Monthly Archives: December 2003

Anna in the Tropics

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Most of the characters in Nilo Cruz’s Pulitzer Prize-winning play “Anna in the Tropics” cannot read or write, but they can recite lines from “Don Quixote” and “Jane Eyre.” Back when cigars were hand-rolled and named for the flush-cheeked heroines of the great romance novels, cigar factory workers set aside a portion of their wages to pay someone who would read to them.

These velvet-voiced lectors were as carefully selected as the tobacco leaves, and the raised platforms from which they read were as practical as they were symbolic. Up high, their voices carried, and their exalted status was confirmed. Women fell in love, husbands threw jealous fits, and factory owners fretted over just where their workers minds were wandering. Learning, and yearning, in the tropics.

Guests:

Nilo Cruz, Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright of “Anna in the Tropics”

Stories We Missed

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As the year falls away, journalists like to look back and recall the top stories of the past 12 months, and give themselves a little pat on the back. 365 days of stories written, countless pages of newsprint and hours of broadcast on radio and TV filled. With all that news, it hardly likely we could have left any stories uncovered!

Wrong. With big, never-ending stories like Iraq, and the presidential campaign, and some of the business scandals which got a lot of coverage, other stories did slip through the cracks. Maybe it was because they were too complicated, or too far away; maybe they were about places and issues and people we’ve grown tired of hearing about. So this hour, we are talking to a few journalists, and you, about the stories we missed last year. Reviewing the archives, the stories that got away in 2003.

Guests:

Geneva Overholser, editorial writer and professor at the University of Missouri School of Journalism

Rick Weiss, Science Reporter for the Wasington Post

Matthew Parris, columnist for the Times of London and Former Member of Parliament

Grey Larsen

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Grey Larsen says when he first heard the sound of the traditional Irish flute, at age fifteen, it felt like something “penetrating into the middle of my chest.” So began his life-long love affair with the instrument and the music it makes. Not so unusual really except that Grey Larsen grew up far from the western hills of the Emerald Isle, the fields that the flute calls home.

Grey Larsen hails from Ohio, and attributes his knowledge of melodies to the Irish immigrants he met and played with there. Some were farmers who crossed the Atlantic and brought with them their love and mastery of the tunes they grew up with in County Sligo. With their guidance, Larsen himself became a master.

Guests:

Grey Larsen, author of “The Essential Guide to Irish Flute” and “Tin Whistle.” His new album is “Dark of the Moon.”

Justice in Baghdad

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There are some who think that Saddam Hussein should not be given the courtesy of an extended legal proceeding. One Iraqi citizen was quoted recently as saying that Saddam should be put in a cage so that all who wanted to could spit on him, until he drowns.

History is laced with tyrants and dictators who inspire such hate. The temptation to try them swiftly before doing away with them altogether is great. But consider the loss, in legitimacy, and to the historical record, had the Nuremberg trials been just for show. Now…Saddam Hussein will be tried in a court of law. But critics of the plan to do so in Iraq by Iraqis say that without international input, vengeance, not justice, will be the final outcome. What’s at stake in the Iraqi people versus Saddam Hussein.

Guests:

Dr. Mowaffak al-Rubaie, member of the Iraqi Governing Council

Noah Feldman, senior advisor for constitutional law to the Coalition Provisional Authority, and assistant professor of law, New York University

Benjamin Ferencz, prosecutor at the Nuremberg war crimes trials

Reed Brody, special counsel at Human Rights Watch in New York

Remember Osama?

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Now that Public Enemy number one has been found, some are wondering what happened to the other guy. It’s been two years since Osama bin Laden disappeared in the smoke of the US assault on Tora Bora. The spiritual leader of the Taliban, Mullah Omar also vanished into the twilight zone of these borders between Afghanistan and Pakistan. Some experts credit these men with inspiring a terrorist renaissance in that part of the world.

Once again messages and video tapes are circulating, foot soldiers are regrouping and jihadis are reorganizing in madrasas. Now that Saddam Hussein is in custody, some wonder whether it’s time for the Americans to get back to the business of finding Osama — or whether the smart thing to do is to leave him in the desert.

Guests:

Jessica Stern, lecturer at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government

Steven Simon, senior analyst at the RAND institute

Scott Baldauf, Christian Science Monitor South Asia correspondent

Massoud Ansari, a Senior Reporter for the Pakistani newsmagazine Newsline

What Now for the Democrats?

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After the capture of Saddam Hussein, some have cynically suggested the Democrats might as well cancel their convention. And while George Bush enjoys his “We Got Him” bounce in the polls, the Democrats are scrambling to find a foreign policy message.

The capture is an especially harsh blow to Howard Dean who has defined himself as the anti-war candidate. In his first major foreign policy speech, the former Vermont Governor once again sparked controversy by insisting “The capture of Saddam Hussein has not made America safer.” And with that, his Democratic rivals are aiming their fire at the leader of their pack, accusing him of lacking knowledge and judgment.

Guests:

Senator John Kerry;
Ryan Lizza, Associate editor of The New Republic;
Bruce Jentleson, Former Senior Foreign Policy Advisor to Vice President Al Gore;
Anthony Lake, Foreign Policy Advisor to Howard Dean;

Finding Osama

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Guests:

Michael Ignatieff

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Guests:

Michael Ignatieff, Director of the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy at Harvard University, regular contributor to The New York Times Sunday Magazine, and author of the new novel, “Charlie Johnson in the Flames.”

Saddam Captured II

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Guests:

A Win for Campaign Finance Reform

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Guests:

Larry Noble, Executive Director and General Counsel for The Center for Responsive Politics;
Wayne LaPierre, Executive Vice President and Chief Executive Officer, National Rifle Association;
Andrew Grossman, Executive Director, Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee;