Monthly Archives: December 2002

The Kissinger Commission

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Henry Kissinger could have retired years ago, after one of the most impressive careers in modern day diplomacy. But he didn’t. He went on to run his private international consulting firm, relying on and benefiting from the same feature that characterized his statecraft. Call it discretion. Or call it secrecy.

Now the former Secretary of State is investigating 9/11. We will go, he says, where the facts lead us. Certainly very few men have Kissinger’s international vision. It’s also true that very few men carry with them accusations of involvement in a secret world, one of quietly sanctioned invasions and coups. Kissinger’s never said what he actually knows. Now he’s responsible for reporting back to Americans about 9/11. Once again into the world of shadows.


John Shattuck, CEO of the John F Kennedy Library Foundation

Winston Lord, former member of the NSC staff and Director of Policy Planning for the State Department under Kissinger, former Ambassador to China

Steve Push, spokesman for the group ‘Families of September 11′ and for the ‘Coalition for a 9/11 Independent Commission.’

Turkey Pushes Back

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Hours after the Turkish government said it would, under certain circumstances, allow the U.S. to use military bases and air space for a strike against Iraq, it appears to be revising its position, or hedging…reconsidering. Maybe all of the above.

Bottom line: officials in Ankara are now saying that Turkey has made no commitments to the U.S. The U.S. is well aware of how important Turkey, Iraq’s border to the north, is to a successful campaign against Baghdad.

But Ankara’s indecision may in part be due to its delicate political situation, a fledgling government, and its bid to join the European Union. Turkey: straddling the East and the West, and at a moment of great decision.


Jenny White, Associate Professor of Anthropology at
Boston University and author of Islamist Mobilization in
Turkey: A study in Vernacular Politics;Johnny Dymond, BBC correspondent, Ankara.

Jazz Tromboninst Phil Wilson

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A trombone is a deceptively simple instrument. Just a long brass tube, bent back upon itself, twice, inside that a U-shaped slide. Simple enough, unless you’ve ever tried to make one wail the way Phil Wilson does.

In the world of jazz trombonists, Phil Wilson is a king. He got his start, back in the ’50s, with the Dorsey Brothers Orchestra. He’s played with Louis Armstrong, Frank Sinatra, and Herbie Hancock. He made his name as a hard-driving soloist with the Woody Herman band, the one known as the “Swingin’ Herd.”

And today, he’s doing his part to introduce a new generation to the boisterous, energetic, big brass bounce of the big band. Phil Wilson on the horn and recalling those thundering decades of Woody Herman.

Phil Wilson, Christine Fauson, and Yasushi Nakamura will all be performing tonight with a concert tribute to Woody Herman at the Berklee Performance Center.
See “related links” for details.


Phil Wilson, trombone

Christine Fawson, trumpet and vocals

Yasushi Nakamura, bass.

The New Politics of Clean Air

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Here we go, once again, with the political side of pollution. Not long after midterm elections the Bush administration announced changes to the Clean Air Act, a loosening up of federal regulations on power plants. Some say these changes are simply a payback to the power industry for its generous campaign donations.

The industry says no, the old regulatory system is inefficient and economic incentives are the fix needed to get power plants to reduce pollution. It is, though, a new market-based approach to clean air.

Environmentalists say changing the rules will bring about a stratospheric increase in emission levels, and argue that tough enforcement is the only threat that brings results. Clean Air and Clear skies, cutting through the fog.


Eric Schaeffer, director of the Environmental Integrity Project at the Rockefeller Family Fund

Scott Segal, spokesman for the Electric Reliability Coordination Council.


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Get ready to meet world’s the next superhero: Fungus Man. He’s a super-sized Portobello capable of gobbling up toxic oil spills, neutralizing chemical weapons, and curing deadly diseases. Ok, you won’t see him in theaters, but according to mycologist Paul Stamets, ordinary mushrooms already possess those super powers.

This mycophile has spent a lifetime in damp forests, turning over logs and culturing spores, harnessing the power of the mycelial networks that he says link the earth’s ecosystems. In addition to their environmental and medicinal applications, he says the practical possibilities of these super spores are endless.

Tapping into the macrocosm of microorganisms, exploring the fungus among us with Paul Stamets.


Paul Stamets, mycologist, author of “Growing Gourmet and Medicinal Mushrooms,” and president of Fungi-Perfecti

Timothy Garton Ash

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Timothy Garton Ash has both eyes on Europe. According to some, he is one of the most penetrating observers of Europe’s recent transformation.

A mix of modern-day journalist and contemporary historian, Garton Ash has watched the ill-matched collection of countries, that is Europe, change and grow and change again. From the collapse of the Berlin Wall, to ethnic cleansing in the Balkans, from the baby steps of the European Union to NATO’s recent growth spurt. But beyond the continental morphing and reinvention, the question remains: What is Europe?

At a time when the United States is so powerfully engaged around the world, what is Europe’s place and power. Europe, a collection of nations in search of their inner super power.

Timothy Garton Ash will give a lecture at the Boston University School of Management at 4:00 pm today. The title of the lecture is “Could A United States of Europe Rival the United States of America?”


Timothy Garton Ash

contemporary historian, senior fellow at the Hoover Institution, and author of numerous books including “History of the Present: Essays and Dispatches from Europe in the 1990s.”