Monthly Archives: October 2004

The Nobel Peace Prize 2004

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With the selection of Wangari Maathai as the winner of this year’s Peace Prize, the Nobel Committee is sending a message — or a number of messages.

Maathai is a Kenyan politician and environmentalist who founded something called the Green Belt Movement 27 years ago. Since then, she has helped organize rural African women to plant an estimated 10 million trees. The women make money and the trees help halt deforestation.

Her award marks a shift in the Nobel Committee’s own thinking, by adding those who work to save the environment, to a list of those who work for peace.


Jostan Gorder, Norwegian novelist and the founder of the Sophie Prize

Gary Dunning, executive director of the Forest Dialogue at Yale University’s School of Forestry and Environmental Studies;
June Zeitland, director of the Women’s Environment and Development Organization in New York;
David Mikali is a journalist and the director of the Media Institute in Nairobi;
Uduak Amimo, journalist, originally from Kenya and now with African Service of BBC World;
Wanjiri Mathai, daughter of Wangari and has herself a long relationship with the Green Belt Movement

Presidential Debate Round Two

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Tonight the presidential candidates go back in the ring for the second of three debates. As Bush and Kerry prepare to take the stage in St.Louis, the polls are getting tighter, the rhetoric is getting hotter, and the news, well it just keeps coming.

The final report from the Iraqi Survey showing that Saddam Hussein didn’t have WMDs has both candidates arguing they were right about the war. Then there are last night’s bombings in Egypt targeting Israelis, and the continuing violence in Afghanistan in advance of this weekend’s elections.

Tonight, much of the talk is sure to be about terror — but with voters asking the questions, you can bet there will be something about health care and jobs and education as well.


Rick Davis, Republican strategist and John McCain’s presidential campaign manager

Mike Feldman, Democratic strategist and former Senior Advisor to Al Gore

Jo Mannis, political correspondent for the St. Louis Post Dispatch

Adam Smith, political editor for the St. Petersburg Times.

Jon Lee Anderson

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“I have seen my beautiful country destroyed, first by Saddam Hussein and now by these people … Why does this always happen to Iraq?” is the question the manager of the Sheraton Hotel in Baghdad has for journalist Jon Lee Anderson just days after the U.S. military invades the city.

He’s just one of the Iraqi people Anderson writes about as he covers the war for The New Yorker magazine. It’s an assignment that allows him to tell the story that reporters seldom tell — the story of the Iraqi people themselves, their suffering, their sophistication, their confusion, and complexity.

Hear a conversation with writer Jon Lee Anderson about the fall of Baghdad and the future of its people.


Jon Lee Anderson, staff writer for The New Yorker. His new book is “The Fall of Baghdad.”

Elections in Afghanistan

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Democracy is about to get a road test in Afghanistan. This weekend, the Afghan people will vote in their first-ever national election. Despite the fear of attacks on polling stations and car bombings and attempted assassinations, people are surprisingly optimistic about this step towards democracy.

Some observers caution this election is being held too soon, and that there aren’t enough safeguards in place to make it free and fair. Others warn that in a country awash with arms, where every family has a gun, warlords will prevail, and democracy will falter.

As the people of Afghanistan are preparing to vote, the question still remains: will democracy ever make its way through the Khyber Pass?


Nader Nadery, Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission

Aziz Rafiee, Coordinator of the Afghan Civil Society Forum

Christine Rocker, Assistant Secretary of State for South Asian Affairs

Brad Adams, Executive Director of the Asia Division of Human Rights Watch

The Search for the First Americans

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Murder was the first explanation for a set of bones found along the Columbia River in 1996. But the skeleton, now known as Kennewick Man, turned out to be as much as 9,300 hundred years old. Since the discovery, Kennewick Man has been upsetting conventional scientific wisdom about the habits and identity of the first inhabitants of America. He has also sparked a legal, and philosophical controversy over the question of who owns the past — is it the scientist who wants to study it, on the Native American who claims Kennewick Man as her ancestor?


Francis McManomon, Chief Archeologist of the National Park Service Archeology and Ethnography Program

Robson Bonnichsen, Director of the Center for the Study of the First Americans at Texas A&M University

Vincas Steponaitis, Professor of Anthropology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Cheney vs. Edwards

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Vice President Dick Cheney and Senator John Edwards wasted no time in drawing their lines of attack during Tuesday night’s debate. Moments into the opening, Cheney linked the decision to invade Iraq to that country’s track record with terror. Edwards snapped back, accusing the Bush administration of not telling the truth to the American people.

Pre-debate predictions had marked the VP round to be a study in contrasts, and there was no disappointment there. The seasoned policy wonk — a man of few words and a pit bull’s taste for the kill — against the fresh-faced Edwards — playing the sincere trial lawyer pitching his case to the jury of American voters.


Jonathan Last, Online Editor for The Weekly Standard

Curtis Wilkie, Professor of Journalism at University of Mississippi and author of “Dixie: A Personal Odyssey Through Events That Shaped the Modern South.”

MacArthur Winner Rueben Martinez

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It all started in a small barbershop in southern California. Rueben Martinez put a few books out so his customers had something to keep them occupied. He never dreamed it would turn into a new career and a national profile promoting literacy.

Today, he is trying to get young people to develop that same voracious appetite for reading that has always guided him. Setting up shop in poor Latino neighborhoods outside Los Angeles, he’s takes his message to schoolyards and into neighborhood homes. Now he’s being recognized with a MacArthur “genius grant.”


Rueben Martinez, MacArthur Award winner and owner of Libreria Martinez Books and Art Gallery in Santa Ana, California

Private Property, Public Interest

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Imagine one day a man from the government comes to take your home. It happens thousands of times a year in America. It is called the power of eminent domain, and it is all laid out in the Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

Should it matter if the government wants your house not for a road or a park but to make room for a private development? It might mean more tax revenue for the city government, but is it really in the public’s interest?

That’s what the United States Supreme Court will decide this year, when it looks at the case of New London, Connecticut homeowners who are refusing to move from their homes.


Matt Dery, New London, Connecticut homeowner

Dana Berliner, Institute of Justice lawyer representing Dery and co-plaintiffs

Dan Krisch, lawyer with Horton, Shields and Knox representing the New London Development Corporation

Sickening Sprawl

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“We shape our dwellings,” Winston Churchill said, “and afterwards our dwellings shape us.” The ‘burbs that were designed as peaceful retreats from city smog and traffic are now themselves home to urban stress, with none of the benefits of life in the city.

A new study links strip malls, cul-de-sacs, McMansions and other features of the American landscape to an ailing population. The study says life in the sprawling suburbs may lead to high blood pressure, asthma, arthritis and headaches. The dearth of sidewalks and town centers puts moms and dads in the role of taxi drivers, with hundreds of miles logged every week.

Hear about the links between where we live and how we feel.


Dolores Hayden, professor of architecture and of American studies at Yale University, author of “A Field Guide to Sprawl”

Don Chen, founding executive director and CEO, Smart Growth America.

Bob Woodward's Take

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Try as they might, people in the Bush administration just can’t seem to shake those questions about the way they used intelligence to justify going to Iraq. Now, there are new allegations that the administration misrepresented evidence in building its case for Iraq’s nuclear capabilities.

Veteran journalist Bob Woodward knows a bit about political campaigns and misdeeds. He’s the Pulitzer Prize winning reporter who made his name with the Watergate story. His latest book, “Plan of Attack,” goes deep inside the Bush White House and its decision to invade Iraq.

Hear a conversation with Bob Woodward about the war in Iraq, the election campaign, and the search for truth in politics.


Bob Woodward, assistant managing editor, Washington Post.