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My Dustin-Hoffman-Graduate-Plastics' Moment

It happened decades ago. That phone exchange in my parents’ kitchen.

It was not long after exiting my college “Camelot”. The steep plunge from grandiose, myopic college senior to insecure, jobless, debt-ridden returning daughter/enabler whose vision hadn’t included re-filling her parents’ empty nest. What in God’s name had happened to the delicious and adventurous fast-lane to an independent adult life? Somehow I had gotten on a wrong entry ramp and was zooming backwards in time.

I could feel four years of amassed self-esteem relentlessly leaking away with each passing, unemployed day – hour – minute.

Needless to say there was no small spurt of interest one listless afternoon when the owner of a perky, female voice at the other end of the phone identified itself as being from the public relations department of my recent, beloved college.

Apparently someone whom this woman could not identify had disclosed to her that I had a strong interest in acting. I was surprised she would bring that up. Yes, I did enjoy acting. I had acted a lot in high school. But when I had gone to the smallish college only theater majors had opportunities to perform so I had had to give the passion up for four years.

What did the West do to succeed?

Niall Ferguson

The economist and historian Niall Ferguson argues that Western civilization came to dominate the world by developing and using six concepts: competition, science, the rule of law, modern medicine, consumerism and the work ethic. As the rest of the world adopts these concepts, the less the west dominates it. Mr. Ferguson discusses the historic power of several western empires and their inevitable decline with author, reporter, and cultural critic Susan Jacoby.
Source: After Words: Niall Ferguson, "Civilization: The West and the Rest," hosted by Susan Jacoby

Stephen Zunes

Stephen Zunes on the Middle East

Stephen Zunes discusses with Scott Horton the Arab Spring as the culmination of decades of peaceful rebellion against tyrannical governments. He explains how violent revolutions tend to breed more violence and result in authoritarian governments. He comments on how the Bush administration helped to bring down a few of Middle East/North African dictators without meaning to.
Source: Scott Horton Interviews Stephen Zunes

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An Expose Of Petroleum Pigs And Finance

Greg Palast presents his investigation of the BP oil spill and talks about the corruption that permeates the oil industry, the financial sector, and government. Greg plays the part of a hard-bitten detective.  He participated in five movies and authored four books including Armed Madhouse and The Best Democracy Money Can Buy.
Source: Vulture's Picnic

The world fears the U.S.

Ex-Senator and former U.S. presidential candidate Mike Gravel says the U.S. is like a drunkard who charges to war with any country who might pose a threat.
Source: 'World fears US as a war-hungry drunk' - ex-Senator

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Empire of Illusion by Chris Hedges

Chris Hedges

In the style of a Old Testament Prophet, Chris Hedges decries the coming capitalistic totalitarianism and urge activists to promote democratic socialism. Journalist Chris Hedges discusses the dramatic rise of a post-literate society that craves fantasy, ecstasy, and illusion as illustrated by the life of pop star Michael Jackson.

Chris Hedges, author of "War Is a Force That Gives Us Meaning," is currently a senior fellow at The Nation Institute and the Anschutz Distinguished Fellow at Princeton University. He writes for many publications, including Foreign Affairs, Harper’s, The New York Review of Books, Granta, and Mother Jones. He is also a columnist for
Source: Chris Hedges: Empire of Illusion

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How Politicians Get Rich Off Insider Stock Tips, Land Deals, and Cronyism

Jimmy Williams

A Former Lobbyist Tells All

Jimmy Williams used to lobby for the powerful National Association of Realtors. He tells us about the steady flow of donations that Congressmembers need, and how he wants to take down the crazy campaign finance system.
Source: The Friday Podcast: A Former Lobbyist Tells All

Peter Schweizer

How Politicians Get Rich Off Insider Stock Tips, Land Deals, and Cronyism That Would Send the Rest of Us to Prison

Peter Schweizer explains how members of Congress profit from insider trading and use their political influence for their own financial gain. He reports on several current members of the House and Senate who have affected votes on bills or gathered information from briefings to benefit their financial portfolio.

Peter Schweizer is the author of several books, including Reagan's War: The Epic Story of His Forty -Year Struggle and Final Triumph Over Communism. He was a consultant to the Office of Presidential Speechwriting in the White House from 2008-2009 and is currently the William J. Casey Fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University.
Source: Throw Them All Out: How Politicians and Their Friends Get Rich Off Insider Stock Tips, Land Deals, and Cronyism That Would Send the Rest of Us to Prison

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End the 21st Century Crusades

Seymour Hersh

Pulitzer Prize-Winning Journalist Seymour Hersh is interviewed by Steve Scher

Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist Seymour Hersh is responsible for exposing many of the biggest stories in the 20th century, and he is still hard at work. Hersh alleged that senior officials were waging a crusade overseas, protecting Christianity from the Muslim.
Source: Pulitzer Prize-Winning Journalist Seymour Hersh

The natural gas business is booming, sometimes with deadly results. Host Bruce Gellerman sniffs out the cracks in the nearly two million miles of pipeline that run under our cities.
Source: Rampant City Gas Leaks

There are more than a third of a million miles of natural gas transmission pipelines in the U.S., and more to come. But sometimes they rupture, devastating homes and lives. Bruce Gellerman speaks with investigative blogger Frank Gallagher, editor of, about the hazards of this vast system.
Source: The Explosive Growth of Natural Gas Networks

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Glenn Greenwald on America's lawless elite

Glenn Greenwald

Tom Ashbrook interviews Glenn Greenwald

From Watergate to Gitmo to Occupy, we will hear from Glenn Greenwald on what he calls the rise of an American's lawless elite.
Source: Glenn Greenwald On “America’s Lawless Elite”

Glenn Greenwald talks to Bob McChesney

Greenwald was named by The Atlantic as one of the 25 most influential political commentators in the nation. He is the recipient of the first annual I.F. Stone Award for Independent Journalism, and is the winner of the 2010 Online Journalism Association Award for his investigative work on the arrest and oppressive detention of Bradley Manning.
Source: Glenn Greenwald, former Constitutional and Civil Rights Litigator joins McChesney on Sunday

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Basic Rights Under Siege from NDAA

by Tony De Renzo ( potony [at] )
Tuesday Mar 13th, 2012 11:20 AM

Civil liberties advocates from the San Francisco 99% Coalition stage a protest in front of city hall to urge the Board of Supervisors to join the growing nationwide resistance to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) The San Francisco 99% Coalition

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Letter to California State Senate President Darrell Steinberg

Dear Honorable Senator Steinberg,

On December 31, 2011, President Obama signed the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), codifying indefinite military detention without charge or trial into law for the first time in American history. It could permit the president – and all future presidents – to order the military to imprison indefinitely civilians captured far from any battlefield without charge or trial. The breadth of the NDAA’s worldwide detention authority violates the Constitution and international law because it is not limited to people captured in an actual armed conflict, as required by the laws of war. The law does not require even an allegation that a detained person caused any harm or threat of harm to the United States or to any U.S. interest. Mere allegation of membership in, or support of, an alleged terrorist group could be the basis for indefinite detention. Under the American justice system, we don’t just lock people up indefinitely based on suspicion.

What Americans Must Do to Save the Republic

Catherine Crier

Catherine Crier, former judge and Emmy-winning journalist, argues that partisan politics are hurting the United States. She advocates reducing legal corruption in Washington, D.C. She has been television personality for CNN, ABC, Fox News and ESPN.
Source: Patriot Acts

The Other Scott Horton

Scott Horton Interviews The Other Scott Horton

The Other Scott Horton is an international human rights lawyer and contributing editor at Harper’s magazine and no relation to the interviewer. They discusses the U.S. government's refusal prosecute torturers. Also how WikiLeaks exposed high-level U.S. efforts to squash previous Spanish investigations of American political and military figures. Included is the contrast of U.S.’ repudiation of international law and universal jurisdiction, after helping establish them after WWII. The National Defense Authorization Act's indefinite detention provision also part of the conversation.
Source: Scott Horton Interviews The Other Scott Horton

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Remaking America: From Poverty to Prosperity with Tavis Smiley

Remaking America

Tavis Smiley moderated a conversation on solutions for restoring America's prosperity with the following people.

Majora Carter, Founder and
President Majora Carter Group
Roger A. Clay, Jr., President Insight
Center for Community Economic Development

Barbara Ehrenreich, Author
Vicki B. Escarra,
President and CEO, Feeding America

Michael Moore, Filmmaker
Suze Orman, Host CNBC

Jeffrey D. Sachs, Professor
Columbia University, Sustainable Development
Tavis Smiley, Talk Show Host PBS &
Cornel West, Professor Princeton University,
Religion and African Amer. Studies

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Institutional Corruption in the U.S. Government

Lawrence Lessig

Lawrence Lessig joins Bob McChesney to talk about institutional corruption. Lawrence Lessig is a Professor of Law at Harvard Law School. His current work concerns institutional corruption and the economy of influence that weakens the effectiveness of an institution, or weakens public trust.
Source: Lawrence Lessig joins McChesney on Media Matters with Bob McChesney

President Andrew Jackson

Where did the U.S. debt come from? What happened the one time the U.S. paid it all off? Why did the U.S. Congress created the debt ceiling in the first place? A short review of the legend of the national debt. This podcast doesn't explain why people fear what they don't understand.
Source: When The U.S. Paid Off The Entire National Debt (And Why It Didn't Last)

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Inside the Mind of the President

Dr. Justin Frank

Dr. Justin Frank talks about his new book, Obama on the Couch: Inside the Mind of the President with Peter B. Collins.  Dr. Frank is a clinical professor of psychiatry at George Washington University, and previously wrote Bush on the Couch. Frank maintains a private practice in marital and family therapy.  He describes “Obsessive Bipartisan Disorder” and remarks on Obama’s attraction to appeasing the GOP leaders who are committed to his destruction.

Source: Dr. Justin A. Frank Puts ‘Obama on the Couch’

Peter B. Collins

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Downton Abbey Jumps Shark w/ Overplotting & Caricaturization

Downton Abbey has jumped the shark in terms of overplotting and caricaturization.

I adored Season 1. Season 2 seemingly has turned into a Saturday Night Live satire of itself I was shocked to discover after viewing Episode 6 yesterday.

When I heard some of my coworkers comparing it to a Brit historical soap opera as Season 2 unfolded I found myself getting defensive. For a long time I have cherished the quality and sensibility of British dramas, especially those that make it to pbs.

British TV or movie productions seem to respect the emotional intelligence of their audience FAR MORE than action-oriented, titillating American productions. The British seem to trust that good characterization drives the plot. That the plot shouldn’t drive characterization. The viewing soul should be stirred, rather than the viewing sensibility titillated.

In Season 1 it was like sipping a fine wine watching Downton. Now we are swigging American Kool-Aid.

The Americans embraced Downton Abbey. Downton Abbey, in my humble and cynical opinion, has embraced American shallowness!

Juan Cole on the Middle East

Juan Cole
Peter B. Collins

The conversation between Juan Cole and Peter B. Collins concerned Iraq, Libya, Yemen, Syria, Iran, Israel, Palestine, the CIA and drones.

Juan Cole has testified before the U.S. Senate and knows Arabic and Persian. He blogs at Informed Comment and is a historian of South Asia. He has been a guest on PBS News Hour, ABC Nightly News, Nightline, the Today Show, Charlie Rose, Anderson Cooper 360, Countdown with Keith Olbermann, Rachel Maddow, the Colbert Report, Democracy Now! and many others. He lived in various parts of the Muslim world for nearly 10 years.
Source: Foreign Policy Roundup: U. Michigan’s Prof. Juan Cole

Cancer Alley Case Gets Surprising Support from EPA Administrator Jackson

Mossville, Louisiana sits in the shadow of 14 petrochemical refineries.  For decades, Mossville residents have complained about their health problems to industry, and to state and federal agencies. They reached past the U.S. regulators to take their case to the highest human rights court in the western hemisphere, Inter-American Commission on Human Rights. Now a candid comment from the highest U.S. environmental regulator appears to have boosted their petition. Living on Earth and Planet Harmony’s Ike Sriskandarajah reports.
Source: Obama Administration Divided Over Cancer Alley Case

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