Monthly Archives: July 2001

Families Facing Facts

Listen / Download

It may be the most difficult conversation a child and parent can have, and it’s not the one about sex. Or drugs. Or really even about the child. It’s about the parent, and what happens when parents are getting too old to take care of themselves.

The roles reverse. Now it can be an aging father or mother digging in and arguing, “Don’t tell me what to do. I know what’s best for me. You cannot run my life.” while the child, now grownup, tries to explain, “Dad, it’s time to stop driving. Mom, you can’t live alone anymore.” It’s a conversation that has to happen, but too often does not, until it’s too late.

As Americans live longer and the shape of the American family keeps changing, the toughest conversation changes with it.
(Hosted by John Donvan)


Elinor Ginzler, Manager of Independent Living and Long Term Care Initiative for AARP

Wendy Carberry, aging care manager in the Office of Aging in Centre County, PA

Rev. Lisa Schoenwetter, minister of the Memorial Congregational Church, of Sudbury, Massachusetts.

The Wind Done Gone

Listen / Download

Meet Scarlett. She’s plump and losing her hair, and her man. Rhett is old and not so virile, yes, you guessed it, Ashley is gay, and the slaves definitely aren’t happy.

This is the world of the Wind Done Gone, the novel Margaret Mitchell’s estate took to court for taking on Gone with the Wind and its romantic, sometimes racist portrayal of the antebellum South. Earlier this year an Atlanta judge found the novel to be an unlawful exploitation of Mitchell’s tragic world, and banned its publication. That ban was lifted on appeal, and a final decision is expected any day now.

The novel is in bookstores, but whether it stays there depends on whether the court decides its depiction of the land of Tara is a parody of Gone with The Wind, which is legal under copyright law – or a sequel, which is not.
(Hosted by John Donvan)


Ed Davis, First Amendment and intellectual property lawyer with Davis Wright Tremaine

Wendy Strothman, executive vice president of Houghton Mifflin, and Alice Randall, author of “The Wind Done Gone.”

Election reform and the Voting Rights Act

Listen / Download

Universal suffrage. One man, one vote. This is the language of American democracy, and if the 15th amendment to the Constitution doesn’t cover all the bases, the Voting Rights act of 1965 is supposed to provide the muscle to make sure everyone counts.

In election 2000, however, many blacks and poor people who headed to the polls didn’t factor in the outcome. Politically-charged reports, numerous anecdotes, and damning statistical reviews blame everything from faulty machines to institutional racism.

The US Department of Justice calls the Voting Rights Act “The most successful piece of civil rights legislation ever,” but as election reform proposals roll through legislatures and commissions, it seems it’s time to look again at access to the polls in the U-S.
(Hosted by John Donvan)


Heather Gerkin, Harvard Law School professor, Hilary Shelton, NAACP Washington Bureau chief, and Penda Hair, voting right lawyer and co-director of the Advancement Project

Power, Politics, and the Olympics

Listen / Download

The torch is lit, the music swells, chiseled athletes parade and wave.

Every other year, the Olympics begin with glossy pomp and circumstance, but the real field of international competition is often far away from the arena, a realpolitic triple jump of ideology, economics and power. The 1936 Games in Berlin became Adolph Hitler’s Aryan showcase. In Munich 1972, the Middle East conflict entered the Olympic Village as terrorists murdered eleven Israelis. In the 1980’s, the Cold War cast its shadow as the US and USSR swapped boycotts during the Moscow and Los Angeles Games. And today, Beijing gets Summer 2008.

Some call it appeasement of human rights abusers, others say this can be a positive force for change. That’s a lot of weight riding on two weeks of sport.
(Hosted by John Donvan)


John Hoberman, Olympics historian at the University of Texas-Austin

Allen Wachman, assistant professor of international politics at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University

and Nancy Storrs, member of the 1980 Olympic Team which did not compete in the Moscow Games.

Social History of the Suntan

Listen / Download

It’s a shady proposition: the suntan.

Not since the Coppertone girl revealed her famous tan lines has the prospect of fun in the sun created such a stir. Only this time, the message from Madison Avenue and your local dermatologist is decidedly solar-phobic. Don’t go into the light, they say. If you must, arm yourself! With sunscreen, a wide-brimmed hat, and long sleeves. No longer the symbol of wealth and leisure, the savage tan is hanging out in Bad Habit Heaven, a cigarette in one hand, a Twinkie in the other, and Dynasty reruns on TV. SPF 4 or 8? So eighties.

These days, nothing less than 30 will do. But if there’s valor in pallor, there’s also big money to be made in sales of self-tanning lotions, now selling at the same clip as sunscreen.
(Hosted by John Donvan)


Patricia Berman, Professor of Modern Art and the History of Photography at Wellesley College

Dr. Christina Hayes, Dermatologist at the New England Medical Center

Gifted Children

Listen / Download

Genius is one of those words that gets tossed around with great abandon. It’s a favorite of movie reviewers, book-jacket blurb writers, and proud parents.

Real genius, the Einstein-Beethoven-Shakespeare, paradigm-shifting sort of genius, may be extremely rare. But there are plenty of bright and very bright kids out there. Maybe someone you know.

There are also plenty of cultural stereotypes about the geeky, nerdy, know-it-all. Think Lisa Simpson. And there’s also the super-bright kid who against all odds makes it to the top. Think Good Will Hunting. The reality is that many very bright kids finds themselves bored out of their gourds in ordinary classrooms.
(Hosted by John Donvan)


Christian Peele , 14-year-old who is skipping high school to enter college

Ellen Winner, professor of psychology, Boston College

Martha Morelock, assistant professor of psychology, Elmira College.

Foreign Aid

Listen / Download

While the West laments the bursting of the dot com bubble and fears the cooling winds of recession, most of the world’s people languish in the quicksand of sustained and deadly poverty.

The human detritus of economic stagnation is everywhere; Africans washing up on Spanish beaches after trying to swim through the Straits of Gibraltar, Mexican immigrants dying of thirst attempting to cross the Arizona desert. These bodies and their stories remind us that the forty-year, trillion-dollar international war on poverty being waged by the U.S. and other industrialized countries is by many measures a flop.

Maybe it’s because we haven’t done enough, maybe we just haven’t done it right. Regardless, the world’s poor are still with us, and they are getting poorer and more numerous.
(Hosted by John Donvan)


William Easterly, Senior Advisor, Development Research Group, the World Bank

Ray Offenheiser, President, Oxfam International

Bruce Scott, Professor, Harvard Business School

Race In Britain

Listen / Download

The UK had a decades-long head start over the US in abolishing slavery, and until recently, if you’d asked a Brit about troubled race relations, they usually made it a conversation about American society.

The Brits have their own problems and they’ve been heating up. This month, there were race riots in northern cities; British whites fought British Asians and both sides took on the cops.

In Britain, whites and blacks intermarry at a far higher rate than in the US. Yet only nine members of Britain’s parliament are minorities, and no members of Tony Blair’s Cabinet are.
9Hosted by Dick Gordon)


Yasmin Alibhai-Brown, cultural critic, journalist, and author of Imagining the New Britain

Darryl Pinckney, poet and New York Review of Books critic

Julie McCarthy, National Public Radio’s London Correspondent

Jan Ziff, former BBC State Department correspondent

A Voyage For Madmen

Listen / Download

Long before adventure became a lifestyle, it was a calling. And well before Gortex and global positioning opened new frontiers to day-trippers dabbling in the great beyond, a select few men set to sea in boats of varying crudeness, on a quest to single-handedly circumnavigate the globe.

It was 1968, and the world’s attention was fixed skyward, to the Apollo mission and the wild promise of space as the ultimate playground. But back on earth, another great race had begun: The Golden Globe. To the victor: fame and fortune, but only after untold trials. To the rest, the same sea-soaked solitary confinement and body-battering hard labor, plus financial ruin, madness, even death.

So why did they take to the open sea? Like Everest, it was there. The Connection discusses the legacy and lunacy of an around the world boat race.
(Hosted by John Donvan)


Peter Nichols, author of “A Voyage for Madmen;” Robin Knox- Johnston, crew member

Chay Blyth, crew member

Hi-Tech Surveillance

Listen / Download

Lights, camera, action! Cash a check, buy a slurpee, or doubledown on eleven, and you’re on someone’s screen.

No need to audition for Survivor mark III if you want to be on television, just run a red light. Better yet, attend the Superbowl or simply walk through Tampa, Florida. There, the dispassionate eye of a surveillance camera scans your face, and far away in some windowless room, a computer compares your mug against a database of known miscreants. Who needs fingerprints and forensics when cops can spot a crime as-it-happens on close circuit television?

Terrorists and deadbeat dads be warned, George Orwell’s long awaited Candid Camera has arrived, and it’s watching us all: the good, the bad, the law-abiding and the blissfully unaware.
(Hosted by John Donvan)


Bob Lack, Group Leader of the Newham Emergency and Security Services

Dr. Joseph Atick, President and CEO of Visionics, the company which makes the “Face-It” software used in Newham and Tampa

Simon Davies, Director General of Privacy International, Amitai Etzioni author of “The Limits of Privacy” and David Sobel, General Counsel for the Electronic Privacy Information Center