The Next Supreme Court

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Conservative and liberal lobbying groups are gearing up for yet another major battle; this one over who will become the next judge on the Supreme Court.

As President Bush prepares to name his nominee to fill Justice Sandra Day O’Connor’s vacancy, political and religious and social activists are steeling themselves for an ideological battle that cuts to the heart of a divided America. Court watchers say this decision will be among the most important of Bush’s presidency and will shape the institution for a generation.

On the right, conservatives are already fighting amongst themselves over just how important it is to have a nominee that will stand firm against abortion. While on the left, interest groups are preparing to make political hay over what they expect to be a Supreme case of presidential over-reach.


Pamela Karlan, Kenneth and Harle Montgomery Professor of Public Interest Law at Stanford Law School

Emily Bazelon, Senior Editor and legal analyst for SLATE.

Living the Dream of Lizz Wright

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Three years ago, Lizz Wright got her big break during a tribute to Billie Holiday. “She walked on stage a virtual unknown,” wrote the LA Times critic,”15 minutes later, she walked off a star.”

She was signed to Holiday’s old label shortly after, made a widely-selling debut CD, and Lizz Wright’s star continues to rise. Her new CD “Dreaming Wide Awake” is on the recommended rack at Starbucks and she’s being touted as the next Norah Jones.

It’s a long way for the daughter of a Holiness Minister and a church organist from Hahira, Georgia. What Lizz Wright learned in the church choir and heard on the radio when her parents were at Bible study have given her a range that keeps expanding. Today, that includes simmering, and spiritual reprisals of songs by Neil Young and Herb Alpert.


Lizz Wright, singer and musician.

Rebuilding Iraq's Universities

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It was once known as the Harvard of the Middle East. But decades of isolation, followed by war and looting, left the University of Baghdad in ruins. In fact all of Iraq’s universities were once regarded as bastions of higher learning, producing some of the brightest thinkers in the region.

Today, these institutions are plagued by crumbling infrastructure, looted libraries, power outages, and the constant threat of violence. And then, there’s the “brain drain.” Thousands of Iraq’s best and brightest left during Saddam Hussein’s rule. That exodus continues but it’s worse than that. Dozens of Iraqi academics have been assassinated in the last two years.

Money is coming in for books, buildings and teachers. But will it be enough to rebuild Iraqi universities, and create an academic home for the next generation?


Beriwan Khailany, Iraq’s Deputy Minister of Science

Mosa Al-Mosawe, President of the University of Baghdad

Mahdi Taleb, Dean of the College of Science at the University of Baghdad

The Emily Crockett Story

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Emily Crockett, was six years old when doctors found golf ball-sized tumors on her brain; tumors that eventually left her blind and partially paralyzed. At one point her parents were told that she might not live to celebrate her next birthday.

But, despite excruciating headaches and a tenth surgery, which she had just three months ago, Emily recently completed her freshman year at Harvard.

Like most students starting college she found her first year presented many challenges. Aside from all the usual anxieties about finding friends and never having enough time, she had to learn to navigate the campus and manage complicated math problems and other courses without being able to read or see the chalkboard or the computer. Today we talk with Emily about learning and living with disability.


Emily Crockett, blind and partially paralyzed student at Harvard University.

Cyber Dissidents

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China’s bloggers have a big choice to make today — either they register their website with the government or they risk having it shut down. It is all part of the fight against the free speech that is flourishing in China’s chat rooms.

The People’s Republic isn’t the only authoritarian regime that considers the internet a threat. In countries around the world where the press is tightly controlled, cyber-dissidents are fighting against government censors to publish an unedited view from inside.

Authoritarian regimes are not taking this lightly. They are now working to monitor web conversations, reign in political discourse, and track down dissidents.

Bloggers have recently been jailed in Asia, Africa and the Middle East for posting material that challenges the government view. Despite this pressure, cyber-dissidents continue posting their online revolution.


Rebecca MacKinnon, Research Fellow at the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at the Harvard law school and co-founder of global voices online, former CNN foreign correspondent in Tokyo and Beijing

Jeff Ooi, Malaysian blogger

Hossein Derakhshan, Iranian blogger

Julien Pain, Internet Freedom desk, Reporters Without Borders.

Retention Among the Ranks

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Facing a nation growing weary of war, last night President Bush made his case for staying the course in Iraq. Drawing repeatedly on the memories of September 11th, the President called on the country not to “yield the future of the Middle East to men like Bin Laden.”

While his goal was to buoy support among the general public, he chose to deliver his speech in front of 750 soldiers at Fort Bragg. This solemn backdrop may have been a public relations move, but it also reveals how important the support of men and women in uniform is to continuing the American effort in Iraq.

With the military facing recruitment shortfalls and growing numbers of junior officers opting out, some wonder how long America’s all-volunteer force will keep faith with this war.


Lucian Truscott, former West Point grad and author of a June 28th New York Times op-ed on problems with military retention

Andrew Bacevich, professor of International Relations at Boston University and author of “The New American Militarism.”

The Ethics of Interrogation

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The latest stories from the prison at Guantanamo Bay have investigators asking what role American doctors play in the interrogation or perhaps the torture of detainees.

A recent article in The New England Journal of Medicine alleges that army psychiatrists and other health workers passed on confidential medical information about prisoners to interrogators who then used that information to develop their techniques.

The Pentagon claims that new guidelines issued in the wake of abuse allegations guard against unethical behavior by doctors in interrogations. But these allegations raise questions about adherence to the Geneva Conventions and who it is that military doctors ultimately serve — their patients or their country.


Dr. William Winkenwerder, Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs

Jackie Northam, National Public Radio national security correspondent

Dr. Gregg Bloche, a physician and professor of law at Georgetown University

General Ronald Blanck, Former Army Surgeon General of the United States.

The Brain Chip

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Have you ever closed your eyes at some point and wished you could make something happen — just by thinking it. Well science isn’t quite there yet, but it’s close.

A technology called BrainGate holds the promise that quadriplegics will be able to do things like surf the Web, write e-mails and play video games just with brainpower. It works with a microchip and electrodes; a tiny device implanted in the brain that transmits intention to a computer cursor.

BrainGate has already been tested on one person, and the Food and Drug Administration has given the company permission to test the technology on four more people. The success of the first trial has given hope to many, but also opens up a number of concerns about how the technology might be misused.


John Donoghue, head of the neuroscience department at Brown University and co-founder of Cyberkinetics

Miguel Nicoleli, professor in Duke University’s neurobiology department.

Not Much of a Celebration

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Today marks the one year anniversary of the U.S. handover of sovereignty to Iraq. The year had its moments of progress, not the least of which was the strong turnout in late January for the election of the National Assembly, and in some southern cities, people feel safe enough to walk on the streets, nightlife has returned.

But this year will be remembered primarily for its violence. Car bombs continue to wound and kill. Last month there was an average of 70 attacks by insurgents, that’s 70 every day.

In the U.S. people are wondering what’s ahead. President Bush is planning a network speech to bolster public support. He will be talking to people who don’t believe the insurgency is getting any weaker, but also don’t believe its time for U.S. troops to leave. Everyone it seems is trying to figure out what the role of the U.S. should be.


Niall Ferguson, Professor of History at Harvard University, author of numerous books and publications including
“Empire: The Rise and Fall of the British World Order and the Lessons for Global Power,” and most recently, “Colossus: The Rise and Fall of the American Empire”

Michael Ware, TIME Magazine Baghdad Bureau Chief

Mark Mazzetti, Pentagon Correspondent for the LA Times.

Cornelia Funke : A New J.K. Rowling

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Whether it’s a jousting princess or a boy riding dragons, young readers in America are discovering the characters of Cornelia Funke. Like J.K. Rowling, of Harry Potter fame, Funke’s imaginative creatures and characters with attitude are attracting adult readers as well.

Funke is well established in her native Germany, and her writing has only recently been translated and discovered by readers here; however, Hollywood’s film producers are lining up for the chance to put the stories up on the screen.

But if anything distinguishes the writing of Cornelia Funke, it is an ability to weave together her magical worlds, and the real world of ordinary people — the one we all recognize. It is a mix of dragon fire, brownie spit, friendly sea serpents and thick headed humans.


Cornelia Funke, author of “Dragon Rider.”