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Last update: 2009-12-15

Winslow Myers Intervioew


An interview with Winslow Myers the author of Living Beyond War: A Citizen’s Guide.

After thousands of years, the dream of a world without war may seem hopelessly unrealistic. But, as Winslow Myers shows in this concise, eloquent primer, what is truly unrealistic is the notion that war remains a reasonable solution to the conflicts on our planet. He begins by showing why war has become obsolete (though obviously not extinct): it doesn't solve the problems that ostensibly justify it; its costs are unacceptably high; the destructiveness of modern weapons could lead to human extinction; and there are better alternatives. After elaborating on these points, he outlines a new way of thinking that will be necessary if we are to move beyond war, in particular a recognition of our oneness and global interdependence. Finally, he outlines practical alternatives and inspiring examples that anticipate the goal of a world beyond war.

Winslow Myers is an artist and teacher who has worked for many years with Beyond War.

Recorded December 15, 2009


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Steven Pinker Interview


An interview with Steven Pinker, one of the world's leading cognitive scientists and author of How the Mind Works.

Pinker explains the mind by "reverse-engineering" it — figuring out what natural selection designed it to accomplish in the environment in which we evolved. The mind, he writes, is a system of "organs of computation" that allowed our ancestors to understand and outsmart objects, animals, plants, and each other.

How the Mind Works explains many of the imponderables of everyday life. Why does a face look more attractive with makeup? How do "Magic-Eye" 3-D stereograms work? Why do we feel that a run of heads makes the coin more likely to land tails? Why is the thought of eating worms disgusting? Why do men challenge each other to duels and murder their ex-wives? Why are children bratty? Why do fools fall in love? Why are we soothed by paintings and music? And why do puzzles like the self, free will, and consciousness leave us dizzy?

Steven Pinker is Harvard College Professor and Johnstone Family Professor in the Department of Psychology at Harvard University. Until 2003, he taught in the Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences at MIT. He conducts research on language and cognition, writes for publications such as the New York Times, Time, and The New Republic, and is the author of seven books, including The Language Instinct, Words and Rules, The Blank Slate, and The Stuff of Thought: Language as a Window into Human Nature.

Pinker will speak on the Evolution of the Mind on Saturday, December 12, 2009 at UCI’s Beckman Canter as part of The National Academy of Sciences conference.

Recorded December 8, 2009


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Russ Baker Interview


An interview with Russ Baker the author of Family of Secrets: The Bush Dynasty, the Powerful Forces That Put It in the White House, and What Their Influence Means for America.

We'll talk to Baker about his recently published article "What Obama Is Up Against" — on the pressures Obama faces from the military-industrial-intelligence-finance sector and how that ties his hands on Afghan and Iraq.

In Family of Secrets, Baker goes deep behind the scenes to deliver an arresting new look at George W. Bush, his father George H. W. Bush, their family, and the network of figures in intelligence, the military, finance, and oil who enabled the family’s rise to power. Baker’s exhaustive investigation reveals a remarkable clan whose hermetic secrecy and code of absolute loyalty have concealed a far-reaching role in recent history that transcends the Bush presidencies. Baker offers new insights into lingering mysteries — from the death of John F. Kennedy to Richard Nixon’s downfall in Watergate. Here, too, are insider accounts of the backroom strategizing, and outright deception, that resulted in George W. Bush’s electoral success. Throughout, Baker helps us understand why we have not known these things before.

Russ Baker has written for the New Yorker, Vanity Fair, the New York Times, the Nation, Los Angeles Times, the Washington Post, and Esquire, and served as Columbia Journalism Review contributing editor. In 2005, he founded the Real News Project, a nonprofit investigative news organization. His exclusive reporting on George W. Bush’s military record received a 2005 Deadline Club award.

Recorded December 1, 2009


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Alexandra Natapoff Interview


An interview with Alexandra Natapoff the author of Snitching: Criminal Informants and the Erosion of American Justice.

Albert Burrell spent thirteen years on death row for a murder he did not commit. Atlanta police killed 92-year-old Kathryn Johnston during a misguided raid on her home. After being released by Chicago prosecutors, Darryl Moore — drug dealer, hit man, and rapist — returned home to rape an eleven-year-old girl.

Such tragedies are consequences of snitching — police and prosecutors offering deals to criminal offenders in exchange for information. Although it is nearly invisible to the public, criminal snitching has invaded the American legal system in risky and sometimes shocking ways. Snitching is the first comprehensive analysis of this powerful and problematic practice, in which informant deals generate unreliable evidence, allow criminals to escape punishment, endanger the innocent, compromise the integrity of police work, and exacerbate tension between police and poor urban residents. Driven by dozens of real-life stories and debacles, the book exposes the social destruction that snitching can cause in high-crime African American neighborhoods, and how using criminal informants renders our entire penal process more secretive and less fair. Natapoff also uncovers the farreaching legal, political, and cultural significance of snitching: from the war on drugs to hip hop music, from the FBI’s mishandling of its murderous mafia informants to the new surge in white collar and terrorism informing. She explains how existing law functions and proposes new reforms. By delving into the secretive world of criminal informants, Snitching reveals deep and often disturbing truths about the way American justice really works.

Alexandra Natapoff is an award-winning scholar and a nationally-recognized expert on snitching in the criminal justice system and Professor of Law at Loyola University in Los Angeles. Prior to joining the faculty she served as an assistant federal public defender in Baltimore. She also founded the Urban Law & Advocacy Project with a community fellowship from the Open Society Institute.

Recorded November 24, 2009


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James W. Douglass Interview


An interview with James W. Douglass the author of JFK and the Unspeakable: Why He Died and Why It Matters — an astonishing new examination of the Kennedy assassination and its meaning today.

Douglass lays out the journey that led JFK in the course of three years from his position as a traditional Cold Warrior to his determination to break with the logic of the Cold War and lead the world in an entirely different direction. This sequence of steps led his adversaries in the military and intelligence establishment to view him as a virtual traitor who had to be eliminated.

Douglass's book has all the elements of a political thriller. But the stakes couldn't be higher. Only by understanding the truth behind the murder of JFK can we grasp his vision and assume the urgent struggle for peace today.

James W. Douglass is a longtime peace activist and writer. He and his wife Shelley are co-founders of the Ground Zero Center for Nonviolent Action in Poulsbo, Washington, and Mary's House, a Catholic Worker house of hospitality in Birmingham, Alabama. His books include The Nonviolent Cross, The Nonviolent Coming of God, and Resistance and Contemplation.

Recorded November 17, 2009


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Dahr Jamail Interview


An interview with Dahr Jamail the author of The Will to Resist: Soldiers Who Refuse to Fight in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The U.S. project in Iraq has been condemned by a vibrant and vocal antiwar movement as illegal and unjust since before the invasion began. Since 2006, a majority in the United States have opposed the contination of the occupation, and reported to pollsters that they believe the invasion was a mistake. But how do the soldiers who carry out the occupation see the war?

Fragmented reports of battalions refusing orders, of active duty soldiers signing antiwar petitions, of individual soldiers refusing redeployment and taking a public stand against the occupation have trickled into the mainstream reportage over hte last five years. But how deep does the current of resistance run? What makes soldiers deployed in Iraq decide to go AWOL, file for conscientious objector status, or even serve sentences in military prisons to avoid taking part in this unpopular engagement?

Dahr Jamail's comprehensive study of the today's military resisters sheds new light on the contours of dissent within the ranks of world's most powerful military, documenting the fight for justice inside the belly of the beast.

Dahr Jamail is an independent journalist who has covered the Middle East for more than five years. He is the author of Beyond the Green Zone. Jamail writes for the Inter Press Service and many other outlets.

Recorded November 10, 2009


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Jake Adelstein Interview


An interview with Jake Adelstein the author of Tokyo Vice: An American Reporter on the Police Beat in Japan.

At nineteen, Jake Adelstein went to Japan in search of peace and tranquility. What he got was a life of crime . . . crime reporting, that is, at the prestigious Yomiuri Shinbun. For twelve years of eighty-hour workweeks, he covered the seedy side of Japan, where extortion, murder, human trafficking, and corruption are as familiar as ramen noodles and sake. But when his final scoop brought him face to face with Japan’s most infamous yakuza boss—and the threat of death for him and his family — Adelstein decided to step down . . . momentarily. Then, he fought back.

Adelstein tells the riveting, often humorous tale of his journey from an inexperienced cub reporter—who made rookie mistakes like getting into a martial-arts battle with a senior editor — to a daring, investigative journalist with a price on his head.

Jake Adelstein was a reporter for the Yomiuri Shinbun, Japan’s largest newspaper, from 1993 to 2005. From 2006 to 2007 he was the chief investigator for a U.S. State Department-sponsored study of human trafficking in Japan. Considered one of the foremost experts on organized crime in Japan, he works as a writer and consultant in Japan and the United States. He is also the public relations director for the Washington, D.C.-based Polaris Project Japan, which combats human trafficking and the exploitation of women and children in the sex trade.

Recorded November 3, 2009


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James W. Loewen Interview


An interview with James W. Loewen author of Teaching What Really Happened: How to Avoid the Tyranny of Textbooks and Get Students Excited About Doing History.

Loewen takes history textbooks to task for their perpetuations of myth and their lack of awareness of today's multicultural student audience (not to mention the astonishing number of facts they just got plain wrong).

How did people get here? Why did Europe win? Why Did the South Secede? In Teaching What Really Happened, Loewen goes beyond the usual textbook-dominated viewpoints to illuminate a wealth of intriguing, often hidden facts about America's past. Calling for a new way to teach history, this book will help teachers move beyond traditional textbooks to tackle difficult but important topics like conflicts with Native Americans, slavery, and race relations. Throughout, Loewen shows time and again how teaching what really happened connects better with all kinds of students to get them excited about history.

James W. Loewen is the bestselling author of Lies My Teacher Told Me and Lies Across America. He taught race relations for twenty years at the University of Vermont and gives workshops for teacher groups around the United States. He has been an expert witness in more than 50 civil rights, voting rights, and employment cases.

Recorded October 27, 2009


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Kevin Mattson Interview


An interview with Kevin Mattson the author of 'What the Heck Are You Up To, Mr. President?': Jimmy Carter, America's 'Malaise,' and the Speech that Should Have Changed the Country.

In 1979, in an effort to right our national malaise, Jimmy Carter delivered a speech that risked his reputation and the future of the Democratic Party, changing the course of American politics for the next twenty-five years.

At a critical moment in Jimmy Carter’s presidency, he gave a speech that should have changed the country. Instead it led to his downfall and ushered in the rise of the conservative movement in America. Mattson gives us a behind-the-scenes look at the weeks leading up to Carter’s “malaise” speech, a period of great upheaval in the United States: the energy crisis had resulted in mile-long gas lines, inciting suburban riots and violence; the country’s morale was low and Carter’s ratings were even lower. The administration, wracked by its own crises, was in constant turmoil and conflict. What came of their great internal struggle, which Mattson conveys with the excitement of a political thriller, was a speech that deserves a place alongside Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address or FDR’s First Inaugural. Prominent politicians on both sides of the aisle play important roles, including Carter, Vice President Walter Mondale, speechwriter Hendrik Hertzberg, Ronald Reagan, and Ted Kennedy.

Kevin Mattson is the Connor Study Professor of Contemporary History at Ohio University. He's the author of Rebels All!, When America Was Great, Upton Sinclair and the Other American Century, and Intellectuals in Action. He writes for the American Prospect, Dissent, the Nation, the New York Times Book Review, the Washington Post Book World, and many others.

Recorded September 29, 2009


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Davud Swanson Interview


An interview with David Swanson author of Daybreak: Undoing the Imperial Presidency and Forming a More Perfect Union.

Daybreak is an assessment of how Bush/Cheney fundamentally altered the way our government works, inflated the powers of the executive, and deteriorated the Constitution and Bill of Rights. Only through the active efforts of citizens, Swanson argues, can we restore our rights, and expand our conception of political rights to meet new challenges. Daybreak offers a shocking and inspirational breakdown of all that we have lost, and all that we have to gain.

What powers were stripped from Congress and handed to the White House, and what will it take to permanently move them back? Which of these powers is Barack Obama making use of or even expanding upon? And in the future, how can we embellish our rights, create democratic representation in Congress, and make presidents into executives rather than emperors?

Daybreak is a citizen’s guide to the long-term task of putting an end to the all-powerful executive, and reasserting our democracy. Major structural changes are needed. Here we have clear plans for how we may declare our rights, and truly set out for a new America.

Swanson is co-founder of AfterDowningStreet.org, creator of ProsecuteBushCheney.org, the Washington Director of Democrats.com, and a board member of Progressive Democrats for America. He served as press secretary for Dennis Kucinich’s 2004 presidential campaign and has been a leading voice for the prosecution of Bush and Cheney for war crimes.

Recorded September 22, 2009


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Charles P. Pierce Interview


An interview with Charles P. Pierce the author of Idiot America: How Stupidity Became a Virtue in the Land of the Free.

The Culture Wars are over and the idiots have won.

In the midst of a career-long quest to separate the smart from the pap, Charles Pierce had a defining moment at the Creation Museum in Kentucky, where he observed a dinosaur. Wearing a saddle... But worse than this was when the proprietor exclaimed to a cheering crowd, “We are taking the dinosaurs back from the evolutionists!” He knew then and there it was time to try and salvage the Land of the Enlightened, buried somewhere in this new Home of the Uninformed.

Pierce delivers a gut-wrenching, side-splitting lament about the glorification of ignorance in the United States, and how a country founded on intellectual curiosity has somehow deteriorated into a nation of simpletons more apt to vote for an American Idol contestant than a presidential candidate.

Pierce's denunciation is also a secret call to action, as he hopes that somehow, being intelligent will stop being a stigma, and that pinheads will once again be pitied, not celebrated.

Pierce has been a writer-at-large for Esquire since 1997 and is a frequent contributor to American Prospect and Slate. His work has also appeared in The New York Times Magazine, Los Angeles Times Magazine, The Nation, The Atlantic, and the Chicago Tribune, among other publications.

Recorded September 15, 2009


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Len Saputo Interview


An interview with Len Saputo, MD the author of A Return To Healing: Radical Health Care Reform and the Future of Medicine.

For several decades, a rapidly emerging new medical paradigm has supported a renaissance in our understanding of lifelong wellness. Saputo presents the story of this new medicine, and reveals how it can unlock the door to a health care system that works for all Americans.Conventional medicine's obsession with profitably treating symptoms drives up the cost of health care. And with nearly half of us lacking access to adequate health insurance, how do we deliver care to every American? Saputo argues that single-payer national health insurance is a necessary but insufficient solution. A genuine return to healing requires that we combine regulatory reform with support for a transformed medical paradigm.

Len Saputo, MD, a 1965 graduate of Duke University Medical School, is board certified in internal medicine. After his awakening to the deep flaws in conventional medicine, Saputo developed a new paradigm that is now known as integral-health medicine. Saputo founded the Health Medicine Forum in 1994, and went on to found and direct the Health Medicine Center in Walnut Creek, California — one the first integrative clinics.

Recorded September 8, 2009


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Peter Schrag Interview


An interview with Peter Schrag the author of California: America's High-Stakes Experiment.

Schrag takes on the big issues — immigration, globalization, and the impact of California's politics on its quality of life — in this dynamic account of the Golden State's struggle to recapture the American dream. In the past half-century, California has been both model and anti-model for the nation and often the world, first for its high level of government and public services — schools, universities, highways — and latterly for its dysfunctional government, deteriorating services, and sometimes regressive public policies. California explains how many current "solutions" exacerbate the very problems they're supposed to solve and analyzes a variety of possible state and federal policy alternatives to restore government accountability and a vital democracy to the nation's most populous state and the world's fifth-largest economy.

Peter Schrag is a contributing editor and columnist at the Sacramento Bee. He is the author of many books, including Paradise Lost and Final Test.

Recorded September 1, 2009


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Frederick Hertz Interview


An interview with Frederick Hertz co-author of Making it Legal: A Guide to Same-Sex Marriage, Domestic Partnership & Civil Unions.

11,000 couples have married in California since the Supreme Court legalized marriage in May of 2008, and nearly as many married in Massachusetts between May of 2004. Further, nearly a quarter of the U.S. population lives in a state with some form of legal recognition for same-sex couples — with more than 40% of these states' couples having registered their relationships.

Authored by a Frederick Hertz, a nationally recognized expert in same-sex relationship law, Making it Legal is a comprehensive, easy to understand guide to the past, present and future of same-sex law in America. The book offers lesbians and gay men a comprehensive review of all of the issues that influence the decision to marry and helps the reader navigate the complexity of same-sex laws and understand the newest legal options while providing practical guidance on how to make one of the most important decisions in one's lifetime.

The book provides a brief history of the same-sex marriage movement, a survey of the current legal landscape and a view toward emerging trends and targets, and moves on to a discussion of the factors involved in the personal decision to marry along with the issues that every married couple may face

Hertz is a practicing attorney-mediator and the author of Legal Affairs: Essential Advice for Same-Sex Couples (Owl Books) and co-author of Nolo's Living Together: A Legal Guide for Unmarried Couples and A Legal Guide for Lesbian & Gay Couples.

Recorded August 25, 2009


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Jarret Lovell Interview


An interview with Jarret S. Lovell the author of Crimes of Dissent Civil Disobedience, Criminal Justice, and the Politics of Conscience.

From animal rights to anti-abortion, from tax resistance to anti-poverty, activists from across the political spectrum often deliberately break the law to further their causes. While not behaviors common to hardened or self-seeking criminals, the staging of civil disobedience, non-violent resistance, and direct action can nevertheless trigger a harsh response from law enforcement, with those arrested risking jail time and criminal records. Crimes of Dissent features the voices of these activists, presenting a fascinating insider’s look at the motivations, costs and consequences of deliberately violating the law as a strategy of social change.

Crimes of Dissent provides readers with an in-depth understanding of why activists break the law, and what happens to them when they do. Using dynamic examples, both historic and recent, Jarret Lovell explores how seasoned protesters are handled and treated by the criminal justice system, shedding light on the intersection between the political and the criminal. By adopting the unique vantage of the street-level activist, Crimes of Dissent provides a fascinating view of protest from the ground, giving voice to those who refuse to remain silent by risking punishment for their political actions.

Jarret S. Lovell is Associate Professor of Politics, Administration & Justice at California State University, Fullerton and the host of KUCI's Justice or Just Us?.

Recorded August 18, 2009


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Christopher Steiner Interview


An interview with Christopher Steiner the author of $20 Per Gallon: How the Inevitable Rise in the Price of Gasoline Will Change Our Lives for the Better.

Imagine an everyday world in which the price of gasoline (and oil) continues to go up, and up, and up. Think about the immediate impact that would have on our lives. Of course, everybody already knows how about gasoline has affected our driving habits. People can't wait to junk their gas-guzzling SUVs for a new Prius. But there are more, not-so-obvious changes on the horizon that Chris Steiner tracks brilliantly in this provocative work. Consider the following societal changes: people who own homes in far-off suburbs will soon realize that there's no longer any market for their houses (reason: nobody wants to live too far away because it's too expensive to commute to work). Telecommuting will begin to expand rapidly. Trains will become the mode of national transportation (as it used to be) as the price of flying becomes prohibitive. Families will begin to migrate southward as the price of heating northern homes in the winter is too pricey. Cheap everyday items that are comprised of plastic will go away because of the rising price to produce them (plastic is derived from oil). And this is just the beginning of a huge and overwhelming domino effect that our way of life will undergo in the years to come.

Steiner, an engineer by training before turning to journalism, sees how this simple but constant rise in oil and gas prices will totally re-structure our lifestyle. But what may be surprising to readers is that all of these changes may not be negative — but actually will usher in some new and very promising aspects of our society. Steiner will probe how the liberation of technology and innovation, triggered by climbing gas prices, will change our lives.

Christopher Steiner is a civil engineer and a staff writer at Forbes who regularly reports on energy, technology and innovative entrepreneurs. Before his first reporting job at the Chicago Tribune, Steiner worked as a civil-environmental engineer in San Francisco and Park City, Utah.

Recorded August 4, 2009


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Fred Kaplan Interview 2009


An interview with Fred Kaplan the author of 1959: The Year Everything Changed.

It was the year of the microchip, the birth-control pill, the space race, and the computer revolution; the rise of Pop art, free jazz, "sick comics," the New Journalism, and indie films; the emergence of Castro, Malcolm X, and personal superpower diplomacy; the beginnings of Motown, Happenings, and the Generation Gap-all bursting against the backdrop of the Cold War, the fallout-shelter craze, and the first American casualties of the war in Vietnam.

It was a year when the shockwaves of the new ripped the seams of daily life, when humanity stepped into the cosmos and commandeered the conception of human life, when the world shrank but the knowledge needed to thrive in it expanded exponentially, when outsiders became insiders, when categories were blurred and taboos trampled, when we crossed into a "new frontier" that offered the twin prospects of infinite possibilities and instant annihilation-a frontier that we continue to explore exactly fifty years later, at an eerily similar turning point.

Kaplan chronicles this vital, overlooked year that set the world as we know it in motion. Drawing on original research, including untapped archives and interviews with major figures of the time, Kaplan pieces together the vast, untold story of a civilization in flux-and paints vivid portraits of the men and women whose creative energies, ideas, and inventions paved the way for the new era. They include:

Fred Kaplan writes the "War Stories" column in Slate, contributes frequently to the New York Times' Arts & Leisure section, and blogs about jazz for Stereophile. A Pulitzer Prize winning former Boston Globe reporter who covered the Pentagon and post-Soviet Moscow, he has also written for the New Yorker, New York, the Atlantic, the Washington Post, and other publications. He is also the author of Daydream Believers: How a Few Grand Ideas Wrecked American Power.

Recorded July 28, 2009


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Ellen Ruppel Shell Interview


An interview with Ellen Ruppel Shell the author of Cheap: The High Cost of Discount Culture.

From the shuttered factories of the rust belt to the look-alike strip malls of the sun belt — and almost everywhere in between — America has been transformed by its relentless fixation on low price. This pervasive yet little examined obsession is arguably the most powerful and devastating market force of our time—the engine of globalization, outsourcing, planned obsolescence, and economic instability in an increasingly unsettled world.

Low price is so alluring that we may have forgotten how thoroughly we once distrusted it. Ellen Ruppel Shell traces the birth of the bargain as we know it from the Industrial Revolution to the assembly line and beyond, homing in on a number of colorful characters, such as Gene Verkauf (his name is Yiddish for “to sell”), founder of E. J. Korvette, the discount chain that helped wean customers off traditional notions of value. The rise of the chain store in post–Depression America led to the extolling of convenience over quality, and big-box retailers completed the reeducation of the American consumer by making them prize low price in the way they once prized durability and craftsmanship.

Ellen Ruppel Shell is a correspondent for The Atlantic Monthly magazine and has written for The New York Times Magazine, The Washington Post, National Geographic, Time, Discover, Seed, and dozens of other national publications. She is the author, most recently, of The Hungry Gene, which was published in six languages. She is a professor of journalism at Boston University, where she codirects the graduate program in science journalism.

Recorded July 21, 2009


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Steve Early Interview


An interview with Steve Early the author of Embedded with Organized Labor: Journalistic Reflections on the Class War at Home.

Collected for the first time, the essays that comprise Embedded With Organized Labor present a unique and informed perspective on the class war at home from a longtime organizer and “participatory labor journalist.” Steve Early tackles the most pressing issues facing unions today and describes how workers have organized successfully, on the job and in the community, in the face of employer opposition now and in the past.

This wide–ranging collection deals with the dilemmas of union radicalism, the obstacles to institutional change within organized labor, and strategies for securing workers’ rights in the new global economy. It also addresses questions hotly debated among union activists and friends of labor, including workers’ rights as human rights, new forms of worker organization such as worker centers, union democracy, cross–border solidarity, race, gender, and ethnic divisions in the working class, and the lessons of labor history.

Steve Early is a labor journalist and lawyer based in Boston.

Recorded July 14, 2009


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Mark Ellingsen Interview


An interview with Mark Ellingsen author of Sin Bravely: A Joyful Alternative to the Purpose-Driven Life.

Ellingsen demonstrates that awareness of sin is shown to lead to freedom and joy, as the pressure is removed to do and be good all the time. The book's other primary aim is to flesh out an alternative approach to life to Rick Warren's and the dominant American Christian vision. This alternative, life of brave sinning, is rooted in the worldview of the Protestant Reformation (esp. of Martin Luther). When people sin bravely, believing everything done is done in sin, people can get out of the way and recognize that all the good done is done by God despite individual seedy motives. This awareness leads to freedom and joy, since the pressure is now removed to do and be good. In addition, total dependence on God entails a self-forgetfulness that leads to happiness.

The bolder one acknowledge's their sin, in failing to take credit for the good done, the more focused on God the individual becomes. Correspondingly this self-forgetful lifestyle is a promising counter-cultural alternative to the cultural Narcissism which so dominates in many segments of contemporary American society. Ellingsen provides practical ways to sharpen these insights, to 'own' them. He aims to clarify why the lifestyle of brave sinning and total dependence on God lead to happiness, with an emphasis on current neurobiological research on happiness and brain function. Ellingsen, then, demonstrates both the how and why brave sinning leads to joy, while in so doing offers readers practical advice on living this way.

Recorded June 30, 2009


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Alain de Botton Interview 2009


An interview with Alain de Botton the author of The Pleasures and Sorrows of Work.

We spend most of our waking lives at work – in occupations often chosen by our unthinking younger selves. And yet we rarely ask ourselves how we got there or what our occupations mean to us.

The Pleasures and Sorrows of Work is an exploration of the joys and perils of the modern workplace, beautifully evoking what other people wake up to do each day – and night – to make the frenzied contemporary world function. With a philosophical eye and his signature combination of wit and wisdom, Alain de Botton leads us on a journey around a deliberately eclectic range of occupations, from rocket science to biscuit manufacture, accountancy to art–in search of what make jobs either fulfilling or soul-destroying.

Along the way he tries to answer some of the most urgent questions we can ask about work: Why do we do it? What makes it pleasurable? What is its meaning? And why do we daily exhaust not only ourselves but also the planet? Characteristically lucid, witty and inventive, Alain de Botton’s “song for occupations” is a celebration and exploration of an aspect of life which is all too often ignored and a book that shines a revealing light on the essential meaning of work in our lives.

Alain de Botton is a writer of essayistic books that have been described as a 'philosophy of everyday life. They include How Proust Can Change Your Life, The Art of Travel, Status Anxiety and The Architecture of Happiness. Alain also started and helps to run a school in London called The School of Life, dedicated to a new vision of education.

Recorded June 23, 2009


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Douglas Rushkoff Interview 2009


An interview with Douglas Rushkoff the author of Life Incorporated: How the World Became a Corporation and How To Take It Back.

In Life Inc., award-winning writer, documentary filmmaker, and scholar Douglas Rushkoff traces how corporations went from a convenient legal fiction to the dominant fact of contemporary life. Indeed as Rushkoff shows, most Americans have so willingly adopted the values of corporations that they’re no longer even aware of it.

This fascinating journey reveals the roots of our debacle, from the late Middle Ages to today. From the founding of the chartered monopoly to the branding of the self; from the invention of central currency to the privatization of banking; from the birth of the modern, self-interested individual to his exploitation through the false ideal of the single-family home; from the Victorian Great Exhibition to the solipsism of MySpace; the corporation has infiltrated all aspects of our daily lives. Life Inc. exposes why we see our homes as investments rather than places to live, our 401k plans as the ultimate measure of success, and the Internet as just another place to do business.

Most of all, Life Inc. shows how the current financial crisis is actually an opportunity to reverse this 600-year-old trend, and to begin to create, invest and transact directly rather than outsourcing all this activity to institutions that exist solely for their own sakes.

Winner of the first Neil Postman award for Career Achievement in Public Intellectual Activity, Douglas Rushkoff’s ten best-selling books on new media and popular culture have been translated to over thirty languages. They include Cyberia, Media Virus, Playing the Future, Nothing Sacred: The Truth about Judaism, and Coercion, winner of the Marshall Mcluhan Award for best media book. Rushkoff also wrote the acclaimed novels Ecstasy Club and Exit Strategy and graphic novel, Club Zero-G. He has written and hosted two award-winning Frontline documentaries — The Merchants of Cool looked at the influence of corporations on youth culture, and The Persuaders, about the cluttered landscape of marketing, and new efforts to overcome consumer resistance.

Recorded June 16, 2009


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John R. Talbott Interview / June 9, 2009


An interview with John R. Talbott the author of The 86 Biggest Lies on Wall Street.

Talbott exposes the lies and then exposes us to the truth of what it will take to rebuild our economy. As a former investment banker at Goldman Sachs, he knows firsthand how the financial system operates and how to fix it. As the “oracle” who predicted the housing crisis in his 2003 book, The Coming Housing Crisis, and called the election for Obama when the senator from Illinois was still the underdog (Obamanomics), Talbott’s revelations about how Wall Street really works are as clear-eyed and undeniable as his predictions and recommendations for our economic future are tough, sensible, and exciting. We may ignore them at our peril.

Talbott is the author of six previous books on economics and politics, including, most recently, Obamanomics: How Botton-Up Economic Prosperity Will Replace Trickle-Down Economics and Contagion: The Financial Epidemic That is Sweeping the Global Economy . . . and How to Protect Yourself from It. He has written for The Wall Street Journal, The Financial Times, The Boston Globe, San Francisco Chronicle, Buzzflash.com, and Alternet.

Recorded June 9, 2009


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Sasha Abramsky Interview 2009


An interview with Sasha Abramsky author of Breadline USA: The Hidden Scandal of American Hunger.

Trapped in a triangle of the housing market collapse, rising energy costs, and an increasingly dysfunctional healthcare system, America's working poor are now battling an even more formidable enemy: hunger. This time, the battle is taking place well outside of the media spotlight, which has focused on obesity, another food-related epidemic affecting the poor.

Breadline USA tells the stories of Americans in all types of communities who struggle to put any type of food on the table come the end of the month when money runs out and the social safety net isnt there to catch them.

Sasha Abramsky is a freelance journalist. His work has appeared in The Nation, The Atlantic Monthly, New York magazine, The Village Voice, and Rolling Stone. In 2000 he was awarded a Soros Society, Crime, and Communities Media Fellowship, and he is currently a Senior Fellow at the New York City-based Demos Foundation. He is the author of American Furies: Crime, Punishment, and Vengeance in the Age of Mass Imprisonment and Hard Time Blues.

Recorded June 2, 2009


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Wendy Kaminer Interview


An interview with Wendy Kaminer the author of Worst Instincts: Cowardice, Conformity, and the ACLU.

What happens when an organization with the express goal of defending individual rights and liberties starts silencing its own board? Lawyer and social critic Wendy Kaminer has intimate knowledge of the ensuing conflict between independent thinking and group solidarity. In this concise and provocative book, she tells an inside story of dramatic ethical decline at the American Civil Liberties Union, using it as a poignant case study of conformity and other vices of association.

Kaminer calls on her experience as a dissident member of the ACLU national board to illustrate the essential virtues of dissent in preserving the moral character of any group. When an organization committed to free speech succumbs to pressure to suppress internal criticism and disregard or “spin” the truth, it offers important lessons for other associations, corporations, and governments, where such pressure must surely be rampant. Kaminer clarifies the common thread linking a continuum of minor failures and major disasters, from NASA to Jonestown. She reveals the many vices endemic to groups and exemplified by the ACLU’s post-9/11hypocrisies, including conformity and suppression of dissent in the interests of collegiality, solidarity, or group image; self-censorship by members anxious to avoid ostracism or marginalization by the group; elevation of loyalty to the institution over loyalty to the institution’s ideals; substitution of the group’s idealized self-image for the reality of its behavior; ad hominem attacks against critics; and deference to cults of personality.

Wendy Kaminer is the author of many books, including Free for All: Defending Liberty in America Today; I’m Dysfunctional, You’re Dysfunctional: The Recovery Movement and Other Self-Help Fashions; and Sleeping with Extra-Terrestrials: The Rise of Irrationalism and Perils of Piety. Her articles and reviews have appeared in numerous publications, including the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Nation, the Atlantic, Newsweek, and the American Prospect.

Recorded May 26, 2009


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Captain Charles Moore Interview


An interview with Captain Charles Moore the discoverer and prime researcher of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch and founder of the Algalita Marine Research Foundation. Report.

In 1995 Captain Moore launched his purpose designed, aluminum hulled research vessel, Alguita, in Hobart, Tasmania, and organized the Australian Government's first "Coastcare" research voyage to document anthropogenic contamination of Australia's east coast. Upon his return to California, he became a coordinator of the State Water Resources Control Board's Volunteer Water Monitoring Steering Committee, and developed chemical and bacterial monitoring methods for the Surfrider Foundation's "Blue Water Task Force." As a member of the Southern California Coastal Water Research Project's Bight '98 steering committee, he realized the need for and provided a research vessel so that Mexican researchers from Baja California could participate for the first time in assessing the entire Southern California Bight. Report.

The Oceanographic Research Vessel Alguita and its Captain found their true calling after a 1997 yacht race to Hawaii. On his return voyage, Captain Moore veered from the usual sea route and saw an ocean he had never known, "there were shampoo caps and soap bottles and plastic bags and fishing floats as far as I could see. Here I was in the middle of the ocean, and there was nowhere I could go to avoid the plastic." Ever since, Captain Moore has dedicated his time and resources to understanding and remediating the ocean's plastic load. In this February 26 presentation for TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design), Captain Moore demonstrates why it is imperative that plastic ends its life in a recycling plant, rather than in our waterways and oceans.

Captain Moore’s 1999 study shocked the scientific world when it found 6 times more plastic fragments by weight in the central Pacific than the associated zooplankton. His second paper found that plastic outweighs plankton by a factor of 2.5 in the surface waters of Southern California.

Captain Moore has now done ocean and coastal sampling for plastic fragments over twenty thousand miles of the north Pacific ocean, across 22 degrees of latitude and 50 degrees of longitude. His latest 7,500 mile voyage was featured in the November 4, 2008 issue of US News and World Report.

Recorded May 19, 2009


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Andrew J. Bacevich Interview


An interview with Andrew J. Bacevich the author of The Limits of Power: The End of American Exceptionalism.

Bacevich identifies a profound triple crisis facing America: the economy, in remarkable disarray, can no longer be fixed by relying on expansion abroad; the government, transformed by an imperial presidency, is a democracy in form only; U.S. involvement in endless wars, driven by a deep infatuation with military power, has been a catastrophe for the body politic. These pressing problems threaten all of us, Republicans and Democrats. If the nation is to solve its predicament, it will need the revival of a distinctly American approach: the neglected tradition of realism.

Bacevich, uniquely respected across the political spectrum, offers a historical perspective on the illusions that have governed American policy since 1945. The realism he proposes includes respect for power and its limits; sensitivity to unintended consequences; aversion to claims of exceptionalism; skepticism of easy solutions, especially those involving force; and a conviction that the books will have to balance. Only a return to such principles, Bacevich argues, can provide common ground for fixing America’s urgent problems before the damage becomes irreparable.

Andrew J. Bacevich, a professor of history and international relations at Boston University, retired from the U.S. Army with the rank of colonel. He is the author of The New American Militarism, among other books. His writing has appeared in Foreign Affairs, The Atlantic Monthly, The Nation, The New York Times, The Washington Post, and The Wall Street Journal. He is the recipient of a Lannan award and a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.

Recorded May 12, 2009


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Peter T. Leeson Interview


An interview with Peter T. Leeson, the author of The Invisible Hook: The Hidden Economics of Pirates.

Leeson takes us inside the wily world of late seventeenth and early eighteenth-century pirates uncovering the hidden economics behind pirates' notorious, entertaining, and sometimes downright shocking behavior. Why did pirates fly flags of Skull & Bones? Why did they create a "pirate code"? And what made them so successful? Leeson uses economics to examine these and other infamous aspects of piracy while arguing that the pirate customs we know and love resulted from pirates responding rationally to prevailing economic conditions in the pursuit of profits.

Pirates understood the advantages of constitutional democracy — a model they adopted more than fifty years before the United States did so. Pirates also initiated an early system of workers' compensation, regulated drinking and smoking, and in some cases practiced racial tolerance and equality. Leeson contends that pirates exemplified the virtues of vice — their self-seeking interests generated socially desirable effects and their greedy criminality secured social order. Pirates proved that anarchy could be organized.

Revealing the democratic and economic forces propelling history's most colorful criminals, The Invisible Hook establishes pirates' trailblazing relevance to the contemporary world.

Peter T. Leeson is the BB&T Professor for the Study of Capitalism in the Department of Economics at George Mason University.

Recorded May 5, 2009


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Heather K. Gerken Interview


An interview with Heather K. Gerken the author of The Democracy Index: Why Our Election System Is Failing and How to Fix It.

Despite howls for reform, the only thing separating us from another election disaster of the kind that hit Florida in 2000, and that almost struck again in Ohio in 2004, may simply be another close vote. In this lucid and lively book, Heather Gerken diagnoses what is wrong with our elections and proposes a radically new and simple solution: a Democracy Index that would rate the performance of state and local election systems. A rough equivalent to the U.S. News and World Report ranking of colleges and universities, the Index would focus on problems that matter to all voters: How long does it take to vote? How many ballots get discarded? How often do voting machines break down? And it should work for a simple reason: no one wants to be at the bottom of the list.

For a process that is supposed to be all about counting, U.S. elections yield few reliable numbers about anything — least of all how well the voting system is managed. The Democracy Index would change this with a blueprint for quantifying election performance and reform results, replacing anecdotes and rhetoric with hard data and verifiable outcomes. A fresh vision of reform, this book shows how to drive improvements by creating incentives for politicians, parties, and election officials to join the cause of change and to come up with creative solutions — all without Congress issuing a single regulation.

In clear and energetic terms, Gerken explains how to realize the full potential of the Index while avoiding potential pitfalls. Election reform will never be the same again.

Heather K. Gerken is a professor at Yale Law School, where she teaches election and constitutional law. She is a frequent media commentator on elections and has written for the New Republic, Roll Call, Legal Affairs, and the Legal Times.

Recorded April 28, 2009


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Kathryn Joyce Interview


An interview with Kathryn Joyce the author of Quiverfull: Inside the Christian Patriarchy Movement.

Fundamentalist Christianity may have lost some access to power in the last election, but it has long-term plans. Joyce introduces us to the world of the patriarchy movement and Quiverfull families. Here, in direct and conscious opposition to feminist calls for marital equity, women live within stringently enforced doctrines of wifely submission and male headship. Instead of raising independent daughters, these Christians advocate a return to keeping daughters at home — and out of college — until their marriage to a suitor approved by Dad. To counter reproductive rights, they eschew all contraception in favor of the Quiverfull philosophy of letting God give them as many children as possible — families of twelve and more children that will, they hope, enable them to win the religious and culture wars through demographic means.

Quiverfull is a fascinating examination of the twenty-first-century women and men who proclaim self-sacrifice and submission as model virtues of womanhood — and as warfare on behalf of Christ.

Kathryn Joyce is a freelance writer based in New York City. Her freelance writing and reviews have appeared in The Nation, Mother Jones, Salon, The Harvard Divinity Bulletin, The American Prospect, Search, Religion Dispatches, The Massachusetts Review, RH Reality Check, Newsweek.com, Alternet and other publications. She is former managing editor of The Revealer.org, a project of the New York University Center for Religion and Media, and currently writes and produces at the Revenue Watch Institute.

Recorded April 21, 2009


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Mahmood Mamdani Interview


An interview with Mahmood Mamdani the author of Saviors and Survivors: Darfur, Politics, and the War on Terror.

Mamdani explains how the conflict in Darfur began as a civil war (1987—89) between nomadic and peasant tribes over fertile land in the south, triggered by a severe drought that had expanded the Sahara Desert by more than sixty miles in forty years; how British colonial officials had artificially tribalized Darfur, dividing its population into “native” and “settler” tribes and creating homelands for the former at the expense of the latter; how the war intensified in the 1990s when the Sudanese government tried unsuccessfully to address the problem by creating homelands for tribes without any. The involvement of opposition parties gave rise in 2003 to two rebel movements, leading to a brutal insurgency and a horrific counterinsurgency – but not to genocide, as the West has declared.

Mamdani also explains how the Cold War exacerbated the twenty-year civil war in neighboring Chad, creating a confrontation between Libya’s Muammar al-Qaddafi (with Soviet support) and the Reagan administration (allied with France and Israel) that spilled over into Darfur and militarized the fighting. By 2003, the war involved national, regional, and global forces, including the powerful Western lobby, who now saw it as part of the War on Terror and called for a military invasion dressed up as “humanitarian intervention.”

Ugandan-born Mahmood Mamdani is Herbert Lehman Professor of Government and Professor of Anthropology at Columbia University and the author of numerous books including When Victims Become Killers: Colonialism, Nativism, and Genocide in Rwanda.

Recorded April 14, 2009


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Erna Paris Interview


An interview with Erna Paris author of The Sun Climbs Slow: Justice in the Age of Imperial America — an investigation of the story and individuals behind America’s refusal to acknowledge international law and an inquiry into the urgent role of international criminal justice.

At the end of the twentieth century, two extraordinary events took place. The first was the end of the Cold War, which left the world with a single empire that dominated global affairs with a ready fist. The second event was the birth of the International Criminal Court–the first permanent tribunal of its kind. The ICC prosecutes crimes against humanity, war crimes and genocide. Its mandate is to confront impunity and demand accountability for the worst crimes known. But on March 11, 2003, when the new court was inaugurated in a moving ceremony, one country was conspicuously missing from the celebrations. The government of the United States had made it clear that the International Criminal Court was not consistent with American goals and values.

The Sun Climbs Slow grapples with an emerging dilemma of the twenty-first century: the tension between unchallenged political power and the rule of international law.

Erna Paris is the winner of ten national and international writing awards, including a gold medal from the National Magazine Awards Foundation. She is the author of seven books of literary non-fiction, including The End of Days: A Story of Tolerance, Tyranny and the Expulsion of the Jews from Spain, which won the 1996 Canadian Jewish Book Award for History.

Recorded April 7, 2009


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Russ Baker Interview


An interview with Russ Baker the author of Family of Secrets: The Bush Dynasty, the Powerful Forces That Put It in the White House, and What Their Influence Means for America.

After eight disastrous years, George W. Bush leaves office as one of the most unpopular presidents in American history. Baker asks the question that lingers even as this benighted administration winds down: Who really wanted this man at the helm of the country, and why did his backers promote him despite his obvious liabilities and limitations?

Baker goes deep behind the scenes to deliver an arresting new look at George W. Bush, his father George H. W. Bush, their family, and the network of figures in intelligence, the military, finance, and oil who enabled the family’s rise to power. Baker’s exhaustive investigation reveals a remarkable clan whose hermetic secrecy and code of absolute loyalty have concealed a far-reaching role in recent history that transcends the Bush presidencies. Baker offers new insights into lingering mysteries — from the death of John F. Kennedy to Richard Nixon’s downfall in Watergate. Here, too, are insider accounts of the backroom strategizing, and outright deception, that resulted in George W. Bush’s electoral success. Throughout, Baker helps us understand why we have not known these things before.

Russ Baker has written for the New Yorker, Vanity Fair, the New York Times, the Nation, Los Angeles Times, the Washington Post, and Esquire, and served as Columbia Journalism Review contributing editor. In 2005, he founded the Real News Project, a nonprofit investigative news organization. His exclusive reporting on George W. Bush’s military record received a 2005 Deadline Club award.

Recorded March 31, 2009


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P.W. Singer Interview


An interview with P. W. Singer the author of Wired for War: The Robotics Revolution and Conflict in the 21st Century.

An amazing revolution is taking place on the battlefield, starting to change not just how wars are fought, but also the politics, economics, laws, and ethics that surround war itself. This upheaval is already afoot -- remote-controlled drones take out terrorists in Afghanistan, while the number of unmanned systems on the ground in Iraq has gone from zero to 12,000 over the last five years. But it is only the start. Military officers quietly acknowledge that new prototypes will soon make human fighter pilots obsolete, while the Pentagon researches tiny robots the size of flies to carry out reconnaissance work now handled by elite Special Forces troops.

Wired for War takes the reader on a journey to meet all the various players in this strange new world of war: odd-ball roboticists working in latter-day "skunk works" in the midst of suburbia; military pilots flying combat mission from their office cubicles outside Las Vegas; the Iraqi insurgents who are their targets; journalists trying to figure out just how to cover robots at war; and human rights activists wrestling with what is right and wrong in a world where our wars are increasingly being handed over to machines.

Singer is Senior Fellow and Director of the 21st Century Defense Initiative at the Brookings Institution. His first book Corporate Warriors: The Rise of the Privatized Military Industry pioneered the study of the new industry of private companies providing military services for hire, an issue that soon became important with the use and abuse of these companies in Iraq.

Recorded March 24, 2009


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Andrei Codrescu Interview


An interview with Andrei Codrescu author of The Posthuman Dada Guide: Tzara and Lenin Play Chess.

The Posthuman Dada Guide is an impractical handbook for practical living in our posthuman world — all by way of examining the imagined 1916 chess game between Tristan Tzara, the daddy of Dada, and V. I. Lenin, the daddy of communism. This epic game at Zurich's Café de la Terrasse — a battle between radical visions of art and ideological revolution — lasted for a century and may still be going on, although communism appears dead and Dada stronger than ever. As the poet faces the future mass murderer over the chessboard, neither realizes that they are playing for the world.

Taking the match as metaphor for two poles of twentieth — and twenty-first-century thought, politics, and life, Codrescu has created his own brilliantly Dadaesque guide to Dada — and to what it can teach us about surviving our ultraconnected present and future. Here dadaists Duchamp, Ball, and von Freytag-Loringhoven and communists Trotsky, Radek, and Zinoviev appear live in company with later incarnations, including William Burroughs, Allen Ginsberg, Gilles Deleuze, and Newt Gingrich. The Posthuman Dada Guide is arranged alphabetically for quick reference and (some) nostalgia for order, with entries such as "eros (women)," "internet(s)," and "war." Throughout, it is written in the belief "that posthumans lining the road to the future (which looks as if it exists, after all, even though Dada is against it) need the solace offered by the primal raw energy of Dada and its inhuman sources."

Andrei Codrescu is an award-winning writer and National Public Radio commentator. His latest books are Jealous Witness: New Poems and New Orleans, Mon Amour: Twenty Years of Writing from the City. The author of many essay collections, including The Disappearance of the Outside, he is the MacCurdy Distinguished Professor of English at Louisiana State University.

Recorded March 17, 2009


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Susie Orbach Interview


An interview Susie Orbach the author of Bodies.

Throughout the Western world, people have come to believe that general dissatisfaction can be relieved by some change in their bodies. Orbach explains the origins of this condition, and examines its implications for all of us. Challenging the Freudian view that bodily disorders originate and progress in the mind, Orbach argues that we should look at self-mutilation, obesity, anorexia, and plastic surgery on their own terms, through a reading of the body itself. Incorporating the latest research from neuropsychology, as well as case studies from her own practice, she traces many of these fixations back to the relationship between mothers and babies, to anxieties that are transferred unconsciously, at a very deep level, between the two. Orbach reveals how vulnerable our bodies are, how susceptible to every kind of negative stimulus — from a nursing infant sensing a mother's discomfort to a grown man or woman feeling inadequate because of a model on a billboard. That vulnerability makes the stakes right now tremendously high.

In the past several decades, a globalized media has overwhelmed us with images of an idealized, westernized body, and conditioned us to see any exception to that ideal as a problem. The body has become an object, a site of production and commerce in and of itself. Instead of our bodies making things, we now make our bodies. Susie Orbach reveals the true dimensions of the crisis, and points the way toward healing and acceptance.

Orbach is the co-founder of the Women's Therapy Centre in London and New York. A former Guardian (UK) columnist, she was visiting professor for ten years at the London School of Economics and is the convener of Any-body.org. She is a consultant and co-originator of the Dove Campaign for Real Beauty. The author of a number of books, including On Eating, The Impossibility of Sex, and the bestseller Fat is a Feminist Issue, she lectures extensively worldwide.

Recorded March 10, 2009


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William Kleinknecht Interview


An interview with William Kleinknecht author of The Man Who Sold the World: Ronald Reagan and the Betrayal of Main Street America.

Since Ronald Reagan left office — and particularly after his death -his shadow has loomed large over American politics: Republicans and many Democrats have waxed nostalgic, extolling the Republican tradition he embodied, the optimism he espoused, and his abilities as a communicator.

This carefully calibrated image is complete fiction, argues award-winning journalist William Kleinknecht. The Reagan presidency was epoch shattering, but not — as his propagandists would have it — it invigorated private enterprise or made America feel strong again. His real legacy was the dismantling of an eight-decade period of reform in which working people were given an unprecedented sway over our politics, our economy, and our culture. Reagan halted this almost overnight.

In the tradition of Thomas Frank's What's the Matter with Kansas?, Kleinknecht explores middle America — starting with Reagan's hometown of Dixon, Illinois — and shows that as the Reagan legend grows, his true legacy continues to decimate middle America.

William Kleinknecht is a veteran crime correspondent for the Newark Star-Ledger. He previously covered the crime beat for the New York Daily News. The winner of awards from the Associated Press and the American Society of Professional Journalists, he has contributed to American Journalism Review, National Law Journal, and the Boston Phoenix. The author of New Ethnic Mobs: The Changing Face of Organized Crime in America, he lives in Glen Rock, New Jersey.

Recorded March 3, 2009


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Garry Leech Interview


An interview with Garry Leech author of Beyond Bogotá: Diary of a Drug War Journalist in Colombia.

The United States has sent more than $6 billion dollars to Bogotá in the past eight years as part of Plan Colombia, to help eradicate cocaine production and secure rural regions held by illegal armed groups such as the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC)-Colombia's largest guerilla force-and right-wing paramilitary groups. However, despite significant media coverage of the Colombian conflict, there has been a remarkable absence of firsthand reporting about the situation on the ground. Foreign reporters rarely have the necessary protection to leave Bogotá, and Colombian journalists run serious risks if they report the whole story — with over 30 having been killed since 1995.

Independent journalist Garry Leech has spent the last eight years investigating in the country and has seen firsthand the conditions that have garnered international attention: widespread human rights abuses, collusion between government soldiers and paramilitaries, the effects of violent displacement and aerial fumigation on rural communities, and the consequences of American involvement in the region. Leech interviews high-ranking leaders and civilians on both sides of Colombia's conflict as he searches for meaning in the midst of violence, poverty, and devastation.

Garry Leech is an independent journalist, editor of Colombia Journal, author of Crude Interventions and Killing Peace, and coauthor of The People Behind Colombian Coal. A lecturer in the Department of Political Science at Cape Breton University, Leech lives in Nova Scotia.

Recorded February 24, 2009


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Rose George Interview


An interview with Rose George author of The Big Necessity: The Unmentionable World of Human Waste and Why It Matters.

Produced behind closed doors, disposed of discreetly, and hidden by euphemism, bodily waste is something common to all and as natural as breathing, yet we prefer not to talk about it. But we should — those of us who take care of our business in pristine, sanitary conditions. For it’s not only in developing countries that human waste is a major public health threat: population growth is taxing even the most advanced sewage systems, and the disease spread by waste kills more people worldwide every year than any other single cause of death. Even in America, 1.95 million people have no access to an indoor toilet. Yet the subject remains unmentionable.

George takes aim at the taboo, revealing everything that matters about how people do — and don’t — deal with their own waste. Moving from the deep underground sewers of Paris, London, and New York — an infrastructure disaster waiting to happen — to an Indian slum where ten toilets are shared by 60,000 people, Rose George stops along the way to explore the potential saviors: China’s five million biogas digesters, which produce energy from waste; the heroes of third world sanitation movements; the inventor of the humble Car Loo; and the U.S. Army’s personal lasers used by soldiers to zap their feces in the field.

With razor-sharp wit and crusading urgency, mixing levity with gravity, Rose George has turned the subject we like to avoid into a cause with the most serious of consequences.

Rose George is a freelance writer and journalist who regularly contributes to Slate, The Guardian, The Independent, and the Financial Times.

Recorded February 17, 2009


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Will Bunch Interview


An interview with Will Bunch author of Tear Down This Myth: How the Reagan Legacy Has Distorted Our Politics and Haunts Our Future.

Bunch unravels the story of how a right-wing cabal hijacked the mixed legacy of Ronald Reagan, a personally popular but hugely divisive 1980s president, and turned him into a bronze icon to revive their fading ideology. They succeeded to the point where all the GOP candidates for president in 2008 scurried to claim his mantle, no matter how preposterous the fit.

With clear eyes and an ever-present wit, Bunch reveals the truth about the Ronald Reagan legacy, including the following:

• Despite the idolatry of the last fifteen years, Reagan's average popularity as president was only, well, average, lower than that of a half-dozen modern presidents. More important, while he was in office, a majority of Americans opposed most of his policies and by 1988 felt strongly that the nation was on the wrong track. Reagan's 1981 tax cut, weighted heavily toward the rich, did not cause the economic recovery of the 1980s. It was fueled instead by dropping oil prices, the normal business cycle, and the tight fiscal policies of the chairman of the Federal Reserve appointed by Jimmy Carter. Reagan's tax cut did, however, help usher in the deregulated modern era of CEO and Wall Street greed.

• Most historians agree that Reagan's waste-ridden military buildup didn't actually "win the Cold War." And Reagan mythmakers ignore his real contributions — his willingness to talk to his Soviet adversaries, his genuine desire to eliminate nuclear weapons, and the surprising role of a "liberal" Hollywood-produced TV movie.

• George H. W. Bush's and Bill Clinton's rolling back of Reaganomics during the 1990s spurred a decade of peace and prosperity as well as the reactionary campaign to pump up the myth of Ronald Reagan and restore right-wing hegemony over Washington. This effort has led to war, bankrupt energy policies, and coming generations of debt.

Bunch is the senior writer for the Philadelphia Daily News and its former political writer. He has been covering presidential campaigns and conventions all the way back to Jesse Jackson's historic 1984 bid.

Recorded February 10, 2009


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Daniel Tammet Interview


An interview with Daniel Tammet author of Embracing the Wide Sky: A Tour Across the Horizons of the Mind.

Owner of "the most remarkable mind on the planet," (according to Entertainment Weekly) Daniel Tammet captivated readers and won worldwide critical acclaim with the 2007 New York Times bestselling memoir, Born On A Blue Day, and its vivid depiction of a life with autistic savant syndrome. In his fascinating new book, he writes with characteristic clarity and personal awareness as he sheds light on the mysteries of savants' incredible mental abilities, and our own.

Tammet explains that the differences between savant and non-savant minds have been exaggerated; his astonishing capacities in memory, math and language are neither due to a cerebral supercomputer nor any genetic quirk, but are rather the results of a highly rich and complex associative form of thinking and imagination. Autistic thought, he argues, is an extreme variation of a kind that we all do, from daydreaming to the use of puns and metaphors. He explains how our natural intuitions can help us to learn a foreign language, why his memories are like symphonies, and what numbers and giraffes have in common. We also discover why there is more to intelligence than IQ, how optical illusions fool our brains, and why too much information can make you dumb.

Tammet is the subject of the 2005 award-winning documentary film 'Brainman' which has been shown in more than 40 countries. He set a European record on March 14th 2004 when he recited the famous mathematical constant Pi (3.141...) to 22,514 decimal places from memory in a time of 5 hours, 9 minutes. His remarkable memory, mathematical and linguistic abilities have been studied by some of the world's leading neuroscientists at California's Center for Brain Studies and the UK's Cambridge Autism Research Centre.

Recorded February 3, 2009


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Dacher Keltner Interview


An interview with Dacher Keltner the author of Born to Be Good: The Science of a Meaningful Life.

In a new examination of the surprising origins of human goodness, Keltner demonstrates that humans are not hardwired to lead lives that are "nasty, brutish, and short"— we are in fact born to be good. He investigates an old mystery of human evolution: why have we evolved positive emotions like gratitude, amusement, awe, and compassion that promote ethical action and are the fabric of cooperative societies?

By combining stories of scientific discovery, personal narrative, and Eastern philosophy, Keltner illustrates his discussions with more than fifty photographs of human emotions. Born to Be Good is a profound study of how emotion is the key to living the good life and how the path to happiness goes through human emotions that connect people to one another.

Dacher Keltner is a professor of psychology at the University of California, Berkeley, director of the Greater Good Science Center, and coeditor of Greater Good magazine. His research focuses on pro-social emotions, power, and moral reasoning.

Recorded January 20, 2009


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Michael Haas Interview


An interview with Michael Haas author of George W. Bush, War Criminal? The Bush Administration’s Liability for 269 War Crimes.

Eminent jurists, professional legal organizations, and human rights monitors in this country and around the world have declared that President George W. Bush may be prosecuted as a war criminal when he leaves office for his overt and systematic violations of such international law as the Geneva and Hague Conventions and such US law as the War Crimes Act, the Anti-Torture Act, and federal assault laws.

Haas identifies and documents 269 specific war crimes under US and international law for which President Bush, senior officials and staff in his administration, and military officers under his command are liable to be prosecuted. Haas divides the 269 war crimes of the Bush administration into four classes: 6 war crimes committed in launching a war of aggression; 36 war crimes committed in the conduct of war; 175 war crimes committed in the treatment of prisoners; and 52 war crimes committed in postwar occupations. For each of the 269 war crimes of the Bush administration, Professor Haas gives chapter and verse in precise but non-technical language, including the specific acts deemed to be war crimes, the names of the officials deemed to be war criminals, and the exact language of the international or domestic laws violated by those officials. Haas proceeds to consider the various US, international, and foreign tribunals in which the war crimes of Bush administration defendants may be tried under applicable bodies of law. He evaluates the real-world practicability of bringing cases against Bush and Bush officials in each of the possible venues. Finally, he weighs the legal, political, and humanitarian pros and cons of actually bringing Bush and Bush officials to trial for war crimes.

Michael Haas, has written more than thirty books, most recently International Human Rights: A Comprehensive Introduction (2008). A well-known political scientist, he played a key role in stopping American funding of the Khmer Rouge. His book exposing Singapore's many human rights violations is banned in that authoritarian country.

Recorded January 13, 2009


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Wendy Chapkis Interview


An interview with Wendy Chapkis co-author of Dying to Get High: Marijuana as Medicine.

Marijuana as medicine has been a politically charged topic in this country for more than three decades. Despite overwhelming public support and growing scientific evidence of its therapeutic effects (relief of the nausea caused by chemotherapy for cancer and AIDS, control over seizures or spasticity caused by epilepsy or MS, and relief from chronic and acute pain, to name a few), the drug remains illegal under federal law.

In Dying to Get High, noted sociologist Wendy Chapkis (along with co-author Richard J. Webb) investigates one community of seriously-ill patients fighting the federal government for the right to use physician-recommended marijuana. Based in Santa Cruz, California, the WoMen’s Alliance for Medical Marijuana (WAMM) is a unique patient-caregiver cooperative providing marijuana free of charge to mostly terminally ill members. For a brief period in 2004, it even operated the only legal non-governmental medical marijuana garden in the country, protected by the federal courts against the DEA.

Using as a stage this fascinating profile of one remarkable organization, Chapkis tackles the broader, complex history of medical marijuana in America. Through compelling interviews with patients, public officials, law enforcement officers and physicians, Chapkis asks what distinguishes a legitimate patient from an illegitimate pothead," "good" drugs from "bad," medicinal effects from "just getting high." Dying to Get High combines abstract argument and the messier terrain of how people actually live, suffer anddie, and offers a moving account of what is at stake in ongoing debates over the legalization of medical marijuana..

Wendy Chapkis is Professor of Sociology and Women and Gender Studies at the University of Southern Maine in Portland, ME. She is the author of the award-winning book Live Sex Acts: Women Performing Erotic Labor and Beauty Secrets: Women and the Politics of Appearance.

Recorded January 6, 2009


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Mikal Gilmore Interview


An interview with Mikal Gilmore author of Stories Done: Writings on the 1960s and Its Discontents.

Gilmore weaves a narrative of the '60s and '70s as he examines the lives of the era's most important cultural icons. Keeping the power of rock & roll at the forefront, Gilmore gathers together stories about major artists from every field — George Harrison, Ken Kesey, Johnny Cash, Allen Ginsberg, to name just a few. Gilmore reveals the truth about this idealized period in history, never shying away from the ugly influences that brought many of rock's most exciting figures to their knees. He examines how Jim Morrison's alcoholism led to the star's death at the age of twenty-seven, how Jerry Garcia's drug problems brought him to the brink of death so many times that his bandmates did not believe the news of his actual demise, how Pink Floyd struggled with the guilt of kicking out founding member Syd Barrett because of his debilitating mental illness. As Gilmore examines the dark side of these complicated figures, he paints a picture of the environment that bred them, taking readers from the rough streets of Liverpool (and its more comfortable suburbs) to the hippie haven of Haight-Ashbury that hosted the infamous Summer of Love. But what resulted from these lives and those times, Gilmore argues, was worth the risk — in fact, it may be inseparable from those hard costs.

The lives of these dynamic and diverse figures are intertwined with Gilmore's exploration of the social, political, and emotional characteristics that defined the era. His insights and examinations combine to create a eulogy for a formative period of American history.

Gilmore is a journalist and music aficionado who has written for Rolling Stone magazine since the 1970s. His first book, Shot in the Heart, is a National Book Critics Circle and L.A. Times Book Prize-winning memoir about his older brother Gary, the first man to be executed in Utah after pleading guilty to murder.

Recorded December 30, 2008


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Joe Allen Interview


An interview with Joe Allen author of Vietnam: The (Last) War the U.S. Lost.

As the United States now faces a major defeat in its occupation of Iraq, the history of the Vietnam War, as a historic blunder for US military forces abroad, and the true story of how it was stopped, take on a fresh importance. Unlike most books on the topic, constructed as specialized academic studies, The (Last) War the United States Lost examines the lessons of the Vietnam era with Joe Allen's eye of both a dedicated historian and an engaged participant in today's antiwar movement.

Many damaging myths about the Vietnam era persist, including the accusations that antiwar activists routinely jeered and spat at returning soldiers or that the war finally ended because Congress cut off its funding. Allen reclaims the stories of the courageous GI revolt; its dynamic relationship with the civil rights movement and the peace movement; the development of coffee houses where these groups came to speak out, debate, and organize; and the struggles waged throughout barracks, bases, and military prisons to challenge the rule of military command.

Allen's analysis of the US failure in Vietnam is also the story of the hubris of US imperial overreach, a new chapter of which is unfolding in the Middle East today.

Joe Allen is a regular contributor to the International Socialist Review and a longstanding social justice fighter, involved in the ongoing struggles for labor, the abolition of the death penalty, and to free the political prisoner Gary Tyler.

Recorded December 23, 2008


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Ariela J. Gross Interview


An interview with Ariela J. Gross author of What Blood Won't Tell: A History of Race on Trial in America.

Is race something we know when we see it? In 1857, Alexina Morrison, a slave in Louisiana, ran away from her master and surrendered herself to the parish jail for protection. Blue-eyed and blond, Morrison successfully convinced white society that she was one of them. When she sued for her freedom, witnesses assured the jury that she was white, and that they would have known if she had a drop of African blood. Morrison's court trial-and many others over the last 150 years-involved high stakes: freedom, property, and civil rights. And they all turned on the question of racial identity.

Over the past two centuries, individuals and groups (among them Mexican Americans, Indians, Asian immigrants, and Melungeons) have fought to establish their whiteness in order to lay claim to full citizenship in local courtrooms, administrative and legislative hearings, and the U.S. Supreme Court. Like Morrison's case, these trials have often turned less on legal definitions of race as percentages of blood or ancestry than on the way people presented themselves to society and demonstrated their moral and civic character.

Unearthing the legal history of racial identity, Gross examines the paradoxical and often circular relationship of race and the perceived capacity for citizenship in American society. She reminds us that the imaginary connection between racial identity and fitness for citizenship remains potent today and continues to impede racial justice and equality.

Gross is John B. and Alice R. Sharp Professor of Law and History, University of Southern California.

Recorded December 9, 2008


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Sharon Waxman Interview


An interview with Sharon Waxman author of Loot: The Battle over the Stolen Treasures of the Ancient World — a journey across four continents to the heart of the conflict over who should own the great works of ancient art.

Why are the Elgin Marbles in London and not on the Acropolis? Why do there seem to be as many mummies in France as there are in Egypt? Why are so many Etruscan masterworks in America? For the past two centuries, the West has been plundering the treasures of the ancient world to fill its great museums, but in recent years, the countries where ancient civilizations originated have begun to push back, taking museums to court, prosecuting curators, and threatening to force the return of these priceless objects.

Where do these treasures rightly belong? Sharon Waxman, a former culture reporter for The New York Times and a longtime foreign correspondent, brings us inside this high-stakes conflict, examining the implications for the preservation of the objects themselves and for how we understand our shared cultural heritage. Her journey takes readers from the great cities of Europe and America to Egypt, Turkey, Greece, and Italy, as these countries face down the Louvre, the Metropolitan Museum, the British Museum, and the J. Paul Getty Museum. She also introduces a cast of determined and implacable characters whose battles may strip these museums of some of their most cherished treasures.

Waxman was a Hollywood correspondent for The New York Times until January 2008. Before joining the Times, she was a correspondent for The Washington Post based in Los Angeles, from 1995 until 2003.

Recorded December 2, 2008


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Tyler E. Boudreau Interview


An interview with Tyler E. Boudreau author of Packing Inferno: The Unmaking of a Marine.

Boudreau is a twelve-year veteran of the Marine Corps infantry. He trained and committed himself physically and intellectually to the military life. Then his intense devotion began to disintegrate, bit by bit, during his final mission in Iraq. After returning home, he discovered a turmoil developing in his mind, estranging him from his loved ones and the bill of goods he eagerly purchased as a marine officer.

Packing Inferno is the story of the ordeal of a marine officer in battle and then coming home. It is the struggle with a society resistant to understand the true nature of war. It is the fight with combat stress and an exploration into the process of recovery. It is the search for conscience, family, and ultimately for one's essential self. Here are the reflections of a man built by the Marine Corps, disassembled by war, and left with no guidance to rebuild himself.

Boudreau, was deployed to Iraq in 2004 as Assistant Operation Officer for an infantry battalion. Following the deployment he was assigned as the Commanding Officer of a rifle company and was preparing to return to Iraq when he resigned his commission because of his growing reservations about the war. Today, he writes and speaks broadly on his experiences, and works with other veterans on many projects related to war. He is also the founder of Collaborative Revolution, a new not-for-profit humanitarian project to assist Iraqi refugees and immigrants resettled in the US.

Recorded November 25, 2008


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Chip Jacobs & William Kelly Interview


An interview with Chip Jacobs and William Kelly co-authors of Smogtown: The Lung-Burning History of Pollution in Los Angeles.

The smog beast wafted into downtown Los Angeles on July 26, 1943. Nobody knew what it was. Secretaries rubbed their eyes. Traffic cops seemed to disappear in the mysterious haze. Were Japanese saboteurs responsible? A reckless factory? The truth was much worse--it came from within, from Southern California's burgeoning car-addicted, suburban lifestyle.

Smogtown is the story of pollution, progress, and how an optimistic people confronted the epic struggle against airborne poisons barraging their hometowns. With wit, verve, and a fresh look at history, California based journalists Chip Jacobs and William J. Kelly highlight the bold personalities involved, the corporate- tainted science, the terrifying health costs, the attempts at cleanup, and how the smog battle helped mold the modern-day culture of Los Angeles. There are scofflaws aplenty and dirty deals, plus murders, suicides, spiritual despair, and an ever-present paranoia about mass disaster.

Brimming with historic photographs, forgotten anecdotes, and new revelations about our environmentally precarious present, Smogtown is a journalistic classic for the modern age.

Recorded November 18, 2008


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Kevin M. Scott Interview


An interview with Kevin M. Scott the co-author of The Porning of America: The Rise of Porn Culture, What It Means, and Where We Go from Here.

From the popular Bratz dolls to the infamous photos from Abu Ghraib, Scott reveals that porn has become the mainstream - and the mainstream has become porn. Carmine Sarracino and Kevin Scott argue that porn has seeped into and been absorbed by every defining aspect of our culture: language, entertainment, fashion, advertising, sexual behavior, even politics. Cultural absorption is so complete that we no longer have to purchase pornography to get porn because we increasingly live porn on a daily basis.

In The Porning of America, Scott profiles such "porn exemplars" - those who have been pivotal to the mainstreaming of porn - as Russ Meyer, Snoop Dogg, Jenna Jameson, and Paris Hilton; he documents how mainstream advertising uses porn culture to sell commercial goods now to an even younger, "tween" audience; and he poses crucial questions: How has porn shaped the way we view our own and others' bodies? Scott examined porned advertising of everything from Clinique to Orbit gum to Old Spice. How has porn influenced our relationships and how do current sexual behaviors, such as the "hookup," mimic porn? Scott looks to MySpace and Craigslist for answers. And how does porn shape our identity, as individuals and as a nation? Scott argues that the mistreatment of prisoners at Abu Ghraib exposed our porned sensibilities.

Not an anti-porn diatribe, The Porning of America is resolutely pro-sex. Scott (with co-author Carmine Sarracino) contends that, to make the most of our hard-won sexual freedom, we must thoughtfully - and honestly - evaluate what might be liberating about porn as well as what might be damaging.

Scott teaches courses in American literature and culture and directs the English education program at Elizabethtown College. His scholarly work covers literature, art, and popular culture.

Recorded November 11, 2008


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Martin Garbus Interview


An interview with Martin Garbus the author of The Next 25 Years: The New Supreme Court and What It Means for Americans.

Renowned First Amendment lawyer Martin Garbus examines what will be the impact of the new Supreme Court on the future of our republic.

Drawing on extensive knowledge of Constitutional law and legal procedure, Garbus, one of our most astute legal historians, defrocks the executive branch's grip over the judiciary as an extension of its own executive powers. He warns of the threat of an incoming "textualist" bench that wishes to roll back more than a century's worth of hard-won reforms. And he offers the first clear-eyed account of how the coming bench may imperil our way of life and endanger the liberties you may have thought were our inalienable rights.

Named by Time magazine as "legendary . . . one of the best trial lawyers in the country," Garbus has appeared before the US Supreme Court and the highest courts throughout the nation. Newsweek, the National Law Journal, and others cite Garbus as America's "most prominent First Amendment lawyer."

Recorded November 4, 2008


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Sue Katz Interview


An interview with Sue Katz the author of Thanks But No Thanks: The Voter's Guide to Sarah Palin.

Who is Sarah Palin and what does she believe in? People around the country — and indeed the world — had more questions than answers when John McCain announced her selection as his running mate on August 29, 2008. Has any national political candidate ever emerged on the American political scene with less scrutiny than Alaska Governor Sarah Palin received prior to her selection? We think not.

Moose hunter or political opportunist? Crony or reformer? Witch hunter or devout Christian? White trash or white hope?

Whether you believe Palin was nominated because of her reputation in Alaska, as a result of a reckless decision by her 'maverick' running mate, or because of the influence of the religious right, you probably want to know more about this hockey mom.

Recorded October 28, 2008


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Lew Daly Interview


An interview with Lew Daly the co-author of Unjust Deserts: How the Rich Are Taking Our Common Inheritance and Why We Should Take It Back.

Warren Buffett is worth nearly $50 billion. Does he “deserve” all this money? Buffett himself will tell you that “society is responsible for a very significant percentage of what I’ve earned.”

Unjust Deserts offers an entirely new approach to the wealth question. In a lively synthesis of modern economic, technological, and cultural research, Daly demonstrates that up to 90 percent (and perhaps more) of current economic output derives not from individual ingenuity, effort, or investment but from our collective inheritance of scientific and technological knowledge: an inheritance we all receive as a “free lunch.”

Daly then pursues the implications of this research, persuasively arguing that there is no reason any one person should be entitled to that inheritance. Recognizing the true dimensions of our unearned inheritance leads inevitably to a new and powerful moral case for wealth redistribution—and to a series of practical policies to achieve it in an era when the disparities have become untenable.

Daly is a senior fellow at Demos and the author of God and the Welfare State.

Recorded October 21, 2008


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Art Spiegelman Interview


An interview with legendary cartoonist Art Spiegelman author of Breakdowns: Portrait of the Artist as a Young %@*!’. Breakdowns was the first collected book of comic art Spiegelman had published. Created between 1972 and 1977, the volume has been reissued with an illustrated 20-page introduction, which – like the works that follow – pretty much redefines what might be considered as a typical comic book narrative.

Spiegelman has almost single-handedly brought comic books out of the toy closet and onto the literature shelves. In 1992 he won the Pulitzer Prize for his masterful Holocaust narrative Maus — which portrayed Jews as mice and Nazis as cats. Maus II continued the remarkable story of his parents’ survival of the Nazi regime and their lives later in America. His comics are best known for their shifting graphic styles, their formal complexity, and controversial content.

His work has been published in many periodicals, including The New Yorker, where he was a staff artist and writer from 1993-2003. In 2004 he completed a two-year cycle of broadsheet-sized color comics pages, In the Shadow of No Towers, first published in a number of European newspapers and magazines including Die Zeit and The London Review of Books. A book version of these highly political works was published by Pantheon in the United States, appeared on many national bestseller lists, and was selected by The New York Times Book Review as one of the 100 Notable Books of 2004.

In 2005, Spiegelman was made a Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres in France and named one of Time magazine’s 100 Most Influential People. He was named to the Art Director’s Club Hall of Fame in 2006.

Recorded October 14, 2008


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Glenn Greenwald Interview


An interview with Glenn Greenwald author of Great American Hypocrites: Toppling the Big Myths of Republican Politics.

With less than a month left until the election, the Republican Propaganda machine is running at maximum speed and the hypocrisy is sickening. Obama was criticized for his alleged inexperience and yet McCain chose a first-term governor from a small town in Alaska as his running mate. John McCain claims to believe that the law should only recognize traditional marriages. Yet, he was still married and living with his wife in 1979, while he was aggressively courting a 25-year-old woman. He then divorced his wife, who had raised their three children while he was imprisoned in Vietnam, and launched his political career with his new wife’s family money. Trig Palin’s teenage pregnancy is a testament not of Sarah Palin’s bad parenting but of her resolve to honor human life. OHHHH PLEASE!

Back on Weekly Signals by popular demand, Greenwald will discuss the November Presidential election. Greenwald contends that many Americans have voted in the past based on the manipulative imagery — a kind of a John Wayne mythology — even when they've flat out disagreed with the GOP's positions on key issues. Greenwald puts this bogus GOP mythology under microscopic critique and successfully argues that none of their candidates are, in fact, a brave, strong moral warriors - far from it. Rather, most have dodged military duty, have strings of broken marriages and affairs, and live decadent, elitist lives, which they so ruthlessly condemn

To prevent this tired marketing scheme from succeeding again, Greenwald takes off the gloves and knocks down the hoaxes and myths, exposing the tactics the right-wing machine uses to drown out both reality and consideration of real issues. But he also calls on Democrats to shake off the defensive posture ("We love America too," "We support the troops too," "We also believe in God") and start attacking the Republican candidates for the hypocrites they, in truth, are.

Greenwald is a former constitutional law attorney and now a contributing writer at Salon. His political reporting and analysis have appeared in the New York Times, the Washington Post, the American Conservative, and numerous congressional reports.

Recorded October 7, 2008


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Jeff Chester Interview


An interview with Jeff Chester author of Digital Destiny: New Media and the Future of Democracy.

With the explosive growth of the Internet and broadband communications, we now have the potential for a truly democratic media system offering a wide variety of independent sources of news, information, and culture, with control over content in the hands of the many rather than a few select media giants.

But the country’s powerful communications companies have other plans. Assisted by a host of hired political operatives and pro-business policy makers, the big cable, TV, and Internet providers are using their political clout to gain ever greater control over the Internet and other digital communication channels. Instead of a “global information commons,” we’re facing an electronic media system designed principally to sell to rather than serve the public, dominated by commercial forces armed with aggressive digital marketing, interactive advertising, and personal data collection.

Just as Lawrence Lessig translated the mysteries of software and intellectual property for the general reader in Code and Other Laws of Cyberspace, Jeff Chester gets beneath the surface of media and telecommunications regulation to explain clearly how our new media system functions, what’s at stake, and what we can do to fight the corporate media’s plans for our “digital destiny”—before it’s too late.

Chester is the executive director of the Center for Digital Democracy. He has long been on the front lines fighting against the consolidation and commercialization of the U.S. media system.

Recorded September 30, 2008


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John R. MacArthur Interview


An interview with John R. MacArthur, the author of You Can't Be President: The Outrageous Barriers to Democracy in America.

After the debacle of the 2000 presidential election, many Americans were asking themselves if their vote really counted anymore. Yet does the problem go even deeper than that? Is America really a democracy anymore?

In a rollicking piece of reportage based on years of reporting, Harper's Magazine Publisher John R. MacArthur examines how the system really works-and doesn't work-nowadays. Why is it that all the major candidates seem to be rich Ivy-Leaguers? Why is there so little difference between the Republicans and the Democrats on so many key issues? Does an outsider really have a chance?

Covering the recent candidacies of Ned Lamont and Ralph Nader, reporting on local efforts to effect change, and examining funding and influence in our electoral system in general, MacArthur presents a clarion call to restructure electoral politics.

MacArthur, president and publisher of Harper's Magazine, is an award-winning journalist and author of the acclaimed books The Selling of "Free Trade": NAFTA, Washington, and The Subversion of American Democracy and Second Front: Censorship and Propaganda in the Gulf War.

Recorded September 23, 2008


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Dexter Filkins Interview


An interview with Dexter Filkins the author of The Forever War.

Through the eyes of Filkins, the prizewinning New York Times correspondent whose work was hailed by David Halberstam as "reporting of the highest quality imaginable," we witness the remarkable chain of events that began with the rise of the Taliban in the 1990s, continued with the attacks of 9/11, and moved on to the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Filkins's narrative moves across a vast and various landscape of amazing characters and astonishing scenes: deserts, mountains, and streets of carnage; a public amputation performed by Taliban; children frolicking in minefields; skies streaked white by the contrails of B-52s; a night's sleep in the rubble of Ground Zero.

We embark on a foot patrol through the shadowy streets of Ramadi, venture into a torture chamber run by Saddam Hussein. We go into the homes of suicide bombers and into street-to-street fighting with a battalion of marines. We meet Iraqi insurgents, an American captain who loses a quarter of his men in eight days, and a young soldier from Georgia on a rooftop at midnight reminiscing about his girlfriend back home. A car bomb explodes, bullets fly, and a mother cradles her blinded son.

Filkins, a foreign correspondent for The New York Times, has covered the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq since 2001. Before that, he worked for Los Angeles Times, where he was chief of the paper's New Delhi bureau, and for The Miami Herald. He has been a finalist for a Pulitzer Prize and a winner of a George Polk Award and two Overseas Press Club awards. Most recently, he was a fellow at the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy at Harvard University.

Recorded September 16, 2008


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Judy Polumbaum Interview


An interview with Judy Polumbaum author of China Ink: The Changing Face of Chinese Journalism.

Polumbaum explores individual and societal changes in contemporary China through the compelling personal accounts of young Chinese journalists. China's media are central to public life in the most populous nation on earth and have also become increasingly relevant to communication and understanding on a global scale. Through a series of engaging oral histories, Polumbaum puts a human face on vital political and philosophical issues of freedom of expression and information that will shape China's future.

Polumbaum’s extended and frank conversations with journalists from a range of news outlets reveal diversity, passion, humor, and optimism that belie the stereotype of journalists as cogs in a rigidly controlled machine. Neither dissidents nor paragons but rather people working day in and day out within China's existing and evolving media, these talented and ambitious reporters open new windows to understanding Chinese journalism and intellectual life. Some of their tales could happen only in China; others resonate everywhere. As the first book to explore experiences and ideas of everyday journalists who are helping to shape their rapidly changing country, China Ink is a look into China's dynamic society.

Polumbaum is a former newspaper reporter. She is currently professor of journalism and mass communication at The University of Iowa.

Recorded September 9, 2008


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Tom Vanderbilt Interview


An interview with Tom Vanderbilt, the author of Traffic: Why We Drive the Way We Do (and What It Says About Us).

Would you be surprised that road rage can be good for society? Or that most crashes happen on sunny, dry days? That our minds can trick us into thinking the next lane is moving faster? Or that you can gauge a nation’s driving behavior by its levels of corruption? These are only a few of the remarkable dynamics that Tom Vanderbilt explores in this fascinating tour through the mysteries of the road.

Based on exhaustive research and interviews with driving experts and traffic officials around the globe, Traffic gets under the hood of the everyday activity of driving to uncover the surprisingly complex web of physical, psychological, and technical factors that explain how traffic works, why we drive the way we do, and what our driving says about us.

The car has long been a central part of American life; whether we see it as a symbol of freedom or a symptom of sprawl, we define ourselves by what and how we drive. As Vanderbilt shows, driving is a provocatively revealing prism for examining how our minds work and the ways in which we interact with one another. Ultimately, Traffic is about more than driving: it’s about human nature.

Vanderbilt writes about design, technology, science, and culture for Wired, Slate, The New York Times, and many other publications. He lives in Brooklyn and drives a 2001 Volvo V40.

Recorded September 2, 2008


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Karl E. Meyer Interview


An interview with Karl E. Meyer the author of Kingmakers: The Invention of the Modern Middle East.

Kingmakers is the story of how the modern Middle East came to be, told through the lives of the Britons and Americans who shaped it. Some are famous (Lawrence of Arabia and Gertrude Bell); others infamous (Harry St. John Philby, father of Kim); some forgotten (Sir Mark Sykes, Israel's godfather, and A. T. Wilson, the territorial creator of Iraq); some controversial (the CIA's Miles Copeland and the Pentagon's Paul Wolfowitz). All helped enthrone rulers in a region whose very name is an Anglo-American invention.

Meyer has written extensively on foreign affairs as a staff member of the New York Times and the Washington Post. His co-author, Shareen Blair Brysac, formerly a prize-winning documentary producer at CBS News, is the author of Resisting Hitler. Tournament of Shadows was their previous book together. The couple lives in New York and Weston, Connecticut.

Recorded August 26, 2008


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Steven T. Wax Interview


An interview with Steven T. Wax author of Kafka Comes to America: Fighting for Justice in the War on Terror: A Public Defender's Inside Account.

"Our government can make you disappear." Those were words Steven T. Wax never imagined he would hear himself say. In his thirty-four years as a lawyer, Wax didn't have to warn a client that he or she might be taken away to a military brig, or worse, a "black site," one of our country's dreaded secret prisons. So how had we come to this? The disappearance of people happens in places ruled by tyrants, military juntas, fascist strongmen-governments with such contempt for the rule of law that they strip their citizens of all rights. But in America?

Under the Bush administration, not only have the civil rights of foreigners been in jeopardy, but also those of U.S. citizens. Wax interweaves the stories of two men he represented who were caught up in our government's post-9/11 counterterrorism measures. Brandon Mayfield, an American-born, small-town lawyer and family man, was arrested as a terrorist suspect in the Madrid train station bombings after a fingerprint was mistakenly traced back to him by the FBI. Adel Hamad, a Sudanese hospital administrator working in Pakistan, was taken from his apartment and flown in chains to the United States military prison in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, for no substantiated reason. Kafka Comes to America reveals where and how our civil liberties have been eroded in favor of a false security, and how each of us can make a difference. If these events could happen to Brandon Mayfield and Adel Hamad, they could happen to anyone. They could happen to you.

Wax is in his seventh term as the Federal Public Defender for the District of Oregon. A cum laude graduate of Colgate University and Harvard Law School, he was a key part of the Brooklyn, N.Y. District Attorney's prosecution of David Berkowitz, a.k.a. "Son of Sam." Wax and his team are representing seven men held as "enemy combatants" in Guantánamo. He has taught at the Northwestern School of Law of Lewis & Clark College, serves as an ethics prosecutor for the Oregon State Bar, and lectures throughout the country.

Recorded August 19, 2008


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Thomas Frank Interview


An interview with Thomas Frank author of The Wrecking Crew: How Conservatives Rule.

From the author of the landmark bestseller, a jaw-dropping investigation of the decades of deliberate-and lucrative-conservative misrule

In his previous book - What's the Matter with Kansas? - Frank explained why working America votes for politicians who reserve their favors for the rich. Now, in The Wrecking Crew, Frank examines the blundering and corrupt Washington those politicians have given us.

Casting back to the early days of the conservative revolution, Frank describes the rise of a ruling coalition dedicated to dismantling government. But rather than cutting down the big government they claim to hate, conservatives have simply sold it off, deregulating some industries, defunding others, but always turning public policy into a private-sector bidding war. Washington itself has been remade into a golden landscape of super-wealthy suburbs and gleaming lobbyist headquarters-the wages of government-by-entrepreneurship practiced so outrageously by figures such as Jack Abramoff.

It is no coincidence, Frank argues, that the same politicians who guffaw at the idea of effective government have installed a regime in which incompetence is the rule. Nor will the country easily shake off the consequences of deliberate misgovernment through the usual election remedies. Obsessed with achieving a lasting victory, conservatives have taken pains to enshrine the free market as the permanent creed of state.

Frank is the founding editor of The Baffler and a contributing editor at Harper's.

Recorded August 12, 2008


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James Galbraith Interview


An interview with James Galbraith author of The Predator State: How Conservatives Abandoned the Free Market and Why Liberals Should Too.

The cult of the free market has dominated economic policy-talk since the Reagan revolution of nearly thirty years ago. Tax cuts and small government, monetarism, balanced budgets, deregulation, and free trade are the core elements of this dogma, a dogma so successful that even many liberals accept it. But a funny thing happened on the bridge to the twenty-first century. While liberals continue to bow before the free-market altar, conservatives in the style of George W. Bush have abandoned it altogether. That is why principled conservatives - the Reagan true believers - long ago abandoned Bush.

Galbraith first dissects the stale remains of Reaganism and shows how Bush and company had no choice except to dump them into the trash. He then explores the true nature of the Bush regime: a "corporate republic," bringing the methods and mentality of big business to public life; a coalition of lobbies, doing the bidding of clients in the oil, mining, military, pharmaceutical, agribusiness, insurance, and media industries; and a predator state, intent not on reducing government but rather on diverting public cash into private hands. In plain English, the Republican Party has been hijacked by political leaders who long since stopped caring if reality conformed to their message.

Galbraith follows with an impertinent question: if conservatives no longer take free markets seriously, why should liberals?

The real economy is not a free-market economy. It is a complex combination of private and public institutions, including Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, higher education, the housing finance system, and a vast federal research establishment. The real problems and challenges -- inequality, climate change, the infrastructure deficit, the subprime crisis, and the future of the dollar -- are problems that cannot be solved by incantations about the market. They will be solved only with planning, with standards and other policies that transcend and even transform markets.

Galbraith teaches economics and a variety of other subjects at the Lyndon Johnson School of Public Affairs. He directs the University of Texas Inequality Project, an informal research group at the LBJ School, is a Senior Scholar of the Levy Economics Institute, and is chair of Economists for Peace and Security, a global professional association.

Recorded August 5, 2008


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Jane Mayer Interview


An interview with Jane Mayer author of The Dark Side: The Inside Story of How The War on Terror Turned into a War on American Ideals.

In the days immediately following September 11th, the most powerful people in the country were panic-stricken. The radical decisions about how to combat terrorists and strengthen national security were made in a state of utter chaos and fear, but the key players, Vice President Dick Cheney and his powerful, secretive adviser David Addington, used the crisis to further a long held agenda to enhance Presidential powers to a degree never known in U.S. history, and obliterate Constitutional protections that define the very essence of the American experiment.

Mayer chronicles how the United States made terrible decisions in the pursuit of terrorists around the world —decisions that not only violated the Constitution to which White House officials took an oath to uphold, but also hampered the pursuit of Al Qaeda. Mayer relates the impact of these decisions-U.S.-held prisoners, some of them completely innocent, were subjected to treatment more reminiscent of the Spanish Inquisition than the twenty-first century.

Mayer is the co-author of two bestselling and critically acclaimed narrative nonfiction books, Landslide: The Unmaking of the President, 1984-1988 and
Strange Justice: The Selling of Clarence Thomas, the latter of which was a finalist for the National Book Award. She is currently a Washington-based staff writer for The New Yorker, specializing in political and investigative reporting. Before that, she was a senior writer and front-page editor for The Wall Street Journal, as well as the Journal's first female White House correspondent.

Recorded July 29, 2008


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Walter Nugent Interview


An interview with Walter Nugent author of Habits of Empire: A History of American Expansion.

Discussions abound today about the state of the union, its place in the world, and the founding fathers’ intentions. Did they want the United States to become a republic or an empire? Thomas Jefferson, after all, called the young nation an “empire for liberty.” Later words through two centuries all evoked empire: “manifest destiny” in the 1840s, “benevolent assimilation” in 1898, and “our responsibility to lead” in 2002.

Indeed, since Jefferson’s day, Americans have proudly proclaimed liberty and cherished democracy even as they have often behaved imperially. Nugent documents this expansionist behavior by examining each of the nation’s territorial acquisitions since the first in 1782 — how the land was acquired, how its previous occupants were removed or reduced, and how it was then settled and stabilized. By 1853, when the continental United States was fully established from sea to shining sea, the nation’s habit of empire-building had become firmly formed.

Nugent has taught history at the University of Notre Dame since 1984 and, before that, was Professor of History at Indiana University for twenty-one years. As a visiting professor he has also taught and lived in England, Israel, Germany, Poland, and Ireland. He has published eight previous books and well over a hundred essays and reviews on American and comparative history.

Recorded July 22, 2008


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Barry Siegel Interview


An interview with Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Barry Siegel author of Claim of Privilege: A Mysterious Plane Crash, a Landmark Supreme Court Case, and the Rise of State Secrets.

Siegel unfolds the shocking true story behind the Supreme Court case that forever changed the balance of power in America.

On October 6, 1948, a trio of civilian engineers joined a U.S. Air Force crew on a B-29 Superfortress, whose mission was to test secret navigational equipment. Shortly after takeoff the plane crashed, killing all three engineers and six others. In June 1949, the widows of the engineers filed suit against the government. What had happened to their men? they asked. Why had these civilians been aboard an Air Force plane in the first place?

But the Air Force, at the dawn of the Cold War, refused to hand over the accident reports and witness statements, claiming the documents contained classified information that would threaten national security. The case made its way up to the Supreme Court, which in 1953 sided with the Air Force in United States v. Reynolds. This landmark decision formally recognized the "state secrets" privilege, a legal precedent that has since been used to conceal conduct, withhold documents, block troublesome litigation, and, most recently, detain terror suspects without due-process protections.

Siegel, a Pulitzer Prize winning former national correspondent for Los Angeles Times, directs the literary journalism program at UC Irvine where he is a professor of English. He is the author of six books, including three volumes of narrative nonfiction and three novels set in imaginary Chumash County on the central coast of California.

Recorded July 15, 2008


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Chris Hedges Interview


An interview with Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Chris Hedges co-author of Collateral Damage: America's War Against Iraqi Civilians.

Hedges and journalist Laila Al-Arian spent the past year interviewing over fifty veterans to expose the patterns of the occupation in Iraq. The testimonies of these soldiers—many of who remain deeply traumatized by their experiences—uncover how the very conduct of the war and occupation have turned the American forces into agents of terror for most Iraqis.

Collateral Damage is organized around key military operations — Convoys, Checkpoints, Detentions, Raids, Suppressive Fire, and “Hearts and Minds.” Military convoys traveling at tremendous speeds through towns have become trains of death. Civilians are routinely run over or shot to death. Soldiers fire upon Iraqi vehicles with impunity at checkpoints. Late-night detentions based on shoddy intelligence terrify women, traumatize children, and radicalize the young men caught in their dragnet.

These soldiers have found the moral courage to speak out about the true nature of a war that has become one long, unchecked atrocity, and has given rise to the instability, sectarian violence and chaos that we witness today in Iraq.

Hedges, currently a senior fellow at The Nation Institute and a Lecturer in the Council of the Humanities and the Anschutz Distinguished Fellow at Princeton University, spent nearly two decades as a foreign correspondent in Central America, the Middle East, Africa and the Balkans. He has reported from more than 50 countries, worked for The Christian Science Monitor, National Public Radio, The Dallas Morning News and The New York Times, where he spent fifteen years. Hedges is also the author of the best selling War Is a Force That Gives Us Meaning, which draws on his experiences in various conflicts to describe the patterns and behavior of nations and individuals in wartime.

Recorded July 8, 2008


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Bill Bishop Interview


An Interview with Bill Bishop author of The Big Sort: Why the Clustering of Like-Minded America Is Tearing Us Apart.

America may be more diverse than ever coast to coast, but the places where we live are becoming increasingly crowded with people who live, think, and vote like we do. This social transformation didn't happen by accident. We've built a country where we can all choose the neighborhood and church and news show — most compatible with our lifestyle and beliefs. And we are living with the consequences of this way-of-life segregation. Our country has become so polarized, so ideologically inbred, that people don't know and can't understand those who live just a few miles away. The reason for this situation, and the dire implications for our country, is the subject of Bishop's ground-breaking work.

In 2004, journalist Bill Bishop made national news in a series of articles when he first described "the big sort." Armed with original and startling demographic data, he showed how Americans have been sorting themselves over the past three decades into homogeneous communities — not at the regional level, or the red-state/blue-state level, but at the micro level of city and neighborhood. In The Big Sort, Bishop deepens his analysis in a brilliantly reported book that makes its case from the ground up, starting with stories about how we live today, and then drawing on history, economics, and our changing political landscape to create one of the most compelling big-picture accounts of America in recent memory.

Bishop wrote The Big Sort with retired University of Texas sociologist Robert G. Cushing. Bishop has worked as a reporter at The Mountain Eagle, in Whitesburg (Ky.); a columnist at the Lexington (Ky.) Herald-Leader and on the special projects staff of the Austin (Tx.) American-Statesman. Bishop and his wife, Julie Ardery, owned and operated The Bastrop County Times, a weekly newspaper in Smithville, Texas. They now co-edit The Daily Yonder, a web-based publication covering rural America.

Recorded July 1, 2008


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Terry K. Aladjem Interview


An interview with Terry J. Aladjem, author of The Culture of Vengeance and the Fate of American Justice.

America is driven by vengeance in Aladjem’s provocative account — a reactive, public anger that is a threat to democratic justice itself. From the return of the death penalty to the wars on terror and in Iraq, Americans demand retribution and moral certainty; they assert the ‘rights of victims’ and make pronouncements against ‘evil’. Yet for Aladjem this dangerously authoritarian turn has its origins in the tradition of liberal justice itself – in theories of punishment that justify inflicting pain and in the punitive practices that result. Exploring vengeance as the defining problem of our time, Aladjem returns to the theories of Locke, Hegel and Mill. He engages the ancient Greeks, Nietzsche, Paine and Foucault to challenge liberal assumptions about punishment. He interrogates American law, capital punishment and images of justice in the media. He envisions a democratic justice that is better able to contain its vengeance.

Aladjem is a Lecturer on Social studies at Harvard University and an Associate Director at Harvard's Derek Bok Center for Teaching and Learning.

Recorded June 24, 2008


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Gabor Maté Interview


An interview with Gabor Maté, author of In The Realm of Hungry Ghosts: Close Encounters With Addiction.

Bestselling writer and physician Maté looks at the epidemic of addictions in our society, tells us why we are so prone to them a…


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Gabor Maté Interview


An interview with Gabor Maté, author of In The Realm of Hungry Ghosts: Close Encounters With Addiction.

Bestselling writer and physician Maté looks at the epidemic of addictions in our society, tells us why we are so prone to them and what is needed to liberate ourselves from their hold on our emotions and behaviours.

For over ten years Maté has been the staff physician at the Portland Hotel, a residence and harm reduction facility in Vancouver's Downtown Eastside. His patients are challenged by life-threatening drug addictions, mental illness, Hepatitis C or HIV and, in many cases, all four. But if Dr. Maté's patients are at the far end of the spectrum, there are many others among us who are also struggling with addictions. Drugs, alcohol, tobacco, work, food, sex, gambling and excessive inappropriate spending: what is amiss with our lives that we seek such self-destructive ways to comfort ourselves? And why is it so difficult to stop these habits, even as they threaten our health, jeopardize our relationships and corrode our lives?

Beginning with a dramatically close view of his drug addicted patients, Dr. Maté looks at his own history of compulsive behaviour. He weaves the stories of real people who have struggled with addiction with the latest research on addiction and the brain. Providing a bold synthesis of clinical experience, insight and cutting edge scientific findings, Dr. Maté sheds light on this most puzzling of human frailties. He proposes a compassionate approach to helping drug addicts and, for the many behaviour addicts among us, to addressing the void addiction is meant to fill.

Recorded June 17, 2008


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Vincent Bugliosi Interview


An interview with Vincent Bugliosi author of The Prosecution of George W. Bush for Murder.

Famed Charles Manson prosecutor and three time #1 New York Times bestselling author Vincent Bugliosi has written the most powerful, explosive, and thought-provoking book of his storied career.

In The Prosecution of George W. Bush for Murder, Bugliosi presents a tight, meticulously researched legal case that puts George W. Bush on trial in an American courtroom for the murder of nearly 4,000 American soldiers fighting the war in Iraq. Bugliosi sets forth the legal architecture and incontrovertible evidence that President Bush took this nation to war in Iraq under false pretenses — a war that has not only caused the deaths of American soldiers but also over 100,000 innocent Iraqi men, women, and children; cost the United States over one trillion dollars thus far with no end in sight; and alienated many American allies in the Western world.

As a prosecutor who is dedicated to seeking justice, Bugliosi, in his inimitable style, delivers a non-partisan argument, free from party lines and instead based upon hard facts and pure objectivity.

A searing indictment of the President and his administration, The Prosecution of George W. Bush for Murder also outlines a legally credible pathway to holding our highest government officials accountable for their actions, thereby creating a framework for future occupants of the oval office.

Bugliosi calls for the United States of America to return to the great nation it once was and can be again. He believes the first step to achieving this goal is to bring those responsible for the war in Iraq to justice.

In his career at the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s office, Bugliosi successfully prosecuted 105 out of 106 felony jury trials, including 21 murder convictions without a single loss. His most famous trial, the Charles Manson case, became the basis of his true-crime classic, Helter Skelter, the biggest selling true-crime book in publishing history.

Recorded June 10, 2008


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Taras Grescoe Interview


An interview with Taras Grescoe author of Bottomfeeder: How to Eat Ethically in a World of Vanishing Seafood.

A look at aquaculture that does for seafood what Fast Food Nation did for beef.

Dividing his sensibilities between Epicureanism and ethics, Grescoe set out on a nine-month, worldwide search for a delicious — and humane — plate of seafood. What he discovered shocked him. From North American Red Lobsters to fish farms and research centers in China, Bottomfeeder takes readers on an illuminating tour through the $55-billion-dollar-a-year seafood industry. Grescoe examines how out-of-control pollution, unregulated fishing practices, and climate change affect what ends up on our plate. More than a screed against a multibillion-dollar industry, however, this is also a balanced and practical guide to eating, as Grescoe explains to readers which fish are best for our environment, our seas, and our bodies.

Taras Grescoe has written articles on travel for The Times, Independent, Condé Nast Traveller, National Geographic Traveler and the New York Times. His bestselling first book Sacré Blues: An Unsentimental Journey Through Quebec won the Mavis Gallant Prize for Non-fiction and First Book Award, among numerous other awards. His book, The End of Elsewhere: Travels Among the Tourists, was called "one of the most original travel books to come out in years" by the Globe and Mail.

Recorded June 3, 2008


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Suzanne Gordon Interview


An interview with Suzanne Gordon co-author of Safety in Numbers: Nurse-to-Patient Ratios and the Future of Health Care.

Legally mandated nurse-to-patient ratios are one of the most controversial topics in health care today. Ratio advocates believe that minimum staffing levels are essential for quality care, better working conditions, and higher rates of RN recruitment and retention that would alleviate the current global nursing shortage. Opponents claim that ratios will unfairly burden hospital budgets, while reducing management flexibility in addressing patient needs.

Safety in Numbers is the first book to examine the arguments for and against ratios. Utilizing survey data, interviews, and other original research, Suzanne Gordon, John Buchanan, and Tanya Bretherton weigh the cost, benefits, and effectiveness of ratios in California and the state of Victoria in Australia, the two places where RN staffing levels have been mandated the longest. Their book shows how hospital cost-cutting and layoffs in the 1990s created larger workloads and deteriorating conditions for both nurses and their patients — leading nursing organizations to embrace staffing level regulation. The authors provide an in-depth account of the difficult but ultimately successful campaigns waged by nurses and their allies to win mandated ratios. Safety in Numbers then reports on how nurses, hospital administrators, and health care policymakers handled ratio implementation.

Gordon is an award-winning journalist and author. She has written for the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, The Washington Post, The Atlantic Monthly, The American Prospect, The Globe and Mail, and The Toronto Star. She’s the author of seven books.

Recorded May 27, 2008


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Matt Taibbi Interview


An interview with Matt Taibbi author of The Great Derangement: A Terrifying True Story of War, Politics, and Religion at the Twilight of the American Empire.

Rolling Stone's Matt Taibbi set out to describe the nature of George Bush's America in the post-9/11 era and ended up vomiting demons in an evangelical church in Texas, riding the streets of Baghdad in an American convoy to nowhere, searching for phantom fighter jets in Congress, and falling into the rabbit hole of the 9/11 Truth Movement.

Matt discovered in his travels across the country that the resilient blue state/red state narrative of American politics had become irrelevant. A large and growing chunk of the American population was so turned off-or radicalized-by electoral chicanery, a spineless news media, and the increasingly blatant lies from our leaders ("they hate us for our freedom") that they abandoned the political mainstream altogether. They joined what he calls The Great Derangement.

Taibbi tells the story of this new American madness by inserting himself into four defining American subcultures: The Military, where he finds himself mired in the grotesque black comedy of the American occupation of Iraq; The System, where he follows the money-slicked path of legislation in Congress; The Resistance, where he doubles as chief public antagonist and undercover member of the passionately bonkers 9/11 Truth Movement; and The Church, where he infiltrates a politically influential apocalyptic mega-ministry in Texas and enters the lives of its desperate congregants. Together these four interwoven adventures paint a portrait of a nation dangerously out of touch with reality and desperately searching for answers in all the wrong places.

Recorded May 20, 2008


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Nicholson Baker Interview


An interview with Nicholson Baker author of Human Smoke: The Beginnings of World War II, the End of Civilization.

Baker delivers a deeply moving indictment of the treasured myths that have romanticized much of the 1930s and '40s. Incorporating meticulous research and well-documented sources — including newspaper and magazine articles, radio speeches, memoirs, and diaries — the book juxtaposes hundreds of interrelated moments of decision, brutality, suffering, and mercy.

"'Burning a village properly takes a long time,' wrote a British commander in Iraq in 1920. Baker traces a direct line from there to WWII, when Flying Fortresses and incendiary bombs made it possible to burn a city in almost no time at all. Central to Baker's narrative — a chronological juxtaposition of discrete moments from 1892 to December 31, 1941 — are accounts from contemporary reports of Britain's terror campaign of repeatedly bombing German cities even before the London blitz. The cynical warmongering of Churchill and FDR; Churchill's hate-filled reference to "yellow Japanese lice" force one to reconsider means and ends even in a 'good' war and to view the word 'terror' in a very discomfiting context.

Praised by critics and readers alike for his exquisitely observant eye and deft, inimitable prose, Baker has assembled a narrative within Human Smoke that unfolds gracefully, tragically, and persuasively. This is an unforgettable book that makes a profound impact on our perceptions of historical events and mourns the unthinkable loss humanity has borne at its own hand.

Baker has published three works of nonfiction, including Double Fold, which won a National Book Critics Circle Award in 2001.

Recorded May 13, 2008


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Glenn Greenwald Interview


An interview with Glenn Greenwald author of Great American Hypocrites: Toppling the Big Myths of Republican Politics.

Long since Americans were wooed by images of Ronald Reagan astride a horse, complete with cowboy hat and rugged good looks, the Republican Party has used a John Wayne mythology to build up its candidates and win elections. Their marketing scheme of evoking brave, courageous, heroic warriors has been so persuasive and strikes such a patriotic nerve, that many citizens have voted based on this manipulative imagery even when they’ve flat out disagreed with the GOP’s positions on key issues.

Glenn Greenwald puts this bogus GOP mythology under microscopic critique and successfully argues that none of these men is, in fact, a brave, strong moral warrior — far from it. Rather, most have dodged military duty, have strings of broken marriages and affairs, and live decadent, elitist lives, which they so ruthlessly condemn Democrats for doing. Such false archetypes — that GOP leaders are exclusively fit to command the military, represent traditional family values, and are fiscally restrained and responsible because they’re just regular folk like us — are so firmly entrenched in our culture as to allow the GOP to sit back and let their time-tested marketing ploy spin itself silly while avoiding debate on real issues. When they actually do voice opinions, it’s nothing more than a smear campaign of the supposed weakness and elitism of the Democrats.

To prevent this tired marketing scheme from succeeding again, Greenwald takes off the gloves and knocks down the hoaxes and myths, exposing the tactics the right-wing machine uses to drown out both reality and consideration of real issues. But he also calls on Democrats to shake off the defensive posture (“We love America too,” “We support the troops too,” “We also believe in God”) and start attacking the Republican candidates for the hypocrites they, in truth, are.

Greenwald is a former constitutional law attorney and now a contributing writer at Salon. His political reporting and analysis have appeared in the New York Times, the Washington Post, the American Conservative, and numerous congressional reports.

Recorded May 6, 2008


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Susan Jacoby Interview


An interview with Susan Jacoby author of The Age of American Unreason.

Jacoby paints a disturbing portrait of a mutant strain of public ignorance, anti-rationalism, and anti-intellectualism that has developed over the past four decades and now threatens the future of American democracy. Combining historical analysis with contemporary observation, she dissects a culture at odds with America's heritage of Enlightenment reason and with modern knowledge and science. Jacoby offers an unsparing indictment of the ways in which dumbness has been defined downward throughout American society-on the political right and the left. America's endemic anti-intellectual tendencies have been exacerbated by a new species of semiconscious anti-rationalism, feeding on and fed by a popular culture of video images and unremitting noise that leaves no room for contemplation or logic.

Jacoby is the author of eight books. She is also program director of the Center for Inquiry-New York City, a rationalist think tank with offices in Lower Manhattan.

Recorded April 22, 2008


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Maude Barlow Interview


An interview with Maude Barlow author of Blue Covenant: The Global Water Crisis and the Coming Battle for the Right to Water.

In their international bestseller Blue Gold, Maude Barlow and co-author Tony Clarke exposed how a handful of corporations are gaining ownership and control of the earth's dwindling water supply, depriving millions of people around the world of access to this most basic of resources and accelerating the onset of a global water crisis.

Blue Covenant, the sequel to Blue Gold, describes a powerful response to this trend: the emergence of an international, grassroots-led movement to have water declared a basic human right, something that can't be bought or sold for profit.

World-renowned activist Maude Barlow is at the center of this movement, which is gaining popular and political support across the globe, encompassing protests in India against U.S. bottling giant Coca-Cola; in Bolivia against the water privatization scheme of European water conglomerate Suez; against the use of water meters in South Africa; and over groundwater mining in Barrington, New Hampshire, and dozens of other communities in North America.

Barlow traces the history of these international battles, documents the life-and-death stakes involved in the fight for the right to water, and lays out the actions that we as global citizens must take to secure a water — just world — a "blue covenant"—for all.

Barlow is the National Chairperson of The Council of Canadians, Canada’s largest public advocacy organization, and the co-founder of the Blue Planet Project, working internationally for the right to water. She serves on the boards of the International Forum on Globalization and Food and Water Watch, as well as being a Councillor with the Hamburg-based World Future Council.

Recorded April 15, 2008


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Nick Davies Interview


An interview with Nick Davies author of Flat Earth News: An Award-winning Reporter Exposes Falsehood, Distortion and Propaganda in the Global Media.

Davies names names and exposes the national stories which turn out to be pseudo events manufactured by the PR industry, and the global news stories which prove to be fiction generated by a new machinery of international propaganda. He shows the impact of this on a world where consumers believe a mass of stories which, in truth, are as false as the idea that the Earth is flat - from the millennium bug to the WMD in Iraq - tainting government policy, perverting popular belief. He presents a new model for understanding news. With the help of researchers from Cardiff University, who ran a ground-breaking analysis of our daily news, Davies found most reporters, most of the time, are not allowed to dig up stories or check their facts - a profession corrupted at the core.

Davies has been named Journalist of the Year, Reporter of the Year and Feature Writer of the Year for his investigations into crime, drugs, poverty and other social issues. He has been a journalist since 1976 and is currently a freelance, working regularly as special correspondent for The Guardian.

Recorded April 8, 2008


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Marnia Lazreg Interview


An interview with Marnia Lazreg author of Torture and the Twilight of Empire: From Algiers to Baghdad.

Lazreg looks at the intimate relationship between torture and colonial domination through a close examination of the French army's coercive tactics during the Algerian war from 1954 to 1962. By tracing the psychological, cultural, and political meanings of torture at the end of the French empire, she also sheds new light on the United States and its recourse to torture in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Torture and the Twilight of Empire is nothing less than an anatomy of torture — its methods, justifications, functions, and consequences. Drawing extensively from archives, confessions by former torturers, interviews with former soldiers, and war diaries, as well as writings by Jean-Paul Sartre, Albert Camus, and others, Lazreg argues that occupying nations justify their systematic use of torture as a regrettable but necessary means of saving Western civilization from those who challenge their rule. She shows how torture was central to guerre révolutionnaire, a French theory of modern warfare that called for total war against the subject population and which informed a pacification strategy founded on brutal psychological techniques borrowed from totalitarian movements. Lazreg seeks to understand torture's impact on the Algerian population--especially women--and also on the French troops who became their torturers. She explores the roles Christianity and Islam played in rationalizing these acts, and the ways in which torture became not only routine but even acceptable.

Lazreg is professor of sociology at Hunter College and the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. Her books include The Eloquence of Silence: Algerian Women in Question.

Recorded March 25, 2008


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Fred Kaplan Interview


An interview with Fred Kaplan author of Daydream Believers: How a Few Grand Ideas Wrecked American Power.

America's power is in decline, its foreign policy adrift, its allies alienated, its soldiers trapped in a war that even generals regard as unwinnable. What has happened these past eight years is well-known. Why it happened continues to puzzle. Slate columnist Fred Kaplan combines in-depth reporting and analysis to explain just how George W. Bush and his aides got so far off track — and why much of the nation followed.

For eight years, Kaplan reminds us, the White House — and many of the nation's podiums and opinion pages — rang out with appealing but deluded claims: that we live in a time like no other and that, therefore, the lessons of history no longer apply; that new technology has transformed warfare; that the world's peoples will be set free, if only America topples their dictators; and that those who dispute such promises do so for partisan reasons. They thought they were visionaries, but they only had visions. And they believed in their daydreams.

Fred Kaplan writes the "War Stories" column in Slate. The author of the classic book The Wizards of Armageddon, he has also written for the New York Times, the New Yorker, the Washington Post, the Atlantic Monthly, and other publications. He worked as a foreign policy aide on Capitol Hill, and spent decades as a Pulitzer Prize–winning reporter in Washington and Moscow.

Recorded March 18, 2008


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Nicholas Maxwell Interview


An interview with Nicholas Maxwell author of From Knowledge to Wisdom: A Revolution for Science and the Humanities.

Maxwell argues that there is an urgent need, for both intellectual and humanitarian reasons, to bring about a revolution in science and the humanities. The outcome would be a kind of academic inquiry rationally devoted to helping humanity learn how to create a better world. The basic intellectual aim of inquiry would be to seek and promote wisdom — wisdom being the capacity to realize what is of value in life for oneself and others, thus including knowledge and technological know-how, but much else besides.

According to Maxwell, "Natural science has been extraordinarily successful in increasing knowledge. This has been of great benefit to humanity. But new knowledge and technological know-how increase our power to act which, without wisdom, may cause human suffering and death as well as human benefit. All our modern global problems have arisen in this way: global warming, the lethal character of modern war and terrorism, vast inequalities of wealth and power round the globe, rapid increase in population, rapid extinction of other species, even the aids epidemic (aids being spread by modern travel). All these have been made possible by modern science dissociated from the rational pursuit of wisdom. If we are to avoid in this century the horrors of the last one — wars, death camps, dictatorships, poverty, environmental damage — we urgently need to learn how to acquire more wisdom, which in turn means that our institutions of learning become devoted to that end.

For nearly 30 years Maxwell taught the Philosophy of Science at the University College London, where he is now Emeritus Reader in Philosophy of Science and Honorary Senior Research Fellow. He is also the author of What's Wrong With Science?, The Comprehensibility of the Universe, and The Human World in the Physical Universe.

Recorded March 11, 2008


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Charles Barber Interview


An interview with Charles Barber, author of Comfortably Numb: How Psychiatry Is Medicating a Nation.

Public perceptions of mental health issues have changed dramatically over the last fifteen years, and nowhere is this more apparent than in the rampant overmedication of ordinary Americans. In 2006, 227 million antidepressant prescriptions were dispensed in the United States, more than any other class of medication; in that same year, the United States accounted for 66 percent of the global antidepressant market. Barber provides a much-needed context for this disturbing phenomenon.

Barber explores the ways in which pharmaceutical companies first create the need for a drug and then rush to fill it, and he reveals that the increasing pressure Americans are under to medicate themselves (direct-to-consumer advertising, fewer nondrug therapeutic options, the promise of the quick fix, the blurring of distinction between mental illness and everyday problems). Most importantly, he convincingly argues that without an industry to promote them, non-pharmaceutical approaches that could have the potential to help millions are tragically overlooked by a nation that sees drugs as an instant cure for all emotional difficulties.

Barber was educated at Harvard and Columbia and worked for ten years in New York City shelters for the homeless mentally ill. The title essay in his first book, "Songs from the Black Chair," won a 2006 Pushcart Prize. His work has appeared in The New York Times and Scientific American Mind, among other publications. He is a senior administrator at The Connection, an innovative social services agency, and a lecturer in psychiatry at the Yale University School of Medicine.

Recorded March 4, 2008


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Jeffrey C. Goldfarb Interview


An interview with Jeffrey C. Goldfarb, author of The Politics of Small Things: The Power of the Powerless in Dark Times.

Political change doesn't always begin with a bang; it often starts with just a whisper. From the discussions around kitchen tables that led to the dismantling of the Soviet bloc to the more recent emergence of Internet initiatives like MoveOn.org and Redeem the Vote that are revolutionizing the American political landscape, consequential political life develops in small spaces where dialogue generates political power.

Goldfarb provides an innovative way for understanding politics, a way of appreciating the significance of politics at the micro level by comparatively analyzing key turning points and institutions in recent history. He presents a sociology of human interactions that lead from small to large: dissent around the old Soviet bloc; life on the streets in Warsaw, Prague, and Bucharest in 1989; the network of terror that spawned 9/11; and the religious and Internet mobilizations that transformed the 2004 presidential election, to name a few. In such pivotal moments, he masterfully shows, political autonomy can be generated, presenting alternatives to the big politics of the global stage and the dominant narratives of terrorism, antiterrorism, and globalization.

Goldfarb is the Michael E. Gellert Professor of Sociology at the New School for Social Research. He is the author of seven books, including On Cultural Freedom, The Cynical Society and Beyond Glasnost.

Recorded February 26, 2008


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Robert Creamer Interview


An interview with Robert Creamer, author of Listen to Your Mother: Stand Up Straight: How Progressives Can Win.

Some people think that in order to win this November, Democrats need to move to the political center by adopting conservative values and splitting the difference between progressive and conservatives positions. History shows they are wrong. To win the next election and to win in the long term, progressives need to redefine the political center. Creamer, one of America s most experienced political strategists and organizers lays out a broad strategy for progressive victory and describes the tactics needed to win real-world political battles one at a time. He analyzes: The self-interests of voters; Targets for political communication; The principles of political messaging; The secrets of winning electoral and issue campaigns; What is meant by progressive values, and; How to describe a compelling progressive vision for the future.

Creamer has been a political organizer and strategist for almost four decades. He is a consultant to the campaigns to end the war in Iraq, pass universal health care, change America's budget priorities and enact comprehensive immigration reform.

Recorded February 19, 2008


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Jonathan Simon Interview


An interview with Jonathan Simon author of Governing through Crime: How the War on Crime Transformed American Democracy and Created a Culture of Fear.

Across America today gated communities sprawl out from urban centers, employers enforce mandatory drug testing, and schools screen students with metal detectors. Social problems ranging from welfare dependency to educational inequality have been reconceptualized as crimes, with an attendant focus on assigning fault and imposing consequences.

Even before the recent terrorist attacks, non-citizen residents had become subject to an increasingly harsh regime of detention and deportation, and prospective employees subjected to background checks. How and when did our everyday world become dominated by fear, every citizen treated as a potential criminal?

Simon traces this pattern back to the collapse of the New Deal approach to governing during the 1960s when declining confidence in expert-guided government policies sent political leaders searching for new models of governance. The War on Crime offered a ready solution to their problem: politicians set agendas by drawing analogies to crime and redefined the ideal citizen as a crime victim, one whose vulnerabilities opened the door to overweening government intervention. By the 1980s, this transformation of the core powers of government had spilled over into the institutions that govern daily life. Soon our schools, our families, our workplaces, and our residential communities were being governed through crime.

Simon is Associate Dean of Jurisprudence and Social Policy and Professor of Law at the University of California, Berkeley.

Recorded February 12, 2008


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Sarah Posner Interview


Sarah Posner discusses her book God's Profits: Faith, Fraud, and the Republican Crusade for Values Voters.

Posner examines the unholy alliance between a new breed of corrupt televangelists and the Republican Party, which is eagerly courting "values voters" in the nation's largest megachurches.

Posner exposes the activities of Kenneth Copeland, John Hagee, Rod Parsley, T.D. Jakes, and other politically connected, skillfully marketed, and increasingly influential religious leaders. Preaching the "prosperity gospel" — the notion that faith and tithing alone can ensure financial security — both in their churches and over the airwaves, these charismatic leaders scam the gullible even as they enjoy unprecedented access to top Bush Administration officials. Admired by Republican strategists for their antigovernment ideology and authoritarian leadership styles, these televangelists work together to maximize profits; protect themselves legally; influence elections, judicial nominations, and promote their pro-war, apocalyptic ideas.

Posner is an investigation journalist covering the religious right for the American Prospect, The Nation, The Washington Spectator, AlterNet, and other publications. She also writes the Fundamentalist List which counts down the week's top news about the religious right, for the American Propect website.

Recorded February 5, 2008


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Matt Mason Interview


Our guest is Matt Mason author of The Pirate’s Dilemma: How Youth Culture is Reinventing Capitalism.

Mason charts the rise of various youth movements - from pirate radio to remix culture, from punk and hip-hop to graffiti and gaming - and tracks their ripple effect throughout larger society. He shows how subversive ideas, fringe movements, street and youth culture have combined with technology to subvert old hierarchies and empower the individual. And it shows why the rest of us had better catch up.

Extending this argument to the world of pirate radio, graffiti, hip-hop, and advertising in subsequent chapters, Mason shows how, by thinking like pirates, people grow niche audiences to a critical mass and change the mainstream from the bottom up. It considers what the world will look like when people begin virtually annotating real space - where the nature of privacy, the public domain, and the role of graffiti suddenly change. In this world, boundaries might just be a thing of the past.

Mason began his career as a pirate radio and club DJ in London, going on to found the seminal magazine RWD (the largest urban music title in the UK). In 2004, he was presented the Prince's Trust London Business of the Year Award by HRH Prince Charles. He has written and produced TV series, comic strips, and records, and his stories have appeared in VICE, Complex, and other publications in more than 12 countries around the world.

Recorded January 22, 2008


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Mark Winne Interview


An interview with Mark Winne author of Closing the Food Gap: Resetting the Table in the Land of Plenty.

Food activist and journalist Mark Winne poses questions too often overlooked in our current conversations around food: What about those people who are not financially able to make conscientious choices about where and how to get food? And in a time of rising rates of both diabetes and obesity, what can we do to make healthier foods available for everyone?

To address these questions, Winne tells the story of how America's food gap has widened since the 1960s, when domestic poverty was "rediscovered," and how communities have responded with a slew of strategies and methods to narrow the gap, including community gardens, food banks, and farmers' markets. The story, however, is not only about hunger in the land of plenty and the organized efforts to reduce it; it is also about doing that work against a backdrop of ever-growing American food affluence and gastronomical expectations. With the popularity of Whole Foods and increasingly common community-supported agriculture (CSA), wherein subscribers pay a farm so they can have fresh produce regularly, the demand for fresh food is rising in one population as fast as rates of obesity and diabetes are rising in another.

Winne addresses head-on the struggles to improve food access for all of us, regardless of income level. Using anecdotal evidence and a smart look at both local and national policies, Winne offers a realistic vision for getting locally produced, healthy food onto everyone's table.

For twenty-five years Mark Winne was the executive director of the Hartford Food System in Hartford, Connecticut. He now writes, speaks, and consults extensively on community food system topics.

Recorded January 15, 2008


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Craig Unger Interview


An interview with Craig Unger author of The Fall of the House of Bush: The Untold Story of How a Band of True Believers Seized the Executive Branch, Started the Iraq War, and Still Imperils America's Future.

The presidency of George W. Bush has led to the worst foreign policy decision in the history of the United States — the bloody, unwinnable war in Iraq. How did this happen? Bush's fateful decision was rooted in events that began decades ago, and until now this story has never been fully told.

Craig Unger, the author of the bestseller House of Bush, House of Saud discusses the secret relationship between neoconservative policy makers and the Christian Right, and how they assaulted the most vital safeguards of America's constitutional democracy while pushing the country into the catastrophic quagmire in the Middle East that is getting worse day by day.

A seasoned, award-winning investigative reporter connected to many back-channel political and intelligence sources, Unger interviewed scores of figures in the Christian Right, the neoconservative movement, the Bush administration, and sources close to the Bush family, as well as intelligence agents in the CIA, the Pentagon, and Israel, Unger shows how the Bush administration's certainty that it could bend history to its will has carried America into the disastrous war in Iraq, dooming Bush's presidency to failure and costing America thousands of lives and trillions of dollars. Far from ensuring our security, the Iraq War will be seen as a great strategic pivot point in history that could ignite wider war in the Middle East, particularly in Iran.

Recorded January 8, 2008


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Ismael Hossein-Zadeh Interview


Ismael Hossein-zadeh discusses his book The Political Economy of U.S. Militarism.

Hossein-zadeh's wide-ranging, interdisciplinary analysis blends history, economics, and politics to challenge most of the prevailing accounts of the rise of U.S. militarism. While acknowledging the contributory role of some of the most widely-cited culprits (big oil, neoconservative ideology, the Zionist lobby, and President Bush's world outlook), this study explores the bigger, but largely submerged, picture: the political economy of war and militarism.

The study is unique not only for its thorough examination of the economics of military spending, but also for its careful analysis of a series of closely related topics (petroleum, geopolitics, imperialism, terrorism, religious fundamentalism, the war in Iraq, and the Palestinian-Israeli conflict) that may appear as digressions but, in fact, help shed more light on the main investigation.

An Iranian-born Kurd, Hossein-zadeh came to the United States in 1975 to pursue his formal education in economics. After completing his graduate work at the New School for Social Research in New York City (1988), he joined Drake University faculty where he has been teaching classes in political economy, comparative economic systems, international economics, and development economics.

Recorded January 1, 2008


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David Rose Interview


An interview with David Rose, author of The Big Eddy Club: The Stocking Stranglings and Southern Justice.

Over the course of eight bloody months in the 1970s, a serial rapist and murderer terrorized Columbus, Georgia, killing seven elderly white women by strangling them in their beds. In 1986, eight years after the last murder, an African American, Carlton Gary, was convicted and sentenced to death. Though many in the city doubt his guilt, he remains on death row.

Award-winning Vanity Fair reporter David Rose has followed this case for a decade in an investigation that led him to the Big Eddy Club — an all-white, members-only club in Columbus, frequented by the town's most prominent judges and lawyers...as well as most of the seven murdered women.

Among Rose's discoveries was that a young black man was lynched in 1912 in Columbus after he was tried for murder and freed, and that the Columbus judge to whom the Gary case was first assigned in 1984 was the son of the mob leader in the 1912 lynching.

Rose is a contributing editor at Vanity Fair and has worked for The Guardian, The Observer, and the BBC. He is the author of five previous books, including Guantánamo.

Recorded December 25, 2007


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Robert Kuttner Interview


Robert Kuttner discusses his book, The Squandering of America: How the Failure of Our Politics Undermines Our Prosperity.

The incomes of most Americans today are static or declining. Tens of millions of workers are newly vulnerable to layoffs and outsourcing. Health care and retirement burdens are increasingly being shifted from employers to individuals. Two-income families find they are working longer hours for lower wages, with decreased social support. As wealth has become more concentrated, the economy has become more recklessly speculative, jeopardizing not only the prospects of ordinary Americans, but the solvency of the entire system. According to Kuttner, what links these trends is Robert Kuttner in this provocative, engaging, and necessary book, is the consolidation of political and economic power by a narrow elite, who blocks the ability of government to restore broad prosperity to the majority of citizens.

A co-founder and co-editor of The American Prospect magazine, Kuttner writes for the magazine regularly on a variety of issues. Mostly, however, he focuses on economic policy, both domestic and international. His editorial column, which first appears in The Boston Globe, then on the Prospect website every Thursday, is distributed to 20 major newspapers nationwide. It was awarded the John Hancock Award for excellence in business and financial journalism. As well, Kuttner won the Jack London Award for labor journalism.

Recorded December 18, 2007


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Walter Russell Mead Interview


Walter Russell Mead discusses his book God and Gold: Britain, America, and the Making of the Modern World.

Mead, the Henry A. Kissinger senior fellow for U.S. foreign policy at the Council on Foreign Relations and one of the country's leading students of American foreign policy, contends that the key to the predominance of the two countries has been the individualistic ideology of the prevailing Anglo-American religion. Mead explains how this helped create a culture uniquely adapted to capitalism, a system under which both countries thrived. We see how, as a result, the two nations were able to create the liberal, democratic system whose economic and social influence continues to grow around the world.

According to Mead, the stakes today are higher than ever; technological progress makes new and terrible weapons easier for rogue states and terror groups to develop and deploy. Where some see an end to history and others a clash of civilizations, Mead sees the current conflicts in the Middle East as the latest challenge to the liberal, capitalist, and democratic world system that the Anglo-Americans are trying to build. What we need now, he says, is a diplomacy of civlizations based on a deeper understanding of the recurring conflicts between the liberal world system and its foes.

Recorded December 11, 2007


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Christopher Ellinger Interview


An interview with Christopher Ellinger of Bolder Giving. Christopher and Anne Ellinger were plunged into the philanthropy world when Christopher received an unexpected inheritance at age 21. After ten years of exploring the resources available for people looking to connect their money and values, they decided to put this knowledge to use by helping other wealthy people maximize their positive impact. In 1991, they founded More than Money, a nonprofit peer education network with over 2,000 participants nationwide. Through its publications, gatherings, and web resources, More Than Money helped people with significant financial resources to explore the impact of money in their lives and to act on their highest values.

Recorded November 27, 2007


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Greg Anrig Interview


Greg Anrig discusses his book The Conservatives Have No Clothes: Why Right-Wing Ideas Keep Failing.

Tax cuts that produce gargantuan budget deficits, an ill-conceived war that has diminished America's ability to defend itself, the quiet evisceration of laws that protect public health, safety, and the environment — after six years of virtually absolute conservative rule, the results of nearly every right-wing policy, program, and initiative can be summed up in a single word: failure. How could a vast, carefully constructed political movement, which so recently patted itself on the back for winning "the war of ideas," be so utterly feckless when it comes to governing the nation?

Anrig offers a scathing indictment of right-wing ideology and reveals point by point how and why the conservative agenda produces terrible government. In a series of devastating critiques, he examines ideas and policies espoused by the right and assesses the degree to which they have delivered (or not) on promises to make America stronger and safer, and our government smaller and more efficient.

Anrig is Vice President of Programs at the Century Foundation, a progressive think tank, and former Washington correspondent for Money magazine. He has written online for the American Prospect and Mother Jones, coedited volumes of essays about civil liberties, immigration, and Social Security, and is a regular contributor to the liberal blog tpmcafe.com.

Recorded November 20, 2007


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Paul V. Dutton Interview


Paul V. Dutton discusses his book Differential Diagnoses: A Comparative History of Health Care Problems and Solutions in the United States and France.

Although the United States spends 16 percent of its gross domestic product on health care, more than 46 million people have no insurance coverage, while one in four Americans report difficulty paying for medical care. Indeed, the U.S. health care system, despite being the most expensive health care system in the world, ranked thirty-seventh in a comprehensive World Health Organization report. With health care spending only expected to increase, Americans are again debating new ideas for expanding coverage and cutting costs.

According to the historian Paul V. Dutton, Americans should look to France, whose health care system captured the World Health Organization's number-one spot.

Dutton debunks a common misconception among Americans that European health care systems are essentially similar to each other and vastly different from U.S. health care. In fact, the Americans and the French both distrust "socialized medicine." Both peoples cherish patient choice, independent physicians, medical practice freedoms, and private insurers in a qualitatively different way than the Canadians, the British, and many others.

Dutton is an Associate Professor of History at Northern Arizona University.

Recorded November 13, 2007


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Richard Goldstein Interview #2


Richard Goldstein co-author of The Contenders — a book about the Democratic Presidential candidates — returns to talk about Hillary, Edwards and the Republicans.

Goldstein, who writes regularly for The Nation, is the author of Homocons: The Rise of the Gay Right.

Recorded November 6, 2007


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Lawrence Wright Interview


Pulitzer prize winner Lawrence Wright discusses his book of The Looming Tower: Al Qaeda and the Road to 9/11.

The Looming Tower explains in unprecedented detail the growth of Islamic fundamentalism, the rise of al-Qaeda, and the intelligence failures that culminated in the attacks on the World Trade Center.

Wright re-creates firsthand the transformation of Osama bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri from incompetent and idealistic soldiers in Afghanistan to leaders of the most successful terrorist group in history. He follows FBI counterterrorism chief John O’Neill as he uncovers the emerging danger from al-Qaeda in the 1990s and struggles to track this new threat.

Wright spent two years teaching at the American University in Cairo, Egypt. He is a staff writer for The New Yorker and a fellow at the Center on Law and Security at New York University School of Law. The author of five works of nonfiction — City Children, Country Summer; In the New World; Saints and Sinners; Remembering Satan; and Twins — he has also written a novel, God’s Favorite, and was cowriter of the movie The Siege.

Recorded October 30, 2007


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Norman Solomon Interview


An interview with Norman Solomon author of Made Love, Got War: Close Encounters with America's Warfare State.

Since he was first under FBI surveillance at age 14 in the mid-1960s, Norman Solomon has been on a collision course with what he calls "the warfare state."

In his latest book Made Love, Got War Solomon recounts his controversial trips to Baghdad and Tehran with Sean Penn as well as televised showdowns with Judith Miller and other pro-war journalists before the invasion of Iraq. Made Love, Got War blends personal reflections with social commentary and firsthand accounts of Solomon's activism and reporting from the late 1960s to present-day Tehran.

In his foreword, Daniel Ellsberg writes that the book "helps us understand where we are now and how we got here." The Pentagon Papers whistleblower concludes: "I was born in 1931, and my generation had to reorient itself to the unprecedented threat of planetary nuclear suicide-murder. Norman Solomon was born twenty years later, and his generation has never lived under any other circumstance. The strands of this book form a unique weave of personal narrative and historical inquiry. Made Love, Got War lays out a half-century of socialized insanity that has brought a succession of aggressive wars under cover of - but at recurrent risk of detonating - a genocidal nuclear arsenal. We need to help each other to awaken from this madness."

Recorded October 23, 2007


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Robert B. Reich Interview


Robert B. Reich discusses his book Supercapitalism: The Transformation of Business, Democracy, and Everyday Life.

The United States economy has soared since the 1970s. We have access to new products (computers and iPods, hybrid cars and high-tech shoes, web movies and vegan frozen dinners. The quality of the goods we buy is, on average, up; the cost of these items is, on average down.

But there is a downside to this progress. Capitalism has invaded democracy. The negative consequences of this “supercapitalism” loom large: workers are forced to resign themselves to flat or declining wages and reduced job security. As chain stores such as Wal-Mart and Home Depot harness the power of the consumer, our main streets are ravaged and towns and cities suffer a loss of community. Outsourcing has gone from a possibility to a reality.

So what to so? Reich has the answer, and it lies in a return of power to democracy: what he calls "a system for accomplishing what can only be achieved by citizens joining together with other citizens — to determine the rules of the game whose outcomes express the common good."

Reich is professor of public policy at the University of California at Berkeley, and former US labor secretary.

Recorded October 16, 2007


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John Anderson Interview


An interview with John Anderson author of Follow the Money: How George W Bush and the Texas Republicans Hog-tied America — a jaw-dropping and damning picture of the money laundering, underhanded deal-making and dirty politics that made their way from Texas to DC.

With its barbecues, new Cadillacs, and $4,000 snakeskin cowboy boots, Texas is all about power and money -- and the power that money buys. This detailed and wide-scope account shows how a group of wealthy Texas Republicans quietly hijacked American politics for their own gain.

Getting George W. Bush elected, we learn, was just the tip of the iceberg....

In Follow the Money, award-winning journalist and sixth-generation Texan John Anderson shows how power in Texas has long been vested in the interconnected worlds of Houston's global energy companies, banks, and law firms -- not least among them Baker Botts, the firm controlled by none other than James A. Baker III, the Bush family consigliere. Anderson explains how the Texas political system came to be controlled by a sophisticated, well-funded group of conservative Republicans who, after elevating George W. Bush to the American presidency, went about applying their hardball, high-dollar politicking to Washington, D.C.

Anderson is the former deputy editor of American Lawyer and author of two other widely praised nonfiction books Burning Down the House and Art Held Hostage.

Recorded October 9, 2007


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Nicholas Guyatt Interview


Nicholas Guyatt discusses his book Have a Nice Doomsday: Why Millions of Americans Are Looking Forward to the End of the World.

Journeying to the dusty heartlands of America’s Bible Belt, Guyatt goes in search of the truth behind a startling development – that fifty million Americans have come to believe the apocalypse will take place in their own lifetimes. They’re convinced that, any day now, Jesus will snatch up his followers and spirit them to heaven. For the rest of us, things are going to get very nasty indeed: massive earthquakes, devastating wars, not to mention the terrifying rise of the Antichrist.

But true believers aren’t just sitting around waiting for the Rapture. They’re getting involved in debates over abortion, gay rights and even foreign policy. Are they devout or deranged? Why do they seem so cheerful about the end of the world? And does their influence stretch beyond the Bible Belt — perhaps even to the White House?

Born and brought up in the UK, Guyatt spent seven years in the United States — first as a PhD student at Princeton and then as a lecturer in Princeton's Department of History — prior to teaching American History at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver. His book on US foreign policy, Another American Century, was published by Zed Books in 2000, and he is a regular reviewer for the London Review of Books.

Recorded October 2, 2007


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Richard Goldstein Interview


An interview with Richard Goldstein co-author of The Contenders.

Goldstein offers an unusual perspective on Obama, contrasting his “soft” brand of masculinity with a machismo that dominated contemporary politics and popular culture (i.e. George W. Bush, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Eminem) just a few years ago.

"Call it packaging, call it hype,” Goldstein says. But that saga of personal and political discovery is the most exciting narrative to emerge from the Democratic repertoire in many years. It is not a drama of rising from meager expectations or a romance of courage under fire. Those are tropes of presidential theater, but Obama’s story is a more like an epic that resounds with a root American theme: overcoming the burden of history."

Goldstein writes regularly for The Nation. He is also the author of Homocons: The Rise of the Gay Right.

Recorded September 25, 2007


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Stuart Ewen Interview


An interview with Stuart Ewen co- author of Typecasting: On the Arts & Sciences of Human Inequality.

Written with Elizabeth Ewen, Typecasting chronicles the emergence of the “science of first impression” and reveals how the work of its creators — early social scientists — continues to shape how we see the world and to inform our most fundamental and unconscious judgments of beauty, humanity, and degeneracy. In this groundbreaking exploration of the growth of stereotyping amidst the rise of modern society, Ewen & Ewen demonstrate “typecasting” as a persistent cultural practice. Drawing on fields as diverse as history, pop culture, racial science, and film, and including over one hundred images, many published here for the first time, the authors present a vivid portrait of stereotyping as it was forged by colonialism, industrialization, mass media, urban life, and the global economy.

Stuart Ewen is CUNY Distinguished Professor of Film & Media Studies at Hunter College and in the Ph.D. Programs in History and Sociology at The CUNY Graduate Center.

Recorded September 18, 2007


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R. Jay Magill, Jr. Interview


An interview with R. Jay Magill, Jr. author of Chic Ironic Bitterness.

The events of 9/11 had many pundits on the left and right scrambling to declare an end to the Age of Irony. But six years on, we're as ironic as ever. From the Simpsons and Borat to the The Daily Show and The Colbert Report, the ironic worldview measures out a certain cosmopolitan distance, keeping hypocrisy and threats to personal integrity at bay.

Chic Ironic Bitterness is a defense of this detachment, an attitude that helps us preserve values such as authenticity, sincerity, and seriousness that might otherwise be lost in a world filled with spin, marketing, and jargon. And it is an effective counterweight to the prevailing conservative view that irony is the first step towards cynicism and the breakdown of Western culture.

Magill is a writer and illustrator whose work has appeared in American Prospect, American Interest, Atlantic Monthly, Foreign Policy, International Herald Tribune, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and Print, among other periodicals and books. A recent recipient of a PhD in American Studies from the University of Hamburg in Germany, Magill has taught at the University of Lüneburg and at Harvard University, where he received the Derek Bok Award for Distinction in Teaching. He also served as Executive Editor and a staff writer at the National Magazine Award-winning quarterly of photography and journalism, DoubleTake.

Recorded September 11, 2007


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Benjamin Barber 9/07 Interview


An interview with Benjamin Barber author of Consumed: How Markets Corrupt Children, Infantilize Adults, and Swallow Citizens Whole.

Consumed offers a portrait of how adult consumers are infantilized in a global economy that overproduces goods and targets children as consumers in a market where there are never enough shoppers. Driven by a frantic imperative to sell, consumer capitalism specializes today in the manufacture not of goods but of needs.

Barber discusses “The McDonald’s Experiment” and how it relates to the upcoming presidential campaign.

Barber is the Gershon and Carol Kekst Professor of Civil Society and Distinguished University Professor at the University of Maryland, Distinguished Senior Fellow at Demos, and Director, CivWorld.

Recorded September 4, 2007


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Bjorn Lomborg Interview


Bjorn Lomborg discusses his book Cool It: The Skeptical Environmentalist's Guide to Global Warming.

Lomborg argues that many of the actions now being considered to stop global warming will cost hundreds of billions of dollars, and are often based on emotional rather than strictly scientific assumptions that may have little impact on the world’s temperature for hundreds of years. Rather than starting with the most radical procedures, Lomborg argues that we should first focus our resources on more immediate concerns, such as fighting malaria and HIV/AIDS and assuring and maintaining a safe, fresh water supply — which can be addressed at a fraction of the cost and save millions of lives within our lifetime.

Lomborg presents us with a second generation of thinking on global warming that believes panic is neither warranted nor a constructive place from which to deal with any of humanity’s problems, not just global warming.

Lomborg was named one of the 100 globally most influential people by Time magazine in April 2004. Foreign Policy and Prospect Magazine had him listed as the world’s 14th most influential intellectual in October 2005. He is adjunct professor at the Copenhagen Business School, and author of the controversial best-selling The Skeptical Environmentalist, where he challenges our understanding of the environment, and points out how we need to balance economics with environmental priorities.

Recorded August 28, 2007


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Elliot D. Cohen Interview


Elliot D. Cohen discusses his book The Last Days of Democracy: How Big Media and Power-hungry Government Are Turning America into a Dictatorship.

Cohen shows how mainstream media corporations like CNN, Fox, and NBC (General Electric) together with giant telecoms like Comcast, Verizon, and AT&T have become administration pawns in a well-organized effort to hijack America. He details how incredible power, control, and wealth have been amassed in the hands of an elite few while the rest of us have been systematically manipulated, deceived, and divested of our freedom.

Cohen is the editor-in-chief of the International Journal of Applied Philosophy, ethics editor for Free Inquiry magazine, and the author or editor of many books in journalism, professional ethics, and philosophical counseling, including News Incorporated: Corporate Media Ownership and Its Threat to Democracy, and Philosophical Issues in Journalism. He was the first prize recipient of the 2007 Project Censored Award for his investigative reporting on the corporate takeover of the Internet.

Recorded August 21, 2007


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Dave Zirin Interview


Dave Zirin, columnist for SLAM Magazine, a regular contributor to the Nation Magazine, and Los Angeles Times discusses his book Welcome to the Terrordome: The Pain, Politics, and Promise of Sports. Terrordome has already been called "the sports primer for our time." Sports Illustrated wrote that Terrordome is "a provocative, sometimes chilling, look at sports and society right now." This much-anticipated sequel to What's My Name, Fool? breaks new ground in sports writing, looking at the controversies and trends now shaping sports in the United States-and abroad. Features chapters such as "Barry Bonds is Gonna Git Your Mama: The Last Word on Steroids," "Pro Basketball and the Two Souls of Hip-Hop," "An Icon's Redemption: The Great Roberto Clemente," and "Beisbol: How the Major Leagues Eat Their Young."

Recorded August 14, 2007


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Peggy Levitt Interview


Peggy Levitt, Chair and Associate Professor in the Department of Sociology at Wellesley College, discusses her book God Needs No Passport: Immigrants and the Changing American Religious Landscape.

Levitt argues that current debates about religion and immigration are based on assumptions that are out-of-sync with our national reality because they fail to grasp the strong connection between changes in immigration and changes in religious life. When we talk about how religion influences American culture and politics, we still really mean Protestantism. When we think about what religion is, where we look for it, and how it works we tend to think in traditional terms. Jewish and Catholic colors are included though they hardly dominate the design. Islam, Hinduism, and Buddhism are barely visible.

Today’s immigrants, however, are remaking the religious landscape by introducing new faith traditions and Asianizing and Latinoizing old ones. They don’t trade in their home-country membership card but challenge the taken-for-granted dichotomy between either/or, United States or homeland, and assimilation vs. multiculturalism by showing it is possible to be several things simultaneously and, in fact, required in a global world.

Recorded August 7, 2007


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Felicia Kornbluh Interview


Felicia Kornbluh discusses her book The Battle for Welfare Rights: Politics and Poverty in Modern America.

Kornbluh chronicles an American war on poverty fought first and foremost by poor people themselves — telling the fascinating story of the National Welfare Rights Organization, the largest membership organization of low-income people in U.S. history. Setting that story in the context of its turbulent times, the 1960s and early 1970s, historian Felicia Kornbluh shows how closely tied that story was to changes in mainstream politics, both nationally and locally in New York City.

Offering new insight into women's activism, poverty policy, civil rights, urban politics, law, consumerism, social work, and the rise of modern conservatism, Kornbluh tells, for the first time, the complete story of a movement that profoundly affected the meaning of citizenship and the social contract in the United States.

Kornbluh teaches history at Duke University. She has written for many publications, including the Nation, Feminist Studies, Los Angeles Times, Women's Review of Books, Journal of American History, and In These Times. Cofounder of Historians for Social Justice, she is a long-standing member of the Women's Committee of 100, an advocacy organization.

Recorded July 31, 2007


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Aviva Chomsky Interview


An interview with Aviva Chomsky author of "They Take Our Jobs!": and 20 Other Myths about Immigration.

Claims that immigrants take Americans' jobs, are a drain on the American economy, contribute to poverty and inequality, and contribute to a host of social ills by their very existence are openly discussed and debated at all levels of society. Chomsky dismantles twenty of the most common assumptions and beliefs underlying statements like "I'm not against immigration, only illegal immigration" and challenges the misinformation in clear, straightforward prose. In exposing the myths that underlie today's debate, Chomsky illustrates how the parameters and presumptions of the debate distort how we think-and have been thinking-about immigration. She observes that race, ethnicity, and gender were historically used as reasons to exclude portions of the population from access to rights. Today, Chomsky argues, the dividing line is citizenship. Although resentment against immigrants and attempts to further marginalize them are still apparent today, the notion that noncitizens, too, are created equal is virtually absent from the public sphere. Engaging and fresh, this book will challenge common assumptions about immigrants, immigration, and U.S. history.

The daughter of Noam Chomsky, Aviva Chomsky is professor of history and coordinator of Latin American Studies at Salem State College. The author of several books, Chomsky has been active in Latin American solidarity and immigrants' rights issues for over twenty-five years.

Recorded July 24, 2007


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Daniel Brook Interview


Daniel Brook discusses his book The Trap: Selling Out to Stay Afloat in Winner-Take-All America.

What is lost when the best and the brightest are corralled into corporate America? Brook argues that the exploding income gap — a product of the misguided conservative ascendance — is systematically dismantling the American dream, as debt-laden, well-educated young people are torn between their passions and the pressure to earn six-figure incomes. Rising education, housing, and health-care costs have made it virtually impossible for all but the corporate elite to enjoy what were once considered middle-class comforts. Thousands are afflicted with a wrenching choice: take up residence on America’s financial and social margins or sell out.

When the best and the brightest cannot afford to serve the public good, Brook asks, what are we selling out: an individual’s career, or the very promise of American democracy?

Brook is a journalist whose writing has appeared in Harper’s, Dissent, The San Francisco Chronicle, and The Boston Globe, among other publications.

Recorded July 17, 2007


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Eva Rutland Interview


Eva Rutland discusses her book When We Were Colored: A Mother's Story.

Rutland, author of more than 20 novels and winner of the 2000 Golden Pen Award for Lifetime Achievement, presents the timely and relevant story, first published in 1964, of her life in the years before integration, before affirmative action — when segregation was the norm, discrimination was legally tolerated, and blacks were second-class citizens

Rutland chronicles the lives of an ordinary yet extraordinary "colored" family as they move from segregation to integration during the turbulent civil rights era of the 1950s and 60s.

Beyond the lunch counter sit-ins, the freedom rides and church bombings, black Americans went about their day to day lives with a fearful but quiet determination, moving into newly integrated schools, neighborhoods and work places. Veteran novelist Rutland tells their true story from her special vantage point of "colored" wife and mother who lived it.

Recorded July 10, 2007


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Steve Berkman Interview


An interview with Steve Berkman a former World Bank staffer and contributor to A Game As Old As Empire: The Secret World of Economic Hit Men and the Web of Global Corruption.

In his essay, "The World Bank and the $100 Billion Question," Berkman explains how the World Bank has pushed a debt-based development strategy for Third World countries for decades. Hundreds of billions in loans were supposed to bring progress, yet the programs have never lived up to their promise. Instead, governing elites amass obscene fortunes while the poor shoulder the burden of paying off the debts. Berkman presents an inside investigator’s account of how these schemes work to divert development money into the pockets of corrupt elites and their First World partners.

Berkman joined the World Bank’s Africa Region Group in 1983. Hired to provide advice and assistance on capacity-building components for Bank-funded projects, he worked in twenty-one countries. Within a few years, he realized that the Bank’s approach to economic development was a failure, but his attempts to convince management of the extent of the problem went unheeded until the arrival of President James Wolfensohn in 1995. Retiring in that same year, he was called back to the Bank from 1998 to 2002 to help establish the Anti-Corruption and Fraud Investigation Unit and was a lead investigator on a number of cases. Since 2002 he has provided assistance to the U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations on legislation calling for reform of the multilateral development banks and Senate consideration of the United Nations Convention Against Corruption. He is currently finishing a manuscript on the World Bank that provides an inside look at the Bank’s management, its lending operations, and the theft of billions of dollars from its lending portfolio.

Recorded July 3, 2007


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Sasha Abramsky Interview 2007


An interview with Sasha Abramsky author of American Furies: Crime, Punishment, and Vengeance in the Age of Mass Imprisonment.

In this expose of U.S. penitentiaries and the communities around them, Abramsky finds that prisons have dumped their age-old goal of rehabilitation, often for political reasons. The new "ideal," unknown to most Americans, is a punitive mandate marked by a drive toward vengeance.

Surveying this state of affairs-life sentences for nonviolent crimes, appalling conditions, the growth of private prisons, the treatment of juveniles — Abramsky asks: Does the vengeful impulse ennoble our culture or demean it? What can become of people who are quarantined for years in a violent subculture? California's Three Strikes law typifies the politics that exploit the grief of victims' families and our fears of violent crime. American Furies shows that the ethos of "lock 'em up and throw away the key" has enormous social costs.

Abramsky has written for The Atlantic, The Nation, & Rolling Stone. The author of Conned: How Millions Went to Prison, Lost the Vote, and Helped Send George W. Bush to the White House and Hard Time Blues: How Politics Built a Prison Nation, he has also reported on U.S. prisons for Human Rights Watch.

Recorded June 26, 2007


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Scott Gac Interview


Scott Gac discusses his book Singing for Freedom: The Hutchinson Family Singers and the Nineteenth-Century Culture of Reform.

In the two decades prior to the Civil War, the Hutchinson Family Singers of New Hampshire became America’s most popular musical act. Out of a Baptist revival upbringing, John, Asa, Judson, and Abby Hutchinson transformed themselves in the 1840s into national icons, taking up the reform issues of their age and singing out especially for temperance and antislavery reform. Singing for Freedom is the first book to tell the full story of the Hutchinsons, how they contributed to the transformation of American culture, and how they originated the marketable American protest song.

Through concerts, writings, sheet music publications, and books of lyrics, the Hutchinson Family Singers established a new space for civic action, a place at the intersection of culture, reform, religion, and politics. The book documents the Hutchinsons’ impact on abolition and other reform projects and offers an original conception of the rising importance of popular culture in antebellum America.

Gac is visiting professor of American studies at Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut, and an accomplished double bass player.

Recorded June 12, 2007


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Joseph Gerson Interview


Joseph Gerson discusses his book Empire and the Bomb: How the U.S. Uses Nuclear Weapons to Dominate the World.

The United States is the only country to have dropped the atomic bomb. Since the A-bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, every U.S. president has threatened nuclear war. Gerson shows how the United States has used nuclear weapons to bolster its imperial ambitions. He explains why atomic weapons were first built and used — and how the United States uses them today to preserve its global empire.

Gerson reveals how and why the United States made more than twenty threats of nuclear attack during the Cold War — against Russia, China, Vietnam, and the Middle East. He shows how such threats continued under Presidents Bush, Clinton, and George W. Bush.

Gerson is the Director of Programs of the American Friends Service Committee in New England — the principal Quaker peace organization in the United States. He is a leading figure in the U.S. peace movement. His previous books include The Sun Never Sets and With Hiroshima Eyes.

Recorded June 5, 2007


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Laura Flanders Interview


Air America host Laura Flanders discusses her book Blue Grit: True Democrats Take Back Politics from the Politicians.

Flanders believes there are no such things as "red" and "blue" states. Even in the most surprising places, she's finding progressive change. From Vermont to Salt Lake City to Las Vegas's famous Strip, she journeys through the heartland USA and discovers a simple truth: people don't vote for the GOP because Republicans represent their interests; they vote Republican because Democrats barely field a team.

Flanders hosts her own weekly radio show on Air America. She is the author of Bushwomen: How They Won the White House for Their Man and Real Majority, Media Minority: The Costs of Sidelining Women in Reporting.

Recorded May 29, 2007


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Jonathan Cohn Interview


Jonathan Cohn, senior editor at The New Republic, discusses his book Sick: The Untold Story of America’s Health Care Crises – and the People who Pay the Price.

Every day, millions of hard-working people struggle to find affordable medical treatment for themselves and their families — unable to pay for prescription drugs and regular checkups, let alone hospital visits. Some of these people end up losing money. Others end up losing something even more valuable: their health or even their lives. Cohn traveled across the United States — the only country in the developed world that does not guarantee access to medical care as a right of citizenship — to investigate why this crisis is happening and to see firsthand its impact on ordinary Americans.

Recorded May 22, 2007


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George Monbiot Interview


George Monbiot discusses his book Heat: How to Stop the Planet from Burning.

It now seems certain that we need a 90% cut in our emissions within 25 years if we are to stop ourselves reaching the point where the "climate feedback" becomes unstoppable, and our world becomes largely uninhabitable. Monbiot explains how this cut could be achieved. Combining his knowledge of political campaigning and environmental science, he analyses the possibilities and pitfalls of energy efficiency, nuclear power, renewable resources and new technologies, and applies them to our everyday lives, measuring the cuts that can be made.

Monbiot is a bestselling author and a weekly columnist for the Guardian. In 1995 Nelson Mandela presented him with a United Nations Global 500 Award for outstanding environmental achievement. He has been named by the Evening Standard as one of the 25 most influential people in Britain, and by the Independent on Sunday as one of the 40 international prophets of the 21st Century. His books include Captive State: the Corporate Takeover of Britain and, most recently, The Age of Consent: A Manifesto for a New World Order.

Recorded May 15, 2007


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Ellen Bravo Interview


Ellen Bravo discusses her book Taking On the Big Boys: Or Why Feminism Is Good for Families, Business, and the Nation.

Enough about "breaking the glass ceiling." Here are blueprints for a redesign of the entire building, ground up, to benefit women and men-and even the bottom line.

Bravo relates stories from business and government and women's testimonies from offices, assembly lines, hospitals, and schools and unmasks the patronizing, trivializing, and minimizing tactics employed by "the big boys" and their surrogates who portray feminism as women against men, and dismiss as outrageous demands for pay equity, family leave, and flex time.

Bravo argues for feminism as a system of beliefs, laws, and practices that fully values women and work associated with women, while detailing activist strategies to achieve a society where everybody-women and men-reach their potential.

Bravo is a long-time activist, author, and former director of 9 to 5, the National Association of Working Women. A well-known speaker, she has been described as "moving, witty, and sometimes bawdy." Bravo teaches Women's Studies at the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee.

Recorded May 8, 2007


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Andrew Koppelmanm Interview


An interview with Andrew Koppelman author of Same Sex, Different States: When Same-Sex Marriages Cross State Lines.

Americans are profoundly divided over same-sex marriage, and now that gay civil unions and marriages are legal in some states, the issue has become increasingly urgent. Koppelman offers a sensible approach that will appeal to the best instincts of both sides. Drawing on historical precedents in which states held radically different moral views about marriage (for example, between kin, very young individuals, and interracial couples), Koppelman shows which state laws should govern in specific situations as gay couples travel or move from place to place.

Koppelman is professor of law at Northwestern University School of Law and author of Antidiscrimination Law and Social Equality and The Gay Rights Question in Contemporary American Law.

Recorded May 1, 2007


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Eric Boehlert Interview


Eric Boehlert, a Senior Fellow at Media Matters for America discusses his book Lapdogs: How the Press Rolled Over for Bush — the first book to demonstrate that, for the entire George W. Bush presidency, the news media have utterly failed in their duty as watchdog for the public.

Boehlert reveals how, time after time, the press chose a soft approach to covering the government, and as a result reported and analyzed crucial events incompletely and even inaccurately. From WMDs to Valerie Plame to the NSA's domestic spying, mainstream fixtures such as The New York Times, CBS, CNN, and Time magazine too often ignored the administration's missteps and misleading words, and did not call out the public officials who betrayed the country's trust. Throughout both presidential campaigns and the entire Iraq war to date, the media acted as a virtual mouthpiece for the White House, giving watered-down coverage of major policy decisions, wartime abuses of power, and egregious mistakes — and sometimes these events never made it into the news at all. Finally, in Lapdogs, the press is being held accountable by one of its own.

Boehlert worked for five years as a senior writer for Salon.com, where he wrote extensively about media and politics. Prior to that, he worked as a contributing editor for Rolling Stone.

Recorded April 24, 2007


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Albert Bates Interview


Albert Bates, an influential figure in the intentional community and ecovillage movements discusses his new book The Post-Petroleum Survival Guide and Cookbook: Recipes for Changing Times.

Over the coming years we will need to move from a global culture addicted to cheap, abundant petroleum to a culture of compelled conservation, whether through government directive or market forces. Bates takes a positive, upbeat, and optimistic view of "the Great Change," promoting the idea that it can be an opportunity to redeem our essential interconnectedness with nature and with each other.

Bates is a lawyer, author and teacher. He has been director of the Institute for Appropriate Technology since 1984 and of the Ecovillage Training Center at The Farm in Summertown, Tennessee since 1994.

Recorded April 17, 2007


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Robert Ivker Interview


Robert Ivker discusses his book One Town's Terror: 9/11, Iraq and Burlington Vermont.

Perhaps few US locales have been turned upside since 9/11 as much as Burlington, Vermont and its surrounding villages. According to Ivker, the city of Burlington and the state of Vermont have sent more citizen-soldiers into active duty in Iraq and Afghanistan than most other states in the country. At the same time, Burlington has been at the forefront of a wide range of anti-war, pro-peace movements and boasts the country's only Socialist member of Congress.

Previously a credentialed journalist at the United Nations, Ivker has published dozens of articles in political newspapers and magazines, both nationally and internationally.

Recorded April 10, 2007


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Peter Navarro Interview


Peter Navarro Associate Professor of Economics and Public Policy at the Paul Merage School of Business, University of California, Irvine discusses his book The Coming China Wars: Where They Will Be Fought and How They Can Be Won.

China's breakneck industrialization is placing it on a collision course with the entire world. Tomorrow's China Wars will be fought over everything from decent jobs, livable wages, and leading-edge technologies to strategic resources such as oil, copper, and steel...even food, water, and air.

Navarro also reveals how China has become the world's most ruthless imperialist...how it is promoting global environmental disaster... and, perhaps most terrifying of all, how this nuclear superpower and pirate nation may be spiraling toward internal chaos.

Recorded April 3, 2007


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Benjamin Barber Interview


Benjamin Barber discusses his new book Consumed: How Markets Corrupt Children, Infantilize Adults, and Swallow Citizens Whole. A sequel to Barber's best-selling Jihad vs. McWorld, Consumed offers a portrait of how adult consumers are infantilized in a global economy that overproduces goods and targets children as consumers in a market where there are never enough shoppers. Driven by a frantic imperative to sell, consumer capitalism specializes today in the manufacture not of goods but of needs.

This culmination of Barber's lifelong study of and capitalism shows how the infantilist ethos deprives society of responsible citizens and displaces public goods with private commodities. Traditional liberal democratic society is colonized by an all-pervasive market imperative. Public space is privatized. Identity is branded. Our world, homogenized. Barber confronts the likely consequences for our children, our liberty, and our citizenship, and shows finally how citizens can resist and transcend the civic schizophrenia with which consumerism has infected them.

Barber is the Gershon and Carol Kekst Professor of Civil Society and Distinguished University Professor at the University of Maryland, Distinguished Senior Fellow at Demos, and Director, CivWorld.

Recorded March 27, 2007


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George Galloway Interview 2007


British Member of Parliament George Galloway discusses his new Fidel Castro Handbook.

As Fidel Castro turned eighty, Galloway published a look at the Cuban leader's life from childhood, through his dramatic conquest of power, and his leadership of Cuba over forty-seven years — including takes on the guerrilla struggle in the Sierra Maestra, life with the Soviet Union, involvement in Third World politics, and survival in the face of the hostility of the United States just ninety miles away.

Galloway is a British politician noted for his socialist views, confrontational style, and rhetorical skill. He is currently the Respect Member of Parliament (MP) for Bethnal Green and Bow, and was previously elected as a Labour Party MP for Glasgow Hillhead and Glasgow Kelvin. He is perhaps best known for his vigorous campaign to overturn economic sanctions against Iraq, and for his visits to Saddam Hussein in 1994 and 2002. He was expelled from the Labour Party in October 2003 when a party body decided that he had brought the party into disrepute over the 2003 invasion of Iraq, when he called the Labour government "Tony Blair's lie machine" and stated that British soldiers should "refuse to obey illegal orders".

Recorded March 20, 2007


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Sara Miles Interview


Raised as an atheist, Sara Miles lived a happy secular life as a restaurant cook and a writer. Then early one morning, for no earthly reason, she wandered into an Episcopal church, took communion and was transformed. Before long, she turned the bread she ate at communion into tons of groceries, piled on the church’s altar to be given away. Mile’s new book Take This Bread: A Radical Conversion is the story of that transformation. A former editor at Mother Jones magazine she is also the author of How to Hack a Party Line. Her work has appeared in The New York Times Magazine, The New Yorker, The Progressive, La Jornada, and Salon.

Recorded March 13, 2007


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Max Blumenthal Interview


An interview with Max Blumenthal who attended the the 34th annual Conservative Political Action Conference and documented his experience for The Nation — a clip widely viewed on YouTube. The lowlight of the CPAC event was a speech by Ann Coulter in which she said "I was going to have a few comments on the other Democratic presidential candidate, John Edwards, but it turns out that you have to go into rehab if you use the word 'faggot.” Blumenthal is a Nation Institute Puffin Foundation Writing Fellow whose work regularly appears in the Nation magazine. He is also a Research Fellow at Media Matters for America.

Recorded March 6, 2007


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Chalmers Johnson Interview


Chalmers Johnson discusses his new book Nemesis: The Last Days of the American Republic.

In his prophetic book Blowback, Johnson linked the CIA’s clandestine activities abroad to disaster at home. In The Sorrows of Empire, he explored the ways in which the growth of American militarism and the garrisoning of the planet have jeopardized our stability. Now, in Nemesis, he shows how imperial overstretch is undermining the republic itself, both economically and politically.

Johnson, the president of the Japan Policy Research Institute, is a frequent contributor to Los Angeles Times, the London Review of Books, and The Nation. He appeared in the 2005 prizewinning documentary film Why We Fight.

Recorded February 27, 2007


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William Rivers Pitt Interview


William Rivers Pitt discusses his new book House of Ill Repute: Reflections on War, Lies, and America's Ravaged Reputation.

The presidency of George W. Bush promised to restore integrity to the White House, but instead it has been plagued by scandal. Pitt guides us through a jaw-dropping series of presidential missteps from the missing weapons of mass destruction and the Halliburton contracting scandals, to the NSA’s warrantless wiretaps and the incompetent response to Hurricane Katrina. For anyone who suspects the Bush administration of playing fast and loose with the facts, William Rivers Pitt provides a welcome voice of truth, untainted by corporate ownership.

Pitt served as Press Secretary to Presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich, worked as the managing editor of truthout.org and is currently the editorial director of Progressive Democrats of America.

Recorded February 20, 2007


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Barry Lando Interview


An interview with Barry Lando author of Web of Deceit: The History of Western Complicity in Iraq, from Churchill to Kennedy to George W. Bush.

In February 1991, the Shia of southern Iraq rose against Saddam Hussein. Lando, a former investigative producer for 60 Minutes, argues compellingly that this ill-fated uprising represents one instance among many of Western complicity in Saddam Hussein’s crimes against humanity. The Shia were responding to the call for rebellion from President George H.W. Bush that was broadcast repeatedly across Iraq by clandestine CIA stations. But, just as the revolution was on the brink of success, the United States and its allies turned their backs. In the end, tens of thousands were massacred.

Lando draws on a wide range of journalism and scholarship to present a complete picture of what really happened in Iraq under Saddam, detailing the complicity of the West in its full and alarming extent.

Lando spent over 25 years as an award-winning investigative producer with 60 Minutes.

Recorded February 13, 2007


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Jeff Chester Interview


Jeff Chester, executive director of the Center for Digital Democracy, discusses his new book Digital Destiny: New Media and the Future of Democracy.

With the explosive growth of the Internet and broadband communications, we now have the potential for a truly democratic media system offering a wide variety of independent sources of news, information, and culture, with control over content in the hands of the many rather than a few select media giants. But the country's powerful communications companies have other plans. Assisted by a host of hired political operatives and pro-business policy makers, the big cable, TV, and Internet providers are using their political clout to gain ever greater control over the Internet and other digital communication channels. Instead of a "global information commons," we're facing an electronic media system designed principally to sell to rather than serve the public, dominated by commercial forces armed with aggressive digital marketing, interactive advertising, and personal data collection.

Chester gets beneath the surface of media and telecommunications regulation to explain clearly how our new media system functions, what's at stake, and what we can do to fight the corporate media's plans for our "digital destiny" — before it's too late.

Recorded February 6, 2007


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William R. Clark Interview


William R. Clark, discusses his book Petrodollar Warfare: Oil, Iraq and the Future of the Dollar and his groundbreaking essay "It’s the Energy and the Economy, Stupid."

The invasion of Iraq may well be remembered as the first oil currency war. Far from being a response to 9/11 terrorism or Iraq's alleged weapons of mass destruction, Clark argues that the invasion was precipitated by two converging phenomena: the imminent peak in global oil production and the ascendance of the euro currency.

For six years, Clark was manager of performance improvement at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. He is now an Information Security Analyst. His research on oil depletion, oil currency issues and US geostrategy received received two Project Censored awards, first in 2003 for his ground-breaking research on the Iraq War, oil currency conflict, and US geostrategy, and again in 2005 for his research on Iran’s proposed euro-denominated oil bourse.

Recorded January 30, 2007


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Stephen Duncombe Interview


Stephen Duncombe discusses his book, Dream: Re-imagining Progressive Politics in an Age of Fantasy.

What practical progressive political lessons can we learn from corporate theme parks, ad campaigns, video games like Grand Theft Auto, celebrity culture, and Las Vegas? Duncombe proposes that such examples of popular fantasy can help us define and make possible a new political future. Although fantasy and spectacle have become the lingua franca of our time, Duncombe points out that liberals continue to depend upon sober reason to guide them. Instead, they need to learn how to communicate in today’s spectacular vernacular—not merely as a tactic but as a new way of thinking about and acting out politics. Learning from Las Vegas, however, does not mean adopting its values, as Duncombe demonstrates in laying out plans for what he calls “ethical spectacle.”

Duncombe teaches the history and politics of media and culture at the Gallatin School of New York University. He is the author of Notes from Underground, the editor of the Cultural Resistance Reader, and the co-author of The Bobbed-Haired Bandit.

Recorded January 23, 2007


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Haynes Johnson Interview


An interview with Haynes Johnson, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and author of The Age of Anxiety: McCarthyism to Terrorism. For five long years in the 1950s, Senator Joseph McCarthy’s anti-Communist crusade dominated the American scene, terrified politicians, and destroyed the lives of thousands of U.S. citizens. Johnson tells this monumental story through the lens of its relevance to our own time, when the current administration has created a culture of fear that again affects American behavior and attitudes. He believes now, as then, that our civil liberties, our Constitution, and our nation are at stake as we confront the ever more difficult task of balancing the need for national security with that of personal liberty.

Recorded January 9, 2007


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Elizabeth Laird Interview


Elizabeth Laird discusses her new book A Little Piece of Ground.

While A Little Piece Of Ground is written for young readers, it addresses one of the worst conflicts afflicting our world today. Laird, one of Great Britain's best-known young adult authors, explores the human cost of the occupation of Palestinian lands through the eyes of a young boy. Laird talks about her research work in Ramallah, the children she met there and their lives under occupation. She will also talk about how US publishers originally turned down publication of the book because of criticism from pro-Israeli organizations.

Recorded January 2, 2007


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Steve Hendricks Interview


Steve Hendricks discusses his book The Unquiet Grave: The FBI and the Struggle for the Soul of Indian Country.

In 1976 the body of Anna Mae Aquash, an American Indian luminary, was found frozen in the Badlands of South Dakota — or so the FBI said. After a suspicious autopsy and a rushed burial, friends had Aquash exhumed and found a .32-caliber bullet in her skull.

Using this scandal as a point of departure, Hendricks opens a tunnel into the dark side of the FBI and its subversion of American Indian activists. He also discovers things the Indians would prefer to keep buried. What unfolds is a sinuous tale of conspiracy, murder, and cover-up that stretches from the plains of South Dakota to the polished corridors of Washington, D.C. Hendricks sued the FBI over several years to pry out thousands of unseen documents about the events. His work was supported by the prestigious Fund for Investigative Journalism.

Hendricks is an investigative journalist who has written for such publications as the San Francisco Chronicle, The Nation, the Boston Globe, DoubleTake, and Seattle Weekly.

Recorded December 26, 2006


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Edward Humes Interview


Edward Humes, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist discusses his book Over Here: How the G.I. Bill Transformed the American Dream.

In 1944, the U.S. government feared the flood of returning World War II soldiers as much as it looked forward to peace. To avoid economic catastrophe, FDR, the American Legion, William Randolph Hearst, and others began crafting the Servicemen’s Readjustment Act of 1944. It would be the single most transformative bill of the twentieth century.

Spun as the G.I. Bill of Rights, this program for vets included home loans, health care, educational funds, and career counseling. The effects were immediate and enduring — the suburbs, the middle class, America’s ever-increasing number of college graduates, the lunar landing — all are tied to the G.I. Bill. The Greatest Generation would not exist without it: Norman Mailer, Bob Dole, John F. Kennedy, Paul Newman, Jimmy Carter, Clint Eastwood, and many others benefited from its provisions. Humes tells the stories of some of these men and women, how their lives changed because of the bill and how this country changed because of them.

Recorded December 19, 2006


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Jackson Katz Interview


Jackson Katz discusses his book The Macho Paradox: Why Some Men Hurt Women and How All Men Can Help. Today in America between 1 in 5 women will be the victim of rape or attempted rape in their lifetime, and one prominent study found that at least 20% of adolescent girls have been physically or sexually abused by a date or a boyfriend. Katz provides women with original and creative ways of thinking about how to reverse this ongoing national tragedy. He also makes a case to men that the only way to end the abuse and mistreatment of women is for many more self-identified “good guys” to make these issues their own.

Recorded December 12, 2006


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Ralph Steadman Interview


Ralph Steadman discusses his book The Joke's Over: Bruised Memories: Gonzo, Hunter S. Thompson and Me.

In the spring of 1970, artist Ralph Steadman went to America in search of work. At the Kentucky Derby he met Hunter S. Thompson who had just spent a year living, riding and writing about the Hells Angels. Steadman and Thompson's relationship resulted in the now-legendary Gonzo Journalism.

Steadman discusses his remarkable collaboration that documented the turbulent years of the civil rights movement, the Nixon years, Watergate, and the many bizarre and great events that shaped the second half of the twentieth century. When Thompson committed suicide in 2005, it was the end of a unique friendship filled with both betrayal and understanding.

Recorded December 5, 2006


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David Callahan Interview


David Callahan discusses his book The Moral Center: How We Can Reclaim Our Country from Die-Hard Extremists, Rogue Corporations, Hollywood Hacks, and Pretend Patriots. Callahan argues that the problems for most Americans are not abortion and gay marriage but rather issues that neither party is addressing — the selfishness that is careening out of control, the effect of our violent and consumerist culture on children, and our lack of a greater purpose. As Republicans veer into zealotry, liberals can find common ground with the moderate majority. But to alleviate the moral anxieties that drove GOP electoral victories they need a powerful new vision.

Callahan has written for The New York Times, The Washington Post, USA Today, and The American Prospect. He is the author of five previous books including The Cheating Culture and Kindred Spirits.

Recorded November 28, 2006


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Michele Wucker Interview


Michele Wucker discusses her book Lockout: Why America Keeps Getting Immigration Wrong When Our Prosperity Depends on Getting It Right.

As globalization and terrorism intensify the pressure to close America's doors, Wucker argues that to do so would be catastrophic. The US economy depends more than ever on immigrants, not only for stereotypical low-skilled jobs, but much more so for maintaining our technological edge and promoting American products and services abroad. So far, America has reaped the lion's share of the gains of globalization. But for the first time ever, the world's best and brightest no longer see this country as the only destination of choice.

Wucker has written extensively about emerging-market politics and economies for International Financing Review's on-line capital markets analysis service, for Dow Jones newswires and the Wall Street Journal.

Recorded November 21, 2006


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Rajiv Chandrasekaran Interview


Rajiv Chandrasekaran discusses his book Imperial Life in the Emerald City. Chandrasekaran, the Washington Post’s former Baghdad bureau chief looks at the Green Zone: into a bubble, cut off from wartime realities, where the task of reconstructing a devastated nation competed with the distractions of a Little America — a half-dozen bars stocked with cold beer, a disco where women showed up in hot pants, a movie theater that screened shoot-’em-up films, an all-you-could-eat buffet piled high with pork, a shopping mall that sold pornographic movies, a parking lot filled with shiny new SUVs, and a snappy dry-cleaning service — much of it run by Halliburton. Most Iraqis were barred from entering the Emerald City for fear they would blow it up. Chandrasekaran tells the story of the people and ideas that inhabited the Green Zone during the occupation, from the imperial viceroy L. Paul Bremer III to the fleet of twentysomethings hired to implement the idea that Americans could build a Jeffersonian democracy in an embattled Middle Eastern country.

Recorded November 14, 2006


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John Lamb Lash Interview


An interview with John Lamb Lash author of Not in His Image: Gnostic Vision, Sacred Ecology, and the Future of Belief. Basing much of Not in His Image on the Nag Hammadi and other Gnostic writings, Lash explains how a little-known messianic sect propelled itself into a dominant world power, systematically wiping out the great Gnostic spiritual teachers, the Druid priests, and the shamanistic healers of Europe and North Africa. Lash researched ancient Gnostic writings to reconstruct the story early Christians tried to scrub from the pages of history, exploring the richness of the ancient European Pagan spirituality. Lash is an exponent of the practice of mythology. He is principal author of the Marion Institute's website, an inquiry into the contemporary meaning of humanity's myths and beliefs, and is author of a number of books, including The Seeker's Handbook, Twins and the Double, and The Hero.

Recorded November 7, 2006


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Andrew Newberg Interview


Andrew Newberg discusses his new book of Why We Believe What We Believe: Uncovering Our Biological Need for Meaning, Spirituality, and Truth. One of the founders of the field of neurotheology and author of the bestselling book Why God Won’t Go Away, Newberg explains how beliefs are formed, why we maintain them — even in the face of opposing evidence — and the myriad ways in which our beliefs affect our lives.

Recorded October 31, 2006


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Karen Cerulo Interview


Karen Cerulo discusses her book Never Saw it Coming: Cultural Challenges to Envisioning the Worst.

People — especially Americans — are by and large optimists – almost blind optimists. They are much better at imagining best-case scenarios (I could win the lottery!) than worst-case scenarios (A hurricane could destroy my neighborhood!). This is true not just of their approach to imagining the future, but of their memories as well: people are better able to describe the best moments of their lives than they are the worst.

In Never Saw It Coming, Professor Karen Cerulo considers the role of society in fostering this attitude. What kinds of groups and communities develop this pattern of thought, which do not, and what this says about human ability to evaluate possible outcomes of decisions and events.

Cerulo is a Professor of Sociology at Rutgers University. She is also the author of Identity Designs: The Sights and Sounds of a Nation…


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Ronald Dworkin Interview


Ronald Dworkin, author of Is Democracy Possible Here? Principles for a New Political Debate.

Politics in America are polarized and trivialized, perhaps as never before. The result, Dworkin believes, is a deeply depressing political culture, as ill equipped for the perennial challenge of achieving social justice as for the emerging threats of terrorism. Yet this need not be. Dworkin, one the world's leading legal and political philosophers, identifies and defends core principles of personal and political morality that all citizens can share. He shows that recognizing such shared principles can make substantial political argument possible and help replace contempt with mutual respect. Only then can the full promise of democracy be realized in America and elsewhere.

Recorded October 17, 2006


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Maxine Hong Kingston Interview


National Book Award Winner Maxine Hong Kingston discusses her book Veterans of War, Veterans of Peace.

For more than twelve years, Kingston has led writing-and-meditation workshops for veterans and their families. The contributors to this volume — combat veterans, medics, and others who served in war; gang members, drug users, and victims of domestic violence; draft resisters, deserters, and peace activists — are part of a community of writers working together to heal the trauma of war through the word.

Kingston’s other books include The Woman Warrior, China Men, Tripmaster Monkey, and The Fifth Book of Peace. In 1997, President Bill Clinton presented her with a National Humanities Medal.

Recorded October 10, 2006


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Sidney Blumenthal Interview


Sidney Blumenthal, former assistant and senior adviser to President Bill Clinton discusses his new book How Bush Rules: Chronicles of a Radical Regime. In a series of columns and essays that Blumenthal wrote in the three years following the 2003 invasion of Iraq, a unifying theme began to emerge: that George W. Bush, billed by himself and by many others as a conservative, is in fact a radical-more radical than any president in American history. Blumenthal argues that these radical actions are not haphazard, but deliberately intended to fundamentally change the presidency and the government. He shows not only the historical precedents for radical governing, but also how Bush has taken his methods to unique extremes.

Blumenthal is a regular columnist for The Guardian of London and for Salon, and has been a staff writer for the New Yorker and the Washington Post. He is currently a Senior Fellow at the New York University Center on Law and Security.…


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Nomi Prins Interview


Nomi Prins discusses her book Jacked : How "Conservatives" Are Picking Your Pocket (Whether You Voted for Them or Not)."

Prins shows how the “conservative” agenda affects your wallet — and not just your money. Linking each card in a typical wallet to shortsighted policies, blunders, and scandals, she demonstrates how skewed national priorities have diminished America — but not the American spirit.

In Jacked, she recounts her travels across the country; people she met, stories they shared, and opinions they have. You'll find someone like yourself in Jacked no matter who you are, where you live or what you think of life or politics.

Before becoming a journalist, Prins worked on Wall Street as a managing director at Goldman Sachs, running the international analytics group at Bear Stearns in London, and as a strategist at Lehman Brothers.

Prins is the author of Other People’s Money: The Corporate Mugging of America. Her articles have appeared in The New York Times, Newsday, Fortune and The Guardian.

Recorded September 26, 2006…


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Mark Kurlansky Interview


Mark Kurlansky, New York Times bestselling author, discusses his latest book, Nonviolence: Twenty-Five Lessons from the History of a Dangerous Idea.

Recorded September 19, 2006…


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Weekly Signals Interviews

with Mike Kaspar and Nathan Callahan

Weekly Signals Interviews

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