December 25, 2007
Our guest is David Rose, author of The Big Eddy Club: The Stocking Stranglings and Southern Justice.

Over the course of eight bloody months in the 1970s, a serial rapist and murderer terrorized Columbus, Georgia, killing seven elderly white women by strangling them in their beds. In 1986, eight years after the last murder, an African American, Carlton Gary, was convicted and sentenced to death. Though many in the city doubt his guilt, he remains on death row.

Award-winning Vanity Fair reporter David Rose has followed this case for a decade in an investigation that led him to the Big Eddy Club — an all-white, members-only club in Columbus, frequented by the town's most prominent judges and lawyers...as well as most of the seven murdered women.

Among Rose's discoveries was that a young black man was lynched in 1912 in Columbus after he was tried for murder and freed, and that the Columbus judge to whom the Gary case was first assigned in 1984 was the son of the mob leader in the 1912 lynching.

Rose is a contributing editor at Vanity Fair and has worked for The Guardian, The Observer, and the BBC. He is the author of five previous books, including Guantánamo.

Listen to the Rose interview here

December 18, 2007
Our guest is Robert Kuttner author of The Squandering of America: How the Failure of Our Politics Undermines Our Prosperity.

The incomes of most Americans today are static or declining. Tens of millions of workers are newly vulnerable to layoffs and outsourcing. Health care and retirement burdens are increasingly being shifted from employers to individuals. Two-income families find they are working longer hours for lower wages, with decreased social support. As wealth has become more concentrated, the economy has become more recklessly speculative, jeopardizing not only the prospects of ordinary Americans, but the solvency of the entire system. What links these trends, writes Robert Kuttner in this provocative, engaging, and necessary book, is the consolidation of political and economic power by a narrow elite, who blocks the ability of government to restore broad prosperity to the majority of citizens.

Kuttner explores the roots of these problems and outlines a persuasive, bold alternative. He demonstrates how our economy has fallen hostage to a casino of financial speculation, creating instability as well as inequality. He debunks alarmist claims about supposed economic hazards, such as Social Security and Medicare, and exposes the genuine dangers: hedge funds and private equity run amok, sub-prime lenders, Wall Street middlemen, and America’s dependence on foreign central banks. He describes how globalization of commerce has been used by business less to promote free trade than to escape the balanced regulation that delivered widespread abundance in the decades after World War II.

Now, with financial markets in crisis and public opinion supporting a more active role for government, he offers a new model of managed capitalism that can deliver security and opportunity, and rekindle democracy as a check on concentrated wealth.

Listen to the Kuttner interview here

December 11, 2007
Our guest is Walter Russell Mead author of God and Gold: Britain, America, and the Making of the Modern World.

Mead, the Henry A. Kissinger senior fellow for U.S. foreign policy at the Council on Foreign Relations and one of the country's leading students of American foreign policy, contends that the key to the predominance of the two countries has been the individualistic ideology of the prevailing Anglo-American religion. Mead explains how this helped create a culture uniquely adapted to capitalism, a system under which both countries thrived. We see how, as a result, the two nations were able to create the liberal, democratic system whose economic and social influence continues to grow around the world.

According to Mead, the stakes today are higher than ever; technological progress makes new and terrible weapons easier for rogue states and terror groups to develop and deploy. Where some see an end to history and others a clash of civilizations, Mead sees the current conflicts in the Middle East as the latest challenge to the liberal, capitalist, and democratic world system that the Anglo-Americans are trying to build. What we need now, he says, is a diplomacy of civlizations based on a deeper understanding of the recurring conflicts between the liberal world system and its foes.

Listen to the Mead interview here

November 27, 2007
Our guest is Christopher Ellinger of Bolder Giving.

Christopher and Anne Ellinger are nationally-recognized writers, counselors, workshop presenters, and organizers on issues of wealth and philanthropy.

The Ellingers were plunged into the philanthropy world when Christopher received an unexpected inheritance at age 21. After ten years of exploring the resources available for people looking to connect their money and values, they decided to put this knowledge to use by helping other wealthy people maximize their positive impact.

In 1991, they founded More than Money, a nonprofit peer education network with over 2,000 participants nationwide. Through its publications, gatherings, and web resources, More Than Money helped people with significant financial resources to explore the impact of money in their lives and to act on their highest values.

In 2004, they launched the Zing Foundation to promote philanthropy and to build on their life-long interest in participatory arts for social change. Anne and Christopher also direct True Story Theater, an improvisational performance company that builds community by "playing back" the true life experiences told by members of the audience. Anne and Christopher's writing includes the American Book Award-winning We Gave Away a Fortune.

Listen to the Ellinger interview here

November 20, 2007
Our guest is Greg Anrig the author of The Conservatives Have No Clothes: Why Right-Wing Ideas Keep Failing.

Tax cuts that produce gargantuan budget deficits, an ill-conceived war that has diminished America's ability to defend itself, the quiet evisceration of laws that protect public health, safety, and the environment — after six years of virtually absolute conservative rule, the results of nearly every right-wing policy, program, and initiative can be summed up in a single word: failure. How could a vast, carefully constructed political movement, which so recently patted itself on the back for winning "the war of ideas," be so utterly feckless when it comes to governing the nation?

Anrig offers a scathing indictment of right-wing ideology and reveals point by point how and why the conservative agenda produces terrible government. In a series of devastating critiques, he examines ideas and policies espoused by the right and assesses the degree to which they have delivered (or not) on promises to make America stronger and safer, and our government smaller and more efficient.

Anrig is Vice President of Programs at the Century Foundation, a progressive think tank, and former Washington correspondent for Money magazine. He has written online for the American Prospect and Mother Jones, coedited volumes of essays about civil liberties, immigration, and Social Security, and is a regular contributor to the liberal blog tpmcafe.com.

Listen to the Anrig interview here

November 13, 2007
Our guest is Paul V. Dutton author of Differential Diagnoses: A Comparative History of Health Care Problems and Solutions in the United States and France.

Although the United States spends 16 percent of its gross domestic product on health care, more than 46 million people have no insurance coverage, while one in four Americans report difficulty paying for medical care. Indeed, the U.S. health care system, despite being the most expensive health care system in the world, ranked thirty-seventh in a comprehensive World Health Organization report. With health care spending only expected to increase, Americans are again debating new ideas for expanding coverage and cutting costs.

According to the historian Paul V. Dutton, Americans should look to France, whose health care system captured the World Health Organization's number-one spot.

Dutton debunks a common misconception among Americans that European health care systems are essentially similar to each other and vastly different from U.S. health care. In fact, the Americans and the French both distrust "socialized medicine." Both peoples cherish patient choice, independent physicians, medical practice freedoms, and private insurers in a qualitatively different way than the Canadians, the British, and many others.

Dutton is an Associate Professor of History at Northern Arizona University.

Listen to the Dutton interview here

November 6, 2007
Our guest is Richard Goldstein co-author of The Contenders — a book about the Democratic Presidential candidates.

Goldstein returns to Weekly Signals to discuss Hillary, Edwards and the Republicans.

For the first time in many years, the Democratic Party contenders — those who want to be president, and those who are impacting the terms of the public discussion-are placing issues and identity at the forefront of their campaigns. A black man and a woman are both viable candidates. A populist from the South and a progressive from Cleveland are propelling the party from the center to a more liberal platform. A vice president makes a comeback.

Goldstein, who writes regularly for The Nation is the author of Homocons: The Rise of the Gay Right.

Listen to the Goldstein interview here

October 30, 2007
Our guest is Lawrence Wright author of The Looming Tower
Al Qaeda and the Road to 9/11

A Time, Newsweek, Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, and New York Times Book Review Best Book of the Year, The Looming Tower explains in unprecedented detail the growth of Islamic fundamentalism, the rise of al-Qaeda, and the intelligence failures that culminated in the attacks on the World Trade Center.

Wright re-creates firsthand the transformation of Osama bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri from incompetent and idealistic soldiers in Afghanistan to leaders of the most successful terrorist group in history. He follows FBI counterterrorism chief John O’Neill as he uncovers the emerging danger from al-Qaeda in the 1990s and struggles to track this new threat.

Wright spent two years teaching at the American University in Cairo, Egypt. He is a staff writer for The New Yorker and a fellow at the Center on Law and Security at New York University School of Law. The author of five works of nonfiction — City Children, Country Summer; In the New World; Saints and Sinners; Remembering Satan; and Twins — he has also written a novel, God’s Favorite, and was cowriter of the movie The Siege.

Listen to the Wright interview here

October 23, 2007
Our guest is Norman Solomon author of Made Love, Got War: Close Encounters with America's Warfare State.

Since he was first under FBI surveillance at age 14 in the mid-1960s, Norman Solomon has been on a collision course with what he calls "the warfare state."

In his latest book Made Love, Got War Solomon recounts his controversial trips to Baghdad and Tehran with Sean Penn as well as televised showdowns with Judith Miller and other pro-war journalists before the invasion of Iraq. Made Love, Got War blends personal reflections with social commentary and firsthand accounts of Solomon's activism and reporting from the late 1960s to present-day Tehran.

In his foreword, Daniel Ellsberg writes that the book "helps us understand where we are now and how we got here." The Pentagon Papers whistleblower concludes: "I was born in 1931, and my generation had to reorient itself to the unprecedented threat of planetary nuclear suicide-murder. Norman Solomon was born twenty years later, and his generation has never lived under any other circumstance. The strands of this book form a unique weave of personal narrative and historical inquiry. Made Love, Got War lays out a half-century of socialized insanity that has brought a succession of aggressive wars under cover of - but at recurrent risk of detonating - a genocidal nuclear arsenal. We need to help each other to awaken from this madness."

Listen to the Solomon interview here

October 16, 2007
Our guest is Robert B. Reich author of Supercapitalism: The Transformation of Business, Democracy, and Everyday Life.

The United States economy has soared since the 1970s. We have access to new products (computers and iPods, hybrid cars and high-tech shoes, web movies and vegan frozen dinners. The quality of the goods we buy is, on average, up; the cost of these items is, on average down.

But there is a downside to this progress. Capitalism has invaded democracy. The negative consequences of this “supercapitalism” loom large: workers are forced to resign themselves to flat or declining wages and reduced job security. As chain stores such as Wal-Mart and Home Depot harness the power of the consumer, our main streets are ravaged and towns and cities suffer a loss of community. Outsourcing has gone from a possibility to a reality.

So what to so? Reich has the answer, and it lies in a return of power to democracy: what he calls "a system for accomplishing what can only be achieved by citizens joining together with other citizens — to determine the rules of the game whose outcomes express the common good."

Reich is professor of public policy at the University of California at Berkeley, and former US labor secretary.

Listen to the Reich interview here

October 9, 2007
An interview with John Anderson author of Follow the Money: How George W Bush and the Texas Republicans Hog-tied America — a jaw-dropping and damning picture of the money laundering, underhanded deal-making and dirty politics that made their way from Texas to DC.

With its barbecues, new Cadillacs, and $4,000 snakeskin cowboy boots, Texas is all about power and money -- and the power that money buys. This detailed and wide-scope account shows how a group of wealthy Texas Republicans quietly hijacked American politics for their own gain.

Getting George W. Bush elected, we learn, was just the tip of the iceberg....

In Follow the Money, award-winning journalist and sixth-generation Texan John Anderson shows how power in Texas has long been vested in the interconnected worlds of Houston's global energy companies, banks, and law firms -- not least among them Baker Botts, the firm controlled by none other than James A. Baker III, the Bush family consigliere. Anderson explains how the Texas political system came to be controlled by a sophisticated, well-funded group of conservative Republicans who, after elevating George W. Bush to the American presidency, went about applying their hardball, high-dollar politicking to Washington, D.C.

Anderson is the former deputy editor of American Lawyer and author of two other widely praised nonfiction books Burning Down the House and Art Held Hostage.

Listen to the Anderson interview here

October 2, 2007
Our guest is Nicholas Guyatt author of Have a Nice Doomsday: Why Millions of Americans Are Looking Forward to the End of the World.

Journeying to the dusty heartlands of America’s Bible Belt, Nicholas Guyatt goes in search of the truth behind a startling development – that fifty million Americans have come to believe the apocalypse will take place in their own lifetimes. They’re convinced that, any day now, Jesus will snatch up his followers and spirit them to heaven. For the rest of us, things are going to get very nasty indeed: massive earthquakes, devastating wars, not to mention the terrifying rise of the Antichrist.

But true believers aren’t just sitting around waiting for the Rapture. They’re getting involved in debates over abortion, gay rights and even foreign policy. Are they devout or deranged? Why do they seem so cheerful about the end of the world? And does their influence stretch beyond the Bible Belt — perhaps even to the White House?

Born and brought up in the UK, Guyatt spent seven years in the United States — first as a PhD student at Princeton and then as a lecturer in Princeton's Department of History — prior to teaching American History at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver. His book on US foreign policy, Another American Century, was published by Zed Books in 2000, and he is a regular reviewer for the London Review of Books.

Listen to the Guyatt interview here

September 25, 2007
Our guest is Richard Goldstein contributor to The Contenders: Hillary, John, Al, Dennis, Barack, et al.

Is there a difference between one Democratic candidate and another? Or has the electoral system leveled the field, so that it always and only comes down to money and powerful friends? For the first time in many years, the Democratic Party contenders — those who want to be president, and those who are impacting the terms of the public discussion-are placing issues and identity at the forefront of their campaigns. A black man and a woman are both viable candidates. A populist from the South and a progressive from Cleveland are propelling the party from the center to a more liberal platform. A vice president makes a comeback.

Goldstein offers an unusual perspective on Obama, contrasting his “soft” brand of masculinity with a machismo that dominated contemporary politics and popular culture (i.e. George W. Bush, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Eminem) just a few years ago.

"Call it packaging, call it hype. But that saga of personal and political discovery is the most exciting narrative to emerge from the Democratic repertoire in many years. It is not a drama of rising from meager expectations or a romance of courage under fire. Those are tropes of presidential theater, but Obama’s story is a more like an epic that resounds with a root American theme: overcoming the burden of history."
— Richard Goldstein, The Contenders

Richard Goldstein writes regularly for The Nation. He is the author of Homocons: The Rise of the Gay Right.

Listen to the Goldstein interview here

September 18, 2007
Our guest is Stuart Ewen co- author of Typecasting: On the Arts & Sciences of Human Inequality.

Written with Elizabeth Ewen, Typecasting chronicles the emergence of the “science of first impression” and reveals how the work of its creators — early social scientists — continues to shape how we see the world and to inform our most fundamental and unconscious judgments of beauty, humanity, and degeneracy. In this groundbreaking exploration of the growth of stereotyping amidst the rise of modern society, Ewen & Ewen demonstrate “typecasting” as a persistent cultural practice. Drawing on fields as diverse as history, pop culture, racial science, and film, and including over one hundred images, many published here for the first time, the authors present a vivid portrait of stereotyping as it was forged by colonialism, industrialization, mass media, urban life, and the global economy.

Ewen & Ewen is an authorial sobriquet assumed by Stuart Ewen and Elizabeth Ewen in no particular order. Elizabeth Ewen is Distinguished Teaching Professor in the Department of American Studies at SUNY College at Old Westbury. Stuart Ewen is CUNY Distinguished Professor of Film & Media Studies at Hunter College and in the Ph.D. Programs in History and Sociology at The CUNY Graduate Center.

Listen to the Ewen interview here

September 11, 2007
Our guest is R. Jay Magill, Jr. author of Chic Ironic Bitterness.

The events of 9/11 had many pundits on the left and right scrambling to declare an end to the Age of Irony. But six years on, we're as ironic as ever. From the Simpsons and Borat to the The Daily Show and The Colbert Report, the ironic worldview measures out a certain cosmopolitan distance, keeping hypocrisy and threats to personal integrity at bay.

Chic Ironic Bitterness is a defense of this detachment, an attitude that helps us preserve values such as authenticity, sincerity, and seriousness that might otherwise be lost in a world filled with spin, marketing, and jargon. And it is an effective counterweight to the prevailing conservative view that irony is the first step towards cynicism and the breakdown of Western culture.

Magill is a writer and illustrator whose work has appeared in American Prospect, American Interest, Atlantic Monthly, Foreign Policy, International Herald Tribune, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and Print, among other periodicals and books. A recent recipient of a PhD in American Studies from the University of Hamburg in Germany, Magill has taught at the University of Lüneburg and at Harvard University, where he received the Derek Bok Award for Distinction in Teaching. He also served as Executive Editor and a staff writer at the National Magazine Award-winning quarterly of photography and journalism, DoubleTake.

Listen to the Magill interview here

September 4, 2007
Our guest is Benjamin Barber author of Consumed: How Markets Corrupt Children, Infantilize Adults, and Swallow Citizens Whole.

On this visit to Weekly Signals, Barber discusses “The McDonald’s Experiment” and how it relates to the upcoming presidential campaign.

A sequel to Benjamin Barber's best-selling Jihad vs. McWorld, Consumed offers a portrait of how adult consumers are infantilized in a global economy that overproduces goods and targets children as consumers in a market where there are never enough shoppers. Driven by a frantic imperative to sell, consumer capitalism specializes today in the manufacture not of goods but of needs.

Barber is the Gershon and Carol Kekst Professor of Civil Society and Distinguished University Professor at the University of Maryland, Distinguished Senior Fellow at Demos, and Director, CivWorld.

Listen to the Barber interview here

August 28, 2007
Our guest is Bjorn Lomborg, author of Cool It: The Skeptical Environmentalist's Guide to Global Warming.

Lomborg argues that many of the actions now being considered to stop global warming will cost hundreds of billions of dollars, and are often based on emotional rather than strictly scientific assumptions that may have little impact on the world’s temperature for hundreds of years. Rather than starting with the most radical procedures, Lomborg argues that we should first focus our resources on more immediate concerns, such as fighting malaria and HIV/AIDS and assuring and maintaining a safe, fresh water supply — which can be addressed at a fraction of the cost and save millions of lives within our lifetime.

Lomborg presents us with a second generation of thinking on global warming that believes panic is neither warranted nor a constructive place from which to deal with any of humanity’s problems, not just global warming.

Lomborg was named one of the 100 globally most influential people by Time magazine in April 2004. Foreign Policy and Prospect Magazine had him listed as the world’s 14th most influential intellectual in October 2005. He is adjunct professor at the Copenhagen Business School, and author of the best-selling The Skeptical Environmentalist, where he challenges our understanding of the environment, and points out how we need to focus our attention on the most important problems first.

Listen to the Lomborg interview here

August 21, 2007
Our guest is Elliot D. Cohen author of Last Days of Democracy: How Big Media and Power-hungry Government Are Turning America into a Dictatorship.

With co-author Bruce W. Fraser, Cohen shows how mainstream media corporations like CNN, Fox, and NBC (General Electric) together with giant telecoms like Comcast, Verizon, and AT&T have become administration pawns in a well-organized effort to hijack America. He details how incredible power, control, and wealth have been amassed in the hands of an elite few while the rest of us have been systematically manipulated, deceived, and divested of our freedom.

Cohen reveals how corporate media have systematically attempted to dumb down and distract us from reality with sex and violence; how government has used corporate media to "shock and awe" Americans into surrendering their constitutional rights in the name of the "War on Terrorism"; and how media personalities have been complicit in the mass deception.

Cohen is an ethicist, media critic, and political analyst. He is the editor-in-chief of the International Journal of Applied Philosophy, ethics editor for Free Inquiry magazine, and the author or editor of many books in journalism, professional ethics, and philosophical counseling, including News Incorporated: Corporate Media Ownership and Its Threat to Democracy, and Philosophical Issues in Journalism. He was the first prize recipient of the 2007 Project Censored Award for his investigative reporting on the corporate takeover of the Internet.

Listen to the Cohen interview here

August 14, 2007
Our guest is Dave Zirin, Press columnist for SLAM Magazine, a regular contributor to the Nation Magazine, and a regular op-ed writer for the Los Angeles Times and author of Welcome to the Terrordome: The Pain, Politics, and Promise of Sports (with a foreword by the immortal Chuck D.)

Terrordome has already been called "the sports primer for our time." Sports Illustrated wrote that Terrordome is "a provocative, sometimes chilling, look at sports and society right now."

This much-anticipated sequel to What's My Name, Fool? breaks new ground in sports writing, looking at the controversies and trends now shaping sports in the United States-and abroad. Features chapters such as "Barry Bonds is Gonna Git Your Mama: The Last Word on Steroids," "Pro Basketball and the Two Souls of Hip-Hop," "An Icon's Redemption: The Great Roberto Clemente," and "Beisbol: How the Major Leagues Eat Their Young."

"Dave Zirin is the most provocative observer of the politics of sport In the United States today. Welcome to the Terrordome is his best work to date and should be required reading for sports fans, and those committed to a more just and humane world."

— Robert W. McChesney author, The Problem of the Media

Listen to the Zirin interview here

August 7, 2007
Our is guest is Peggy Levitt Chair and Associate Professor in the Department of Sociology at Wellesley College and author of God Needs No Passport: Immigrants and the Changing American Religious Landscape.

Levitt argues that current debates about religion and immigration are based on assumptions that are out-of-sync with our national reality because they fail to grasp the strong connection between changes in immigration and changes in religious life. When we talk about how religion influences American culture and politics, we still really mean Protestantism. When we think about what religion is, where we look for it, and how it works we tend to think in traditional terms. Jewish and Catholic colors are included though they hardly dominate the design. Islam, Hinduism, and Buddhism are barely visible.

Today’s immigrants, however, are remaking the religious landscape by introducing new faith traditions and Asianizing and Latinoizing old ones. They don’t trade in their home-country membership card but challenge the taken-for-granted dichotomy between either/or, United States or homeland, and assimilation vs. multiculturalism by showing it is possible to be several things simultaneously and, in fact, required in a global world.

Listen to the Levitt interview here

July 31, 2005
Our guest is Felicia Kornbluh author of The Battle for Welfare Rights: Politics and Poverty in Modern America.

Kornbluh chronicles an American war on poverty fought first and foremost by poor people themselves — telling the fascinating story of the National Welfare Rights Organization, the largest membership organization of low-income people in U.S. history. Setting that story in the context of its turbulent times, the 1960s and early 1970s, historian Felicia Kornbluh shows how closely tied that story was to changes in mainstream politics, both nationally and locally in New York City.

Offering new insight into women's activism, poverty policy, civil rights, urban politics, law, consumerism, social work, and the rise of modern conservatism, Kornbluh tells, for the first time, the complete story of a movement that profoundly affected the meaning of citizenship and the social contract in the United States.

Kornbluh teaches history at Duke University. She has written for many publications, including the Nation, Feminist Studies, Los Angeles Times, Women's Review of Books, Journal of American History, and In These Times. Cofounder of Historians for Social Justice, she is a long-standing member of the Women's Committee of 100, an advocacy organization.

Listen to the Kornbluh interview here

July 24, 2007
Our guest is Aviva Chomsky author of "They Take Our Jobs!": and 20 Other Myths about Immigration.

Claims that immigrants take Americans' jobs, are a drain on the American economy, contribute to poverty and inequality, and contribute to a host of social ills by their very existence are openly discussed and debated at all levels of society. Chomsky dismantles twenty of the most common assumptions and beliefs underlying statements like "I'm not against immigration, only illegal immigration" and challenges the misinformation in clear, straightforward prose. In exposing the myths that underlie today's debate, Chomsky illustrates how the parameters and presumptions of the debate distort how we think-and have been thinking-about immigration. She observes that race, ethnicity, and gender were historically used as reasons to exclude portions of the population from access to rights. Today, Chomsky argues, the dividing line is citizenship. Although resentment against immigrants and attempts to further marginalize them are still apparent today, the notion that noncitizens, too, are created equal is virtually absent from the public sphere. Engaging and fresh, this book will challenge common assumptions about immigrants, immigration, and U.S. history.

The daughter of Noam Chomsky, Aviva Chomsky is professor of history and coordinator of Latin American Studies at Salem State College. The author of several books, Chomsky has been active in Latin American solidarity and immigrants' rights issues for over twenty-five years.

Listen to the Chomsky interview here

July 17, 2007
Our guest is Daniel Brook author of The Trap: Selling Out to Stay Afloat in Winner-Take-All America.

What is lost when the best and the brightest are corralled into corporate America? Brook argues that the exploding income gap — a product of the misguided conservative ascendance — is systematically dismantling the American dream, as debt-laden, well-educated young people are torn between their passions and the pressure to earn six-figure incomes.

Rising education, housing, and health-care costs have made it virtually impossible for all but the corporate elite to enjoy what were once considered middle-class comforts. Thousands are afflicted with a wrenching choice: take up residence on America’s financial and social margins or sell out.

When the best and the brightest cannot afford to serve the public good, Brook asks, what are we selling out: an individual’s career, or the very promise of American democracy?

Brook is a journalist whose writing has appeared in Harper’s, Dissent, The San Francisco Chronicle, and The Boston Globe, among other publications.

Listen to the Brook interview here

July 10, 2005
Our guest is Eva Rutland author of When We Were Colored.

Eva Rutland, author of more than 20 novels and winner of the 2000 Golden Pen Award for Lifetime Achievement, presents the timely and relevant story, first published in 1964, of her life in the years before integration, before affirmative action — when segregation was the norm, discrimination was legally tolerated, and blacks were second-class citizens

Rutland chronicles the lives of an ordinary yet extraordinary "colored" family as they move from segregation to integration during the turbulent civil rights era of the 1950s and 60s.

Beyond the lunch counter sit-ins, the freedom rides and church bombings, black Americans went about their day to day lives with a fearful but quiet determination, moving into newly integrated schools, neighborhoods and work places. Veteran novelist Rutland tells their true story from her special vantage point of "colored" wife and mother who lived it.

Listen to the Rutland interview here

July 3, 2005
Our guest is Steve Berkman a former World Bank staffer and contributor to A Game As Old As Empire: The Secret World of Economic Hit Men and the Web of Global Corruption.

In his essay, The World Bank and the $100 Billion Question, Berkman explains how the World Bank has pushed a debt-based development strategy for Third World countries for decades. Hundreds of billions in loans were supposed to bring progress, yet the programs have never lived up to their promise. Instead, governing elites amass obscene fortunes while the poor shoulder the burden of paying off the debts. Berkman presents an inside investigator’s account of how these schemes work to divert development money into the pockets of corrupt elites and their First World partners.

Berkman joined the World Bank’s Africa Region Group in 1983. Hired to provide advice and assistance on capacity-building components for Bank-funded projects, he worked in twenty-one countries. Within a few years, he realized that the Bank’s approach to economic development was a failure, but his attempts to convince management of the extent of the problem went unheeded until the arrival of President James Wolfensohn in 1995. Retiring in that same year, he was called back to the Bank from 1998 to 2002 to help establish the Anti-Corruption and Fraud Investigation Unit and was a lead investigator on a number of cases. Since 2002 he has provided assistance to the U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations on legislation calling for reform of the multilateral development banks and Senate consideration of the United Nations Convention Against Corruption. He is currently finishing a manuscript on the World Bank that provides an inside look at the Bank’s management, its lending operations, and the theft of billions of dollars from its lending portfolio.

Listen to the Berkman interview here

June 26, 2005
Our guest is Sasha Abramsky author of American Furies: Crime, Punishment, and Vengeance in the Age of Mass Imprisonment.

In this expose of U.S. penitentiaries and the communities around them, Abramsky finds that prisons have dumped their age-old goal of rehabilitation, often for political reasons. The new "ideal," unknown to most Americans, is a punitive mandate marked by a drive toward vengeance.

Surveying this state of affairs-life sentences for nonviolent crimes, appalling conditions, the growth of private prisons, the treatment of juveniles — Abramsky asks: Does the vengeful impulse ennoble our culture or demean it? What can become of people who are quarantined for years in a violent subculture? California's Three Strikes law typifies the politics that exploit the grief of victims' families and our fears of violent crime. American Furies shows that the ethos of "lock 'em up and throw away the key" has enormous social costs.

Abramsky has written for The Atlantic, The Nation, & Rolling Stone. The author of Conned: How Millions Went to Prison, Lost the Vote, and Helped Send George W. Bush to the White House and Hard Time Blues: How Politics Built a Prison Nation, he has also reported on U.S. prisons for Human Rights Watch.

Listen to the Abramsky interview here

June 12, 2007
Our guest is Scott Gac author of Singing for Freedom: The Hutchinson Family Singers and the Nineteenth-Century Culture of Reform.

In the two decades prior to the Civil War, the Hutchinson Family Singers of New Hampshire became America’s most popular musical act. Out of a Baptist revival upbringing, John, Asa, Judson, and Abby Hutchinson transformed themselves in the 1840s into national icons, taking up the reform issues of their age and singing out especially for temperance and antislavery reform. Singing for Freedom is the first book to tell the full story of the Hutchinsons, how they contributed to the transformation of American culture, and how they originated the marketable American protest song.

Through concerts, writings, sheet music publications, and books of lyrics, the Hutchinson Family Singers established a new space for civic action, a place at the intersection of culture, reform, religion, and politics. The book documents the Hutchinsons’ impact on abolition and other reform projects and offers an original conception of the rising importance of popular culture in antebellum America.

Scott Gac is visiting professor of American studies at Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut, and an accomplished double bass player.

Listen to the Gac interview here

June 5, 2007
Our guest is Joseph Gerson author of Empire and the Bomb: How the U.S. Uses Nuclear Weapons to Dominate the World.

The United States is the only country to have dropped the atomic bomb. Since the A-bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, every U.S. president has threatened nuclear war. Gerson shows how the United States has used nuclear weapons to bolster its imperial ambitions. He explains why atomic weapons were first built and used — and how the United States uses them today to preserve its global empire.

Gerson reveals how and why the United States made more than twenty threats of nuclear attack during the Cold War — against Russia, China, Vietnam, and the Middle East. He shows how such threats continued under Presidents Bush, Clinton, and George W. Bush.

Gerson is the Director of Programs of the American Friends Service Committee in New England — the principal Quaker peace organization in the United States. He is a leading figure in the U.S. peace movement. His previous books include The Sun Never Sets and With Hiroshima Eyes.

Listen to the Gerson interview here

May 29, 2007
Our guest is Laura Flanders, author of Blue Grit: True Democrats Take Back Politics from the Politicians.

Air America Radio host, Flanders believes there are no such things as "red" and "blue" states. Even in the most surprising places, she's finding progressive change. From Vermont to Salt Lake City to Las Vegas's famous Strip, she journeys through the heartland USA and discovers a simple truth: people don't vote for the GOP because Republicans represent their interests; they vote Republican because Democrats barely field a team.

Flanders chronicles what she's learned from scores of voters and activists-about how change is happening in Main St. USA, even if it rarely catches the attention of the so-called mainstream media. Mormons defending women's rights, casino owners teaming up with waitresses to raise the minimum wage; blue collar construction workers and lesbian mothers working together to make their workplaces safer and more secure for all. Flanders finds young, supposedly "alienated" Americans, who are driving scores of new voters to the polls.

Flanders hosts her own weekly radio show on Air America. She is the author of Bushwomen: How They Won the White House for Their Man, Real Majority, Media Minority: The Costs of Sidelining Women in Reporting, and the editor of The W Effect: Sexual Politics in the Bush Years and Beyond.

Listen to the Flanders interview here

May 22, 2007
Our guest is Jonathan Cohn author of Sick: The Untold Story of America’s Health Care Crises – and the People who Pay the Price.

America's health care system is unraveling. Every day, millions of hard-working people struggle to find affordable medical treatment for themselves and their families — unable to pay for prescription drugs and regular checkups, let alone hospital visits. Some of these people end up losing money. Others end up losing something even more valuable: their health or even their lives. Cohn traveled across the United States — the only country in the developed world that does not guarantee access to medical care as a right of citizenship — to investigate why this crisis is happening and to see firsthand its impact on ordinary Americans.

The stories he brings back are tragic and infuriating. In Boston, a heart attack victim becomes a casualty of emergency room overcrowding when she is turned away from the one hospital that could treat her. In South Central L.A., a security guard loses part of his vision when he can't find affordable treatment for his diabetes. In the middle of the prairie heartland, a retired meatpacker sells his house to pay for the medications that keep him and his aging wife alive. And, in a tiny village tucked into the Catskill mountains, a mother of three young children decides against a costly doctor's visit — and lets a deadly cancer go undetected — because her husband's high-tech job no longer provides health insurance.

Cohn is a senior editor at The New Republic, where he has written about national politics and its impact on American communities for the past decade. He is also a contributing editor at The American Prospect and a senior fellow at the think tank Demos. Cohn, who has been a media fellow with the Kaiser Family Foundation, has written for The New York Times, The Washington Post, Mother Jones, Rolling Stone, Slate, and The Washington Monthly.

Listen to the Cohn interview here

May 15, 2007
Our guest is George Monbiot author of Heat: How to Stop the Planet from Burning.

We all know that climate change is the greatest problem facing our world — it's being rammed home by new evidence every day. But does that mean the problem is now too big to deal with? Or can we solve it? George Monbiot, one of the world's leading environmental activists proves that there is a way. It now seems certain that we need a 90% cut in our emissions within 25 years if we are to stop ourselves reaching the point where the "climate feedback" becomes unstoppable, and our world becomes largely uninhabitable.

Monbiot explains how this cut could be achieved. Combining his knowledge of political campaigning and environmental science, he analyses the possibilities and pitfalls of energy efficiency, nuclear power, renewable resources and new technologies, and applies them to our everyday lives, measuring the cuts that can be made.

Monbiot is a bestselling author, columnist for the Guardian and Visiting Professor at the School of the Built Environment at Oxford Brookes University. In 1995 Nelson Mandela presented him with a United Nations Global 500 Award for outstanding environmental achievement. He has been named by the Evening Standard as one of the 25 most influential people in Britain, and by the Independent on Sunday as one of the 40 international prophets of the 21st Century. His books include Captive State: the Corporate Takeover of Britain and, most recently, The Age of Consent: A Manifesto for a New World Order.

Listen to the Monbiot interview here

May 8, 2007
Our guest is Ellen Bravo author of Taking On the Big Boys: Or Why Feminism Is Good for Families, Business, and the Nation.

Enough about "breaking the glass ceiling." Here are blueprints for a redesign of the entire building, ground up, to benefit women and men-and even the bottom line.

Bravo relates stories from business and government and women's testimonies from offices, assembly lines, hospitals, and schools and unmasks the patronizing, trivializing, and minimizing tactics employed by "the big boys" and their surrogates who portray feminism as women against men, and dismiss as outrageous demands for pay equity, family leave, and flex time.

Bravo argues for feminism as a system of beliefs, laws, and practices that fully values women and work associated with women, while detailing activist strategies to achieve a society where everybody-women and men-reach their potential.

Bravo is a long-time activist, author, and former director of 9 to 5, the National Association of Working Women. A well-known speaker, she has been described as "moving, witty, and sometimes bawdy." Bravo teaches Women's Studies at the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee.

Listen to the Bravo interview here

May 1, 2007
Our guest is Andrew Koppelman author of Same Sex, Different States: When Same-Sex Marriages Cross State Lines.

Must a state in which gay marriage is not legal recognize such a marriage performed in another state? The Constitution does not require recognition in all cases, but it does forbid states from nullifying family relationships based in other states, or from making themselves havens for people who are trying to escape obligations to their spouses and children. In this book, Koppelman offers workable legal solutions to the problems that arise when gay couples cross state borders. Drawing on historical precedents in which states held radically different moral views about marriage (for example, between kin, very young individuals, and interracial couples), Koppelman shows which state laws should govern in specific situations as gay couples travel or move from place to place.
Americans are profoundly divided over same-sex marriage, and now that gay civil unions and marriages are legal in some states, the issue has become increasingly urgent. Koppelman offers a sensible approach that will appeal to the best instincts of both sides.

Koppelman is professor of law at Northwestern University School of Law and author of Antidiscrimination Law and Social Equality and The Gay Rights Question in Contemporary American Law.

Listen to the Koppelman interview here

April 24, 2007
Our guest is Eric Boehlert, a Senior Fellow at Media Matters for America and author of Lapdogs: How the Press Rolled Over for Bush — the first book to demonstrate that, for the entire George W. Bush presidency, the news media have utterly failed in their duty as watchdog for the public.

Boehlert reveals how, time after time, the press chose a soft approach to covering the government, and as a result reported and analyzed crucial events incompletely and even inaccurately. From WMDs to Valerie Plame to the NSA's domestic spying, mainstream fixtures such as The New York Times, CBS, CNN, and Time magazine too often ignored the administration's missteps and misleading words, and did not call out the public officials who betrayed the country's trust. Throughout both presidential campaigns and the entire Iraq war to date, the media acted as a virtual mouthpiece for the White House, giving watered-down coverage of major policy decisions, wartime abuses of power, and egregious mistakes -- and sometimes these events never made it into the news at all. Finally, in Lapdogs, the press is being held accountable by one of its own.

Boehlert worked for five years as a senior writer for Salon.com, where he wrote extensively about media and politics. Prior to that, he worked as a contributing editor for Rolling Stone.

Listen to the Boehlert interview here

April 17, 2007
Our guest is Albert Bates an influential figure in the intentional community and ecovillage movements and author of The Post-Petroleum Survival Guide and Cookbook: Recipes for Changing Times.

Over the coming years we will need to move from a global culture addicted to cheap, abundant petroleum to a culture of compelled conservation, whether through government directive or market forces. The Post-Petroleum Survival Guide and Cookbook provides useful practical advice for preparing your family and community to make the transition.

Bates takes a positive, upbeat, and optimistic view of "the Great Change," promoting the idea that it can be an opportunity to redeem our essential interconnectedness with nature and with each other. The many rifts that have grown up since oil became the world's prime commodity can be mended: between cities and their food sources; the design of the suburban-built environment and its car-oriented sprawl; runaway greenhouse warming, and the clearing of forests and toxification of rivers, oceans, and land.

Bates is a lawyer, author and teacher. He has been director of the Institute for Appropriate Technology since 1984 and of the Ecovillage Training Center at The Farm in Summertown, Tennessee since 1994.

Listen to the Bates interview here

April 10, 2007
Our guest is Robert Ivker the author of One Town's Terror: 9/11, Iraq and Burlington Vermont.

Every village, town and city in the United States was touched by the unprecedented acts of terrorism of September 11, 2001. Perhaps few locales, however, felt the force of this impact more than Burlington, Vermont and its surrounding villages. According to Ivker, the city of Burlington and the state of Vermont have sent more citizen-soldiers into active duty in Iraq and Afghanistan than most other states in the country. At the same time, Burlington has been at the forefront of a wide range of anti-war, pro-peace movements and boasts the country's only Socialist member of Congress.

Previously a credentialed journalist at the United Nations, Ivker has published dozens of articles in political newspapers and magazines, both nationally and internationally.

Listen to the Ivker interview here

April 3, 2007
Our guest is Peter Navarro author of The Coming China Wars: Where They Will Be Fought and How They Can Be Won.

China's breakneck industrialization is placing it on a collision course with the entire world. Tomorrow's China Wars will be fought over everything from decent jobs, livable wages, and leading-edge technologies to strategic resources such as oil, copper, and steel...even food, water, and air. In The Coming China Wars, Navarro previews all these potential conflicts — and reveals the urgent, radical decisions that must be made to avoid catastrophe.

You'll learn how China's thirst for oil is driving nuclear proliferation in Iran, genocide in the Sudan, even Japan's remilitarization. You'll discover China's shocking role in the drug trade and how its reborn flesh trade may help trigger tomorrow's worst AIDS crisis. Navarro also reveals how China has become the world's most ruthless imperialist...how it is promoting global environmental disaster... and, perhaps most terrifying of all, how this nuclear superpower and pirate nation may be spiraling toward internal chaos.

Navarro is an Associate Professor of Economics and Public Policy at the Paul Merage School of Business, University of California, Irvine.

Listen to the Navarro interview here

March 27, 2007
Our guest is Benjamin Barber author of Consumed: How Markets Corrupt Children, Infantilize Adults, and Swallow Citizens Whole.

A sequel to Benjamin Barber's best-selling Jihad vs. McWorld, Consumed offers a wrenching portrait of how adult consumers are infantilized in a global economy that overproduces goods and targets children as consumers in a market where there are never enough shoppers. Driven by a frantic imperative to sell, consumer capitalism specializes today in the manufacture not of goods but of needs.

This provocative culmination of Barber's lifelong study of and capitalism shows how the infantilist ethos deprives society of responsible citizens and displaces public goods with private commodities. Traditional liberal democratic society is colonized by an all-pervasive market imperative. Public space is privatized. Identity is branded. Our world, homogenized. Barber confronts the likely consequences for our children, our liberty, and our citizenship, and shows finally how citizens can resist and transcend the civic schizophrenia with which consumerism has infected them.

Barber is the Gershon and Carol Kekst Professor of Civil Society and Distinguished University Professor at the University of Maryland, Distinguished Senior Fellow at Demos, and Director, CivWorld.

Listen to the Barber interview here

March 20, 2007
Our guest is George Galloway, British MP and author of The Fidel Castro Handbook.

In the year that Fidel Castro turns eighty, Galloway looks at the Cuban leader's life from childhood, through his dramatic conquest of power, and his leadership of Cuba over forty-seven years — including takes on the guerrilla struggle in the Sierra Maestra, life with the Soviet Union, involvement in Third World politics, and survival in the face of the hostility of the United States just ninety miles away. Galloway has researched archives from Havana, London, Washington, and Madrid and conducted original interviews with Fidel Castro's contemporaries, in Cuba and throughout the world, that provide insights into his personality and achievements.

Galloway is a British politician noted for his socialist views, confrontational style, and rhetorical skill. He is currently the Respect Member of Parliament (MP) for Bethnal Green and Bow, and was previously elected as a Labour Party MP for Glasgow Hillhead and Glasgow Kelvin. He is perhaps best known for his vigorous campaign to overturn economic sanctions against Iraq, and for his visits to Saddam Hussein in 1994 and 2002. He was expelled from the Labour Party in October 2003 when a party body decided that he had brought the party into disrepute over the 2003 invasion of Iraq, when he called the Labour government "Tony Blair's lie machine" and stated that British soldiers should "refuse to obey illegal orders".

Listen to the Galloway interview here

March 13, 2007
Our guest is Sara Miles author of Take This Bread: A Radical Conversion.

Raised as an atheist, Sara Miles lived an enthusiastically secular life as a restaurant cook and a writer. Then early one winter morning, for no earthly reason, she wandered into a church. “I was certainly not interested in becoming a Christian,” she writes, “or, as I thought of it rather less politely, a religious nut.” But she ate a piece of bread, took a sip of wine, and found herself radically transformed.

The mysterious sacrament of communion has sustained Miles ever since, in a faith she’d scorned, in work she’d never imagined. In this astonishing story, she tells how the seeds of her conversion were sown, and what her life has been like since she took that bread.

A lesbian left-wing journalist who covered revolutions around the world, Miles was not the woman her friends expected to see suddenly praising Jesus. She was certainly not the kind of person the government had in mind to run a “faith-based charity.” Religion for her was not about angels or good behavior or piety; it was about real hunger, real food, and real bodies. Before long, she turned the bread she ate at communion into tons of groceries, piled on the church’s altar to be given away. The first food pantry she established provided hundreds of poor, elderly, sick, deranged, and marginalized people with lifesaving food and a sense of belonging. Within a few years, the loaves had multiplied, and she and the people she served had started nearly a dozen more pantries.

Miles is the author of How to Hack a Party Line: The Democrats and Silicon Valley and co-editor of Directed by Desire: The Collected Poems of June Jordan and the anthology Opposite Sex: Gay Men on Lesbians, Lesbians on Gay Men. Her work has appeared in The New York Times Magazine, The New Yorker, The Progressive, La Jornada, and Salon, among others. She has written extensively on military affairs, politics, and culture.

Listen to the Miles interview here


March 6, 2007
Our guest is journalist Max Blumenthal.

Elections, exhibits and entertainment drew thousands of people from across the country to Washington, D.C., last week to attend the 34th annual Conservative Political Action Conference. The lowlight of the event for floundering conservatives was a speech by Ann Coulter in which she said "I was going to have a few comments on the other Democratic presidential candidate, John Edwards, but it turns out that you have to go into rehab if you use the word 'faggot.”

Blumenthal attended the event and documented his provocative experience which has been widely seen on You Tube.

Blumenthal is a Puffin Foundation writing fellow at the Nation Institute based in Washington, DC. His work has appeared in The Nation, Salon, The American Prospect and the Washington Monthly. He is a research fellow for Media Matters for America.

Listen to the Blumenthal interview here

February 27, 2007
Our guest is Chalmers Johnson author of Nemesis: The Last Days of the American Republic.

In his prophetic book Blowback, Johnson linked the CIA’s clandestine activities abroad to disaster at home. In The Sorrows of Empire, he explored the ways in which the growth of American militarism and the garrisoning of the planet have jeopardized our stability. Now, in Nemesis, he shows how imperial overstretch is undermining the republic itself, both economically and politically.

Delving into new areas — from plans to militarize outer space to Constitution-breaking presidential activities at home and the devastating corruption of a toothless Congress — Johnson offers a striking description of the trap into which the dreams of America’s leaders have taken us. Drawing comparisons to empires past, Johnson explores in vivid detail just what the unintended consequences of our dependence on a permanent war economy are likely to be. What does it mean when a nation’s main intelligence organization becomes the president’s secret army? Or when the globe’s sole “hyperpower,” no longer capable of paying for the vaulting ambitions of its leaders, becomes the greatest hyper-debtor of all times?

In his stunning conclusion, Johnson suggests that financial bankruptcy could herald the breakdown of constitutional government in America — a crisis that may ultimately prove to be the only path to a renewed nation.

Johnson, the president of the Japan Policy Research Institute, is a frequent contributor to Los Angeles Times, the London Review of Books, and The Nation, he appeared in the 2005 prizewinning documentary film Why We Fight.

Listen to the Johnson interview here

February 20, 2007
Our guest is William Rivers Pitt author of House of Ill Repute: Reflections on War, Lies, and America's Ravaged Reputation.

The presidency of George W. Bush promised to restore integrity to the White House, but instead it has been plagued by scandal. Pitt guides readers through a jaw-dropping series of presidential blunders. In this collection of articles that first appeared on truthout.org, he dissects the entire war on Iraq, including the relentless push toward war, the missing weapons of mass destruction, the Halliburton contracting scandals, sectarian violence, and the possibility of a regional conflagration. Others pieces tackle the outing of Valerie Plame, the NSA’s warrantless wiretaps, the Abramoff scandal, Lewis Libby’s indictment, and the incompetent response to Hurricane Katrina. Several essays focus on Cindy Sheehan and other citizen activists. For anyone who suspects the Bush administration of playing fast and loose with the facts, William Rivers Pitt provides a welcome voice of truth, untainted by corporate ownership.

William Rivers Pitt is the current editorial director of Progressive Democrats of America, where he writes a blog titled "We the People."

Listen to the Pitt interview here

February 13, 2007
Our guest is Barry Lando author of Web of Deceit: The History of Western Complicity in Iraq, from Churchill to Kennedy to George W. Bush.

In February 1991, the Shia of southern Iraq rose against Saddam Hussein. Lando, a former investigative producer for 60 Minutes, argues compellingly that this ill-fated uprising represents one instance among many of Western complicity in Saddam Hussein’s crimes against humanity. The Shia were responding to the call for rebellion from President George H.W. Bush that was broadcast repeatedly across Iraq by clandestine CIA stations. But, just as the revolution was on the brink of success, the United States and its allies turned their backs. In the end, tens of thousands were massacred.

Because of restrictions imposed by the Special Tribunal prosecuting Saddam Hussein, the extensive role of the U.S. and its allies in his crimes will never be explored at his trial. But as Web of Deceit demonstrates, the nations that now denounce Saddam most prominently secretly backed the dictator from his rise to power in the 1960s and ‘70s to his offensives in Iran and, despite warnings, took no action to stop his invasion of Kuwait. They also turned their backs when he used chemical weapons against the Iraqi people and persisted in international sanctions long after they had proved ineffective and, for hundreds of thousands of Iraqi civilians, lethal.

Web of Deceit draws on a wide range of journalism and scholarship to present a complete picture of what really happened in Iraq under Saddam, detailing the complicity of the West in its full and alarming extent.

Lando spent over 25 years as an award-winning investigative producer with 60 Minutes. The author of numerous articles about Iraq, he produced a documentary about Saddam Hussein that has been shown around the world.

Listen to the Lando interview here

February 6, 2007
Our guest is Jeff Chester author of Digital Destiny: New Media and the Future of Democracy.

With the explosive growth of the Internet and broadband communications, we now have the potential for a truly democratic media system offering a wide variety of independent sources of news, information, and culture, with control over content in the hands of the many rather than a few select media giants. But the country's powerful communications companies have other plans. Assisted by a host of hired political operatives and pro-business policy makers, the big cable, TV, and Internet providers are using their political clout to gain ever greater control over the Internet and other digital communication channels. Instead of a "global information commons," we're facing an electronic media system designed principally to sell to rather than serve the public, dominated by commercial forces armed with aggressive digital marketing, interactive advertising, and personal data collection.

Chester gets beneath the surface of media and telecommunications regulation to explain clearly how our new media system functions, what's at stake, and what we can do to fight the corporate media's plans for our "digital destiny"—before it's too late.

Chester is the executive director of the Center for Digital Democracy. He has long been on the front lines fighting against the consolidation and commercialization of the U.S. media system. A former investigative reporter and filmmaker, he lives outside Washington, D.C.

Listen to the Chester interview her

January 30, 2007
Our guest is William R. Clark, author of Petrodollar Warfare: Oil, Iraq and the Future of the Dollar and the groundbreaking essay "It’s the Energy and the Economy, Stupid."

The invasion of Iraq may well be remembered as the first oil currency war. Far from being a response to 9/11 terrorism or Iraq's alleged weapons of mass destruction, Petrodollar Warfare argues that the invasion was precipitated by two converging phenomena: the imminent peak in global oil production and the ascendance of the euro currency.

Energy analysts agree that world oil supplies are about to peak, after which there will be a steady decline in supplies of oil. Iraq, possessing the world's second-largest oil reserves, was therefore already a target of US geostrategic interests. Together with the fact that Iraq had switched to paying for oil in euros-rather than US dollars-the Bush administration's unreported aim was to prevent further OPEC momentum in favor of the euro as an alternative oil transaction currency standard.

Meticulously researched, Petrodollar Warfare examines US dollar hegemony and the unsustainable macroeconomics of 'petrodollar recycling,' pointing out that the issues underlying the Iraq war also apply to geostrategic tensions between the United States and other countries, including the member states of the European Union, Iran, Venezuela and Russia.

For six years, Clark was a manager of performance improvement at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. He is now an Information Security Analyst. His research on oil depletion, oil currency issues and US geostrategy received received two Project Censored awards, first in 2003 for his ground-breaking research on the Iraq War, oil currency conflict, and US geostrategy, and again in 2005 for his research on Iran’s proposed euro-denominated oil bourse.

Listen to the Clark interview here

January 23, 2007
Our guest is Stephen Duncombe author of Dream: Re-imagining Progressive Politics in an Age of Fantasy.

What practical political lessons can we learn from corporate theme parks, ad campaigns, video games like Grand Theft Auto, celebrity culture, and Las Vegas? Duncombe proposes that such examples of popular fantasy can help us define and make possible a new political future. He makes the case for a progressive political strategy that embraces a new set of tools. Although fantasy and spectacle have become the lingua franca of our time, Duncombe points out that liberals continue to depend upon sober reason to guide them. Instead, they need to learn how to communicate in today’s spectacular vernacular—not merely as a tactic but as a new way of thinking about and acting out politics. Learning from Las Vegas, however, does not mean adopting its values, as Duncombe demonstrates in laying out plans for what he calls “ethical spectacle.”

Duncombe teaches the history and politics of media and culture at the Gallatin School of New York University. He is the author of Notes from Underground: Zines and the Politics of Alternative Culture, the editor of the Cultural Resistance Reader, and the co-author of The Bobbed-Haired Bandit.

Listen to the Duncombe interview here

January 9, 2007
Our guest is Haynes Johnson, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and author of The Age of Anxiety: McCarthyism to Terrorism.

For five long years in the 1950s, Senator Joseph McCarthy’s anti-Communist crusade dominated the American scene, terrified politicians, and destroyed the lives of thousands of U.S. citizens.

In The Age of Anxiety, now updated with a new afterword, Johnson tells this monumental story through the lens of its relevance to our own time, when the current administration has created a culture of fear that again affects American behavior and attitudes. He believes now, as then, that our civil liberties, our Constitution, and our nation are at stake as we confront the ever more difficult task of balancing the need for national security with that of personal liberty.

Johnson is the author of five national bestsellers, including The Best of Times, a New York Times Notable Book. He has been a reporter, editor, and columnist for the Washington Post and a commentator for The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer and the Today show.

Listen to the Johnson interview here

January 2, 2007
Our guest is Elizabeth Laird, author of A Little Piece of Ground.

While A Little Piece Of Ground is written for young readers, it addresses one of the worst conflicts afflicting our world today. Laird, one of Great Britain's best-known young adult authors, explores the human cost of the occupation of Palestinian lands through the eyes of a young boy.

Twelve-year-old Karim Aboudi and his family are trapped in their Ramallah home by a strict curfew. In response to a Palestinian suicide bombing, the Israeli military subjects the West Bank town to a virtual siege. Meanwhile, Karim, trapped at home with his teenage brother and fearful parents, longs to play football with his friends. When the curfew ends, he and his friend discover an unused patch of ground that's the perfect site for a football pitch. Nearby, an old car hidden intact under bulldozed building makes a brilliant den. But in this city there's constant danger, even for schoolboys. And when Israeli soldiers find Karim outside during the next curfew, it seems impossible that he will survive.

Laird will discuss her research work in Ramallah, the children she met there and their lives under occupation. She will also talk about how US publishers originally turned down publication of the book because of criticism from pro-Israeli organizations.

Listen to the Laird interview here


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