Sunday, January 08, 2006

Ruth's Morning Edition Report

Ruth: I am going to focus on three things for this report. First, a programming announcement from Pacifica:

Mon., Jan. 9 through Fri., Jan. 13
Pacifica Radio Network is bringing you the Samuel Alito Senate Hearing for nomination to the United States Supreme Court live!
Verna Avery Brown teams with Mitch Jeserich from Free Speech Radio News and Pacifica National Affairs correspondent, Larry Bensky, to bring you the controversial nomination hearing of Samuel Alito for United States Supreme Court, live.
Anchors: Larry Bensky, KPFA; Verna Avery Brown, WPFW; Mitch Jesserich, FSRN.
The schedule of hearings includes a one hour pre-show on the opening day, and an half-hour wrap-up show each evening. Live analysts will join us in the booth and via telephone throughout the hearings.

Most members of the community know that you can listen to
Pacifica programming over the internet but in case a visitor passes through, you do not need to live in area that has a Pacifica radio station or to know the call letters. You can listen simply by utilizing the link to Pacifica.

Now I am going to note two programs. First up is CounterSpin which devoted the half hour to a discussion with Jonathan Kozol who is the author of Shame of the Nation: The Restoration of Apartheid Schooling in America. This program, which is archived, is an important one that addresses the damages that No Child Left Behind is doing to our children. That is only one of the many topics in the discussion. Standardized testing itself is addressed as is the state of our school systems and the refusal of the press to cover the issue beyond "test scores." Even with regards to test scores, Kozol makes the point that there are certain self-pleasing tales that the press loves to cover at the expense of facts and information that is needed.

CounterSpin's current episode is still airing in some markets but if you've missed it in your area or you don't have a station that broadcasts it, you can listen, free of charge, online by clicking on
the link.

The second program I would like to note is
Law & Disorder which airs on Pacifica's WBAI each Monday as well as on other stations on other days and times. As Ty was advised, Law & Disorder is now a weekly program. If you have not sampled the show, you are missing an hour's worth of strong discussions about issues of grave importance to the nation.

The program is hosted by Michael Ratner, Dalia Hashad, Michael Smith and Heidi Boghosian. The four are attorneys and represent themselves on the program, which is to say that their opinions are their own opinions and they are not speaking for any organization. Off the program they hail from the
Center for Constitutional Rights, the National Lawyers Guild and the ACLU.
If those credits do not raise your interest, how about what was discussed Monday?

John Sifton, of Human Rights Watch, took part in the discussion of renditions. Renditions are when people are captured by the American government with no arrest warrant and secretly taken to an undisclosed location. Or we can go with the shorter definition kidnappings done by our government. Mr. Sifton had many interesting points but the one that I found most interesting was his statement about the reaction in Europe to news that
Poland and Romania may have housed secret prisons. Mr. Sifton feels that some of the reaction by government officials in other European countries has less to do with the actual activity and more to do with membership in the European Union with the revelations being used to damage both Poland and Romania. Mr. Sifton also made comments that Human Rights Watch's investigations on renditions are still under weigh and that more news may be forthcoming.

Sabin Willet is an attorney representing Chinese Muslims held in Guantanamo Bay who were kidnapped in Pakistan. Hopefully, the fact that they are in Guantanamo does not make any member or visitor think, "Well then they must be guilty." But if someone is thinking that,
the fact is that the American government reached the conclusion, nearly two years ago, that the men were not enemy combantants. So why are they still in Guantanamo?

The men cannot go back to China without risking torture or execution. None of the countries that the United States has contacted have been willing to take the men. So they remain prisoners at Guantanamo. The United States government even attempted to conceal their change in status.

Arsalan Iftikar, the national legal director of CAIR, discussed the issue of the government monitoring Muslim sites for radiation. The issue of fear mongering to advance the administration's aims were addressed as was the ongoing demonization of Arab-Americans. Michael Ratner stressed that the "dirty bomb" in the backpack was a creative fiction because the amount needed to do a great deal of damage would be impossible to carry around in a backpack.

Yet when we are all kept frightened and distrustful, the Bully Boy can reap benefits. Also addressed were the administration's efforts to undermine requests under the Freedom of Information Act.

Lisa Graves was the guest to the discussion I enjoyed most. Ms. Graves is the senior counsel at the ACLU. The discussion she participated in addressed the issue of the NSA spying.

If you missed that broadcast, you can listen to it online at the
Law & Disorder home page.

I have focused on those two programs due to the fact that special, live coverage of the Samuel Alito hearings will pre-empt the regular programming starting on Monday. If you caught
Pacifica's live coverage of the John Roberts Jr. hearings, you heard strong broadcasting.

Rebecca has noted, it will be business as usual at NPR this week. Confirmation hearings for a Supreme Court judge are not important enough for that branch of public radio to cover live. If they are important to you, please sample Pacifica's live coverage.