Iraq & Afghanistan
How quickly will the U.S. be able to withdraw from a barely-stable Iraq and re-direct troops, as President Obama wants, to an increasingly unstable Afghanistan? We speak with Demetri Sevastopulo, Pentagon and intelligence correspondent for the Financial Times.
The Narcotic Farm
It was a federal prison created in 1935 on a thousand acres in Lexington, Kentucky to treat drug addicts. Some of the residents were convicted criminals, but others came voluntarily. In the beginning there was hope that group therapy could cure the addicts, but when it was unsuccessful, therapists began to focus on research. Their groundbreaking work uncovered the secrets of addiction, but they did it by using the prisoners as human guinea pigs. Although the addicts volunteered to take part in the research, they were given the very drugs they were trying to kick. The story is told in a film airing on PBS called “The Narcotic Farm,” and in a companion book of the same name. Our guests are J.P. Olsen, filmmaker, Nancy Campbell, drug historian at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, and Bernie Kolb, who volunteered to receive treatment at the Narcotic Farm in 1964.
Bolivia’s New Constitution
Bolivians have approved a sweeping new constitution designed to empower the country’s indigenous peoples. Supporters see this as a victory over 500 years of subjugation of native peoples and compare it to the election of Barack Obama in the U.S. Detractors see it as a power grab by the country’s left-leaning president. We’ll speak with Adam Isacson, director of programs at the Center for International Policy, about Bolivia and other challenges in the region for the U.S.
Haggling in the U.S.
Prices are rarely negotiated at stores in the U.S., but that may be changing as fewer customers buy and stores become more desperate to sell. We speak with Jeff Yeager, author of “The Ultimate Cheapskate’s Road Map to True Riches: A Practical (and Fun) Guide to Enjoying Life More By Spending Less.” He also writes the blog “Cheap Talk“ on his web site “The Ultimate Cheapskate.”
We speak to astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson. As head of the American Museum of Natural History’s Hayden Planetarium, Tyson found himself at the center of a firestorm of controversy in 2001 when it was noticed that the Planetarium had not grouped Pluto with other planets of the Solar System. In the years that followed, the question of “Is Pluto a planet?” occupied both scientists and non-scientists alike, leading to a historic meeting of the International Astronomical Union in August 2006, when the Union officially demoted Pluto to dwarf planet status. Neil deGrasse Tyson writes about those years, as well as the history of Pluto in his book: “The Pluto Files: The Rise and Fall of America’s Favorite Planet.”