with the Soviet Union. New research and declassified government documents have shed much light on why the bomb was dropped.

Gar Alperovitz is one of the most highly regarded experts on Hiroshima and U.S. policy. He is professor of political economy at the University of Maryland. His articles appear in the Washington Post, Tikkun, The Nation and Dollars & Sense. His books include Atomic Diplomacy and America Beyond Capitalism. His award-winning book The Decision to Use the Atomic Bomb, is a classic.

(31 Jul) 060504 Richard Heinburg - Peak Oil

The jump at the pump got you down? While you're paying through the nose for gas the oil companies are making record profits. In 2005, ExxonMobil recorded the largest net profit of any corporation in the history of capitalism: a cool $36 billion. But the gravy train may not last forever. The concept of peak oil is gaining more currency and veracity as scientists and geologists amass evidence of the decline of oil reserves. But the oilgarchy in Washington has the answer: drill for more oil in environmentally sensitive locations. The problem with that is that oil is deep underground and hence full of sediments and will be capital intensive to extract and refine.

Richard Heinberg, a leading expert on energy issues, teaches at the New College of California. He is the author of The Party's Over: Oil, War & the Fate of Industrial Societies and Power Down: Options & Actions for a Post-Carbon World.

(24 Jul) 060503 Ahmed Rashid and Ervand Abrahamian - Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iran

Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iran have extensive historical and cultural links. Peoples, languages, music, and food spill over borders. The U.S. is deeply involved in all three nations. It has occupied Afghanistan since October, 2001. It's pulled Pervez Musharraf, Pakistan's military dictator and former patron of jihadi groups, into its orbit. In Iran, U.S. saber-rattling raises the prospect of yet another war in the region. In the corporate media indigenous voices are rarely heard. Rather, putative experts from think tanks, many of whom have not been to those countries or speak the languages, are regularly called upon to give their opinions. The result? A massive amount of distorted information and ignorance about three important countries.

Ahmed Rashid, based in Lahore, is one of Pakistan's leading journalists. His articles appear in prominent newspapers all over the world. He is the author of the international bestsellers Taliban and Jihad.

Ervand Abrahamian, born in Iran, is professor of Middle Eastern history at Baruch College in New York. He's the author of Khomeinism and co-author of Inventing the Axis of Evil.

(17 Jul) 060502 Joseph Stiglitz – Iraq: A Trillion Here, A Trillion There

Everett Dirksen, Republican Senator from Illinois in the 1950s and 60s, once said, "A billion here, a billion there, pretty soon, you're talking real money." Well, if Dirksen were alive today, he'd be talking about trillions. The U.S. war on Iraq is draining the Treasury coffers to the tune of at least a $ trillion possibly two. Besides being illegal, as Kofi Annan said, the war is wreaking economic havoc on the future of the U.S. Remember when hawks like Paul Wolfowitz were confidently saying, Not to worry. Revenues from Iraqi oil will pay for the war. Of course, it's not all gloomy news. Let's look at the upside. If you are, NorthrupGrumman, Blackwell, Halliburton, Bechtel or some of the other big contractors, Iraq is a gold mine.

Joseph Stiglitz, University Professor at Columbia, is the recipient of the Nobel Prize in economics. He was chair of the Council on Economic Advisors under Clinton. He also served as senior vice president and chief economist of the World Bank. His efforts to move the bank in a more progressive direction got him fired. He is the author of Globalization and Its Discontents and The Roaring Nineties.

(10 Jul) 060501 Anthony Arnove, Amy Goodman, Howard Zinn - Iraq: The Logic of Withdrawal

Four decades ago the Vietnam War led to millions of deaths throughout Indochina. 58,000 Americans were killed. The war generated enormous opposition in the U.S. Today the U.S. is in another war of aggression in Iraq. Mirroring the Vietnam happy talk of lights at ends of tunnels, General Peter Pace, the head of the Joint Chiefs announces that things in Iraq "are going very, very, well." The unprovoked U.S. attack has caused widespread death, destruction and civil strife. Sectarian violence is escalating. Virtually all non-Bush Administration sources say Iraq is fragmenting under the stress of invasion and occupation. Yet the president continues with his "stay the course" rhetoric. How many more Americans and Iraqis will die for a war that should never have been fought?

Anthony Arnove is the author of Iraq: The Logic of Withdrawal. Amy Goodman is the host of Democracy Now!. Howard Zinn is the author of A People's History of the U.S.

(03 Jul) 060303 Noam Chomsky: Targeting Iran Hypocrisy is criticizing others for behavior which one engages in as well, a double standard. Imperial powers of course take the cake when it comes to hypocrisy. Not content with its "mission accomplished" success in Iraq, the Bush administration is now aiming its guns at Iran. An original member of the "axis of evil," Iran with the world's fourth largest oil reserves, has long been coveted by the neocons. The U.S., with a large occupation army in Iraq, and apparently with no sense of irony, warns Iran to stop meddling in the internal affairs of Iraq. Corporate media do not even comment on this blatant contradiction. And the American people? Subjected to a steady stream of free press propaganda, the Gallup poll reports, "Americans say Iran is their greatest enemy."

Noam Chomsky, internationally renowned MIT professor, practically invented modern linguistics. In addition to his pioneering work in that field he has been a leading voice for peace and social justice. He is in huge demand as a public speaker all over the world. The New York Times calls him, "a global phenomenon, perhaps the most widely read voice on foreign policy on the planet." Author of scores of books, his latest is the bestseller Imperial Ambitions.

(26 Jun) 060404 Siddarth Varadarajan: Dateline: New Delhi India is the object of increasing U.S. attention as evidenced by the president 's recent visit to that country. Long range U.S. geopolitical strategy in Asia is aimed at China. A series of military bases is in place and being built that will effectively encircle China. India is emerging as a key component of U.S. plans. New Delhi has not signed the Non-Proliferation Treaty. To lure it into the U.S. orbit, Bush OK'd a questionable deal to allow India to expand its nuclear weapons arsenal. Iran, which is an NPT signatory, and has no nuclear weapons, is being treated by quite a different standard. To further complicate matters and heighten tension, Washington is trying to prevent New Delhi from making energy deals with Iran and Syria. Not everyone in India is keen to participate in the coming power play to yoke the country to the U.S. grand design for Asia.

Siddharth Varadarajan (Vah-rah-der-rah-jen) is one of India's leading journalists. He is deputy editor of The Hindu, one of India's most prestigious daily newspapers. He formerly reported for The Times of India. He is editor of the book, Gujarat: The Making of a Tragedy.

(19 Jun) 060403 George Galloway: Imperialism and the New World Order It was Bush the Elder who proudly proclaimed "a New World Order" after the First Gulf War. Some at the time expressed skepticism saying it was the old world order dressed up in new clothes. It was imperialism in the guise of globalization. With the collapse of the Soviet Union, the U.S. was the sole superpower. It was a unipolar world. The neocons saw this as an opportunity to extend American hegemony. In 2000 they came to power in a controversial election. It's worth recalling President George W. Bush's own words in his 2003 State of the Union address, "Throughout the 20th century, small groups of men seized control of great nations, built armies and arsenals, and set out to dominate the weak and intimidate the world."

George Galloway is a Respect Party member of parliament representing a seat in London. A 36-year member of the Labour Party, he was expelled after his opposition to the attack on Iraq. CNN called his May, 2005 U.S. Senate testimony, "a blistering attack on U.S. senators rarely heard in Washington." He is the author of Mr. Galloway Goes to Washington.

(12 Jun) 060401 Howard Zinn: A World Without Borders Frontiers divide people into nation states leading to an us and them dichotomy. A political elite dominates power and the lexical discourse. Flags become potent symbols of nationalism. Patriotism is used to create the illusion of a common interest that everyone shares. Political leaders exempt themselves from law and basic morality while all the time loudly proclaiming their adherence to them. They declare that god is on their side. They call on their people to make sacrifices. Vast military power is deployed to defend what is called the national interest. Other countries are attacked. This is called self-defense. This pattern is a formula for endless conflict. What if barriers dividing people disappeared? Can we imagine a world without borders?

Howard Zinn, professor emeritus at Boston University, is perhaps this country's premier radical historian. He was born in Brooklyn in 1922. His parents were poor immigrants. During World War II, he saw combat duty as an air force bombardier. After the war, he went to Columbia University on the GI Bill. He was an active figure in the civil rights and anti-Vietnam War movements. Today, he speaks all over the country before large and enthusiastic audiences. His masterpiece, A People's History of the U.S. continues to sell in huge numbers. His latest book is Voices of a People's History.

(29 May) 000305 Cornel West - The Legacy of Paul Robeson Paul Robeson, an enduring and multitalented figure, broke colour barriers in sports, music, film and theatre. He was an internationally famous singer and actor yet in the US he was persecuted and blacklisted for his political beliefs. He died impoverished and in obscurity. His singular life is a model for courage and steadfastness in the face of racial and political prejudice.

Cornel West, professor at Harvard, has been called "the preeminent African American intellectual of his generation." With his preacher-like cadences and passionate delivery, he is much in demand as a speaker. A prolific author, his book Race Matters was a bestseller.

(22 May) 060302 Michael Eric Dyson - Hip Hop Culture & The Legacy of Tupac Shakur

Rap music and hip hop culture have achieved influence and popularity with youth across the globe. Rising from the inner cities of LA and New York, the music has given birth to an entire generation of charismatic street poets. But with the current glorification of the "gansta" image by the music industry, hip hop's once vibrant political edge is now portrayed as materialistic, misogynistic, shallow and violent. Tupac Shakur, murdered in 1996, remains a powerful presence and influence on the hip hop scene. The son of a former Black Panther Party member, he is considered one of the greatest hip hop poets of his generation. With haunting lyrics and the freshest beats he challenged the political system and captured the complex and frustrated realities of African-American youth.

Michael Eric Dyson, an ordained Baptist minister, is professor of Humanities at the University of Pennsylvania. He is a leading commentator and scholar on contemporary trends in African-American culture. He is the author of many books including, Holler If You Hear Me: Searching for Tupac Shakur. Is Bill Cosby Right? Or Has The Black Middle Class Lost Its Mind? His latest book is, Come Hell or High Water: Hurricane Katrina and Color of Disaster.

(15 May) 060402 Al Sharpton - Coretta and Martin, Katrina and Bush

Warned of dire consequences before Katrina struck Bush proclaimed, "We are fully prepared." Days later he said no one could have anticipated the levees being breached. Precisely that possibility ranked very high on disaster scenarios. New Orleans has one of the highest concentrations of poverty in the country. Most of the poor people are African American. They had no way to get out and were left abandoned. It was a free market solution. If you had a car and money for gas you could evacuate. One can only imagine if Katrina was bearing down on the Hamptons or Malibu what the response would have been. Probably the half of the military not in Iraq and Afghanistan would have been there assisting people in need. Katrina also revealed that racism in the media is alive and well. Whites gathered food to feed their families while blacks looted.

Born in Brooklyn in 1954, the Reverend Al Sharpton preached his first sermon at the age of four, and soon became famous as the "wonderboy preacher," even touring with gospel singer Mahalia Jackson. A well known civil rights activist, he ran for the senate from New York as well as mayor of New York City. In 2004 he was a candidate for the Democratic nomination for president. A charismatic speaker, he lectures widely and frequently appears on major media talk shows.

(08 May) 060304 Michael Parenti - Origins of Racism

What is racism? Who are its victims? Who benefits from it? What are its ideological underpinnings? Why does it persist? Racism is universal: from Japan where the indigenous Ainu and Koreans are discriminated against, to Germany where Gypsies and Turks are attacked, to "ethnic cleansing" in the former Yugoslavia, to poor Arabs in France, to Katrina and New Orleans and the contemptible way African Americans were treated. Racism, forms of superiority, radiate from the centers of domination and power.

Michael Parenti is one of this country's foremost independent political analysts. He has taught at major colleges and universities in the US and abroad. He is the author of numerous books including the classic Democracy for the Few, Against Empire and the highly acclaimed The Assassination of Julius Caesar. His latest book is The Culture Struggle.

(01 May) 060304 Robert Fisk - The Great War for Civilisation Revisited

Journalists hold a special place in the documentation of history. The ethical codes that are supposed to guide them in their craft contain bold words. The Australian Journalist's Association Code of Ethics contains the following lines. "Respect for truth and the public's right to information are fundamental principles of journalism." Journalist hold "a privileged role" as they "search, disclose, record, question, entertain, suggest and remember. They inform citizens and animate democracy. They give a practical form to freedom of expression." However, when journalists find themselves faced with overwhelming pressure to conform to the expectations of their employer, they are faced with a choice. Do they "search, disclose, record [and] question" or will they, in the words of the legendary New York journalist, Jack Newfield, be reduced to being "the stenographers of the powerful."

Robert Fisk has lived and worked in the Middle East for over 25 years. He has reported on all major conflicts in the region since 1979 and has written extensively on the intersections of journalism and power. The New York Times describes him as "probably the most famous foreign correspondent in Britain". With a PhD in Political Science and a relentless passion to question the claims of power, Robert Fisk asserts that journalists cannot remain neutral in the face of inequity. Journalists, he claims, are "morally bound ... to show eloquent compassion to the victims" of war. His latest book is called The Great War of Civilisation: The Conquest of the Middle East. Robert Fisk spoke to an overflowing audience at Sydney's Macquarie University on the 10th March 2006.

(24 April) 060204 William Sales - Malcolm X and the Struggle for Black Liberation

Malcolm X is one of the towering figures in the struggle for black liberation. He has been identified as an articulator of the rage of black youth and a symbol of pride and defiance. But he was much more than that. Malcolm X was a major thinker and theoretician of black liberation. In the year before his assassination in February 1965, he underwent enormous intellectual growth and transformation. He moved from being a narrow nationalist to embrace a much more global perspective.

William Sales is a scholar and noted expert on Malcolm X. He is professor at Seton Hall University, where he chairs the Department of Africana and Diaspora Studies. He is the author of From Civil Rights to Black Liberation: Malcolm X and the Organization of Afro-American Unity.

(17 April) 060203 Tariq Ali - Imperial Hubris

From ancient times, hubris, the Greek word for reckless arrogance, has brought down princes, kings and empires. It is the fatal flaw that undid Achilles. As Homer describes in "The Iliad," had Achilles treated Hector, the fallen Trojan hero, with respect, the wrath of the gods would not have turned on him. Uphold the rule of law and basic human morality and you will be honored and perhaps even be admired, Descend to grandiose posturing and "Bring 'em on" bravado and you will be held in contempt and loathing. The Greek sages understood this. But today the lesson goes unheeded in the corridors of power where the guiding principle is might makes right.

Tariq Ali, born in Lahore, then a part of British-ruled India, now in Pakistan is an internationally renowned writer. He is based in London where he is an editor of New Left Review. He's written more than a dozen books on world history and politics. A charismatic speaker, he is in great demand all over the world. In his spare time he is a filmmaker, playwright and novelist. He is the author of The Clash of Fundamentalisms and Bush in Babylon. His latest books are Street Fighting Years and Speaking of Empire & Resistance with David Barsamian.

(10 April) 060201 Bruce Cockburn - Lovers in a Dangerous Time

A dangerous time indeed. We are plagued by a surge of government and corporate corruption, human rights abuses, massive natural disasters, environmental destruction and seemingly endless war. In these dangerous times, how can we channel our anger, pain and confusion into something productive? How will we remain strong? Music and art have always fueled the fires of resistance and change. Great art can unite us with a common vision. It can also allow us to escape for a moment, take a break and just enjoy the world we live in, however harsh it may be.

With over 25 albums to his credit, Bruce Cockburn is one of Canada's greatest singer/songwriters. His music and words have had a profound influence on generations. His political and environmental consciousness and his respect for human rights and world cultures make his music unique and inspiring. His latest CD is Circles in the Stream.

(03 Apr) 060202 Harold Pinter** - Art, Truth and Politics: The Nobel Address 2005

Politicians, on the evidence available to us, are interested not in truth but in power and in the maintenance of that power. To maintain that power it is essential that people remain in ignorance, that they live in ignorance of the truth, even the truth of their own lives. What surrounds us therefore is a vast tapestry of lies, upon which we feed." So says Harold Pinter, 2005 Nobel Prize laureate. When politicians speak they do so not to reveal truths or uncover moral wrongs that they then set about putting right. They speak, says Harold Pinter, to cover up their own delusions and, perhaps, their and our shame for failing to abide by the very moral codes they reject in favour of power. However, we don't need to remain captive to their lies. We can, says Pinter, take upon ourselves the crucial obligation of defining real truth and by doing so, restore the dignity of humankind.

In the Northern autumn of 1998 the National Theatre in London conducted a poll asking playwrights, actors, directors, journalists and other theatre professionals to nominate ten English language plays they felt were significant in the 20th Century. Of the 188 authors and 377 plays nominated, works by Harold Pinter were the second most nominated behind those of Arthur Miller. Harold Pinter is the author of such works as The Birthday Party, The Caretaker , The New World Order and theFrench Lieutenant's Woman. In 2005 he was nominated for and was the winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature. Due to ill health he was unable to receive his prize in person and recorded his acceptance speech. With thanks to the Nobel Foundation Alternative Radio presents Harold Pinter.

** CD only

(27 Mar) 060104 Jim Hightower - Agitation: The Essence of Democracy

There is a tendency among some people to be let's face it, lazy. We want things delivered instantly to our doorstep. That may work for pizza but that's not the way social change happens. It's instructive to heed the words of Fredrick Douglass, the great 19th century African American freedom fighter, who said, "If there is no struggle there is no progress. Those who profess to favor freedom and yet depreciate agitation want crops without plowing up the ground, they want rain without thunder and lightening. They want the ocean without the awful roar of its many waters. Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will."

Jim Hightower is a national radio commentator, writer and public speaker. He is noted for his biting wit. He broadcasts daily radio commentaries that are carried on more than 100 stations. His award-winning newsletter, The Hightower Lowdown, is the fastest growing political publication in America. Author of numerous books, his latest is Thieves in High Places.

(20 Mar) 060103 Cindy Sheehan - Not One More Mother's Child

It is a striking phenomenon in the United States that with all the privileges and advantages most citizens enjoy there is a sense of apathy and powerlessness. The refrains of, "What can I do?" or "I'm just one person" are rather commonplace. With a largely depoliticized culture individuals are left to decide on whether to shop at this chain store or that one. Consumerism has consumed the spirit of democracy. The important societal issues of war and peace, healthcare, education, the environment are left in the hands of a political class driven by power and greed. Every once in a while certain individuals break through passivity, come forward and say, "this is unjust, this is not fair, this is wrong". As Margaret Mead once said, that's the way change has always happened.

Cindy Sheehan has been called the Rosa Parks of the anti-war movement. She captured global media attention with her dramatic action at Bush's Crawford, Texas ranch. Camping out for most of August, and joined by thousands, she wanted to ask the president, "What noble cause did my son Casey die for in Iraq?" Bush refused to meet with her. Sheehan is the founder of Gold Star Families for Peace and the author of Dear President Bush.

(13 Mar) 060102 Scott Ritter - Iraq Confidential

Deception is a common practice in politics but Americans seem to be particularly easy prey. One reason is perhaps the deeply ingrained idea of the U.S. as a benign and benevolent nation. This notion is part of the catechism of education that is transmitted from generation to generation. Another is that the corporate media fail to inform citizens about what the U.S. is actually doing in the world rather than what it says it is doing. And so one administration after another succeeds in hiding its true foreign policy objectives. The latest installment in this on-going saga of duplicity has led to the unjustified war on Iraq. That same formulaic pattern of lies, doubletalk and fear mongering is still in place and unless broken will lead to future wars.

Scott Ritter is a former Marine intelligence officer and a veteran of the first Gulf War. He served as a UN weapons inspector in Iraq for seven years. As an expert on arms control, he has addressed governments around the world as well as being a frequent guest on radio and TV talk shows. In the lead up to the attack on Iraq, Ritter openly questioned whether Iraq had any weapons of mass destruction. He is the author of Frontier Justice: WMDs and the Bushwhacking of America. His latest book is Iraq Confidential.

(06 Mar) 060101 Jodie Evans: Stories From the Anti-war Movement

As public approval ratings for President Bush are lower than ever and many polls show a growing majority of Americans turning against the war in Iraq, the administration is stepping up their rhetoric, spinning the conversation away from a moral and political disaster. But there is this group of women throwing the spin off balance at every turn. Their voices are clear and direct, angry and passionate. This is Code Pink, a global group of women against war. It started four years ago, during the Bush administration's relentless push to justify an invasion of Iraq. Since then, Code Pink has grown to over 200 local chapters around the world and is playing a key role in re-invigorating the anti-war movement with flair, color and imagination.

Jodie Evans is a veteran activist with 30 years experience in organizing for social change. She co-founded Code Pink with the well-known human rights activist Medea Benjamin. They've also edited the recent book Stop The Next War Now: Effective Responses to Violence and Terrorism.

(27 Feb) 051105 Norman Solomon - War Made Easy

"War is the health of the state," the radical writer Randolph Bourne once said. And when the U.S. goes to war most of the corporate media wrap themselves in the American flag and join the parade. Instead of being on the sidelines and acting as independent and critical observers, too many journalists become cheerleaders. And in several notorious cases reporters have actually become conduits for government disinformation and propaganda. They simply take Pentagon and White House press releases and change a few words around and recycle them as "news." Media subordination to state power weakens democracy, does not serve the information needs of citizens, and makes war easy.

Norman Solomon, a nationally syndicated columnist, is a leading political commentator and media critic. The National Council of Teachers of English honoured him with the George Orwell Award for Distinguished Contribution to Honesty and Clarity in Public Language. He is director of the Institute for Public Accuracy, a consortium of policy researchers and analysts. He is the author of many books including Target Iraq, his latest is War Made Easy.

(20 Feb) 051104 Mike Marqusee - Bob Dylan: Chimes of Freedom

Bob Dylan is indisputably one of the major musicians of our time. He is a complicated and paradoxical figure that defies categorization. Although his work has undergone some ironic transmutations over the years, his musical development has often been a response to his rebellious and restless nature and refusal to be a political icon. For Dylan, the times are always changin' and no moss will gather under his rolling stone.

Mike Marqusee is the author of a number of books on politics and popular culture, including, Redemption Song, an acclaimed study of Muhammad Ali. His most recent book on Bob Dylan is Wicked Messenger. An American, he has lived in London for 30 years.

(13 Feb) 051103 Noam Chomsky - Washington's Messianic Mission

All empires have fantasies and inspiring rationales to justify their domination. They hide behind words like freedom, democracy and liberation to mask their real intentions. The U.S. empire operates in the same way. Washington's messianic vision is being delivered out of the barrel of a gun. Arundhati Roy, the Indian writer and activist calls it "imperial democracy." "Empire is on the move, and democracy is its sly new war cry. Democracy, home delivered to your doorstep by daisy cutters. Death is a small price to pay for the privilege of sampling this new product: Instant-mix imperial democracy, bring to boil, add oil, then bomb."

Noam Chomsky, internationally renowned MIT professor, practically invented modern linguistics. In addition to his pioneering work in that field he has been a leading voice for peace and social justice. He is in such demand as a public speaker that he is booked years in advance. And wherever he appears, he draws huge audiences. The New Statesman calls him, "The conscience of the American people." He is the author of scores of books, his latest is the bestseller Imperial Ambitions.

(06 Feb) 051102 Jonathan Kozol - Education: The Shame of the Nation

Almost four years ago, and with much fanfare, President Bush signed the "No Child Left Behind" law. It placed sweeping new requirements on schools, teachers and students for greater accountability and improved performance on standardized tests. But the new mandates did not come with enough new money. And the narrow focus on testing for a few basic skills is squeezing out other school subjects deemed non-essential and too expensive. Against that back drop, inner city schools continue to struggle with crowded classrooms full of lower-income students of color. The white students are often in schools with more money and better facilities. For many school districts, it ís a segregated and unequal system.

Jonathan Kozol has documented these inequities for decades as a public school teacher and as an author. He won the National Book Award for "Death at an Early Age." His other books include Amazing Grace and Illiterate America. His latest book is The Shame of the Nation: The Restoration of Apartheid in American Schooling.

(30 Jan) 051101 Donna Mulhearn** - After The War: The Future of Iraq

In 2003 George Bush's 'coalition of the willing' invaded Iraq and unleashed their campaign of "shock and awe". Bombs rained from the sky and hundreds of innocent Iraqi men, women and children were killed. For many in the so called liberal democracies that supported the US imperial quest, the initial days of the war seemed like an over priced computer game. For others the unspoken human carnage that was the "collateral damage" became a rallying point and a focus of what became the "human shield" movement.

Donna Mulhearn was part of the human shield movement during the early days of the war in Iraq. She later returned as a humanitarian aid worker to set up a shelter for street kids in Baghdad and assist homeless families. During this time she survived constant bombing, being kidnapped by fighters and shot at by American soldiers. She is a former journalist and political advisor and is an independent writer and speaker on non-violence, spirituality and politics. Donna's latest trip to the Middle East included time in Iraq and the West Bank of Palestine, where she spent four months as a volunteer with the International Solidarity Movement. She spoke at the Migrant Resource Centre in late November 2005.

** CD only

(23 Jan) 051004 Robert Fisk - War, Journalism and the Middle East

"Ladies and gentlemen, we got him!" So cried a crowing Paul Bremmer to a packed media briefing on the 14th December 2003. The British Prime Minister, Tony Blair declared that the "shadow" had been removed from Iraq. US President, George Bush, declared, "That is good news", while Australian Prime Minister, John Howard said on the ABC's AM program, "Oh, I'm delighted. I'm delighted most of all for the Iraqi people because Saddam's capture removes that haunting worry that he would come back." Instead of Saddam coming back, Iraqi's suddenly found themselves occupied by, managed by and at the mercy of the coalition troops. Their repression did not change. All that changed was who held the guns.

Robert Fisk is arguably Britain's most authoritative journalist and commentator on Middle Eastern affairs. He has been the recipient of 28 British and foreign journalism awards including the Amnesty International UK Press Award. He has reported, unembedded, from the front lines of most of the major conflicts since the early 1970s. In this address to a packed house at the University of Sydney on October 5th 2005, he talks about the contents of his latest book The Great War for Civilisation: The Conquest of the Middle East. Mel Slee recorded and produced the program.

(16 Jan) 051003 George Galloway - Roots of Terrorism

Ever since September 11, the Bush administration and its corporate media allies have scrupulously denied the possibility that the terrorist attacks were motivated by anything other than hatred of America. Even a hint that terrorism could be connected to U.S. policy is immediately greeted by jingoists and their noise machine with howls of derision and the epithet "anti-American". The supernationalist flagwavers live in a Garcia-Marquez world of magical thinking: The U.S. is in a glass bubble of purity and innocence.

George Galloway is a Respect Party member of parliament representing a seat in London. A 36-year member of the Labour Party, he was expelled after his opposition to the attack on Iraq. CNN called his May, 2005 U.S. Senate testimony, "a blistering attack on U.S. senators rarely heard in Washington". He is the author of Mr. Galloway Goes to Washington.

(09 Jan) 030903 Stephen Bright - Capital Punishment, Capital Crime?

"In fact the most glaring weakness is that no matter how efficient and fair the death penalty may seem in theory, in actual practice it is primarily inflicted upon the weak, the poor, the ignorant and against racial minorities." This statement was made nearly 50 years ago by former California Governor Pat Brown. George Ryan recently came to the same conclusion after commissioning the most intensive review of capital punishment ever undertaken in the United States. Ryan's last act as Governor of Illinois was to commute all death penalty sentences to life in prison. This unprecedented action represents a growing public scepticism about the equity and efficacy of capital punishment. Over 100 people on death row have been exonerated in the US since 1973. Twelve states have abolished the death penalty. In none of these states has the homicide rate increased. Even George W. Bush, who presided over 152 executions as Governor of Texas, admitted that there is no proof that the death penalty is a deterrent.

Stephen Bright is director of the Southern Center for Human Rights in Atlanta and teaches courses on the death penalty and criminal law at the Yale and Emory law schools. He has represented defendants in capital cases at trial, on appeals, and in post-conviction proceedings since 1979. He argued Amadeo v. Zant before the US Supreme Court in 1988, in which the death penalty was set aside because of racial discrimination.

(02 Jan) 031105 Edward Alwood - Gay People, Straight News

At the Democratic National Convention in the year 2000, gay rights activists organised under the motto, "We're a movement, not a market." As the statement implies, visibility does not equal rights. Three years later queer culture appears more popular than ever, with TV programs like Will and Grace, Boy meets Boy, and Queer Eye for the Straight Guy grabbing ratings and headlines across the US. However, the popularity of gay culture has not translated into support for gay rights. Recent polls indicate that for the first time in a decade, support for important gay rights are on the decline. The majority of Americans now think that gay sex should be illegal, gay life is unacceptable, and civil unions should not be allowed.

Edward Alwood, a former CNN correspondent, writes for a variety of publications including The Christian Science Monitor. He is the author of Straight News: Gays, Lesbians, and the News Media.

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