Sunday, December 28, 2014

The Myth of Progress, the Necessity of Rebellion

Part 1: New World Notes #356, 28:07 (December 30, 2014)
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Part 2: New World Notes #357, 29:28 (January 6, 2015)
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In a brilliant speech, journalist/essayist/prophet Chris Hedges argues that the class war is real ... that the ordinary people are losing ... that all of society's institutions have betrayed the people and "sold out" to Established Power ... that whatever political and economic justice there has been exists only because ordinary people struggled hard against the elite to create that justice... and that widespread nonviolent rebellion by the people is now essential to prevent disaster.

Part history lesson, part political science, part cultural analysis, and part sermon, Hedges' talk is an intellectual tour-de-force--and also a great listen.

The audio (taken from a videotape recently made available online) was lightly edited for radio by Robin Upton and previously broadcast on his Unwelcome Guests program ( Thanks again to Robin. I have made some small additional cuts in Part 2.  I believe that Hedges delivered this speech in 2011. 

Introductions by KD. I am responsible for the title used here.

Manila, 2011

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Comic Satire for Christmas

New World Notes #355, 27:14 (December 23)
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Brief commentary by me, five satiric seasonal songs, and one imitation Broadway "big production number." All take a comic but critical view of American hypocrisies, religiosity, commercialism, class warfare, and other Christmastime traditions.

I'm especially fond of the pseudo- "big production number": Stan Freberg's 1958 masterpiece, Green Chri$tma$.  The audio fidelity is very good even by today's standards; the production is rich and sophisticated; the script is witty; and the message (alas) is still relevant.

Other contributions by Hugh Blumenfeld, Simon and Garfunkel, Anne Feeney, Roy Zimmerman, and Tom Lehrer.

This installment was previously broadcast (as NWN #303) in December 2013.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Dispatches From the War on Christmas

New World Notes #354, 29:23 (December 16)
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A mostly lighthearted look at the Right Wing's favorite seasonal fantasy. Which is that "secular progressives" have declared a "war on Christmas"--allegedly part of their larger war to destroy Christianity, promote drug use and gay marriage, separate church and state, and so on.

We'll hear some ravings by Bill O'Reilly, a funny rebuttal by Jon Stewart, personal reflections by KD, and a short history lesson. (The only real wars on Christmas were fought by the Puritan Christians). We end with selections from a humorous audio collage on the subject by Scooter.

This installment was previously broadcast, as NWN #302, in December 2013.

Scooter produces the weekly radio show "The innerSide" on KPFT-FM, Houston.  His Web site is .

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Crime and Punishment

New World Notes #353, 27:54 (December 9)
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This week we tie together several recent crime stories--from a vehicular-homicide trial in my town to the police shootings in Ferguson and New York ... to the rash of alleged gun-suicides by frisked, handcuffed black men in the back seat of police cars ... to the surprising indictment of former coal mine executive Donald Blankenship.

Who gets the book thrown at him, who gets his wrist slapped, and who walks away without even a trial? Is there any pattern here?

Includes commentary by Glen Ford and a song by Anne Feeney.

Glen Ford's recorded commentary courtesy of Black Agenda Report (

Photo: The electric chair at Sing Sing, date unknown.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Conspiracy and Class Power

Part 1: New World Notes #351, 29:36 (November 25)
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Part 2: New World Notes #352, 28:30 (December 2)
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 Occupy Zurich, 2011
Apres moi, le deluge, I believe the signs say.

Another installment in our series of classic talks by political scientist Michael Parenti.  Parenti gave this talk (to a very enthusistic audience) in Berkeley, Califormia, in 1993.

Long before 9/11, Americans were trained to dismiss any claim of concerted wrongdoing among the elites as a crackpot "conspiracy theory." Parenti argues that conspiracies are real and common--just one tool among many that the wealthy and powerful use to advance their own personal and class interests.

He discusses several examples of claims first dismissed as "conspiracy theories" and now accepted as historical fact--for instance the Gulf of Tonkin fabrication and the FBI infiltration of civil-rights and antiwar organizations.

Parenti's trademark wit, humor, and incisive analysis are much in evidence in this classic--and still extremely relevant--lecture.

Many thanks to Maria Gilardin and TUC Radio for making this archival recording available.

A-Infos Radio Project

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Potpourri 3

New World Notes #350, 28:10 (November 28)
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ZDoggMD (left)

A fragrant blend (or should that be flagrant?) of different themes and topics. We examine . . .
  • The ebola hysteria in the US--with a funny song parody by ZDoggMD and a newspaper story of school administrators in Milford, Connecticut, having an ebola panic  (A student had come within 1,000 miles of Liberia.)
  • Comedian Bill Hicks--with 2 routines we didn't have time for in our Hicks show in April (NWN #318). Plus KD compares the art and the careers of Hicks and George Carlin.
  • How high tech promotes high alienation--with a neat rap/poem by Marshall Soulful Jones.
Plus miscellaneous commentary by KD.

Bill Hicks

A-Infos Radio Project

Sunday, November 2, 2014


Part 1: New World Notes #348, 28:54 (November 4)
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Part 2: New World Notes #349, 28:53 (November 11)
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Current events--Halloween, early Christmas ads, and a plutonium explosion in New Mexico--lead us to Kate Brown's history of two utopian factory towns created in the 1940s: Richland, WA; and Ozersk, Russia.

Both factories made plutonium. To ensure obedient workers, each government built a wonderful town, restricted freedom, controlled the press, kept out minorities, spied--and gave workers an amazingly high standard of living.

Through radioative poisoning of the environment, both factories also destroyed the lives of their workers and many other people in the region. Over four decades, each factory polluted the environment with twice the radiation released at Chernobyl.

It's quite a story. And it's still going on.

And maybe Richland is not just a place but also a metaphor for our whole consumer culture--and our willingness to give up liberty and even health in exchange for a luxurious lifestyle.

Kate Brown

Kate Brown is Associate Professor of History at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. She spoke in Seattle on July 22, 2013.  Original recording (video) courtesy of Pirate TV. Audio (here lightly edited by KD) courtesy of

Monday, October 27, 2014

Policy Failures ... or ARE they?

New World Notes #347, 29:15 (October 28)
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With the the US again escalating its war against Iraq, many have decried the failure of US Middle-Eastern policy. But a "failure" to the majority may be a "success" to the elite, who profit from those policies.

Naomi Klein (2006) and Michael Parenti (2007) each argue this point, with many examples from the recent past--including Iraq. Plus a song by James McMurtry.

Updated with new commentary by KD.

New World Notes previously broadcast much of this material (as NWN #30) in September 2008. Thanks to Redeye - Co-op Radio and to Mike McCormick's "Mind Over Matters" (via TUC Radio) for the archival recordings.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Independent Journalism

New World Notes #346, 29:26 (October 21)
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We need independent journalists and media. When the people oppose policies of the elite, only the independent media will report the truth.

Case in point: the police riot against citizens peacefully protesting "free trade" deals, Miami, 2003. We'll hear what actually happened in prose (by journalist Jeremy Scahill) and song (by David Rovics).
Plus selections from a funny talk by Scahill on how, during the Bush II years, he managed--if only briefly--to air an anti-Iraq-War perspective on network TV news.

This installment is a replay of New World Notes #59, from April 2009.

David Rovics (with ironic T-shirt)


Saturday, October 4, 2014

Naomi Klein: Capitalism vs the Climate

Part 1: New World Notes #344, 27:51 (October 7)
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Part 2: New World Notes #345, 27:34 (October 14) 
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Writer and activist Naomi Klein discusses the subject of her new book, This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. the Climate.

Klein argues that any real solution to the climate crisis must necessarily overturn four factors that are making the crisis worse. And making our lives worse. They are privatization, deregulation, "austerity," and "free trade" deals.

These four factors--pillars of neoliberal economic theory and policy--well deserve overturning on their own (lack of) merits. Because of the climate crisis, transforming the global economy for the better seems much more possible now than it did a decade or two ago.

An interesting and upbeat talk with many good specific examples.

Klein spoke in Montreal on September 16, 2014. Original recording courtesy of CKUT-FM, Montreal. I have lightly edited the original for radio broadcast.  Chuck Rosina recorded David Rovics' "The Biggest Windmill" (in Part 2) live in Boston on January 27, 2013.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Beauty and Diet

Part 1: New World Notes #242, 27:19 (September 23)
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Part 2: New World Notes #243, 27:15 (September 30)
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All photos: Click to enlarge

The big publicity for New York Fashion Week--featuring models who look not only skinny but grim--inspired this week's show. Rebecca Anshell Song is the speaker.  She gives a wide-ranging and very interesting talk about our bizarre standards of beauty.  And about women's feelings of inadquacy that result.  And about the causes and purposes of these weird standards.

While Song includes some abstractions in her discussion--sexism, objectification of women--she doesn't pin the blame on abstract forces. In large part, women are persuaded to dislike their bodies because acutal people, organized into business corporations, have learned that they can make money from that dislike.

Introductions and afterwords by KD.

In Part 1, Song gives great examples from the fashion industry, the weight-loss industry, the cosmetic-plastic-surgery industry, the food industry, the drug industry, and more.

In Part 2, Song focuses on the weight-loss crusaders (including Michelle Obama) and the so-called War on Obesity. She finds this "war" a classic case of blaming the victim while the perpetrator--in a nutshell: capitalism--rakes in the profits. Plus some suggestions on how to organize and fight back.

I have edited the audio slightly.  Original recording courtesy of  Song spoke in Chicago on June 27, 2013.

Runway photos from New York Fashion Week, September 2014. Designers Alexander Wang (top), NicholasK (above).

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Can the People Save the Environment?

New World Notes #341, 29:24 (September 16)

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Americans realize that no leadership on our environmental crises will come from our political "leaders." So people have begun making changes on their own. The show explores several approaches people are taking--including bicycling, modifying everyday behavior, and raising backyard chickens. Then Derrick Jensen explains why only political action will make any difference at all. What to do? Maybe all of the above.

Music added: James McMurtry, "God Bless America"

This show was originally broadcast in October 2009.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Militarized Police

New World Notes #340, 29:00 (September 9)

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Illustration: Eric Drooker, "Ferguson, Missouri,"
copyright (C) Conde' Nast 2014

Events in Ferguson, Missouri, have drawn attention to the militarization of local police. This militarization is a big problem, but it's just a part of an even-bigger problem: the state's control of its "have-nots" through force and violence.

We explore these issues in detail, from the glut of army weapons given to Connecticut's local police ... to the many police shootings of unarmed young Black men ... to the larger issues of social control. Features local news stories, analysis by KD, commentary by Glen Ford, and a song by David Rovics.*

* "Watch Out For the Cops," from Meanwhile in Afghanistan (2012)

Thursday, August 21, 2014

The Silenced Majority

Part 1: New World Notes #338, 29:38 (August 26):
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Part 2: New World Notes #339, 29:30 (September 2):
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Amy Goodman

A nice--and highly listenable--talk by Amy Goodman, host and producer of Democracy Now! Goodman presents several interlocking "stories of uprisings, occupations, resistance and hope" by somewhat-ordinary Americans whose activism changed the world.

In Part 1, she tells the parts of the stories not reported by the corporate media-- about Rosa Parks, Mamie Till, Martin Luther King Jr., Bowe and Bob Bergdahl, and others.

Of special note: Goodman reads, in full, Life magazine's rabid denunciation of M.L. King following his Riverside Church speech against the Vietnam War (April 4, 1967). And she reveals that Rosa Parks was considerably more than "a tired seamstress" with a stubborn streak.

Rosa Parks: Not just "a tired seamstress" but an experienced
and trained activist and "world-class Troublemaker."

In Part 2, Goodman tells the interconnected stories of Chelsea Manning, Julian Assange, Edward Snowden, Glenn Greenwald, Laura Poitras, and journalists imprisoned by the Egyptian regime. Plus young Anjali Appadurai, who shamed the delegates at the Durban climate conference.

Amy Goodman spoke at the Socialism 2014 conference in Chicago on June 26, 2014.  Audio courtesy of

With introductions by K.D.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

The People vs "The Masters of Mankind"

New World Notes #337, 28:40 (August 19)

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All for ourselves, and nothing for other people, seems, in every age of the world, to have been the vile maxim of the masters of mankind. -- Adam Smith, The Wealth of Nations, Chapter 4

Three short, impromptu talks by Noam Chomsky on the state of America today.  Chomsky brilliantly discusses
  • the 1%'s attack on public education--and why they are doing it
  • financial crimes that get people arrested--and the more serious ones that don't
  • whether the people can change the system
The surprising answer to the third question is, Yes--they've done it before.

Our title refers to a favorite quotation of Chomsky's--reprinted at the top of this page.

Chomsky's remarks are taken from a Q&A session following a talk he gave in Syracuse, NY, on November 11, 2011.  From the video recording by Wilton Vought (  Many thanks.

Monday, August 4, 2014

The Lightbulb Conspiracy

Part 1: New World Notes #335, 29:50 (August 5)

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Part 2: New World Notes #336, 29:30 (August 12)

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A documentary film about "planned obsolescence."  That is, about products designed to fail early so another must be purchased--and the bad effects this has on our lives and environment.

Topics include the international lightbulb cartel, which greatly reduced the life of bulbs, ... nearly indestructable nylon stockings, later made flimsy by DuPont, ... the original iPod, with a non-replaceable battery designed to fail early, ... the Epson InkJet printer's "stop working" chip, ... and other outrages.

Also--in Part 2--The Book Report:  KD reviews Russ Baker's work of investigative journalism, Family of Secrets (Bloomsbury, 2009). On the Bush dynasty and their enablers & co-conspirators. Summary judgment: 4 out of 5 (well worth reading).

e-waste dump in China

The film was directed by Norway's Cosima Dannoritzer. Most of this radio adaptation was produced by Robin Upton and previously broadcast on his radio show, Unwelcome Guests. I have condensed and slightly rearranged Robin's adaptation to fit the half-hour format of New World NotesNew World Notes previously broadcast this installment, in March 2011.

Fun fact: In the Livermore, California, firehouse is a lightbulb that has been burning continuously since 1901--113 years ago. See it live on Webcam.  They don't make 'em like they used to!  By way of contrast, the Livermore FD's first Webcam lasted all of 3 years before breaking.  Thia is not a coincidence. 

Pro bono: a free software fix to overcome the Epson InkJet's "stop working" chip is available, courtesy of a Russian computer whiz.  The Epson problem is explained in Part 2 of the documentary.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Potppourri 2 (Gaza and Honduras)

New World Notes #334, 28:11 (July 29)

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Once again we try for a mixture of several different topics and stories--a "potpourri." (This sounds nicer than "hodgepodge.")  We end up with just two: Israel's latest assault on Gaza and the causes of the wave of child immigrants from Central America.

Or maybe these are not even different topics but just two parts of the same old story.

The show features commentary by KD, an article by journalist Ted Rall, a short video by Jewish Voice for Peace, and a song by Bruce Cockburn.

Notes, comments, and links

The video played on the show--Declaration, from the youth wing of Jewish Voice for Peace--is available on YouTube.  Click link to view.

Other resources mentioned on the show:
Music added: Bruce Cockburn, "If I Had a Rocket Launcher," from Slice of Life: Live Solo (2009).

Monday, July 21, 2014

Morris Berman Returns

New World Notes #333, 28:50 (July 22, 2014)

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Morris Berman

Back from Seattle, KD reflects briefly on urban vitality, urban decline, and the dubious future of the whole political-economic System as we know it. Then, in a brilliant informal talk (a Q&A session), cultural historian Morris Berman discusses these issues and more--including digital technology, today's youth, and the failures of the "mainstream" media.

In November 2013, we broadcast a lecture by Berman that preceded this Q&A (NWN #297, "The Hollow Men"). But Berman's remarks today--lightly edited by KD--stand nicely on their own.  Thanks to Robin Upton, producer of Unwelcome Guests, for the audio.

Thought experiment: Which would you choose: legal marijuana or good weatherBoth arrived in Seattle at the same time, in the first half of July, 2014.  During my visit, I didn't hear anybody say anything at all about pot, but everyone was marvelling at five consecutive days without rain!  To a New Englander, the Pacific Northwest takes a little getting used to. . . .

More Berman:  Want to hear more of Morris Berman?  Here are two past installments featuring him.  Right-click to download:
  • NWN #297, The Hollow Men (November 2013)
  • NWN #200, Morris Berman (January 2012)
Pioneer Square neighborhood, Seattle, July 2014. 
(Note actual sunshine.)
  Photo by Kenneth Dowst.
License: Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Is It Time To Stop Drinking Coke?

Note to radio stations:  This page is going up earlier than usual.  The installment you want might be on the previous page.  The installment on this page debuts in Hartford on July 15.

New World Notes #332, 29:15 (July 15, 2014)

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A manufacturer's dream: remove those pesky union organizers with your own death squad! Coca-Cola's bottlers in Colombia have done this for years. Here's the story in prose (by Julian Borger) and song (by David Rovics).

If you'd prefer to die more slowly, try drinking a whole lot of Diet Coke--or any other food containing aspartame (NutraSweet). James Corbett explains.

Fun Fact: What do NutraSweet & the Iraq War have in common?  Donald Rumsfeld!

This installment is a repeat of NWN #75, broadcast in August 2009.

The show discusses a 1971 Coke commercial titled "Hilltop." A video is here.

Lest we forget:  "Coke" and "Coca-Cola" are registered trademarks of The Coca-Cola Company.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

The Science of Climate Change

Part 1: New World Notes #330, 28:24 (July 1)

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Part 2: New World Notes #331, 29:01 (July 8)

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Professor Guy McPherson expains--in language non-scientists can understand--the science behind our world's runaway climate change. Discussing several recent scientific studies published in distinguished journals, McPherson argues that environmental catastrophe is now well underway, and it's probably irreversible.

Part 2 includes selected Q&A--including why nuclear power is not a solution.

He spoke in Winnipeg, Canada, on February 6, 2014.  Back in May, New World Notes featured an interview with McPherson recorded after his talk.  Now we broadcast the talk itself.  Introduction by KD.

Recording courtesy of Michael Welch, the Global Research News Hour, and station CKUW-FM, Winnipeg.  I have lightly edited the speech (mostly by shortening long pauses).

Monday, June 16, 2014

Sir! No Sir!

Part 1: New World Notes #328, 28:41 (June 17)

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Part 2: New World Notes #329, 29:25 (June 24)

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David Zeiger's fine video documentary (U.K.version), adapted to radio, in two parts.

How resistance and rebellion by America's active-duty soldiers and sailors forced the U.S. to end the Vietnam War.

Current reflections by antiwar veterans and others--some famous, some obscure--mix with period newscasts, songs, and other recordings. The famous ones include Army physician Dr. Howard Levy, Army "Green Beret" Sgt. Donald Duncan (see photo, below), and actor & activist Jane Fonda.

A fascinating--and little-known--bit of recent history. Could this happen again today?

 Above: Jane Fonda.  Below: Donald Duncan.

The profusely-illustrated screenplay (U.S. version) is available online.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Bruce Gagnon on Endless War & the Economy

Part 1: New World Notes #326, 29:20 (June 3)

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Part 2: New World Notes #327, 29:19 (June 10)

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Antiwar/antinuke activist Bruce Gagnon shows how militarism is detroying the American economy and our lives.

In Part 1, he discusses the connections among crumbling infrastructure, unemployment, decreasing educational opportunities for working-class kids, the increasing militarization of our society, the export of war machines, aggressive U.S. foreign policy, corporate globalization, our rulers' desire to control the world's oil, ...  and the wisdom of forming alliances with the "Tea-partiers."

In Part 2, Gagnon discusses the bad effects of (a) NATO expansion & (b) our encircling Russia and China with "missile defense" installations.

He also discusses universities' increasing dependence on Pentagon funding (for war research); ... the allegiance of both parties to capitalism, oligarchy, & military empire; ... & how spending on infrastructure creates many more jobs than "defense" spending.

Plus a short section of Q&A and a topical song ("After the Revolution") by David Rovics.

The unedited Q&A session (34 min., 46 MB MP3) is available. (Download may be a bit slow.)

Recorded live by me in West Hartford, Connecticut, on April 16, 2010.  Gagnon's talk was sponsored by the West Hartford Citizens for Peace and Justice (

These installments were originally broadcast, as NWN #116 & 117, in May 2010.

Bruce Gagnon is Coordinator of the Global Network Against Weapons and Nuclear Power in Space (

Monday, May 26, 2014


New World Notes #325, 28:25 (May 27)

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Once again we "compare great things with small." First, Jess Wright tells the history of "disability" in America.  People with impairments are labelled "disabled" when the economic system doesn't need them to fill a job. When more workers are needed, many of the "disabled" become "able"--as in US factories during World War II.

Then KD reads & discusses a newspaper story about a tragic disability afflicting many women in America: gray hair. And about the awful consequences of failing to use hair dye.

Jess Wright talk courtesy of  Thanks to Robin Upton, producer of "Unwelcome Guests" (, for acquainting me with this talk.

Monday, May 19, 2014

The Slippery Slope of Memorial Day

New World Notes #324, 28:29 (May 20)

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An anti-war, anti-militarism perspective on Memorial Day.

Journalist Robert Fisk explains that (and why) there's been no "Good War" after 1945. KD reads Howard Zinn's famous 1976 column on Memorial Day (which got Zinn fired from the Boston Globe). KD also reads and demolishes the beloved war poem, "In Flanders Fields." Plus Steppenwolf's classic antiwar song of the 1970s, "Monster."

This program was originally broadcast in May 2009.

Graphic by Max Grundy.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Climate Doom But Not Gloom

Part 1: New World Notes #322, 28:02 (May 6)

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Part 2: New World Notes #323, 29:13 (May 13)

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The human species is doomed, and we'll be gone by 2050, says scientist and ecology professor Guy McPherson. Irreversible, rapidly escalating climate change--caused by our hydrocarbon emissions and their aftereffects--will destroy our habitat sooner than most people expect. And no captain of industry, university president, or politician would risk damaging his or her career to save the species.

Part One: What to do? That's next week's installment. This week McPherson focuses on how serious the climate change situation already is--and how deeply mired in denial are all the leaders and all the institutions of the "civilization" that is responsible for the calamity. 

Part Two: First McPherson discusses whether any force will rescue us. Aliens? God? (In each case, probably not). Then he considers the ethical question, How should we behave in the face of our impending demise?

We end with a comic sketch by George Carlin, who--similarly--discusses ways of going out with style.

For both men, it's Doom yes, but Gloom not necessarily.

Introductions (to both parts) by K.D.

 Guy McPherson

Notes & credits

Guy McPherson is Professor Emeritus of Natural Resources and Ecology & Evolutionary Biology at the University of Arizona.  His Web site is .

McPherson's words are from an interview in Winnipeg, Canada, February 7, 2014. Audio courtesy of the producer, Michael Welch, of Global Research News Hour on CKUW-FM, Winnipeg. Lightly edited and condensed by K.D.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Reproductive Rights Crusader Bill Baird

New World Notes #321, 29:00 (April 29)

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Bill Baird (right), busted in Boston, 1967

For decades, Bill Baird has been a crusader for reproductive rights, including the right to purchase contraceptives--still illegal in Massachusetts (and elsewhere) in the 1960s!

Seeing a woman die from an attempted coat-hanger abortion changed his life. He survived assassination attempts, 8 criminal convictions, prison brutality, the firebombing of his abortion clinic (the nation's first), the breakup of his family, and the absence of any help from NOW, ACLU, & other potential allies. One of his 3 Supreme Court cases was cited 6 times in Roe v. Wade.

A scary and stunning story, well-told by Baird himself. Excerpted from a panel discussion at the University of Hartford, February 16, 2010.

This is a rebroadcast of New World Notes #110 (April 13, 2010)