The War and Other Issues with Congressman Mike Thompson

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Mike Thompson represents the First Congressional District of California, including the North Coast and Mendocino County, the home of Radio Curious, in the United States House of Representatives. In this interview recorded in his Washington, D.C. office on October 11, 2007, we discuss the war, its funding, medicare, marijuana and children’s health insurance. The House of Representatives was not able to overturn the president’s veto of the children’s health insurance program in a vote that occurred after this interview. This program was originally broadcast October 24, 2007.

Mike Thompson recommends “Blackwater: The Rise of the World’s Most Powerful Mercenary Army,” by Jeremy Scahill.

Jim Wattenburger- “Who Should Control Rural Growth, Corporations or Citizens?”

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Should a shopping mall and a large residential development occur adjacent to the city of Ukiah, California? The city and many people fear this development will result in the loss of a unique, rural small town in northern California.  Mendocino County Supervisor Jim Wattenburger discusses his position in support of these projects, and about the legalization of marijuana in two programs recorded September 23, 2007, and the broadcast September 26, and October 3, 2007.

Jim Wattenburger recommends “Undaunted Courage,” by Stephen A. Ambrose.

John Pinches — “All Politics are Local Including Marijuana”

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The concept that all politics are local is shown in this interview with Mendocino County Supervisor John Pinches in our August 7, 2007 interview on growing, use and “legalization” of marijuana.

 

 

Carl Borden— “Potential Problems Of Employment Of Illegal Aliens”

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In this edition we discuss the “No Match” rule established by the Bush administration on August 10th, 2007. If a person is employed and the employer sends in the employment payment records with a social security number that doesn’t match the name on the social security number according to the Social Security Administration, A “No Match” letter will be sent to the employer that says “fix it.” To discuss this problem and the possible effects it has in California, we visited with Attorney Carl Borden, an associate counsel for the California Farm Bureau Federation, in his offices in Sacramento, California on August 20th, 2007.

The book recommended by Carl Borden is “Overcoming The Fear (of Death)” by David Cole Gordon.

Richard Shoemaker & Barry Vogel, Esq. — “Citizen Effort to Combat Big Box Takeover of a Small, Rural Community”

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Contrary to the five to zero decision by the Ukiah City Council recommending a No Vote, Mendocino County Supervisor Jim Wattenburger, whoes district solely comprises the City of Ukiah, voted yes creating a board majority to further investigate the development of a major shopping center adjacent to Ukiah, a small, tranquil, rural community. In this conversation Richard Shoemaker, a former member of the Board of Supervisors from the Ukiah district, and attorney and veteran board watcher Barry Vogel (host and producer of Radio Curious) discuss the unusual anomalies of this event. This program was originally broadcast on August 22, 2007.


The book Richard Shoemaker recommends is “Ripples From the Zambezi,” by Ernesto Sirolli. Barry Vogel recommends “Big Box Swindle,” by Stacy Mitchell.

Bruce Anderson- “The Reporter Interviewed”

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The Anderson Valley Advertiser is an iconoclastic newspaper originating weekly from Boonville, Mendocino County, California, edited and published by Bruce Anderson, whose name is merely coincidental with the name of the Anderson Valley. The masthead of the AVA, as it is sometimes called, says, “Newspapers should have no friends,” and “Fan the Flames of Discontent.” After a three-year hiatus, beginning when Anderson sold the AVA and attempted to establish a newspaper elsewhere, he repurchased the AVA and returned to Boonville on July 1, 2007 to write again. We met in the studios of Radio Curious on July 13, 2007 and talked about why he left Mendocino County, what he did while he was gone, how he reckons with the aggravated relationships he created with some people in years past, and what the readers can expect now that he again buys ink by the barrel.

The books Bruce Anderson recommends are those by Rebecca Solnit.

Charles Ferguson — “Will This War Ever End?”

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“The Endless War,” a movie released in late July 2007, written, directed and produced by Charles Ferguson, depicts the blunders and ill-prepared manner in which the United States initiated and carried out the war against Iraq. This full-length feature film juxtaposes the statements and actions of the Washington leadership of the war, which at the outset failed to include President Bush – the Commander-in-Chief, with the leadership’s actions and grievous consequences that followed.  Charles Ferguson holds a Ph.D. in political science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, has extensive experience in foreign policy analysis, and lives and works in the San Francisco Bay area. When I spoke with him on July 20, 2007 we began with his explanation how the war and the occupation of Iraq were shaped by an extremely small group of people In Washington D.C., with limited foreign policy and post war occupation experience.

The film he recommends is “The Lives of Others,” a story about East Germany under the community regime.

 

Tom Allman- “The Sheriff and Marijuana”

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This program was originally broadcast on June 19, 2007.

Marijuana, some say, is on the lips of many people here in Mendocino County, California, and likely many other places throughout the world, to some with pleasure and to others with distaste. Nonetheless it doesn’t seem that marijuana will go away. Not withstanding federal laws prohibiting use and possession of marijuana, the people of the State of California adopted the Compassionate Use Act in 1996 and in November 2000, the voters of Mendocino County approved a resolution by a vote of 58% to 42% to decriminalize the personal use of marijuana. In this edition of Radio Curious we visit with Tom Allman the Sheriff of Mendocino County to discuss the enforcement of the many conflicting marijuana laws. Estimates of the value of the crop produced in Mendocino County vary from five to ten billion dollars. We began when I asked the Sheriff to comment on this estimate.

Tom Allman recommends “The Hunt for Red October,” by Tom Clancy

Golden, Kevin Z. — “Lawsuit to Ban Genetically Modified Alfalfa”

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This program was originally broadcast May 7, 2007.

The consequences of growing genetically modified alfalfa were deteremined by the United States District Court in San Francisco, California to be so uncertain and so potentially dangerous that they were outlawed nation-wide in litigation brought by the Center for Food Safety based in San Francisco. In this edition of Radio Curious we visit with Attorney Kevin Zelig Golden, who, along with others from the Center for Food Safety, litigated this landmark case which banned the planting of genetically modified alfalfa as of May 3, 2007.

The book that Kevin Z. Golden recommends is “Omnivore’s Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals,” by Michael Pollan.

Zana Briski, Ross Kauffman – “Brothels of Calcutta, India”

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Originally Broadcast: March 15, 2007

Born Into Brothels

“Born into Brothels” received the Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature in 2005. A tribute to the resiliency of childhood and the restorative power of art, “Born into Brothels” is a portrait of several unforgettable children who live in the red light district of Calcutta, where their mothers work as prostitutes. The most stigmatized people in Calcutta’s red light district however are not the prostitutes, but their children. In the face of abject poverty, abuse, and despair, these kids have little possibility of escaping their mother’s fate or for creating another type of life. In “Born into Brothels,” directors Zana Briski and Ross Kauffman chronicle the amazing transformation of the children they come to know in the red light district. Briski, a professional photographer, gives them lessons and cameras, igniting latent sparks of artistic genius that reside in these children who live in the most sordid and seemingly hopeless world. The photographs taken by the children are not merely examples of remarkable observation and talent; they reflect something much larger, morally encouraging, and even politically volatile: art as an immensely liberating and empowering force. Devoid of sentimentality, “Born into Brothels” defies the typical tear-stained tourist snapshot of the global underbelly. Briski spends years with these kids and becomes part of their lives. Their photographs are prisms into their souls, rather than anthropological curiosities or primitive imagery, and a true testimony of the power of the indelible creative spirit. You can learn about this film and Kids with Cameras at www.kids-with-cameras.org. I spoke with Zana Briski and Ross Kauffman in February 2005. Beginning the conversation first with Zana Briski, I asked her to explain what drew her to India before the concept of “Kids With Cameras” was even a dream.

www.kids-with-cameras.org

Zana Briski recommends “Secret Life of Bees,” by Sue Monk Kidd.