Monthly Archives: April 2002


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Rock is dead. Drop the Stratocaster, Scratch is here. Up from the underground world of hip-hop-live-DJ competition, what was once background sound for rappers now has suburban kids pressing their own performance vinyl, and stars like DJ Qbert, Mix Master Mike, and Z-Trip headlining packed shows.

You may not be saving tickets stubs from the Invizibl Scratch Picklz or the Dilated Peoples, but across the country, Gen-Y and others are linin’ up to hear them perform, watching and wanting to copy the way hands and fingers fly over dual turntables. Work the mixer, dig through stacks of albums. Scratch is the new D.I.Y., and like blues, punk and rap predecessors, scratch is the sound of the garage, of dance and of rebellion. Drop the needle, Wikki wick.


Doug Pray, director of the movie “Scratch”

Christie Pabon, events coordinator consultant, publicist

D.J. Excess and Toadstyle, turntable artists.

Riding High with the U.S. Dollar

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The world’s super power has the most powerful economy on the planet, and it just seems to follow that it should also have the number one currency. Sure enough, the greenback rules. Despite a mild economic recession, the US dollar is actually at a 16-year high over other currencies like the Canadian dollar and the Euro.
This is great news for American consumers buying electronic goods and Japanese cars, and clothes from Costa Rica. But while Treasury Secretary Paul O’Neil puffs up his chest about the raw power of the dollar, American manufacturers are crying foul. They say the dark secret of a dominating dollar is a growing trade deficit, job losses here at home and money moving offshore. The last time things got this out of whack the greenback took a dive. If it does that now, recession could follow.


Gail Fosler, U.S. Conference Board

Laurence Kantor, Global Head of Currency Strategy, J.P. Morgan Chase

Frank Vargo, National Association of Manufacturers.

The Dying Art of the Sermon

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It’s late Saturday afternoon, and still the weekly gospel isn’t stirring the soul of the good reverend, anxious to find the words for Sunday’s sermon. Never mind, Boot up, click on, and sign in, to Nothing there? Try, sermon notes online. It’s not the problem, preachers say, but a symptom of a problem plaguing the pulpit.
Speeches intended to inspire congregants into another week of love, hard work and reverence are increasingly forgettable. It is the quest for the significant sermon in a world gone cold with political correctness; in a world where interactivity and high tech flash threaten to outshine the oratory of the preacher. A reading from the book of bland.


Rev. Dr. James A. Forbes, Jr., Senior Minister of the Riverside Church in New York City

Dr. Richard A. Lischer, Cleland professor of preaching at Duke Divinity School

Rev. Barbara Brown Taylor, Episcopal priest in the Diocese of Atlanta and author of Speaking of Sin: The Lost Language of Salvation (Cowley 2000).

Waiting for Washington

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There are firefights in Nablus, the deadly stand-off in Bethlehem continues. Palestinians in Ramallah bury their dead in a parking lot while Israelis watch for more katyusha rockets from Lebanon and more anti-semitic attacks in Europe. Britain’s foreign secretary says the Middle East is on the verge of catastrophe, and still, more than at any time in recent months, world attention is focusing on Washington.
Increasingly, the Bush Administration stands accused of taking too much of a hands off approach. Colin Powell says he’ll meet, he’ll talk, but the more passive notions of mediation are being overtaken by calls for direct political, perhaps even military involvement


Henry Seigman, Council of Foreign Relations Senior Fellow

William Quandt, professor of government and foreign affairs at the University of Virginia

Jeane Kirkpatrick, senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations

The Beauty of Equations

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It would take a wise person to conclude that there is beauty in something called “Stratospheric sink for chlorofluoromethanes; chlorine atom catalyzed destruction of ozone.” But let a scientist lead you past the clumsiness of words, into an understanding of the elegance of theory, and the skies can quite literally open up.
At least they did for the Nobel Prize-winning team of Molina and Rowlands, whose equations led to our current understanding of ozone depletion. That’s one example of the abstract equation cutting to the heart of the real. But in all the sciences, physics, chemistry, biology, even computer science, there are elements of the beautiful.
To some, it might rest in the simplicity of theory, to others, it lies in the remarkable creative brainwork that underlies the unending search to capture the laws of nature.


Graham Farmelo, editor of “It Must Be Beautiful: Great Equations in Modern Science”

Steven Weinberg, Nobel Prize-winning physicist and author most recently of “Facing Up: Science and Its Cultural Adversaries.”

Military vs. Environment

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For the soldiers and their officers, it can be enormously frustrating. They are preparing for combat, learning to fight and protect themselves on a training base here in the United States. But when it comes time to take cover, the foxhole is blocked off with duct tape. The soldier’s not allowed to dig for fear of disturbing the habitat of the San Joaquin kit fox, for example.

But look at the other side. The Pentagon has 25 million acres of land, all over the U.S. When it’s mating season for pronghorn antelope in Arizona, can’t Air Force training flights go elsewhere?

The Pentagon says it needs exemptions from a raft of environmental laws for the sake of national security. Environmentalists say protecting the planet comes first. Are foxholes just for foxes?


Paul W. Mayberry, Deputy Under Secretary of Defense, Readiness

Dan Meyer, general counsel, Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility Rep. Joel Hefley (R-Colorado).

The "Other" Final Four

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The games are about to begin.
The players are deep in the zone, reviewing past games of their opponents, diagramming offensive and defensive moves, and submitting themselves to a grueling physical routine, all in preparation for this weekend’s Final Four tournament.
Don’t worry Connection listeners. We haven’t gone over to the dark side, we’re talking about the other Final Four Chess Fest 2002 which opens this weekend in Miami. This high stakes contest is like Revenge of the Nerds, only without the frat boys.
This year, the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, and the University of Texas, Dallas expected to kick some major board butt while second tier schools like Harvard and Stanford are likely to end up taking their pawns and going home.


Dr. Freeman Hrabowski, President, University of Maryland, Baltimore

Alexey Root, associate director of chess program, University of Texas, Dallas

Eugene Perlstein, member of University of Maryland chess team.

The Smallpox Debate: Vaccinate, or Wait?

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Smallpox is back, in the headlines anyway. The disease that last surfaced in this country 53 years ago is now the focus of intense debate among health professionals.
New fears of bioterrorism are sparking a debate over the risks and rewards of vaccination. With news of enough smallpox vaccine for every man, woman and child in the United States, many health professionals are advocating an aggressive program of voluntary vaccinations.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention prefer to wait. They point to unanswered questions about the vaccine’s potential mortality rates and side effects, and the unknown likelihood of a bioterrorist attack.


Dr. Jonathan Tucker, director of the Chemical & Biological Weapons Nonproliferation Program at the Monterey Institute of International Studies and author of “Scourge: The One and Future Threat of Smallpox”

Dr. William Bicknell, professor of International Health, Socio-Medical Sciences and Community Medicine in the Department of International Health at the Boston University School of Public Health.

American Jews and the Middle East

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There’s an old Jewish saying about what happens when you get three rabbis in a room. You get four opinions, at least.
There is no unanimity of opinion among American Jews, and never has been. It’s a diverse community ranging from the ultra orthodox who never leave their neighborhoods in Brooklyn to progressives, who call themselves culturally Jewish and never enter a synagogue. Yet the almost 6 million American Jews have one thing in common. They have an opinion about Israel. For some, that opinion is simple: unwavering support.
For others, it’s more complicated. They believe in the state of Israel, but question the policies of its leaders. And right now, more so than in many years, American Jews are debating how to view the cascading violence in the Middle East.


Michael Lerner, co-founder of Tikkun Community, editor of Tikkun Magazine, and Rabbi at Beyt Tikkun synagogue in Berkeley, CA

and Stepehn Hoffman, President and CEO of United Jewish Communities.