Commentary: Too Many Ad 'Spots'
Commentator Lenore Skenazy explores the novel news places where advertising is turning up: on cows, in cabs, in elevators, on floors of urinals.
Standing on the Brink
In his State of the Union address last night, President Bush outlined three priorities: fixing the ailing heath care system and economy, providing compassion for suffering at home and abroad, and going to war against Iraq. NPR Senior News Analyst Daniel Schorr says there is no question but that the top priority is Iraq.
'West Wing' Speechwriter
Rick Cleveland has some experience writing presidential speeches. He won an Emmy award for writing on The West Wing. One of his jobs was to write the State of the Union address for fictional President Josiah Bartlet.
Dove Turns Hawk
As the march towards military conflict with Iraq takes on an inexorable and immediate feel, NPR Senior News Analyst Daniel Schorr says that Secretary of State Colin Powell, perhaps once the most powerful advocate for a non-military solution to the Iraq problem, seems to now acknowledge that war is inevitable, even in the absence of a broad-based coalition.
Commentary: Coffee Plantation Dream
Commentator Andrei Codrescu tells about his friend's dream of buying a coffee plantation in Costa Rica and making money selling beans on the Web. His friend also wants to use a certain duck that eats raw coffee beans and poops out a better bean. Of course, the friend has no money.
The Polls and Military Action
The Bush administration's poll numbers are sagging, even as the U.S. military prepares for a war with Iraq. The president says getting the war over with would be beneficial for the economy. NPR Senior News Analyst Daniel Schorr says that reflects a growing tendency in the White House to turn to military action to counter waning popularity.
Commentary - Sundance Film Festival
The Sundance Film Festival is going on through Saturday in Park City, Ut. Sundance has been widely credited with bringing independent films to mainstream audiences. Commentator Jake Tapper is in Park City this week, covering the festival for the Sundance Channel's nightly show. He says that one thing that distinguishes an independent film is that it is highly personal -- about the filmmaker's own revelation or catharsis. But just because an idea or subject is important to a filmmaker does not mean that the rest of the world will be moved by it.
My Light Brown Daughters
Martin Luther King, Jr. famously hoped for a day when his children would be judged not by the color of their skin but by the content of their character. It's been nearly 40 years since then, and commentator Aaron Freeman hopes for even more for his daughters. He wants to raise them as if "African-American" is not their primary identity, but one of many things they are, along with athletes, Chicagoans and scholars. The problem is that it's working. They have a different outlook than he does, and he's afraid they are a different race than he is. The struggle against racism has defined much of his life, and he fears that they don't even take racism personally.
Commentator Daniel Pinkwater remembers Sergeant Preston of the Yukon, and Yukon King, Preston's trusty malamute. And he reflects on his own dog companions.
Contemplating Saddam's Exile
Reports have been circulating that Saudi Arabia and Turkey are working to convince Saddam Hussein to step down from power voluntarily before the U.S. military forces him to do so. NPR Senior News Analyst Daniel Schorr says comments on the matter from high-ranking Bush administration officials suggests something might be afoot.
Commentary: 'Ring Around the Rosie' and the Plague
vaccinations for half a million health and emergency workers are scheduled to begin later this month. There have been some concerns about the safety of the vaccine for the recipients and the people around them who might also become infected with the vaccine virus. For commentator Anne Burt, anxieties are closer to home. Recently, she caught her daughter singing a version of Ring Around the Rosie, and it seemed ominous. After all, it's a retelling of the story of the Bubonic plague. "All fall down" is the result -- death. But after some research she discovered that Ring Around the Rosie is really a Victorian game, and "all fall down" is a curtsey at the end. Anne Burt won the 2002 Editors' Prize in fiction from Meridian Literary Magazine.
Prince of Peace
A growing cadre of religious leaders is claiming that Jesus would certainly veto a war against Saddam Hussein. As an anti-war coalition put it in a full-page ad in The New York Times "it is inconceivable that Jesus Christ... would support this proposed attack." Commentator Joe Loconte says that the teachings of Jesus make it clear that evil can possess individuals and entire regimes, and that evil must be resisted, sometimes by force.
Commentator Andrei Codrescu ponders the disappearing American mustache. He says only bad guys have them. He was born with a mustache but recently shaved it off. Now he wonders if he really is one of the bad guys.
President Bush has been defending his tax cut proposal by accusing his critics of engaging in "class warfare." NPR Senior News Analyst Daniel Schorr says that when the President invokes the phrase "class warfare" he does so in defense of wealthy.
'I'm a Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here'
A federal judge, has ruled that ABC television's I'm a Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here is not a copy of the CBS reality show Survivor. Commentator James Poniewozik remarks on the judge's ruling.
North Korea's Strategy
NPR Senior News Analyst Daniel Schorr says that North Korea's bellicose language may all be part of a not-particularly-sophisticated -- but, nevertheless, possibly successful -- effort to engage the Bush administration in direct negotiations.
Commentator Jane Gennaro says she's had it with all
the news about celebrities. She has a nightmare in which she becomes a celebrity and has to expose much of her life.
Commentary: Stay in Korea
We hear the second of two opinions about the
presence of U.S. troops on the Korean peninsula. Today, Kurt Campbell, a
former deputy assistant secretary of defense, argues that U.S. troops are
needed on the Korean peninsula because the United States should be the
stabilizing force in the region. Yesterday, a member of the Pentagon's
Defense Policy Board made an argument for pulling at least half, and
perhaps all American military forces out of South Korea as a way to force
other nations in north-east Asia to take a lead in diffusing the situation
Commentary: Killing Isn't Funny
A commentary from Ken Harbaugh, a Navy
pilot and instructor at the Citadel. Most of the people the U.S. military
kills now are killed remotely, he says, and the training videos he showed
his students had no carnage. Sometimes they laughed at images of targets
trying to run away. While teaching during the fall semester -- his first --
he realized that he had to make a lesson plan to teach students that
killing isn't funny.
Commentator David Levin says that if there's one clear winner of our current economy, a silver lining in this dark cloud of corporate gloom, it's the word "brand." Everything is branded -- and the hipness of a brand is a great distraction from the layoffs and quarterly earnings reports of the actual company.
When commentator Aaron Freeman's mother makes corn bread, she measures by sight -- not with a measuring cup -- and that bugged Aaron. Future generations of Freemans would not be able to make the cornbread, too, if she didn't write it down -- and she refused to. So he did -- and happily e-mailed it to anyone who wanted a copy -- and he carefully measured ingredients every time he made it -- until one day, his measuring cup was dirty.
Korea Commentary: U.S. Should Pull Troops Out
Over the next two days, we will have two opposing views on the role of U.S. troops on the Korean peninsula. Today, Ken Adelman argues that the United States should pull troops out -- perhaps half, perhaps all of them. It would force other nations in the region, like China, Japan, and Russia, to take more of an active role in the North Korean nuclear situation. Tomorrow, an argument for keeping U.S. troops in place as a stabilizing force.
Daniel Schorr News Analysis: Korean Diplomacy
In a policy shift, the Bush administration has agreed to talk but not negotiate with North Korea over their nuclear weapons program. NPR Senior News Analyst Daniel Schorr says that this shift also represents a move away from the aggressive rhetoric of last fall and indicates just how much power comes from being a member of the nuclear club.
Commentary: Fountain of Youth
To drink from the fountain of youth is to quench a thirst brought on by too many slices of one's own birthday cakes. Commentator Marion Roach has been taking big gulps of that refreshing liquid.
Wanted: Full-time Legislators
NPR Senior News Analyst Daniel Schorr says that when the 108th Congress opens tomorrow, the business of legislation will be at odds with presidential ambitions.
'My Dad The Ex-Con'
Mikel Jolet recounts what it was like growing up the son of a felon who'd spent time in a federal prison. He and his father were quite different. And Mikel struggled to get out from under his father's shadow. But now, he sees what his father had to give him.
Commentator Lenore Skenazy notes that some schools around the country have taken measures to ban playground games such as dodge ball. In some cases, this has led to banning the game of tag, too. Skenazy always preferred tag, which required James Bond-like cleverness, to dodge ball, which was more like all-out war.
The average American got quite a leg up yesterday -- at least according to politicians of both major political parties. When Sen. John Edwards (D-NC) declared his intention to seek the Democratic presidential nomination, he said he'd fight for regular people. And President Bush said he is thinking about all Americans in working on his economic stimulus package. Commentator Jake Tapper says that both politicians are good at seeming like regular guys - but he's not sure that a regular guy is really what voters want.
Commentator Aaron Freeman hopes he caused his sister's brain tumor. When they were children, he kicked her in the head. As an adult, she developed the tumor. The exact cause isn't certain, but the other probable cause is genetic - and the gene is linked to breast cancer - so he hopes that it is the kick, and not the gene, that is the culprit.
Commentator Hollis Gillespie is a flight attendant now - but she's had lots of jobs and she's been fired from many of them. Once, though, she turned down an offer to be a skycap. She was embarrassed, afraid that she'd encounter past enemies or old flames at the airport on their way somewhere exciting. Now, she regrets her decision.
Storyteller Kevin Kling says since his motorcycle accident over a year ago, he's been leading a life determined by surgeries and recovery. The most menial actions are now mammoth tasks. Kevin takes us on a journey through his day -- today and beyond.
'Show Me The Money'
With North Carolina Sen. John Edwards announcing his plans to run for president in 2004, speculation about the Democratic primary steps up a notch. NPR Senior News Analyst Dan Schorr says the only real question at hand is who can raise the most money by the end of the year.
Andrei Codrescu on Sunday
Commentator Andrei Codrescu brings us this glimpse of the kind of day that feeds a commentator's mind.
Commentator Nancy Slonin Aronie brings us some thoughts on sibling relations.
The Future of Politics
In Washington, political types are looking forward to Congress coming into session later this month. But commentator Byron York wants to look a little farther into the future of politics -- five years -- to 2008. That's the year the first of the Generation Xers will be the age that President Kennedy was when he went into office, and he thinks that they will be ready to take political leadership then. York thinks that the Baby Boomers are too bogged down by the history of Vietnam to lead in the most important areas now -- homeland security and defense -- so we might skip an entire generation of leadership -- the Baby Boomers -- and go on to the Xers.
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