Monthly Archives: June 2003

Invasive Operations

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When’s the last time you saw your doctor? You might not remember, but chances are, your HMO does. Many Health Maintenance Organizations now track and monitor their subscribers, making sure they’re taking their drugs, eating right, and exercising. Some HMOs even call patients who don’t take care of themselves.

HMOs defend these virtual house calls as attempts to educate people and encourage them to take responsibility for their health. The goal is preventative medicine, not after-the fact operations and expensive hospital stays. Critics charge that HMOs are more interested in managing costs than managing care, and that patient privacy is at stake. Hands in the air. Step back from that Twinkie. Your HMO could be watching.


Dr. Linda Peeno M.D., former medical reviewer for Humana Inc., one of the nation’s health benefits companies

Dr. Sam Ho, Chief Medical Officer for PacifiCare Health Systems, a California HMO

Susan Pisano, Vice President of Communications for the American Association of Health Providers

Total Recall

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The stage is set for a showdown in California politics. Just seven months after being re-elected, Governor Gray Davis could very well lose his job. If recall supporters get enough signatures, and current momentum suggests they will, Davis could be back on the ballot this fall facing a tough challenge from Republican hopeful Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Davis supporters say Republicans are bankrolling the recall. Others counter that it’s just an issue of accountability. California voters have tried this kind of thing before, putting someone in office, and then changing their minds. The question is whether a successful recall will jolt the American political system awake, reinvigorate the democratic process…or simply turn it off, and send voters and potential contenders scurrying away.


Daniel Weintraub, Political Columnist for the Sacramento Bee newspaper

Bruce Cain, Director of the Institute of Governmental Studies at the University of California, Berkeley

Ted Costa, CEO of People’s Advocate — a non profit group organizing the Gray Davis recall

Considering a Cease-Fire?

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In the endless turbulence and tragedy of the Middle East, four Palestinians and one Israeli soldier were killed in Gaza City today.

Still, there is talk of a cease-fire on the Palestinian side, a three-month agreement between Hamas, Fatah and Islamic Jihad under which they would all agree to halt violence against all Israelis, including soldiers, civilians and settlers in Gaza and the West Bank.

Israeli officials aren’t impressed. A temporary end to suicide bombings, they say, falls far short of the full dismantling of the militant groups that they consider a prerequisite to peace.

There are also questions about the U.S. position, as the American National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice prepares for her weekend trip to the region.

Could this cease-fire be a new mark on the road map to peace in the Middle East, or, as some skeptics say, a chance for the Palestinian militant groups to regroup and rearm?


Boaz Ganor, Executive Director, Institute for Counter Terrorism at the Interdisciplinary Center in Herzliya

Saeb Erekat, head negotiator for the PLO and member of the Palestinian Legislative Council

Ambassador Dennis Ross, Director of The Washington Institute for Near East Policy

Barbara Plett, BBC Correspondent in Ramallah

Prosecuting for Peace

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The landscape of Benjamin Ferencz’s life is dotted with the landmarks of the Second World War. Normandy. The Battle of the Bulge. Hitler’s Lair and Buchenwald. In 1943, as a newly minted graduate of Harvard Law School, Ferencz enlisted in Patton’s army and became one of the soldiers who’d go on to defeat the Germans. Ferencz’s job description eventually went from fighting to ferreting.

Collecting evidence and making records of Nazi war crimes. At times, that meant digging up corpses with his own hands. By 1947, Ferencz was a prosecutor at Nuremberg. He was 27 years old. Today, he says, Nuremberg’s legacy is alive in the fledgling International Criminal Court, and America should pay heed. International justice then…and now.


Benjamin Ferencz, U.S. Prosecutor at Nuremberg Trials

Return of The Freshmen

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The Freshmen Reunion. When first we met Dutch Ruppersberger, Democratic Congressman from Maryland, and Max Burns, Republican from Georgia, they were enrolled in a prep school of sorts, for newly elected first-timers to Capitol Hill. Binders and notepads in tow, they told us of looking forward to learning the ropes, vying for committee assignments, and forging bipartisan cooperation.

Several months later, Burns and Ruppersberger know what it’s like to lead at war time. They know the intricacies of budgets…and the conundrum of cuts. They’ve grappled with Medicare, prescription drugs education spending, and plenty more. And that sheen of anticipation? Well, we’ll find out what happened to that, too. An insider’s look at Capitol Hill, and the 108th Congress.


Congressman Dutch Ruppersberger, Democrat of Maryland

Congressman Max Burns, Republican of Georgia

Gail Russell Chaddock | Staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor

David Kin, professor of public policy at the Kennedy School of Government.

William Dalrymple

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More than a century ago, the British author and poet, Rudyard Kipling, wrote that East is East and West is West and never the twain shall meet. But Kipling got it wrong. A century before he wrote those words, and well before British rule in India became a caricature of stiff upper lips and priggish superiority, English military officers posted in India donned native garb, got hooked on the hookah, and married local women.

One British official paraded all 13 of his wives in public every night, each on the back of her own elephant. And for one Englishman in particular, India was the hothouse where his own tale of love, seduction, and betrayal bloomed. Reconstructing that story, and revisiting a long forgotten era with the author William Dalrymple.


William Dalrymple, author, “White Mughals: Love and Betrayal in Eighteenth-Century India”

Lucky 13?

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Alan Greenspan is about to start tinkering with the interest rate again. In the two and a half years, the Federal Reserve has reduced the rate twelve times. Twelve. And if the financial analysts are right, the chairman of the fed is ready to cut once again. If he does, the cost of borrowing money will be its lowest level since Eisenhower was in the White House and Edsel’s were the Ford Motor Company’s hope for the future.

But faced with a cruel job market, and the more menacing prospect of a Japan-style, deflation-triggered, economic meltdown, many analysts warn that the Fed’s next move has risk attached. But nothing else is working, and options are few. So Greenspan is likely to cut, and wait, wait for signs of life that have largely eluded an American economy. Figuring out the Fed’s next move.


Allen Sinai, Chief Global Economist and President of Decision Economics. Previously, Chief Global Economist of Lehman Brothers

Peter Crane, Vice President and Managing Editor of iMoneyNet

Ben Edwards, U.S. Business Editor for The Econonomist, previously the magazine’s bureau chief in Tokyo.

Indian Memorial at Little Bighorn

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Pop quiz. If I say Custer’s, you say…”Last Stand,” right? What was Custer’s Last Stand? “It had something to do with fighting the Indians out West.” Right again. And who won? George Armstrong Custer’s name is forever linked to the battle on the banks of the Little Bighorn River, but it was a decisive victory for Sitting Bull, Crazy Horse and the warriors of the Lakota, the Cheyenne and Arapaho Nations who combined forces to stop the U.S. Army’s invasion of their sovereign territory.

Custer and all of his men died that day. A white marble monument marks their mass grave. But for 127 years, there’s been no official memorial to the Indians who died there too. That changes tomorrow. Recasting Little Bighorn in the American memory.


Barbara Sutteer, Tribal Liaison for the Dedication of the Indian Memorial at the Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument, Crow Agency, Montana

Edward Linenthal, Professor of Religion and American Culture, University of Wisconsin, Oshkosh, and author, “Sacred Ground: Americans and Their Battlefields”

Paul Andrew Hutton, Professor of History, University of New Mexico, author, “The Custer Reader.”

Diversity By Proxy

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The Supreme Court’s long-awaited affirmative action rulings make one thing clear: colleges and universities have a compelling interest in campus diversity. Many schools in states where race-based admissions programs are illegal know that, too. So to get around the race factor, they’ve charted their own course to diversity.

They call it socio-economic, or class-based, preference. Rather than targeting blacks or Hispanics, be they rich or poor, these schools seek the underprivileged; students of all races who have survived and thrived despite broken homes and failing schools, but whose transcripts don’t quite measure up to. Proponents say this enriches the academic environment and skirts legal landmines. Others aren’t so sure. Evaluating class in the classroom.


Tim Washburn, Assistant Vice President for Enrollment Services at the University of Washington

Richard Kahlenberg, Senior Fellow at The Century Foundation and author of: “All Together Now: Creating Middle Class Schools through Public School Choice”

Shaking the Literary Tree

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They are bi-racial and multicultural, and they fill their pens with the indelible ink of identity and sex. They are their mothers’ daughters, and nothing at all like them. Today’s black women authors write in voices their literary forebears had to keep to a whisper.

Weaned on the works of Alice Walker, Gloria Naylor, and Maya Angelou, the new wave of black woman writers are also the children of Black power, Fat Albert, and the Reagan and Bush presidencies. Some attended posh, and predominately white, boarding schools, earned their M.F.A’s, and write for a living, not just when they can find the time. Shaking the Tree, a collection of new fiction and memoir from the vanguard of America’s up and coming black women writers.


Meri Nana-Ama Danquah, editor of “Shaking the Tree: A Collection of New Fiction and Memoir by Black Women;” Catherine E. McKinley, author of “The Book of Sarahs: A Family in Parts;” Lola Ogunaike, Culture reporter for The New York Times.