Monthly Archives: September 2002

Tribal Injustice

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If you thought the creative accounting of Enron and Arthur Anderson was the apex of scandal, take a look at the Bureau of Indian Affairs. It has squandered billions in American Indian trust accounts.

The federal judge overseeing a class action suit against the Interior Department calls it “The gold standard for mismanagement by the federal government for more than a century.” Since 1887, the government has failed American Indians, destroying records, stealing and losing track of money, misappropriating natural resources.

Now, the court is ordering the agency to clean up the mess and account for billions of dollars of Indian money. Breach of trust, broken hearts, and contempt for Interior Secretary Gale Norton.


Nell Jessup Newton, dean of the University of Connecticut School of Law, and Indian law expert

Virginia Boylan, partner in the Indian Tribal Governments Practice at the law firm of Gardiner, Carton and Douglas in Washington D.C.

Louis Gray, Osage Indian, editorial writer and reporter for the Native American Times in Tulsa Oklahoma

Peter Jennings

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Crisis is good for television. John F. Kennedy’s assasination. The Challenger Explosion. September 11th. People gather round, in bars, hotel lobbies, living rooms, absorbing the images, looking for guidance from familiar faces.

For almost four decades, Peter Jennings has been a steady presence amidst crisis. He sits now at ABC’s helm as senior editor and anchor of World News Tonight. Jennings is often noted for his dedication to foreign coverage in a medium that embraces celebrity and sensationalist spin.

Today, with the White House’s “war on terror” underway and an attack on Iraq pending, we’re talking with Peter Jennings about the pressures and the promises of network news in a time of crisis.

Peter Jennings will be reading from his book today, September 23, at Borders Books in Boston, 1024 School Street at 12:30 pm


Peter Jennings, Anchor for ABC World News Tonight, and co-author of “In Search of America”.

Glenn Gould and the Quest for Perfection

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For many, Glenn Gould was the 20th century’s greatest interpreter of the keyboard works of Johann Sebastian Bach. The very first recording he ever made, at the age of 22, was the challenging “Goldberg Variations.”

It was a passionate, sensual, provocative performance, and the start of a long and controversial career. “The purpose of art,” Glenn Gould said, “is not the release of a momentary ejection of adrenaline, but rather the gradual lifelong construction of a state of wonder and serenity.” In 1981, he recorded the Goldberg Variations once again, still passionate and provocative, but this time also reflective and serene.

The recording was released just a few days before his death, at the age of 50. Glenn Gould, the legacy of a virtuoso, and an intellectual.


Tim Page, music critic, Washington Post. Editor of “the Glenn Gould Reader” and author of “Tim Page on Music: Views and Reviews”.

Iraq in the Balance

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Iraq moved to center stage this week, but not with anyone in Baghdad playing a leading role. The big actors were in American cities: Washington, with congressional hearings and a parade of politicians through the doors of the White House, and New York, at the podiums of the United Nations and in the frenzied corridor, the whisper of diplomacy.

In sum, a week of arm-twisting, resolutions, letters, speeches, threats, and promises. It’s also been a week in which the timing of various votes and meetings seems increasingly important. The administration is pushing Congress and the Security Council with a near-breathless sense of urgency.

This vote before that vote, the plan behind the plan, and an authorization to use “all means”.


Linda Wertheimer, correspondent, National Public Radio

Robin Wright, correspondent, Los Angeles Times.

The Victorian Nude

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A hundred and one years after the death of Queen Victoria, many people still regard her, and her era, as the epitome of prudishness. For years, we’ve heard the Victorians were so uptight they even covered the “legs” of pianos.

That prissy image continues, even though scholars have been saying for years that the Victorians were just as rambunctious and randy and varied in their tastes and predilections as people in any other era. In fact, the art historian who put together a museum exhibit of Victorian nudes says these people were obsessed with sex.

“The Victorian Nude.” Funny thing is that exposed flesh then caused the same controversy that it does today, with debates over definitions of art and pornography and erotica. The Victorian nude, revealed.

Images in the photo gallery are from the book “EXPOSED: THE VICTORIAN NUDE” edited by Alison Smith. (c) The Tate Trustees, 2001. First published in the United States of America by Watson-Guptill, Publications, New York, NY.


Alison Smith, curator, “Exposed: The Victorian Nude,” currently at the Brooklyn Museum of Art

Virginia Dodier, director, Carlsbad Museum and Art Gallery, New Mexico.

Politics and the Palestinian Authority

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At the very moment when there are hints of political progress among Palestinians, another bomb, and then another. Television screens revert to too-familiar shaky images of blackened buses and ambulance attendants at a run.

Islamic Jihad claims responsibility and steals attention, again, from the Palestinian voices calling for change. Those voices reached a new plateau of power last week, when elected Palestinian deputies told Yasser Arafat they’ve had enough of him and his men, and their corruption, nepotism, and inaction.

As a criticism of Arafat, the Palestinian Authority discord heralds what may be the start of an actual election campaign to replace the man. But as long as there are suicide attacks, who’s watching? Bombs, ballots, and figuring out a response to the muddled message of the West Bank.

There is an error in the opening moments of this program. Dick Gordon says “Today, in Tel Aviv, in the center of Israel’s capital in front of a synagogue in the middle of the day – five dead, fifteen injured.” The capital of Israel is Jerusalem. We regret the error.


Mahdi Abdul Hadi, head of the Palestinian Academic Society for the Study of International Affairs

Serge Schmemann, New York Times Middle East correspondent

Marc Gopin, Visiting Associate Professor of International Diplomacy, Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University

Amotz Asa-El, executive editor of the Jerusalem Post, Israel.

The Second Coming of Christianity

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In the past year, radical Islam has become the religion to watch. But some say with the focus on the crescent, no one’s paying attention to the cross. The religious historian Philip Jenkins argues that there is an exponential growth of Christianity in the Southern Hemisphere, in fundamentalist, even militant forms.

Jenkins points to this neo-orthodoxy as a potential powderkeg of religious violence, an apocalyptic blend of the Bible and the sword. Beyond the tensions between Muslims and Christians, he warns that the world could also see conflict between different Christian denominations.

Past the fiery dialectic of communism and capitalism, and the clash of jihad and crusade: a second coming of Christianity, the body and the blood.


Philip Jenkins, Distinguished Professor of History and Religious Studies at Penn State University, and author of “The Next Christendom: The Rise of Global Christianity”

Michael Battle, Assistant Professor of Spirituality and Black Church Studies at Duke Divinity School

Free Tibet?

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It has been more than 50 years since the Chinese government sent troops into mountainous Tibet. Today, Beijing still rules there. It’s been more than 40 years since the Dalai Lama, political and spiritual leader of Tibet, escaped over the Himalayas to Northern India, where he still heads a government-in-exile.

This week, for the first time in 20 years, a high level envoy of the Dalai Lama is in the Tibetan capital of Lhasa, meeting with the Chinese government in what could be a tentative first step in the Dalai Lama’s journey back home, his people’s journey to a new autonomy.

It’s hard to know what goes on between Red China and the saffron robes, but those who watch the two countries say something’s in the air.


Dr. Michael van Walt, Adjunct Professor of International Law at Golden Gate University School of Law, and Legal Advisor to the Office of His Holiness the Dalai Lama and to the Tibetan Government in Exile

Orville Schell, Dean of the Graduate School of Journalism at University of California at Berkeley, and Research Associate at the Center for Chinese Studies

John Pomfret, correspondent for the Washington Post.