Pitch a Show: May 4, 2007

The streak of listener-suggested shows continued this last round:

  • Tom B pitched Hannah Arendt and the Banality of Evil
  • Potter pitched Immigration’s Katrina
  • brent pitched Iraqi Kurdistan
  • hurley and valkyrie607 pitched Women in War
  • Charlotte Fleetwood pitched Le Jazz Hot
  • Toby in the North pitched Englishness
  • barthjg pitched On the Watch List and Re-Imaging Violence
  • Dora pitched Shakespeare and Power
  • nother pitched Camille Paglia and Sonny Rollins
  • Alexandre Enkerli pitched France: The Sarko vs. Sego Prism
  • There may be a few pitches from the last thread that we haven’t answered — we’ll answer them here. If you’re curious, here’s the full archive of pitch-a-show threads, and here’s the full list of the listener-suggested shows we’ve produced as well as the ones we’re still working on.

    Leave your pitches below.

    How This Works
    Every day one of our producers reads the pitch-a-show thread and responds in the thread with a roundup. We read every show suggestion and will respond to as many as we can.

    Every day, that same producer takes the pitches that could make a good show and presents them to the whole staff in our 11 am story meeting. If the rest of the staff thinks the show might work on the radio, too, we write up a short description and post the idea as a new show under “Warming Up.” Sometimes the pitch dies in the meeting; we often reject our own ideas, too. (Often brutally. It’s not a meeting for wallflowers.)

    When you pitch a show idea, try to answer the question “Why now?” We don’t want to be slaves to the news cycle — and we’re less news-bound than most public radio shows — but if you want us to do a show on Dostoevsky, for example, help us figure out why now is the time to do it. Is there something going on in Russia now that makes him especially relevant or interesting?

    Pitch us ideas from your own reading habits and your own lives. We read The New York Times and listen to Fresh Air, too; we need your help catching the stories we might not see. Do you have regional insight on a national issue? Have you read something in a local paper with wider implications (or just fascinating in its own right)?

    On the radio we need a conversation. We need questions. If you have a thesis or a conclusion, you’re better off writing a blog post or an article than pitching it as a show.

    Give us as much information as you can. Are there any links you can leave us as a reference? Run a search on Technorati or Google Blogsearch; are any bloggers writing about this? We’re understaffed and distracted; point us in a direction and then help us down the road with a solid nudge.

    We’re working hard to respond as quickly and as thoroughly as we can; please don’t be disappointed if your pitch doesn’t make it to the radio. Stick around. Pitch again. We’re reading.


    254 thoughts on “Pitch a Show: May 4, 2007

    1. Can we take the current liberal v. conservative or red/blue political dichotomy and examine its origins in the French Revolution.

      Perhaps taking a look at Burke’s “Reflections on the Revolution in France” versus Paine’s “The Rights of Man” and examining their formative influence of today’s political parties and philosophies.

    2. This is the first installment of a pitch – sort of a copy of a post from your last and soon to be submerged show in the climate change series.

      I have been going back and forth with plnelson on the Detroit’s Big Three thread and I want to write more about that but for now:

      We can’t live like Americans anymore.

      About the IPCC report that came out today. We should have a show about it. They are advising several approaches, many approaches. The first thing is to continue education and awareness. From that comes changes in lifestyle, behavior. We need new technologies and further development of ones that we have.

      The BBC had a segment on it today. They did a number of interesting interviews: with ordinary people,people from China, people from Kenya and with people on the climate change case. This is a trememdous opportunity for the world to come together actually. People WANT to do their part.

      Gosh it was so disappointing to hear the White House reaction to the IPCC report. The WH is scaring us about a world recession if we act on this advice ( measures that might save lives, save life as we know it from catastrophe for God’s sake!!! Unbelievable!)

      Quote of the Day- BBC

      “If the burdens are shared fairly, then I think the benefits are going to be there for all of us, not least in the fact that we will survive, rather than seeing a situation where much of the planet becomes uninhabitable” Mark Lynas

      Mark Lynas has a blog I notice.http://www.marklynas.org/ I was impressed with the BBC interview today from which this above quote was lifted:


      Mark Lynas would be a good guest. he is a climate change analyst. He warns of a tipping point when we might see collapse of the Amazonian rainforest and that would boost climate change. He warns of methane arising from the Siberian permafrost…. Yet he says we can do something.

    3. I was thinking it would be worthwhile to discuss the degredation of the line between church and State in Presidential politics.

      This is a problem that hits both sides of the political divide (and the media too). It seems that Republicans feel that they have cornered the market on “God,” yet all candidates seem committed (or forced?) to establish thier God credentials. There was even a small blip in the Obama-mania when it was “discovered” that he attended a muslim-school in Indonesia.

      The media decries the problem, yet at the same time, constantly focuses on some candidates faith (for example the massive attention that’s been placed on Mitt Romney’s Mormonism, a recent two-day PBS special on Mormons, and a recent Washington Post/Newsweek Panel discussion on Mormonism (http://newsweek.washingtonpost.com/onfaith/index.html?hpid=opinionsbox1).

      Maybe we could review why it matters what church a candidate attends, and why America hasn’t gotten over this issue.

    4. Ah, a fresh thread!

      Glad my suggestion for Globalization Through an African perspective received some thoughtful comments. Yup, much of it has to do with debunking the idea that Globalization is the same thing as “Westernization.”

      Of course, there’s a post-Cold War angle, with Chinese involvement in Africa. And some of the recent elections in different parts of the continent could provide some interesting hooks.

      An obvious subject that I haven’t heard about on the show: empowered Muslim women.

      Been having some discussions about similar subjects with my friend (and fellow blogging anthropologist) Yara El-Ghadban. Here’s one of her posts in English:


      Lila Abu-Lughod (yet another anthropologist has written a very thoughtful piece on “the dangers of pity”:


      It’s no surprise that both pieces talk about veils. Judeo-Christian perceptions of Muslim women are still caught up with these images. Edward Said’s Orientalism is even more of a must-read now than it ever was.

      There are many obvious hooks. But it would be extremely refreshing if the show were to celebrate the very large number of very strong women in almost every Muslim society around the Globe.

    5. Maybe you guys could have a go at doing a show on the visual arts. The Hopper show that just opened at the MFA in Boston is going to be traveling to Washington and then Chicago, and is currently being reviewed in the major newspapers. It likely bears all of the markings we’ve come to expect from these corporate-underwritten major museum shows: bland and predictable curating, forbidding crowds, limitless gift shop merchandising, etc. But Chris seems to rise particularly to discussions about American arts and letters, and Hopper is of course an American original in many ways.

      Part of my interest is in seeing how your format might actually enable lively conversational exchange around a shared and simultaneous viewing experience. Many of the thread contributors here are themselves artists, and I would love to be looking at Hopper paintings with them, with Chris and with some interesting guests. Could be like a virtual gallery tour, with paintings posted in advance and discussion of them already well in course by showtime.

      Somewhere in one of the slim crevices of her discourse not filled with self-aggrandizement or sputtering denunciation, Camille Paglia usefully remarked on how sustained and reflective looking has been challenged by the fast clicking and cutting of our communications regime. ROS shows on music and literature have often been quite revealing, and I wonder if it might work with visual art as well.

    6. I don’t know why this popped into my head, but I’d love to hear Christopher Lydon examine this topic: Everything you wanted to know about Viagra but were affraid to ask.

      –where did the weird name come from

      –the economics of this blockbuster drug and big pharma: reality check on facts about ed and why this drug is really so popular, crunch the numbers, just how hugely successful is viagra

      –obviously there can’t be that many people with ed, so how does it get prescribed so much

      –background/history on ed facts (how did we ever survive without viagra)

      –recreational use vs. legit use (interview people who take it)

      –black market

      –use compared around the world

      –it’s compeditors

      –what does it say about our culture that we either A) have widespread ed, or B) widespread abuse

      –what does it say about our culture when a retired senator becomes a pitchman for an erection drug

      –the spam compains

      –how did we survive before viagra



    7. Great idea pryoung!

      President Bush Commemorates Earth Day 2007

      “By encouraging cooperative conservation, innovation, and new technologies, my Administration has compiled a strong environmental record. This Earth Day, harmful air pollutant levels are down more than ten percent since 2001. Millions more Americans are drinking cleaner, safer water. We have removed hazardous fuels from more than 19 million acres of federal land. We have created, restored, or protected more than 2.5 million acres of wetlands, and we have conserved almost 200 million of acres of habitat through Farm Bill conservation programs. And we are taking positive steps to confront the important challenge of climate change. Our work is not done. We also have a responsibility to pass on to future generations our commitment to the environment.”

      – President George W. Bush

      April 20, 2007

      (my bold above)

      Part Two of my pitch about the IPCC Report that just came out warning of the dire consequences of not getting a move on action to try to prevent catastrophic climate change. The important message is that something can be done if we act precipitously.

      The White House responded immediately not with a “let’s get to work” but with fearmongering about world economic recession:

      From the Wapo:

      The White House quickly issued a statement rejecting the more aggressive options outlined by the report. Referring to the highest-cost scenario, James L. Connaughton, chairman of the White House Council on Environmental Quality, said it “would of course cause global recession, so that is something that we probably want to avoid.”

      The IPCC report says however ( as reported in the same article):

      The world could meet the goal of stabilizing the level of greenhouse gases by 2030, the report said, at a sacrifice of less than 3 percent of the projected growth in the world’s total economic output, or 0.12 percent annually. In other words, the world economy could still grow robustly, but at a slightly slower rate, while nations take steps to avoid severe climate change.

      Ahem! What choice do we have White House? Survival and growing at a slightly lower rate perhaps or even a recession OR prompting catastrophe world-wide? Which is worse?

      Panel Calculates Cost of Global Warming Fix

      From a WH press briefing released May4th Connaughton is Chair of the WH Council on Qnvironmental Quality-

      Q So to follow up, you’re saying that the 445 to 535, which specifically mentions a range of GDP reduction greater than 3 percent – that is what you’re saying is something that it would cause a global recession and something we’d probably avoid – that scenario with the 445 to 535 stabilization level?

      CHAIRMAN CONNAUGHTON: That’s an accurate description of that scenario. Again, I want to differentiate between what is happening, what will happen and these various scenarios for what might happen. And certainly there is no leader in the world that is going to be pursuing a strategy that would drive their economies into a deep recession. I think the leaders of the world are focused on strategies that grow economies, that pay for these technologies that make the solution possible.

      Q I guess I’m just trying to translate that. In other words, you’re not aiming for that 445 level there – you’re more aiming toward the other level?

      MODERATOR: We’ll take another question at this point. Thank you so much. Next question, please.


      Our leaders are leading us off a cliff,steering us towards the abyss says Mark Lynas


    8. Sorry- There are three “stabilization levels” (for green house gases I presume) discussed in this press conference. The one we should be aiming for to save us is the lowest one discussed here (435-535 ppm) The other levels, 535-590ppm and 590-710ppm, are extremely risky and this is what we seem to be steering towards in order to avoid recession.

      In the meantime the world is looking for us to take some strong meaningful action.

      This by the way should be a major topic with presidential candidates. I don’t hear anything.

      Okay I’ll stop for now.

    9. A little late for poetry month, but …. Mary Oliver has a new book out with some phenomenal poems. I’ve been thinking that she is the Robert Frost of our times — her poems are so accessible in their simplicity, and have such a wide-ranging appeal. I have heard her poems read at memorial services, in a leadership class, to open meetings, and received them by email as a thank you. There is no other living poet that in my experience has been so widely appreciated and provided so much meaning to a really diverse audience.

    10. I’m sorry if you’ve already done this, but I’ve been a little obsessed with guns lately. Rather, gun control. Hard not to be, given Virgina Tech — but I also was an innocent victim not long ago. Kids had a gunfight outside my house and not only did several bullets hit my house and some cars, but one bullet actually came in my bedroom window and hit the far wall. Miraculous that no one was hurt either in my house or outside — bullets were flying randomly.

      So how did these kids get these guns? Why is there no real debate about gun control when innocent people are maimed and killed all around us? Boston alone has had a huge surge in gun violence in the last year and while I know people are trying to address the problem of violence, I don’t hear much about actually getting rid of the guns. Years ago when there was a mass shooting by a crazy guy in Scotland, the response was to get rid of ALL guns. The Olympic shooting team can’t even practice there, has to go to a neighboring country.

      I’d like to hear a show delving into our weird notion of liberty and the right to bear arms, and hear from people who are doing real work on this. Can we ever truly change America’s gun culture?

    11. Plays and movies about political courage: Beckett,Man for all Seasons, The Lionj in Winter (kate Heburn) and Michael Frayn’s Democracy.

      This might help o answer the question posed to George Tennet(and could be posed to Colin and Condi) why did you not resign?

      Seapking of politics, I am still voting for Sidewalker’s show on Tangon.

    12. Austira is considering making the “Chimp” as a “Person” What constitutes a”person”

    13. Orwekipedia: Realtime rewriting of history to conform to a politician’s proclamations.

      After Nicolas Sarkozy was criticized by Segolene Royal during the French presidential debate for getting his facts on nuclear energy wrong, internauts continued the debate online. The first blow was struck at 10:34 pm by someone who edited a French language wiki page about France’s nuclear technology (which supported Royal’s claims) to reflect what Sarko had claimed in the debate. The change was annulled (presumably by a Royalist) at 10:36 pm and back and forth by various “contributors” every few minutes until 12:28 am when an administrator “closed trading”.

      Can we expect this French fashion to cross the pond in time for this years’ US presidential season?

    14. I came across this website and wondered if abortion (hot topic) as racism has ever been discussed on the show. You guys always come up with provocative topics and this would be one, no doubt. The sites claim that the number of abortions committed in Black and Latino communities is disproportionate to the size of their populations.

      Here is a link to the website that links abortion and racism: http://www.blackgenocide.org/black.html

      and Dr. Alveda C. King is the daughter of Rev. A. D. King, Martin Luther King’s brother. Also writes her thoughts here: http://www.kingforamerica.com/adkfoundation_article2.htm

      One article writes:

      ‘Racist in effect, not intent’

      “Whether intentional or not, he said, the abortion industry is following in the footsteps of Planned Parenthood’s “founding mother,” Margaret Sanger, a leader in the eugenics movement who in 1939 created the so-called “Negro Project” to promote birth control to black women.”

    15. Responses to pitches from 4 May 07

      TromboneErik: Thanks for the link. I just sent it around to everyone. It’s helpful in that it clarifies why the topic is interesting right now (i.e., NY is currently debating it), but it’s not quite a “sermon” in that it’s not the opinion of someone who could be a potential guest — so if you have ideas, do send them our way!

      Dora: You might want to check out a show David produced a few months ago (Micromanaging vs. Oversight) on Congress’s role in the war. It doesn’t tackle your question head on, but I believe it does address it.

      RobertPeel: We’ve done several shows that take on your question. You’ll find Lawrence Wilkerson on Colin Powell here; a global-warming whistleblower here; and a discussion of the Iraq-war generals here.

      nbowling: This would be a “high concept”, made-up sort of show — in other words, to be great, it would take just the right talkers who have a thesis and are passionate about it.

      Potter: We have a show up on our story board that will address some of this — but we just haven’t had the time to work on it yet. We hope to ask whether a real and lasting solution to global warming is actually possible within the framework of global capitalism — or whether it will require a radical rethinking of our entire economic system.

      Will Stevens: We’ve talked about church and state a couple of times. You could try Kevin Phillips: The Unholy Trinity or A Christian America.

    16. Responses to pitches from May 5th and 6th

      Alexandre Enkerli: Empowered Muslim women is a concept that we should celebrate, yes, but I don’t hear it as a radio show. What are the obvious hooks you were thinking about?

      pryoung: There’s a big opinion split here about the efficacy of doing visual shows on the radio. Chris thinks the pictures can be better in the theater of the mind. Mary and I are sceptical about that claim. In any case, a number of us here are interested in checking out the Hopper show — perhaps in a few weeks, when the hordes die down — and we’ll definitely consider shows that would follow.

      egauvin : I know you answered this question in your first sentence, but are there any specific reasons why your Viagra pitch popped up, as it were? They’re all good questions, and they may even have some interesting answers, but I’m afraid a Viagra show will seem like it came out of nowhere…

      BB: Every month could be Poetry Month, and we don’t like those kinds of ghettoized celebrations anyway! We’ll order the book and take a look.

      As for the gun control show, my gut reaction is that I’m not sure we can come up with a show that would teach us anything. This issue is sort of like abortion, or the Israeli/Palestinian conflict, in that both sides have such clearly defined positions, histories, and rhetoric that creating a fruitful dialogue or productive conversation is really hard. I think this was in fact in evidence in the immediate aftermath of the Virginia Tech shootings, when we DID hear people talking about gun control: On the very afternoon of the shootings a number of conservative commenters explained that if there had been more guns on the campus, this never would have happened. At the same time there were voices asking many of your questions. I don’t want to be a defeatist, but where can a viable conversation go from there?

      Robert Peel: We came pretty close to answering your unaswerable questions in our recent animal science show.

      poncho: I think we can expect that kind of wiki sparring in 2008 — and in fact I think we’ve already seen it here in previous elections.

      elile: Huh. To my ears this pitch really rests not on race but on the question of whether or not abortion is murder. I wouldn’t be inclined to produce that show, for the same reasons I outlined in my response to BB a few lines above. But what about the rest of you in the community?

    17. Katherine thank you. I think I proposed several possible shows in my jumbled reaction to the IPCC report and my dialogue with plnelson who does feel, if after all that I have him straight, that the math suggests that climate change is almost if not impossible to stall, mitigate, nevermind reverse. Just too hard, he says. Yet no one I read is saying that; they are urging immediate action and saying it’s doable.

      I looked over the shows that you have done already and my feeling is that this should be more than a mini-series. It should be a full series ongoing. It is turning out to be that anyway perhaps. Considering it’s importance I wonder if you could commit yourselves to at least a show every other month on some aspect of this. I figure you do 20 shows a month, so 40 in two months- one of those on climate change. I would like more than that actually and I think you could make it very interesting- country by country or whatever. The subtopics are themselves each a possible mini-series within the larger series. I guess what I am asking is if you would consider expanding or even covering again- with different people or different aspects- some of the same sub-topics some of which are already almost 2 years old. One of the keys to this is awareness and I feel very strongly that the media must keep on it and make it interesting too.

    18. How about a show on the up-for-review farm bill. Michael Pollan is speaking out about the link between the farm bill, the destruction our subsidies cause to farm economics in other nations, the influx of immigrants and obesity amongst the poor in this country. It seems like for the first time ever, people outside of the farm states may take in interest in the ramifications of the Farm Bill. Can we get our state reps to talk about it? Can we get Micheal Pollan on to talk about it?

    19. ROS staff never responded to my suggestion about Dancing with the Stars. Just wanted to point out that I only posted it – it’s a bit embarrassing to admit that I like the program – because when I mentioned it to Chris, he instructed me to put it on the suggestion thread….

    20. Hi David, whether people view abortion as murder or not, the race aspect of the procedure is interesting seeing that the majority of people who have the procedure are minorities and that some members of those communities view it as a problem/race issue. I thought it was interesting because I had never come across the topic before.

    21. Sorry Katherine- I am off about shows per month. I think it’s 4.3 weeks per month on average. So maybe that translates to 35-36 shows in a two month period.

    22. There may be a few pitches from the last thread that we haven’t answered — we’ll answer them here

      I pitched and one of the producers answered. I didn’t see it until just now – with your indulgence I’ll repeat it here ..

      Summary: assume that the optimists are right and we are able to prolong life. Not just a bunch of old people with old people problems living out a few more decades but decades or more with reasonably good health.

      What would you DO with all that time? Current rules would have you retire with easily a 1/3 or more of your lifespan in front of you. You can only play so much golf and the usual reasons for being in a retirement community – you require more physical support, or nursing care – are gone.

      You’re old but healthy. Able to work or start a new career and enjoy it. Or lend your talents to a charity or NGO.

      Or just take long walks with your beloved. I like my life and who I’m with – I’d certainly like a great deal more of it. Nights like this one – I’m here chatting away and surfing, my wife is next to me, doing much the same. Later there may be a walk, with the dogs.

      It’s boring, perhaps. If I’d seen this twenty years ago I would have been horrified. But I _like_ it.

      I’m not sure who you could get as a guest or guests but ..

      Aubre de Grey


      Technology Review article


      Phil Bowermaster and Stephen Gordon blog at The Speculist, and have a podcast called Fast Forward Radio. Yes, I know, podcasts can be amateurish but their’s isn’t. You can hear what they sound like before you get them on the radio! Their motto is ‘live to see it’ which might give you an indication how they feel about life extension.


    23. How bout one on the “9/11 truther movement”. It would be worth it just to read the comments.

    24. Allison: I think the feeling around here is that it’s too soon for another show with Pollan, although we all think he’s awesome. On the other hand, the farm bill seems both important and under-exposed. I’ll mention it at the meeting tomorrow. Also, Dancing With the Stars came up today; we thought Chris and Mary should enter as an unprecedented double-star team. Robin answered your pitch here; the gist is that we might want to focus the show on the broader ballroom dancing subculture, rather than one reality program.

      Brian Dunbar: Our Atul Gawande show tomorrow should focus pretty heavily on the science of aging. Meanwhile, I agree with Julia’s original response to your pitch, that the interesting angle here is what to DO with the time if we get it. It seems that folks like Aubrey de Grey are more focused on how to achieve a longer lifespan; for him at least, the question of why you would want it is easy, right? Who could we talk to about how to fill the time in your twelfth decade?

    25. re: gun control.

      All good points, there’s definitely no winning over the die-hards. But rather than try to win them over, I think it would be interesting to hear from some people talking about the facts — the number of guns held by private citizens and of what kind, how these guns are available (gun shows are the worst culprits), the scope of both legal and illegal gun trade, the number of gun incidents, and what affect, if any, gun take-back programs (or other programs) are having.

      The thing is, incidents like the one at Virgina Tech grab the world’s attention but every day people are shot. What about the recent college grad from NY who was an innocent bystander of a shooting in Dorchester. What about the Roxbury woman who lost both of her sons to gun violence within a couple of years? What about the fact that kids (who were maybe 14, 15) were having a major gunfight outside my house right here in Cambridge?

      It’s appalling — both that it’s happening in the first place, and that nothing’s being done about it.

      Okay, climbing down from my soapbox now. I don’t know about the technicalities of putting a show together so it may not make for a good show, but it’s really bumming me out lately so I had to advocate.

    26. re: The OpenSource software movement

      I think a show on the OpenSource movement in software would be very intersting.

      IT Conversations has an OpenSource website where you can find lots of material and possible show participants.

    27. One more idea -

      Rostopovich, Dissident and Master

      Similar to the recent last conversation with David Halberstam, Christopher could host a retrospective show on a master musician that had the courage to fight for his beliefs. He sheltered Solzhenitsen, suffered self-imposed exile, played in front of the crumpling Berlin Wall, and triumphantly returned to his homeland. This is a man whose life spanned from the entire gamut of communist rule in Russia. His politics plus his music make him one of the most fascinating figures of the 20th century.

    28. I read an article on “The Authenticity Timeline” in Fast Company. It was a cute look at media, consumerism, and brand culture filtered through the eyes of one design/advertising/brand company named Ziba. Tracking authenticity is an interesting idea, but I think it is something ROS could crack open and add some substance to from the world of literature and journalism. Use Ziba’s as a model or start, and expand. Perhaps use that wiki technology and let users build it out over time?

      “authenticity’s DNA, as it evolves from the 1950s world of Father Knows Best to the post-postmodern world we live in now… The rising importance of authenticity is driven by two forces that transcend everything–design, brands, politics, and sports. First, it’s easier than ever to fake it. Second, it’s easier than ever to get caught.”

      Era of Simulation

      Manufacturing excellence and know-how make it increasingly difficult to differentiate between real and fake. Consolidation of manufacturing in OEM factories creates a “gray market” selling “near-real” items. The era of the knock-off.

      1955: Disneyland opens, Main Street USA

      1960: Andy Warhol

      1968: Circus Circus casino opens in Las Vegas

      1975: China’s Zhou Enlai introduces “Industry” as one of the Four Modernizations

      Era of Meaning

      Abundance and transparency create a demand for meaning. Social networks leverage the Internet to expose insincere brands. The era of trust and passion.

      1985: The calamitous launch of New Coke

      1989-1991: Tiananmen Square protests and the fall of the Berlin Wall. Images and coverage from Western news sources make it impossible for governments to control the flow of information. The dismantling of Communist Europe begins.

      1994: Netscape launches its first browser

      1999: Establishment of epinions.com

      2001: The Internet bust, 9/11, the subsequent US recession, and corporate scandal leave Americans searching for “meaning, God and jihad.”

      2002-’03: historians Doris Kearns Goodwin and Stephen Ambrose and establishment journalists Jayson Blair and Stephen Glass become embroiled in plagiarism scandals

      2003: Pew Research study shows that 21% of people aged 18-29 get their news mainly from the fake newscasts delivered by The Daily Show with Jon Stewart and Saturday Night Live.

      2005-’07: Consumers become original-content creators: YouTube, MySpace



      it’s funny that the labels used in Era(s) of Meaning and Simulation are switched from what I learned. 70s-90s are post modern and simulated and earlier are the ages of meaning and original content. Different lenses.

    29. This is really a pitch for a show rather than a comment…

      Have you heard of all the exciting things (innovations/music/technology/entrepreneurial activities/art etc) happening in AFRICA?

      All we get is AIDs, Famine, Bono, and massacres and political malfeasance. But there is another great story happening in that content.. For some ideas have you heard of Technology/Entertainment/Design? It usually has its conference/speakers in California…invitation only…but for the first time it’s having it in Tanzania, AFrica….the line-up? Plus you could interview Thandika Mkandawire (Our Continent, Our Future; and AFrica Review of Books) he’s exec. Director of UN Research Institute for Social Development

      “Africa: The Next Chapter”

      It couldn’t be a more exciting time to be holding the first TED conference in Africa. We invite you to join us on a journey into the continent’s future. The program lineup of 50 speakers — like all TEDs — includes inventors, business leaders, entrepreneurs, scientists, designers, artists, writers, activists, musicians and mavericks. But they have this in common: They are all doing something valuable for Africa’s future. Their voices will inspire. And their ideas will spread.

      Some of the speakers already confirmed include:

      Ngozi Okonjo Iweala

      Former Nigerian Finance minister, and a Fellow of the Brookings institute. Charismatic advocate of Africa’s potential.

      Any of these folks plus someone like maybe Thandika Mkandawre of UN Research Institute for Social Development, African Scholar, with a perspective we dont’ get to hear much. he is a prolific writer (“Africa: The Next Chapter”

      It couldn’t be a more exciting time to be holding the first TED conference in Africa. We invite you to join us on a journey into the continent’s future. The program lineup of 50 speakers — like all TEDs — includes inventors, business leaders, entrepreneurs, scientists, designers, artists, writers, activists, musicians and mavericks. But they have this in common: They are all doing something valuable for Africa’s future. Their voices will inspire. And their ideas will spread.


    30. Responding to yesterday’s pitches:

      1st/14th: We’ve had the 9/11 truth movement show pitched before, actually. Chris watched one of the documentaries on a (rare) free Friday afternoon. We’ve never been convinced by the arguments.

      HI zgarilli, and congratulations on your first pitch! I think the Open Source software movement is more our medium than our message. Then again, we’re redesigning the website this summer, and we’re planning to work closely with open source communities and developers, so maybe we’ll get a taste for what the new, interesting story is there.

      Will Stevens: I’ll pitch your Rostopovich show. Any ideas for dream guests?

    31. Samgr

      Our Atul Gawande show tomorrow should focus pretty heavily on the science of aging. Meanwhile, I agree with Julia’s original response to your pitch, that the interesting angle here is what to DO with the time if we get it. It seems that folks like Aubrey de Grey are more focused on how to achieve a longer lifespan; for him at least, the question of why you would want it is easy, right? Who could we talk to about how to fill the time in your twelfth decade?

      Let me think about that. My own answer is “what I”m doing now’.

    32. Loryn: Yes, a show on Africa would be great. Most Americans do not realize that there are 57 countries there.

      Yes ,Africa has medical innovations and a working to expand wireless and internet service(similar to the telephone in the U.S. and the Tenn Valley Authority)

      Remember that Ted Koppel has planed to do a series on Africa its wars,revolutions and famines before 9/11.

    33. Here’s a fun pitch:

      Pranks: more specifically, can you do pranks in the age of high security?

      I’m thinking of the mooninight scramble in boston, and there have been some great stories the past few years about IMPROV EVERYWHERE on This American Life and NPR. Pranks are more underground these days, and tech based (synchronized Ipods / Flash Mobs get simultaneous txts, that kind of thing)

      There is also a new wave of pranks TV shows like Girls behaving Badly, Punked, and the wedding one on prime time can’t think of the name. Are pranks mean? Have we gotten meaner?

      But rather than a wacky “best pranks ever” episode I thought you could talk to Barbara Ehrenreich whose book Dancing in the Streets is about the anarchic spirit of Collective joy. I wonder if she can make the connection between class warfare in Mardi Gras and the eternal practical joke. On Wikipedia it says that Aristotle described a book of pranks by some greek.

      There are Prank’s connections to Dada

      Are pranks inherently aggressive?

    34. Here’s an idea: Let’s gloat over the downfall of the “girls gone wild” founder


      He just got jail time for filming underage girls and contempt of court. I get the impression he has turned into a monster and made gazillions of dollars (oops other way around).

      Yes, I hate him for those DISGUSTING late night commercials where you can see the action even if the bits are blacked out. I feel like he’s destroying the culture, cheapening and degrading young girls, forcing me to watch them shame themselves. I can’t click fast enough to avoid those awful commercials. And while we’re on it, snoop dogg and his porn empire, and Paris Hilton and her shameless narcissism. And yes, I dislike Martha Stewart too, for her empty idea ofwhat a “good Thing” is.

      So, the culture is being ruined and I want these people taken down.

      And sure enough, they are!

      Paris is going to jail, Martha did her time. Snoop’s in some kinda trouble…

      Were they all guilty of something, or were they cruising for a takedown by being too different / egotistical / famous?

      Are they getting the same sentences as similar criminals?

      Title: Was Paris Framed?

      Possible pundits: Leo Braudy: The frenzy of Renown (still alive?)

    35. Hey Greta,

      Thanks for pointing me to Robin’s response. I was definitely thinking of “Strictly Ballroom” and the culture of ballroom dancing when I found myself attracted to Dancing with the Stars. What is our fascination with the strange costumes and the melodramatic poses? The women are dancing on spiked heels, wearing practically nothing, while the men are fully garbed in comfortable shoes. Hmmmm, how much progress have we made? And I’m enjoying it. On one level I’m appalled at myself. On another I want to challenge myself to the physical feat. I find myself pining for Gene Kelly. Chris says he preferred Fred Astaire. It seems like each generation has their landmark glitzy dance scene. Last night I remembered the Solid Gold dancers, but they don’t come to mind as easily as Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers. There’s something about ballroom….

      I have a friend who loves Zydeco dancing. She’s very particular about the etiquette of it all. Once she explained to me that it was one of the rare social experiences where girls and boys could have contact, body contact, where the rules were in place to make it safe, while those same limitations made it titillating. Perhaps this has something to do with the ballroom fascination – teetering on the edge of bawdy with just enough rigidity to make it respectable.

    36. There was a transexual sportswriter who just came out at the LA Times.

      Rather than a show about how transexuals have to suffer to fit into society, what about a show about how ordinary people have to change themselves to accept transexuals. Are we willing to do it?

      Gazing at transexuals.

      Anyone who lives in a large city might come in contact with a transexual at some point. How do people react?

      Personally, I’m extremely polite but slightly edgy. I would die if I gave offense but I’m uncomfortable. How do I get over it? Can Transexuals notice it? How do they cope?

      If I dig into my feelings, I’m maybe a bit skeptical of a transexual’s motives. Did they really HAVE to go through with this? Is it REALLY a mental disorder or is it just… I don’t know… a fad?

      There was a disease in the 1800′s called the walking sickness where a man would walk away from his farm and his fields and be found months later in another country. He would just up and walk away and not be able to say why. That “disease” doesn’t exist now and the theory is that it was a suggestion that got passed around. Could Transexualism be that?

      I’m pitching this idea becase I had an experience recently. I was flirting with a guy, and he was flirting back and we almost exchanged numbers. I saw him later and he told me that he was a FtoM transexual. Pre-Op. The beard was from hormones. I can’t describe the splashes of emotion that sloshed over me: shock! Excitement! Fear! Curiosity! Indignation! Self-doubt! Revulsion! Shame! I stammered and bumbled and totally lost my bearings. I have never in my adult life been so disoriented in a public place.

      How interesting…

    37. On the Farm Bill piece, I think what’s interesting is that Pollan is building momentum for getting government to think about the farm bill in relation to nutrition. Oxfam is on it, Environmental Defense is on it. they’re all talking about aligning the farm bill with health initiatives. In the past, the non-farming states have not cared about the Farm Bill. It’s been a give-away for negotiating purposes. But by linking the Farm Bill to public health issues, it could be the first time that constituents of non-farm states voice concern and push their congressmen to get involved. All the years of destroying farming economies around the world doesn’t get our attention, but when we realize the effect it might be having on our own health, we might just stand up and demand change.

      I don’t know who would be a good alternative to Pollan. I did find this attorney’s web site:


      It would be interesting to see where he stands on all of this. He’s a lobbyist for the agriculture industry. Probably not the little guys….

      I’ll see if I can come up with a good voice to present the case for reform.

    38. Greta – Thanks for pitching the Rostropovich idea. An obvious (although unlikely) idea for a dream guest would be Alexander Solzhenitsen himself, or perhaps his son Ignat (a renowned conductor). Rostropovich’s wife, Galina Vishnevskaya, would be interesting. Also, perhaps Leonard Slatkin of the National Symphony Orchestra.

      Finally, Elizabeth Wilson issued a “biography” a few months ago (I haven’t read it), so she would be an excellent source.

    39. Here is an idea for a show that combines several threads. Here are a few, enumerated.

      1. When Christianity emerged from Judaism, there was a strong amount of anti-Jewish sentiment. When Buddhism emerged from Hinduism, there was also a strong amount of anti-Hindu sentiment. However, the anti-Hinduism vanished after a couple of generations. It persists, as we all know, in Christianity.

      2. All religions, by nature, have claims upon the truth. Not all religions claim this truth for the natural world. Buddhism in particular has only the slimmest claim of an understanding of the material world, namely the existence of reincarnation.

      3. In the light of the recent resurgence of eloquent atheists, I have been giving thought to the conflicting truth-claims between science and Christianity. As a thought exercise, I asked Buddhist friends of mine the following question:

      “If you were to learn today that science has absolutely proven that there is no reincarnation, and further that there is no nirvana (since it depends on reincarnation), would that change the way you practice Buddhism?”

      The answers were remarkably uniform. No, their own practice would not change, but it would create subtle changes in passing it on to the next generation.

      So, can we call it the Lear syndrome in the origins of religion? And why would Hinduism and Buddhism be so relatively free of it?

      For guests, the first I would suggest is John Dominic Crossan. I think Robert Thurman would be interesting, too.

    40. re: Rostopovich. Call in Gil Rose or one of the cellists from the Boston Modern Orchestra Project to talk about his legacy in contemporary orchestral music: http://bmop.org/musicians/artistic_director.aspx

      re: If it seems ROS is going to do a Tango show, please take note of the Gotan Project, mixing tango and just a smidgen of electronic dance music. Astor Piazzola changed tango to sound like a Hitchcock score, Gotan Project push it into a different direction and sometimes include MCs. Warning, their site starts playing music from the offset.


    41. Responding to David re: viagra.

      “I know you answered this question in your first sentence, but are there any specific reasons why your Viagra pitch popped up, as it were? They’re all good questions, and they may even have some interesting answers, but I’m afraid a Viagra show will seem like it came out of nowhere…”

      Yes. It’s an off the wall topic (perhaps), but you did a show on tubas and the shuffle feature of ipods… (also somewhat off the wall), which I thought were very interesting.

      I guess I’m initially curious to know how much abuse there is and how much the doctors and drug companies look the other way because they profit from it (how much?). The day they discovered the drug did they think, “finally we’ve found a cure for a serious sexual disorder” or did they think “wow, every guy is going to want to this! Nobody has really heard of ed (yet), but maybe there’s a huge gray area of what could be considered ed… hmmmm imagine the posiblities…” I’m also interested in topics that need some frank and honest appraisal. The only information available to most people is Bob Dole and unbelievably pervasive spam campaigns. I think the average person would love to know “who’s taking this stuff?” I’m not suggesting to “blow the lid off” of big pharma, but at least call them on how they’re involved. I can ony guess how much they make from viagra and I imagine they have some compelling ways to rationalize providing America with some entertainment in the bedroom so they can continue working on the serious stuff.

      Is this a particulary American phenomenon? Does it say something about our culture of instant gratification and interest in obtaining the very most and best of everything possible? Plastic surgury, steroids, hummers, mcmansions, venti lattes, instant music and video downloads, and on and on…. Is it just a diversion, or will it characterize a gerneration?

    42. I just read about the Georgian parents sentenced to life imprisonment after their six week old baby died of malnutrition due to an unhealthy vegan diet. I don’t know if there is a healthy vegan diet for babies, but this is a repeat of a sad 2002 scenario from Auckland.

      ROS could investigate the difference btween parents imposing beliefs upon children vs. raising children amidst moral or religious beliefs. I’ve heard stories of Richard Dawkins chastising parents clothing their children in novelty “atheist baby” clothing, maintaining that the child could not grasp religion let alone choose or deny one brand of it (even his). The show could follow up on comments in the Anthropomorphism and New Zoology shows discussing children adopting vegetarianism, why not give them the same choice in all matters moral? I remember Olympic skiir Peekaboo Street grew up in a family so open that she chose her own name. How much freedom should children have over their own life, and starting when?

      I can’t find a way to word it without soundling like a Dr. Phil or Dr. Spock…

    43. so, they arrested another gang of terrorists in the US. But what does it mean when the leader of the gang, the one paving the way for a group of hapless guys to become real terrorists, is the undercover agent….


      Do we have a pattern yet of our government trying to create scenarios in order to keep us afraid of what might happen here and shore up support for continued pre-emptive action abroad and reduced civil rights at home?

    44. Let’s hope Loryn’s comment will be heard by the “powers that be.” Refreshing ideas about Africa, after all the talk about “Africa’s problems” (which are often related to Neo-Colonialism and Globalization). ROS is in an ideal position to do more than the typical radio show, in terms of representing the achievements of a very diverse continent.

      It’s hard for us to pitch to the pitchers but if one of them could dig a bit deeper into African issues. I personally thought that recent democratic elections in Mali and Nigeria could serve as hooks, given the show’s tendencies. In fact, some responses to democratic elections could be worth at least lip-service.


      Or Asia’s presence throughout Africa (Southwest Asians, South Asians, East Asians).

      Or maybe the African take on European and North American elections? Sarkozy’s influence on African immigration to France, U.S. presidential candidates and African leaders…

      Apart from health problems and military conflicts, Africa has impressive human and natural resources. ROS could do fascinating shows about the “forgotten continent.”

    45. The show: “Digged, Slashdotted, Farked, BoingBoinged” or “The Aftermath of the HD-DVD key Digg riot”

      Digg bowed and kept the HD-DVD key up on their site due to user, server-crashing demand. Is this what the new democracy looks like? What is this power that popular news aggregating sites have?

      Guardian article: http://technology.guardian.co.uk/weekly/story/0,,2075530,00.html

      Chicago Sun-Times columnist discusses getting buried by the Digg effect over a review he wrote: http://www.suntimes.com/technology/ihnatko/337850,CST-FIN-Andy12.article

      Another story about the HD-DVD/Digg story: http://www.thefirstpost.co.uk/index.php?menuID=2&subID=1741

    46. I like shannon’s idea. And you could interview Andrew Keen who has a new book coming out in June called, The Cult of the Amateur, How Today’s Internet is Killing our Culture. He’s well versed on the topic of online communities. I personally think annonymity is driving a lot of the mob mentality. That’s a big topic right there.

    47. Hi guys,

      Not sure exactly how to frame this, but I would be very interested in a show about the Fox Point neighborhood in Providence, RI (Sam leads me to believe that Robin knows a lot about this). Briefly: this is/was a strong community of Cape Verdean immigrants whose roots were disturbed by “development,” including some instigated by Brown University (not unlike what we are seeing now with Harvard moving into Allston). Claire Watkins, a member of that community now living in Boston, has made a striking documentary about this history called “Some Kinda Funny Porto Rican?” More about her and the film here: http://www.spiamedia.com/

      Possible frames: Town vs. Gown expansion; the unique Afro-Portugese-Island-Immigrant identity of Cape Verdeans (the “funny Porto Rican” part); the growth of the African film industry (FESPACO was a recent event that Claire attended); something about the power and importance of telling stories and conducting research about your own family…

    48. Greta,

      I am not talking about a show on the 9/11 Truthers beliefs …. It would be more of exploration of the movement itself. Its not the “argument” of the Truthers that would be discussed, it’s the discussion about the Truthers themselves. Maybe its just because of this “digital age” we live in and all, but I doubt that without the internet and increasingly social networking sites like Myspace, that this would have become as large as it is as quickly as it has. The dedication that the Truthers have is fanatical. Any online discussion about this topic, 9/11 investigations, always draw throngs of Truthers. I would even wager to say that the comments section on a subject like this would ring up hundreds of posting.

    49. I would love to hear a program on all the questions I, as a midlife woman, have about menopause which are NEVER answered in any news story and yet obsess me and my peers when we read the endless series of contradictory study results on how to handle hot flashes and other menopausal symptoms. Reporters inevitably ask (and get answers to) questions like: how long should a woman take HRT? How do we weigh relative risk factors–doing nothing vs. taking natural remedies or HRT. Here are a few questions I have never seen addressed:

      If a woman takes HRT (estrogen and progestin combined) for a few years and then stops, can she expect to go through the same hot flashes and other symptoms she originally had that prompted her to take HRT in the first place? If so, will they be stronger or weaker or the same as those she postponed by taking HRT? Will these symptoms last as long or not? In other words, if I started HRT at age 45 to stop hot flashes, is there any reason to think that when I stop HRT at age 55, I will not have the same experience that prompted me to take the HRT at age 45? (it’s currently recommended that most or all women stop HRT before age 60.) Is it even possible my hot flashes will be worse as a result of having taken HRT? If so, wouldn’t this signal problems for drug companies?

      Then I would repeat the same question about women taking estrogen only (unopposed by progestin).

      Is this issue being studied at all? My hours spent googling these topics have netted zero information on the above question.

      Women are advised to avoid alcohol to avoid hot flashes; but some studies appear to negate that and even to suggest that women who drink moderately have fewer hot flashes. What is the current scientific thinking on this?

      Cognitive impairment is often asserted to be a side effect of menopause or at least of menopausal symptoms. However, some studies appear to conclude that hot flashes correlate to improved or higher cognitive function. Which is correct?

      Some research suggests that women who experience hot flashes are at signficantly greater risk for developing high blood pressure. If so, how does that risk weigh against the risks associated with HRT use?

      Women are routinely told not to take estrogen unopposed by progestin if they have an intact uterus. The rationale is that taking estrogen alone leads to a risk of endometrial cancer (this has been well established). But are there some women with intaact uteri for whom the risk of cancer is outweighed by the benefits of estrogen alone? A few years ago, the magazine PREVENTION ran an article in which quite a few middle-aged women gynecologists were interviewed about their personal decisions on whether to treat menopause with HRT. As I recall, the results were fascinating in that the docs themselves made decisions at odds with what they told their patients to do. Has anyone else ever looked at this issue? Why the disconnect?

      And then there are the deep imponderables:

      What biological purpose do hot flashes serve? One can understand why estrogen declines with age. But what is the biological function of the hot flash, if any? Is anyone studying this?

      Tangential but intriguing issue: sexual function and menopause. Why are Canadian women routinely prescribed testosterone to improve interest in sex after menopause while American women are discouraged from this, presumably because of the side effects? What do such differences in approach to women’s sexuality mean about our two cultures.

    50. btw VeritasRox penn has done the same thing..shoving the underclass further from campus..i’m going to just guess that yale is similar..columbia.. what is is w/ ivy league schools and low income neigborhoods.

      fox point is about to change more..with I-195 getting moved..more adjacent developement on the way.

    51. enhabit and VeritasRox: Savannah got the same treatment during the rapid expansion of Savannah College of Art & Design (with that unfortunate acronym SCAD). The city flourished with tourism and admittedly, it looks fantastic and properly rehabbed, but violence skyrocketed as there wasn’t time for society to adjust or catch up with the influx of money and pretty young things in expensive convertibles. The entire city is a fascinating study of urban planning and preservation gone wonky. All those squares, all that spanish moss, some safe, some not, and no way to tell the difference without an experienced eye.

    52. A set of coincidences leads me to pitch this pitch.

      A few months ago I watched an episode of a favorite childhood show of mine, Star Trek TNG. Long story short, Worf, having come in contact with a quantum fissure, is sent hurtling through many different possible universes. Around the same time, a favorite podcasted public radio show of mine (along, of course, with yours), The Philosopher’s Zone, out of Australia, did a show on the late philosopher David Lewis. I remember the name from a philosophy discussion group I participated in in the past, and plus I’m intrigued by the show, so I pick up his book, “On the Plurality of Worlds,” a few weeks ago, and start reading it, and find the beginning, among other things, beautifully written. And today, at the bookstore, I pick up the May edition of “The Believer,” and find an article on the theory of Many Worlds.

      So, a show on the theory of Many Worlds, both from a quantum physical and philosophical point of view. “The Believer” article by Rivka Ricky Galchen (his name alone is reason enough to have him on) can be used as a basis. Hugh Everett III, as described in the article, is quite a character, and worthy of discussion himself.

      How can this confluence of events not force you to do this show?

    53. I like the “Many Worlds Theory” idea. Here’s the lead-in to the Believer piece mynocturama references. The last paragraph in the preview, which sketches out Everett’s life, is enticing:


      And I am actually intrigued by a “9/11 Truthers” show, though it might be hard to come up with a coherent conclusion to that one other than that some people are nuts. Perhaps it could serve as an entry point into a broader discussion of conspiracy-ism as a social phenomena.

      On a related governments-and-paranoia streak, I read “The Air Loom Gang” a few months ago, and while it might take some twisting to make it topical, it’s a fantastic (true) story, with plenty of reverberations around sanity, conspiracy, and asylums.


      A related angle might be discussing the intertwined roles of the asylum and the prison in the institutionalization of Americans:


    54. In your May 3 show on the French elections a comment was made that the working classes of France have done better economically than those in other industrial nations. Is this true ? Has the capitalist, commercial model worked well for the majority of people or has it truely been the rich getting richer?

    55. CliffSloane,: as you said, your idea contains several threads, many of which we covered on our Meaning and Morality show.

      rahbuhbuh: This is an interesting show idea. We haven’t done nearly enough shows on children. I’ll pitch this in our next story meeting.

      Allison: We dealt with the government’s role in perpetuating fear on our Fear Factor show. This is an interesting subject. Is there another angle or a guest that you have in mind that could go beyond the show that we already did?

      Alexandre Enkerli: Thank for these suggestions. They are all interesting. I’ll see which one the rest of the staff is most interested in.

      And Hurley, if you are reading this I owe you a response to an impeachment show.

    56. A follow up to the 1st/4th pitch about 9/11 truthers:

      “I am not talking about a show on the 9/11 Truthers beliefs …. It would be more of exploration of the movement itself. Its not the “argument” of the Truthers that would be discussed, it’s the discussion about the Truthers themselves. Maybe its just because of this “digital age” we live in and all, but I doubt that without the internet and increasingly social networking sites like Myspace, that this would have become as large as it is as quickly as it has.”

      It might be interesting and informative to do that kind of “meta”show about the movement. My uncle was killed in the WTC, and my aunt, Beverly Eckert, is one of the heads of the family steering committee, the leading advocates for implementing the reforms of the 9/11 commission. I have watched her and other widows struggle to navigate traditional policy channels and exert a non-partisan reform influence on the government. Influencing public opinion has been really challenging, as dealing with the traditional media and slanty documentarians often leaves them with a losing hand. (On Native Soil is a good example of this).

      When I went to the 5th anniversary memorial at Ground Zero–essentially a mass grieving event for victim’s families–the grounds were peppered with 9/11 “truth” protesters who were badgering family members and giving out free cryptically-worded t-shirts that designated their wearers as being interested in the truth. For the members of my family this was a double hit: Not only were we reflecting on the violent and horrible death of a loved one, but the positive campaigning that Beverly had done to get the government to legitimately investigate the REAL truth of the WTC collapse (and the failure of the emergency systems, and the poor response of central authorities, and…) was being mocked by people who seemed to be thriving on conspiracy theories.

      Clearly I think that the 911truth people are full of crap, but I think there is something very worthwhile about why people are visibly and fervently rallying to that cause rather than reading the report from the 9/11 commission and looking at their recommendations (which Beverly is still trying to implement, traveling to Washington on a regular basis)

    57. “A bay, a harbor, a hideout, a home, a military base, a sanctuary, a prison; an outpost on the threshold of nations where neither Cuban, nor U.S., nor international law applies. Guantánamo blurs the categories of modern political representation. Paradoxically, by doing so, it brings them into sharp relief. The history of Guantánamo illuminates the artificial and yet necessary distinctions that construct and sustain the modern world. This project is a tale of that world: on the one hand, of the interaction of nation-states and of national interest with international law; on the other hand, of individuals caught up in the system of states, trying to negotiate the tangle of allegiances and affiliations which that system imposes. Guantánamo Bay has been there all along—when the Taino Indians met Columbus, when Caribbean pirates preyed on the shipping of newly consolidated states, when Spain clashed with Britain, when the U.S. defeated Spain, when Kennedy confronted Castro, when George W. Bush set out to vanquish terror. To know Guantánamo is to know ourselves—as citizens, as a country, as individuals in a world of states.”

      –Paul Farmer quoted Jonathan Hansen,

      http://drclas.fas.harvard.edu/index.pl/event/guantanamo, in his commencement address to Emory today, May 14, 2007.

      Farmer’s “take home message” was about connection. He reminded graduates that the friendships and connections made while in school need to be nourished and sustained. He also reminded those in attendance, with the injunction of the Hansen quote about Guantanamo about how linked our world is.

      So, two shows to pitch. First, get Hansen on the show and do a whole show devoted to a renewal of the guantanamo story from a historical perspective–I want to know WHY “To know Guantánamo is to know ourselves—as citizens, as a country, as individuals in a world of states.”

      Second, its May and we are entering graduation commencement address season. The commencement address is an interesting genre, on par with a wedding or funeral or a religious confirmation oration in that it is trying to capture, clarify the meaning of an experience and to recapitulate the high ideals of the rite of passage for everyone.

      How about a show celebrating the genre?

      If not, how about a list of the best ones?

      Here is one of my favs:

      David Foster Wallace at Kenyon College 2005


    58. I don’t know Chelsea. I’d have to listen to the show again. I was particularly interested in these highly publicized arrests cited to have prevented a terrorist attack at home that turn out to be questionable, at best, in their legitimacy.

      This latest one brings up some interesting questions about entrapment versus a sting. The undercover agent actually stepped us as the lead planner of the action. There doesn’t seem to be much to suggest that these guys even knew how buy weapons or plan an event without the undercover agent. Where is the line drawn for entrapment? And will these guys even get a chance to test that given all the changes in our civil rights lately?

      Besides the obvious political gain of keeping us all on edge about the fragility of life, what kind of person would engage in entrapment? How do they justify it to themselves. This agent, had to realize that he was planning all the detail of this supposed plot. He explained how to get into the site, which weapons to use, where to buy them. Do we all have a time when we override our conscience and entrap someone? What pushes us there? (I know the obvious answer is fear, but fears drive people to do different things for different reasons? When do choose entrapment?

      I’m just blathering on now…..

    59. Krismatic: Jerome Guillet’s assertions about the limitations of capitalism were probably the most intriguing parts of that French election show. A “does capitalism work” show is actually an immense, fraught question. It depends on whom you ask, whom it’s supposed to be working for, and probably only makes sense if it includes a direct comparison to some other model. All of which we could do. I wonder if we need a bit more focus for this. I’ll bring it up at our story meeting and see what develops.

      bft: We haven’t forgotten our slum cities show. Or rather, I should say that we’re still interested in doing one. Our first idea for a guest didn’t pan out, so we’re rethinking the shape of the show, but your prod should get us moving again. Thanks.

    60. webcastboy: What a strange story. As Dan Gillmor mentions, why not outsource to Pasadena bloggers? I’ll mention this at the next meeting. I wonder if anyone has spoken to the reporters in India.

      VeritasRox: I think this is a good idea for a show that would be very difficult to do. Do you have any ideas for someone who might be able to talk about 911 conspiracy theories as a phenomenon? I’ll pitch it.

      thomas: Both of these pitches sound a little broad to me. We’ll check out the Hansen book. Who do you think would have something interesting to say about commencement addresses?

    61. Responses to pitches from 11 May 07

      shannon and egauvin: Robin kept her promise to Bobo to pitch this idea, but unfortunately it didn’t make it onto our story board — largely because we couldn’t figure out a way to talk about it without going back to issues of proprietary digital information that we’ve already covered…

      VeritasRox and enhabit and rahbuhbuh: I’ve forwarded your ideas to Robin, our urban development and Providence expert. She’ll do a little digging and report back in a story meeting.

      NTR: Your questions are all very interesting, but I think they’d make a much better informational column than an hour-long OS show.

      mynocturama and chaldean: I’ll pitch the “many worlds” idea, though without a current champion (physicist or otherwise), it might be a hard sell — any thoughts?

      chaldean: We’ve talked a lot about doing a 9/11 conspiracy show, but it’s hard to sort out how to do an hour on it responsibly.

    62. Our Atul Gawande show tomorrow should focus pretty heavily on the science of aging. Meanwhile, I agree with Julia’s original response to your pitch, that the interesting angle here is what to DO with the time if we get it. It seems that folks like Aubrey de Grey are more focused on how to achieve a longer lifespan; for him at least, the question of why you would want it is easy, right? Who could we talk to about how to fill the time in your twelfth decade?

      Thought about it – I have a pretty short list.

      De Grey is a natural.

      These two guys – http://www.blog.speculist.com/

      Ray Kurzweil, perhaps.

    63. Could we revisit economics? Your Jan. show gave us a good tour of the new field of behavioral economics. Could you do a show on the emerging field of ecological economics—a discipline which seeks not only to challenge some of the basic tenets of neoclassical economics but to change the paradigm?

      The landmark Millennium Ecosystem Assessment concluded that, “Human activity is putting such strain on the natural functions of Earth that the ability of the planet’s ecosystems to sustain future generations can no loner be taken for granted.” During the Jan. show, Christopher said, “Everything rides on the imaginative question and what is urgent in the world?” Given the situation of environmental decline that we find ourselves in, might this be such a question: Is another kind of economics possible, an economics which can shape the economy into one enabling people to live healthy, meaningful lives and to live in harmony with each other and with nature. The ecological economists are a small but growing group on the periphery who think the answer to this question is yes. They now have two text books of their own, Goodwin’s Microeconomics in Context and Farley and Daly’s Ecological Economics: Principles & Applications—textbooks that are claimed to actually help us to understand the real relationships between the economy, society and the environment . (While every year about a million of Samuelson’s classic text, Economics, are bought, these two are being used by 45,000 and 20,000 undergrads respectively.) There is also the Gund Instiute of Ecological Economics at the University of Vermont.

      Some possible questions:

      Does the existence of environmental cleanups, expensive industrial scrubbers, waste treatments plants, and long term storage for dangerous, indestructible waste—all having become needed to sustain a growing economy—plus a competition for resources so fevered as to spawn discord and out right conflict indicate that we may be on the back side of the current economic paradigm, into an era when the productive gains of our industrial machine are more than offset by our loss of nature’s goods and services? If this is so, with continued economic expansion might we be eroding global ecosystems beyond any chance of repair or renewal and thus leaving succeeding generations in a futile struggle against a declining resource base?

      Isn’t the continued growth of the globalized economy proof that the current economic model is the correct one—the economic equivalent of Fukuyama’s “The End of History.” Isn’t more growth the only answer to the absolute imperative to reduce poverty both in the developed and the undeveloped world. Isn’t more economic growth the only way to pay for the technology we need to solve our environmental crisis—or is that like suggesting that gasoline is the way to put out a fire?

      Is not the fact that a country could exhaust its—or other countries’—mineral resources, forests, soils, aquifers, wildlife, and fisheries and at the same time show an increase in GNP an indication that this primary measure of national income activity is deeply flawed. Is the GPI (genuine progress indicator) of ecological economics a much more realistic means of measuring national income?

      Does not the overall goal of ecological economists to completely reinvent the dominant industrial, transportation, nutritional, and communications paradigms along with rehabilitating consumer culture and establishing a level playing field for living and future generations show that they are not only unrealistic but completely out of touch with mainstream American values? Aren’t those values much more faithfully expressed by the statement made by the last three presidents that, “The American way of life is not negotiable.” Aren’t the new ecological economists just tilting at windmills? Or, using Gund Instiute’s Robert Constanza’s metaphor, is conventional economics like a bucket of water ready to tip over given one sharp jolt? And might global warming be that jolt?

      Is the foundation of neoclassical economic theory no more substantial than its now slain all knowing, all rational homo economicus—a collection of myths or lies, if you will, that we must keep telling ourselves and each other so that we can continue deplorable acts that would otherwise become impossibilities.

      Some suggested guests:

      Neva Goodwin (author of new text), Paul Omerod (The Death of Economics and author for the Economist), Vandana Shiva, Herman Daly (U of Maryland and author of new text), Miriam Kennet (author of Green Economics), Wangari Maathai (Nobel), Joseph Stiglitz (Nobel), Robert Costanza (U of Vermont and god father of ecological economics), Bill Rees (co creator of ecological footprint), Marilyn Waring (academic and New Zealand politician and activist), Paul Hawken, Lester Brown (founder of World Resources Institute and Earth Policy Institute) Clifford Cobb (creator of GPI), James Galbraith, Mathis Wackernagel (co creator of ecological footprint), David Orr and Bill McKibben (always) Joshua Farley (U of Vermont and co author with Daly of new text), Krugman.

      Thanks for considering the above. If you have an interest in doing this subject, I can send you my notes……..Jon (JonEden@yahoo.com)

    64. Next time you’re looking for a show (Mary’s Notes), why not invite one of your local stalwarts — Potter, nother, Sutter (now there’s a law firm) among them — in for a chat? They tend to be as interesting as anyone you have on air, so why not get them on air? Open Source it to the next degree.

    65. Sorry to bang on about this, but if you’re not goiing to do a show about impeachment, then perhaps you ought to do a show about why the impeachment clause should be junked. What’s the point of having it if, even in the present dire circumstances, no one has the wherewithal to use it — or, as in this instance, even to think with it? Time to edit the Constitution, no?

      The only reason I can muster against the impeachment of Bush & Cheney is that it would rob Sidney Blumenthal of the source of his cold, poetic fury. He’s never written better:


      Elsewhere, your friend Chalmers Johnson takes up the matter in similarly bracing terms:


    66. I just read “The Culture Code” by Dr. Clotaire Rapaille. I found it to be a fascinating look into why “we” Americans do some of the things we do and behave the way we do. The author takes a positive and negative look at American (and other) cultures. I would love to hear more on this topic and I think it comes at a time when we are often attacked – figuratively and literally – based on our culture. The main focus is on American culture but the author also delves into French, German, British, Italian, and Japanese culture. Rapaille uses examples of his own work in researching cultural behaviors to assist major corporations and companies with their marketing tactics – which is something we can see at work everyday in advertising and marketing.

      Here are some blogs and book reviews about The Culture Code:




    67. There’s a public health phenomenon going on unobserved by public health officials. Potential sex partners are turning up at clinics and doctors’ offices to get tested TOGETHER BEFORE having sex for A VARIETY of sexually transmitted infections. The strategy of let’s get tested TOGETHER BEFORE we have sex for A VARIETY of STDs even if only a kind of thought experiment can make things more clear about what could happen before it could be too late to do anything about it. Actually doing the strategy raises the level of health for the sexual relationship. Consider making the thought experiment of the strategy a part of the programming about the epidemic.

    68. Allison said, I think on this thread or another such that she thinks she is getting alot of junk mail from the meta-google that we were subscribed to (I think Brendan subscribed me and probably others). We do not seem to be having a meta discussion anymore, or lately and I am getting a lot of junk mail which I have traced to being subscribed to that group. I have unsubscribed from that Google group therefore.

      I would love to be a part of any further meta discussion but not the recipent of unwanted emails every day.

      Sorry to put this message here but we don’t have a general purpose thread and I wonder if anyone else would have a response to this.

      By the way thanks Hurley- from you it’s a compliment. I don’t think I am that interesting… except when I get angry. You are pretty interesting yourself though.

    69. What do you think about Microsoft asserting its “rights” over patents on open source software:



      Apparently, as more large companies sign licensing agreements with Novell or Microsoft which cover these patents it leaves the small developers and freeware programmers exposed. Many of these large companies are signing the agreements to reduce exposure to lawsuits rather than taking a principled stance (not surprisingly) and fighting the questionable patent claims. It’s clear this policy is promoting fear and those with resources are avoiding the whole issue by signing up and moving on. Two questions:

      1) Are Microsoft’s claims valid or are they just creating confusion?

      2) Is it possible to write any type of software without violating these patent claims?

    70. Pitch:

      We are the living dead

      We’re swimming in carcinogens. We slather carcinogens onto our faces, and the chemicals penetrate our skin just as nicotine in a nicotine patch penetrates skin. We breathe toluene in our perfumes and herbicides in our weed killer. We eat hormones that make cows and pigs fat. Aluminum and Teflon leaches from our pots and pans into our food. Airline pilots breathe rudder control fluid fumes, dentists breathe mercury vapor, and soldiers breathe depleted uranium dust.

      An American born today will have a 50% chance of facing cancer in her or his lifetime. Two epidemiological trends linked to cancer are our sedentary lifestyle and the decision of women in general to have their first babies later in life, but by far the biggest epidemiological trend is the carcinogens sold to Americans in stores and used in their workplaces. Our diabetes, heart disease, multiple sclerosis and learning disability epidemics are also linked to what we buy and eat.

      Furthermore, millions of Americans are also suffering from new “instant” diseases. An asthmatic walks into a classroom, smells the magic marker smell and is unconscious on the floor. Chemically sensitive people live off in the American Southwest desert, or they live on outdoor porches or in their cars in the winter. Occasionally, someone attempts a deliberate medical poisoning of a chemically sensitive person, and generally gets away with the deed.

      We must confess with George Orwell’s hero that we, the living, are the dead, and we also are the ghouls preying upon the living just to make a buck. We have no moral right to poison our own family members, our friends and our communities, and we must confess that we’re doing this deed all the time.

    71. OR… counter to healthy paronoia (by that I mean paronia of the health and the money that can be made from such paronoia)

      The supplement industry: The New New Drug Lord? – The anti-expert experts set themselves up as the good guys and sell unregulated drugs to privileged, vaccine-denying, over-healthy hypochondriacs.

      -An industry no less corrupted by laissez-faire capitalism than the pharmaceutical industry….but more insidious in some ways

    72. Jimmy Carter,last weekend,criticized Bush for doing nothing for the Middle East.

      How about a show about the disappearing of Condi Rice?

      Our nationat war had strong Secretaries of State: George Marshall etc including Madleine Albright (during Kosovo and Bosnia) Where is Condi?

      She and Madeline had the same mentor: Madleine Albright’s father at the University of Denver.

    73. I confess I was rather disappointed in ROS’s Weinberger’s Miscellany. It was sloppy and confused (not confusing, really, for anyone in the biz, as I am). It felt as though you weren’t sure what the show was about; because of that certain key questions weren’t asked, some key assumptions weren’t questioned (not that anyone on the show that evening — Cl, Weinberger, Schneider — wasn’t amply capable of enagging at that level).

      When I heard “natural unit of music is the track,” I cringed. A statement like that raises red flags for me, and any of the show’s excitement built around it runs the risk of being insufficiently questioning of what appears to us natural or not, today with respect to yesterday. The statement is too convenient–indeed Weinberger’s method, no less compelling for the horizons it opens, isn’t entirely sound. I’m no historian of the music industry, so I couldn’t have begun to articulate what Nicholas Carr does so elegantly in his blog, Rough Type (http://www.roughtype.com/archives/2007/05/long_player.php). We need to beware of convenient explanations that don’t do justice to the complexities and knowledge we must assimilate to understand the deeper questions Chris was desperately trying to put his finger on in that hour’s conversation.

      Pitch: let’s get Nicholas Carr on to talk about some of these matters.

    74. I’m from Virginia, but work on a research farm in Oxford, England. The question which sticks stubbornly in the back of my mind as I collect eggs is, unsurprisingly, about food.

      So, my pitch:

      Overpriced Organics. What actually makes food organic? Are there any proven health benefits (the UK minister for the Environment recently claimed there were not)? Is the organic food fad simply fashion, or does it represent genuine ethical substance? How far is the organic label simply a cover for high priced, but essentially conventional, food? How does the food movement draw on past movements such as agrarianism, back to the land, or the rural/pastoral idyll? What do farmers think of organics?

      Food and farming appear to be some of the biggest issues for the coming century. There are, of course, other ways to approach the subject: the new Green Revolution in Africa led by the Gates and Rockefeller foundations; the switch to organic farming methods in Cuba; the promises and dangers of biofuels…

      However, I think that organics provide a useful starting point for these debates because it is an aspect of agriculture most listeners will be familiar with. We can go from there…

    75. Get Alicia Munnell from BU on the show to challenge the privatization of the nation’s retirement savings scheme. (i.e., the shift from traditional pensions to 401s)

      But that’s not really why I wrote. I wonder how other listeners feel about changing the file naming system for your podcasts. Right now, it’s a number salad and I can’t tell what any of them are about without actually listening to each one for a minute or two. A short file name showing the date and brief title sould enable listeners to quickly decide just what, and what not, to transfer from the hard drive to to the ipod, instead of having to transfer and then sample all of them.

    76. How about this: Where the next great rhythm will come from?

      The broadway producer George Wolfe once said that the 20th century was nbot only shaped, but largely defined by African American rhythms: ragtime; jazz and the blues; boogie woogie; rock and roll; soul; R & B; and finally hip hop.

      But its been around 30 years since some b-boys in the Bronx started a revolution with some turntables and a microphone. Rap is now the stuff of advertising jingles. Will American music and culture be shaken up–some might say saved–in the 21st century by African American rhythms as it was in the 20th century? Or, in the global economy/information age, will the rhythms that define the era come from India, China, Brazil, Iran, or all of the above? The next beats to change the world, tonight on OpenSource!

    77. My first pitch, although I’ve been a long time listener, I think since the beginning.

      I recently watched a year-old Google video, a presentation by Gapminder. They are a non profit group based in Sweden that is trying to present vast statistical data to ordinary people in a meaningful way. I found the video fascinating and worth sending the link to friends.

      One key take-away is that their is no income gap. Their has always been an income continuum. While the range of incomes in the world, for example, has spread, the percentage of the population that is considered poor has shrunk dramatically (a rising tide lifts all boats).

      How would political dialogue change if people could grasp this complex data with easy to use visual tools? The narrative of our experience might change, and we might develop more creative discussions and solutions for our society and communities.

      Gapminder has created software that visually represents complex data in meaningful visaulizations. This is the “difficult” part of my pitch. I think the concepts can be discussed and presented without a visual aid. Still, it is worth taking a look at the video to understand the power of their concept.




      From their website:

      [Gapminder work serves a purpose of filling a gap. There has been a market failure in distributing global data. A lot of people are interested in the data, but don’t get access to it (and if they manage to access the data, they need to be advanced skilled statisticians to analyze it). Gapminder wants to make data more accessible and easier to use for instant visual analysis. We believe decision makers, politicians as well as education at almost all levels lack adequate tools.

      There is no political agenda behind the work. The idea is that all people, independently of their political agenda, should get free access to already existing statistics about global development to easily improve their understanding about the complex society.]

      One guest would be from Gapminder. Perhaps another could be drawn from ROS’s experience with the Race and Class series of shows.

      As our world grows more complex (population growth & distribution, globalization, global climate change) it becomes that much more important to synthesize our world.

    78. PITCH RESPONSES for 5/21/07

      Robert Peel: We’ve been mulling doing a Condi show for a while now. Who would you be interested in hearing from?

      patsyb: Sorry you didn’t like the Weinberger show. If we were to talk to Mr. Carr, what are the key questions we should make sure not to miss this time?

      Hobbes: I feel like I’ve heard a whole lot about organic food from all over the media recently. What do you think that we could do with the subject to make it new?

      wjbmd48: I’ll pitch Alice Munnell. As for your other question: this sounds like a job for Greta the blogger-in-chief! She is off surfing in volcanoes or something, but I’ll pass the query along when she gets back.

      Westie: Agreed that Hitchens needs counterbalance. That’s part of our plan for tonight’s show.

      Paul Massari: Beats sounds broad, but I’ll pitch it. What do you think the next big rhythm is?

    79. Synesthesia: Towards the neurology of art

      Some people (about 1/200) have a peculiar condition called synesthesia in which certain concepts are accompanied by unusual attributes in their minds. So the note C sharp might always be perceived as blue, F sharp might be yellow. Others might see Arabic numerals as a color so that even when they confront a 5 in black ink, they experience the 5 as red. Food can be experienced as shapes, and we all have some familiarity of this such as the ‘sharpness’ of cheese. Saying it is a metaphor doesn’t really solve anything. What is a metaphor then, and why does it resonate with us?

      Duke Ellington, Richard Feynman, David Hockney and Franz Liszt were synesthetes

      Of course, synesthesia is far more prevalent among artistic types (perhaps 7 times more common) but, to some extent, we are all synesthetes: Cheese tasting sharp is sensible somehow. Offered a jagged shape and a bulbous shape and asked to attribute the names kiki and booba to each, 95-98% of humans (regardless of native language) think kiki is sharp and booba is round.


      Neurologist V.S. Ramachandran explains all this in terms of the evolution and functioning of the brain and shows how synesthesia can point to the evolutionary development of language, metaphor, art and even abstract thought.






    80. wwarner asks questions:

      “How does one prove that the night sky is breathtaking. How did I know it was wrong even before I did it? Why do I hope that poetry fills each moment?

      I think Ramachandran can go a long way in providing answers.

    81. The two shows on neoatheism left me with the sad view that there’s really not much that theists and nontheists can do to engage on another on issues of theology. The nonbelievers say “persuade me without reference to faith,” and the believers say, “but it’s faith all the way down, so that’s as pointless as it is impossible.” And then there’s stalemate. It all makes me think about liberalism, as the term is/was used by folks like Rawls and Sandel and Nagel and so on. There’s been a long debate on this. Liberals (e.g. Rawls) say we need to develop political institutions that account for the ultimate inability to engage with those holding different core principles, and rely on rules that can be neutral with respect to those principles. Communitarians (e.g. Sandel) say this is nonsense, and that we instead need to find ways to argue about core, constitutive issues and come to resolution, because the idea of a value-neutral liberalism is a fiction.

      If, as I suspect, we haven’t heard the last of the Hitchens-inspired debate, and are seeing a de facto series in the making, it might be useful to do a show on this battle over the core political significance of the cross-talk between (and among) people of faith and people of doubt. Obvious choices include Sandel, Nagel, Martha Nussbaum, her husband Cass Sunstein, perhaps Larry Tribe, possibly Peter Berkowitz, Alasdaire MacIntyre…

    82. To piggyback on Sutter’s comment about irreconcilable differences in ideologies, a show on Liberalism would be very useful.

      As I’m not from the U.S., I often get confused by the different ways the terms related to Liberalism are used in U.S. media. (Among French-speakers, “Liberalism” is often tied to corporate-friendly market economies as opposed to social policies meant for the common good.)

      Given the tendency for the show to invite Brits, there’s bound to be a British scholar who could do an excellent job at describing the English history of Liberalism from the Industrial Revolution to the current era of Neo-Colonialism, Neo-Liberalism, and Corporate Globalization beyond the Washington Consensus.

      Not completely sure what the hook should be but it seems quite relevant, given many of the recurrent themes examined during the show.

    83. This is much less a pitch than asking permission for the keys to the wiki. I very much liked how you guys used the wiki to guide the discussion of the 2006 elections, and now that we’re getting geared up for the 2008 primaries, we should take a similar track.

      I think we can divide the wiki discussion into two sections: Regions and issues. Instead of looking at the elections through the lenses of candidate personalities (as we’ve done with Clinton, Obama and McCain) we should take on the election from the other way around: what we want, not what they can give us.

      I started the regions point of view with this pitch, I’d like to stick with the MassInc Ten Regions as a basis for that.

      And, issues is a more wide open, but for each wiki page we can flesh out examples of specific policies that are under discussed (or just discussed) in the primaries (like mortgages or civic issues). One might end up being a nice show topic.

    84. How about Madeline Albright for a Condi show or Jean Shaheen from the Kennedy School? It seems that Clinton administration was an Open Source network. Folks compained about the College Bull Session administration but Clinto seemed to graze and ferret for ideas. Bush seems to be a closed system. Only a few ge to the inner sanctum Condi is one.

      Andrew Young would be a great addition. He was UN Ambassador in the Carter administration. His meetings with Arafat and the PLO cost him his job. Just some thoughts. Condi is the best and the brightest but semed to be dulled by the banality of Bush.

    85. The Case for Condi. Since the beginning of the Iraq War there have been two Secreatires of State. 2 Secretaries of Defense. 3 Ambassadors to Iraq(Negraponte, Khalizad and the new man)+ ProConsul Bremmer. 3 Commanders of Central Command ending with ADM Fallon. 3 Commanders on the Ground Sanchez,Case and Petreas. The only person left standing(or running has been Condi.She is the thread through the whole debacle.

      You might consider Gener Trainor at Harvard( Cobra II is a great detail of the lead up to war.) and/or Andy Bacevich at BU. I would also consider Amb. White former Clinton envoy to the Middle East.

    86. Star Wars turns 30 this week; how about a cultural, social, whatever impact of Star Wars show? Or a show about the myths that make such fantasies appealing? On Campbell, on a hero with a thousand faces? On the common mythology from ancient India, Greece and Rome to modern Lucas, Tolkien and so forth?

    87. Samqr: I’m no authority. I’m actually pitching the show to find out myself. My gut says the next big beat is coming from India. China? Not so much.


      We have taken mercury out of batteries, light switches, thermometers and just about everything except dentists still pack it in your teeth and if you get a flu vaccine you will get an nice jolt of ethyl mercury (thimerosal) unless you are knowledgeable enough to demand and pay extra for one without mercury. An if you do so you may make your doctor or nurse mad at your stupidity

      We have taken mercury out of most childhood vaccines except flu, The CDC and IOM pretend that mercury is not the cause of our autism epidemic but there is lots to prove they are wrong including a recent criticism from the NIH.

      Mercury is one hundred times more neuro toxic the lead and yet we mimic the Romans who knew lead was poisonous but thought a little bit was ok in food etc. See a good summary of roman use of lead: http://www.epa.gov/history/topics/perspect/lead.htm.

      If you want more details I have put a few websites below and attached a document I prepared over a decade ago for a case against the FDA over its failure to properly regulate dental mercury. Also attached are several other documents and I can send many more.

      This story is current because of the “unknown” cause of autism and the Federal Courts refusal to assert jurisdiction over the FDA — the same Court found jurisdiction in 1993 but ignored their own case law dismissing for failure to exhaust administrative remedies. I cannot find my PDF of the 2007 Opinion and therefore have not attached it but if interested can get it to you.

      There is lots of obfuscation by the dental and medical establishment which call all be refuted. I have worked on this for twenty five years and have too much information. Will be glad to send more.

      In the past publicity has been very sporadic. For instance the FDA had a hearing Sept 6-7, 2006 at which time the Joint Panels reused the FDA’s position dental mercury is safe by a vote of 14 to 6. This was reported but not nearly as widely as the FDA’s “White Paper” of the week before asserting that mercury in fillings is safe.

      The most knowledgeable scientist on our side is Boyd Haley, PhD., 859-388-9445 ext 202. Freya Koss is a very knowledgeable victim of mercury from fillings. Amy Carson ( http://www.MomsAgainstMercury.org ) is a leader in the fight of parents for their autistic children and to stop the harm. Copies of their email addresses are above. I know all these people on our side of the argument and can give you more.

      The ADA, CDC and IOM have several spokespersons. There are tapes of their testimony at Congressman Richard Burton’s hearings. I can give you many more names.

      This is really several stories of the biggest iatrogenic disaster of modern times — disease, cover ups and maybe fraud. For instances there is a strong scientific argument that mercury is a major factor in Alzheimer’s


      Robert E. Reeves


      167 West Main St., Suite 1310

      Lexington, KY 40507

      O) 859-226-0700, Fax-0711

      YouTube – Quecksilber the strange story of dental amalgam





      See what’s free at AOL.com.



      Robert E. Reeves


      167 West Main St., Suite 1310

      Lexington, KY 40507

      O) 859-226-0700, Fax-0711

    89. Antiwar Republicans (or Conservatives) – As support for the Iraqi occupation dwindles, Republican partisans seem to cheer the war effort even louder. Ron Paul addressed this phenomenon at the S.C. Republican primary debate, where Giuliani attacked his accurate characterization of Islamist motives because it wasn’t “pro-American” enough. The party bet the farm on the war. As public support dwindles, the ranks of Republican partisans shrinks, leaving only the most zealous supporters among party loyalists.

      Paul dumbfounded his audience of Republican faithful by calling the Emperor naked, while Giuliani captured the night’s loudest applause with a party-line platitude, but Paul won or nearly won Fox News’ text-message poll of viewers as well as online polls at MSNBC and elsewhere. Online polls are always questionable, but the text-message poll, though hardly scientific, is more difficult to explain. Many viewers of a Republican Presidential showcase found Paul persuasive despite the applause line politics.

      As the debate among remaining Republicans becomes more inbred, what happens to the rest of the “conservative movement” that elected three of the last four Presidents and displaced Democratic majorities in both houses of Congress? The answer lies in Pat Buchanan’s American Conservative magazine, Justin Raimondo’s Antiwar.com, the Cato Institute and other right-libertarian think tanks, even in the John Birch Society. It’s an interesting story, and it portends an interesting political season. Where will the antiwar Republicans go? And how many aren’t coming back?

    90. I talked about this a few months back, and received a polite reply (thank you). But now, if you look to the cover of this month’s Sports Illustrated, you’ll see that mma has arrived as the world’s next sport phenomena. Fighting is as old as humankind. There is no more honest exchange among men. In our technology saturated age, we have nearly eliminated the man-to-man fight (sportsmanship implied, not violence) or contest from society. Now it is coming back. And in my view, it’s a good thing for humanity. Check it out and look at it as the natural, needed thing it is. As a jiu jitsu practitioner myself (aged 37), I get no more fulfillment (physically) from any aspect of life than when I find myself locked in a 5-minute grappling match with an opponent of similar competence. When he secures an armbar with just seconds to go in our match, and I submit by tapping him with my free arm, we roll onto our backs laughing and exhausted. We then shake hands, give a quick hug, and move to the next opponent.

      What could be better? This is a topic for Open Source!


    91. Show idea: Discuss the state of community-based wireless in the U.S. Points to emphasize:

      1] The citizens of the U.S. are NOT being told the truth about the true cost of broadband access

      2] For example, in Charles City, Iowa, a town of 10,000, the true cost of community wireless mesh network would approximate a $50 one-time charge, and a monthly fee of something less than $12.50 a month.

      3] A low-cost community wireless mesh network would utilize Meraki units in each home.

      4] Contact for details available through netequality.org and Meraki.net and CUWIN.net

      A community wireless mesh network would include the ability of all participants to have VoIP capability, Internet access, multimedia broadband capaiblity that meets or exceeds what universities have, enjoy videoconferencing for town hall meetings, events, etc.

      What’s really interesting, is the possibility of radioopensource.org to raise funds by offering “branded” units for its community to purchase, and support the organization. Imagine the entire state of Iowa belonging to a statewide radioopensource.org network, and having the shows pop up every time a user signs on.

    92. Online privacy.

      Facebook and LifeCasting would be good cases.

      Many of the new applications which sprung up on Facebook recently make the boundary between private and public much thinner.

      LifeCasters take the ethical issues of The Truman Show to a new level.

      To me, there seems to be a generational gap involved as older people seem to think that younger people don’t understand the implications of leading a very public life while younger people seem to think that it’s all about negotiating your own boundaries.

    93. Here’s a show I think is essential and worthwhile.

      It would be titled something like: Democracy and Elections as Proposed Solution to all the Problems in the World.

      In nearly every news report, press conference, analysis of world events – from sophisticated to popular, from Foriegn Affairs to Fox News, or NPR to Air America if you prefer, there is a constant solution proffered, that, if we could only install democracy in then everything would be better, all problems would cease to be…

      Recently I was listening to the debate series Intelligence Squared (http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=6263392) on the subject of ‘A Booming China Spells Trouble for America’ and it came up again. One of the members made the assertion that if only China had elections and democracy everything (literally, I think he said everything) would be ok, would be solved.

      This is just the most recent example of this I have run across. I think Friedman continually makes this assertion. Bush of course using this as a major smokescreen for the failed policies of his administration. “We are creating democracy in the Middle East”. An impossible task, therefore a cover for never ending war and engagement.

      Impossible if it is not attended with an understanding of what democracy is – and how it might be inflected in a given location…. (Lastest Reference: from an article by Fred Kaplan : “Bush still seems to think that democracy is the answer to all problems and that elections are the essence of democracy. Once more, he touted the 12 million Iraqis who turned out at the polls – ignoring how the pattern of their voting only hardened the country’s sectarian divisions. “Democracy,” he said, “has proven to help change parts of the world from cauldrons of frustration to areas of hope.” True, but in places that lack democratic institutions, it has often had the reverse effect. Hezbollah became a major political party in Lebanon, Islamist militia leaders gained a foothold in the government in Iraq, Hamas came to power in the Palestinian territories – all through democratic elections that the Bush administration encouraged.” http://www.truthout.org/docs_2006/052607G.shtml )

      My points and question and suggestion then is this:

      I would like to see a show explore the notion if democracy and elections are indeed the universal solution they are purported to be, or if this near constant expression is a cover for something else. Either poor or shallow thinking, ulterior motives, American-centric bias – ie – we have it, everyone else should too (without regard to the underlying philosophical and historical substrate required to sustain democratic institutions.) Etc.

      A few miscellany re::

      > Are elections and democracy synonymous and interchangeable concepts? It seems to me that they are used that way.

      > We have our own history of the failures of elections, not only recently, but all throughout our history. I am thinking especially, not exclusively, of Lyndon Johnson. (Ref Robert Caro’s histories: http://www.amazon.com/Path-Power-Years-Lyndon-Johnson/dp/0679729453). The story of how L. Johnson ran elections is simply prologue, maybe tutorial, to the recent stolen elections of our time. Are we, then, even a democracy?

      > Is what we do the example for what we want the rest of the world to emulate?

      > What really does democracy mean? And what philosophical and psychological structures must be in place for it to work. Meaning – it is my contention that democracy is a political system of relationships that is an expression of a core set of beliefs and understandings about how people relate to one another, and to the state. Distribution of power, rules of relationships of balancing individual with group or collective rights and needs. You cannot impose, I contend, western style/form/institutions of “democracy” on a society fundamentally organized around profoundly differing understandings of these core elements.

      > What is the atomic unit of a democracy vs other systems. Meaning, in a fascist state it may be considered the corporation and state relationship. In communism the collective; a totalitarian government may be the state and especially the rulers. Monarchy – the king; oligarchy – the ruling class. In democracy there is a bias toward the individual. To the degree this is so, is there an indicator to be watched how the power shifts between these various poles as an indicator of what the actual organization of a society/country is? Another way of approaching the question “What are we becoming?”

      > Is there a difference between what is propounded in the constitution, the bill of rights, the declaration of independence and what we now mean and understand when we use the term Democracy? My contention would be that there is a huge difference – not in form only, but in fact and in institutional structure between what “was” and what “is”. Not that this is de-facto a bad thing. But again, just what do we mean?

      For example, I think the essential principle driving the Constitutional ideal is the division of power, and the intent to insinuate real power at the lowest level of organization possible. The question is, in the broad sense, should an issue be resolved and managed at the federal, state, or local level? Obviously military and foreign policy are federal concerns. Commerce is constitutionally a state issue until there is intra-state issues. Zoning and property rules are matters for a city or county. And etc. .

      (A corollary to this point would be another show I want to propose : That is looking at the problems we are dealing with in the world from a systemic point of view. How these problems are caused by dealing with issues at the wrong level. This is a systemic look at the issues I think is essential to the public conversation. )

      This is getting too large and too miscellaneous. It is of course a large subject. But one that I think Open Source is well suited to engage in. I have presented something of a scatter approach here, hoping something will stick.

      My main question however is this : Is Democracy, however understood, truly the solution or only palliative to all the problems in the world?

      If so, what structures of society, philosophy, beliefs, understandings are required for it to function.

      There may be other ways to approach this question. I have laid out a couple. I welcome others.

    94. Re Joneden on economics below:

      I agree.

      And would add as reference the classic “Small is Beautiful” by E. F. Schumacher. (http://www.amazon.com/Small-Beautiful-25th-Anniversary-Commentaries/dp/0881791695/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1/104-7265984-8453504?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1180295552&sr=1-1)

      I only recently stumbled across this book. I was amazed at the insight re economics written in 1973 still applicable today.

      The essay Buddhist Economics http://www.schumachersociety.org/buddhist_economics/english.html is a great read. It makes the essential observation that economics is at root a system of relationships based upon a central idea. In our capitalist society it would be the market and/or capital. All is subervient to that. In a “buddhist economics” it would be centered around the notion of “right living”.

      To me the essential question to much of the excesses and problems is “How much is enough?”. The answer of our economic system is the answer of Midas – ‘never enough’. But if we cannot answer this question out of a different paradigm we cannot get a different answer… And so we of necessity will continue to “rape and pillage” the environment, other societies, ourselves in quest of yet more.

      Here is one paragraph: “For the modern economist this is very difficult to understand. He is used to measuring the “standard of living” by the amount of annual consumption, assuming all the time that a man who consumes more is “better off” than a man who consumes less. A Buddhist economist would consider this approach excessively irrational: since consumption is merely a means to human well-being, the aim should be to obtain the maximum of well-being with the minimum of consumption.”

      Dont get hung up on “buddhist”. It is simply a device to explore a radically different point of view, not a proposistion that we all become buddhist.


      joneden Says:

      May 16th, 2007 at 1:55 am

      Could we revisit economics? Your Jan. show gave us a good tour of the new field of behavioral economics. Could you do a show on the emerging field of ecological economics—a discipline which seeks not only to challenge some of the basic tenets of neoclassical economics but to change the paradigm?

    95. [Another case of a post being mangled without warning. Please, please get a Preview facility!]

      Suggested Subject: The Legacy of Gitmo?

      Background: Increasing detention of US citizens by Iran.

      Is Iran trying to set up an exchange for the 5 Iranians we are holding?

      Is this at least in part a legacy of our holding self-proclaimed “enemy combatants” in Gitmo without charges or rights?

      What is the proper role of international law? Do we need new international laws?

      What options do we have (if any) to get our citizens released?

      What does this have to do with the nuclear issue? With security in Iraq? With our threatening Iran?

      Does not talking ever really accomplish anything constructive, or is it counterproductive (or even childish)?

    96. Cindy Sheehan “resigns” as the face of the anti-war movement: http://www.dailykos.com/storyonly/2007/5/28/12530/1525

      Sheehan has always made me somewhat uncomfortable, and I’ve been lobbying for fewer shows on Iraq, but this Sheehan angle strikes me as a potentially great show if she’s willing to come and talk. What did Sheehan represent? Why weren’t there more Cindy Sheehans? Was she useful? Effective? What is it about our political landscape that causes someone like Sheehan, after becoming a somewhat prominent part of the national discourse (or at least a powerful symbol) to conclude that the whole system is irretrievably damaged and not worthy of her participation? And what does that tell us about the reasons more people are not engaged, and what we might do to engage the next generation in the public policy process?

    97. Hi there:

      Love the show. Have gotten many useful ideas for my graduate courses in management and organizational behavior at Johns Hopkins U. Will pitch you a show, or two, very soon.

      Have placed your URL on my recommended listening syllabi.

      Keep doing this good, dare I say, important work.


      Rob Pernick

    98. I like what Alexandre Enkerli said about older folks fearing “younger people don’t understand the implications of leading a very public life…”

      NPR ran a series of stories awhile back on narcissism, one of them profiling a college student with a handful of internet accounts, including MySpace and Youtube. The point of the story was that younger folks feel more comfortable leading public lives because they are narcissistic, which I think is a misinterpretation.

      Its not narcissism, but rather just and understanding of our public selves and what we can be. Coming from an era when so many organizations and groups aren’t transparent, we’re seeing more personal transparency.

    99. Pitch Responses for May 28

      John Navas: I agree we should revisit Gitmo. The pitch sounds very broad right now, though. I would be curious if anyone could talk about any measurable impact Gitmo has had on the treatment of US prisoners; that must be an extraordinarily hard thing to determine. Anyway, I’ll bring up the idea at the meeting.

      Sutter: I think this is a great idea, Sutter. I’ve always wanted to hear more discussion about what impact (if any) Sheehan actually had on the evolution of opinion on the war. I’ll pitch it for sure.

    100. Re: Suggested Subject: The Legacy of Gitmo?


      “Plea from Guantanamo for Johnston” (missing BBC reporter) at http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/6700709.stm

      “American lawyers decry treatment of Guantanamo detainees”


      “Kuwait clears two former Guantánamo captives”


      “Shrinks and the SERE Technique at Guantanamo”


      “Daily life at Guantanamo structured like U.S. prison”


      “Guantanamo trials don’t measure up”


      “Locking Attorneys out of Guantánamo”


      Other questions:

      What parallels are there between Gitmo and British incarceration of suspects from Northern Ireland?

      What has been the impact of recent court rulings on Gitmo?

      What’s going on with

    101. Responses to May 17th and May 24th pitches

      Kova: Thank you for bringing Rapaille’s book to our attention. I’ll order it immediately. He’s a wonderful philospher and observer. Like Mynocturama, I vividly remember Rapaille’s American cheese rant, arguing that Americans treat cheese like the dead: we have it hermetically seal it in plastic, and store it in the “morgue.” The French, however, see cheese as a living, breathing creature that should spend its days on the kitchen table, luxuriating in its nudity. Anyhow, it would be a dream to do a show with him.

      dsaklad@gnu.org: This show idea sounds like it would work better as a feature for a news magazine. I can’t imagine that it could sustain an hour-long conversation.

      RobertPeel: We often talk about doing another Condi show, however, we have yet to come up with an angle that is a strong enough departure from our last Condi show.

      DevanJedi: This sounds like a great show idea for Studio 360′s American Icons series. I know I shouldn’t make assumptions but I can’t hear Chris talking about the cultural significance of Star Wars, unless one of the characters turns out to be based on Emerson, or Ellington, or Henry, or William James.

    102. I would like a program concerning the conflict between Pagan culture and the Catholic church; what I call the “Aquarian Reformation”. Guests would include Camille Paglia. The Rev. Dr. Allen Dwight Callahan, and at least one more guest TBD. Here is what I wrote in my profile:

      For the past two milennia, dualistic culture (Religion) has suppressed non-dualistic culture (Spirituality) by censorship, terror, and violence, giving rise to the corruption of the church and, the “Two Christianities” as described by Dwight Callahan. This suppression has been so effective that the real conflict, between dualistic and non-dualistic culture, is not even on the radar screen of those who carry on the debate.

      Camille Paglia, no stranger to Open Source, identified the conflict with eloquent erudition in her book Sexual Personae: The “Pagans”, whose culture she refers to as “Earth Culture”, which reveres nature, versus Religion, which seeks to conquer nature, and to which she refers to as “Sky Culture”. The conflict between Earth Culture/Pagans/Non-Duality and Sky Culture/Religion/Duality, has been burning for two thousand years, but we don’t even talk about it because we have been eating the “Church Dog food” so long that we, our prevalent culture, has decided that it tastes great AND it’s less filling.

      The surge of popular interest in the Religion debate, fueled by The Da Vinci Code and others, is a tacit acknowledgment that the collective conscience of society knows dog food when it smells it.

      The Catholic church is corrupt and everyone knows it. The Catholic church, like most hierarchical organizations, is, in some ways, antithetical to Christian principles. It has promoted itself by silencing its critics by any means necessary. Remember the Crusades? The inquisition? The enslavement of Native Americans as authorized by the Pope? The attempted assasination of Martin Luther in 1521? The imprisonment of Galileo as a heretic? Judging by the actions of the Catholic church, “What would Jesus do?” became “What Pagan would Jesus murder?” Just what would Jesus do?

      These historical injustices, and the recent revelations of institutionalized pedophiliac culture in the Catholic church, explain the world-wide interest in The Da Vinci Code and other texts which contradict the official church doctrine.

      Dan Brown is the new Martin Luther. The Da Vinci Code is his “95 Theses”; it is a call to a second reformation, an Aquarian Reformation, that will destroy the hegemony of dualistic dogma and redeem non-dualism (spirituality) from its condemnation as heresy.

      The Rev. Dr. A. K. M. Adam said that there is nothing special about this moment in time regarding Religious doctrine. I disagree; for the first time in two thousand years, the church is no longer in a position to suppress heretical though. Heretics around the globe are being heard, and getting rich in the process. This is the dawning of the Aquarian Reformation.

    103. Proposed Subject: Lessons of the America’s Cup

      Timeliness: BMW-Oracle of the USA, Challenger of Record, was just eliminated in the Louis Vuitton semi-finals by the Luna Rossa Italian challenge in a stunning defeat despite record spending on its campaign.

      Background: The America’s Cup, oldest and most prestigious prize in sailboat racing, was once dominated by the USA, with an incredible winning streak of 132 years, the longest winning streak in any sport, ending in 1983 with a win by Australia. Since then the Cup has been much more competitive despite massive investments in money and technology by USA teams trying (and failing) to regain former dominance.

      For the 2007 event, Oracle CEO Larry Ellison’s Oracle-BMW challenge reportedly spent a breathtaking $200 million, and looked promising in the run-up to the finals, yet in the Louis Vuitton semi-finals:

      * Lost every start

      * Trailed at every mark

      * Pulled out only one win

      * Committed two starting fouls in Race 5 (more than one is very unusual at that level)

      * Replaced “CEO” and Skipper Chris Dickson for the last race, but did no better

      * Were eliminated by the Luna Rossa Italian challenge 1-5.

      The stunning and devastating loss and elimination was quickly followed by the resignation Chris Dickson. Ellison has already announced plans to challenge in the next Cup.

      Questions for discussion:

      * What the heck is a sports team doing with a “CEO”? Is applying business organization and methods to a team sport ineffective or counterproductive?

      * What caused Chris Dickson to make those two starting fouls in Race 5? Had he been chewed out by Larry Ellison after the prior loss? Was that another business technique gone awry?

      * Was replacing Chris Dickson in the last race a good idea or a bad idea? The pressure on the reconstituted team and new driver had to be incredible, especially given the lack of practice.

      * Why didn’t all that money give Oracle-BMW a decisive edge? Since 1970, the team spending the most money hasn’t won.

      * Is it good for sport to be awash is so much money? Did all that money squeeze out possible USA challengers that might have done better?

      * Did Oracle-BMW have the best possible talent? Russell Coutts (considered by many the greatest America’s Cup skipper) was not available due to his contract settlement with Team Alinghi (a story in itself), but what about other great skippers like Paul Cayard?

      * Will lessons be learned? What are prospects for Ellison and for the USA in the next America’s Cup?

      Possible guests:

      * Dennis Conner

      * Paul Cayard

      * Russell Coutts

      * Chris Dickson

      * Buddy Melges

      * John Bertrand

      * Ted Turner

      * Ted Hood

      * John Kolius

      * Gary Jobson

      * Brad Butterworth


      Official website: http://www.americascup.com

      America’s Sup Hall of Fame: http://www.herreshoff.org/frames/amcframe.htm

      Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/America's_Cup

    104. -a rich mans spectacle- John Navas

      I hate what the Americas Cup did to Auckland.

      (The fun bit was when a Maori activst smashed it up with a hammer)

    105. How about a show about the local food movement? Here is Ithaca, NY, we have a local food week every August, encouraging people to eat foods grown within 30 miles of where they live. Farmer’s markets are becoming more popular. Eating local seems to be the new ‘organic’. Why?

      I think there are a number of interesting and timely angles that could be explored. First, why are people turning to local foods? Is it because they taste better? Are healthier? Safer? What are the challenges of turning your back on modern, industrialized agriculture? What are the rewards? Barbara Kingsolver’s newest book (just published) is about eating local for a year; perhaps she could be a guest. There are also groups like the 100 mile diet (http://www.100milediet.org/), or Colin Beavan who blogs at http://noimpactman.typepad.com/. I think it would also be interesting to talk to farmers about the growth of farmer’s markets and CSAs (community supported agriculture).

      There is also the food safety and health angle, with recent news like melamine in pet food from China and E. coli in American spinach. During the spinach scare, there were signs in my local farmer’s market reassuring people that the spinach there wasn’t contaminated. Does non-industrial agriculture really lead to safer foods? Are they better for you?

      Then there is the environmental aspects of eating local. What are the environmental benefits of local food production? Obviously less transportation means less CO2 emitted, but are there other benefits?

      Finally, perhaps linking with allison’s idea upthread to do a show on the farm bill, what about the political implications of local food movements? Government policy seems designed to support industrial agriculture over small farms selling fresh produce directly to consumers via farmer’s markets and CSAs. There has been some interesting blogging about the current farm bill at MyDD (http://www.mydd.com/tag/Farm%20Bill). Is there any chance for reform to encourage decentralized, local agriculture? How does local food connect to grassroots politics (http://eatingliberally.org/ might be an interesting place to start)?

    106. chilton1 Says on May 30th, 2007 at 2:32 pm:

      -a rich mans spectacle- John Navas

      How is it any different from any other professional sport? Notwithstanding the example of Larry Ellison, most teams are syndicates, and most followers and spectators aren’t rich.

    107. John you said yourself – “For the 2007 event, Oracle CEO Larry Ellison’s Oracle-BMW challenge reportedly spent a breathtaking $200 million” (can you tell me how to do the blue box quote? BTW)

      The AC is in a league of it’s own money wise if you think of the investment required by each participant. The syndicates need to access the same amount of money that Oracle has. The more money the more likely the cup will be yours. The money buys the sailors, tacticians and designers as well. The NZ syndicate, for instance, cannot retain it’s best.

      As for the spectators…you need a boat of your own to be in the spectators fleet .

      You are at least convincing me that there is potentially an interesting discussion to be had here.

    108. To do a blue box quote, frame text between

      and HTML tags (without the spaces). Other HTML tags that work on ROS:

      i: italic

      b: bold

      u: underline

      (I’ve yet to figure out which other HTML tags are supported here on ROS, and the lack of a Preview feature makes experimentation risky and difficult.)

    109. That didn’t work. [sigh] Trying again: Frame HTML tags between “” characters, with the ending tag being the beginning tag preceded by “/” (e.g., blockquote and /blockquote in the case of blue box quoting, b and /b for bold formatting).

    110. That didn’t work either. [SIGH] Trying yet again: Frame HTML tags between less than and greater than characters, with the ending tag being the beginning tag preceded by “/” (e.g., blockquote [framed] and /blockquote [framed] in the case of blue box quoting, b [framed] and /b [framed] for bold formatting).

    111. chilton1 Says on May 30th, 2007 at 5:30 pm:

      John you said yourself – “For the 2007 event, Oracle CEO Larry Ellison’s Oracle-BMW challenge reportedly spent a breathtaking $200 million” …

      The AC is in a league of it’s own money wise if you think of the investment required by each participant. The syndicates need to access the same amount of money that Oracle has. The more money the more likely the cup will be yours. The money buys the sailors, tacticians and designers as well. The NZ syndicate, for instance, cannot retain it’s best.

      1. From my original post: “Since 1970, the team spending the most money hasn’t won.” In other words, other teams do not have to match the spending leader, which is part of what makes this an interesting discussion.

      2. The NZ syndicate made the LV Finals and is actually a very serious contender for this Cup, unquestionably on par with both Italy and Alinghi, despite getting there with classic syndicate funding.

      3. I could list any number of sports franchises with valuations far in excess or Oracle-BMW.

      4. The America’s Cup has greatly increased coverage in all forms of media, including the Internet. Being in the spectator fleet is no more relevant that getting sideline passes to a pro football game.

      5. Individual crewmembers go do different teams for different reasons, with money being much a less significant factor than in other professional sports.

    112. chilton1 Says on May 30th, 2007 at 6:48 pm:

      (preview would be nice would it not?)

      Amen! The weak blogging software is a curious and unfortunate weakness for something that bills itself as “the blog with a radio show.”

    113. Thanks John, I do understand that all professional sports revolve around money. I guess, I watched a city get transformed into a marina because it won the cup a couple of times and noticed that local petrol prices increased after Larry E. filled up his yacht gas tank.

      I am glad the cup has gone.

    114. Carbon Dioxide Sequestration

      An unsexy tong twister, for sure, but fellow human beings, We have no choice.

      Sir Richard Branson, and Al Gore know what they are talking about, but how do we solve this daunting task before us? One word “Agrichar”

      Biochar turns a negative positiveToronto Star, Canada – May 21, 2007Dozens of scientists who gathered in Australia three weeks ago for the first annual International Agrichar Initiative conference say that making “char” and …

      The CO2 sings ‘Bury me, buuuu-reee me, bury me, across the world’Grist Magazine, WA – May 4, 2007The first meeting of the International Agrichar Initiative convened about 100 scientists, policymakers, farmers and investors with the goal of birthing an …

      Special Report: Inspired by Ancient Amazonians, a Plan to Convert …Scientific American – May 15, 2007Radlein is not alone in his belief in this technology—last week in Terrigal, New South Wales, Australia, the newly formed International Agrichar Initiative …

      The Companies and Organizations Poised to Turn Garbage into Fuel …Scientific American – May 15, 2007… an interdisciplinary group of agrichar enthusiasts got so fired up that they banded together to form the International Agrichar Initiative. …

    115. I suggested here that a show on aid workers.

      Katherine wrote: An hour on aid workers sounds like an interesting idea. Do you have any particular suggestions for NGOs or possible guests?

      Here is a start.

      One possible guest, who is studying Post-Traumatic Stress for aids workers, is Barbara Lopes-Cardozo. She is a psychiatrist with the international emergency and refugee health department at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta, Georgia.

      Here are some aid workers’ blogs


      Agency Coordinating Body For Afghan Relief (acbar)


      See their member’s list

    116. Harvard history of science professor Steven Shapin would be an interesting guest to discuss just what we mean by the scientific method and just how significant and pervasive scientific belief is, even among scientists. Other guests should be practicing scientists from different fields and, ideally, with different belief systems (Atheist, Buddhist, Christian, etc.).

    117. I’ve always been hazey on think tanks. What do they do? Who do they work for? What sort of people are hired or invited? What innovations or schemes were hatched from which groups?

      In recent brainstorming news, Homeland Security invited a bunch of science fiction writers, ‘a group called Sigma, to help them imagine various terror scenarios and ways to fight the “war” on terror.’ Other round table “Red Cell” meetings, as Brad Meltzer called them, have invited political espionage or comic book authors to rally with scientists of all stripes imagining the worst or best for our future. Then someone takes the tape back to whatever agency and preventative measures are drawn. I can just imagine the conversations when they get home: What did you do today honey? Flattened New York and flooded LA ten different ways before lunch.

      swiped from:


    118. “NASA Chief Assailed for Climate Comments”


      “NASA Chief Questions Urgency of Global Warming”


      “How NASA Screwed Up (And Four Ways to Fix It)”


      Here are NASA’s apparent current priorities: (1) Maintain a pointless space station. (2) Build a pointless Motel 6 on the moon. (3) Increase humanity’s store of knowledge by studying the distant universe. (4) Keep money flowing to favored aerospace contractors and congressional districts.

      Perhaps grist for the ROS mill?

    119. Re: America’s Cup

      chilton1 Says on May 30th, 2007 at 5:30 pm:

      The NZ syndicate, for instance, cannot retain it’s best.

      NZ (ETNZ) draws first blood!

      ETNZ was brilliant, leading the entire very close race with flawless match racing tactics (Hutchinson) and execution. The Italians were almost as good, but not quite, albeit very fast. (The press gave the start to Spithill [Italy], but I personally think Barker [ETNZ] had the slightly better start — so much for Barker being bashful.) It’ll be interesting to see what momentum the two teams have going into the race tomorrow, and if the Italians can show the same kind of great boat speed.

      Barker is, by the way, a retained Kiwi. Coutts was the notable defector, and as a result he’s not able to sail in this Cup.

    120. (Sigh — trying again)

      Re: America’s Cup

      chilton1 Says on May 30th, 2007 at 5:30 pm:

      The NZ syndicate, for instance, cannot retain it’s best.

      NZ (ETNZ) draws first blood!

      ETNZ was brilliant, leading the entire very close race with flawless match racing tactics (Hutchinson) and execution. The Italians were almost as good, but not quite, albeit very fast. (The press gave the start to Spithill [Italy], but I personally think Barker [ETNZ] had the slightly better start — so much for Barker being bashful.) It’ll be interesting to see what momentum the two teams have going into the race tomorrow, and if the Italians can show the same kind of great boat speed.

      Barker is, by the way, a retained Kiwi. Coutts was the notable defector, and as a result he’s not able to sail in this Cup. What’s that about not being able to retain the best? ;)

    121. Coutts taught Barker everything he knows and purchased by superior money Coutts went on to win the cup for the Swiss. I do have to thank Alinghi for taking the cursed thing away. You are getting me worried though-if Barker does manage to win – we might see Larry E in our ports again.

      Anyway, I am with you -the Cup would make a good show…not the sailing though – the $, the courts, the protest flags, the mercenaries…

      PS Don’t take me too seriously -I am down on Peter Jackson as well…It is a national trait – we don’t like tall poppies.

      PPS What is so special about Donald Trump?

    122. how ’bout an ROS book club. say, on the 1st Monday of every month. With the book announced at least 10 days in advance (to give us time to finish it!)

    123. This is in response to Kova’s email regarding “The Culture Code” as well as Sutter’s question/comment about Sheehan, and Americans’ lack of engagement. I’m glad they brought this up because it’s something that should continually be discussed regardless if we’re at war or not. Anyway, I’ll no doubt receive hate mail for what I’m about to say, but if it provokes a healthy debate then it’s worth it.

      (I wrote this for myself the other day, and didn’t intend on sharing it. But I believe it’s relevant and necessary)

      When I watched the second tower swallow that passenger jet on September 11, and then spew out that ball of fire, I couldn’t help but wonder how many Americans scored a point for Pavlov when they unconsciously reached for the tub of popcorn. Well, did you? It’s an appalling thing to ask, but you have to wonder.

      But even more appalling – to me, at least – is driving past a mall and needing only one hand to count the empty parking spaces. THAT, my friend, is appalling. But then again, I wouldn’t have expected anything else. Patriotism. S.H.O.P.P.I.N.G. Patriotism. “That is correct.”

      So when I read Cindy Sheehan’s farewell letter I likened it to a small child who’s just burned her hand on a hot iron. The pain hurts now, but the lesson learned will live forever.

      But unlike Cindy Sheehan, I determined a long time ago the United States is not the country that I loved. Perhaps my expectations were too high or naïve. I’m not sure. But if you had come to me September 11 hoping I’d validate your feelings of “how can this be happening to us”, you’d be wasting your time.

      I spent the first 18 years of my life living on Air Force bases. And as childish as it feels typing it, every day was like a little Fourth of July. It’s difficult to explain. Perhaps someone who’s been in the military or an Air Force Brat like me can try. Those two years living at Andrews A.F.B. were great! For an 11 year old boy, I never got tired of seeing Air Force One. A person couldn’t help but feel patriotic, or at least nationalistic. The other 14 + years were lived overseas, which meant I was reminded even more of my U.S. citizenship. (I should note that MY September 11th occurred in April of 1985.)

      My father, a veteran of both the Vietnam and first Gulf War, had no patience for ignorant people. We kids knew they’d find Jimmy Hoffa before they found us if caught insulting another person, culture, country, etc.

      Walking the beaches of Normandy with grandpa was truly a gift. We’d face the cliffs as he’d recount that historic day. There was only one thing that scared him more than a German soldier; it was getting shot by a smart-ass city kid whose ‘talk-tough’ personality quickly turned into soiled underwear when the bombs started dropping. How many people did he see die of friendly fire?

      Reminds me of our current administration. The posturing makes me sick. Surely there is a direct correlation between the amount of posturing and the number of Viagra prescriptions written. You don’t sound fierce. You sound flaccid!

      And how dare they report the military is meeting/exceeding its recruitment quota. Lowering the standard to meet a quota is fraud, pure and simple! Besides, when most of the world hates you, when the very people you’re trying to protect want to have nothing to do with you, the very last thing you should do is send in a bunch of ignorant hicks with a machinegun.

    124. chilton1 Says on June 2nd, 2007 at 5:50 pm:

      Coutts taught Barker everything he knows and purchased by superior money Coutts went on to win the cup for the Swiss. I do have to thank Alinghi for taking the cursed thing away. You are getting me worried though-if Barker does manage to win – we might see Larry E in our ports again.

      I personally think Coutts is overrated — it’s “easy” to win with a superior boat and lots of money — and I think Barker is underrated, much more his own man than you seem to think, just much quieter than Coutts.

      I likewise think Terry Hutchinson (ETNZ tactician) is better than Brad Butterworth, who defected with Coutts to the Swiss team and is now the tactician and skipper.

      Barker has been cool and near perfect in the Louis Vuitton finals, which the Kiwis now lead 4-0 after crushing the Italians this morning, a win in which superior tactics was also a factor. This of course makes Oracle-BMW, which lost to the Italians 1-5, look even worse, grist for the ROS mill.

      The Kiwis have been faster and more confident with every race, and will probably finish off the Italians without much difficulty. The America’s Cup match itself, which will start June 23, looks to be very interesting!

      What’s that again about New Zealand not being able to retain its best? And how money is all that matters? ;)

    125. A call for a forum to discuss the inconsistencies in the official story of 9/11.

      Since 9/11/01 there have been a number of voices calling for explanations of the horrible events of that day. However, the media and our so-called elected representatives have chosen to follow blindly and accept the administrations story rather than risk being called unpatriotic and soft on defense. The hyper-patriotism (commercialism) following 9/11 has prevented an honest public discussion of the events on that day.

      There were and are people that did not buy the official story that is full of inconsistencies. This group is growing and latter this year a feature documentary will help to further increase our numbers.

      Problems with the 9/11 story include the lack of anything resebling a plane at both the pentagon and the field in Pennsylvania, the way that both the Twin Towers and WTC 7 colapsed, and the strange circumstances surrounding the day the are described on the sites below.

      With the 2008 election beginning already and continued disaster in Iraq getting worse I believe we need to examine the day on which our world changed for the worse.











    126. What time do the infidels eat dinner?

      Earlier this morning I wrote my September 11th occurred in April of 1985 – April 12, 1985 to be exact. It happened in Spain, which is where my family was living at the time. (From 1984 – 1990 my father was stationed at Torrejon Air Base, located just outside of Madrid)

      While there, a restaurant frequented by military families, mine included, was bombed. A lot of people were injured, including 15 Americans. 18 Spaniard also died in the explosion. Consequently, security on the base was tightened, e.g. the soldier who boarded my school bus every day to verify each kid carried his two forms of identification, now carried a machinegun in addition to his holstered sidearm. And his police car was now a tank.

      Three months ago I sat down to write about why no Americans died, or at least why more Americans weren’t injured when the restaurant was razed to the ground.

      The bomb was timed to explode when the restaurant would be full. Seems obvious, right? Except – and I can only assume the terrorist handbook has been correctly updated – when attempting to kill Americans living in a foreign country, don’t bomb the restaurant when it’s full. Blow it up at 6PM when most Americans eat dinner. The bomb exploded late in the evening when it was full of Spaniards. Any Americans eating there would have come and gone long after the bomb exploded.

      Now I’d be laughed at if I asked the President if he knew what time the enemy eats dinner. It’s a ridiculous question. However, 18 Spaniards lost their life because the terrorists didn’t know what time MY family ate dinner.

      POTENTIAL SHOW – With the immense amount of information accessible to hundreds of million of people, how does one guarantee the information’s validity?

      You should consider the source of that information. Duh! This question is as old as the net itself!

      Well, I went to the State Department’s website to verify the date of the bombing. It seemed the logical thing to do. (Just like logic says blow up the restaurant when it’s full)

      They list April 12, 1984 as the date. Off by exactly one year. Hey, it happens! But they also claim 18 American’s died. Huh? No Americans died. Here’s the link:


      Now scroll to the bottom and you’ll read:

      “This document, based entirely on public sources, was prepared for background information and reference purposes. It is not intended to be a complete or comprehensive account of all

      terrorist incidents during these years…”

      What scares me is I found hundreds of “patriotic” websites that used this list as a reason to continue the “war on terror.” More disturbing is I also found “legitimate” websites that used the same list. Here are a few examples:

      The United States Army:


      Terrorism Research Center:


      Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation:


      Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America:


      I did find a FEW websites listing the correct information. Most were from archives of newspapers:

      Newspaper archives:

      Washington Post:


      The New York Times:


      Time Magazine:


      Additional websites that listed the correct date:

      The Center for Defense Information:


      The White House Commission on the National Moment of Remembrance:


      I’ve since discovered that every year the State Department provides Congress with a report of all the terrorist attacks from the previous year. Needless to say, there is no April 12, 1984 bombing listed in the Patterns of Global Terrorism report for 1984. Here is a link for the 1985 report showing the correct incident.


      I emailed the RAND Center for Terrorism Rick Management, and the Memorial Institute for the Prevention of Terrorism. Both had the wrong date listed in their database. Each has verified they had the incident listed incorrectly and would update their database. Unfortunately, I noticed the changes are only half right. One corrected only the date, while the other corrected the nationality of those killed. I’ve informed each, so the changes will hopefully be made soon:

      RAND Center for Terrorism Rick Management Policy:


      Memorial Institute for the Prevention of Terrorism:


      My hope is more people recognize that sometimes the obvious, e.g. trusting only “official” sources of information, or overlooking/ignoring a trivial detail, e.g. knowing what time your enemy eats dinner, can have unfortunate/undesirable effect. After all the Devil IS in the details!

    127. The second God show petered out for me at the end. I thought if you actually want to take it somewhere, there’s a guy you should know about and he’s right here in Boston:

      Richard Kearney


      I heard him on the CBC’s best of ideas a while back, they had a three part series one part on his book “The God Who May Be”. Hard to summarize, but he talks about “the atheistic moment” in modern history, in the enlightenment, as well as in places in the Bible. A lot of the contentious questions approached in a different way.

      Also he had a small part to play in peace in Northern Ireland, a way of re-imagining your nation which I found significant vis a vis America.

      The podcasts are not online any more but I think you can buy a cd.


      If you don’t want to buy them I will burn them and send them. Just let me know.

    128. The New Africa.

      You could use the TEDtalk series as inspiration.


      Yes, I seem to be rehashing the same idea. But the time is ripe. What with a thoughtful discussion of AIDS in Africa and an interview with a figure in the anti-Apartheid movement.

      One reason I insist so much on ROS doing a show on Africa in a new perspectivite is that it is ideally placed to help open-minded people understand important dimensions of present-day Africa. Some obvious topics include: spread of democracy, religious tolerance (non-fanatic Islam and Christianity), spread of Asian business in Africa (Pakistan, China, Lebanon, India), Africans taking control of their own destinies, rethinking “Humanitarian Aid,” peace and cultural diversity throughout most of the continent, the fight for ownership of Africa’s natural resources (New Scramble for Africa?), etc.

      If I can help someone pitch this, I’d be very happy to do so.

    129. Re: America’s Cup

      Kiwis win Louis Vuitton Cup, shutting out Italians 5-0!

      America’s Cup against Alinghi starts Jun 23.

      What’s that again about New Zealand not being able to retain its best?

      And how money is all that matters? ;)

    130. Pitch responses for May 9 (!!!)

      Sorry these are so woefully late…

      rahbuhbuh: I thought this timeline was odd in that its definition of “authenticity” seems really nebulous. The Daily Show may be satirical, but is it really non-authentic? And New Coke failed because it was “insincere”? Weird. I think these are interesting things to talk about, but I would want to discuss what “authenticity” actually means. I’ll mention this at the meeting.

      Loryn: Looks like we’d be late on discussing the TED conference, but I like the idea of talking with African innovators. I’ll pitch it.

      savagela: Thanks for all these pitches! I think your pranks idea is fantastic; I’ll definitely pitch it. A show about people we hate getting their comeuppance, on the other hand, I think would be awfully hard to have a useful discussion about, although it might be fun. As for a show about interacting with transsexuals (and interacting AS a transsexual), I think that could be neat. I would be much more interested in how daily interactions play out for transsexuals, rather than getting into the swamp of speculating about the origins of transsexualism.

      Allison: Thanks for your continued research on the farm bill. I’ll pass it along and see if it helps us move along on the idea.

      And for May 16

      joneden: Thanks for this great and incredibly detailed post; I’ll pitch it for sure.

      glw: I think we covered you!

    131. re: Sidewalker, honest, I did a search before I posted. Isn’t he a smart guy!

      Even so I checked out hte collectik link and the podcast links appear to be dead from there. I renew my offer to burn Richard Kearney personally to cd and send it up to Lowell or wherever this show comes from.

      PS if you can find any bootleg Wiretap episodes let me know.

    132. Campaign Finance

      (Follow up on Katherine’s May 7th Response)

      My “Maine” idea for guests on the show would be legislators – especially new ones – from that state just to the north of Bean Town. The folks Down Under are have enacted full-blown campaign reform for their legislators. It might be interesting to get 1 Democrat and 1 Republican

      I went to:


      …and found an article at:


      …and emailed the author:

      John Buell: jbuell@acadia.net.

      …to let him know about my quest for a guest. Would he have any names of representatives in Maine that would be good to interview on RadioOpenSource?

      Unfortunately, I didn’t hear back from him. Perhaps you’ll have more luck…

      In the meantime, I’ll try some other angles.

      Keep up the great work. You’re talking about stuff that nobody else is!

    133. How about a show about the new brewing U.S. /Russia conflict and Bush’s missle defense shield? see NPR Dan Schorr: http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=10785971

      There are several interesting angles. First President Bush, the leader who scrapped missle treaties, wants to create for us and our allies a missle shield. The notorious Axis of Evil has actually produced but a few missles between them, (but they may still be thinking about it )…The one country among them that we went to war with actually didn’t have any at all. One might cover the history of the missile shield…and how since Reagan’s time no one has actually produced a functioning system…and how leading scientists say it can’t work. It really seems to me to bring together several interesting subjects that you have done shows on…Russian politics…the Bush administration’s approach to threats, war, and the media’s reporting on it… (I’m waiting to hear some more depthful reporting on this one in the Press.) Is anyone going to ask Mr. Bush why he is not holding missle defense which has not been proven to work, to the criteria that he held global warming for years and years before investing billions of dollars in it?) Here is a president who took us to war over weapons of mass destruction that acutally did not exist. He is in Europe inflaming tensions now attemptig to sell a missle shield of which a functioning prototype has yet to be created, to counter a threat that is at best vague. Has anyone forgotten that the worst attack of the century thus far, was accomplished with box cutters. Mr. Bush says that Russia which actually does have a lot of missles, and just tested a new one, is our friend and not the target of the system. To Mr. Putin he says, ” have no fear ..you can help us build it too!” It almost sounds as if he is saying: Mr Putin! I want you to put that wall back up! And Putin is playing his part in saying: if you build it we will point our missles at Europe. Good fences make good neighbors…. and if you build it they will come…and so why not build it…because you’re going to need it! What better a tonic for ailing superpowers! Remember Bush said he looked into Putin’s eyes..and saw his soul…and he probably recognized someone who knew the value of a ruble, and judging from how Mr. Putin has handled his own countries oil riches that is doubtless true. What can it mean when Mr. Bush lectures Mr. Putin on democracy? Back to our own media: I can hear echoes of your show on the build up and sales pitch of the need to go to war with Iraq in this. Where are our Mark Twains or our Will Rogers to point out that emporer has no clothes again? In fact this provides a prism to look at every one of Bush’s policies and its effects.. the consequence of Iraq was that billions of dollars were poured into defense industries..and the missle shield will do the same ensuring job security the military industrial complex for years to come….. It could make an interesting and lively show!

    134. Wellbasically, it does appear that the link is now unavailable. I think I have all three shows in mp3 or mp4 format from my itunes podcast collection (will have to check my home computer). Is there some way to send them to you?

    135. In support of Pauj’s pitch: THE RETURN OF THE COLD WAR?

      Is Iraq not enough for Bush? The proposed missile defense program in the Czech republic and Poland and plans to rearm our nuclear missles with newer, more has deadly warheads have provoked cold-war-style retaliatory rhetoric from Vladamir Putin and countered conventional wisdom that we should be descalating not ramping up htis deadliest of weapons of mass destruction on both sides.

      Questions: 1) What truth is there in that we need this defensive system 2) How effective would it be anyway against a future attack by Iran or North Korea 3) Are there other reasons Bush et al are wanting to erect it? And who are the players behind this — some sort of neo-neo-cons? 4) The White House argues that our nuclear warhead arsenal needs to be replaced for scientific reasons, the fissile material is too old. Others counter that these materials are good for 70 to 100 years so what’s the rush? 5) What is t he alternative to Bush escalation of nuclear war potenrtialo both ‘defensive’ and offensive. Is there a way to actually descalate and diffuse the potential for thermo-nuclear war post cold war while assurimg our natiomnal security in this area?

    136. p.s. – THE RETURN OF THE COLD WAR ?

      Seantor Sam Nunn would be the perfect guest, partiularly in reards to his chairmanship of the Nuclear Threat Inititiative.

      Also any former Secretary of Defense. Also a representative of the right-wing intellectuals and insiders who are potentially behind Bush’s new nuclear policy (it’s better to get them out the darklness before its’ too late a la Iraq).

    137. Pitch Responses for June 6

      Moonkey1: This is really interesting. I wonder if it might be possible to trace the lifespans of a few nuggets of important misinformation. I’ll pitch it tomorrow.

      wellbasically and sidewalker: I’ll ask the folks who were researching the various God shows if they talked to Kearney at all. As of now, I think we’d like to hold off on another God/atheism show, but maybe he could fit into some other framework.

      Alexandre Enkerli: I like the idea of TED, African innovation, and the “new Africa.” I’ll pitch it in our upcoming Friday pitch maraathon.

      paujc: I’d be surprised if we didn’t end up doing something about the missile defense shield and the conflict with Russia. I’ll mention it, and see what angle people would like to take.

    138. Responses to pitches from 18 May, 25 May, and 1 June 2007

      David Tagliani: This could develop into an interesting story, but until Microsoft takes some kind of action against open-source software developers, there might not be enough to talk about for an hour.

      Martin Brock: I’ll definitely pitch your antiwar Republicans idea, though it may be something we wait on until there’s just the right peg. In the meantime, you could check out Lincoln Chafee on last night’s Hillary Clinton show

      Thakkus: I did pitch your Mixed Martial Arts idea as promised, but it didn’t gain enough traction… The Sports Illustrated peg helps, but what we’d really need to get excited about the idea is some great, passionate talkers. Got any to suggest?

      John Navas: This is kind of horrifying, but I’m not sure that the NASA Chief’s neglect of global warming is a whole hour. Good info to tuck into another show, though, so thanks for the links. As far as a bigger “how NASA has its priorities wrong” show goes: I’ll pitch it, but it may be a too-common complaint to generate interest for an hour.

      Michael Beaton: This is certainly a timely idea given the current problems between Russia and the US; but we did a show a couple of months ago that addressed a lot of the issues underlying the current tension…

    139. Hi Sam – Agreed! It would be interesting to trace those “nuggets of important misinformation.” I actually have the sources used by the RAND analyst whose paper also had the incorrect information. Now I just need to find the time. (And the State Department states on their webpage they used public sources) Truth is there are typos everywhere. We find them all the time. Unfortunately, this typo happens to be about a terrorist attack, the U.S. happens to be “fighting terror”, and, thanks to the internet, that typo is now propagated all over the place.

    140. Responses to May 31st Pitches

      d.hennick: I’ll pitch this show on Carbon Dioxide Sequestration to see if there is a way to make this a compelling radio conversation.

      sidewalker: This could be an intersting show. I think FrancisCcollins could be an interesting guest. I’ll see what Chris and the rest of the crew think.

      rahbuhbuh: This is interesting. Could you elaborate on how this could be an hour-long show? Should we invite the folks from Sigma on and in essence reproduce this meeting for the radio? How do you envision this as a show? Who would you like us to put on the air?

    141. Just now surfacing from a few nautical distractions. Responses to pitches from May 19-20, May 26-27, and June 2-3:

      Tom Poe: I want to be more interested in hearing about community-based wireless, but I feel like I have some kind of mental block. Does this seem meaty to the rest of you or dry?

      PaulK: This is a passionate plea, but I think not quite focused enough for a radio show. One part of it reminds me of a show we’ve had on a back-burner for too long: epigenetics and autism, which would touch on the intersection of one’s genetic predisposition and environment. We’ve been in touch with Jill Neimark in the past, and will get in touch with her soon.

      chilton1: We’re now thinking about doing a whole series about the pharmaceutical industry (with Marcia Angell leading off this coming Monday), and the Wild West supplement world could be a good side trip.

      Alexandre Enkerli: We’ve actually talked a few times about the generational shift away from privacy and towards tell-all transparency, although never explicitly as the main subject of a show. Most recently, Jonathan Raban gave us a fascinating glimpse of this when talking about his teenage daughter at the end of our surveillance show. We also got into it a bit in our Google/NSA show.

      My response reminds me of a self-deprecating joke I once heard at NPR:

      Q: How many radio producers does it take to change a lightbulb?

      A: None. Didn’t we do a show about that five years ago?

      Michael Beaton on democracy: Wow. That is a pitch and a half. I’m having a hard time wrangling it. As you summarized it, your core question is this: “Is Democracy, however understood, truly the solution or only palliative to all the problems in the world?” I think we know what realists like Steve Walt or John Mearshimer would say (no) and what Bush’s Second Inaugural speechwriters did say (“it is the policy of the United States to seek and support the growth of democratic movements and institutions in every nation and culture, with the ultimate goal of ending tyranny in our world”). To some degree, much of the public dialogue in this country since the invasion of Iraq has been made up of a series of competing responses to your question. I’m on the fence about whether or not an hour devoted explicitly to tackling that question would yield an interesting discussion, but it very well might. Is there more interest out there? And helpful ideas for guests? Think specifics here, since there’s a danger the show could get too high-concept.

      Michael Beaton on Buddhist economics: We’ve already been labeled a reliably lefty show, so we might as well embrace it, huh? I actually like this lens for thinking about consumption. It reminds me of another recent suggestion — not Jon Eden’s, but an earlier one — that Robin brought up more than a month ago. I’ll ask her.

      Emmett O’Connell: I agree: the Nancy Cleeland piece on The Huffington Post is quite good. But I’m not sure that an hour about the disappearance of labor reporting would work. I fear it’s a too meta — or perhaps too narrowly focused. (I know: there’s no winning with us! We either complain that it’s too narrow or too broad. But somewhere out there, just like Goldilocks found, there’s a pitch that’s just right.) Cleeland may be most interesting for a post-newspaper check-up — on leaving the print world, which she describes as the end of a marriage. I’ll poke around to see what else she’s writing.

    142. I can’t find something called “pitch your idea here” to click on. So this is not a comment on other pitches, this is a pitch.

      I just ran into Chris Lydon on the street and showed him an article in Foreign Affairs entitled “Ethanol’s Real Costs.” He said the you guys have already been on the ethanol issue, and noted its environmental benefits are marginal. I said, this article is about its impact on food prices. The article estimates that the number of starving poor in the world could DOUBLE if current policies continue. But what is increasingly clear is that there is another way, if we work to develop nonfood ethanol sources. The environmental benefits are much higher when you make it from trees and grasses as well. (Sugar cane, a nonstaple food source, is a good transitional focus). I noted to Chris that Lester Brown of the Worldwatch Institute, author of Plan B, predicted this some years ago. He could be on the show. But I would also suggest you pull in Michael Pollan, who had an amazing article in the NY Times Magazine section very recently, in which he explained how this country needs a new agricultural policy, and that this would be an effective way of substantially enhancing environmental progress. It would also be an effective way of producing energy and technological progress. I would suggest that you include in your discussion some techno innovators, such as the Amyrilis Company in California, which is working on biotech to cheaply produce effective enzymes for breaking down cellulose, so that the audience can see this goal is within reach – we need a new industrial, technological, agricultural, environmental policy to get there, involving changing the subsidy picture we now have. This would be a very big task but we can’t get started by ignoring it. It is of prime importance to this country, but if we don’t address it, the rest of the world, outraged at rising food prices, will force us to.

    143. Chelsea: regarding Sigma:

      It may be a curious excercise, but I personally wouldn’t want to listen to a group of science fiction writers brainstorm the future on live radio unless there were equal if not more earthbound scientists and social scientists to add some perspective. Perhaps someone from MiT’s Center for Technological Innovation? or, they could point ROS towards someone who would have “futurist” on their business card.


      the original Sigma article is here:


      a more informative interview with political thriller author Brad Meltzer in a CNN transcritp (half way-ish down the page):


      The topic above is really sensationalist and It could turn it into some sort of conspiracy show. Most of the quick web searches led to that sort of nonsense. My root interest was in think tanks, which sound like R&D for political science. People who just sit around a table and dream up things, talk feasability, and nothing else? I know some lean to the left or right, or focus on different things, but nothing about what they actually do. Hudson, Institute for Policy Studies, Heritage Foundation, National Center for Public Policy, etc…

      How much do they affect public policy? Who funds them? Why are they always talking heads being interviewed? Are they academics? seasoned vets from the working world?


    144. Smoot-Hawley II

      A “sidebar” article about the Ryan-Hunter bill in congress, on yesterday’s Marketplace caught my eye on the theme of “Groundhog Day Economics”.


      Just as news of the fall of “real-estate speculation” (sub-prime mortgage crash) is getting top-billing, and 30 is the new 20, it looks like Ryan-Hunter in the new Smoot-Hawley. Any American historian will tell you what that means.

      Is this another sign of an impending crash? It doesn’t seem like anyone cuts to the chase on this one and figures out if we may send our economy into another depression, unless we ease our selves out of this unsustainable position. That is, instead of seeking a legislative quick fix (or trade war), actually getting our house in order and having self-discipline.

      Mish’s blog on a little of the recent coverage:


      Mish references an LA Times article on the pending legislation:


      And Mish also references a Reuters article about how some undervalued currency is a result of natural economics:


      * Stephen S. Roach (Chief Economist and Director of Global Economic Analysis, Morgan Stanley) has an opinion about how this could really put a hurt on the US economy.


      * A hearing document submitted to the Ways and Means committee by John Nolan (VP, etc of Steel Dynamics, Inc):


      Hey, I’m even guessing that Greenspan would like a forum to discuss his opinions on this! :)

      I’m not sure if there’s been a comprehensive look at the parallels of the current economy to the pre-depression economy. (Or pre-depression economics)

      [still reeling from "varieties of faith and reason II", going to let it slide for now]

    145. Many months ago, and at least once later, I suggested a show about the American poet, Frederick Seidel. No reply, and no worries if he just doesn’t suit, but here’s another link to the several others I sent along, just in case:


      I don’t think he’s ever done a radio interview, in the event yours would likely be the first, etc.

      Little worse than praise falling on deaf ears, so I’ll spare him the possible indignity and leave it there. But if you like poetry…

    146. Michael Beaton on Buddhist economics: We’ve already been labeled a reliably lefty show, so we might as well embrace it, huh? I actually like this lens for thinking about consumption. It reminds me of another recent suggestion — not Jon Eden’s, but an earlier one — that Robin brought up more than a month ago. I’ll ask her.

      I think this would be a very interesting show. I read an article on business trending towards eastern thinking, in contrast to the 80′s The Art of War thinking. Perhaps worth focusing on the Hindu angle rather than the Buddhist.

      BusinessWeek, “Karma Capitalism” October 19, 2006:

      … just one small manifestation of a significant but sometimes quirky new trend: Big Business is embracing Indian philosophy. Suddenly, phrases from ancient Hindu texts such as the Bhagavad Gita are popping up in management tomes and on Web sites of consultants. Top business schools have introduced “self-mastery” classes that use Indian methods to help managers boost their leadership skills and find inner peace in lives dominated by work.

      More important, Indian-born strategists also are helping transform corporations. Academics and consultants such as C. K. Prahalad, Ram Charan, and Vijay Govindrajan are among the world’s hottest business gurus.

      For both organizations and individuals, it’s a gentler, more empathetic ethos that resonates in the post-tech-bubble, post-Enron zeitgeist. These days, concepts such as “emotional intelligence” and “servant leadership” are in vogue. Where once corporate philanthropy was an obligation, these days it’s fast becoming viewed as a competitive advantage for attracting and retaining top talent. Where the rallying cry in the 1980s and ’90s may have been “greed is good,” today it’s becoming “green is good.”

      And while it used to be hip in management circles to quote from the sixth century B.C. Chinese classic The Art of War, the trendy ancient Eastern text today is the more introspective Bhagavad Gita. Earlier this year, a manager at Sprint Nextel Corp. (S) penned the inevitable how-to guide: Bhagavad Gita on Effective Leadership.

    147. I should say trending toward Indian thinking. The Art of War is a Japanese book and also Eastern.

    148. There’s an elephant in our political house that NEVER gets discussed anywhere and that is the ideological and political domination of feminism. It has taken over the academy (Christina Sommers et al) as witnessed by the debacle of the Harvard president Larry Summers being replaced by a radical feminist for implying there was a sex difference between men and women in the sciences.

      What it boils down to is an exclusive sex advocacy, feminism, rules and there is no exclusive sex advocacy for men and anyone challenging feminism often lose friends, family and jobs. Feminism is the dominating religion of the country and it’s State supported! Men are totally hoodwinked and intimidated due to their great love and dependence on women while being called misogynist if they stand up to feminism. Women actively and publically show their disdain and even hate for men while the word “misandry” is often not even in the dictionary!

      All your podcasts have a strong liberal bias. How about balancing it out with some truth that challenges both Left and Right and their using women to rule while leaving men without money and status totally disenfranchised. I’d be happy to appear or suggest someone else. I’ve been a fther’s and men’s advocate for 25 years and know many others.

      Tom Smith

    149. I’d like to hear a show on trust. It ties into your recent shows on the watch list and the comey dissent, which both address secret programs we’ve been told we need for our own good. In essence, the Administration has said, trust us, the terrorist threat requires we do things we can’t tell you about. As the abuses become uncovered, and our trust wanes, we want more information.

      Which gets us to the problem of information. As individuals, we simply cannot absorb all existing and available information. Transparency is important, but impossible. So, we rely not only elected officials, but on the think tank types and analysts, too, to give us the info “we need” so we can form opinions about public policy issues. Which gets us back to the trust issue.

      This confounds all important public policy questions, not just the war in Iraq or national security measures. It will certainly come up as we approach health care reform again. How can we, as regular people, engage in these conversations in a meaningful way when we don’t know whether we can trust our sources of information?

    150. The rise of “The Brights”

      In light of the Reverends in “The Varieties of Faith and Faith, Take Two,” it would be enlightening for the ROS audience to be exposed to a discussion among the non-supernatural believers. “The Brights” describe themselves: “the constituency consists entirely of people who have a naturalistic world view.”



      Instead of comparing believers to non-believers, and then also giving believers a whole episode to explain their point of view. It might be productive to interview non-believers in their own light.

      Currently atheists (a subset of the Brights) are the least favorably viewed demographic in the US. There’s an opinion that it’s time to take the path homosexuals took into getting the current level of cultural acceptance (TV/Movies/other celebrities).

    151. Dear friends – I am completing a second tour of duty in Afghanistan, not in the military or government but as a consultant to the United Nations on private sector development. I suggest having a show on what is a big failure, five years after the United Nations send a coalition with a unanimous mandate from the Security Council. You cannot have security without development or development without security. The question is the country does not really move in either front and the best scenarios for year 2020 (Afghanistan’s millennium development goals) show a country with a per capita income of less than one dollar a day, with an explosion of population (topping the 100 million mark, half rural, half urban by year 2050, according to UN estimates). Moreover, donor fatigue is not only manifest but already money and experts are moving to the Horn of Africa.

      This failure of the West has been best depicted, methinks, by Sedra and Goodhand in Bargains for Peace, a study for Clingendael (http://www.clingendael.nl/publications/2006/20060800_cru_goodhand_sedra.pdf). A serious discussion on the whys would make a great Open Source program.

      Regards, Osvaldo

    152. Pitching a Show: Third Culture Kids

      Years ago I confided in a friend that I felt like a “foreigner” in my own country. I’d been back over 10 years, (after spending 13 of my first 15 years outside the US) but I still didn’t ‘get’ these people, my supposed fellow American citizens. “You’re a typical Third Culture Kid.” she said. Although I’d never heard of a TCK, the diagnosis quickly made sense.

      “A TCK is an individual who, having spent a significant part of the developmental years in a culture other than that of their parents, develops a sense of relationship to both. These children…become “culture-blended” persons.”

      “TCKs share some common characteristics: tolerance for other cultures, a never-ending feeling of homesickness for their adopted country and a desire to remain in close contact with friends from their adopted country as well as other TCKs that they have grown up with. On the other hand, moving from country to country often becomes an easy thing for such individuals. They are what can be defined as truly global citizens who will embrace global cultures and experience and accept the global cultural rainbow.”

      (Are there any ROS listeners who are a TCK and/or have children who are TCK?)

      Does anyone remember Katharine Gun? She was working as a translator for the British intelligence agency in 2003 when she admitted to leaking a top-secret email received from the NSA. In that email, the NSA requested help in planting bugs in United Nation offices. Part of her decision to leak the email came from having been a Third Culture Kid.

      Here’s her story:


      Barack Obama is also a TCK, something to keep in mind if you decide to read this article, “Understanding a third-culture kid”, by Elizabeth Lowe:


      Ms. Lowe is a faculty member at the University of Florida & directs a program in Translation and Cross-cultural Studies. In the article she talks about John Kerry, another TCK:

      “What many people do not know…is that Kerry grew up an American expatriate. His personality traits are those of a “third-culture kid” — a well-documented psychological state that is an underappreciated asset for a U.S. leader in an era when the world is increasingly skeptical of America and its intentions.”

      Call me biased, but I think it would be interesting/enlightening learning about a group of people whose “culture” can’t be found on a map :)

    153. How about a show on “open salaries”…timed to the Boston Herald’s “Find a Hack” database that exposes what almost everyone (only the MBTA is still hidden) on the Mass state payroll earns for salary in 2006. (side note – something nobody understands is that these salaries are artificially high because state workers are required to submit 11% (I think it’s 11%) of their pay to the state pension fund, this is separate from the regular taxes…so these folks aren’t netting as much cash from their gross salary as your average private sector worker does).

      This wouldn’t be so much about the Herald’s search engine, but more about the culture that emerges when suddenly you know how much your boss makes. And her boss makes. And his boss makes! And your co-workers make.

      I’ve heard the argument made that companies SHOULD have salary info for everyone at the company be publicly known. It’s both a trust-builder and a motivation factor…if you make $5000/yr more than your co-workers, you better be earning it in their eyes.

      This could also touch on pay inequality between women and men (and other pay divisions between ethnic groups, class groups, etc) and how it could be a possible solution to it.

      And, of course, when you have salaries known but you’re in a rigidly-controlled pay structure like the state…where merit raises are rare and most increases are determined by union negotiations that have nothing to do with the individual’s performance or needs…does this mean you’ve got an irresistible force hitting an immovable object?

    154. Here’s a new pitch:

      What would the world look like if every child, age 6 to 16, received a formal education? What would this mean for these children’s lives, health and future? What would it mean for the environment, the global economy and international security?

      American children this month begin their traditional summer school vacation, but worldwide roughly 320 million children, most of them female, do not attend school at all. These children typically live in the world’s poorest nations, and without an opportunity for education, they face a likely future of continued poverty, poor health, environmental degradation and social injustice.

      Yet, universal education is attainable and well within the ability of wealthy nations to fund, according to a multi-year project of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Initiated in 2001, the Academy’s Universal Basic and Secondary Education (UBASE) project explores the feasibility and social ramifications of educating all the world’s children, age 6 to 16. The project has produced several papers and a comprehensive new book, titled “Educating All Children: A Global Agenda,” published by The MIT Press.

      For disclosure, I work for the Academy. We believe “Universal Education” could be a fantastic topic for Open Source, with its educated and passionate community of readers, listeners, contributers and producers.

      For more details, go to: http://www.amacad.org/projects/ubase.aspx.

      The project leaders estimate that between $34 and $69 billion more in education spending per year is needed to provide universal primary and secondary education. While an enormous sum of money, the economic, health, social and political benefits of an educated worldwide populace are also enormous. Education lowers fertility and mortality rates, improves human health, and strengthens social and cultural capital, which contributes to strong and stable polities.

      Among the questions the Academy project has examined are:

      What would it take to ensure that every child in the world, from age 6 to 16, receives an education of good quality?

      How important is universal education compared to other development objectives, such as health, nutrition, income and physical security?

      Would a concerted effort to provide universal education help reduce birth rates in countries where rapid population growth impedes economic development, damages the environment and depresses living standards?

      What barriers – financial, cultural or economic – exist to expanding education?

      What does high-quality education look like? How could new technologies be used to expand what we think of as education?

      The Academy’s project differs from other initiatives in that it defines universal education as requiring access to both primary AND secondary schooling for all children. Another difference is that the Academy’s project is multidisciplinary — focusing on the economic, social, political and pedagogical issues involved in making high-quality education universally available. The project team includes economists, developmental psychologists, demographers, statisticians, historians, cultural anthropologists, public health workers, business leaders, and representatives from the World Bank and the United Nations.

      The principal investigators of the project and co-editors of “Educating All Children,” as well as other contributors to the volume, would be articulate and provocative discussants on Open Source. Other potential guests include educators from developing nations, government ministers who oversee education aid (from donor or recipient nations), and leaders from international non-government organizations that administer education projects. And what about interviewing secondary students from developing nations? What is their education like? What resources do they have and lack? What opportunities does an education open up?

      It is interesting to contrast the global response to HIV/AIDS or world hunger to the resources and political attention devoted to poor-quality or nonexistent education. The goal of universal education is both enormously important and demonstrably achievable. As one of our volume’s contributor’s notes, a major reason for the lack of political will to make it happen is that no one opens their morning papers to see stories about children dying from a lack of education (although, in a real sense, millions do).

      We wanted to share this idea with the Open Source community. I look forward to reading your thoughts on this important and necessary topic.

    155. Last week I pitched a show on the missle shield…here’s a related show I know you’ll do eventually. Whither U.S. foreign policy, dare I say, in the age of post Bush, and the neo cons? What comes after preemptive war, missle shields, extraordinary rendition, torture? If the U.S. has lost credibility how can it be restored? The Neo con edifice seems to be crumbling perhaps even from within – when Ashcroft himself is said to have opposed domestic surveillance -The New York Times recently reported that U.S. “Interrogation techniques” were based on Soviet Torture: http://www.nytimes.com/2007/06/03/weekinreview/03shane.html?ex=1181620800&en=6a0e40c3e2fde9ed&ei=5070 Have the Neo con assumptions been finally repudiated? When a federal court has ruled that the administration can not hold someone on the basis of being an “enemy combatant” The New York Times: “To sanction such presidential authority to order the military to seize and indefinitely detain civilians,” Judge Diana Gribbon Motz wrote, “even if the President calls them ‘enemy combatants,’ would have disastrous consequences for the Constitution — and the country.” When General Sanchez has been reported to say that there is ” a crisis in leadership” and the “war cannot be won” in the Agence France Press Is the Neo Con view at its end? http://www.commondreams.org/archive/2007/06/04/1653/ Colin Powell http://thinkprogress.org/2007/06/10/powell-gitmo/ has recently appeared on “Meet the Press” and said that “Guantanomo must be closed” and “habeas corpus” restored now. He also says we must develop relationships with Iran and other enemies. Have the Neo con assumptions been finally repudiated?

      And what comes next to address real dangers and complicated issues in the world. Hans Blix says the only way forward is that the U.S. itself curtail its weapons

      of Mass destruction. http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=10884029 Whither U.S. foreign policy after Bush?

    156. What about medical practices overseas and how they vary from those in the USA? My son lives in Tokyo and my 14-month-old grandson got a ‘mysterious’ vaccination. After I enquired it turned out that — unlike in the US — Japanese children get the BCG turbulosis vaccinte. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bacillus_Calmette-Gu%C3%A9rin . If you read this wikipedia article, it’s a fascinating story! While my wife and I were in Japan a few weeks ago, my grandson went for his ‘polio innoculation’ (administered orally). On the wall was an advisory (translated by my son) which warned parents to be careful when changing diapers and advising them not to kiss the babies on the mouth. My only conclusion is that they must be using live vaccine rather than killed virus vaccine in Japan… And in Spain (from where my wife comes) I discovered that all retirees over 70 in the nation are visited in their homes monthly by either a doctor or a nurse to be sure that ‘old folks’ are ok, and to determine if they need to be examined further if they have complaints. I only discovered this while visiting my wife’s village and chatting with one of her cousins and her 90+ uncle. It would make a fascinating show to examine the nuts and bolts of medical care in other nations (particularly those with lower infant mortalities and/or higher longeivity than the US). I doubt anyone knows much about the details of medical systems overseas. If we could only get rid of our ‘not invented here’ hubris, it might be interesting. Maybe someday we also could learn to shamelessly steal the best ideas of other nations, as most other nations do….

    157. What about a show about multi-lingual education of preschoolers? I have a friend (college professor originally from Poland) who speaks Polish, Russian, and German — not surprising given the geography. He was required to learn Greek and Latin in school — and is currently translating the (bad) Latin of a Michael Servetus classic into English. His wife is from South America and he speaks good Spanish. And he has lived for many years in the US and speaks good English. — My son (who is fluent in Japanese and English, and pretty good in Spanish) hopes the same for our grandson. — Now for the controversy! Some of what I’ve read shows that the same areas of the brain are used for multiple languages if they are learned before age 5-6, but that languages learned later are shunted off to other areas of the brain. True or false? Many folks I know who speak multiple languages report that their kids start talking very late, but suddenly burst forth in the many languages they’ve been raised among all at once. True or false? I have been told that if the father speaks one language with the child, and the mother speaks another, the child will not have problems mixing the two languages? Urban myth? And what of a child raised in an environment of three languages or more? — Incidentally, one of the sadder experiences I’ve had was going into the home of a well-to-do professional woman who explained that her child wasn’t speaking yet, but just babbling. A few seconds later I listened to her child have a primitive but totally intelligible conversation with her maid: in Spanish! Some mother/child relationship! :-( I would love to hear some KNOWLEDGABLE experts discuss the development of multi-lingual abilities (without the usual ‘political angle’). We live in a world where religions and languages are what divide us. Plenty of discussion has been given to the first of these two, but very little to the second.

    158. As often as I think about sex and most will admit same, it intrigues me as to how little actual and problem solving dialouge about it exists today. Given aspects of homosexual orientation allow for certainly much frank attention albeit with contraversy, what of disscussions about heterosexual relations?

      What of the very secretive dynamics of power manipulation to achieve sexual conquest or even entrenchment in workplace, governence, policing, family etc by either sex? Are we being honestly measured about how much this extraordinary part of our life effects the social order and indeed disorder? Gender roles as defined by inequality over time restrict dialouge and do a diservice to those people by that measure and ultimatley all of us. Institutions of shame and corruption are to blame, how are they changing? What is going on in communications to see and correct these archane binds. Who and how are things changing world over

      in this regard.

    159. Instead of having the presidential candadites debate (because who could get them anyway on an uncensored show); why not have their fans or supporters debate. They can stand in the place of the Candadite. Questions can be uncensored but must be backed up with voting records or quotes from the actual person.

      I just think with today’s media hardly covering it and the candadites getting questions that they can rehearse and refuse to answer that it may be to see their supporters support them, if they can.

      Politicians decided a long time ago that since they all drink from the same well, none of them will spit in it. This will provide an opportunity for others to get to the nitty gritty of these politicians; their war contractor investments and campaign donations accepted; their own financial records; Scandals etc.

    160. It’s been hard to miss the criminal justice exploits of Paris Hilton this past week. Today, however, I read about a case that has been ongoing for several years about a Georgia youth, Genarlow Wilson, who was sentenced to ten years in prison for consensual oral sex with a 15 year old when he was 17. Georgia law has now changed and he would have been charged with a misdemeanor but the law is not retroactive. Jimmy Carter has come out in support of Wilson. See:


      The day before yesterday, his sentence was overturned by a Monroe County judge. However, the state Attorney General is appealing the case and Wilson remains in prison.



      Now could be a good time to talk about questions of sentencing and what people are incarcerated for. Incarcerated America is a large and ignored population and this could be a timely topic. Wilson’s issues alone are interesting enough–he refuses to plea bargain because he will have a felony on his record. How are felons treated in this country? How long does incarceration really last, does it extend into people’s lives after they are released. Is there actual rehabilitation? Hilton claims to have found God in jail.



    161. Saturday June 9 New York Times” Final Take from the ‘sometimes being first is not a good thing’department: Psychology Today reports 56 percent of M.B.A. students cheat,versus 47 percepnt of grauduate students in other disciplines” by Paul B. Brown.

      What does that say about the moral fabric of our society? Our President has a M.B.A.

    162. First of all let me say that like so many other listeners, I LOVE LOVE LOVE the show. I regret having discovered it only fairly recently. Christopher Lyden is an excellent interviewer and asks compelling questions and I like his style!

      Here’s my pitch: Explore the abuses of power that have happened during the Iraq war and the psychological motivation behind these abuses of power. The torture at Abu Ghraib has already been covered quite a bit in the media, but I haven’t heard as much about the Haditha massacres and other similar instances. It would be interesting to hear an in-depth program that takes a step back and analyzes why these types of things happen during war, as well as how they are concealed and eventually uncovered. It may make sense to look at US involvement in other wars and the abuses that happened during those wars, for instance Vietnam? I wish I could be more detailed and insightful but I don’t know enough about the topic to do so, which is why I’d like to learn more!

      Thanks so much for the show, it really is a gem.

    163. Responses to June 11 Pitches

      webcastboy: I could see tying this to a bigger discussion of what people make and why. I’ll pitch it.

      ashleyg: Thanks for pitching on the thread! I’m not quite hearing this as a show yet, but I’ll bring it up. I have a vision of two or three people saying back and forth to each other, “Gee, it sure would be nice if everyone was educated,” and the conversation never really progressing much further, although that may not be fair. What organizations are pressing for universal education?

      tbrucia: I think checking up on other nations’ health care systems is a great idea, and I agree it’s something people just don’t kow much about. I’d also be very interested in a show on childhood multilingualism. I’ll pitch ‘em both.

      carlregular: I’m kind of fascinated by this pitch, but I think we need more specificity in what the show would actually be about. What are some of the “arcane binds” you are talking about, general gender inequality?

    164. I’m comfortable taking on the title (along with nother of course) as the ROS official sports pitching guy(s).

      Soccer in America. Preparing for the Dominican show I’ve done a lot of reading about sports leagues, their histories and basic shapes. I’ve been enthralled lately with American soccer and how it fits into the worlds game.

      David Beckam is making his slow way in the Los Angeles to play for the Galaxy (or just Galaxy as the guys as ESPNs SoccerZone call the team, which is totally cool). This isn’t a Pele type importation, a near dead league and an over the hill superstar, but rather a coming of age world class league and a Michael Jordon type super star seeming to anoint it.

      Steven Wells at the Guardian had an interesting post about American soccer fans and how they differ from our other sorts of fans. More punk.

      Franklin Foer’s last chapter in “How Soccer Explains the World,” takes on how soccer explains the Red/Blue divide in America. How blue Americans feel comfortable following and playing soccer, how soccer has grown in youth leagues as parents try to find an alternative to baseball and football.

      Here is CNN’s look at how Galaxy got Beckham away from a giant of world soccer, Real Madrid.

      I’m also going to listen to last year’s World Cup podcast to see if I’m treading over some already covered ground.

    165. I would love to hear a show about Egypt. Michael Slackman has been reporting from and about Cairo in the New York Times. he might make a great guest.

      When Naguib Mafouz passed away- I asked for a show on him ( as I did for August Wilson).

      I guess this is because I am intrigued and I know little. I have the formidable “The Cairo Trilogy” a book I will probably never read from cover to cover but someone I was listening to enthused over ( or about) it and said it’s okay to pick it up and start reading anywhere. I wanted the flavor.

      There is so much to say about Egypt not to mention it’s pivotal role in the region.

      Slackman had a piece in today’s NYTimes but the article of his that caught me is of 3/1/07 Cairo Journal;In Arab Hub the Poor Are Left to Their Fate

    166. Potter– Less daunting than the Cairo Trilogy, but a good representative intrroduction to Mafouz is a trilogy that contains Respected Sir, Wedding Song and The Search.

    167. I agree with Potter and Zeke. If we do not read Mafouz, Amos Oz et al. How can we understand our world? Recently an article in the New Yorker suggested that the detective novel-set in international seetings i.e. the Collaberator of Bethleham can offere us unique insights in to people palces and hot spots.

      Also I recommend a show on Roadmap to Peace dealing withe the diasspearence of Condi, the Potential metldown in Jerusalem with the fall of the Omar goverment. Interview Dennis Ross!

    168. Impeach Dick Cheney for Treason

      By outing Valerie Plame he compromised all the agents she had ever worked with and all her contacts. He also effectively destroyed her “fronts” overseas and doubtless endangered numerous lives. How is that not treason? If you want more I’ll research it, but I don’t have time now. thanks

      P.S.(Do you really need money?)

    169. The international community lost an amazing writer this year, Ryszard Kapuscinski, who died at the age 74 on January 23.

      A very interesting show could be devoted to, as the Guardian Unlimited, the online version of the Guardian newspaper put it, Kapuscinski’s journalism, which “was a mission, not a career…[as] he spent much of his life, happily, in uncomfortable and obscure places, many of them in Africa, trying to convey their essence to a continent far away.” http://books.guardian.co.uk/obituaries/story/0,,1997953,00.html

      Kapuscinski’s “mission” can easily be tied into recent past shows, like the decline of foreign correspondents and what these individuals bring to our, what can be, incredibly myopic daily lives. The subject of his work, concerning times past, speaks volumes about the issues confronting society today, like Shah of Shahs, about the fall of the last Shah of Iran, which in part speaks to the pernicious consequences of a society’s reliance on oil, or his book, The Emperor, which aptly illustrates, among other things, one of the plagues afflicting the African continent (and elsewhere) today, the autocrat living “high on the hog” while the populace starves.

      Kapuscinski’s posthumous memoir, Travels with Herodotus, recently published, alone could be the subject of a show.

      The Paris Review in its most recent issue included a short piece of Kapuscinski’s and ran some of the pictures from his travels in Africa. I believe that the Paris Review recently put on a symposium in Manhattan about Kapuscinski. I suppose that the powers that be at Open Source could seek to have the speakers at the symposium as guests on the show.

      There are critics of Kapuscinski, however. One camp posits that he facilitated a rather paternalistic (and colonial) view of Africa. The other camp believes that his stories, which are generally presented as fact, are not. In any event, two things cannot be denied. First, Kapuscinski was an amazing writer, who wrote with the brevity and clarity of Hemingway. Second, he highlighted a world that few of us will see and opened our eyes to the beautiful and expansive societies that exist, in quite troubled and dire states, beyond our daily lives.

    170. Response to pitches from 8 June 2007

      sidewalker: I liked your idea of doing a show on Iraq from the perspective of NGO workers, but unfortunately everyone seemed to feel that it wasn’t quite a solid enough frame. We’ve had NGO workers on past Iraq shows on specific topics, and that’s probably how we’ll continue to include them.

      rick reibstein: You put your pitch in just the right spot — this thread is both for pitches and for reactions to pitches. We did a show with Michael Pollan on corn subsidies that covers some of what you’re suggesting. But we’ve never devoted an entire hour to ethanol. It’s important, and ‘ll bring it up in a story meeting, but it’s been covered a lot…

      Almanch: Thanks for all of the links. I think you’re pitching an hour on undervalued foreign currencies and the trade problems they cause? This feels like it would be a great short Marketplace piece, but probably not an hour of talk for us right now. If the bill passed or if undervalued foreign currencies became a hotter news item, it might work. Please feel free to convince me otherwise. (And just a general tip: a pitch that has a concise summary of your idea is most helpful.) David is working on a show on the Chinese stock market right now, and he’s discovering — as we have before — how difficult it is to book guests in China because of the time change.

    171. In regards to rick reibstein’s pitch about ethanol: what about a show on “what comes after oil”? With the Senate beginning debate on the energy bill, coal-to-liquid (CTL) technology has been in the news, along with ethanol, plug-in hybrids (the Chevy Volt, for example), etc. It is clear that we need to begin to transition the transportation sector away from oil, but the shape of the “post-oil” future is still very uncertain.

      Complicating this issue further is the conflict between the national security goal of increasing our energy independence and the environmental goal of lowering CO2 emissions. CTL and corn-based ethanol may be good for the former, but not necessarily the latter.

    172. I’m with tbrucia on both of his suggestions, maybe as a result of growing up bilingual and bicultural. While I can speak at length from personal and family experience about the bilingualism, I would relish a nuanced and keen expose and discussion of the various theories that exist on the more linguistic and adaptive aspects of bilingualism.

      As for my biculturalism, it informs my sense (no, my conviction) that cultures are short-sighted when it comes to how other cultures do things better, smarter, etc. As a result, I tend to define culture as what we take for granted in our ways of being and doing — i.e. as what we forget to ask questions about. Health care practices and beliefs fall squarely into that realm, regardless of the cultures we might be talking about.

      Let’s do it!

    173. I would like to hear a show about National Public Radio itself. For an organization that runs largely on public funds, I find it manifestly opaque. It seems willing to bring all kinds of things to the public eye (and for which I am very appreciative) but not itself. As someone once said, NPR wants me to be a better person, not just better informed. There is clearly a social agenda. But even though it’s one I largely agree with, it remains very implicit and requires explicating. I can’t find any inside info on NPR anywhere. What are their struggles? Who makes the decisions? What are there hiring practices and criteria for example? While some of their journalists are very good, they clearly don’t get the cream of the crop, even with the substantial endowment they received from the Krochs. With NPR I get the sense of ‘the hidden hand’. As a dinky example, the music selection at the end of a story is often clearly editorial comment in musical form. I’m not saying it is wrong or bad, I just want it to be made more transparent and explicit. I know more about the inner workings of the New York Times – a privately held company – than I do about NPR, a listener supported business. The motto seems to be ‘you can just trust us, we are like you’. And I think they are too, but I have some parts of myself that I would rather not have others know, and I’m sure they are the same.

      And yesterday I heard one of their well-known people in a plug for funds on WGBH, that public radio is a really simple and efficient way to get us the news – they write it in DC and we get it on our local station. But efficient – really? On my drive to and from work (Worcester) I get the identical NPR news programs from three different public radio stations – mainly at the same time. The programs probably cost each of those stations a substantial amount to carry each year – in fact I suspect they represent a significant proportion of their budgets. And then each of the stations goes on their individual fund drives to recover the funds from listeners. Efficient – I don’t think so.

      I could go on….

    174. Potter, I highly recommend the Cairo Trilogy. Why don’t you think you’ll read it?

      One of the challenges of reading these books is that you don’t always understand the humor, or when hyperbole is used. You need someone familiar with the culture to explain it. I would love that on a show. Someone to talk about how Mafouz used humor and/or hyperbole to deliver a message specifically for Egyptians. I think we miss a lot of this when we read books set in an unfamiliar culture. We may end up with more misunderstanding than not. Especially in the form of stereotypes.

    175. Two suggestions for future programs:

      (1) Given the ongoing cutbacks in print journalism (e.g., recent mass layoffs/buyouts at the S.F. Chronicle and L.A. Times, it would be interesting to hear from recently downsized journalists—is there life after print journalism? Are any of these folks finding work inside or outside of journalism?

      (2) Since Michael Moore’s new film (“Sicko”) will be coming out soon, it would be interesting to devote a program to commentary from some respected health economists (on both the Left and Right)—what elements of his story line are on target vs. off-target?

    176. An addition to my American soccer pitch, the CONCACAF Gold Cup is being played in the United States this year. It is the North American version of the regional tournaments that are held across the world during off years in preparation for the world cup. EuroCup is one of the best known examples.

      Last night’s double header featuring a Honduran victory over Cuba and Mexico edging by Panama drew 68,000+ to the Houston Texans homefield. Twice as many people went to watch live soccer in Houston last night than live baseball. It also wasn’t shown on English language television anywhere in the US.

      We’re the host nation of a major sporting tournament that is drawing sell out crowds in Houston (and Giants Stadium a few days ago), and it hardly seems like its actually happening.

    177. I second JHILLBERk’s pitch “is there life after print journalism?”

      and, i add the question: if print journalists are down and bloggers are up, are more or less students entering journalism programs? how does the clamouring for low tech honest diary-style news change our view of what a “reporter” is?

    178. Ever hear the line “It’s only illegal if you get caught”?

      George W. Bush appears to have broken as many, or more, laws than any other president, and we have impeached them over less. So, not to sound like a broken record, but why have we not started impeachment proceedings? If he has done anything illegal the Impeachment will bull that all out in the public.

      More over, if he gets out of office with out being brought to face the music. Does this not validate all that he and his administration has done?

    179. What exactly is a ‘Think Tank’?

      How does one get into a think tank?

      With there being a think tank for just about everything and with them being at the core of almost every well funded non-grass roots political movement. Can we really be well informed consumers of America’s political landscape with out knowing a lot more about these organizations? Or more importantly, Shouldn’t we know more about what they are saying, who they are saying it to, and Who is listening?

    180. So many good pitches!.. and so little time. I’d like to pitch a high & outside abstract fastball- namely, “What is “Cute” good for? What is “Innocence”? Do we have a genetically programmed response to baby-anythings, that sort of puts the damper on seeing them as food (or a future nuisance) generally? I’ve watched a rodent-phobic person “discover’ a litter of mice (or maybe it was rats… whatever)- and, in about 5 seconds “the Look” was on their face, and the “they’re really cute” meme replaced the expected mandatory death sentence with… oh, an impractical, open-ended “live & let live” vibe. WHAT DOES THAT to us? Is it useful?.. or the seeds of our eventual undoing? (hey- it’s a good thing that we don’t feel that way about EGGS… or perhaps some do…) ^..^

    181. David Wyall says:

      “Ever hear the line “It’s only illegal if you get caught”?

      George W. Bush appears to have broken as many, or more, laws than any other president, and we have impeached them over less. So, not to sound like a broken record, but why have we not started impeachment proceedings? If he has done anything illegal the Impeachment will bull that all out in the public.

      More over, if he gets out of office with out being brought to face the music. Does this not validate all that he and his administration has done?”

      Good luck with this pitch, but don’t count on it. I’ve been ragging ROS for a show on the subject for many months now, maybe even a year, providing links, suggesting guests, gathering a spontaneous Open Source quorum of faithful correspondents — Potter, herbertbrowne, Sutter, Nick, and others — in the process (see the archives), but it all seems to have fallen on deaf ears. Were I not so fond of the show and my sense of the people behind it, I’d say ROS’s failure to even comment on its de facto refusal to address the most important political and constitutional issue of our time gives the lie their cherished claim to the town hall model. Everyone who chose to “vote” on the subject “voted” in favor of a show about impeachment, but those “votes” have been studiously ignored — not just rejected, which would be another thing, but ignored. I recently gave up on the subject, but encourage you to carry on. Give ‘em hell, DW.

      (No offence intended to you know who you are…)


      Andrew Rangell is a brilliant pianist, living in Somerville, MA, whose recordings have sold well and inspired many. His brother Nelson Rangell is a great jazz musician and arranger. But he can no longer perform:


      What’s the life of a musician become when they can no longer perform? Do they become more philosophical? Where does that energy go?

    183. Pitch: Fluoride

      Whenever it’s brought up these days, people instinctively throw up their hands and bring up

      the “Dr Strangelove” angle. It’s been accepted for over 50 years now in America that Fluoride

      is safe and should be in all public drinking supplies. Studies point to the great reduction in cavities and rise of dental health since the introduction of Flouride, but how can it be explained in light of these same results occuring in Europe and other parts of the world where flouride is not added to drinking water? Flouride is meant to be a topical agent, swallowing it offers no added benefit, so why are we ingesting this, not only in our drinking water, but virtually every beverage we drink, every food we eat is made or processed with fluoridated water. When children get a fluoride treatment at the dentist, they wear a sticker when they come out- no food or drink for one hour- so that the fluoride is not ingested- toothpaste packaging carries warnings not to ingest, to call a poison center if ingested accidentally. Does this make sense? There’s a long history here, the industrial waste angle, airborne fluoride dangers, use in pesticides, etc. I’d like to hear where the science is these days on the safety and efficacy of Fluoridation.

    184. “Mandrake, do you realize that in addition to fluoridating water, why, there are studies underway to fluoridate salt, flour, fruit juices, soup, sugar, milk… ice cream. Ice cream, Mandrake, children’s ice cream.” :)

      Dr. Strangelove! One of my all time favorite movies. :)

    185. This is in response to Samgr’s questions about my June 11th pitch:

      Universal education has been a goal of the international community for more than 20 years. In 1990, the global community pledged at the World Conference on Education for All in Jomtien, Thailand, to achieve universal primary education and greatly reduce illiteracy by 2000. That goal was not met, and in 2000, at the World Education Forum in Dakar, Senegal, the global community again pledged to achieve universal primary education, this time by 2015. That same year, the UN Millennium Conference adopted universal primary education by 2015 as one of its major goals, along with the elimination of gender disparities in primary and secondary education.

      It is now 2007. There are hundreds of organizations working to increase, expand and improve education as much as possible. The American Academy of Arts and Sciences, here in Cambridge, has sponsored a multi-year, multidisciplinary project exploring universal basic and secondary education (UBASE). The project team includes scholars and practitioners across an enormous diversity of fields. The project has produced several papers and a comprehensive new book, Educating All Children: A Global Agenda, published by The MIT Press. The principal investigators of the project and co-editors of the book, Joel Cohen (Rockefeller and Columbia universities) and David Bloom (Harvard School of Public Health), would be articulate and provocative discussants on Open Source.

      The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation lists universal education as one of five priority areas. The Council on Foreign Relations’ Center for Universal Education is dedicated to advancing the goal of universal education in poor countries. Gene Sperling, the Center’s director and a former National Economic Advisor to President Clinton, would be another passionate and thoughtful guest on the topic for Open Source.

      Craig Barrett, Chairman of Intel Corporation, is an advocate for improved education in the US and abroad, with a particular emphasis on the role technology can play in rising social and economic standards. He serves as chairman of the United Nations Global Alliance for Information and Communication Technologies and Development. You may have heard of One Laptop per Child (OLPC), a non-profit association dedicated to developing a $100 laptop, which could revolutionize education around the world. The OLPC Initiative was announced by MIT Media Lab co-founder Nicholas Negroponte, now chairman of OLPC, at the World Economic Forum at Davos, Switzerland in January 2005.

      Also at MIT, the Poverty Action Lab works with non-government organizations, international organizations and others to research and evaluate education programs in developing countries. Recent research projects have examined the impacts of scholarships for girls in Kenya, the use of vouchers for private schooling in Columbia, and the efficacy of remedial education programs in India.

      The Academy for Educational Development has for three decades worked in Africa, Asia and Latin America to increase access to quality K-12 education.

      The list goes on and on. We at the American Academy of Arts and Sciences can compile a long list of experts who would be fantastic contributors to a discussion on Open Source. The questions to ask are endless. Not just, “Why is universal education important?” but “How can we achieve it?”; “Why will the Millennium Goal set for 2015 not be reached?”; “What are the barriers – political, economic, geographic?”; “How are these barriers being overcome?”; “How do you account for cultural differences?”; “How do you offer education that is culturally appropriate and prepares children for the 21st Century?”; “Why should the American people, and Open Source listeners, care about educating children across the globe?”; “What could be the environmental impact of a more educated populous worldwide?”; “What is the moral imperative driving this push?”; “How is this paid for?”; “What would it mean for humanity if every child in the world truly got the opportunity to attend school?”

      I hope these added thoughts answer your questions, Sam. Universal education is a critically important public policy, economic, environmental, moral and human rights issue. We do not see the media covering it as extensively as it could. This is an opportunity for Open Source to cover something not in the daily headlines, but critical to the future. We are happy to send you a review copy of Educating All Children: A Global Agenda, published by MIT Press. And, of course, we would help in any way to provide thoughtful, articulate and passionate guests for your show.

      I look forward to hearing back from you.

    186. This pitch is a companion to your show on libraries. The title is “A Passion for the Book.” I don’t mean a passion for books, but a passion for the book as an object, and as a kind of technology.

      There’s no question that the invention of printing some five centuries ago (which suddenly made books widely available) changed society forever. We’re at a similar moment in history right now, and those of us who’ve sadly watched record stores disappear, and who desperately miss the cover art that used to make record-buying such a pleasure are wondering: are books next? Should those of us with a passion for the codex be celebrating (because there are good things on the horizon for book lovers) or crying (because the sensuous pleasures offered by paper and ink will soon be lost to us forever)? What has this thing, the book, done for us throughout history? What role does it have to play in our future? And, what will it look like in coming years–or will it exist at all? Possible guests might include Robert Darnton (histoire du live scholar, incoming director of the Harvard University Library), Jason Epstein (legendary editor who once brought us the trade paperback, now involved with books on demand), Joseph Jacobson (of MIT’s media arts lab), Ben Vershbow (of the if: books blog), David Levy (author of the book _Scrolling Forward_).

      Also, I liked the interview with the homeless man at the Wellesley Free Library at the end of the Libraries show. Could do a short visit to the North Bennet Street school to meet students willing to devote years of their lives to learning the craft of bookbinding–not exactly one of those “hot careers” that I’m always reading about. Come to think of it, this show can also be considered a companion to the hour you recently spent on arts education. As Pinksy said, it’s only when we study what we love that we learn what we’re truly good at. So, enough of the disembodied information found in databases and on the web. Let’s get back to an early passion, and spend a little of our time on the tactile satisfactions offered by paper and cloth.

    187. Recently, Deamonte Driver, a 12 year old boy, died because no dentist would fill his decayed teeth. The tooth infection traveled to his brain.

      Organized dentistry would have you believe that fluoridation would prevent this. But Deamonte Driver lived in a fluoridated area and tooth decay crises are occurring in many, if not all, fluoridated communities. ( http://www.fluoridenews.blogspot.com )

      The truth is that after 60 years of water fluoridation, most dentists make more money than too many physicians, while working fewer hours and fewer days doing less critical work. ( http://www.wsjclassroomedition.com/archive/05apr/care_dentist.htm ) With no evidence that any American is “fluoride-deficient,” dentists continue to support and instigate statewide fluoridation mandates (Oregon, Arkansas) and community fluoridation (Corning, NY), which gives the illusion they actually care for poor people without actually seating low-income patients in their dental chairs and without it actually hurting their pension plans. While the Centers for Disease Control tell us that American school children are fluoride overdosed, dentists keep throwing more into us and on our teeth. Up to 50% sport dental fluorosis – white spotted, yellow, brown and/or pitted tooth enamel.


      The American Dental Association (http://www.ada.org/prof/resources/pubs/epubs/egram/egram_061109.pdf) and the Centers for Disease Control ( http://www.cdc.gov/fluoridation/safety/infant_formula.htm ) now admit that fluoridation is not safe for everyone. They both advise than infant formula NOT be mixed with fluoridated water


      They preserved their lucrative monopoly at all costs – even to the consumer. 80% of dentists refuse to treat Medicaid patients. As a result, we have a cavity crisis facing Americans.

      Alaskans are solving their dentist-deficiency by hiring Dental Health Aide Therapists, two-year New Zealand trained individuals, sort of like physician’s assistants are to physicians. These Therapists drill, fill and pull teeth in areas dentists refuse to go. Dental therapists have successfully worked for decades in other developed countries as efficiently and effectively as dentists.

      The American Dental Association is suing them to stop because it infringes on their lucrative monopoly and they are afraid it will spread to the lower 48.

      You can read about it in the Duke Law Review


      In a nutshell, modern science shows that water fluoridation is ineffective at reducing tooth decay, harmful to health and a waste of tax dollars. Dental Health Aide Therapists can fill the void left by dentists who refuse to treat the poor.

      Dentists, in essence, are holding poor Americans hostage until the government gives them more money to treat them. On Monday, (July 18)Deamonte’s Law will be introduced by Baltimore Representative Elijah Cummings and supported by many dental groups. I’m sure it’s a remedy that suits dentistry more than actually helping the poor. We’ll see.

      For more info:

      Fluoridation 101


      Fluoridation News Releases


      Tooth Decay Crises in Fluoridated Areas


      Fluoride Action Network http://www.FluorideAction.Net

      Fluoride Journal


      Second Look


      Fluoride Dangers


      Environmental Working Group


    188. ever notice how corn syrup seems to be in EVERYTHING? even in stuff that makes no sense? it’s like some sci-fi movie alien conspiracy.

      then there’s ADM, our supermarket to the world. gets (or got) a major tax break on corn syrup because they convert some to ethanol…and btw the “byprodoct/waste” CO2 of the process is a freebee..not much competition there..they are also a dominant supplier to the market.

    189. Norman Finklestein, Ward Churchill, and the State of Academic Freedom.

      You needn’t agree with the positions of either to sense something strange and oppressive afoot in the the land of academe, Finklestein denied tenure at DePaul at the behest of Alan Dershowitz, Churchill hounded by a massive right wing conspiracy (to borrow an epithet) for what — intitially — amounted to nothing more than shooting himself in the foot with a spectacularly ill-timed vulgarity (“little Eichmanns”). And wither Laurence Summers? Character assassination in the groves of academe next on ROS.

      And now the news…

    190. I have no doubt that Monday’s show on bees will prove to be one of those shows that fascinate me despite my having zero interest in the topic before the show. True education. However…don’t you guys have to step up and help us make sense of what is going on in Gaza?

    191. 1st pitch out of the box: US Department of Education’s “Upward Bound National Evaluation” An Attack on Poor KIDS

      Importance—The US Department of Education is requiring 105 Upward Bound programs nationawide to engage in UNETHICAL RESEARCH PRACTICES and no one is covering the story. Our current administration has been trying to dismantel several TRIO programs, including Upward Bound, for the last five years without success. This is its latest attempt to attack by denying poor kids the opportunity to prepare for college.

      A brief description of the Upward Bound Program: (from the US Dept. of ED Upward Bound homepage: http://www.ed.gov/programs/trioupbound/index.html)

      Upward Bound provides fundamental support to participants in their preparation for college entrance. The program provides opportunities for participants to succeed in their precollege performance and ultimately in their higher education pursuits. Upward Bound serves: high school students from low-income families; high school students from families in which neither parent holds a bachelor’s degree; and low-income, first-generation military veterans who are preparing to enter postsecondary education. The goal of Upward Bound is to increase the rate at which participants complete secondary education and enroll in and graduate from institutions of postsecondary education. Upward Bound projects provide academic instruction in mathematics, laboratory sciences, composition, literature, and foreign languages. Tutoring, counseling, mentoring, cultural enrichment, and work-study programs also are supported. All Upward Bound projects MUST provide instruction in math, laboratory science, composition, literature, and foreign language. Other services include:

      Instruction in reading, writing, study skills, and other subjects necessary for success in education beyond high school

      Academic, financial, or personal counseling

      Exposure to academic programs and cultural events

      Tutorial services

      Mentoring programs

      Information on postsecondary education opportunities

      Assistance in completing college entrance and financial aid applications

      Assistance in preparing for college entrance exams

      Work study positions to expose participants to careers requiring a postsecondary degree

      There are 761 Upward Bound programs nationwide that serve 51,570 students who are 1st generation-low income.

      Under the “Upward Bound National Evavluation”, 105 programs will be required to recruit twice as many students “that met the definiton of ‘high academic risk for failure’ ” than they would normally serve. Half of the students will be randomly placed in a control group that will not receive services from Upward Bound. (Taken from the “notice of final priority published in the September 22, 2006, Federal Register” http://www.ed.gov/legislation/FedRegister/announcements/2006-3/092206c.html).

      As it has been explained, these children will not be told that they will not receive services when selected to participate in Upward Bound nor will the parents. It is the US Department of Education’s brilliant (and I use the term sarcastically) way of determining the actual succes rate of the Upward Bound programs which have been in existence since 1965.

      I have provided links to the US Department of Education. Larry Oxendine is is director of TRIO programs for the US Department of Education.

      I would also encourage you to visit the Council for Opportunity in Education’s (COE) home page:


      I recommend contacting Arold Mitchem, President of COE and Ronnie Gross, Board Chair of COE, for more information.

      The new school year begins soon and thousands of students will be effected by this unethical practice.

    192. I think I am finally starting to get a handle on the current class war. Just listened to a podcast of the Commonwealth Club of Calf. with Laura Tyson, Prof. from the Hass School of UC Berk. She basically said that the rich are getting richer, Middle and lower classes are lossing jobs /security while Capital gathers more wealth at the expense of Labor. The vast majority of Americans feel less secure economically and are not hearing many voices that support thier feelings.


      PHD’s are actually more in demand in a global economy, the policy making class. Executive Management is making short-term windfall profits outsourcing and cutting benefits/ jobs. Politicians are receiving thier contributions. The media outlets most used by the middle / lower classes are controlled by wealth. The Class War is very one sided.

      The people who are losing are the ones who have no one to speak for them.

      Is this current capitalist model that the USA is running working for the majority of Americans? Has the American Dream/Compact burst? Is it true that America has become an economically ridgedly stratified country? Jerome Guillet’s assertions about the limitations of capitalism in France maybe a voice worth hearing.

      Is it not time to frame political debate along economic lines? Who is speaking to the economic true in this country? Who is getting hurt by this wealth grab by the super wealthy?

    193. RE the Attorney General Scandal. I have noted that even on some of the reporting on OpenSource that the implication has been allowed to remain that this is simply a matter of a normal procedure badly handled, but otherwise of no consequence. That is the well worn line, even recently reiterated in the wake of the Senate no confidence vote that “…they serve at the pleasure of the president…” et.al.

      Yes, I suppose, but of course it is deeper than that. As we are finding out. It isnt even a case of simple nepotism.

      The fact that this story is not writ large w/ the underlying point that our system of Justice is being systematically dismantled and replaced by a subserviant and politized Justice department should not be allowed to happen while we engage ourselves with this meaningless diversion of a point.

      I received the following Email from Greg Palast. My show pitch is that you get him on to discuss this issue.

      It is current. It is important. It is possible to make a difference now, instead of regreting what happened after the fact…..


      Here is the article. I debated whether to send it all. But I also didnt want to edit it – so you could get a full idea. I am sure you are familiar w/ G.P.

      At the very least he is making some large and serious statements and accusations. I think they need to be investigated. (It sounds like he does have some interaction w/ Conyers?)

      I know it is long, I hope it doesnt violate some standards of posting here.




      The Tears of a Clone

      Conyers Closes in on Karl and his Rove-bots …

      By Greg Palast | June 18, 2007

      Special to BRAD BLOG

      Boo-hoo! I made Tim Griffin cry.

      He cried. Then he lied.

      You remember Tim. Karl Rove’s right hand (right claw?) man. The GOP’s ragin’ cagin’ man.

      Griffin is the Rove-bot exposed by our BBC Newsnight investigations team as the man who gathered and sent out the infamous ‘caging’ lists to Republican state chairmen during the 2004 election.

      Caging lists, BBC discovered, were used secretly as a basis to challenge the right to vote of thousands of citizens – including the homeless, students and soldiers sent overseas. The day after BBC broadcast that the Chairman of the Judiciary Committee, John Conyers, sought our evidence on Griffin, Tim resigned his post as US Attorney for Arkansas. That job was a little gift from Karl Rove who made room for his man Griffin by demanding the firing of US prosecutor Bud Cummins.

      Last week, our cameras captured Griffin, all teary-eyed, in his humiliating kiss-off speech delivered in Little Rock at the University of Arkansas where he moaned that, “public service isn’t worth it.”

      True. In the old Jim Crow days in Arkansas, you could get yourself elected by blocking African-Americans. (The voters his caging game targeted are – quelle surprise! – disproportionately Black citizens.)

      But today, Griffin can’t even get an unemployment check. When he resigned two weeks ago following our broadcast, the cover story was that the voter persecutor-turned-prosecutor had resigned to work for Presidential wannabe Fred Thompson. But when Thompson’s staff was asked by a reporter why they would hire the ‘cagin’ man,’ suddenly, the ‘Law and Order’ star decided associating with Griffin might take the shine off Thompson’s badge, even if it is from the props department.

      Griffin, instead of saying that public service “isn’t worth it,” should have said, “Crime doesn’t pay.” Because, according to experts such as law professor Robert F. Kennedy Jr., ‘caging,’ when used to target Black voters’ rights, is a go-to-prison crime.

      By resigning, Tim may not avoid the hard questions about caging – or the hard time that might result. When I passed the first set of documents to Conyers (a real film noir moment, in a New York hotel room near midnight), the soft-spoken Congressman said that, resignation or not, “We aren’t done with Mr. Griffin yet…”

      Tears Not Truth

      Back in Little Rock, when asked about caging, Rove’s guy linked a few fibs to a few whoppers to some malefactious mendacity. That is, he lied.

      “I didn’t cage votes. I didn’t cage mail,” Griffin asserted.

      At the risk of making you cry again, Tim, may I point you to an email dated August 26, 2004. It says, “Subject: Re: Caging.” And it says, “From: Tim Griffin – Research/Communications” with the email tgriffin@rnchq.org. RNCHQ is the Republican National Committee Headquarters, is it not, Mr. Griffin? Now do you remember caging mail?

      If that doesn’t ring a bell, please note that at the bottom is this: “ATTACHMENT: Caging-1.xls”. And that attachment was a list of voters.

      In last week’s pathetic farewell, Mr. Griffin averred that the accusation he was involved in caging voters, “Goes back to one guy – whose name I won’t mention.” (FYI, Mr. Griffin: My mother calls me, “Gregory.”)

      Yes, I first reported the story for BBC London – back in 2004 which, as Griffin correctly noted, it was ignored by my US press colleagues until, as Tim put it, “I became embroiled in the US Attorney thing.” By ‘the US Attorney thing,’ I assume you are referring to your involvement in firing and smearing honest prosecutors and grabbing one of their salaries for yourself.

      You say, Mr. Griffin, that the unmentionable reporter, “Made [it] up out of whole cloth.” You flatter me, Mr. Griffin. We could not possibly be so creative at The Beeb as to construct the thousands of names of voters on your caging lists.

      And by the way, we don’t have just one of your “caging” emails, but scores of them.

      I want to take this opportunity to thank you for sending them to us – even if that was not your intent. You copied your caging missives to ‘bdoster@georgewbush.org.’ Mr. Doster was Chairman of the Florida Bush campaign – but that address was not his but John Wooden’s pretending to be the Bush campaigners. Wooden then sent your notes to me.

      Rove in Range

      By the way, Mr. Griffin, if you want an explanation of ‘caging voters,’ just read an email dated February 5, 2007 by…Tim Griffin.

      In that email, Griffin references the Bush campaigns mailing out thousands of letters. The letters returned (‘caged’) as undeliverable were used as the GOP’s supposed evidence that these were “thousands of fraudulent voter registrations.” These voters were subject to challenge. However, these caging lists of “fraudulent” addresses, like the 2000 “felon” lists which in fact contained no felons, contained no fraudulent voters. But that wouldn’t necessarily save them from the massively successful Republican voter-challenge campaign.

      During the appearance he made in Arkansas last week, Griffin said he’d never heard of ‘caging.’ “I had to look it up,” he said. Griffin discovered that “caging” is “a direct mail term.”

      I don’t doubt Griffin’s ignorance. Griffin’s just a good ol’ boy, a former military lawyer, who wouldn’t know direct mail terminology from a hole in the ground. Until he went to work for the RNC.

      So where did Tim get this direct mail term he used in his emails? Well, before Karl Rove signed on with George W. Bush, he owned Karl Rove & Co ….a direct mail firm. Rove made millions making up lists of voters, doing more ‘caging’ than a zoo-keeper.

      Am I saying caging-expert Rove had something to do with the allegedly illegal caging games of his boy Griffin? Does a bear…?

      Mr. Griffin wouldn’t answer BBC’s requests for comment. So I suggested to an Arkansas local, Luther Lowe, a former army reservist and himself a victim of a challenge to his vote, that at the Little Rock send-off for Griffin, he ask the fallen US Attorney about Rove’s involvement in caging. Lowe did so, politely. Griffin wove, ducked, blathered and blubbered. But wouldn’t answer.

      Maybe a subpoena would encourage a Griffin response. And a grant of immunity from the Conyers committee. That’s Rove’s nightmare. Because unless Griffin joins Alberto Gonzales in Club Amnesia, Griffin has a lot to tell us about Mr. Rove and targeting Black voters.

      Will he? It’s not Conyers’ style to hunt down Rove. The congressman is not, despite what Republicans say, a partisan hit man. He is, however, one tenacious legislator who told me he would like his committee, “to follow where the evidence leads.”

      But that’s not necessarily going to happen. Conyers told me he sees the evidence in the prosecutor firing investigation leading to the much bigger, nastier issue of voter suppression – in simpler terms, fixing elections.

      Unfortunately, many on his committee from both parties see the hearings as limited to the single issue of the firing of prosecutors. They want to scrutinize the elephant’s trunk but refuse to acknowledge it’s attached to an elephant: election rigging. Racially poisoned, direct-mail driven, computer implemented election rigging.

      But Conyers may get there yet, to the issue of elections manipulation. I didn’t get that from the Chairman (too circumspect to let his future intensions slip out). I got it from the Big Bubba. When I ran into Ol’ Silver Eyes himself at an Air America soiree, Bill Clinton (man, he’s gotten thin!) told me, “When we really get going on these prosecutor hearings, when we really dig deep, we’re going to get right to the issue of voter suppression.”

      But what do you mean “we,” Bill? Conyers is dean of the Congressional Black Caucus, which has an abiding concern and painful experience with illegal vote suppression of all types: caging, purging, challenging, lynching. But whether Conyers can convince his committee, mostly members of the Congressional White Caucus, to “dig deep” on vote suppression, is an open question.

      In the meantime, Conyers has convinced his committee to drop subpoenas on Harriett Miers (the lady tight with Griffin, Rove and, notably, George W. Bush) and Sara Taylor, Rove’s Gal Friday. Conyers, methodically, determinedly, is circling in on Rove, “Bush’s Brain,” a man known to surrender the corpses of his allies in place of his own (eh, Mr. Libby?). No wonder Griffin’s in tears.

      So here’s a hanky, Mr. Griffin. This unnamable reporter would rather you save your tears for Randall Prausa. The African-American soldier was on active military duty when he ended up on one of your caging lists, what you term a suspected ‘fraudulent’ voter subject to GOP challenge because he was not home to get his fraudulent, ‘Welcome, voter,’ letter from the GOP.

      Can you guess, Mr. Griffin, why Prausa wasn’t at home? Well, unlike Messrs. Rove and Bush, Prausa was serving his country overseas.

      And that’s what caging is all about. If you’re Black, you get shipped to Baghdad and you lose your vote. Mission Accomplished, Mr. Griffin. Mission Accomplished, Mr. Rove.

      —- end of letter ——

    194. Kathrine,

      Re your comments on June 7:

      Michael Beaton: This is certainly a timely idea given the current problems between Russia and the US; but we did a show a couple of months ago that addressed a lot of the issues underlying the current tension…

      I added that comment more as addendum to my original post about the nature of democracy on May 27th.

      The essential point to explore is what is it that is being said when we say other countries should have “democracy”?

      It is the unexamined centerpoint of virtually all of our foriegn policy, and I suggest is the unconscious belief of most Americans. That is, that “if they only had democracy everything would be ok”.

      We saw it in Iraq – we have a policy of wanting to establish democracy in the middle east. And then this post on Russia it comes up again. We are not knocking Russia and Putin because they have abandoned democracy.

      There is Venuzuala, and of course our policy toward Cuba. Pick a country our core solution is to bring “democracy”.

      So the point/question/pictch is this : What is it? Just what is it we are purporting to sell? And why do we consider it such an anodyne to all the problems in the world?

      The obvious, but wrong (IMHO), response is that then power is relegated to the people. Just like we have here! (And there is a take off point. Virtually every show you do, as on the media, the pharmacutical industry, BushCo, etc. shows that this is not as absolute a truth as we would like, or more perniciously, we believe!)

      But the point then becomes – even if it were so, what are the precursors necessary to such a state?

      For example, it seems apparent that we cant impose democracy on the middle east, much less Iraq, because they do not have the philosophical beliefs to support it.

      So it is not just a political system, but a social system that requires something of the people in order to sustain it.

      And … the kicker then is this… if and to the degree that this is so, what does it mean for us, both in policy and also as a nation and citizens of that nation for us to be carrying this torch? What do we gain by ramming this ill fitted suit on other peoples?

      And that may lead to some intersting angles on globalization, power, our standard of living as predicated upon diminishing others, environment and etc…..

    195. The news stand Atlantic has a cover article Condi’s “Last chance.”

      I know I am repetitive -however- the bifurcation of the Palestinian Community into Fatah and Hamas evokes new dangers in the Middle East.

      Remember that James Baker offered to stay on into the Clinton Administration to resolve the middle east conflct. Also, remember Clinton’s end game diplomcay as his administration reached its completion. What is Condi to do.

    196. What an ideal time to pay some attention to Friends of the Article V Convention that has the sole mission of getting the country’s first Article V convention to make proposals for constitutional amendments; last week the artiel “Americans Unready to Revolt, Despite Revolting Conditions” by Joel S. Hirschhorn one of the founders of the group maxed out on digg.com; well over 100,000 people have read the article, and hundreds have become members of FOAVC. Check the group out at http://www.foavc.org and contact Hirschhorn at media@foavc.org

    197. Responses to pitches from 15 June 07

      herbert browne: I happen to be a sucker for animals, baby or not, but I’m not sure this one will get past Mary… (By the way, do you know Cute Overload?)

      hurley: Hi. We know you’re wildly enthusiastic about this idea and that several others like it, too. We’ve critiqued many, many aspects of the Bush administration’s use of presidential power — and we did touch on impeachment in the Comey show. But this isn’t an hour we’re going to do at the moment.

      hilde45: I’ll definitely pitch this. Chris did a show with Rangell and a couple of other injured pianists at The Connection, so the trick would be figuring out how to make a fresh hour.

      dwdavedw and Bobby: This sounds like an interesting question, but I think it falls into the category of good essay topic rather than good hour of talk radio (see the “How This Works” box at the top of the page).

      Dora: A well-written pitch! I’ll see whether passion-for-books flies in the story meeting.

    198. Howdy.

      I was watching “Endgame,” (http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/endgame/)Frontline’s latest on the serial botching of military strategy in Iraq last night. Terrific viewing as usual, and it got me thinking.

      It seems as thought the war in Iraq will leave us with the same questions and divisions as Vietnam. The military commanders interviewed on Endgame seemed to be saying that Iraq could have worked out if only we’d pursued the “clear, hold, and build,’ strategy from the start. This would have taken a massive commitment of manpower and resources, though. More importantly, it would have contradicted the Bush Administration theology that people everywhere will adopt US style capitalist democracy if we just take out the tyrants and give them a little encouragement.

      On the other side, there is the view I think Open Source holds; namely that the hubris required to invade, overthrow, and attempt to reshape another country in our own image and likeness inevitably leads to folly and catastrophe.

      But for all the show’s coverage of the Iraq war, I don’t think the core questions have ever really been debated as such. As the world’s only superpower, what is our role in dealing with governments that abuse their people? What are the best ways to promote human and civil rights at home and abroad? What is the role that military power can play? How much can we do unilaterally? And what’s the danger of preaching–or forcing–change on other countries, even ones ruled by despots?

      The neo-cons fires were stoked by the first Gulf War and the Kosovo bombing campaigns. Iraq and Vietnam are the cautionary tales of anti-interventionists. But What were the real failures or successes of any of these? And are “hands off” or “gung ho” really our only options?

      I’d really like to hear these questions argued by a conservative anti-interventionist and maybe someone like Peter Bienart from the NR who supports “liberal interventionism,” at least in theory.

      Finally, I remember something Simon Schama said on a previous OS. He said that–particularly in a place like Iraq– it was more important to establish pluralism under the rule of law first than to have elections. Fair enough, but even if the government supports pluralism, from whence does it derive its legitimacy if not from the will of the people, expressed through elections?

    199. show ideas:

      - John Muir

      - Thomas Nast and the death of modern political cartoons

      - Passions: obsolete technology

      - John Kricfalusi: last American animator (from Canada).

    200. Hi RR Anderson,

      It’s not my day to respond to pitches, but can I ask you to expand some of your four brief pitches? The John Kricfalusi one is especially alluring, but can you write a few sentences on each one? If not, pick your favorite.

    201. Good folks:

      I would love to see a brave expose of what goes on behind the scenes at National Public Radio – I am suspicious that they would never voluntarily report on the men behind their curtains.

      Two points:

      1. Where does all their money go? They are constantly asking ME for MY money, and yet every segment now has a sponsor, (who must be discreetly mentioned for a moment at the beginning – but that’s not a commercial, of course, so they can still call themselves ‘non-commercial’) Plus, of course, in November of 2003 the lovely Joan Kroc left them $200,000,000 – at 15%, the interest ALONE ($30,000,000+ per year) is enough to sustain their 300 on-air employees at $100,000 salary each – is that what they are making? A quick look at their books (http://www.npr.org/about/statements/fy06/fy06consolidatedreport.pdf) shows that they raised over $159,000,000 last year, but spent only $141,000,000 – how was the $18,000,000 difference not a profit? How much do THEIR top managers make, before they call any more kettles black? Also, has NPR ever contributed to any political campaign, directly or indirectly?

      2. What are the personal political affiliations of each of the editorial staff? If they want to influence public opinion, then they should proudly display their party of choice next to their names, just like they do with politicians. Some vigorous investigative reporting is not beneath this sacred cash cow – after all, it’s run by people, corruptible people, not anointed demi-gods, contrary to what they may see in their own mirrors.

      Before Watergate, journalism was a flashlight; after Watergate, it became a laser – let’s use it now (along with FOI, if necessary) to illuminate the operator behind the spotlight which they use to focus our attention.

      P. Lawton

      Monterey, CA

      Wednesday, June 20, 2007

    202. I can’t read everything on this site so hopefully this is not a repeat somehow.

      re: pharma series..

      bbc on unauthorized drug trials in Nigeria..not a new story but shocking anyway.


      we like to think that we’ve come farther than this…shameful doesn’t even begin to describe it…pfizer!

      btw don’t overlook that adm story, made all the more interesting by recent agreements w/ brazil on ethanol production.

    203. I would like to see (hear) a show on the freegan movement (www.freegan.info), also see an article from today’s NYT Home section. It is about much more than the thrill of the find/hunt. These people have something really important to say about consumerism, waste, and how to live with a smaller footprint on the planet

    204. Previously, in the course of my “show on mental health issues” advocacy, I’ve mentioned the “positive psychology” movement, which highlights happiness over the darker focuses psychoanalysis. The movement is grounded in solid research (or so I understand — I’m just a lawyer), but its focus on “how to be happy” leads some to classify it as just the latest brand of self-help. In any case — Tal Ben-Shahar, a leader of the movement and a superstar on the Harvard psych faculty — has a new book out on the topic, entitled “Happier.” This might be a good time to tackle the topic.

      The movement is profiled in the NYT Magazine, here: http://www.nytimes.com/2007/01/07/magazine/07happiness.t.html?ex=1325826000&en=2e27ba1944dae990&ei=5088&partner=rssnyt&emc=rss

      And in Harvard Magazine, here: http://www.harvardmagazine.com/on-line/010783.html

    205. Responses to June 14th and June 21st pitches

      JHILLBERK and ruhbuhbuh: We pretty much covered “Is there life after print journalism?” question in The End of the Foreign Correspondent show. This is a conversation that we have every time a newspaper folds but we can never convince ourselves that there is an hour-long conversation to be had on the radio. After we introduce the blogosphere as the new newspaper what is there to say? How can we make this a conversation that hasn’t been had before?

      David Wyall:

      We aren’t going to do an impeachment show but I’m drafting a post for an upcoming show on Nixon, which will certainly address how the Bush administration is subscribing to the “It’s only illegal if you get caught” philosophy.

      You are the second person to pitch a “think tank” show so there certainly is some interest in this that we should pay attention to. I guess this show hasn’t grabbed us because there are dozens upon dozens of think tanks and we can’t imagine how to fine-tune a show. How do you think we cold make this a radio conversation? What would the focus be? Do you have any guests in mind?

      enhabit: David is researching a show on Do It Yourself Clinical Trials. Please weigh in on the comment thread.

      Sutter: We have talked about doing a happiness show many times and for some reason it never sticks. are we a bunch of gloomy cynics? I’ll bring it up tomorrow to see if this sunny weather has changed our perspective.

      cbuxbaum: Katherine is pulling together a show that relates to the freegan movement. Some potential guests for the show are No Impact Man and Bill McKibben. Thanks for mentioning the freegan piece in the NY Times. I’ll forward it to Katherine.

      plawton: For obvious reasons we are not going to do a show on what really goes on at NPR.

    206. Chelsea, gloomy cynics need the happiness movement’s teachings most of all. Trust me!


      Gloomy Cynic Sutter

    207. Title: A Better Ballot

      Across the nation, individual communities and states are experimenting with new voting methods, in particular ones in which voters are allowed to rank candidates in order of preference, as is done in many other parts of the world. These new voting systems have recently been passed by the city of San Francisco, by Ferndale, Michigan, by Takoma Park, Maryland, by the state of North Carolina and others.

      These new voting systems eliminate the so-called “spoiler” role that Ralph Nader played in 2000 and in many other races both before and since that time (should be interesting coming on the heels of the Nader show), and they allow more third parties and independent voices to take part. They also engender more positive campaigning and often make our elections cheaper by eliminating the runoffs that frequently happen, particularly at the local level.

      It would be great if you could invite Rob Richie from the Center for Voting and Democracy (fairvote.org) to talk about the ways in which communities around the country, and the world for that matter, are working to create a better ballot.

    208. Chelsea:

      You said “For obvious reasons we are not going to do a show on what really goes on at NPR.”

      Huh? What obvious reasons? That they are beyond any sort of reproachment? If they have nothing to hide, they would welcome your journalistic curiosity, recognizing you as one of their own. Conversely, if they are just another big corporate greed machine, hiding behind their accountants’ version of their non-profit piety, then there is a real story to be told – and who better to tell it, in a credible way, than Open Source?

      Or will such an expose cause them to crush you like bugs? You know, if there IS an ugly story there, you could become the next Woodward or Bernstein, and their motto was “No guts, no glory”, right?

      Or are there some other ‘obvious reasons’ for not exploring what ‘really goes on at NPR’? Please enlighten me …

      P. Lawton

      Monterey, CA

    209. Plawton,

      By “obvious reasons” I meant that we are a very small, independent organization that — at the moment — doesn’t have the staff or resources to take on a Woodward and Bernstein quality investigation who had the advantage of being backed by The Washington Post.

      We aren’t afraid to critique NPR, we did have Jeffrey Dvorkin, NPR’s former Ombudsman, on our Turth, Balance, and the News show. He was fairly critical of the institution.

      You raise some interesting questions about underwriting and sponsors. Perhaps we can at least do a web feature that breaks down how these things work.

    210. Chelsea:

      Thank you for taking the time clarify that for me. How can you guys raise more money? Do you have grant writers on staff? The NPR Foundation is very wealthy, and dispenses its money SOMEhow, maybe they would help to fund your operations? However, that would possibly present some sort of a conflict of interest, at least for any sort of story about that outfit …

      Thanks again for your time.

      P. Lawton

      Monteey, CA

    211. Responses to pitches from June 9-10 and 16-17

      hurley: I just ordered Seidel’s recent book — and was warned by a press flack at FSG that that Seidel rarely does interviews. But we’ll see!

      TEP492: We may touch on some of these issues in Katherine’s upcoming Global Warming: Is Capitalism the Rub or the Fix. Admittedly it’s primarily about global warming, not the Bhagavad Gita, but we’ll definitely talk about the ethos of consumption — and other ideas of the greater good.

      Masculist: I’d like to do this show but I probably just won’t have time: I’m volunteering at the High Church of Feminism so much these days that between the ritual sacrifices and bake sales I’m just too tired.


      This reminds me a bit of a great pitch we got not too long ago from Moonkey1. Sam is working on it.

      Almanch: After some of our recent shows, I’m pretty tapped out when it comes to conversations about cosmology and belief. However, when we do return to it, we’ll definitely give a big swath of time to “non-supernatural believers.”

      Bobby: I found the idea of “third culture kids” interesting, and it was indeed new to me, but I’m still not sure it’s a full hour of radio. Instead of focusing on individuals with nomadic backgrounds and stateless identities, I think it might be more interesting to talk about the implications for societies — or perhaps to think about issues of identity and immigration, for example, through a “third culture kids” lens. We’ve been talking recently about doing a series of shows about various immigrant groups’ experiences. I’ll be sure to bring this up if that develops further.

      nyscof: Is there a way to talk about the fluoridation debate without having people swith to the nearest baseball game?

      enhabit: We have noticed that about corn syrup. And we had the great Michael Pollan on to talk about it in our Children of the Corn Subsidies show.

      hurley: I’ve only vaguely followed Finklestein’s story, but I’ll read more and get back to you. This could be a good show, especially in its widest context (i.e., with Finklestein and Summers on together!).

      zeke: You’re right. We should have done something about Gaza. You may think this can be filed under “too little, too late,” but look for a show very soon focusing on what lessons the recent events in Northern Ireland hold for the Israeli/Palestinian deadlock.

      stlouis: Thanks so much for posting, and welcome to the community! This seems like a very important story — and one that deserves attention — but I don’t think it’s quite right for a conversation-based radio show. It seems perfect for a newspaper article or a straight news radio piece. But I’m not sure that it would work as conversation. Am I wrong? Is there a dramatic core to this topic that I might be missing?

    212. Responses to pitches from June 19th:

      Bob Peel: I’ll check out the Atlantic article. Will this be the angle we’ve been looking for to cover the Palestinian story? Sam’s also thinking about how lessons from the Northern Ireland conflict can be applied to other bifurcations.

      hurley: Build a show around this how?

      statusquobuster: Can you send me a link to the article? It sounds potentially interesting. You can post it here or email it to me at greta radioopensource org [turn that into an email address].

      Responses to pitches from June 12th: lizbitchwitch: What an intriguing idea. Do you think any guest would, in good conscience, stand in for their candidate? It’d be pretty ballsy. They’d have to be impossibly well versed in the candidates life and rhetorical style and voting history. And what would such a debate prove? It is fun to think about, I’ll admit. I’ll pitch it in the meeting and see if anyone thinks its feasible.

      erin: the Genarlow Wilson story is an important one, but I think the way you’re broadening it out isn’t quite right. If you listen to our Race, Class, and Prisons show and our The Day After Prison show, maybe you can pitch us an angle that we missed?

      bellatrix13: I gave this one a pre-pitch to Katherine, who sits next to me in the office, and she said she’d be interested in looking into it. I’ll give it a full pitch in the meeting.

      Emmett O’Connell, our Sports Desk: Well researched, and definitely worth a pitch.

      Potter: I like it. I actually ordered the Mafouz trilogy from the publisher way back when you first pitched it, but the package never came. I’ll try again.

    213. Response to pitches from 22 June 07

      progressnerd: I hadn’t heard about this idea. It’s interesting and I’ll pitch it, but we might be more likely to do it — as well as a show on the electoral college — closer to the 2008 elections. Are you familiar with our electoral reform series? Rob Richie was on one of the shows — on redistricting.

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