Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Should The U.S. Break Up The Big Banks?

Douglas Elliott (left) and Paul Saltzman argue against the motion
"Break Up The Big Banks" Samuel LaHoz/Intelligence Squared U.S.

In 2008, the U.S. Treasury committed 245 billion in taxpayer dollars to stabilize America’s banking institutions. Banks that were once “too big to fail” have only grown bigger. Was size and complexity at the root of the financial crisis, or do calls to break up the big banks ignore real benefits that only economies of scale can pass on to customers and investors? The debaters are Richard Fisher, Simon Johnson, Douglas Elliott, and Paul Saltzman.

Richard Fisher (left) and Simon Johnson argue in favor of breaking up big banks,
as moderator John Donvan looks on. Samuel LaHoz/Intelligence Squared U.S.
Before the debate, the audience at New York City's Kaufman Center voted 37 percent in favor of the motion and 19 percent against. Forty-four percent were undecided. After the debate, 49 percent supported breaking up big banks which is an increase of 12 percentage points and 39 percent opposed which is an increase of 20 points. That made the side arguing against breaking up the banks the winners of the debate.
Source: intelligence2 Debates: Should The U.S. Break Up Big Banks?

Obama’s Climate Plan

President Obama has a plan to reduce U.S. carbon dioxide emissions from power plants and to expand the use of renewables and natural gas. Steve Curwood gets reactions from David Hawkins Director of Climate Programs at NRDC, Sierra Club’s executive director Michael Brune, and student activist Jess Grady-Benson.
Source: living on earth: Obama’s Grand Climate Plan

Download or Play Break Up The Big Banks Part 1
Download or Play Break Up The Big Banks Part 2
Download or Play Break Up The Big Banks Part 3
Download or Play Obama's Climate Plan

Music includes David Rovics - Used To Be A City, Steven Taylor - Go Down Congress, Capitol Steps - Korea, Martin Luther King 3-8-1965, Edwin Starr - War What Is It Good For, James W. Gerard 11-25-1917, Firesign Theatre - Army Training Film, Capitol Steps - The Impossible Dean, David Rovics - Song For Cindy Sheehan, SUV, Winston Churchill - Threat of Nazi, The Producers Soundtrack - Springtime for Hitler, Harmonious Combustion - A Song Of Peace, Doors - Strange Days, Carly Simon - Nobody Does It Better, Herb Alpert - Rotation, Herb Alpert - Bullish, Charles Mingus - Original Faubus Fables

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Climate Change and Excessive Government Power

John Gray
Facing Reality

John Gray reflects on what we know but prefer not to think about, whether it's the truth about the invasion of Iraq or the failures of the financial system that led to the banking crisis. "We humans are sturdy and resilient animals with enormous capacities of creativity and adaptability; but consistently realistic thinking seems to be beyond our powers."
Source: BBC: PoV: John Gray: Unknown Knowns: 10 Jan 14

Excessive Government Power

Rachel Levinson-Waldman, Counsel to the Brennan Center’s Liberty and National Security Program, discusses what the government does with Americans’ data and how the “fusion centers” have quickly expanded their focus from terrorism to all manner of criminal activity. Rachel asks whether public backlash can dial back the government’s excessive power. She is interviewed by Scott Horton.
Source: the Scott Horton show: 10/14/13 Rachel Levinson-Waldman

Oil rigs in Los Angeles in 1896. The study looked at emissions all the 
way back to the 19th century (photo: unknown, public domain)
Just 90 Firms Have Produced Climate Change

A recent study found that the number of state and investor-owned organizations responsible for the human impact on climate change is only 90. Rick Heede of the Climate Accountability Institute in Colorado talks to Steve Curwood about these findings.
Source: living on earth: Just 90 Firms Have Tipped the Climate

Pacific Coast leaders sign action plan on climate and energy.
From left to right: British Columbia Environment Minister Mary Polak,
Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber, Washington Governor Jay Inslee, and
California Governor Jerry Brown. (Photo: Office of Governor Brown)
West Coast Action on Climate Change

California, Oregon, Washington and the Canadian province of British Columbia have signed a pact to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by putting a price on carbon. British Columbia's Environment Minister Mary Polak discusses the agreement and how a carbon tax is working in that Canadian province with Steve Curwood.
Source: living on earth: West Coast Action Plan on Climate and Energy

The Price Of Climate Action

The 2104 climate report from the IPCC says the price of climate action today is cheap compared to what it will cost. Physicist Joseph Romm, of the blog Climate Progress, and Steve Curwood discuss the cost-benefit analysis of immediate and delayed climate action.
Source: living on earth: Bargain Time For Climate Protection

Download or Play Facing Reality & Government Power Part 1
Download or Play Government Power Part 2
Download or Play Government Power Part 3 & Firms Climate Change
Download or Play West Coast Climate Change & Price Of Climate Change

Music includes Roy Zimmerman - Hello NSA, David Rovics - Song For Bradley Manning, Flobots - Handlebars, James - Hey Ma, David Rovics - The Village Where Nothing Happend, Capitol Steps - Barack Obama P.S.A., Supaclean - One Big Texas, Dar Williams - Empire, Capitol Steps - Cameroon, David Rovics - After The Revolution, The Onion - Modified Broccoli, Roy Zimmerman - Vote Republican 50.0, Gil Scott-Heron - The Revolution Will Not Be Televised, Randy Newman - A Few Words in Defense of Our Country, Unreasonable Women, Propellerheads - Spybreak!

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

The Next Great Extinction

Elizabeth Kolbert explains how humanity is driving a great wave of extinctions around the planet. She talks with Tom Ashbrook.

Elizabeth Kolbert, staff writer for the New Yorker. Author of “The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History.” Also author of “Field Notes From a Catastrophe: Man, Nature, and Climate Change.” (@ElizKolbert)
Source: On Point: The Next Great Extinction: It’s Now

What is Progress?

Author Ronald Wright says understanding humanity's patterns of progress and disaster could help us avoid the collapse of civilization. Ronald is interviewed by Piya Chattopadhyay.
Source: YouTube: Ronald Wright: What is Progress?

Tom Hanks' Vassar Commencement Speech 2005

Tom Hanks is an American actor, producer, writer, and director. Hanks is known for his roles in Apollo 13, Big, That Thing You Do!, The Green Mile, You've Got Mail, Sleepless in Seattle, Charlie Wilson's War, Catch Me If You Can, Forrest Gump, Cast Away, A League of Their Own, The Da Vinci Code, Angels & Demons, as well as animated films like the Toy Story film series, The Polar Express, and The Simpsons Movie.
Source: YouTube: Tom Hanks: College Commencement Address (2005 Speech to Students)

Download or Play Great Extinction Part 1
Download or Play Great Extinction Part 2 & Progress Part 1
Download or Play Progress Part 2
Download or Play Progress Part 3 & Tom Hanks

Music includes Hungry Beast - I'm A Climate Scientist, Bob Dylan - The Times They Are A-Changin', Bob Marley & The Wailers - WAR / No more trouble, Dan Rheault - Antiwar, Bob Dylan - A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall, Robert Kennedy 4-4-1968, John Lennon - Imagine, Bill Cosby, Capitol Steps - Arreste Nudilis, The Kingston Trio - M.T.A, Judy Collins - Amazing Grace, Louis Armstrong - What a Wonderful World, George Harrison - Peace, Bernie Leadon - The Hitchhikers Guide To The Galaxy

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Big And Little Brother Are Watching

Julia Angwin talks about the many ways that the government, private businesses, and criminals can and do collect our private data. Julia shows that because of the pervasiveness of the surveillance system we live in today, we are in danger of becoming a society that self-censors itself instead of demanding our rights.

Julia Angwin is an investigative journalist for ProPublica. Julia was previously a staff reporter for the Wall Street Journal and was part of the Journal team that was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in 2003 for their coverage of corporate corruption.
Source: BookTV: Dragnet Nation: A Quest for Privacy, Security, and Freedom in a World of Relentless Surveillance

Climate Change Increases Conflict

A study in the journal Science shows a direct link between higher temperatures and increased conflict ranging from domestic violence to civil war. One of the lead researchers, Edward Miguel from UC Berkeley, tells Steve Curwood that as world wide temperatures increase with climate disruption he expects to see more strife.
Source: living on earth: Climate Change and Conflict

Download or Play Big Brother Part 1
Download or Play Big Brother Part 2
Download or Play Big Brother Part 3
Download or Play Climate Change Conflict

Music includes Hollywood Undead - Young, Bob Marley - Get Up, Stand Up, Supaclean - Go Home Watch The War, Michael Franti & Spearhead - Time To Go Home, Redgum - I Was Only 19, Billy Bragg - The World Turned Upside Down, Reverend Billy - Stop Shopping, Buffalo Springfield - For What It's Worth, Capitol Steps - Told You So, Sam Hinton - Old Man Atom, David Rovics - Sugihara, Black Sabbath - War Pigs, The Beatles - Good Day Sunshine, The Byrds - Turn! Turn! Turn!(To Everything There Is A Season), Wizard of Oz - Main Title, Inca Flutes - Carnavalitos

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

NSA whistleblower Russ Tice Tells All

Russ Tice
NSA whistleblower Russ Tice reveals the names of officials involved in the NSA’s illegal practices. Russ explains how the National Security Agency targets, stores and analyzes illegally obtained content from the people of the United States.

Russ contradicts officials and the mainstream media on the status of the NSA’s Utah facility, which is already operating and “On-Line.” Russ reveals that the NSA targets and wiretaps U.S. political candidates for its own purposes. Russ discusses the controversies involving the NSA, PRISM, Edward Snowden and more.
Source: Boiling Frogs Post: Podcast Show #112: NSA Whistleblower Goes on Record -Reveals New Information & Names Culprits!

Download or Play Russ Tice Part 1
Download or Play Russ Tice Part 2
Download or Play Russ Tice Part 3
Download or Play Russ Tice Part 4

Music includes Coldplay - Violet Hill, Eugene Chadbourne - New New New War War War, Dave Lippman - Pity4, Capitol Steps - It's A Wrong Waste Of Tiparillos, David Rovics - Minimum Wage Strike, Capitol Steps - Frogs at War, David Rovics - Crashing Down, Beastie Boys - In A World Gone Mad, Stephen Longfellow Fiske - Earth Anthem, Sam Cooke - Don't Know Much About History, Danny Elfman - Spiderman

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

It's Wrong To Pay For Sex

For your entertainment and enlightenment, six people debate the motion "It's Wrong To Pay For Sex."

Melissa Farley Clinical and Research Psychologist for Prostitution Research & Education
For the motion: Melissa Farley is a clinical and research psychologist for Prostitution Research & Education. She has published 22 peer-reviewed articles on prostitution and trafficking. An abolitionist, Farley advocates for alternatives to the institution of prostitution. She manages the Prostitution Research & Education website ( and cofounded the Nevada Coalition Against Sex Trafficking.

For the motion: Catharine MacKinnon is a specialist in Sex Equality Issues specializes in sex equality issues under international and constitutional law. She pioneered the legal claim for sexual harassment and, with Andrea Dworkin and created ordinances recognizing pornography as a civil rights violation. The Supreme Court of Canada largely accepted her approaches to equality, pornography, and hate speech. She is one of the most widely-cited legal scholars in English.

For the motion: Wendy Shalit is the author of "A Return to Modesty: Discovering The Lost Virtue". She argues that modesty is misunderstood as repression. Her essays on literary and cultural topics have appeared in Commentary, Slate, the Wall Street Journal and other publications.

Sydney Barrows Kevin Wick/Longview Photography
Against the motion: Sydney Barrows, who is a former Mayflower Madam perhaps better known to millions as the "Mayflower Madam". Her book, Mayflower Madam, went right to the top of the New York Times bestseller list.

Against the motion: Tyler Cowen is a Professor of Economics at George Mason University and director of the Mercatus Center. He has written numerous books on the relationship between commerce, the arts, and morality.

Against the motion: Lionel Tiger is a Professor of Anthropology at Rutgers University. He has lectured on all the continents, published widely in general and professional journals and is currently a columnist for

Source: intelligence2 DEBATES: IT'S WRONG TO PAY FOR SEX

The Climate Wars

In a 2009 incident that came to be known as 'climategate', several climate scientists had their e-mails hacked and quoted out of context to discredit the researchers and their work. Steve Curwood talks with Penn State climatologist and geophysicist Michael Mann, who was a target of these attacks and has now written a book about his experiences.
Source: living on earth: The Hockey Stick and the Climate Wars

Download or Play It's Wrong To Pay For Sex Part 1
Download or Play It's Wrong To Pay For Sex Part 2
Download or Play It's Wrong To Pay For Sex Part 3
Download or Play The Climate Wars

Music includes Simon and Garfunkel - Sounds of Silence, Roy Zimmerman - Real America, David Rovics - After We Torture Our Prisoners, Professor Warren Debunks A Few Healthcare Myths, Capitol Steps - Super PACs, Rise Against - Hero Of War, Capitol Steps - He Works Hard For The Country, Johnny Cash - Gettysburg Address, Capitol Steps - American Pie, David Klein - Beanie for Peace, Capitol Steps - Away With The Manger, David Rovics - Cordova, Capitol Steps - Battle Hymn of the Tea Public, Supaclean - Beat The Bushes, Peter La Farge - As Long as the Grass Will Grow, Simon & Garfunkel - Scarborough Fair/Canticle, Emmanuel Rodriguez - Midnight in Ethiopia

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

U.S. Torture and Hedge Funds

Demonstrator Maboud Ebrahimzadeh is held down during a 2007 simulation of 
waterboarding outside the Justice Department in Washington. (Reuters)
Rebecca Gordon
Why Do Americans Tolerate Torture

Rebecca Gordon argues that torture has become increasingly acceptable in the years since Bush and Cheney left office. David Swanson interviews Rebecca Gordon. Rebecca teaches in the Philosophy department at the University of San Francisco. Rebecca is an editor of WarTimes/Tiempo de guerras, which seeks to bring a race, class, and gender perspective to issues of war and peace.
Source: Talk Nation Radio: Rebecca Gordon on Mainstreaming Torture

Les Leopold
How To Make A Million Dollars An Hour

Francesca Rheannon interviews Les Leopold about "HOW TO MAKE A MILLION DOLLARS AN HOUR: Why Hedge Funds Get Away with Siphoning Off America’s Wealth".
Source: Les Leopold, HOW TO MAKE A MILLION DOLLARS AN HOUR, full interview

Download or Play Americans Tolerate Torture Part 1
Download or Play Americans Tolerate Torture Part 2
Download or Play Million Dollars An Hour Part 1
Download or Play Million Dollars An Hour Part 2

Music includes Sherreece - Wings, David Rovics - Drink Of The Death Squads, Capitol Steps - Act Naturally, David Rovics - Guanajuato, Bing Crosby - Brother Can You Spare A Dime, Compassionate Conservatives - Clueless Man, Capitol Steps - You're So Vague, Cass Dillon - Christmas In Fallujah, David Rovics - Before The Oil Wells Ran Dry, Capitol Steps - Come Buy From Me, David Rovics - Free, Janis Ian - Baby I've Been Thinking, David Rovics - Outside Agitator, Firesign Theatre - News Bite #1, Odetta - Battle Hymn Of The Republic, Peace And Love, Michael Jackson - We Are Here To Change The World, Monty Python - Argument, Ornette Coleman - Chronology, Jimi Hendrix - Hey Baby(Rising Sun)