Al Gore, who galvanized public opinion with his advocacy on global warming, sees danger in another poisoned environment, this one metaphorical: In his book The Assault on Reason [CLICK TO READ EXCERPT], just published in paperback, he argues that what used to be called civil discourse is threatened by a combination of public apathy and political cynicism. In our infotainment-mad culture, Gore writes, the public attention span is short, the media are easily distracted, and a politics driven by fear and uninterested in facts has undermined the essential functions of democracy. “When evidence that any reasonable person can see and understand is completely ignored in favor of ideology and power politics, then the country suffers,” Gore told NPR last year.
But he doesn’t lay the blame entirely on Washington.”I’m not pointing a finger at Bush and Cheney,” Gore said when the book was published. “I am pointing to the cracks in the foundation of American democracy.” The former U.S. vice president is co-founder and chairman of Generation Investment Management, which focuses on sustainable investing. He is also co-founder and chairman of Current TV, a television network geared towards young people.
Gore won the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize for his work spreading information about climate change and encouraging individuals to take action against global warming. An Inconvenient Truth, his documentary about the threatened environment, won an Oscar for best documentary. He talks to Terry Gross about a range of issues, including why he sees the combination of money, TV and politics as a threat to reasoned discourse; the precedent set by the “signing statements” aggressively used by the Bush administration; and the ongoing campaign for the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination — including the recent conversation about a gas-tax holiday.
Did Texas overreach its legal authority when it raided a Polygamist community and removed the children? We’ll first get an update from NPR’s WADE GOODWYN who has been covering the story. Then we’ll debate the legal case with two attorneys. MARCI HAMILTON is a Philadelphia area attorney who says Texas had every right to intervene and remove the kids and JIM BRADSHAW a Salt Lake City defense attorney advising some of the families says Texas has violated due process when it separated the mothers from the kids with proper hearings. Listen to this show via Real Audio | mp3
Should Philadelphia enlist clergy to track down fugitives? We’ll talk about the City’s new program Peaceful Surrender to provide a safe alternative for people to turn themselves in without the fear of a violent confrontation. We’ll talk with EVERETT GILLISON, Philadelphia’s Deputy Mayor for Public Safety who is organizing the program, PETE ELLIOT is a U.S. Marshall in Ohio who conceived of a similar program Fugitive Safe Surrender, Rev MARGARET POWELL of St James United Methodist Church in Philadelphia, and CHUCK STONE a former Philadelphia columnist who was so trusted in the community that 75 fugitives turned themselves in to him. Listen to this show via Real Audio | mp3
THIS AMERICAN LIFE
People escaping home without going very far away. In Philadelphia, teenaged boys find ways to impress girls and break out of the confines of their families, using technology that’s been obsolete in their neighborhood since the 19th Century. And a mother and son get caught up in a fight that lots of kids have with their parents. Except in their case, due to some very specialized circumstances, they go through the fight in slow motion, over the course of years. More…
THE WORLD CAFE
Wednesday May 7, 2008
Danish duo, The Raveonettes, join Michaela Majoun on the World Café with music from Lust Lust Lust. For the better part of the past decade The Raveonettes have been crafting retro rock n’ roll, but with a modern edge. Featuring candy-coated vocal harmonies and walls of shimmering distortion, their new collection of driving pop is packed with dramatic flair.
THE RAVEONETTES: Christmas Song