Monthly Archives: December 2004

Back to Ohio

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Ohio was the state that kept many Americans awake into the wee hours of election night. Despite a vote count that eventually showed President Bush to be the clear winner, questions about the veracity of the vote in the Buckeye State continue to live on the internet — and they are now the focus of Congressional hearings.

A recount requested by the Green Party and other groups has begun. So far the evidence has just been anecdotal individual accounts of long lines in urban precincts and mis-recorded tallies. Still some left-leaning activists continue to insist they were robbed — despite evidence to the contrary. This Connection hour looks at election lessons from Ohio.


Stephen Ansolabehere, professor of political science at MIT

Rep. John Conyers, Democratic reprsentative from Michigan

Daniel Tokaji, law professor at Ohio State University

America at War

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Its been a devastating week in Iraq. On Tuesday, a suicide bomber found his way inside a mess tent in Mosul where troops were sitting down to lunch. He killed 22 people, and wounded nearly 70.

The fact that the bomber was able to penetrate such a heavily guarded base is raising new concerns about the military’s ability to protect troops from the low tech but deadly tactics of insurgents. Meanwhile here at home, polls show that public opinion about the war is shifting — with a majority of Americans now believing it was a mistake.

While pollsters and politicians track the public’s resolve on this war, soldiers and their families view the conflict through a different, much more personal prism. War through the eyes of the soldiers and their families.


Second Lieutenant Jim Meeks, who is returning to Iraq in January

Eric Blickenstaff, his brother Joseph Michael was killed in Iraq last December

Second Lieutenant Seth Moulton, currently serving in Najaf.

Moon Bears

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Gandhi said that “the greatness of a nation can be judged by the way its animals are treated.” Some would argue that China has a long way to go, at least when it comes to the Asiatic Black Bear — also known as the Moon Bear.

The Chinese value the Moon Bears for their bile, which has been used as medicine for thousands of years. Today, some 7,000 of these animals live in small, metal cages with catheters permanently implanted into their gal bladders to extract the coveted bile.

Jill Robinson says that a nation’s culture can’t be an excuse for cruelty. Eleven years ago, she visited a bear farm in mainland China, and has been working to rescue the bears since. She is making progress — now, she is working with the Chinese government to close down the bear farms.


Jill Robinson, Founder and CEO of Animals Asia Foundation.

The View from Capitol Hill

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When the 109th session convenes next year, President Bush is likely to face a more defiant Congress, with some of the confrontation coming from representatives of his own party.

The growing deficit and the unease over Iraq has politicians on both sides of the aisle grumbling about Bush’s plans to reform social security and the allocation of another 60 billion dollars for the war. The Democrats are also threatening to draw the line on judicial appointments.

Some observers predict the 109th Congress could deadlock in a battle over procedural rules, and if possible, become even more entrenched along partisan lines.


Terence Samuel, Chief Congressional Correspondent for U.S. News and World Report

David Hawkings, Managing Editor of The Weekly at Congressional Quarterly.

Holiday Misery

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It’s that joyful season when the ingredients of family, alcohol, and consumerism are whipped into a fury of neurosis and sleep deprivation. Some people need Percocet and egg-nog to get through one more bout of holiday party anxiety. Others prefer to spend themselves merry. The manic desire for a perfect holiday leads normally sane people to think that they can bake and deliver eight dozen cookies AND make all the costumes for the nativity play. So, why do we do it? Put down your hot glue gun, garlands and credit card and join us for a look at holiday misery and why we keep going back for more.


Allen Elkin, founder and the Director of the Stress Management & Counseling Center in New York City, author of “Stress Management for Dummies.”

Whitney Pastorek, “Entertainment Weekly” writer

Ann Hodgman, author of “I Saw Mommy Kicking Santa Claus: The Ultimate Holiday Survival Guide.”

The Debate Over a National ID

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When President Bush signed off on the intelligence bill last week, he approved a provision which could pave the way for a national identification card. Supporters say a uniform American ID will help prevent identity fraud, monitor criminals and perhaps even help standardize voter registration to make it easier for people to get to the polls. Critics say the move is the start a long slide toward government monitoring of its citizens’ movements without their permission.


Larry Pratt, Executive Director of Gun Owners of America.

Robert Kuttner, Co-founder and Co-editor of the American Prospect.

Walt Whitman's War

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Walt Whitman was America’s poet patriot, a man who loved this country with his every word. He was a self-appointed laureate who said, “I hear America singing.”

But the Civil War tested Whitman’s optimism. With his brother George injured on a distant battlefield in Virginia, Whitman set off in search of him. After months spent tending wounded soldiers he found on the streets and in the hospitals of Washington DC, Whitman began writing a different song, one about witnessing a country at war, a country deeply divided, and desperately searching for ties that once again might bind.


Peter Coviello, editor of Walt Whitman’s “Memoranda During the War.”

Hockey Out in the Cold

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The debate over hockey’s appeal has taken on a sharp edge this season because there isn’t any. The first half of the season’s been lost to an argument between players and owners. Aficionados of the sport have come to the unpleasant conclusion that most fans don’t really care.

Hanging over all the talk about changing the rules and trimming the number of teams, there’s a bigger and uglier question. Why has the sport become so boring?


Kevin Sylvester, sports host for CBC Radio. ;

Mike Richter, former goalkeeper for the New York Rangers and three-time U.S. Olympic hockey team member. ;

Kevin Paul Dupont, sportswriter for the Boston Globe.

The Turkey Decision

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The European Union has agreed to begin discussions to admit Turkey into its club if Turkey agrees to a number of conditions. The number one roadblock is Europe’s demand to finally end the armed stand-off over the future of Cyprus. So now Turks must decide if aligning their future with Europe, outweighs the political price of bowing to these conditions.

At the same time, polls in Europe show that a majority in France and Germany still oppose Turkey’s integration, and they’re outspoken in expressing their fears about admitting such a predominately Muslim country.


Yigal Schleifer, reporter for The Christian Science Monitor and the Jerusalem Report in Istanbul.

Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg, German Member of Parliament for the Christian Democratc Union/Christian Social Union Parties.

Bulent Aliriza, Director of the Turkey Project for the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

Michael Thumann, foreign editor of the German magazine De Zeit.