Monthly Archives: September 2004

Campaign Check 2004

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The candidates are in the full fury of their campaigns. This week, both Kerry and Bush addressed the General Conference of the National Guard — spinning out their own version of the nation’s security and economic well-being. At the same time the two are dueling on the airwaves with new ads on health care. Throw in a debate over 30-year-old military memos and questions about the profile of John Edwards and this relentless examination of what’s said, and the dust kicked up by this campaign is thick and dirty.


Ryan Lizza, Senior Editor with the New Republic

Jim O’Shea, Managing Editor of The Chicago Tribune

Carolyn Marvin, Professor of Communication at the Annenberg School at the University of Pennsylvania

The Mime Marcel Marceau

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Marcel Marceau has been the embodiment of mime for more than half a century. Walking resolutely into the wind, pulled about the park by a dog we can’t see, and catching the errant drip of a melting ice cream cone, Marceau’s character Bip is easy to love. Like Charlie Chaplin’s Tramp, he tilts endlessly at imaginary windmills as he switches with startling ease from a face of pure joy to a mask of tragedy.

Marceau began his stage career in the twilight years of the silent film. Today, at 81, he is still a master.


Marcel Marceau

NOT African-American

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John McWhorter is no longer calling himself African-American. From now on, he’s black. Such naming and renaming is nothing new. After World War I there was a fight to replace “colored” with Negro with a capital “N.” A half century later, black, once negative, became infused with pride. By the late 80’s black leaders declared a new name: African-American. But as the number of people moving here from Africa has tripled, a new debate is underway about who’s really African-American.


John McWhorter, linguist, senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute for Policy Research

Reverend Jesse Jackson, Sr., President of the Rainbow/PUSH Coalition.

Disintegrating Security in Iraq

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Despite the conflict and the kidnappings and the uncertainty, the Bush administration is in campaign mode and relentlessly assuring people in the U.S. that democratic elections will take place in Iraq in just a few months. But in what some call a symbolic move, the State Department has asked Congress to shift billions of dollars that was marked for reconstruction aid towards security efforts. A sign that even the most hard-line supporters of the war in Iraq will admit, shows that stability remains frighteningly elusive.


Brian Bennett, reporter for Time Magazine

Ret. Col Patrick Lang, former director of Middle East intelligence at the Defense Intelligence Agency

Senator Lincoln Chafee (R-RI)

Richard Murphy, Army Reservist

Imad, Iraqi in Baghdad

Farewell to the Teacher

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As director of the prestigious Iowa Writers’ Workshop, Frank Conroy has nurtured and critiqued many of this nation’s most admired young writers. The alumni list reads like a who’s who of American Literature: Tennessee Williams, Jorie Graham, and TC Boyle.

Conroy says great writing begins with a struggle over each word, a careful scrutiny of every paragraph. Look for meaning, he says, sense and clarity.

After close to 20 years, Conroy is preparing to step down as director of the Iowa Writer’s workshop


Frank Conroy, director, Iowa Writers’ Workshop

ZZ Packer, author of “Drinking Coffee Elsewhere.”

The Psychology of Anticipation

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Authorities are urging millions of people from the west of New Orleans to Florida’s panhandle to pack their bags and flee. And so thousands of New Orleanians hit the highways and joined thousands from Biloxi and Mobile and Pensacola heading to higher and safer ground.

There are many who decide to stay, and many who can’t leave. People without cars and those who say they have with no place to go. All they can do is stock up on water; check the batteries in the radio; board up the windows; and bargain — sometimes heavily — with fate. We examine how and why people decide to stay or to go when Mother Nature flexes her muscle.


Ambrose Besson, resident evacuating his home on Grand Isle, Louisiana

Louis Murillo, Deputy Director, Office of Emergency Preparedness in New Orleans

David Ramano, psychologist, and a member of APA and The Red Cross’ Disaster Response Network

Jeanne Hurlbert, associate professor of Sociology at Louisiana State University

Jay Barnes, Hurricane Historian;

The New Language of Food

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When you’re skimming a restaurant menu, which are the first items that catch your eye? Is it the braised pork loin with caramelized onion or the fresh pan-seared tuna? For dessert, do you fixate on the tarte tatin or the fruit confit?

Are you drawn to or repelled by the one that’s labeled decadent? You can keep the answer to yourself, but it’s a sign of the times that so many of us know what we’re all talking about. Culinary terminology has moved far beyond fried, baked, and grilled.


William Grimes, New York Times writer and author of “Eating Your Words: 2000 Words to Tease Your Taste Buds”

Clark Wolf, Founder and President of Clark Wolf Company, a New York based food and restaurant consulting firm

Susan Spicer, chef and owner of Bayona restaurant in New Orleans

Weighing The Latest Nuclear Threats

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There was a time when the atoms for peace doctrine held a lot of promise. That if countries were encouraged to use uranium for peaceful means, there wouldn’t be a nuclear arms race. But now, eight countries have nuclear weapons and North Korea and Iran are edging closer to the nuclear threshold.

With this weekend’s mysterious explosion in North Korea and new evidence that Iran is developing its nuclear options things are coming to head. The U.S. wants the UN to get countries that have nuclear technology to stop selling it to ones that don’t. Others say the multilateral approach isn’t working and the U.S. needs to get directly engaged.


Jack Pritchard, Visiting Fellow at the Brookings Institution;
Ray Takeyh Senior Fellow at Council on Foreign Relations

Joseph Cirincione, Director for Non-Proliferation at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

Anatomy of a Ballpark

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It’s been called a shrine, for that worship at the altar of America’s game, but the best description of that ten acre plot tucked in the heart of Boston comes from the writer, John Updike. “A little lyrical bandbox of a ballpark,” he says of Fenway, “a compromise between man’s Euclidean determinations and nature’s beguiling irregularities.”

Built in 1912, Fenway Park is the oldest Major League
ballpark in America still in operation; site of some of the most fiercely fought contests in baseball history. And while some measure the feng shui of Fenway in feet and inches and angles, there’s also the case that what makes any park a success is impossible to measure.


Janet Marie Smith, architect who designed Camden Yards and is redesigning Fenway Park

Doris Kearns Goodwin historian and official member of Red Sox Nation

Bill “The Spaceman” Lee, former pitcher for the Red Sox

Truth in Politics

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Weeks after many Americans learned what a swift boat is, the presidential campaign remains stuck in the past. Accusations that George Bush shirked his National Guard service are five years old and the authenticity of documents purporting to prove those claims is now in question. The debate over their legitimacy has replaced the content of the accusations, but in the mud of this campaign, one smear invites another. As reporters race to record the “he said, he said” of this fight, there seems little time or interest in separating truth from all the political noise.


Tom Patterson, Professor at the Kennedy School of Government and author of “The Vanishing Voter: Public Involvement in an Age of Uncertainty”

Walter Robinson, Editor of the Boston Globe’s Investigative team

Bryan Keefer, assistant managing editor of Columbia Journalism Review’s Campaign Desk and co-author of “All the President’s Spin”

Michael Lynch, Professor of Philosophy author of True to Life: Why Truth Matters;Tom Patterson, Ben Bradlee Chair of Political Science at the JFK School of Government