Monthly Archives: November 2002

Health Care Across the 49th Parallel

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Canadians are fond of saying their health care system is what sets them above the United States. But Canada’s universal, single-payer system, long plagued by waiting lists for procedures, unaffordable drugs, and outdated technology, has fallen on hard times.

This week in Canada, the headline story is the release of the Romanow Report, a comprehensive study of the national system, urging a $15 billion fix for health care. This situation has some Canadians looking over the border and suggesting that maybe, just maybe, the private sector does it better. But according to Romanow: It’s a “perversion of Canadian values to accept a system where money, rather than need, determines who gets access to care.” Diagnosing Canadian health care, and drawing lessons for America.


Antonia Maioni, professor of political science at McGill University, Montreal

Claudia Fegan, medical director of outpatient care at Provident Hospital, Chicago, and past president of Physicians for a National Health Program

Brian Lee Crowley, president of the Atlantic Institute for Market Studies in Nova Scotia.

Israel: A Look Ahead

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The agony of…victory. Ariel Sharon’s decisive win over Binyamin Netanyahu in yesterday’s Likud party primary was overshadowed by violence at home and abroad. A suicide bombing at an Israeli-owned resort in Kenya that left 12 dead, including three Israelis. An unsuccessful missile attack on an Israeli passenger plane in the skies above Kenya. And a shooting at a Likud voting station in northern Israel, the work of the Al Aksa Martyrs Brigade, in which six Israelis died.

Israel’s 300,000 Likud party voters chose Sharon, the pundits say, because they trust him. And now, in the shadow of a possible U.S. war with Iraq and with two months to go before the Knesset chooses a new prime minister, that trust will be tested. Bloodshed, diplomacy, and Sharon’s challenges.


Serge Schmemann, senior writer, The New York Times

David Horovitz, editor, The Jerusalem Report

Khaled Abu Toameh, reporter, The Jerusalem Post and U.S. News & World Report

Arthur Miller

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There is a scene in Arthur Miller’s short story, “Bulldog” where the protagonist, the boy, he is called, is on his way to buy a puppy. He rides a wooden train across Brooklyn, and watches what Arthur Miller describes as “old Italian women, their heads covered with red bandannas, bent over and loading their aprons with dandelions.”

It is a Brooklyn gone by. It is, indeed, a time gone by, but as is the case with all great writing, it remains, timeless. Arthur Miller, the Pultizer Prize winner, the public intellectual, is a man now in his eight-eighth year. He’s of course best known for his mastery of the play. Deservedly so. But after hearing the “Bulldog” you may also consider him as a master of the short story, as well. “Bulldog,” and a conversation with Arthur Miller.


Arthur Miller, author of “Bulldog”

Carolyn Cooke

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There’s a saying: “To go back to tradition is the first step forward.” This Thanksgiving, The Connection continues with its tradition of showcasing the short story. Though it’s something of a Connection holiday from topical journalism, it’s still the best of what storytelling can be: provocative, unsettling, engaging. And it is of course the reader or the listener who benefits.

Sue Miller may have said it best. She’s the guest editor for The Best American Short Stories 2002, “These stories arrived in the nick of time to make me believe again in that place, the place where ideas come from, to teach me once more what we read fiction for.” Our first short story is called “The Sugar Tit,” by Carolyn Cooke.


Carolyn Cooke, author of “The Sugar Tit”

Frank Deford

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The 1950s have faded into something of nostalgic glow many Americans who remember them. A time when the Brooklyn Dodgers dueled with the Yankees, when lawnmowers and barbeques became backyard fixtures.

The ’50s are less often referred to as a time of racism, sexism and seldom recalled for the great public scares like the one that surrounded infantile paralysis, or polio. Frank Deford’s latest book drops us dead center in the 1950s of suburban Baltimore where he grew up, placing us eye to eye with a girl who might have been golden had it not been for the iron lung that became her home, and eye to eye with the discomfort of a small boy witnessing, for the first time, the failings of grown ups.


Frank Deford, commentator, sportswriter, and author of “An American Summer”

"Don't Ask Don't Tell" Revisited

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Nearly 10 years after the controversial Don’t Ask Don’t Tell went into effect, it is back on the front page. Recently it was announced that nine students at the military’s Defense Language Institute were dismissed for being gay.

It might not have made such a splash, but six of them happened to be Arabic speakers, just the kind of soldiers the military needs right now. Some say they shouldn’t have been in the military in the first place, and that the firings are a small price to pay to preserve troop morale.

Others say the dismissals show how discrimination against homosexuals weakens the military and hurts national security. The one thing everyone agrees on is that don’t ask don’t tell isn’t making anyone happy.


Paul Cerjan, retired Lieutenant General, U.S. Army

Steve May, former Republican State Legislator in Arizona between 1998 and 2002

Elaine Donnelly , president of the Center for Military Readiness

Sharra Greer, legal director of the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network.-

Give Me Shelter

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Take this short Connection quiz on Nesting. You go to get your hair cut, or see the dentist, some place with magazines. What do you reach for? Is it that long Newsweek feature tracking the trail of the terrorist? Is it the U.S. News and World Report story on The Perils of Unilateralism? Or do you reach for the glossy weight of Architectural Digest, or that House and Garden magazine with its feature on which apples make the best pie, or which towels would look best in a bathroom make-over.

Okay, hands off the buzzers. A look at why even you are choosing towels over terrorists. The ongoing urge to feather, to feed and find comfort at home.


Pamela Paul, author, “The Starter Marriage,” and editor, American Demographics magazine

James Pennebaker, professor of psychology, the University of Texas, Austin

Mark Mayfield, editor-in-chief, House Beautiful magazine

The SUV and National Security

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The search for a new rallying cry over national security, sounds something like this: “Kill your SUV!” A number of people and pundits are saying when it comes to fighting terrorism, forget Osama bin Laden. The real villain is in the driveway, that it’s America’s appetite for gas guzzling trucks and sports utility vehicles which keeps this country dependent on foreign oil and vulnerable to foreign terrorists.

They’re hoping some new spins might finally break through the popularity of the Ford Explorer and The Dodge Durango; that SUV soccer moms will wonder where the money goes. Now a religious coalition is urging consumers to consider: “What Would Jesus Drive?” Blaming and shaming the SUV. Personal responsibility and national security.


Jamie Kitman, New York bureau chief and columnist for Automobile magazine

Paul Gorman, executive director of the National Religious Partnership for the Environment

Jerry Taylor, Director of Natural Resources Studies at the Cato Institute.

Modigliani in Context

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A postcard from Modi’s Montparnasse. In 1906, Amadeo Modigliani arrived in Paris from Livorno, Italy. It didn’t take long for the passionate, 22-year-old artist to figure out that Monmartre was out.

The new hot spot for artistic wanna-be’s, intellectuals and other drunks and hash smokers was definitely Montparnasse. So there he moved, and when he wasn’t busy partying, he made outstanding, innovative sculptures and paintings.

Modi, as his friends called him, died in January 1920 at the age of 35. At his funeral, even the police stood at attention, including those who had had the pleasure of arresting Modi for drunken excess and outrageous behavior. “Now he is avenged,” said his long time friend Picasso.


Dr. Kenneth Wayne, Curator of “Modigliani and the Artists of Montparnasse” Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, NY

Jonathan Dewald, French history specialist, and history professor at State University of New York at Buffalo.

What Regime Change in Iraq Might Mean for Syria

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There is nothing simple, nothing straightforward about Syria. It’s the only country branded a state-sponsor of terrorism that manages to maintain diplomatic ties with the United States; a country, whose former leader,
was known both for successfully crushing Islamic fundamentalists who threatened his regime, and for supporting the Islamic terrorists in their attacks on Israel.

And as the high stakes game of weapons, weapons, who has the weapons unfolds, Syria’s role remains a puzzle. So far the Syrians seem to be siding with the U.S., sharing intelligence, detaining Al-Qaeda suspects, and voting in favor of the UN Security Council resolution. But some say that if the U.S. wants to get serious about fighting terror, it needs to put Damascus right after Baghdad on the hit list.


Fouad Ajami, professor of Middle Eastern Studies at the School for Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University

Michael Young, a columnist with Daily Star newspaper in Beirut

and Dr. Murhaef Jouejati, Adjunct Professor at George Washington University and Fellow at the Middle East Institute.