Monthly Archives: January 2004

Impotence Drugs and Sexual Insecurity

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When 50 million red-blooded American men sit down to watch the Superbowl, they’ll see more than the Patriots and the Panthers facing off. This year’s game is also a showdown for dominance in the billion dollar battle among companies selling erectile dysfunction drugs.

But some are asking if these drugs are solely a cure for dysfunction, and whether they might not also be a new cause of sexual insecurity for couples.


Abe Morgentaler, associate professor at Harvard Medical School and author of, “The Viagra Myth: The Surprising Impact on Love and Relationships”

Rebecca Walker, editor of “What Makes a Man?”

Leonard Blum, vice president of sales and marketing at IKOS

Paula Garrett, brand manager for Cialis;

Checking In

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This summer the Department of Homeland Security hopes to start insisting that airlines in America will provide background information on all passengers as a way to weed out terrorists. That means that before you get on a plane and are cleared to fly, your recent credit card purchases, magazine subscriptions, and travel history could be checked by computer. These background checks will then have you marked for one of three lines at the airport. Those color-coded green will get the usual frisking, those with a hidden yellow sticker will get grilled, and those who’s boarding pass is marked red will not be allowed on the plane.


Jeffrey Rosen, associate professor of law, George Washington University and legal affairs editor of The New Republic

Rafi Ron, former director of Security for the Israeli Airport Authority and Ben Gurion Airport, now head of New Age Security Solutions;

Robert Johnson

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So the stories go, somewhere on the crossroads of the Mississippi Delta in the early 1900s, blues guitarist Robert Johnson sold his soul to the devil. The people who like that story will also tell you that a few years later, Johnson died on his hands and knees, barking like a dog.

Its one of the many myths surrounding the Deep South’s musical son, the man some claim to be one of the fathers of Rock ‘n’ Roll. All we really know is that Robert Johnson died in 1938, at the age of 27. The writer and musician Elijah Wald went South looking for the real Robert Johnson, and what he discovered is as much myth about the history of the blues as is there is about the men and women who played it.


Elijah Wald, author of “Escaping the Delta: Robert Johnson and the Invention of the Blues.”

Questionable Intelligence

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“Unresolved ambiguity.” David Kay used that phrase in testimony yesterday to describe what is and what’s not known about Saddam Hussein’s weapons program. Unresolved ambiguity might also be a good way to sum up how an increasing number of people in the U.S. and the U.K. feel about the use for and the war in Iraq.

While the Senate Armed Services Committee heard the former chief weapons inspector’s call for an independent inquiry into prewar intelligence, questions about British intelligence burst to the surface on the other side of the Atlantic. Lord Hutton concluded that Tony Blair didn’t lie about the threat posed by Iraq, he was just quoting bad intelligence. That leaves the war watching public in both countries at a loss for what to believe, and who to blame.


Daniel Byman, assistant professor at the Walsh School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University and senior fellow at the Saban Center for Middle East Policy at the Brookings Institution

Matthew Symonds, political editor of The Economist

Dana Milbank, staff writer for The Washington Post

David Albright, president of the Institute for Science and International Security, and former IAEA weapons inspector

Ambivalently Connected

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The telephonic cellularization of the public domain is turning many Americans off.

A new survey from the Lemelson-MIT program shows that people now regard the cell phone as the invention they hate the most, but cannot live without. Most often, its other people’s cell phones that drive us out of our minds; with their high pitched jangle, all those distracted drivers, and the people talking to nobody. For the generation that still remembers the rotary phone, the cell is tiny agent of social change; challenging notions of space, time, and control. Those born into the world of Nokia and Motorola have a whole new measure of mobility and good manners.


Joshua Meyrowitz, Department of Communication, University of New Hampshire, author of “No Sense of Place: The Impact of Electronic Media on Social Behavior”

Donald A. Norman, Professor of Computer Science and Psychology, Northwestern University, author of “Emotional Design: Why We Love (Or Hate) Everyday Things”

Howard Rheingold, author of Smart Mobs

Goodbye Granite State

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Although it wasn’t the sweet surprise of Iowa, the Granite State definitely gave John Kerry what he wanted. The Massachusetts Senator won the Democratic primary, landing well ahead of Howard Dean, and substantially beyond Senator John Edwards and General Wesley Clark. Swing the political spotlight now to next Tuesday, as candidates head out to Missouri, New Mexico, Arizona, North Dakota, Oklahoma, and the traditional testing ground of South Carolina.

The dynamics of the race now shift away from low murmur of retail politics into the high octane time of big rallies, big jets, big money and big risks. Can John Kerry convince voters that he’s something more than just another New England Liberal, can his competitors keep pace?


Michael Duffy, Washington Bureau Chief for TIME Magazine

Lee Bandy, Political writer for The State newspaper, Columbia SC

Denna Winter, Reporter for the Bismarck Tribune in Bismarck, North Dakota

Jo Mannies
St. Louis-based political correspondent for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

NH Primary 2004: Live from Manchester

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A two-hour special on the New Hampshire primary. Together with Joe Klein, Time magazine columnist and author of Primary Colors, we talk with voters, experts and political foot soldiers about the battle for Democratic votes in the Granite State.


Joe Klein, columnist, Time magazine and author, “Primary Colors”

Richard Killion, pollster, Franklin Pierce College

Arnie Arnesen, NH television and radio host, “Capital Ideas” and undecided Democratic voter

Mike Dennehy, John McCain’s campaign director in 2002 and former executive director, NH Republican Party.

NATO's New Secretary General

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NATO’s new Secretary General knows a thing or two about keeping a big operation airborne. In the 1960’s, Jaap de Hoop Scheffer flew cargo planes in the Dutch air force. It was a task, some say, that was every bit as daunting as trying to maintain the relevance of the world’s largest military alliance.

Created during the Cold War to defend Europe and its allies against Soviet aggression, NATO today is scrambling to redefine its role while maintaining its presence in places like Bosnia, Kosovo and Afghanistan. Add to that the rift between the U.S. and Europe over the war in Iraq and you have what NATO’s new chief says is work cut out for him. Putting transatlantic relations on the road to recovery.


Jamie Shea, director of Information for NATO

Supremacy in Space

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If Chinese officials have their way, this Year of the Monkey will also be the Year of the Moon. Late last year China announced ambitious plans to send more astronauts into space, launch a Moon probe, and eventually land on the Moon by 2010. That’s five years before any American is expected to return there, according to recent announcements by President Bush.

Time was, America and the Soviet Union were the only nations duking it out for intergalactic dominance. America won that round of the space race, but today, it’s more than just bragging rights at stake. America’s military supremacy on earth depends on its presence in space, and confronted with the cosmic calculations of the Chinese, the U.S. has two choices: block those efforts outright, or cooperate.


Adam Segal. He is an expert on technology and development in China and a Senior Fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations

John Pike, director of

John Tkacik, served as the State Department’s Chief of China Analysis under President Bush senior, and is currently a research fellow at the Heritage Foundation.