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Friday July 24, 2009
British journalist Sean Langan was kidnapped last year by a Taliban-affiliated group known as the Haqanni Network, the same group Private First Class Bowe Bergdahl is believed to be in the hands of. (photo provided by Sean Langan)

British journalist Sean Langan was kidnapped last year by a Taliban-affiliated group known as the Haqanni Network, the same group Private First Class Bowe Bergdahl is believed to be in the hands of. (photo by Sean Langan)

Taken by the Taliban

Private First Class Bowe Bergdahl, an American soldier who was kidnapped near his base in Afghanistan on June 30, is believed to be in the hands of a Taliban-affiliated group known as the Haqanni Network. Award-winning British journalist Sean Langan was kidnapped by the same group last year. Langan describes his three-month ordeal and how he coped by marking the daily routines of life in captivity– like washing, eating, and staring through a tiny hole at the apricot tree that was growing nearby.

Pot Tax Hike

Earlier this week, voters in Oakland, Calif., approved a tax increase on medical marijuana, which is legal there. Richard Lee says he’s happy to pay more taxes — they are cheaper than legal bills. Lee is president of Oaksterdam University in Oakland. Founded in 2007, it is described as the country’s first cannabis college, with a mission to train people for the cannabis industry. Lee and others see the tax as another step toward the overall legalization of marijuana.

A Policeman’s View of Professor Gates’ Arrest

Henry Louis Gates Jr., a prominent Harvard professor, was arrested last week on a disorderly conduct charge. The professor is African American; the arresting officer is white. The charge was dropped, but the incident remains a contentious issue. We speak to Lt. Charles Wilson, chairman of the National Association of Black Law Enforcement Officers.

Steely Dan

Here & Now music critic Tim Riley joins us with an appreciation of Steely Dan. Walter Becker and Donald Fagan are still together after more than 30 years.

Music from the Show

  • Air, “Mike Mills”
  • The Sea and Cake, “Seemingly”
  • Benevento Russo Duo, “Sunny’s Song”
  • Steely Dan “Aja”
  • Walter Becker and Donald Fagen “I Mean to Shine” performed by Barbra Streisand
  • Steely Dan “Reelin’ in the Years”
  • Steely Dan “Hey Nineteen”
  • Walter Becker “Circus Money”
  • Steely Dan “Black Cow”
  • Steely Dan “Two Against Nature”
  • CB

    Hi – I just wanted to leave a comment regarding the Henry Louis Gates Jr. arrest. There has been much talk about race, which is no doubt merited, however I feel it is equally important, if we are to talk about race, that we talk about class. Gates is a Harvard Professor, which, for those of us who are familiar with Harvard know, is a significant title. And while, another person may not recognize a Harvard Professor site-seen, these individuals are accustomed to a high level of accommodation and respect. For someone who is not in this arena of academia, the idea to accord an individual with such esteem is foreign. There is as much a divide among race as there is among class – with many overlaps between. Thank you.

  • Steven Tomlinson

    Heaven forbid that an ordinary citizen dare to question a police officer/Imperial Stormtrooper who never lie or make false statements.

  • LS

    I’m so tired of all the talk about this incident. It was not a textbook example of racial profiling; it’s really about prejudice on both sides. It’s a case where race influenced the outcome because Dr. Gates jumped to conclusions about the Officer and the officer clearly lured Gates out of the house in order to arrest him for backtalk (aka disorderly conduct). According to Cambridge police, talking crazy in your own home to a police officer is a crime warranting arrest. Each participant can ask: If this person were black/white, would I have acted differently?

    The real story here is how this incident that has been blown out of proportion will add to the distrust between the police and the community. Certain neighborhoods in Boston already have a violent crime problem that is exacerbated by people’s unwillingness to come forward to the police.

    If you’re law-abiding but don’t think the police will respect you or you yourself could be abused or arrested if you try to do the right thing, you might decide to keep your mouth shut.

  • shellie mathews

    Enough with the they said, he said debate. Try to substantiate their stories. Police usually carry a voice recorder and activate it when confronting a “person of interest.” ISomeone please ask if a recording of the incident was made. It was reported that a crowd started to gather because of Gates behavior outside his home. Ask someone from that “crowd” what they saw/heard.

  • http://n/a Elaine Williamson

    The interview with Lt Wilson was an excellent examination of this controversy. He gave a clear and unemotional review of what he understood to have happened. He shed light on this experience. We should take this sad event and use it as a means to examine our experiences with race in this country, and continue to work to understand each other. Slavery is our original sin. We still pay the price for it.

  • Etaoin Shrdlu

    Oh please, the President has to apologize for the one true capital political sin: speaking the truth. This wasn’t a case of profiling, or racism. This was a case of stupidity by BOTH the policeman and Gates. The situation could have been handled better by both parties, and certainly should have been handled by the rest of us. THIS is the most important issue facing America? Wow, things must be pretty good if that’s the case.

    At least there appears to be one grownup left in the nation: the President, who was at least willing to admit he could have handled the original question better.

  • Michelle Cauble

    Listening to the ongoing controversy, imagine the outcome if Professor Gates had been approached by an African-American police officer, under the same awkward circumstances of attempting to enter his home without his key. I can attest to having experienced that particular disadvantage – and if not for my neighbors who know me – I would HOPE to be seen as suspect. Conversely, if President Obama was Anglo-American and extended the same well intended offer that he The President, the Harvard Professor and Cambridge Police Sergeant gather together, share a beer and lay the matter to rest – how might that be perceived? It is impossible to know the outcome, but quite possible that the story may never have become one…perhaps a less publicized acknowledgment that one man was doing his job and another was grateful for it, that is until The President invited them over for a beer…either version, this story is in dire need of a happy ending!

Robin and Jeremy

Robin Young and Jeremy Hobson host Here & Now, a live two-hour production of NPR and WBUR Boston.

August 28 Comment

Catching Up With The Polyphonic Spree

The choral rock band out of Dallas, Texas, has been thrilling audiences with its live performances for over a decade.

August 28 5 Comments

‘Enormous’ Growth Of Ocean Garbage Patch

The oceanographer who discovered the floating island of trash in 1997 says he's shocked by how much it's grown.

August 27 Comment

Veteran Honored, But Struggles To Keep Business Open

Former Marine Matt Victoriano is being recognized as a "Champion of Change" at the White House.

August 27 40 Comments

In Defense Of Schlock Music: Why We Love/Hate It

Music critic Jody Rosen defends the kind of over-the-top, sentimental songs that Journey, Lionel Richie, Billy Joel and Prince made famous.