Monthly Archives: January 2000

Gender Bias, Rape and the Law

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Adair Rowland is a victim of a sexual crime, feeling injured as well by the courts and the treatment of women by the law. Six months ago a man attacked her in her home and tried to strangle her with the sash of one of her dresses.

Her neighbors called the police who arrested the assailant. A judge assigned to the case indicated he would consider a sentence of seven to nine years if the defendant pled guilty and waived a trial.

Adair Rowland says seven years isn’t long enough. For all the sensitivity training we’ve been exposed to there’s still an astonishing number of unreported rapes. Only two percent of the cases brought end up in a jail sentence.

A Johns Hopkins report last month called violence against women still a neglected global, public health epidemic. One out of three women, the report says, has been beaten, coerced into sex or abused in her lifetime.

Are we chronically, institutionally deaf to the cries of “rape?” Understanding rape in in the second hour of The Connection.
(Hosted by Christopher Lydon)


Adair Rowland

War in the Congo

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The Rebellion that ousted Zaire’s cold-war kleptocrat Mobutu Sese Seko in 1997 has turned lately into what Madeleine Albright calls “Africa’s first world war.”

Seven African countries (and some Western companies, too) are taking sides in Africa’s most complicated civil war. When Laurent Kabila took over Zaire and renamed it The Democratic Republic of Congo, the world applauded because Africans were taking charge of their own destiny.

Since then, civil war has killed tens of thousands of Congolese, turned a million out of their homes, and left millions more without food. Reports of ethnic killings, torture, and rape accompany battle reports as three rebel groups fight the government, and each other, to control central Africa.

The UN Security Council made only cautious noises about sending a peace keeping force to Congo last week, despite an extraordinary session with seven African Presidents.

Mending the heart of Africa, in the first hour of The Connection.
(Hosted by Christopher Lydon)


Weird Weather Patterns

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People in North Carolina know something is whacky with the weather.

Four months ago, Hurricane Floyd dumped three feet of rain on the state, causing the region’s most devastating flood on record and more than $1billion in damages. And this week, North Carolina awoke to a storm that dropped 2 feet of snow, eclipsing the 1893 monthly record in a mere two days.

But North Carolina isn’t the only place the climate has gone wild. In Boston this month it was 64 degrees one day and well below freezing a week later. In India in November, a gigantic cyclone killed 10,000 people.

Northern Europe weathered a violent windstorm in December that felled 10,000 historic trees at the Versailles palace and destroyed Parisian roofs and chimneys to a tune of $80 million. At the same time, half-way around the globe, floods and mudslides in Venezuela swept more than 15,000 people to their death.

We’re getting a grip on increasingly erratic climate in the second hour of The Connection.
(Hosted by Christopher Lydon)


William Stevens, New York Times science reporter and author of “The Change in the Weather: People, Weather, and the Science of Climate.”

The State of the Union

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Bill Clinton’s last and longest State of the Union speech seemed to go on forever, which was the spirit of the evening that he must have wanted.

Keep the cheering alive; keep this boom economy expanding; lengthen the list of little tax cuts and targeted Federal initiatives for Congress to consider this spring.

And if the Clinton years must end, extend Bill’s bridge into the 21st Century with a blueprint for Al Gore, and Senator Hillary, too, encompassing universal pre-school, quality healthcare for everybody, an end of child poverty.

He got 100 ovations in nearly an hour and a half; scorekeepers lost count of his particular proposals. But who cares, really, when the Boomer president is riding the boomingest economy in the history of the planet, the country is at peace and all of the social statistics on crime, welfare, adoptions, jobs are going his way.
(Hosted by Christopher Lydon)


Robert Reich and Alan Simpson

Legal Rights for Animals

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In the eyes of the law, animals are simply “things” – possessions with no more or less value than a suitcase or a hat.
They have no legal rights. And so we treat them more or less as we please. We use them for entertainment, submit them to research, and trade them for profit.

As a result, many like Jerom the chimpanzee suffer immeasureably. Jerom lived alone in a windowless, concrete cell and died just before his fourteenth birthday because humans had injected him with 3 strains of HIV in the name of science.

The Harvard Law School professor Steven Wise wants to save animals like Jerom from this kind of cruelty. He points out that animals are capable of complex emotions, an ability to communicate using language, a sense of self – all qualities we once believed defined humanity.

We protect these qualitites in humans through legal rights; Steven Wise thinks animals deserve them too. Legal rights for animals in the second hour of The Connection.
(Hosted by Christopher Lydon)


Steven M. Wise, JD, author of “Rattling the Cage: Toward Legal Rights for Animals.”

The New Hampshire Debates

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Is it possible, in hindsight on the New Hampshire presidential debates, that Republican John McCain won the Democratic fight last night?

That is, did he draw the independent excitement seekers into the Republican tent with his jabbing and poking at frontrunner George Bush-with his curt warning to Alan Keyes, as well, to stop taunting him on right-to-life issues. “Next time use decaf,” McCain quipped.

It was almost nasty, but not exactly negative campaigning.

So the question is whether John McCain took the play and New Hampshire’s independent voters from Bill Bradley’s not-so-fast break in the closing quarter against Al Gore? Bradley wants someone to nail Gore as the lobbyists’ candidate from the Bill Clinton bunker, but he doesn’t enjoy attacking the way McCain does, when he accused Bush of “spinning like Bill Clinton.”

Two two-man fights that spill into each other: your New Hampshire scorecard – in the first hour of The Connection.
(Hosted by Christopher Lydon)


Mark Jurkowitz, media critic for the Boston Globe, David Frum, Senior Editor at the Weekly Standard and author of “How We Got Here.”

Yegor Gaidar and Russian Economic Reform

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Yegor Gaidar was Boris Yeltsin’s Kamikaze economics minister, the one who came up with the 1991 programme to smash centralised planning and bring capitalism to Russia.

A year into the market economy, the Ruble had sunk and inflation had spiralled, state industries had collapsed, along with institutions like hospitals and schools, life expetancy had dropped to 59 years for the average male, and millions of Russians were on the streets, selling their pets and their shoes just to buy some bread.

Shock Therapy Capitalism was needed, Gaidar says, “to start building a country which had no borders, no army, no customs, no banking system with links to foreign economies, no clear-cut concept of citizenship, and no foreign trade management.”

Gaidar’s critics say that he just built a gangster economy, but as that economy grows, and with it, a middle class and a real center in Russian politics, Gaidar might just be ready for rehabilitation.
(Hosted by Christopher Lydon)


Yegor Gaidar

Errol Morris and "Mr. Death"

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Fred Leuchter is a humanitarian. He wants to take the discomfort out of execution.

He’s an engineer from Malden, Massachusetts who’s devoted his life to making the most efficient and painless electric chair. Fred Leuchter says “if you’re going to fry people, isn’t it better that their eyeballs don’t fly across the room and hit the wall?”

He’s a perfect subject for the filmmaker Errol Morris. He’s peculiar. He’s obsessively eccentric. He’s pre-occupied with death. If Fred Leuchter hadn’t got involved with some Neo Nazi Holocaust deniers, he might have prospered in his day job as an execution specialist.

Instead, he took his new bride to Auschwitz and spent his honeymoon poking around the rubble of the gas chambers, looking for traces of cyanide gas. He didn’t find any and issued the Leuchter Report which has become the standard bible now for Holocaust deniers.
(Hosted by Christopher Lydon)


Errol Morris, creator of the film “Mr. Death”

Charles Lewis. Money and the Campaign

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We want to believe that after all the preliminaries these first caucus returns in Iowa and first primary votes in New Hampshire are the crucial first judgment on Campaign 2000.

But here is Charles Lewis with the numbers from the Center for Public Integrity in Washington: what shaped this race, he says, was the first auction that ran all of last year, an all-money event that took Dan Quayle, Lamar Alexander and Elizabeth Dole out of the field altogether, and compromised the blue-chip favorites Al Gore and George W. Bush, and tainted even challengers Bradley and McCain who keep raising and spending the big political bucks they deplore.

Lewis says: it will cost the winner a record $200-million to take the White House this year–$200-million in political debts to a corporate alliance for unspoken issues: like tax cuts on business and capital gains.

The money game in Campaign 2000 – in this hour of The Connection.
(Hosted by Christopher Lydon)


Charles Lewis

The Iowa Caucuses

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It’s up to contrarian New Hampshire now to save the horseraces in Campaign 2000, or we might all go to sleep till November.

The Iowa caucuses went with the safe and sound favorites, Gore and Bush, and might have sealed their party nominations, except that New Hampshire voters have this funny habit of tipping the early leaders on their backsides.

The New Hampshire primary has been humbling the powerful since Estes Kefauver handed Harry Truman his hat in 1952; LBJ got the rude New Hampshire treatment in 1968. Ronald Reagan got the comeback benefit of New Hampshire in 1980, against George Bush. Bush got it against Bob Dole in 1988.

So the question is what rebound value New Hampshire has this year for Iowa’s losers, Bradley and McCain-and what New Hampshire makes of Iowa’s strong second-place Republican, Steve Forbes.


Tom Rath, attorney, advisor to the Bush Campaign, and member of the Republican National Committee;
Kim Zachos from the McCain Campaign;
Mark Fernald from the Bradley camp;
Joe Keefe from the Gore Campaign