Monthly Archives: September 2004

21st Century Adventurers

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As a child, Phil Buck devoured Kon Tiki, the story of the 1947 voyage of explorer Thor Heyerdahl, who sailed a balsa wood raft from South America to Polynesia.

Today at age 40, Buck considers himself a “professional explorer.” Last year he navigated a ship, made of reeds, some 3000 miles from Chile to Easter Island. With him was the filmmaker Thom Pollard. For more than two months they and the crew steered their ship through high winds and rough seas. They ran low on food and fuel but watched shooting stars so bright you could see their reflection in the ocean.


Phil Buck, professional explorer

Thom Pollard, filmmaker and adventurer

Following Sex Offenders

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Global positioning system technology was invented to pin point bomb targets. Now its increasingly part of the surveillance system for sex offenders. Forty states have programs that require convicted offenders to wear an ankle bracelet. If the parolee strays into a no-go zone like a playground or school — police are supposed to swoop in and pick them up.

Proponents agree these bracelets smack of big brother, but argue that because they prevent crime, they’re a wise investment. Others say the GPS leash is a high tech hoax that does little to protect society, while unfairly targeting society’s least popular offenders.


Justin Jones, Deputy of Director of Community Corrections in Oklahoma;
Barbara Fedders, Clinical Instructor at the Criminal Justice Institute at Harvard Law School;
Richard Nimer, Director of business development for Pro Tech Monitoring, the biggest company producing offender tracking technology in the U.S.

Judy Blume

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America’s culture war over how to talk to teens about sex has been raging longer than as Judy Blume has been writing about it. Her books are known for their frank portrayal of everything from sex, to divorce and the strange world of puberty, they’ve entertained millions of girls and boys over the past three decades and recently earned her an award for her distinguished contribution to American letters.

Blume’s straight up stories about masturbation and menstruation have seen to it that her work is often banned from school libraries by parents who think they she goes too far. Nevertheless the 60-something author remains every bit as recognizable to teens as Justin, Britney and Jessica.


Judy Blume, author and winner of the National Book Award

What Went Wrong

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Larry Diamond served as a senior U.S. advisor to the CPA in Baghdad earlier this year. He says that while the errors made in the run-up to the Iraq war are well-known, the consequences are only just now seeing the light of day.


Larry Diamond, Senior Fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution. He served as a Senior Adviser to the Coalition Provisional Authority in Baghdad from January -April, 2004.

The New Greater Good

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It was Andrew Carnegie who said “the man who dies rich, dies disgraced.” When the steel tycoon retired he set up public libraries across the country and he gave away $350 million — an enormous fortune by the standards of wealth 100 years ago.

Now some say a new age of philanthropy is dawning in America. But not everyone is benefiting. Some say today’s benefactors are insisting on more strings, and attaching their own ambitions to those dollars. From churches, to homeless shelters, schools and Sudan, we take stock of how Americans give and why.


Eugene Tempel, Director of the Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University

George McCully, President of the Catalogue for Philanthropy

Doug Eller, Program Director at the Grace Hill Settlement House in St. Louis, MO

Michael Cohen, philanthropist

Back to the U.N.

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In a speech two years ago at the United Nations General Assembly, George Bush tried to win the support of other nations for an invasion of Iraq.

Since that time there have been gestures of reconciliation on both sides, but last week, the U.N. secretary general declared the war in Iraq “illegal.”

The future of Iraq remains a critical issue to both Kofi Annan and George W. Bush. The Iraqi elections are supposed to take place in four months, and U.N. election workers will need protection to make that happen.


Max Boot, Senior Fellow at the Council for Foreign Relations

John Ruggie, Professor at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government and former assistant to the Secretary General of the United Nations

Documentary Doubts

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Marvin Kalb, senior fellow at the Joan Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics and Public Policy

Orville Schell, Dean of the Graduate School of Journalism at the University of California Berkeley

Walter Isaacson, President and CEO of the Aspen Institute, formerly CEO and Chairman of CNN and the Managing Editor of Time Magazine

Robert Kuttner, Co-editor of The American Prospect Magazine.

Voting By Numbers

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The public opinion poll is like a feedbag in the horserace metaphor for politics. As George Bush and John Kerry round the campaign track it’s the polls which tell us who’s ahead.

When the poll numbers don’t add up the whole metaphor falls apart, and voters are left bewildered and confused. Polls are now such a ubiquitous part of the campaign that we all take them and their reliability for granted.

However, the average American, the person who’s the target of the pollster is today harder to define, harder to find on a cell phone, and much harder to pin down for a session of honest answers to earnest questions.


Matthew Felling, Media Director for the Center for Media and Public Affairs

Whit Ayres, pollster with Ayres McHenry, a Republican polling firm

Jeremy Rosner, partner at Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research, a Democratic polling firm.

Documentary Doubts

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The CBS/60 minutes controversy has all the makings of a great news story. It’s just not the one that CBS had in mind: Forged documents, the nation’s president accused, all against the backdrop of a war and an election.

But the lead to this story remains whatever CBS may have done wrong, in building its case on documents that may have been forged. CBS News is now at the center of the story.

Regardless of the outcome, the story has already become a kaleidoscope of conspiracy theories from all sides. But as people watch this spectacle of the media doing its self-examination, perhaps the real story is overlooked.


Marvin Kalb, Senior fellow at the Joan Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics and Public Policy;

Orville Schell, Dean of the Graduate School of Journalism at the University of California Berkeley;

Walter Isaacson, President and CEO of the Aspen Institute. He has been the CEO and Chairman of CNN and the Managing Editor of Time Magazine;

Robert Kuttner, Co-editor of The American Prospect Magazine