Monthly Archives: August 2004

Ad War 2004

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Ad war 2004 is on. The Bush and Kerry campaigns are both spending millions to produce an unrelenting volley of television ads designed to go straight to the heart of the swing voter — in 30 seconds or less. Some are silver bullets, designed to take out the other candidate with a single shot. Others use humor and emotion to pull the viewer in. But with this barrage comes the fear of going too negative, or being too bland. The ultimate worry: is anyone listening?


Pacy Markman, advertising executive creating ads for

Adam Hanft, marketing specialist and columnist for Inc. Magazine

John Brabender, Republican media consultant.

Writing the Wartime Experience

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The soldiers’ war, some argue, is the real war: a no-hindsight hot zone where impossible decisions and irrevocable choices play out in a split second.

With that in mind, the National Endowment for the Arts has launched Operation Homecoming. It introduces some of America’s finest writers to some of America’s finest, in the hope that some soldiers will transcribe their memories into memoirs.


Bobbie Ann Mason, writer in residence at the University of Kentucky and author of “In Country”

Andrew Exum, author of “This Man’s Army: A Soldier’s Story on the Front Lines of the War on Terrorism”

Lt. Col. Joel Berry, logistician for the Second Marine Expeditionary Force and an attendee of Operation Homecoming at Camp Lejeune.

Politics at the Altar

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While John Kerry tries to convince voters in America’s swinging heartland that he is not “the liberal senator from Massachusetts,” the shadow of his home state is proving hard to shake.

Some of the biggest electoral prizes like Ohio and Michigan — as well as nine other states — have referendums that would ban same sex marriage. For many Americans, this means they will get to vote for a president and voice their opinion on gay marriage at the same time. Could this politically volatile mix tip the election?


Vicky Hartzler, spokesperson for the Coalition to Protect Marriage in Missouri

Phill Burress, chairman, Ohio Campaign to Protect Marriage

Ryan Lizza, associate editor, The New Republic

Jay Barth, associate professor at the Department of Politics at Hendrix College in Conway, Arkansas.

Emergency Sex

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“If blue-helmeted U.N. peacekeepers show up in your town or village, and offer to protect you, run.” The words of Andrew Thomson, a doctor with the United Nations whose job was to dig up the bodies from mass graves after the genocides in Rwanda and Bosnia. Thomson and two of his then-colleagues, Kenneth Cain and Heidi Postlewait, are co-authors of a new book, “Emergency Sex and Other Desperate Measures.” All three worked on the frontlines of U.N. peacekeeping operations in the 1990s, and have written what they call a true story from hell on earth.


Kenneth Cain, freelance writer

Heidi Postlewait, manager of a staff development program for the Department of Peacekeeping Operations at the U.N.

Dr. Andrew Thomson, medical officer at United Nations Headquarters in New York. All co-authors of “Emergency Sex and Other Desperate Measures: A True Story from Hell on Earth.”

Intervention in Sudan

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Just about everyone agrees that something must be done about the humanitarian crisis in Darfur, but there’s not a lot of agreement on who should intervene, and who should be in charge. Washington’s solution is to apply international pressure through the threat of United Nations sanctions. But this weekend, Arab states warned that outside intervention would worsen the suffering. Meanwhile, African governments are deploying the first peace-keeping troops in the region.


Abraham McLaughlin, Africa correspondent for The Christian Science Monitor

Robert Rotberg, director of the Belfer Center’s program on Interstate Conflict and Conflict Resolution at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government

John Prendergast, special advisor to the president of the International Crisis Group

El Ghassim Wane, deputy director, African Union Conflict Management Centre.

A Conversation with Anne Nivat

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When the journalist Anne Nivat travels to war-torn countries, she sets her sights on the remote villages and the forgotten towns where young and old take refuge from dropping bombs and struggle to pick up the pieces.

In a world where wars become first fashionable and then unfashionable, where the ongoing conflict in Chechnya loses front page status to Iraq or Afghanistan, Nivat says her obsession is to live in the gray: to tell the everyday stories of life and death.


Anne Nivat, journalist.

Pakistan as Paradox

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Since the war on terror began, Pakistan has been one of the United States’ most controversial allies. Reports of Taliban camps operating in Pakistan conflict with others about the arrest of Al Qaeda operatives in the country.

It’s a tricky spot for President Musharraf, accused of not doing enough for Washington, and working too closely with it to produce “high value targets” in time for the November elections.


Zahif Abaff, BBC correspondent based in Islamabad, Pakistan

Kathy Gannon, former Associated Press bureau chief for Pakistan and Afghanistan

Akbar Ahmed, Chair of Islamic Studies, American Univerisity and former Pakistani Ambassador to the UK. Akbar Ahmed, Chair of Islamic Studies, American University and former Pakistani Ambassador to the Britain

Hannah Bloch, former Time Magazine Pakistan Correspondent

General Hamid Gul, Former Head of Pakistan’s Military Intelligence;

Class Warfare in the Graveyard

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The skyline of the American graveyard is changing. The average necropolis has turned into a metropolis with high-rise public mausoleums looming over once bucolic burial grounds.

But if all mortals are created equal, the same is not true of all tombs. Pedestrian granite towers, dotted with casket cubbyholes, take up real estate in the same neighborhood as elaborate marble memorials, each dedicated to one lucky dead person.

Not everyone is taking the cohabitation lying down. Leona Helmsley made headlines for suing a cemetery that erected a six story public vault that towered over her family mausoleum.


Gary Laderman, associate professor of American religion and culture at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia

Barry Boudreaux, senior manager for cemetery design at J. Stuart Todd Architects

Andrea Peyser, reporter for the New York Post

and TBA.

Slurping Up the Oil Supply

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The price of oil gushed above a record high $44 a barrel this week. The president of OPEC called the price crazy and then announced that the cartel has no reserves to meet demand or cool the market.

The U.S. is still OPEC’s best customer, with a demand that climbs every year by more than the total consumption of any other country, except Japan and China. Those two countries are engaged in a battle to secure their supplies. Now, emerging economic powers like India and Brazil are also part of the global guzzling that’s increasing oil demand by millions of barrels a year.


Vijay V. Vaitheeswaran, Global Environment & Energy Correspondent for “The Economist,” and author of “POwer to the People: How the Coming Energy Revolution Will Transform an Industry, Change Our Lives, and Maybe Even Save the Planet”

Ed Morse, Exective Advisor, Hess Energy Trading Company, Deputy Asst Secretary of State for International Energy Policy under Carter and Reagan administrations