In 2005, The New York Times revealed that the National Security Agency had initiated wiretaps and other forms of surveillance without court orders. It was a story the Bush administration hoped to keep under wraps, says Eric Lichtblau, one of the two reporters who pushed for the publication of the story. Lichtblau’s new book, Bush’s Law: The Remaking of American Justice, details how the administration used the “war on terror” to push for controversial surveillance programs. Lichtblau is a Washington correspondent for The New York Times. In 2006, he won a Pulitzer Prize for his coverage of domestic spying.
Pennsylvania is one of a handful of states in which judges are elected. Activists have been advocating for a switch to merit selection for some time, and recently several state legislators have proposed amending the constitution to change the system. We discuss judicial election reform with LYNN MARKS of Pennsylvanians for Modern Courts and JIM MUNDY, partner in the Philadelphia firm of Raynes, McCarty, Binder, Ross & Mundy and a past president of the Philadelphia and Pennsylvania trial lawyers associations. Listen to this show via Real Audio | mp3
The Phillies overcame enormous obstacles last season and wound up surpassing the Mets to clinch their first NL East title in 14 years. Dave Davues baseball with RICH HOFMANN of the Daily News and TODD ZOLECKI of the Philadelphia Inquirer. Listen to this show via Real Audio | mp3
THIS AMERICAN LIFE
The Audacity of Government
We’ve noticed a trend in a number of actions taken lately by the United States government. Tiny things, things you probably haven’t heard of, but with big implications. Harassing widows. Defying a century-old and utterly benign treaty—with Canada! So we’ve decided to spend an hour talking about the unrelenting, combative style of this Administration. Ira Glass tells the story of a little-known treaty dispute with far-reaching ramifications for our understanding of executive power. The dispute is between the President and one of his appointees…to the International Boundary Commission with Canada. This little-known commission carried out its function without fanfare or incident for over a hundred years, until a couple of retirees in Washington State built a wall in their backyard and, quite literally, set off an international incident. This American Life contributor Jack Hitt uncovers a strange practice within the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service. If a foreign national marries a U.S. citizen and schedules an interview for a green card, but the U.S. citizen dies before the interview takes place, the foreign national is scheduled for deportation with no appeal—even if the couple has children who are U.S. citizens. Jack talks with Brent Renison, a lawyer who’s representing over 130 people in this situation, mostly widows, who are seeking to overturn the Immigration Service’s rule. Ira Glass interviews Charlie Savage, a Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter for the Boston Globe, who’s written a book called Takeover: The Return of the Imperial Presidency and the Subversion of American Democracy about the ways the Bush Administration claims executive powers that other presidents haven’t claimed. Charlie talks with Ira about the current candidates for President and their views on the scope of executive power. Full Episode