WBEZ | Interviews http://www.wbez.org/tags/interviews Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en The Rosie Schaap Interview http://www.wbez.org/blogs/claire-zulkey/2012-12/rosie-schaap-interview-104518 <p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Rosie.jpg" style="float: right; height: 200px; width: 300px;" title="Photo by M. Sharkey" />After all the Christmas posts this week, I know you expected me to interview a snowperson (why always a man? Or a woman? Snow gender need not be so definitive!) but instead today I&rsquo;m chatting with someone who will (I hope) not melt away. Cheerful spirits are a key part of the holiday season, so today I&rsquo;m interviewing the author of the upcoming memoir <em><a href="http://www.amazon.com/Drinking-Men-Memoir-Rosie-Schaap/dp/1594487111">Drinking With Men</a>, </em>a love letter to the bars, pubs, and taverns. She is also contributor to <em>This American Life</em> and npr.org, and writes the monthly <a href="http://query.nytimes.com/search/sitesearch/#/Schaap%2C+Rosie/since1851/allresults/1/allauthors/newest/">&quot;Drink&quot; column for The New York Times Magazine.</a> You can learn a lot more about her <a href="http://rosieschaap.com/">here</a>.</div><br /><p><strong>Drinking and writing: do they go together? </strong><br />For some, perhaps, but not for me. A glass of wine to calm my poor nerves and loosen me up a little is fine, but that&rsquo;s about all I can manage and still get work done. I tend to keep the writing and the drinking separate. Conveniently, my best writing hours are between 7 a.m. and 3 p.m., so there&rsquo;s no conflict with my best drinking hours.</p><p><strong>What&rsquo;s your favorite thing to eat while you drink? I&rsquo;m not talking about wine/food pairings, I mean happy hour snacks.</strong><br />Pretzels. Macadamia nuts. Charcuterie of many kinds. <a href="http://www.foodandwine.com/recipes/alain-ducasses-gougeres">Gougères</a>, if I&rsquo;m drinking at the sort of place that has them, which seldom happens. And Cheez Doodles&mdash;that very, very distant cousin of gougères &mdash;are delicious with beer.</p><p><strong>When you travel, do you investigate good drinking establishments ahead of time (and if so, what are your resources) or do you prefer to wing it?</strong><br />Mostly I wing it, and follow leads from locals and my own instincts. I&rsquo;d never heard of Else&rsquo;s, a terrific neighborhood bar, before I visited Montreal in 2006 or so. I just happened upon it when I was walking to a restaurant and fell in bar-love at first sight. In Belfast a few years ago, I got into a conversation with an off-duty constable at a bar across the street from my hotel. When I told her I was a writer, she said, &ldquo;Oh, well then you have to go to the <a href="http://www.thejohnhewitt.com/">John Hewitt</a>.&rdquo; She and her friends walked me over there, and it remains one of my favorite pubs in Belfast&mdash;a city with no shortage of great places to drink.</p><p><strong>Where would you like to drink in Chicago? </strong><br />Anywhere lively and local, with a good mix of regulars who like to talk to strangers. Wherever you want to take me. I trust you, Claire.</p><p><strong>Babies in bars. Your thoughts. </strong><br />As long as they&rsquo;re snugly strapped to a parent&mdash;and the sort of parent who will remove them from the bar the second they start crying&mdash;I think babies in bars are fine. Once they start getting really squirmy and learning how to walk, all bets are off. A neighborhood friend&mdash;an English expat&mdash;used to take his daughter to our local soccer bar so he could have a pint or two (no more than that) and watch a match. She was the best bar baby ever, until she started toddling. There are just too many sharp edges, drunk people&rsquo;s feet, tall barstools, and loud noises in a bar for a mobile baby to be safe and comfortable&mdash;and not annoying to grown ups.</p><p><strong>I am starting a new job in January and haven&rsquo;t had time to properly celebrate yet. What would you toast to a new beginning like that with (taking into consideration the time of year).</strong><br />First, congratulations! Assuming you&rsquo;ll have a bit of Champagne on New Year&rsquo;s Eve, I believe the martini&mdash;made with gin, not too dry&mdash; is the drink for new beginnings (even though I&rsquo;m usually a brown liquor girl in the winter). Better yet if that martini is accompanied by a pile of oysters.</p><p><strong>What&rsquo;s a drink that everyone else seems to adore (either of the moment or a classic) that you just can&rsquo;t get into? </strong><br />The current craze for <em><a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amaro_%28liqueur%29">amari</a></em> &ndash;a family of bitter Italian digestifs&mdash;in cocktail-making has gone too far. I like many amari just fine, but when deployed with too heavy a hand or too little thought, they make for drinks that taste suspiciously like cough syrup, but without the expectorating benefits.</p><p>Oh, and <a href="http://cocktails.about.com/od/whiskeyrecipes/a/pickleback_cocktail.htm">pickle-backs</a>. Has Chicago been stricken by this scourge yet? [<em>Editor&rsquo;s note: not that I am aware of, but if I am wrong, please let me know where pickle-backs are happening in the city</em>.] I like whiskey. And I like pickles. I like bars. And I like delicatessens. But pickle juice makes a bar smell like a deli, which just isn&rsquo;t right.</p><p><strong>What&rsquo;s your advice to women who like to have a drink alone in a bar but who aren&rsquo;t looking to be picked up on how to be polite to &#39;friendly&#39; men?</strong><br />If a woman can claim a barstool in a corner, that&rsquo;s the first step; that way, she limits access because she can&rsquo;t be surrounded on both sides. Beyond that: absorbing reading material helps (and an actual book or newspaper is more effective than an iPhone or eReader as a PLEASE STAY AWAY FROM ME signifier). If a &ldquo;friendly&rdquo; man is too persistently friendly, I find that saying something like, &ldquo;Nice meeting you. But I&rsquo;ve had a long day and need to spend a little quiet time with my book and my drink&rdquo; usually works fine.</p><p><strong>What&rsquo;s your favorite film version of <em>The Secret Garden</em>? (Mine is <a href="http://www.amazon.com/Secret-Garden-Hallmark-Hall-Fame/dp/B0000639G3">the Hallmark movie classics one with Derek Jacobi</a>.)</strong><br />Nothing can come close to the splendor of the book. But I&rsquo;ll have to go with <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZSQKt1klbrQ">Agnieszka Holland&rsquo;s 1993 adaptation</a>, mostly because I think John Lynch is such a brilliant and underappreciated actor. Still, even he is no match for the Archibald Craven I&rsquo;ve imagined since I first read the book more than 30 years ago, and no one can ever approach the Dickon of my dreams, who really is the perfect person.</p><p><strong>Which soccer teams have the best uniforms?</strong><br />KNVB&mdash;the Dutch National Football Team&mdash;obviously. <a href="http://shinguardian.files.wordpress.com/2010/07/johan.jpg?w=225&amp;h=300">ORANJE</a>! Although the font they used on their kit during EuroCup was <a href="http://speakingchic.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/dutch-uniform-euro-2012_thumb.jpg">weird and sort of space-age</a>. Alas, that was the least of their problems during that tournament. But anyway: ORANJE!</p><p><strong>If you could pick just one person to have a drink with right this very second, who would it be and why? </strong><br />In <em>Drinking With Men,</em> I devote one chapter to the late, much-missed <a href="http://nymag.com/listings/bar/liquor_store_bar/">Liquor Store bar in TriBeCa</a>. It was my favorite New York bar, and there, I met the finest drinking companion of all time&mdash;a brilliant, funny, soulful artist who was also a great listener and true friend. He is no longer with us either. What I wouldn&rsquo;t give to be able to meet up with him at Liquor Store for a few more rounds.</p><p><strong>How does it feel to be the 335th person interviewed for Zulkey.com/WBEZ?</strong><br />Seriously? <em>I </em>am #335?! That is huge; a gratifying rebuke to everyone who said I&rsquo;d never do anything of value.</p></p> Fri, 21 Dec 2012 08:55:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/claire-zulkey/2012-12/rosie-schaap-interview-104518 Transcript: Interview With Jordan's King Abdullah http://www.wbez.org/story/2011-09-21/transcript-interview-jordans-king-abdullah-92309 <p><p><em>Full transcript of Morning Edition host Steve Inskeep's interview with Jordan's King Abdullah.</em></p><p><strong>Steve Inskeep: </strong>If you'll say a few words...what you intend to do today.</p><p><strong>King Abdullah: </strong>Well, today is just the opening session so we're all making our positions clear on many issues. But what is happening behind the scenes in the United Nations today, over the next couple of days is the issue of Palestinian statehood. And unfortunately, I think everybody has been backed into a corner. We're working desperately to find a mechanism that is acceptable to all sides. So there's been a lot of late-night meetings between Palestinians, the Israelis, the Americans, etc.</p><p><strong>Inskeep: </strong>You have already said something needs to happen on the Israeli-Palestinian question the next couple of days. You are speaking at the United Nations of Justice now, but given the state of negotiations, is it acceptable to you to walk away from this U.N. meeting this week with something less than recognition of Palestinian statehood?</p><p><strong>Abdullah: </strong>Well the idea, again, the bid by the Palestinians for statehood came out of desperation and frustration because nothing was happening on the negotiating table. We could see this coming from several months ago and obviously certain countries had raised their concerns about the Palestinian bid. Our response has been "Well, let's then make an effort to get the Israelis and the Palestinians to sit around the table." That hasn't happened. So we only have ourselves to blame for this crisis. Having said that, again, I have to commend the roll of the European Union. Lady Cathy Ashton of the EU, foreign minister, has been outstanding, with the support of Tony Blair, of trying to find a mechanism that pleases everybody. We've had every six hours it seems to change. Until the last minute, which is Friday, when the Palestinians make the decision, there's a lot of behind the scenes negotiations to find something that's acceptable for everybody.</p><p><strong>Inskeep: </strong>Meaning something short of statehood that pushes a vote on statehood down the road but gets negotiations started.</p><p><strong>Abdullah: </strong>Well, I think what the Europeans are looking at is looking at asking for statehood in a way that then there is technical process that gives some time to allow Israelis and Palestinians to sit at the table and relaunch negotiations on final status issues.</p><p><strong>Inskeep: </strong>In your view, have President Obama and Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu been constructive in these talks?</p><p><strong>Abdullah: </strong>The American president and administration have been —- I saw the president in the spring of this year and we had discussed this issue. We've all been working together. I'm not convinced that the Israelis have been as flexible as they should have been. As a result, we're dealing with this crisis today. Because if we could have gotten the Palestinians and Israelis at the table, before the U.N., then we wouldn't be dealing with this crisis at this stage.</p><p><strong>Inskeep: </strong>Although, the Israelis can ask what can they do because this needs to be resolved through negotiations they would say and not through a United Nations vote.</p><p><strong>Abdullah: </strong>Exactly. It needs to be resolved through negotiations but they're not allowing the right atmosphere to get Israelis and Palestinians to sit around the table.</p><p><strong>Inskeep: </strong>As you know, King Abdullah, Turkey has downgraded the state of its relations with Israel. Your country, we'll remind people, has relations with Israel. Have you considered downgrading your relations with Israel?</p><p><strong>Abdullah: </strong>No. But it's funny that you should mention this issue because again, if we have a very negative impact coming out of the United Nations, in other words that the Palestinians are really short-handed on this issue; You saw recently what happened in Egypt with the attack on the Israeli Embassy; Turkey downgrading its relationship, Egypt having problem with Israel. We have as you mentioned peace with Israel. We're actually the last man standing. So there is going to be immense pressure and people asking why are we having this relationship when it's not benefiting anybody. Obviously, my answer is you always benefit from peace. But Practical Steps On The Ground — we have seen no intention from the other side to try to move the process forward.</p><p><strong>Inskeep: </strong>You're saying you could be forced to take steps against Israel?</p><p><strong>Abdullah: </strong>I'm not the type of person that is forced. But having said that, there are going to be a lot of questions, not just in my country, but across the Middle East. Is Israel going to continue to be fortress Israel? Or as we all hope, become accepted into the neighborhood, which I believe is the only way we can move forward in harmony. No matter what's happening in the Middle East -— the Arab Spring, etc., the economic challenges, high rates of unemployment -– the emotional, critical issue is always the Israeli-Palestinian one.</p><p><strong>Inskeep: </strong>I'm glad you mentioned the Arab Spring. What is it like to be a king of an Arab state at a time of revolution like this?</p><p><strong>Abdullah: </strong>Well, actually quite exciting. I think that we have been trying to push reform, there has been a lot of push back by more conservative elements, or guard elements in the country. And what the Arab Spring or the Arab Awakening did was bring in the subject front and center. As a result, in Jordan, if you compare to a lot of other countries, we created a national dialogue committee. We went on outreach with everybody, came to a consensus. We changed a lot of laws. At the moment, the constitution is being amended, right now as we speak by both chambers. We're announcing municipal elections at the end of the year and national elections beginning of next year. The challenge that we have, and again this brings concerns but also excitement, is trying to get a democratic mentality. For all the town hall meetings that I have, and I have them sort of every two weeks and I bring people to the office of all different sectors. And as we discuss what people want in political reform moving forward, there's one question I now ask on purpose because the first couple times I asked it the answer surprised me. I say, "Where do you stand on health, education, taxes, services, etc?" And 99 percent, I get blank looks. You as an American understand, whether you're a Republican or Democrat, where you stand on social issues, health care, taxes. Recently, we've been watching your news, this is something that has impassioned Americans. But to see that an audience that you talk to, don't understand that, means it's going to take a while for them to look at parties, political parties, based on political party platforms — left, right, or center. And as an American colleague said to me several months ago, he said, "I think the challenge in Jordan -— and again this is for the rest of the Middle East -— we need to define what center is." And once we can define what center is to a Jordanian, then we can decide what's left and what's right of that. So that's the exciting part of this democratic evolution that we are having in Jordan. But again, you can imagine the challenge of trying to, you know that takes time for people to look along those lines.</p><p><strong>Inskeep: </strong>I want to ask about time. You mentioned elections beginning of next year. Is that the time frame or is it more likely to be later than that?</p><p><strong>Abdullah: </strong>Well, it's going to be in 2012. I was sitting with a group of journalist in Jordan, not all of them very positive, and they asked me, "When do you think national elections are going to be?" And I said well, "I'm hoping by the second of half of 2012, God forbid maybe the beginning of 2013. There was this collective gasp by all of them. I said, "OK guys, help me do the math. Do you want municipal elections before national elections?" "Absolutely." Well, that means "When can we have municipal elections?" They said, "By December." Which is what we've done. Dec. 20 now is going to be municipal elections. "How much time, technically, do we need between municipal elections and national elections?" "We need at least six months." "OK so now we're talking — you guys give me a date." They said, "OK, the earliest is june." "All right." We also have introduced an independent commission for elections to show transparency, which I think is very important. I said, "Is this something important to all of you?" "Absolutely." "How much time do we need for that to happen?" "Six months to a year." I said, "OK let's all agree that we can't move earlier than June but let's also put a block at the end of that to make sure we keep pressure on everybody not to go beyond that. So, God willing, June to November. Does that make sense?" Everybody says, "Yes." Now the challenge today is all the laws that need to be ratified. Constitutional amendments themselves need 14 new laws. And a total of 30 laws and amendments to get ourselves to that election date. So the challenge today is the pressure on the government and on the parliament to ratify all those laws so that we could launch elections in June or November. So, i can't give you the exact date but it's just because there's just a reality issue there in the meantime.</p><p><strong>Inskeep: </strong>Given the realities in other countries, how do you avoid an explosion for a year here?</p><p><strong>Abdullah: </strong>Again, what's happening today now, as long as people benchmark understand what needs to be done. I think the challenge that I have is managing people's expectations. Not only over the year as you've mentioned, but more importantly, even if we have parliamentary elections in 2012, you're not going to have those new political parties. Because, you know, we've been working with Republican and Democratic institutions here that are helping us. The British are helping us. Recently we've reached out to Eastern European countries that have gone through this much more recently than others. They, as well as the new political parties that are being formed based on programs, i.e. — left, right and center are saying to us, "We need another two years." So we can have a new parliament next year, but until we get right, left and center there's going to be a delay for that. That's the challenge.</p><p><strong>Inskeep: </strong>When you talk about "left, right and center" you're basically talking about laying out a democratic political landscape in your country. What do people stand for and what do they believe?</p><p><strong>Abdullah: </strong>Exactly. In short terms i've announced last year, I mean, at the beginning of this year, and I've been speaking to everybody saying, "Look, my vision for Jordan is two to five political parties representing left, right and center as quickly as possible." But we have to understand "as quickly as possible means" we really need to roll up our sleeves. You know, we're going from the Arab Spring now to Arab Summer. The hard work is now. And managing people's expectations. Obviously, if people prepare for municipal elections, people are going to be busy. And then when you look at it six months later there are going to be national elections, again people will be busy. The challenge, and my worry is does parliament try to delay passing the laws? Because, obviously, as a parliamentarian, if elections happen earlier, then they may be out of a job. So as I ask journalists and many people, we need to have collective pressure on our parliament to make sure that those laws are ratified on time. So, God willing, we'll be ready in June. Worst comes to worst, i hope no later than November.</p><p><strong>Inskeep: </strong>Does it bother you that one of the implied and often explicit messages of these protests across the Arab world is that, if I may say, people like you should have less power or perhaps no power?</p><p><strong>Abdullah: </strong>No. You know it depends if you have an ego issue which particularly it's not a problem of mine. And since I've been pushing this from the start, I mean the first interview I ever had after my father passed away I said, "My job is to put food on the table for people." And what I meant by that is basically creating a middle class, knowing full well and looking again at the European model and the United States in particular. Also, the stronger you have a middle class the easier I think political transformation happens. So it's a two-way sword. The more I support with my economic plans the building of a middle class, the quicker they're going to turn around and say, "Hey, we want a bigger say in things." So, I knew what I was getting into right at the beginning. It's the right thing to do. And again, this is bigger than Jordan. We want to be, I think, an example for the rest of the Arab world because there are a lot of people who say that the only democracy you can have in the Middle East is the Muslim Brotherhood. I don't think that's, that's the case. I think if a monarchy, as you said, can show a new democratic platform then I think we'll be a symbol for other countries.</p><p><strong>Inskeep: </strong>Do you expect there to be a monarchy that you would pass on to your heir and if so what power would remain to the King?</p><p><strong>Abdullah: </strong>We're obviously going through some tremendous changes today. I think we've said this in interviews before in the past 10 years that the monarchy that I hand over to my son is not going to be the same one that I've inherited. You know, you don't know too much about Jordan, but there is a tendency for a lot of official to hide behind the King, and it's about time that officials take their responsibility and are responsible in front of the people because today if you're appointed by the king they don't feel that they're responsible for the people. If you have a government that is elected, they need to do the hard work because if they don't they won't be around next time the ballot box is open.</p><p><strong>Inskeep: </strong>What troubles you most about the protests of this year?</p><p><strong>Abdullah: </strong>The challenge that we have -– well, what bothers me in a lot of countries is sometimes society's being led by the street as opposed to the light at the end of the tunnel. But we've got to remember that the Arab Spring began and there's challenges all over the world including your country because of economic difficulties. Unemployment. Poverty. We have the largest youth cohort in history coming into the workforce in the Middle East. That is how the Arab Spring started. I mean Tunis started because of economy, not because of politics. What keeps me up at night is poverty and unemployment. We have in the past 10 years managed to establish a credible middle class but any shifts in oil prices, economic challenges — that middle class becomes very fragile. And so again going back to political reform, you really need a strong, stable middle class. So my major challenge today is deficit that our country can run up because of oil prices, creating enough jobs to keep unemployment as low as possible. Again I think I'm saying something as a Jordanian that you as an American can quite appreciate. That's I think our major challenge.</p><p><strong>Inskeep: </strong>Are you also worried about who ends up ruling Arab countries?</p><p><strong>Abdullah: </strong>We have to always hope in humanity that people will make the right choices. I think that when your stomach if full and you're secure you can make better choices and I think that's what we're trying to do in Jordan. But we are looking around our part of the world, there's a lot of instability, and we are concerned of what the outcomes will be. Again, I think in certain countries you're going to see revolution after revolution until it calms down. What we're trying to do in Jordan is do evolution. And may that be an example for other countries that are faced with these challenges. We miss sorely the strong role that Egypt played regionally. It's a regional powerhouse. Today with all the internal problems, unfortunately, they're not going to be on the scene for several years until this all settles. I'm sad to see that because we desperately need a strong, stable Egypt.</p><p><strong>Inskeep: </strong>And then there's Syria, your neighbor. What worries you most about protests against Bashar al-Assad, the leader there?</p><p><strong>Abdullah: </strong>From what I can see, I don't see much changes in the immediate future, which means demonstrations will continue for quite a while. No expert in the world now can predict what's happening in the Middle East. Things are happening to quickly and the area is changing so rapidly that we really don't know.</p><p><strong>Inskeep: </strong>Do you think, do you sense that the United States has a good feel for what's going on? When you've talked to American diplomats, when you've talked to President Obama, do you feel like you're dealing with people who fully understand the situation as you see it?</p><p><strong>Abdullah: </strong>Yes. I think in the beginning it took people by surprise and there may have been some decisions that had not been — you know hindsight is always 20/20. There is, I think, a maturity in the West of what we're going through. A very senior European politician said that when they saw the Israeli Embassy in Cairo being attacked that was like taking a bucket of cold water and pouring it over a lot of heads of states heads in the West. So there is concern of where is this Arab Spring leading to in many countries. But the only way we can help is all of us pitch in and try to support those countries go through these tough times.</p><p><strong>Inskeep: </strong>King Abdullah, thanks very much.</p><p><strong>Abdullah: </strong>Thank you, sir. <div class="fullattribution">Copyright 2011 National Public Radio. To see more, visit <a href="http://www.npr.org/">http://www.npr.org/</a>.<img src="http://metrics.npr.org/b/ss/nprapidev/5/1316678230?&gn=Transcript%3A+Interview+With+Jordan%27s+King+Abdullah&ev=event2&ch=1022&h1=Interviews,World&c3=D%3Dgn&v3=D%3Dgn&c4=140690859&c7=1022&v7=D%3Dc7&c18=1022&v18=D%3Dc18&c19=20110922&v19=D%3Dc19&c20=1&v20=D%3Dc20&c45=MDA0OTc2MjAwMDEyNjk0NDE4OTI2NmUwNQ001"/></div></p></p> Wed, 21 Sep 2011 23:01:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/2011-09-21/transcript-interview-jordans-king-abdullah-92309 Ed Koch On Obama And Israel http://www.wbez.org/story/2011-09-18/ed-koch-obama-and-israel-92137 <p></p> Sun, 18 Sep 2011 16:24:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/2011-09-18/ed-koch-obama-and-israel-92137 Baghdad College And America's Shifting Role In Iraq http://www.wbez.org/story/2011-09-06/baghdad-college-and-americas-shifting-role-iraq-91589 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//npr_story/photo/2011-September/2011-09-07/baghdad_college_bw_custom.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>A school founded by Americans in Iraq before the Saddam Hussein era is an emblem of a time when the United States was known in the Middle East not for military action, but for culture and education. That's the view of Puliter Prize-winning <em>New York Times</em> correspondent Anthony Shadid, who recently wrote an essay about the school, titled "The American Age, Iraq."</p><p>First opened in the 1930s by New England Jesuits, Baghdad College became the Iraqi capital's premier high school. Classes were conducted in English — and the defining feature of the school was not proselytizing, but a rigorous education, Shadid says.</p><p>As Shadid tells <em>Morning Edition</em> co-host Steve Inskeep, the school was a symbol of Iraq's identity — which he says was more secular and universal in the middle of the 20th century than it is today.</p><p>The school "also represented something for both the United States and for Iraq, and the way that they saw each other," Shadid says, "that they could allow themselves an almost idealistic version of each other. I think that's impossible today, and I say that with a certain sense of sadness."</p><p>One reason for that change came in the late 1960s, Shadid says, when Hussein's Baath Party assumed power — and also placed all of Iraq's schools under state control. But international views of America have also changed since those days, he says, noting that the Jesuits ran their school in an era when many people held "a much gentler notion" of Americans' role in the world.</p><p>In conducting research for the article, Shadid says, he asked people "where they would mark the end of that kind of era, when that sense of American benevolence gave way to what a lot of people would see as American imperialism."</p><p>"Some people put it at the founding of Israel in 1948; some people put it in the Egyptian revolution in1952," he says. "My own sense in reporting this story was that it was maybe even a little later, with Vietnam, with the change in government in Iraq. But it is clear that that image changed — and I think it changed unalterably, in some ways."</p><p>Shadid's essay "The American Age, Iraq" is in <a href="http://www.granta.com/Magazine/Granta-116-Ten-Years-Later">the latest issue of <em>Granta</em></a>, in which the British journal collects stories related to the tenth anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the United States. <div class="fullattribution">Copyright 2011 National Public Radio. To see more, visit <a href="http://www.npr.org/">http://www.npr.org/</a>.<img src="http://metrics.npr.org/b/ss/nprapidev/5/1315381029?&gn=Baghdad+College+And+America%27s+Shifting+Role+In+Iraq&ev=event2&ch=1022&h1=History,Interviews,World,U.S.,Home+Page+Top+Stories,News&c3=D%3Dgn&v3=D%3Dgn&c4=140217914&c7=1022&v7=D%3Dc7&c18=1022&v18=D%3Dc18&c19=20110907&v19=D%3Dc19&c20=1&v20=D%3Dc20&c21=3&v21=D%3Dc2&c45=MDA0OTc2MjAwMDEyNjk0NDE4OTI2NmUwNQ001"/></div></p></p> Tue, 06 Sep 2011 23:01:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/2011-09-06/baghdad-college-and-americas-shifting-role-iraq-91589 Interview With Former Secretary Of State Colin Powell http://www.wbez.org/story/2011-09-01/interview-former-secretary-state-colin-powell-91445 <p><p>Nearly a decade after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, former U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell says that terrorists have been dealt a serious blow by the United States.</p><p>But he also cautions Americans not to worry so much about terrorism that "we start to lose the essence of who we are as an open, freedom-loving people, welcoming to the rest of the world."</p><p>In a wide-ranging interview with <em>Morning Edition</em> host Steve Inskeep, Powell also expresses his opposition to the detention center at Guantanamo Bay, he shares his thoughts on the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, responds to criticism from former Vice President Dick Cheney, and talks about the 2012 election.</p><p>What follows is the full transcript and audio of the interview. (If you would like to listen to the edited interview on <em>Morning Edition</em> or read the edited transcript, please go here.)</p><p><strong>Steve Inskeep</strong><strong>:</strong> I want to ask about the way the country has changed over the past decade. And I was reading an interview that you did with, I think, Walter Isaacson in 2007. You said in 2007 that you thought we as a country were taking too much counsel of our fears. How would you describe our approach to terrorism now?</p><p><strong>Colin Powell:</strong> I think that the point I was making back in 2007 was that there is no question that terrorism is a continuing problem, but we were a lot safer in 2007 than we were before 9/11 in 2001. We had done a lot of excellent work with respect to protecting ourselves at our airports, with respect to the intelligence work we had ongoing, our law enforcement activity, and especially what we did in Afghanistan to put al-Qaida on the run. And since then, we have really taken a bite out of al-Qaida's ability.</p><p>But at the same time, in making ourselves safer – and I give credit to President Bush and President Obama for doing this, and all of the other people working on it – in the process of making ourselves safer, there was a period of time when we started to act as if we were afraid of everything. And so we made it hard to get visas. We made it harder to come here to the United States, to go to our schools, to go to our hospitals for care, to go to our recreational facilities, to visit Disneyland and Disney World.</p><p>And my point then – and it's still my point today – is that terrorists have been dealt a serious blow. They're still there. They might get through again. They might kill some of our fellow citizens. They might knock down a building. You can't rule that out. And if they did that, we would go after them again. We would rebuild and we would mourn those who we lost.</p><p>But the one thing that terrorists cannot do – not one of them; not 10 of them; not 10,000 of them – they can't change who we are as an open, freedom-loving people. We open our arms to the rest of the world. We are touched by every nation and every nation touches us. So we can't take such counsel of our fears that we change who we are, even though the terrorists aren't able to change who we are.</p><p><strong>Inskeep:</strong> Are we still doing that, in your view?</p><p><strong>Powell:</strong> There, I think, are some concerns that I still have with respect to some aspects of our immigration policy, with respect to some of the difficulties still associated with getting a visa, particularly for people who are going to make a heck of a contribution when they get here.</p><p>And so I think we're a lot better off. We're a little more comfortable. We're a little more at ease than we were in 2007 because we've done such a good job against al-Qaida. But we have to be on guard that we don't spend so much time worrying about terrorism and guarding ourselves that we start to lose the essence of who we are as an open, freedom-loving people, welcoming to the rest of the world.</p><p><strong>Inskeep:</strong> Another thing you said in that 2007 interview was that you thought the Guantanamo Bay Naval Base – the prison there – should be closed.</p><p><strong>Powell:</strong> Well, I've felt that way for years.</p><p><strong>Inskeep:</strong> And a president has come in, whom you endorsed – President Obama. It's not closed.</p><p><strong>Powell: </strong> Well, it isn't closed. Congress won't allow it to be closed. But I still think that it should be closed. That was my position when I was in the administration as secretary of state. It is not as neuralgic an issue as it was a few years ago. People seem to accept that there is a Guantanamo and it's going to be there for a while. But I have seen no reason to believe that our regular, civilian courts are not capable of dealing with these people, or that –</p><p><strong>Inskeep:</strong> Haven't the trials proven –</p><p><strong>Powell:</strong> – or that our imprisonment system, our judicial system here in the United States, which has 2 million people in jail, would be incapable of handling a couple of hundred more. And frankly, the real concern was not that these couple of hundred more in our civilian prisons in the United States would start conducting terrorist activities. The issue is going to be, how do you keep them alive overnight from the other prisoners?</p><p>And so I've always felt that we could have done this and done it in a way that would have shown to the rest of the world that we are totally consistent with the rule of law and are consistent with our Constitution. And in fact, as I think you might have started to say, our civilian courts have been throwing people in jail religiously. They have been very effective in putting terrorists in jail, whereas the military commissions and the activities at Guantanamo have not gotten up to speed to do that kind of thing.</p><p><strong>Inskeep:</strong> Although there have been some high-profile cases that have nearly gone wrong, and I think of issues like the effort of a terrorism trial in New York where you discover that the security questions, the political questions have become quite problematic.</p><p><strong>Powell:</strong> But that has nothing to do with the judicial process. Maybe it was a bad choice to do it in New York. Maybe you should have done it in Gaithersburg, Maryland, or in Buffalo, New York, or outside of Fort Drum, New York. But that was a political and public relations issue, not a question about the ability or inability of our civilian courts to handle these kinds of cases.</p><p><strong>Inskeep</strong>: I want to ask about another legacy of 9/11 that's still with us – the war in Afghanistan. President Obama has changed strategy there, added troops and now is attempting a drawdown. As you look at the way this war has been prosecuted, does it in any way fit what is known as the Powell doctrine?</p><p><strong>Powell:</strong> Well, the Powell doctrine, such as it is – and by the way, it isn't a doctrine in any Army manual; it's just the way in which I looked at military operations – says make sure you have a clear political objective and make sure you bring all the tools of national power to bear – economic, financial, political and military, if necessary.</p><p>And if you find it necessary to use military force, send in a force that will get you decisive results. I never used overwhelming but decisive. You know what you're going after and you're going to put the force behind it.</p><p>We didn't analyze it that way during the initial success after we got rid of the Taliban. We didn't realize that, that conflict was not over. And so years later, both President Bush and President Obama found it necessary to send more troops in. And so those troops have essentially helped in restoring order in some parts of Afghanistan but not all parts of Afghanistan. The Taliban has not been defeated. And so we will have to stay there a little longer.</p><p>But the question that has to be answered is, at what point do you say to the Afghans, it's now yours? You have a government. You have a president. You have a legislature. You have cabinet officers and governors, and we have helped you create a large army and a large police force. We will stay and provide training assistance and things of that nature, but from here on in, the battle is yours. And everybody pretty much is thinking that this has to happen sometime in 2014 and beyond.</p><p><strong>Inskeep:</strong> Does the approach now make sense?</p><p><strong>Powell:</strong> I think it's the only approach you can take. Making sense with respect to what? Sooner or later, the Afghan people have to be in charge of their own destiny, just as in Iraq, the Iraqi people are increasingly in charge of their own destiny.</p><p><strong>Inskeep:</strong> Because you mentioned Iraq, as you know very well, you were criticized for advocating the case against Saddam Hussein before the United Nations. You've acknowledged there was flawed intelligence that was presented there. But I want to ask a somewhat different question. As you look back over the last several years, has Iraq proved to be a distraction from other issues that you find to be more important that you find facing the country?</p><p><strong>Powell:</strong> Well, anything that takes you away from the domestic problems of the country can be said to be a distraction, but it was a necessary distraction because we went into Iraq to change that government – a government which changed. We got rid of a terrible dictator. We put in place a constitution and a process by which the Iraqi people can decide who their government should be. And so that's something we have to do.</p><p>And I think now, we are in a new phase of our Iraq involvement. We're drawing down. There's a question as to whether the Iraqis wish us to remain with any-size force and the administration says, let us know what you think is appropriate. And that negotiation will work itself out. But we'll still be engaged through our diplomatic efforts and the presence of diplomats and other security people – mostly contractor – in the area.</p><p>And so the flawed intelligence – it wasn't just me making the case; everybody was making the case. The president was making the case, many members of Congress were making the case that the intelligence supported military action. And in fact, even though my presentation, in many ways, was flawed – there was a lot of correct analysis in that presentation – it was based on a national intelligence estimate that the Congress had asked for and the CIA had provided, which is even more categorical than my subsequent presentation as to the existence of weapons of mass destruction.</p><p>So we all believed the intelligence. The United Kingdom and other nations believed in the intelligence. And I was as disappointed as anyone, since I was the principal presenter of the case, when it turned out that so much of it was flawed, and it was single-sourced on a very unreliable source that we should have been aware of was unreliable.</p><p><strong>Inskeep:</strong> Was the war worth the cost?</p><p><strong>Powell:</strong> That's the judgment that history will have to make. The cost is a lot of American lives lost, a lot of young Americans injured severely, many, many Iraqis killed. We got rid of a dictatorship. We no longer have to worry about this country being a threat to its neighbors or this country ever considering weapons of mass destruction. And remember, they did have them at one time in the past under Saddam Hussein.</p><p>And we have created a country that is being governed in a democratic process. It's a noisy process, but guess what? Democracy is noisy. But I think we can say that, that has been a measure of our success. But whether or not it was worth it is a judgment others will have to make, history will have to make.</p><p>I think, at this point, it was a costly war but it's worth it in the sense that we no longer have to worry about weapons of mass destruction in that country or terrorism coming from that country, and we have given this country of almost 30 million people an opportunity to live in peace, use the oil they have for beneficial purposes, not threaten its neighbors and create a democratic model in that part of the world.</p><p><strong>Inskeep:</strong> General, you've been in the news recently, as you know very well, because Vice President Cheney, in his new book, criticizes you specifically. You've been on television saying that the vice president took what you felt were cheap shots. But I have a broader question that maybe speaks to the debates this country has had over the last decade: Is it fair to suggest that you and Vice President Cheney simply have very different views of the world? And if it is fair, what is the difference?</p><p><strong>Powell:</strong> We have many similar views of the world. I worked with Mr. Cheney for a period of eight years – four years as his chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and then four years as secretary of state in the administration. And in any administration, you have points of view that coincide within the team and where you have differences within the team.</p><p>And in the first administration of – first term of President Bush's administration, Mr. Cheney and I agreed on many things and we disagreed on other things. That's the nature of the business. But I have nothing more to say about his book</p><p><strong>Inskeep:</strong> But what I'm asking about the differences of the view of the world, maybe it comes back to that phrase that you used having to do with taking – (background noise). Let me just let that finish ringing. Excellent.</p><p>Maybe it comes back to that phrase you used about taking too much counsel of our fears. Is that the difference, that Vice President Cheney felt that it was valid to take a darker view of the world than you did?</p><p><strong>Powell:</strong> Well, you'll have to ask Mr. Cheney that. My view is that, as the secretary of state, I gave the president and the vice president and my other colleagues my best advice with respect to diplomatic activity, with respect to how we work with our friends and allies to achieve common purposes.</p><p>Were there disagreements? Yes, there were disagreements. And Mr. Cheney points out that he was not happy with some of the positions I took, and I can say the same with respect to him. But that's what you find in an administration: strong points of view, argued strongly. And then compromises are reached, and if there are no compromises, the president decides. That's why he's the president and we are not.</p><p><strong>Inskeep:</strong> But, I mean, people covered that over the years as a personality conflict and one of many within the administration --</p><p><strong>Powell:</strong> You always – you folks always want to focus on personality conflicts, and I have had – I have had personality conflicts and I had had personality affinities with the people I've worked with over the years. And these are seven- and eight-year-old issues and seven- and eight-year-old activities that are of less interest to the people around the country than they are to those of us in Washington.</p><p><strong>Inskeep:</strong> — Which is why I'm wondering if what really happened was a philosophical difference, a different way of looking at the world, and if so, what the difference was.</p><p><strong>Powell:</strong> I've just said to you it had many things that we agreed upon with respect to, for example, expanding the NATO alliance, with respect to getting more money to foreign assistance, with respect to the president's emergency program on AIDS relief, with respect to a treaty with Moscow, reducing significantly nuclear weapons, with respect to a proliferation security initiative. All these things we fully agreed to but there were differences.</p><p><strong>Inskeep:</strong> And the difference was?</p><p><strong>Powell:</strong> Well, what surprises you about that? I mean, have you ever seen an administration where there weren't different points of view within it? If you find one, let me know. And if there is one, it's isn't functioning very well. You have to have differences of opinion.</p><p><strong>Inskeep:</strong> Oh, I'm not surprised.</p><p><strong>Powell:</strong> Now, we may not have – we may not have had – how shall I put this – the smoothest way of resolving differences, but, you know, the national security system is what the president wants it to be.</p><p>And I thought that after my first four years – I always made it clear to the president I only wanted to serve one term, and in that last year I thought it was best that I stick with that and leave at the end of my term, and that's what the president's preference was too. We left on the best of terms.</p><p><strong>Inskeep:</strong> Let me ask about the current president. You endorsed Barack Obama for president, quite famously, in 2008. And one of the reasons you gave seems quite relevant to this discussion of how the country has changed since 9/11. You specifically questioned his opponents, members of your own party who had suggested that Obama was a Muslim, who had suggested that there was something wrong with being a Muslim. You felt that that was wrong in 2008.</p><p>How is your party doing now, in 2011?</p><p><strong>Powell:</strong> You don't hear that. It wasn't just party leaders that I had a problem with. It was the way in which the party – the party members were responding to these kinds of charges. And I think that has died down significantly. There are still difficulties in the country with respect to tolerance of Muslim activity. We saw that in the mosque situation in New York and elsewhere.</p><p>But I don't think you find any of the current candidates – they talk about immigration, but immigration tends not to be a Muslim issue. And so they talk about immigration, but for the most part, the kind of ugly things that were starting to be said back in 2008 – and I think that was slammed down – I don't see it –</p><p><strong>Inskeep:</strong> Well, the president had to release his birth certificate to prove he was –</p><p><strong>Powell:</strong> I don't see it – I don't see it emerging. The president had to produce his birth certificate because there was still this coterie of people in the country who won't believe. And even after he produced his long-form birth certificate, and Mr. Trump decided he better find another thing to do besides run for president, there are still people who don't accept that.</p><p>In fact, as you may have noticed, some people are trying to persuade me to listen to their arguments as to why he is not a citizen, and I don't choose to participate in that any longer. We've spent enough time on this issue. President Obama was born in the United States. He was born in Hawaii. He's shown his certificates, and the rest of this is just conspiratorial nonsense.</p><p><strong>Inskeep:</strong> You've said you've been undecided about who to vote for in 2012.</p><p><strong>Powell:</strong> I'm always undecided in every election. I've been very consistent. And some of your folks have said that I have somehow moved away from the president, or abandoned him.</p><p>But he would be the first to tell you, I think – and I shouldn't really speak for the president, so let me speak for myself – I have always gone through public life and saying that with respect to political candidates, I always measure each candidate against what I think the country needs at that time, and I will vote for the person I think who is most qualified to serve the nation at that time.</p><p>And so, in 2012 coming up, I don't know who all the candidates are, and I haven't had all their positions vetted yet, and in due course I will decide who I think is best qualified to vote for. And all I'm doing is voting. I'm not active in politics. I vote as a citizen, and if somebody cares to know what my opinion is at the time of the election, I might or might not share it publicly.</p><p><strong>Inskeep:</strong> As a citizen, what would the Republican nominee need to do to get your vote back for the Republican Party?</p><p><strong>Powell:</strong> I've voted for Republicans in the past. I've voted for Republicans who were strong on defense, who believed in a free and open economy but who also understood that there's a place for government in our lives, that government has a responsibility to those of our citizens who are in need and those of our citizens who are needy of health care.</p><p>And so I will look for a candidate, Republican or Democrat, who seems to be on the way or understands how to resolve the economic difficulties we're having, how to do something about unemployment, how to make sure that we free up our businesses and we don't over-regulate ourselves to the point that businesses are afraid to take any kind of chance because they don't know what regulation minefield they're running into.</p><p>And I will also measure the opponents on what their position might be with respect to candidates for the Supreme Court – a whole range of issues – and how they plan to protect our military but at the same time do it in a way that is cost-effective for the country.</p><p>And so, there are a lot of issues facing the country in 2012, and I will be looking to those candidates who make the most sense with respect to resolving these issues as opposed to some of the more far-out positions that I sometimes hear expressed by some of them.</p><p><strong>Inskeep:</strong> Some of the more far-out positions in your party, you're saying – some of the more conservative candidates.</p><p><strong>Powell:</strong> Well, my party is the only one offering up a number of candidates. The other party at the moment, so far, seems to only have one candidate.</p><p><strong>Inskeep:</strong> General, one other question. When a 9/11 anniversary comes around or it just comes up in conversation, there are certain memories that I may have, certain things that come into my head, and have come into my head a lot. What comes into your mind when this anniversary arrives?</p><p><strong>Powell:</strong> The actual morning of 9/11, I wasn't here. I was in Lima, Peru. And I was having breakfast with the president in Peru, Alejandro Toledo. And we were talking about textile quotas. He wanted greater access for Peruvian cotton, high-quality Peruvian cotton, to come into the country.</p><p>And suddenly the notes started being passed in to me that something had happened. And the first note said a plane had gone into the tower. It sounded odd, but things like that have happened before. And I was just rolling it around in my mind when the second note came in and said the other tower had been hit. And then I instantly knew what it was and I had to get home.</p><p>And so it was a long ride home, an eight-hour flight home, with very little communications, and trying to understand what we would be faced with and what I would be faced with and the department would be faced with when I got home.</p><p>But one of the most memorable moments of that day was before I left for home there was a meeting of the OAS, which is why I was in Peru in the first place. And the item on the agenda was a charter of democracy for the Americas.</p><p>And so I went to the meeting and I was getting expressions of support and sympathy, and I thanked all my colleagues. I made a statement about what had happened and that we would go after those who had attacked us. It was an attack on all freedom-loving people, but at the same time American would not be changed by this, and we will be a partner to all of them in the region.</p><p>And then, too, at a very emotional moment, the chair of the meeting asked for a vote on the charter for democracy by acclimation, and they all said yes. And I left.</p><p><strong>Inskeep:</strong> Did 9/11 really change everything, as people have said thousands of times?</p><p><strong>Powell:</strong> It has changed a lot. I hope it hasn't changed everything. I hope we still are willing to be open to the rest of the world. I'm saying this again because I say it in every one of my – every speech I give I say the same thing: America cannot shut down. Economically we cannot shut down. People count on us. People rely on us. America has an important place in this world.</p><p>And so, even though a 9/11 forced us to become much more defensive and protective of our nation, and to protect our people, the first responsibility of a government, and we had to go out and go after those who had perpetrated this crime against us, that changed the country. We all now have to go through TSA. And I willingly do it. I stand right in line with everybody else. And it's annoying but it's necessary.</p><p>But that hasn't really changed the country, because when I get through TSA and I'm sitting at one of the gates, I still see the same kinds of Americans that I saw before 9/11 going about their business with their kids, with their families.</p><p>The country still believes in the country. And even though we have to be more protective of ourselves and more defensive of ourselves, that part of the country has not changed. We're still Americans. We still believe in who we are and what we are, and the role that we have to play in the world.</p><p><strong>Inskeep:</strong> General Powell, thanks very much for your time.</p><p><strong>Powell:</strong> My pleasure. Thank you. <div class="fullattribution">Copyright 2011 National Public Radio. To see more, visit <a href="http://www.npr.org/">http://www.npr.org/</a>.<img src="http://metrics.npr.org/b/ss/nprapidev/5/1314953227?&gn=Interview+With+Former+Secretary+Of+State+Colin+Powell&ev=event2&ch=1022&h1=Interviews,Politics,U.S.,Home+Page+Top+Stories,News&c3=D%3Dgn&v3=D%3Dgn&c4=140132047&c7=1022&v7=D%3Dc7&c18=1022&v18=D%3Dc18&c19=20110902&v19=D%3Dc19&c20=1&v20=D%3Dc20&c45=MDA0OTc2MjAwMDEyNjk0NDE4OTI2NmUwNQ001"/></div></p></p> Thu, 01 Sep 2011 23:01:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/2011-09-01/interview-former-secretary-state-colin-powell-91445 Bill Daley: Lawmakers see perils of debt inaction http://www.wbez.org/story/2011-07-26/bill-daley-lawmakers-see-perils-debt-inaction-89686 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//npr_story/photo/2011-July/2011-07-27/AP110226122270.jpg" alt="" /><p><p><em>NPR's Steve Inskeep sat down Tuesday with Bill Daley, President Obama's chief of staff, and asked him about the president's address on cutting the deficit and raising the debt ceiling. The following is the transcript of the interview:</em></p><p><strong>Steve Inskeep: Why does the president seem to be advocating this week for a bill that doesn't exist, that's not being considered in either the Senate or the House?</strong></p><p><strong>Bill Daley:</strong> Well, when the president spoke to the American people [Monday] night, and people in this town would probably be surprised to know that most American people have probably not focused on the debate that's been going on here. But as we enter this last week, and a very important discussion, he thought it was important that the American people understood what was at stake, what his position has been.</p><p>Obviously, he believes that there ought to be a balance to the real solutions to the deficit. There ought to be a balanced approach including revenue. He's disappointed that at this point neither bill includes revenue that's primarily being discussed. But he thought it was important to lay the entire discussion out to the American people, and not just on the bills that were before the Congress.</p><p><strong>But doesn't this emphasize that for all practical purposes, even your allies in Congress have effectively surrendered? You're talking about different versions of the Republican version of events — the way to get out of this.</strong></p><p><strong></strong>Well, that's not true. Sen. [Harry] Reid has a bill that has almost $3 trillion of deficit reduction. Let's remember, the president brought to this debate, this discussion, the issue of deficit reduction. ... Debt ceiling has been extended numerous times over the last number of years. But over the last, since I've been here, six months, the president has talked about serious deficit reduction, that would probably coincide with the fact that the debt ceiling had to be extended. So from the point of view of whether this has been a good debate to get the American people and the political system to finally address the deficit, I think that's been successful. It's unfortunate right now that it looks as though ... neither of the bills are going to include revenue, which is seriously needed if we are going to have a serious attempt to reduce the deficit.</p><p><strong>When I asked people on Twitter what they would do if they had the opportunity to ask you, one of the questions came back: "Why are the Democrats folding while the Republicans stand firm?"</strong></p><p><strong></strong>Democrats aren't folding at all. I think there is an attempt to get to a compromise. There is, as the president stated last night, there is a very large group within the House Republican caucus that said they will do nothing about a balanced approach, including revenue. So we have attempted, as has been made public, that would include revenue. We came very close. It was a serious attempt by both sides. It's unfortunate that didn't succeed, because I think the American people would have felt very good about leadership bringing to conclusion negotiations that would have been well-balanced.</p><p><strong>Interesting that you say it was a serious attempt by both sides, because the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee has sent out an email — I presume it's gone to activists and reporters — which says, among other things, that [House Speaker John] Boehner and the GOP will walk away from any plan that doesn't cripple President Obama. Do you believe that and, if so, why were you negotiating with them at all?</strong></p><p><strong></strong>Well, I think we were negotiating because he is the speaker and represents the majority of the United States House, and obviously in our system the House has to vote for a package. And we believe that the speaker was well-motivated to do a deal. I think his difficulty was selling his leadership and his caucus that a deal that would include any revenue would, was going to be passable in their caucus. I think there is no question that their deal would have passed the House of Representatives, maybe not with the number he'd need in his caucus. But that's unfortunate because the American people would have benefitted from such a deal.</p><p><strong>Meaning you think that Boehner was sincere, not that he's determined to walk away from any deal?</strong></p><p><strong></strong>I don't think he's determined to walk away from any deal. I think the speaker has political realities as the head of his party in the House that he's got to deal with. As does the president. The president heard enormous blowback in a negative way from his supporters and from many special interest groups that were going to be negatively affected by serious deficit reduction. The president was willing to take that criticism because he believed a deal that strengthened Medicare, strengthened Medicaid and was balanced was the right approach.</p><p><strong>Is the situation any closer to a resolution, as we speak, late on this Tuesday afternoon, than it was 24 hours ago?</strong></p><p><strong></strong>I would think that more and more people by the hour are coming to realize the catastrophic potential negatives that would occur if the United States Congress did not act to meet their obligations.</p><p><strong>People in Congress?</strong></p><p><strong></strong>It is a vote of Congress. Congress has the obligation, not the president, to deal with the debt and the extension of the deficit. Oh, I think they are beginning to realize the seriousness. Not only are they hearing from their constituents — they're hearing from business interests, even though the markets have not reacted in a substantially negative way yet. One is playing with fire if they think that can dabble with full faith in the credit of the United States of America.</p><p><strong>You were seen as someone who could talk to the business community, who was trusted by the business community, who could explain this president to a very suspicious business community. The Chamber of Commerce, just across the park from the White House here, has put out a statement that I read as supporting Speaker Boehner's plan, the plan that he is pushing in the House, which is deemed unacceptable by the White House. What do you make of that?</strong></p><p>Well, I spoke with Mr. [Thomas] Donahue, who runs the Chamber of Commerce, about an hour ago, and he indicated to me that he was sending a letter to all the Congress, encouraging them to bring this to some resolution so that it was not done in a — so the impasse would not negatively affect the economy. He did not indicate to me that he was supportive of Speaker Boehner's plan at all. So I've not seen the letter, but in my discussion with him, he sure did not indicate that to me.</p><p><strong>This was a letter that seemed to be very positive about this bill, as well as the importance of doing something.</strong></p><p>Well, that's unfortunate, because for most of Mr. Donahue's members, or others who are not members of the chamber, every business leader I've talked to has said to me, 'What we need out of Washington is certainty.' Six months is not certainty. If you're in a business, you don't plan six months — you try to plan on an annual basis. Most companies at this time of year are preparing their [20]13 budgets and their plans, and their boards will vote on them in September. They don't do six-months plans. That's not the way you run a government. To keep this uncertainty and have the prospect that in six months, during a difficult economy, that we would go through this process again in order to solve the problems of the nation is not the way a great nation operates.</p><p><strong>When you say six months, you are referring to the Boehner bill, which would lead to another debt ceiling debate.</strong></p><p>Yeah. The one you're referring to that Mr. Donahue allegedly endorsed.</p><p><strong>Because you mention certainty and the desire for certainty — as you read the Constitution, as you read the laws and the political situation, does the president, by some means, have the power to ensure certainty? To state that if Congress does not come to an agreement, the president can deal with the situation by the following means?</strong></p><p><strong></strong>The lawyers ... which the president has received advice from, and just about every serious constitutional lawyer out there has dismissed the notion that the president could usurp the obligations of Congress and take it upon himself the ability to act when Congress doesn't.</p><p><strong>Let me make sure I am clear on this. There is the 14th Amendment route, there are other routes that have been discussed, there is simply defying the law as President Lincoln did during the Civil War.</strong></p><p><strong></strong>[Laughing] I don't think the American people would find it appropriate for the president of the United States to defy the laws of the nation and its Constitution, without their belief that that president should be impeached. And this president isn't going to do anything against the Constitution, against the laws of the United States of America.</p><p><strong>So is the president powerless in this situation?</strong></p><p><strong></strong>The Congress has the power to act. They have the obligation to act. The president cannot usurp the power that's in the Congress. So it's up to the Congress to live up to their obligation and act, and we expect that they will.</p><p><strong>Well, let me ask another question related to that. You clearly have Republicans in Congress that are willing to go past Aug. 2, risk default or whatever might happen after that date. If a bill reaches the president's desk and it is unacceptable for you — for example, it would only last for six months and then there'd be another debt-ceiling fight — and that's the only bill the president has, and it's Aug. 1 or Aug. 2, will the president veto that bill?</strong></p><p><strong></strong>It doesn't do any good to go through. The president has talked and the senior advisers have said that the House bill ... is unacceptable to him. And the senior advisers will recommend the veto of that bill. That bill will not pass the Senate as it may pass the House. So a hypothetical and jumping around, but the fact of the matter is the Boehner bill that's been presented will not pass the United States Senate as it is presented at the House of Representatives.</p><p><strong>Will the president veto any bill?</strong></p><p>I'm not going to get into hypotheticals. Every leader of the Congress — the leadership on the Democrats and the Republican sides in the United States have said that they believe the ceiling will be extended. They will not — they will reach their obligations and extend the debt ceiling so that the full faith and credit of the United States is upheld.</p><p><strong>Two quick questions. There's been reference by the White House spokesman to a Plan B. What is it?</strong></p><p>[Laughing] I'd like to know. I have no idea what Plan B is.</p><p><strong>Working on a Plan B?</strong></p><p><strong></strong>I think there's lots of ideas being floated around on the Hill and in conversations here, but there is no secret plan that's been agreed to by anybody. Again, this is an obligation of Congress.</p><p><strong>One last thing: Speaker Boehner has insisted that his last offer was still on the table. It included increased revenues — $800 billion over the course of a decade — as well as substantial spending cuts. It wasn't exactly what the president wanted, but it included revenue increases and a lot of spending cuts. Why not just call back the speaker and say yes to that?</strong></p><p><strong></strong>Well, I think we're still waiting for a call back from the speaker. The question isn't whether Speaker Boehner's plan, which the president and he had negotiated on for a long time and Congressman [Eric] Cantor was involved with, they walked away from that deal. They walked away from their own deal. And ...</p><p><strong>He's publicly said it's still on the table. Why not just accept it? See what happens?</strong></p><p><strong></strong>Well, we'd like to see the deal the speaker's referring to. The ones that we had negotiated, the one that we had negotiated, and the one that the speaker and the president thought was very close — we probably were, in reality, about 85 percent of the way there. The speaker had not agreed to everything on his own, that you referred to as his own deal, and there were still items to be negotiated. My sense was it could have been brought to conclusion very quickly. And that's what we were attempting to do when there seemed to be radio silence from the Hill regarding that own deal. But I think if at some point, right now, the speaker has been very straightforward and public in saying that's off the table, and he is moving forward on a plan that he's attempting to pass ... and I think until the House acts, we probably ought to wait and see exactly the position of the speaker and the Republican Party ...</p><p><strong>And are you sure that Aug. 2 is the last time you have ... ?</strong></p><p><strong></strong>Yeah.</p><p><strong>Because there have been public estimates from the outside of tax revenues coming in suggesting you have another few days.</strong></p><p><strong></strong>Well, look it — some people as far as I've heard about the public speculation, I guess if you were to run down ...</p><p><strong>Well, these are investment firms making estimates.</strong></p><p><strong></strong>So, well, there are a lot of investment firms that didn't do right by their shareholders or the American people. If there are some who believe that the checkbook of America should be run down to zero and then take action, well, I don't think you, a family, runs their finances that way, and the United States government shouldn't run their checkbook down to zero before they begin to take action. So there is no doubt Aug. 2 is the date. To go beyond that is not possible. Some people would dream of that to avoid making a decision, but that's not the real situation that America faces right now. The reality is Aug. 2 is the deadline.</p><p><strong>Mr. Daley, thank you very much.</strong></p><p><strong></strong>Thank you very much. <div class="fullattribution">Copyright 2011 National Public Radio. To see more, visit <a href="http://www.npr.org/">http://www.npr.org/</a>.<img src="http://metrics.npr.org/b/ss/nprapidev/5/1311745626?&gn=Bill+Daley%3A+Lawmakers+See+Perils+Of+Debt+Inaction&ev=event2&ch=1022&h1=Interviews,Politics,U.S.,Home+Page+Top+Stories,News&c3=D%3Dgn&v3=D%3Dgn&c4=138730677&c7=1022&v7=D%3Dc7&c18=1022&v18=D%3Dc18&c19=20110727&v19=D%3Dc19&c20=1&v20=D%3Dc20&c21=3&v21=D%3Dc2&c45=MDA0OTc2MjAwMDEyNjk0NDE4OTI2NmUwNQ001"/></div></p></p> Wed, 27 Jul 2011 00:32:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/2011-07-26/bill-daley-lawmakers-see-perils-debt-inaction-89686 Area 51 'Uncensored': Was It UFOs Or The USSR? http://www.wbez.org/story/2011-05-17/area-51-uncensored-was-it-ufos-or-ussr-86655 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//npr_story/photo/2011-May/2011-05-17/1968.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Seventy-five miles north of Las Vegas sits a land parcel in the middle of the desert. Called Area 51, the parcel is just outside of the abandoned Nevada Test and Training Range, where more than 100 atmospheric bomb tests were conducted in the 1950s. Officially, the U.S. government has never acknowledged the existence of Area 51. Unofficially, it has become a place associated with conspiracy theories, alien landings and tiny spaceships.</p><p>Journalist Annie Jacobsen tells <em>Fresh Air</em>'s Terry Gross that the site has remained classified for many years — not because of aliens or spaceships, but because the government once used the site for top-secret nuclear testing and weapons development.</p><p>In <em>Area 51: An Uncensored History of America's Top Secret Military Base</em>, Jacobsen details how several agencies — including the Atomic Energy Commission, the Department of Defense and the CIA — once used the site to conduct controversial and secretive research on aircraft and pilot-related projects, including planes that traveled three times faster than the speed of sound and nuclear-propelled, space-based missile launch systems.</p><p><strong>Operation Plumbbob</strong></p><p><strong> </strong></p><p>In the summer and fall of 1957, a series of atmospheric nuclear tests — called Operation Plumbbob — were conducted above ground at the Nevada testing and training range, located just outside of Area 51. Twenty-nine explosions were set off while tests were conducted on troop readiness, accidental detonations and the effects of flying debris on living targets.</p><p>During the explosions, security officer Richard Mingus stood guard outside many of the weapons-testing sites, including one with the largest atmospheric bomb that has ever exploded in the United States.</p><p>"The bomb goes off. Richard Mingus is at ground zero, safe away in a bunker somewhere, and suddenly someone realizes, 'My God, Area 51 is unsecured,' " Jacobsen says. "And so they send Richard Mingus through ground zero, 45 minutes to an hour after this nuclear bomb has exploded, so that he can get to Area 51 to guard the gate."</p><p>Mingus survived, as did many other atomic veterans who stood close to ground zero during other Plumbbob tests.</p><p>"You can absolutely drive through an atmospheric bomb test and not be affected," Jacobsen says. "Richard Mingus also stood guard at a test at a subparcel of Area 51 ... [during] a dirty bomb test."</p><p>During the dirty bomb test, the Department of Defense and the Atomic Energy Commission simulated a plane crash where plutonium was dispersed on the ground, to see what would happen if an aircraft carrying a nuclear weapon were to crash on American soil. The resulting fallout and structural damage made much of the land uninhabitable.</p><p>"The area out at Area 51 that was part of the Operation Plumbbob test continues to be contaminated," she says. "It was not cleaned up until the '80s. And at that point, they sent in men in hazmat suits to scrape the land."</p><p><strong>Rockets Into Space With Nuclear Powered Explosions</strong></p><p><strong> </strong></p><p>The nuclear tests at Area 51 gave the Department of Defense ideas about how the technology could be used to help the United States' newly minted space program. And during the space race with the Soviet Union in the 1950s, the Department of Defense proposed using space itself as a weapon. One of its ideas was to develop a nuclear-powered space-based missile launch system that would sit outside Earth's atmosphere and have the capability to launch missiles — from outer space — into the Soviet Union.</p><p>"This didn't end up happening, but it almost did," Jacobsen says. "They were testing the rocket to see whether it would actually work. And to do that meant spewing vast quantities of radiation into the air. It's very controversial [and] it was kept very top-secret."</p><p>After the U.S. ratified the 1963 Partial Test Ban Treaty, which prohibited nuclear testing in the atmosphere, the tests continued to take place.</p><p>"It comes right up to the edge of violating the treaty when an accident occurs," she says. "In one example, a 148-pound chunk of radioactive debris shoots up into the sky and lands, rending [a subparcel of Area 51] a place that no one could go, not even in a hazmat suit, for six weeks."</p><p><strong>The Oxcart</strong></p><p><strong> </strong></p><p>In addition to testing nuclear weapons, Area 51 was often used as a training ground for overhead surveillance planes. One plane, called the Oxcart, was designed by the CIA to travel three times the speed of sound at 90,000 feet to spy on the Soviet Union and Cuba.</p><p>The Oxcart, in use from 1963 to 1968, worked beautifully, though it was never used over the Soviet Union or Cuba. Never once shot down, it was used in missions over North Vietnam and during the Pueblo Crisis with North Korea.</p><p>"It absolutely kept us safer and kept us out of nuclear war," Jacobsen says. "The idea that Area 51 was this test facility working to move science and technology faster and further than any other nation is true and is one of the great hallmarks of Area 51. There are other areas of the base that are controversial — but they both exist simultaneously — out there in the desert."</p><p><hr /></p><p><h3>Interview Highlights</h3></p><p><em>The secrecy surrounding Area 51 has made it fertile ground for conspiracy theories, including one about a UFO cover-up and another about the moon landing having never happened. Jacobsen addresses these conspiracy theories in the book and speculates about what led to them. She says her book is based on interviews with 74 individuals with rare firsthand knowledge of the secret base. Thirty-two of the people she interviewed lived and worked at Area 51.</em></p><p><strong>On flying discs and conspiracy theories</strong></p><p><strong> </strong></p><p>"The UFO craze began in the summer of 1947. Several months later, the G2 intelligence, which was the Army intelligence corps at the time, spent an enormous amount of time and treasure seeking out two former Third Reich aerospace designers named Walter and Reimer Horton who had allegedly created [a] flying disc. ... American intelligence agents fanned out across Europe seeking the Horton brothers to find out if, in fact, they had made this flying disc.</p><p>"The idea behind it remains, why? Why were they looking for a flying disc? And conspiracy theorists have had their hands on this declassified file for over a decade now, and they say it proves that this flying disc came from outer space. If you read the documents, the takeaway that I found fascinating was that at the end of it, the Army admits finding the Horton brothers, and that the Horton brothers admitted their contact with the Russians and that's where the file ends. Everything after that is classified."</p><p><strong>On why Area 51 is actually classified, according to a source</strong></p><p><strong> </strong></p><p>"The Horton brothers were involved in the flying disc crash in New Mexico. And that is from a single source. ... There was an unusual moment where that source became very upset and told me things that were stunning that's almost impossible to believe at first read. And that is that a flying disc really did crash in New Mexico and it was transported to Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, and then in 1951 it was transferred to Area 51, which is why the base is called Area 51. And the stunning part of the reveal is that my source, who I absolutely believe and worked with for 18 months on this, was one of the engineers who received the equipment and he also received the people who were in the craft.</p><p>"The people were, according to the source, were child-sized pilots, and there's a lot of debate about how old they were. He believes they were 13, although other people believe they may have been older. But this is a firsthand witness to this, and I made a decision to write about this in the very end of the book, after I take the traditional journalist form of telling you everything in the third person, I switch and I kind of lean into the reader and I say, 'Look, this is not why Area 51 is classified to the point where no one in the government will admit it exists. The reason is because what one man told me.' And then using the first person, I tell you what I was told. And there's no doubt that people are going to be upset, alarmed and skeptical of this information, but I absolutely believe the veracity of my source, and I believe it was important that I put this information out there because it is the tip of a very big iceberg."</p><p><strong>On the Soviet human experiments her source told her about</strong></p><p><strong> </strong></p><p>"The child-sized aviators in this craft [that crashed in New Mexico] were the result of a Soviet human experimentation program, and they had been made to look like aliens a la Orson Welles' <em>War of the Worlds,</em> and it was a warning shot over President Truman's bow, so to speak. In 1947, when this would have originally happened, the Soviets did not yet have the nuclear bomb, and Stalin and Truman were locked in horns with one another, and Stalin couldn't compete in nuclear weaponry yet, but he certainly could compete in the world of black propaganda — and that was his aim, according to my source. ...</p><p>"What is firsthand information is that he worked with these bodies [of the pilots] and he was an eyewitness to the horror of seeing them and working with them. Where they actually came from is obviously the subject of debate. But if you look at the timeline with Josef Mengele, he left Auschwitz in January of 1945 and disappeared for a while, and the suggestion by the source is that Mengele had already cut his losses with the Third Reich at that point and was working with Stalin."</p><p><strong>On why the Soviets would have undertaken such a hoax</strong></p><p><strong> </strong></p><p>"The plan, according to my source, was to create panic in the United States with this belief that a UFO had landed with aliens inside of it. And one of the most interesting documents is the second CIA director, Walter Bedell Smith, memos back and forth to the National Security Council talking about how the fear is that the Soviets could make a hoax against America involving a UFO and overload our early air-defense warning system, making America vulnerable to an attack." Copyright 2011 National Public Radio. To see more, visit <a href="http://www.npr.org/">http://www.npr.org/</a>.<img src="http://metrics.npr.org/b/ss/nprapidev/5/1305652334?&gn=Area+51+%27Uncensored%27%3A+Was+It+UFOs+Or+The+USSR%3F&ev=event2&ch=1033&h1=History,National+Security,Nonfiction,Author+Interviews,Books,Interviews,Arts+%26+Life,U.S.&c3=D%3Dgn&v3=D%3Dgn&c4=136356848&c7=1033&v7=D%3Dc7&c18=1033&v18=D%3Dc18&c19=20110517&v19=D%3Dc19&c20=1&v20=D%3Dc20&c21=13&v21=D%3Dc2&c45=MDA0OTc2MjAwMDEyNjk0NDE4OTI2NmUwNQ001"/></p></p> Tue, 17 May 2011 12:07:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/2011-05-17/area-51-uncensored-was-it-ufos-or-ussr-86655 A Typo Spells Romance For RP Salazars http://www.wbez.org/story/2011-05-12/typo-spells-romance-rp-salazars-86483 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//0" alt="" /><p><p>This is the story of a romance that began with a typo. In 2007, Rachel Salazar was living in Bangkok, Thailand, and Ruben Salazar was in Waco, Texas. Their email addresses were nearly identical.</p><p>One morning, Ruben checked his email, and he found a note intended for someone else. "I discovered it said RP Salazar followed by two numbers," he says. "I figured, 'Hey, my email is the same exact thing without the numbers, so they probably sent it to the wrong person."</p><p>Ruben, 39, noticed that this other RP Salazar was in Bangkok, so when he forwarded the email, he added his own little message. "Something to the effect of 'Hi, Rachel, it seems as if this message came to me instead of you. I'm in Waco, Texas, U.S.A. Have a great day. P.S. How's the weather there in Bangkok?'"</p><p>Rachel, 44, is originally from the Philippines but was living in Thailand at the time. For her, that first email exchange on Jan. 10, 2007, started it.</p><p>"Then every conversation that we had right from the get-go was just natural," she says.</p><p>Ruben was excited that here was a person who was halfway around the world, but he could still tell her things. "It's kind of like sending a letter in a bottle," he explains. He happened to hover his mouse over Rachel's name in an email, and her picture popped up. "I was like, 'Wow, she's really beautiful! How can I make this picture bigger?' " he says, laughing.</p><p>Rachel says Ruben started to play an important role in her life even before she consciously realized it. Ruben would stay up late, when it was morning for Rachel, and the two would chat for four or five hours.</p><p>"I knew that I was falling in love, but at the back of my mind there's still that tiny little bit of doubt that this might not work — we were 8,000 miles away from each other," says Rachel. "But at some point I finalized my plans to visit the U.S."</p><p>Ruben notes that Rachel didn't tell anyone. "Because everyone would tell me, 'You're foolish to go halfway across the world to meet some strange guy you have not met,' " she explains. "That would be crazy."</p><p>On Ruben's end, every relative, every friend, every co-worker knew.</p><p>Rachel's trip lasted eight days. They were dancing one night and Rachel told Ruben that he was the sweetest guy she'd ever met. At that moment Ruben knew he needed to say or do something so he didn't lose her.</p><p>"So I got on my knee and asked you to marry me," he says. He proposed on their sixth day together. Rachel says, "Deep in my heart I knew it was coming and it was the right thing and it was the best thing."</p><p>Ruben says that people didn't believe him, and some had their doubts. But, says Rachel, now they all tell us, 'You're perfect for each other. You found the right match.' "</p><p>Rachel and Ruben were married on Nov. 24, 2007. Copyright 2011 National Public Radio. To see more, visit <a href="http://www.npr.org/">http://www.npr.org/</a>.<img src="http://metrics.npr.org/b/ss/nprapidev/5/1305262333?&gn=A+Typo+Spells+Romance+For+RP+Salazars&ev=event2&ch=1008&h1=Around+the+Nation,Interviews,Arts+%26+Life,U.S.&c3=D%3Dgn&v3=D%3Dgn&c4=136248872&c7=1008&v7=D%3Dc7&c18=1008&v18=D%3Dc18&c19=20110512&v19=D%3Dc19&c20=1&v20=D%3Dc20&c21=3&v21=D%3Dc2&c45=MDA0OTc2MjAwMDEyNjk0NDE4OTI2NmUwNQ001"/></p></p> Thu, 12 May 2011 21:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/2011-05-12/typo-spells-romance-rp-salazars-86483 NATO: Bin Laden Death Won't Alter Afghan Mission http://www.wbez.org/story/2011-05-08/nato-bin-laden-death-wont-alter-afghan-mission-86218 <p><p>NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen says the killing of al-Qaida leader Osama Bin Laden in Pakistan will not change the alliance's mission in Afghanistan.</p><p>Rasmussen tells Guy Raz, host of weekends on <em>All Things Considered</em>, that bin Laden's death is "a major blow to international terrorism."</p><p>"On the other hand, we should also realize that terrorist networks still exist and we're in Afghanistan to prevent the country from ever again becoming a safe haven for terrorism," he said. "The Taliban still constitutes a threat. So we will stay as long as it takes to accomplish our mission."</p><p>There are some 130,000 NATO troops in Afghanistan, mostly American, and the alliance is committed to handing over the control of security in the country to Afghans by 2014.</p><p>"The criterion of success is to see the Afghan security forces take full responsibility for the security," Rasmussen said.</p><p>The NATO chief said there are already 280,000 Afghan soldiers and police in place, and their quality is quickly improving. He noted that Afghan soldiers now participate in nearly all military operations in the country.</p><p>"We're not there yet, but we're making strong progress," he said.</p><p><strong>Libya: "Time Is Running Out For Gadhafi"<br /></strong></p><p>NATO's other major mission is in Libya, where it is empowered by the United Nations Security Council to act to protect civilians from Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi.</p><p>Rasmussen said the mission had been a success even though Gadhafi is still firmly in power nearly two months after the operation began.</p><p>"Time is running out for Gadhafi," Rasmussen said. "We have conducted our air operations and taken out significant parts of Gadhafi's military capabilities."</p><p>He added: "What counts is the result: namely the protection of civilians in Libya, and we will continue as long as it takes to stop all attacks against the civilian population."</p><p>Ramussen said NATO had three military objectives for the operation: An end to attacks against the civilian populations; a withdrawal of Gadhafi's military forces and paramilitary forces to their bases and barracks; and immediate and unhindered access for humanitarian assistance to Libya.</p><p>"When these three military objectives are fulfilled, we could say mission accomplished," Rasmussen said. "But having said that, I should also add that it's hard to imagine that the attacks against the civilian population stop as long as Gadhafi is still in power. So time has come for Gadhafi to leave power." Copyright 2011 National Public Radio. To see more, visit <a href="http://www.npr.org/">http://www.npr.org/</a>.<img src="http://metrics.npr.org/b/ss/nprapidev/5/1304889744?&gn=NATO%3A+Bin+Laden+Death+Won%27t+Alter+Afghan+Mission&ev=event2&ch=1149&h1=Afghanistan,Asia,Interviews,World,Home+Page+Top+Stories&c3=D%3Dgn&v3=D%3Dgn&c4=136118587&c7=1149&v7=D%3Dc7&c18=1149&v18=D%3Dc18&c19=20110508&v19=D%3Dc19&c20=1&v20=D%3Dc20&c21=2&v21=D%3Dc2&c45=MDA0OTc2MjAwMDEyNjk0NDE4OTI2NmUwNQ001"/></p></p> Sun, 08 May 2011 15:10:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/2011-05-08/nato-bin-laden-death-wont-alter-afghan-mission-86218 Children Remember Their Mother's Influence http://www.wbez.org/story/2011-05-05/children-remember-their-mothers-influence-86141 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//0" alt="" /><p><p>William Anthony Cobb's friends know him to be outspoken. They think the 42-year-old developed that trait in law school, but he says it's genetic.</p><p>Cobb credits his mother, Mary Cobb, because she was "prone to some rather long-winded debates about just about everything" when he and his sister were growing up.</p><p>"You should be able to talk to a person in the Bowery as well as to the president of the United States," he remembers her telling him. "Then you can say that you are a well-rounded, well-educated person."</p><p>Mary died in February at the age of 67. She had pancreatic cancer — the same kind of cancer that killed her husband, Willie Lee Cobb, in 1992.</p><p>Before Mary died, she and her son reminisced. Cobb remembers finishing his doctorate. There were thousands of people at his graduation, and Mary was about 10 rows away from the stage. "And only my son gets up and walks down the middle of the aisle. I didn't know why you got up, and I said, 'Oh my God, I hope he doesn't have to go to the bathroom,' " she said at the time, laughing.</p><p>Cobb gave his degree to a woman in the audience and told her to pass it back until it reached his mother.</p><p>It was one of the most important moments in Mary's life. "I was 10 feet tall," she said. Cobb says he felt like his mother should have his degree, and "[she] never gave it back anyway."</p><p>Mary claimed she wouldn't give it back because her son loses things. She said, "You lost your birth certificate about 20 times while you were in college." Mary eventually received her own degree, a master's in social work from New York University.</p><p>When Mary was diagnosed with cancer, and her doctor told her he couldn't cure it, she reached out to Cobb and her daughter, Valerie Foster, to make sure they were OK. Mary thought about going to heaven to be with their father. "He's gonna say, 'Now Mary — everything was fine until you got here,' " she said.</p><p>Mary wasn't afraid of dying, but she did not want to leave her children. She said the Lord was answering her prayer. She told her son that she felt a closeness to him she hadn't felt in a long time. "You actually let me know that you love me," she said. "You're right there with my coffee every morning. You're there, you know, if I wake up during the night, and I love you for that. I'm just so blessed."</p><p>Mary died in February; her house was destroyed by a tornado in Alabama on April 27. Cobb says it occurred to him that as painful as it was for his mother to die of cancer, "it was better than what would have happened if she had been in that house."</p><p>Foster, 52, says this will be her first Mother's Day without her mother. "This is gonna be a rough day, you know, not being able to call her, send her some flowers. But, you know, as with everything else since her diagnosis, we get through it together. We get through it together."</p><p><em>Audio produced for </em>Morning Edition <em>by Jasmyn Belcher.</em> Copyright 2011 National Public Radio. To see more, visit <a href="http://www.npr.org/">http://www.npr.org/</a>.<img src="http://metrics.npr.org/b/ss/nprapidev/5/1304656029?&gn=Children+Remember+Their+Mother%27s+Influence&ev=event2&ch=4516989&h1=StoryCorps,Around+the+Nation,Interviews,U.S.&c3=D%3Dgn&v3=D%3Dgn&c4=136023786&c7=1022&v7=D%3Dc7&c18=1022&v18=D%3Dc18&c19=20110505&v19=D%3Dc19&c20=1&v20=D%3Dc20&c21=3&v21=D%3Dc2&c31=4516989&v31=D%3Dc31&c45=MDA0OTc2MjAwMDEyNjk0NDE4OTI2NmUwNQ001"/></p></p> Thu, 05 May 2011 21:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/2011-05-05/children-remember-their-mothers-influence-86141