Monthly Archives: August 2004

A Plea for Peace

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Boston, Denver, Tulsa, southern California and northern Virginia are seeing a resurgence of gang violence. While criminologists debate whether failing schools, budget cuts or absentee fathers are to blame, many people in these communities look within for the reasons behind the violence and the means to stop it.


Bill LaFortune, Mayor of Tulsa, OK

Janette Boone, youth outreach coordinator with the Ella J. Baker House in Dorchester, MA

William Dickerson, Pastor, Greater Love Tabernacle Church in Dorchester, MA

True See Allah, re-entry coordinator for the South End Neighborhood Action Program in Boston, MA.

The View From Gaza

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A recent report by Palestinian lawmakers says that Yassir Arafat’s Palestinian Authority is losing control — especially in Gaza, where militias and criminal gangs run the streets. The report blames the Palestinian Authority for the chaos, corruption, and clannish politics in the region. Israel is now planning to withdraw from Gaza, washing its hands of a situation that some say it helped create.

With more than 9,000 people per square mile, this small plot of land is a human time bomb waiting to explode.


Steven Erlanger, Bureau chief for the New York Times in Jerusalem

Dr. Eyad Saraj, Palestinian Psychiatrist and Founder of the Palestinian Independent Commission for Citizen’s Rights

Marwan Kanafani, member of the Palestinian Legislative Council and Chairman of its political committee;

Voice from the Heartland

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Meet the new poet laureate, Ted Kooser. A self-described shy and retiring Midwesterner, he’s being hailed as a major voice for rural and small town life.

Kooser has never tried to be a poet’s poet. Instead, he wants to use his time as laureate to extend the reach of poetry far beyond the reading room and literary journal — and straight into the great, wide heart of America.


Ted Kooser, America’s new poet laureate.

Venezuela Votes

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Early election results from Venezuela show that President Hugo Chavez is not going anywhere. With almost all the ballots counted, 58 percent of Venezuelans have voted to keep him in power.

His supporters are dancing in the streets, and Chavez himself is calling the referendum a “true democratic fiesta.” But the opposition refuses to admit defeat, and many wonder what three more years of Chavez will mean for global oil prices and the future of democracy in Latin America.


Juan Forero, reporter for the New York Times

Edgardo Lander, professor of politics and trade at the Universidad Central De Venezuela

Ricardo Hausmann, professor of devleopment at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government

Daniel Hellinger, professor of political science at Webster University, St. Louis

Miguel Diaz, Director of the South America Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

Heavy Metal Goes Oprah

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Imagine a famous writer standing before a small crowd and saying: “My name is Ernest Hemingway, and I’m an alcoholic.”

Of course, talk therapy wasn’t Hemingway’s choice — he stuck with the bottle — but it seems to be working for some of today’s artists. Instead of saving their rage for the page or the performance, many are moving to the couch. Even the head banging, guitar slamming guys of Metallica decided they needed to get in touch with their inner selves — so they hired a shrink. Then they let the cameras in.


Bruce Sinofsky and Joe Berlinger, directors of the film “Metallica: Some Kind of Monster”

Phil Towle, performance enhancement coach.

Moqtada's Motives

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It’s been a bloody week in Najaf. US marines and Iraqi troops have been in a violent standoff against radical Shiite cleric Moqtada al Sadr’s army.

Yesterday, American troops pushed deeper into the city, cordoning off an ancient cemetery, the old city, and the sacred shrine where al Sadr is believed to be holed up with his followers.

After pledging he would fight until the last drop of his blood was spilled, today there is news that the cleric may have been injured. He’s now negotiating with Iraqi authorities to end the fighting and find a political settlement.

American and Iraqi forces are anxious not to make al Sadr a martyr for fears that his death would inflame the insurgency and anger Shia Muslims worldwide.


Scott Baldauf, Christian Science Monitor correspondent, Baghdad

Amatzia Baram, senior fellow, United States Institute of Peace

Juan Cole, professor of Modern Middle East and South Asian history, University of Michigan

Nir Rosen, freelance journalist who spent the past year in Iraq.

Political Passion

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Imagine star-crossed lovers living in a country so politically divided that the two sides have forgotten how to talk to — never mind live with each other. That situation may well describe the social fabric in America today. Rather than trying to hash out their political differences, Americans seem to be more comfortable sticking with people of their own partisan tribe. This increasing trend toward polarization is leaving bipartisan lovers in need of a referee and a counselor. It is also sparking a slew of websites that allow ideologically committed singles to seek out only politically correct partners.


Frances Coleman, editorial page editor at the Mobile Register

Kelly O’Neal, Democratic online dater on

Anthony Krueger, Republican online dater on

David Thorburn, professor and director of the MIT Communications Forum, co-editor of “Democracy and New Media.”

Off The Record

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A federal district court is holding Matthew Cooper of Time Magazine in contempt for refusing to name the administration officials who leaked the identity of CIA operative Valerie Plame. The judge says the First Amendment doesn’t apply. If the appeals court agrees, Cooper could go to jail. Journalists say they need extra legal protection or else they won’t be able to do their jobs. Others say a crime is a crime, and that reporters should have same responsibility as citizens to speak out.


Lucy Dalglish, Reporter’s Committee for Freedom of the Press

Geneva Overholser, professor at the Missouri School of Journalism

Daniel Okrent, public editor of the New York Times

Floyd Abrams, First Amendment attorney

Vanessa Leggett, Houston-based writer.

The Genealogy of Home

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Old houses, with their layers of paint and other people’s fingerprints, are a reminder of everything and everyone that came before. Like a door frame with pencil markings charting the growth of a child, an old house is a silent witness to change.
It takes a particular blend of vision and respect to negotiate the fine line between preserving what makes the house special and needlessly living in the past. Two authors who have written about their families’ old houses join us to discuss the particular sense and sensibility of that place we call home.


George Howe Colt, author of “The Big House: A Century in the Life of an American Summer Home”

Sarah Messer, author of “Red House: Being A Mostly Accurate Account of New England’s Oldest Continuously Lived-In House.”