Here And There with Dave Marash

Why are guns and ammo considered “essential” elements of retail trade during the coronavirus pandemic?  It’s a complex question, but to people who hate the idea, and to people who love it, the answer to the question is: the political power of the National Rifle Association, the NRA. Investigative reporter Frank Smyth has written an excellent new book The NRA: An Unauthorized History.  Want to know why there is no “authorized” history and what the NRA is hiding about itself?

Direct download: HereAndThere_040820_Smyth.mp3
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One thing we know about the coronavirus epidemic in  America: it’s going to get worse before it gets better.  And then what?  What do we know about the down-slope, about managing public health, reducing social distance and reviving the economy after Covid 19 has passed its peak?  Epidemiologist Justin Lessler of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health on the search for answers to those questions, and maybe, how soon we’ll near to shift gears from lockdown to recovery. 

Direct download: HereAndThere_040720_Lessler.mp3
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The first of 2 programs on the coronavirus: the view from the eye of the storm, New York City as caseloads spike and healthcare systems show signs of strain. Shane Harris of the Washington Post had to report the inside view from the outside … journalism in the pandemic era, where it’s all hands on deck to cover Covid-19…but covering the virus gave Shane a fresh angle on a big story from his regular intelligence and national security beat. Who knew what when about this new disease?

Direct download: HereAndThere_040620_Harris.mp3
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Here’s a scenario: a Congressional candidate has an affair with her campaign manager.  She divorces her husband.  He divorces his wife.  They marry.  But all the while, she’s been paying his company for his political services.  Legal?  Probably.  Ethical?  Well that’s the question before the House Ethics Committee. What about the Congressional candidate who paid herself a salary for running?  Same 2 questions -- Legal? Ethical? Investigative reporter Robert Faturechi of Pro Publica says the record suggests you not expect a clear answer.

Direct download: HereAndThere_040120_Faturechi.mp3
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How to assess the future, especially the tricky futures of science and technology has long been the job of Daniel Gerstein, who has tried to assess coming threats and opportunities for both the Defense Department and the Department of Homeland Security.  Gerstein spells out his operating principles and how he makes them work in his new book The Story of Technology: How We Got Here and What the Future Holds. Among other revelations – what’s different and what’s the same about science and technology?

Direct download: HereAndThere_033120_Gerstein.mp3
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Another Federal Government program built to fail: The Veterans Administration has long had a whistleblower abuse problem.  Criticisms from the inside have always been most unwelcome.  So the VA set up an Office of Accountability and Whistleblower Protection.  But Daniel Van Schooten of the Project on Government Oversight (aka POGO) says the office doesn’t protect whistleblowers; it often re-abuses them, and accountability rarely reaches outside the agency.

Direct download: HereAndThere_033020_Van_Schooten.mp3
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What was it like to be a slave?  It was a question that went unasked for more than 70 years, until, in 1937, the Federal Government commissioned investigators with notebooks and cameras to seek out people who had been born into slavery.  Richard Cahan co-edited the new book River of Blood: American Slavery from the People Who Lived It which culls some of the best photos and most poignant stores of Americans who once were slaves.  Another example of how much can learn from once-hidden history.

Direct download: HereAndThere_032520_Cahan.mp3
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American history includes some awful massacres, the kind of events people want to forget.  But should history forget ‘em, too?  Russell Contreras, Albuquerque-based reporter for the Associated Press (AP,) specializes in uncovering hidden history, like the story of the first and only massacre recognized in an official US Historical site.  A town next door to the massacre site might like to forget it’s named for the perpetrator of the war crime.  The story of the Sand Creek Massacre.

Direct download: HereAndThere_032420_Contreras.mp3
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Living under lockdown, in Italy, the country with the currently most-deadly outbreak of the Novel Coronavirus pandemic.  How are people coping and how did the Italian outbreak get so bad? Why is the Italian death rate 3 times higher than almost everywhere else? Rome-based Foreign Correspondent Christopher Livesay has been living through and reporting on the COVID-19 outbreak in Italy, where the economy was close to recession even before the new flu hit.

Direct download: HereAndThere_032320_Livesay.mp3
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Whatever the crucial details are laying out the Taliban’s promises to keep the peace in Afghanistan and the United States’ expectations and plans for enforcement, the Taliban know them, but neither the Afghan Government nor the American people do.  What is the White House hiding and why? Long-time Washington Post Kabul Bureau Chief Pamela Constable has recently returned to the epicenter of anxiety.

Direct download: ConstablePOD0318.mp3
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Matthew Hoh was a decorated Marine infantry officer in Iraq and Afghanistan, turned civilian aid manager for the State Department in the latter war zone.  Now, he works full time for peace as a Senior Fellow at the Center for International Policy in Washington.  He’s spent a lot of time recently conversing on-line with students and analysts in Iran in the backwash of the US assassination of Gen. Qassem Suleimani.  He says a lot of young Iranians are not ready to write off future relations with the USA.  

Direct download: HT031620HohPOD.mp3
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From the brink of war with Iran to a simulation of a peace deal for the Palestinians and Israeli, the Trump Administration has certainly had an active 2020 in the Middle East.  Long-time CIA Mideast analyst Emile Nakhleh, now the Director of the Global and National Security Policy Institute at the University of New Mexico says the danger hasn’t ended with Iran and the peace process is unlikely to start quickly in Palestine.

Direct download: HT031620NakhlehPOD.mp3
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So it’s come down to this, the Democratic Party’s nominee to run against President Donald Trump will either be Bernie Sanders or Joe Biden, a man with one big, revolutionary idea – Medicare for All versus the man who believes in small steps along the conventional liberal path.  Conventional wisdom is the small idea guy the Big Idea of 2020 is beating President Donald Trump. John Nichols has been following the campaign for The Nation. 

Direct download: HT031020NicholsPOD.mp3
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If the American image of prosperity is “a chicken in every pot,” in China it’s pork on every plate and that spells trouble for the greenery of the Amazon Basin.  Melissa Chan went to Brazil for The Atlantic to report on the connection.  What is it?  Here’s a hint, what does every good pig want to feed on? Soybeans.  And guess where more and more soybeans are being grown, and changing everything from the local economy to the global environment.

Direct download: HereAndThere_030920_Chan.mp3
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R D Rosen has had a successful career as a mystery novelist.  His series – I’m a big fan – centers on a retired major league baseball player, Harvey Blissberg.  His new book, Tough Luck,  is non-fiction, the biography of NFL quarterback Sid Luckman centers on a solved, if under-reported murder, committed by the athlete’s father.  Part of Rosen’s research involved telling Sid’s son what his Grandfather had done and how his father – and collaborative sportswriters -- had kept it a secret.  

Direct download: HereAndThere_030420_Rosen.mp3
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Today is Super Tuesday, the biggest single day on the Presidential Primary calendar.  The high stakes were apparent in the almost-hysterical intensity of last week”s Democratic debate, where all the other candidates said – what’s wrong with Bernie Sanders is, “he can’t beat Trump.”  Pollster and market strategist John Zogby has been analyzing the race.  He pre-called the results in Iowa by focusing on the Democratic Socialist’s appeal to young voters.  It’s a start, among an age group mostly un-attunded to Trump.  But is it a enough to win the White House? 

Direct download: HereAndThere_030320_Zogby.mp3
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 For the first time, the world had a day with more new cases of Coronavirus COVID-19 outside China than in its country of origin.  While the World Health Organization ponders if this makes it a medical pandemic, Keith Johnson of Foreign Policy says, we are already dealing with an economic pandemic with global implications.  And he says, it is hitting many countries like Japan, Italy and Iran where the national economy was already in trouble.

Direct download: HereAndThere_030220_Johnson.mp3
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The President Tweets and the Secretary of State holds news conferences.  This is what passes for American foreign policy these days.  But back when the State department did diplomacy, there were heroes on the front lines. The Ambassadors is the title and subject of Paul Richter’s new book. In case you hadn’t noticed, the work Richter describes is something the Trump Administration has chosen not to do.  As some of the Ambassadors quoted in the book can tell you, disinvesting in diplomacy has `a high cost. 

Direct download: HereAndThere_022620_Richter.mp3
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In every important way, US Immigration Courts are different from all other Courts under federal, state or local jurisdiction.  And in many important ways they are worse than any other American court.  Amy Taxin was part of an Associated Press team that spent two weeks at Immigration Courts in 11 cities and found a growing backlog already near one million cases.  Judges say they’re asked to do too much, too fast to do justice in too many cases.  And then there are the children, before the judge or just in the courtrooms, or in the hallways.  Too many children. The system is still unprepared for them.  

Direct download: HereAndThere_022520_Taxin.mp3
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What we know depends on what we’re taught, and what you’re taught about America in our public schools varies from state to state.  Dana Goldstein led a New York Times team that examined social studies textbooks made for among other states, Texas and California.  History tailor-made for Mars and Venus.  The added information in California is less significant than what’s taken out for Texas, There, students my never know what they weren’t told about African-American achievements, for example.  

Direct download: HereAndThere_022420_Goldstein.mp3
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Very few ICE raids in California’s Central Valley where Ag industry campaign contributions seem to have produced an unofficial sanctuary for migrant field workers.  The same logic seems to have stayed ICE’s hand in the dairy state of Wisconsin, where investigative reporter Maria Perez of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel found not just protected workers, but protected abusive employers.  Mexican vet school grads hired for their skills, but used and paid as unskilled labor.

Direct download: HereAndThere_021920_Perez.mp3
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Who are the people who make up President Donald Trump’s political base and what unites them?  In her new book, Shadow Network: Media, Money and the Secret Hub of the Radical Right, Anne Nelson says the unifier is a network of far-right funders, conservative Republican campaign operatives and hundreds of Christian broadcasters on radio, TV and the internet.  They, more than Russian interference drove Trump to victory in 2016.  Can they do it again in November?  

Direct download: HereAndThere_021820_Nelson.mp3
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What are the people of the world thinking?  About their own security?  About their own happiness?  No one devotes more resources to answering questions like that than Gallup, Inc, literally the name for polling since the company was founded by George Gallup in 1935.  Julie Ray is Managing Editor for World News at Gallup and can explain where the most insecure people on earth live and why – when it comes to happiness – the US is only #19 in the world

Direct download: HereAndThere_021720_Ray.mp3
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A liberal lawyer-journalist’s take on the so-called trial in the US Senate of impeached President Donald Trump.  Elie Mystal, Justice Correspondent for The Nation explained Mitch McConnell’s rules that allowed evidence to be suppressed and turned the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court into a proverbial potted plant.  But, Mystal says, Yogi Berra had it right – “it ain’t over, ‘til it’s over,” and he says, for the criminal and Constitutional charges against Donald Trump, it’s never going to be over.  

Direct download: HereAndThere_021220_Mystal.mp3
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Once upon a time the 3 different hospitals,-- government, private and non-profit were different systems serving different clienteles.  Now they’re similar systems competing from the same customers, so why does one group of competitors get a public subsidy? Ted Alcorn of NM in Depth looked at the state’s non-profit hospitals and asked do taxpayers get a fair deal in extra services for the tax benefits given?  Experts told him NM’s numbers didn’t look good.

Direct download: HereAndThere_021120_Alcorn.mp3
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Ever since 2011, when the United States, France and the UK led an international effort to save Libya from the dictator Muammar Qaddafi, things have gone from bad to worse.  Award-winning Libyan journalist Mustafa Fetouri sorts out the foreign backers of the 2 sides in Libya’s civil war and what they’re doing to the country and why.  A recent escalation in Turkish-supplied mercenaries and weapons is tied to disputed oil and gas rights hundreds of miles off-shore in the Eastern Mediterranean.  

Direct download: HereAndThere_021020_Fetouri.mp3
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Water, water everywhere, but not as much as you’d like to think.  That, in a nutshell is the story of the Colorado River Basin, the key water source for economic and population expansion in the American West.  For almost a century, development plans for the Colorado Basin were based on what scientists regularly said was bad data, that overestimated how much water the basin had.  John Fleck, co-author of the new book Science Be Dammed on the trouble ignoring science can cause. 

Direct download: HereAndThere_020520_Fleck.mp3
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For many of the poor mothers from the Marshall Islands, it seemed like a good deal for their child, if a painful loss for them: coming to America to give birth and then giving up the baby for adoption by a more prosperous American family.  But there are laws against this kind of human trafficking, and a once prominent local politician from Phoenix is accused of breaking them. His network is a great embarrassment to the Mormon Church.

Direct download: HereAndThere_020420_Anglen.mp3
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 Legally, Constitutionally, and historically, the impeachment and trial of President Donald Trump is a very big deal.  But politically, has the whole impeachment process moved the dial on the 2020 election?  And in which direction? For or against the beleaguered President? And are the real losers here American civility and rule of law?  Pollster and marketing strategist John Zogby has been considering these questions and how the answers have been affected by the tribalization of our country.  

Direct download: HereAndThere_020320_Zogby.mp3
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The numbers say the crisis of would-be immigrants at America’s southern border is easing.  Far fewer people are trying to cross, legally and illegally, than 6 months ago.  But tens of thousands of migrants are still there, in American detention facilities, and stoppered in shelters, camps and open fields on the Mexican side of the border.  Jens Erik Gould of the Santa Fe New Mexican on the Border Patrol officers dealing with a crisis that may no longer be growing, but isn’t going away either.  

Direct download: HereAndThere_013020_Gould.mp3
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Candidate Donald Trump predicted that he could get away with murder and not lose any votes.  And President Trump says he and America have gotten away with the assassination of Iranian General Qassem Suleimani, and that the threat of further Iranian revenge is over. Karen J. Greenberg, Director of the Center on National Security at Fordham University Law School wonders if that’s true.  And I wonder how the globally-watched video of the aftermath of the killing is playing across the Islamic world.

Direct download: HereAndThere_012820_Greenberg.mp3
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 The global frontline in the battle for individual freedom against totalitarian state control is Hong Kong. Resistance in behalf of local democracy and autonomy for Hong Kong within the Chinese nation state continues to stalemate the demands of Chinese leader Xi Jinping.  Weekend rallies still bring defiance of the Beijing dictates and a million people to the streetrs.  Journalist Benjamin David Haas has been covering the ongoing crisis for The nation…he updates the story.

Direct download: HereAndThere_012720_Haas.mp3
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You probably know how many billions Congress budgeted for the US military are being diverted to build President Donald Trump’s wall on America’s Mexican border, but have you heard about the TDY roundups of forest rangers from the US National Parks for border duty? Karen Chavez of USA Today and the Asheville Citizen Times broke the story.  They’re missed in the Great Smokes, and in El Paso, for many, by the time they learn the job and the place, they’re gone.

Direct download: HereAndThere_012320_Chavez.mp3
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 Abortion is legal in the state of New Mexico, but try finding someone to perform one if you don’t live anywhere near the I-25 corridor from Las Cruces to Santa Fe? In the mountains, in the grasslands, from 4 corners to the Bootheel, New Mexico is a reproductive health care desert for women Laws about equality don’t talk about access. Susan Dunlap has been reporting the story for the NM Political Report.

Direct download: HereAndThere_012120_Dunlap.mp3
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As democratic politics has veered right practically the whole world over since the terrorist attack of 9/11/2001, no one has watched the process more closely than Cas Mudde, the University of Georgia professor and author of The Far Right Today. How yesterday’s lunatic fringe has taken over old brand names like today’s Republican Party. The takeover, by the way, was perfectly democratic.  Even if the winners disdain some key practices of almost 350 years of American democracy.

Direct download: HT012020MuddePOD.mp3
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There’s no business like the news business, because the news changes every day.  But the news business is changing and after almost 40 years as a working reporter based in Santa Fe, NM, for the Albuquerque Journal and The (Santa Fe) New Mexican, Steve Terrell has some thoughts and some stories.  Terrell remembers covering traveling folk singers – and learning not to try to drink with them -- and powerful politicians of NM State Government – to whom the folk singer rule also applied.  

Direct download: HereAndThere_011620_Terrell.mp3
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A policy of cruelty to children as deterrence against would-be crossers of our Southern border might seem bad enough,  But add in stupidity and this is what you get: a lack of medical care for migrants in American detention killing small numbers of children with infectious influenza, which, in turn, threatens large numbers of children and adults in nearby communities with communicable disease.  John Hudak and Christine Stenglein wrote about this for the Brookings Institution.

Direct download: HereAndThere_011420_Hudak_Stenglein.mp3
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Good news for the military-industrial complex: The Trump Administration made Defense Department misspending easier to get away with by ending Pentagon Accountability. Bad news for the American public: Jason Paladino of the Project on Government Oversight reports Defense Secretary Jim Mattis went farther, making not just spending, but all the key data on what American troops are doing abroad secret.  Almost all the metrics to evaluate the military mission in Afghanistan are now hidden. From us.

Direct download: HereAndThere_011320_Paladino.mp3
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One thing good television news has given us: a more nuanced view of “mobs in the street.”  Some so-called mobs are really just hired thugs en masse, others are politically inflamed people out of control. But many street demonstrations are gatherings of honest citizens expressing dissent or a specific grievance.  The year 2019 has seen a shocking number of those kinds of street demonstrations in Latin America.  Columbia University analyst Christopher Sabatini takes us around a troubled continent to see what’ explains the “mobs.”

Direct download: HereAndThere_121219_Sabatini.mp3
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New York Times sports columnist Michael Powell has written a new book about basketball on the Navajo Reservation, where everything starts from a fan base as rabid, intense and critical about the basketball their high schoolers are playing, as the Italian opera mob is about performances at La Scala.  Talk about pressure on players and coaches!  And that’s without factoring in totems and hexes, family turbulence, and the disadvantages of being a kid from the canyons compare to a kid from the town of Chinle.

Direct download: HereAndThere_121019_Powell.mp3
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The INF Treaty limiting intermediate range nuclear weapons is dead.  Killed by the Trump Administration after the Obama team failed to stop Russia from building a new, treaty-violating missile,  Already, the arms race is already heating up.  Will Russia, the US and now China all play nuclear “Match Me?”  Arms control expert Joseph Cirincione of The Ploughshares Fund what was lost with INF, the threats to 2 more important security agreements involving the US and Russia, and where the arms race is headed. 

Direct download: HereAndThere_120919_Cirincione.mp3
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George Orwell was a pen name – taken to spare his family the shame of public notice of the low life parts of England and France he lived in to write about, before he warned the world against totalitarianism in Animal Farm and 1984. Russell Davidson of the University of New Mexico collected a treasure trove of Orwell books and memorabilia and gave it to the school.

Direct download: HereAndThere_120519_Davidson.mp3
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The US military is being hit with a rising tide of suicides, especially among young veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.  One veteran of both, analyst Matthew Hoh of the Center for International Policy, says official statistics show -- the risk of suicide rises with exposure to combat, and even more for those who have killed.  What this points to, Hoh says, is suicide from what he calls “moral injury,” the sense that your wartime experience led you to betray your personal standards of morality or conduct.

Direct download: HereAndThere_120319_Hoh.mp3
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The title of Bruce Riedel’s new book, Beirut 1958: How America’s wars in the Middle East Began doesn’t “tell it all,” but Riedel’s story of how US Marines were sent to Lebanon by President Dwight Eisenhower and what they did when they got there tells a lot even 61 years later. Just one Marine died, but his mission was entirely avoidable.  He was killed by a sniper, and by Secretary of State John Foster Dulles’ Cold War paranoia.

Direct download: HereAndThere_120219_Riedel.mp3
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The Santa Fe-based medical rescue organization, Global Outreach Doctors, has a new mission in eastern Congo.  GoDocs’ founder and leader Dr. Andrew Lustig says his assessment team found a region with great medical needs, especially for the mental and physical health of women in a largely-ungoverned, perpetual conflict zone.  They also found a great local ally in the Nobel Prize nominated physician Dennis Mukwege. 

Direct download: HereAndThere_112619_Lustig.mp3
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 Haiti, a country in perpetual crisis, may have hit bottom.  Months of street-snarling, economy paralyzing demonstrations have endangered the Presidency of Jovenal Moises, in part because the President who chose Moises to succeed him, Michel Martelly is accused of helping loot the national government of more than $2 billion.  Longtime Haiti expert Amy Wilentz  sorts things out, as Haitians try to find a path to better governance and a better future. 

Direct download: HereAndThere_112519_Wilentz.mp3
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The scandal of sexually abusive priests has shaken the Roman Catholic Church in America and shown how Church leaders often chose to cover-up the crimes rather than discipline the priests.  Investigative reporter Claudia Lauer of the Associated press (AP) reports, in the wake of the scandal, hundreds of abusers have been disciplined --forced out of the Church. But she says, the de-frocked priests have been left to their own sometimes criminal devices.  

Direct download: HereAndThere_111919_Lauer.mp3
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The ostensible reason for creating “opportunity zones” is to entice fresh investments in fresh projects to upgrade poor neighborhoods and the lives of people who live there.  But investigative reporter Justin Elliott of Pro Publica has found valuable Federal subsidies went to old investments in old projects and benefited billionaire pals of Donald Trump.  Crony capitalism at work.  As the Big Tweeter might say – scandal! Bad!! 

Direct download: HereAndThere_111819_Elliott.mp3
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Want to test the character of your community?  Consider its relationship to food…where do they get it, what do they do with it, and who gets enough to eat?  Mark Winne checked out 7 American communities in his new book Food Town USA and found good local things to eat from Alaska to Maine and Idaho to Florida.  But he also found food insecurity, and dramatic food inequality, food-rich towns with food deserts next door.

Direct download: HereAndThere_111219_Winne.mp3
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First the Private Military Security Contractor industry was a small club, but it’s getting bigger, and now the US which has been the #1 provider of these private security services, has growing competition from Russia and China.  But David Isenberg, author of Shadow Force and a top analyst of the mercenary market says the industry is not just globalizing, it’s decentralizing.  Could mean trouble ahead.  Consider the case of Malhama Tactical...specialists in training jihadi terrorists.  

Direct download: HereAndThere_111119_Isenberg.mp3
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Some nights it’s cheaper and easier to get the very same Holiday Inn room in midtown Manhattan as in Carlsbad, NM.  One impact of the oil and gas boom in SE NM.  Reporter Jens Erik Gould has been writing about how a rush of people and money to the Delaware Basin has affected life in towns like Carlsbad, Artesia and Hobbs.  One piece of advice, if you were thinking of driving around Lea and Eddy Counties? Don’t.  Energy industry trucks have the roadways clogged and broken.

Direct download: HereAndThere_110519_Gould.mp3
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For the 7 years I’ve been in New Mexico, the guiding principle on diverting the Gila River was “use it or lose it.” Use the water in NM before it gets to AZ, use “free” Federal money whenever you can get it.  Environment reporter Laura Paskus on how using the Gila River has become a lose-lose proposition, with incredibly shrinking plans having less and less chance of ever happening. With $14 million already spent. 

Direct download: HereAndThere_110419_Paskus.mp3
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As the impeachment campaign lifts the rock hiding President Trump’s pressure campaign to force Ukraine to help him smear Joe Biden, many new characters are crawling into view.  Who are these ex-Soviet “businessmen” and whom do they really represent? Historian Alexander Motyl of Rutgers University – Newark on the players and the games being played in Ukraine.  Trump and Giuliani say they were trying to root out Ukrainian corruption…so why have they been consorting with some who are rooted in the corruption?

Direct download: HereAndThere_102919_Motyl.mp3
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 No big changes after the fourth Democratic Presidential debate…the strong stayed strong, especially front-runner Joe Biden who kept his edge in all polls ahead of Elizabeth Warren and Bernie sanders, and the weak got weaker with the voters, if not, the pundits report, among so called “Democratic leaders.”  John Nichols of The Nation has been covering the campaign.  He like me is still waiting for substantial questions and answers on climate change and America’s failing infrastructure.  

Direct download: HereAndThere_102819_Nichols.mp3
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For decades, Hollywood came to New Mexico.  To film.  The Land of Enchantment was largely the backdrop of movies.  Because it’s beautiful.  And not so far from L.A.  And inexpensive.  Now, Albuquerque is becoming a production center…Netflix and NBC Universal have signed 10-year deals with the city.  Is this good news? Journalist and author Meredith Jordan says – definitely, yes.  Although she’s seen the entertainment economy boom in Georgia and then go bust.

Direct download: HereAndThere_102419_Jordan.mp3
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The Uber ride-share service has two big problems:  one it’s treating its drivers – not as employees – but as poorly-paid contractors …and still it’s losing lots of money. Says Edward Ongweso Jr of VICE News’ Motherboard, recent legislation in California, saying Uber, Lyft and Door Dash drivers are employees, could be the death of the ride-share industry.

Direct download: HereAndThere_102219_Ongweso.mp3
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Public Housing is a national shame.  And one of the most shameful cities is Baltimore, MD.  Wretched housing projects, poorly maintained can trap residents in dangerous conditions.  Investigative reporter Molly Parker of Pro Publica and The Southern Illinoisan has been closing the public housing debacle from Baltimore to Hartford to Cairo, Illinois.

Direct download: HereAndThere_102119_Parker.mp3
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Real American courts are ruled, under the Constitutional separation of powers, by the Judicial branch.  On the other hand the quasi-judicial hearings for migrants in ICE custody and their Immigration Judges are ruled by the Executive Branch, giving extraordinary powers to the Attorney general and the President.  They produce a lot of deportations, but justice?  Maybe not.  Madeleine Schwartz reported on cases heard in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas for the NY Review of Books.

Direct download: HereAndThere_101719_Schwartz.mp3
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 The Islamic State (also known as ISIS) has been expelled from all its capital cities and its fighters have been scattered across Syria and Iraq.  But Colin P. Clarke of the RAND Corporation explains in his new book After the Caliphate, this does not mean the jihadist idea is defeated nor its threats removed.  IS fighters are still active in Syria and IS terrorists strike almost every week somewhere in Iraq, and then there’s Libya, Nigeria, Indonesia and the Philippines.  The Islamic State is alive at least in aspiration, in all those places and more.

Direct download: HereAndThere_101519_Clarke.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:00pm MDT

The agents and executives of the Federal Bureau of Investigation have long had their enemies, but former agent and senior aide to former FBI Director James Comey Josh Campbell says, those enemies have never before included the President of the United States.  He chronicles the battle between Trump and his allies and the FBI in a new book, Crossfire Hurricane.  The damage to both institutions, the FBI and the White House, he says, has been considerable.

Direct download: HereAndThere_101419_Campbell.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:00pm MDT

 So many of the people appointed to important Federal positions by President Donald Trump seem to have been picked to destroy the institutions they are to run.  Or in the case of the Federal Elections Commission, Trump’s not filling seats has left the FEC paralyzed, even as our elections are under more threats than ever before. 

Direct download: HereAndThere_101019_Levinthal.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:00pm MDT

The number of racehorses dying from injuries suffered on the track at Santa Anita in southern California continues to grow.  And so does the toll nationally. A dozen or more racehorses die every week on American race tracks, an existential threat facing the “Sport of Kings,” even before Joe Drape of the NY Times broke the biggest racetrack scandal of the year.

Direct download: HereAndThere_100719_Drape.mp3
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Among the things President Donald Trump held against his National Security Advisor John Bolton – before he fired him – was getting the White House too ineffectually involved in Venezuela.  In recent days, the US upped its financial support for opposition leader Juan Guido.  Does this make a difference to Venezuela’s dictator-President Nicolas Maduro?  And what’s happened to the millions of Venezuelan refugees?

Direct download: HereAndThere_100319_J_Goodman.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:00pm MDT

If Italian politics isn’t your bowl of pasta, I pity you on both counts.  Here’s a recap: the governing coalition of the anarchists and the immigrant-haters fell apart and has been replaced by an alliance of the anarchists and their former arch-enemies, the bureaucratic Democrats.  The Prime Minister stays the same, and he seems to be making some big changes of course.  3 months ago Giuseppi Conte was just the face-man of the Prime Minister, now he’s the boss. 

Direct download: HereAndThere_100119_Livesay.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:00pm MDT

Many recent developments in litigation to hold the pharmaceutical industry responsible for American’s opioid drug addiction epidemic. A powerful judgment in Oklahoma against drug-industry giant Johnson & Johnson, a near-settlement and declaration of bankruptcy from OxyContin-maker Purdue Pharma, which shows deep divisions among the plaintiffs in the biggest federal suit. Settlement deadline for all defendants is October 21. Chris McGreal of The Guardian US, author of American Overdose has been covering the story.

Direct download: ht093019McGrealPOD.mp3
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Doing good is hard to do.  For example, carbon offsets are meant to save forests, protect the planet and discourage pollution.  Nice idea, but does it really work?  Investigative reporter Lisa Song of Pro Publica says study after study shows that the swaps rarely deliver. All it takes is a bad storm or a worse President to do in the best-paid plan.  Examples: wildfires and Jair Bolosnaro in Brazil.  But in California carbon offsets are getting a big green light. 

Direct download: HT092619SongPOD.mp3
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The public address announcement at Heathrow Airport in London summoned investigative reporter Dave Lindorff… report to your boarding gate for a security check.  Somehow, Lindorff was on the FBI’s Terrorist Watchlist.  Could it have been that his stories on the futility of Pentagon audits could have made someone angry?  Angry enough to call him a terrorist?  How might he clear his name? Lindorff investigated his own story and tells it, in depth on HERE & THERE

Direct download: HT0924LindorffPOD.mp3
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In Hong Kong, a standoff continues.  Xi Jinping and his Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam carry on a measured war of attrition, jailing a few, beating up a few more rebels each week, while making faux-concessions on -- for example, the extradition bill that "lit the fuse" for rebellion.  Xi hopes, as in 2014, China can outlast the opposition.  So far, that hasn't worked.  The popular resistance is wide and deep.  Joseph Lian, a veteran Hong Kong journalist and frequent contributor to the NY Times has the latest on the story.

Direct download: HT092319LianPOD.mp3
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When it comes to our global crisis of climate change, these are the watchwords of Greta Thunberg, the 16 year old leader of a worldwide youth campaign for immediate action: "I want you to act as if the house was on fire — because it is". Artemisio Romero y Carver is a leader of YUCCA, Youth United for Climate Crisis Action, who will bring Thunberg’s message to Santa Fe tomorrow.  The NM Legislature has taken steps, but he says, they’re far short of enough. 

Direct download: HT091919YuccaPOD.mp3
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What is Vladimir Putin’s Russia all about, and how did it get there.  Dmitri Trenin, head of the Carnegie Endowment’s Moscow Center has a new short history, simply titled Russia, which succinctly tells that story…of a history filled with revolutions…of old regimes torn apart and very different new ones built on their bones.  What changed?  And what about Russia always seems to stay the same? 

Direct download: HT091719TreninPOD.mp3
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Before Israel was officially a state, it was a nation under threat from its Arab neighbors.  Matti Friedman’s new book, Spies of No Country tells the story of 4 future Israelis, Arabic-speakers who grew up in Arab environments as spies behind enemy lines in Lebanon.  Their story points to the future intelligence service Mossad and the future of Israel in which Mizrahis, Jews from the East play crucial roles.  Life, love and a mission to blow up a yacht built for Adolf Hitler.  The story, in depth on HERE & THERE

Direct download: HT091619FriedmanPOD.mp3
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Bullies do it when called out – “He started it!” Aggressive haters always claim the hatred started with their enemies.  So, Donald Trump’s first and everlasting claim: “Islam hates us!”  So many ways that this idea is not true, and profoundly damaging as it gets rooted in America.  How Islamophobia was cultivated here and the consequences are subjects covered in Lawrence Pintak’s new book America & Islam: Soundbites, Suicide Bombs and the Road to Donald Trump.

Direct download: HT091219PintakPOD.mp3
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Because they are appointed for life, a generation of Federal Judges is longer than the average – say, 25 years.  So that our generation, today’s Federal Court Judges include a few elders from the Clinton era, a short-changed minority of Obama selections and a majority of George W Bush and Donald Trump appointees. As promised, Trump’s judges are different.  Elie Mystal of The Nation and Above the Law on how this affects your life. 

Direct download: HT091019mystalPOD.mp3
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One of the fastest growing things in the world is the pile of traceable evidence every crime leaves behind.  As Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman of Saudi Arabia learned in the days and weeks after the murder of the journalist Jamal Khashoggi. Which led to a whole new pile of evidence of other crimes committed by a government-sponsored Saudi Murder and Kidnap Inc.  Ayman Mohyeldin broke the story in Vanity Fair and on MSNBC, where he reports and anchors. 

Direct download: HereAndThere_090919_Mohyeldin.mp3
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The rush to qualify for the upcoming third round of the Democratic Presidential debates raises a lot of questions. How much should be enough to qualify.  How many are too many when it comes to candidates taking part in a single debate.  10?  We’ve done 10?  11? 12?  Or does that mandate a pair of 6’s?  And how could a co-called national poll of 298 people carry so much weight? John Nichols of The Nation helps sort out the story.

Direct download: HT090519NicholsPOD.mp3
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It was, said an administration insider, John Bolton’s and Mike Pompeo’s “nightmare” – that Ayatollah Khamenei invites Donald Trump to talk, and the President agrees.  At the G-7 meetings, French President Emanuel Macron re-staged that nightmare as a dream almost come true.  Iran expert Karim Sadjadpour of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace on how close to a US-Iran summit is “almost.”   

Direct download: HereAndThere_090319_Sadjadpour.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:00pm MDT

The United States is in deep negotiations with the Taliban over an orderly and peaceful withdrawal of American and other international military forces from Afghanistan. In Washington, in addition to escape, the Taliban negotiation offers a chance to pave the way to an end to civil war.  In Kabul, it’s seen as a sellout of America’s friends, and the once-shared ambition of a democratic, modern Afghanistan.

Direct download: HereAndThere_082919_Constable.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:00pm MDT

Farmington, NM is a small town at the hub of the Four Corners area, a region made up of bits from NM, AZ, CO and UT, a region built on coal.  Of course, that means several kinds of trouble, and Kendra Chamberlain of the NM Political Report says, a plan to convert a huge coal-fired power plant, use it to make a different product and save jobs and the community built around them, may not be a real solution. But who should decide?…right now it’s up financial markets, can investors be found in a fossil energy project? 

Direct download: HereAndThere_082719_Chamberlain.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:00pm MDT

Syria has long been a chessboard on which outsiders have inflicted or abetted widespread human suffering.   In Idlib province in northwest Syria, Russia is redefining its partnership with Turkey, to hand over more territory to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Journalist, author Charles Glass, says another Syrian partnership is being re-defined -- between Turkey and the United States, the Kurdish-majority areas of the northeastern quarter of the country. 

Direct download: HereAndThere_082619_Glass.mp3
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 The biggest civil trial in US history, the most expensive settlement yet, and tons of new documents, all of them about sharing out the blame for America’s opioid drug crisis.  George Polk Award – winner Lenny Bernstein of the Washington Post on how pharmaceutical manufacturers, mega-distributors and reckless retailers put millions of addictive narcotics up for sale. His reporting showed how, for years, Federal officials stymied DEA efforts to crack down on the opioid epidemic, but now several judgment days are nigh. 

Direct download: HereAndThere_082219_Bernstein.mp3
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A wet, cold and extended winter and spring 2019 brought relief from drought to the state of NM, but John Fleck, the veteran journalist, scholar and author of the classic, Water is for Fighting Over and Other Myths About Water in the West says that relief is only short-term.  It only made up for the deficit of the drought year that preceded it, not the several additional dry years that came before.  But Fleck adds, the people of the American Southwest are learning how to deal with this.

Direct download: HT081219fleckPOD.mp3
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China’s economy seems to be weakening under pressure from President Trump’s trade war, but China’s military, the People’s Liberation Army, the PLA is only growing stronger.  Senior analyst Derek Grossman of the RAND Corporation says the PLA’s biggest growth areas are in power projection, the Air Force and Navy.  But will it be used domestically, to quell the ongoing rebellion in Hong Kong?  

Direct download: HereAndThere_081919_Grossman.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:00pm MDT

Iraq, so the universally-proclaimed story goes – has transitioned from wartime to the post-war.  Unfortunately, some of the most important fighters on the Iraqi side of the war to oust the Islamic State – the PMFs Popular Mobilization Forces – have neither disbanded nor disarmed and reporter Isadora Gotts of Al Monitor says the influence of these often-Iran-dominated militias is affecting almost everything across Iraq.  This is most obvious as the heavily-destroyed city of Mosul tries to return to normal civilian life.  

Direct download: HereAndThere_081519_Gotts.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:00pm MDT

Sexual trafficking of children is one of the fastest-growing crimes in America, and was even before President Trump’s policy of separating immigrant families at our southern border created a cohort of perfect victims and released them to the traffickers.  Rikha Sharma Rani of The Fuller Project has covered this story for the NY Times and Montgomery AL Advertiser.  She tells us about innovative programs to help the exploited children in Miami, Dade County, Florida, one of America’s hardest-hit cities when it comes to sexual trafficking of children. 

Direct download: HereAndThere_081319_RS_Rani.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:00pm MDT

The mass murder of 22 innocent shoppers at Cielo Vista Mall in El Paso, TX, is an awful event in itself.  But it’s also part of a long and awful history of violent attacks by White Men on Mexicans and Mexican-Americans in Texas. Russell Contreras of the Associated Press has traced that history and the new movement to expose and push back against it.  He’s also traced another historic pattern, racist incitement from the White House.

Direct download: HT081219contrerasPOD.mp3
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Donald Trump says he’s going to be the first President to eradicate human trafficking.  His daughter Ivanka calls him the Abraham Lincoln of sexual slavery.  But Jenna Krajeski of The Fuller Project and The New Yorker says so far, Trump’s principal achievements are a White House conference and the declaration of January as an anti-trafficking month.  Behind the rhetoric, Krajeski reports, is a record of making the position of most trafficked women worse.  

Direct download: HT0808pod.mp3
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Trump’s formula for immigration disaster is simple: first make applying for asylum the legal way very slow to impossible. Then when the number of people crossing the border illegally becomes unmanageable, dump the migrants on the nearest border cities and town. Algernon D’Ammassa of the Las Cruces Sun-News on how that small city and the even smaller town of Deming, NM dealt with thousands of impoverished, frightened, transient visitors.

Direct download: HereAndThere_080619_DAmmassa.mp3
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President Trump nominates Texas Congressman John Ratcliffe to be the next director of national intelligence, a controversial
choice Shane Harris of the Washington Post and I are discussing when the President Tweets, he’s pulling the nomination. Which, as you can guess, still leaves us plenty to talk about. Like, resigned DNI Dan Coats’ acting successor.

There is a process, spelled out in law, that Deputy Director Sue Gordon should get the interim job and Congress clearly wants that to happen. But will it? President Trump seems NOT to be headed in that direction.

Direct download: HereAndThere_080519_Harris.mp3
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Every link in America’s border control system is being stretched to the snapping pint by the influx of migrants from Central America.  Part of this is a plan by the Trump Administration to discourage migrants from coming here, but part is just a mess of overwhelmed officers, overcrowded detention facilities and a court system Trump wants cut out of the picture.  AP journalist Cedar Attanasio broke several big stories, including the terrible conditions for migrants held in one facility in Clint, Texas.

Direct download: HereAndThere_080119_Attanasio.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:00pm MDT

Binyamin Netanyahu is now the longest-serving Prime Minister in Israeli history, approaching 4900 says in office.  But will he make it to 5000? The Associated Press Bureau Chief in Jerusalem, Josef Federman says for that feat, Bibi will have to stay in power till December, and the chances are little better than 50-50 he’ll assure that in September’s second national election of 2019.  The need for a do-over vote is also unique in Israel’s history. 

Direct download: HereAndThere_073019_Federman.mp3
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Bernie’s “single payer,” Beto’s “buy-in,” Medicare for All, or is it Medicaid for All…so many plans for healthcare reform.  And then there’s ACA, the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare…how much of it survives and what’s its record been in New Mexico and the United States?  Colin Baillio of Health Action New Mexico sorts out the candidates and their schemes and the realities of medical insurance coverage in America, just in time for tomorrow and Wednesday’s ’s Democratic debates.

Direct download: HereAndThere_072919_Baillio.mp3
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Two things we know about the opioid drug fentanyl: it’s very dangerous, even a small dose can kill you, and it’s very addictive.  The drug manufacturer Insys knew both of these facts, but it pushed its version of fentanyl, an under-the-tongue tablet supposedly meant for only end-stage cancer patients on physicians and patients to put it into wider use.  The results were often tragic and the company’s now out of business. 

Direct download: HereAndThere_072519_Boyd.mp3
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When Vladimir Putin took power, Russian life was unpredictable, and Russian power and influence were at historic lows.  How to make Russia great again?  Putin’s formula was simple – a strong government, and a powerful military to command respect at home and abroad, and national unity. Shaun Walker of the Guardian, whose new book, The Long Hangover shows how Putin used nostalgic memories of World War 2 to bring Russians together.  Never mentioning Stalinist purges or mass deportations was part of his propaganda plan. 

Direct download: HereAndThere_072319_Walker.mp3
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When a small town loses its only hospital, the impact goes way beyond people’s physical health.  The economy and the society are under threat.  Sarah Jane Tribble of Kaiser Heath News on what shut Mercy Hospital in Fort Scott, Kansas, and what happened next.  Do small towns need real hospitals, and if not, what do they need to protect the public health?

Direct download: HereAndThere_072219_Tribble.mp3
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Almost all the journalistic focus has been on America’s southern border with Mexico, destination end of the migrant trail.  Anita Pouchard Serra led a team for the New York Times to trace the trail to one its most prolific points of origin – a town in El Salvador called Intipuca.  Migrancy has made some winners and losers there, and that’s only one way in which links between the US and Intipuca have divided that town.  

Direct download: HereAndThere_071819_Serra.mp3
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What does it mean when one of the NY Times’ top political reporters calls a crowded field of Democratic aspirants to the Presidency, a “clown car?”  Are too damn many Democrats dawdling too long on the campaign trail, or is it just the journalists who are growing impatient?  Pollster/strategist and political analyst John Zogby takes a look at the 2020 Presidential campaign at its earliest stages.  One candidate has dropped out, is a bigger cull coming soon?

Direct download: HereAndThere_071619_Zogby.mp3
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 It’s undignified birth on Twitter, and it’s hurry-up delivery in the Korean Demilitarized Zone may have made the meeting between President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un seem less important than it was.  Bruce Bennett, a top Korea analyst for the RAND Corporation says the PR pageant actually made some important points.  President Trump’s presentation of “friendship” seems to have convinced Kim to take diplomacy out of the deep-freeze and into action.  And then?  

Direct download: HereAndThere_071519_Bennett.mp3
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Just 2 days after baseball’s annual All-Star Game, a look back at an amazing, if tragic year in the life of an all-time all-star -- Lou Gehrig.  Dan Joseph, author of the new book, The Last Ride of the Iron Horse, on how, in 1938, Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis , ALS, was already starting to destroy Gehrig’s body, but the great Yankee first baseman played through it, helping the Yankees win their third straight World Series.  His career never make it through another baseball season.

Direct download: HereAndThere_071119_Joseph.mp3
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NM Gov. Susana Martinez’ Department of Human Services cried fraud and effectively fired all the private agencies serving the state’s addicted and mentally ill.  But there was no fraud, and the substitute agencies imported from AZ failed or quit.  The old agencies, Ben Altenberg, Director of the new PBS documentary The Shake Up, are out of business, and their most vulnerable clients bereft, adrift, and in some cases probably preventably, dead. 

Direct download: HereAndThere_070919_Altenberg.mp3
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 The United States insists it is negotiating a peace agreement for Afghanistan, but the current agenda doesn’t extend beyond a timetable for a pullout of international forces. Sophia Jones, Global Editor for The Fuller Project, has been reporting from Afghanistan for years, and says a quick US exit could be a disaster for Afghanistan’s women.  The lives of women in Kabul and other cities freed from Taliban rule in 2001 have improved greatly over 18 years.  But all that, they fear, could be swept away. 

Direct download: HereAndThere_070819_Sophia_Jones.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:00pm MDT