June 29, 2007

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Friday, June 29, 2007

Show Summary: Tony Blair's spinner-in-chief, the ethics of undercover reporting, and the enduring relevance of Blade Runner.

Cruel Britannia

When Tony Blair became Britain’s prime minister a decade ago, his nickname was “Bambi,” a reference to his doe-eyed optimism. Now tarnished by the “low skullduggery” of politics, Blair left office on Wednesday deeply unpopular among his people. Longtime Blair spokesman Alastair Campbell points ...

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Cash Cow

In a 5-4 ruling this week, the Supreme Court deemed a key part of the McCain Feingold Act unconstitutional. BYU Political scientist David Magleby explains why the decision is likely to open the floodgates of ad spending by interest groups.

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Mind Your A’s and Q’s

In and around Baghdad right now, “Al Qaeda in Iraq” is public enemy number one. At least that’s what Pentagon officials say. But McClatchy reporter Mike Drummond thinks journalists should be more skeptical when “Al Qaeda” is uttered.

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Chemical Reactions

Soon after 9/11, Pittsburgh Tribune reporter Carl Prine began walking into chemical storage facilities to document their vulnerability. Six years on, Prine is still "thinking like a terrorist," raising questions about the public’s right to know and how much information is too much.


Identity Crisis

In the latest Harper’s, Ken Silverstein writes about going undercover as a representative of Turkmenistan to investigate the murky world of Washington PR firms. Silverstein has been criticized for his tactics, but says concealing his identity was necessary to get the story.

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Listeners weigh in on last week's special episode about press freedom in Russia.


Science Fiction in the National Interest

The Department of Homeland Security recently joined forces with SIGMA, a group of science fiction writers. DHS plans to mine the writers' ideas about border control, disaster preparedness and terrorist tactics. SIGMA founder Arlan Andrews says sci-fi writers have more to offer than lasers and flying ...

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Dreams of Electric Sheep

25 years ago this week, Blade Runner debuted in American theaters. It was set in a Los Angeles of the future, but its portrayals of race and racism had plenty of resonance in 1982. Reporter Phillip Martin looks back on a classic of cyborgian social criticism.

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