by John Dankosky - Congratulations to independent producer Nancy Solomon, whose documentary Mind The Gap: Why are Good Schools Failing Black Students? just won the coveted Peabody Award. We featured Solomon as part of a conversation about closing the achievement gap in January. The stories it tells get right to the heart of our country’s education debate.
Monthly Archives: March 2010
by John Dankosky –Linda McMahon, the front-runner for the Republican Senate nomination answered questions about her family’s wrestling business, campaign spending and health care on WNPR’s Where We Live Tuesday.
“It has evolved over the years from being TV14 – which it was on cable television…had a later-night run. That was the edgier programming, both in content and in language. But the broadcast portion of WWE has always been PG. Now, all of the programming is PG, which is rated by networks, it is not rated by WWE. So that evolution of programming content…and some of the episodes that have been referred to during this campaign, would not, today meet WWE programming standards?” She said “You always look back and say, yeah, we would have done some things differently.”
“We are going to add 30-some million people onto health care rolls, which – on the one hand – is admirable. On the other hand, it has the potential of clogging the health care system, because we don’t have enough doctors today who are handling the treatment of medical people.”
“When he then came up the ladder in the Democratic party, I really still didn’t know who Rahm Emanuel was, but Ari called and said ‘My brother’s going to be in town and he hasn’t met you’ – this was in 2006 – ‘And he would like to meet you, and quite frankly, he’s probably going to put the arm on you again.’ So Rahm came by my offices in Stamford, and that’s when I did contribute to the DCCC.”
Update: Audio of this broadcast available here. Rick Green of the Hartford Courant has already blogged about the show here.
by John Dankosky – After a few re-schedulings, the current poll leader for the Republican Senate nomination joined us on the show Tuesday. Leave your comments here, email firstname.lastname@example.org or tweet us a@wherewelive.
by John Dankosky – Amey Marella is pretty new to her job as Connecticut’s DEP commissioner, but it must seem like she’s been at it for a loooooong time. With the state continuing to hemorrhage jobs, lawmakers – spurred by the business community – are pushing for changes to her department. They say businesses have trouble working with the agency; they say the permitting process is too long and too confusing; and they say that the DEP is too much of an “advocate for the environment.” (More on that later)
As Mark Pazniokas reported in The Connecticut Mirror in February, bills aimed at changing the department range from “nuanced” to “openly hostile.” One bill would eliminate the DEP altogether and let the Department of Economic and Community Development handle the permitting. Another would prescribe more oversight of DEP’s “guidance statements” that tell companies how to comply.
DEP supporters say the agency is short-staffed, and that’s part of the reason for long permitting delays. But, Christopher Phelps of Connecticut Environment told the Mirror that these bills are aimed at something more fundamental: “Taking the environment cops off the beat.”
Some observations, which I’ll be talking about with Marella:
- Several of these bills, including the one that would put environmental regulation in the hands of a state development agency are being pushed by Democrats, who have generally been kinder to environmental regulations.
- Marella, having heard from lawmakers and Governor Rell has worked to “streamline” the permitting process. (But the example she gave Pazniokas of an easier road to get your residential boat dock built will not exactly thrill business advocates.)
- The CBIA is very involved in this issue, and lobbyist Eric Brown told the Hartford Business Journal “I think the problem with DEP is that too often it views itself as an advocate for the environment,” Brown said. “But the DEP’s responsibility is not just to the environment, it’s also to the state and economy.” I can’t wait to get Marella’s reaction to that.
- In other writing, Brown seems to set up an either-or situation: “Environmental advocates and the DEP both claim publicly that a strong environment and a strong economy go hand-in-hand. Businesses agree. But while we have the cleanest environment in at least 150 years, our economy is the worst it has been in decades.”
- Finally, all this talk of a DEP that’s not “business-friendly” reminds me of the reporting WNPR’s Nancy Cohen did years ago on the Rowland-era department, at a very different time in its history. A time when regulators were sometimes told by superiors that business interests should supersede environmental concerns. A time when political favors were tied to environmental regulations, and whistleblowers were muzzled.
- We’ll also be talking about the impact of higher fees at state parks – meant to help close the budget gap. Will this mean fewer people enjoying Connecticut’s natural resources?
We want to hear from you: Are you worried that Connecticut’s environmental regulations will be weakened in an attempt to be more “business-friendly?” Or, are you a business owner who has a story about a regulatory system that’s broken? Join the conversation at 860-275-7266, email email@example.com or leave a comment here.
by John Dankosky - Steve Kotchko of CRN and WNPR’s Ray Hardman are working on a new video project, gathering political and governmental news. Here, Steve talks to Congressman John Larson about keeping the new reform law on the books, over Republican objections.
By Libby Conn– When John asked Rob Simmons this morning about any mistakes he’d made in congress as the Representative for Connecticut’s second district, Simmons pointed to his support for cap and trade legislation, saying:
At the time that I was involved with that issue, there was a huge amount of information out in the public domain focusing on issues of climate change and global warming, etc. Over time, that information has become modified with new information and with some very disturbing news about how that data was manipulated, improperly, by folks who had a vested interest in manipulating it. And so there’s been a shift away, if you will…
But then Simmons went on to explain that it was actually his time serving as Connecticut’s Business Advocate that convinced him that a cap and trade system would result in higher energy costs for businesses in the state already struggling to operate with some of the nation’s highest rates.
JD: Are you backing away though from the idea that human activity has an impact on the climate? Do you still believe that what we do here does raise the temperature of the planet and something needs to be done about it?
RS: I think we all know that the Clean Air Act, which was signed by Richard Nixon, kind of ironic, and the creation of the EPA, created by Richard Nixon was in response to clean air issues. I mean, I’ve suffered fro asthma. So I understand how air pollution and particulate matter in the air can affect our health and our lives. And that particulate matter, in some cases, is created by human beings…the same issue goes to water. If you pollute the water and we don’t have clean water, we don’t have the opportunity to live in a quality environment. So we want to make sure the water is clean. I remember the days when the rivers of Connecticut ran different colors based on the dyes being used by the velvet mills. So there’s no question that certain human behavior causes pollution that we need to be concerned about.
JD: The idea that carbon dioxide is one of those pollutants though is something that’s changed since the Nixon administration…..Do you believe that the US moving forward needs to have controls on carbon dioxide emissions, so that the temperature of the earth does not continue to rise?
RS: We need common sense solutions and that’s why I support nuclear power.
At least one caller, Susan, was confused:
Susan: I thought that Mr. Simmons skirted the question about whether or not he accepted the science about C02 and the cause of global warming and I would like to hear a definitive answer from him because that is kind of the crux of the issue.
RS: It’s nice to have a definitive answer if there is a definitive answer….I’m not convinced there is a definitive answer I’ve read a number of books on both side of the issue and I think it’s basically part of a discussion that is ongoing….I’m continuing to educate myself on the subject and will continue to do so.
JD: You changed your stance on cap and trade, you said, because you thought it would kill business. But when you supported it at first, it must mean that you believed global warming was happening and there was a reason that we should have cap and trade at all.
RS: There was a lot of information out on the subject at the time. But in retrospect, as we update ourselves, as we live and as we learn, we’ve discovered that some of that data was manipulated and incorrect. The entity in Great Britain that was charged with millions of dollars of research on the subject concealed some of their findings, and worked to disregard people who had alternative viewpoints…..I think this issue is a developing issue where new information is being brought to bare and we have to keep our mind open to that. What really concerned me, as the Business Advocate, is that we have the highest energy costs in the continental United States. To lay another layer of cost on these companies without being certain that other countries will engage in the regime , without being certain that the science is absolutely correct, it is a job killer and we can’t afford job killers right now.
We had some tweeters take issue with Simmons’ characterization of the science and the significance of “climate-gate.”:
@wherewelive the climate change emails were shown to be innocent of what Simmons is accusing by an independent panel.
@wherewelive Simmons is just out of touch with reality w/r/t global warming. The email scandal doesn’t impact the main body of research.
In any case, it doesn’t seem that Simmons, or anyone will have an opportunity to vote on cap and trade legislation again anytime in the near future. Though the House passed legislation last year, the Senate never did so and the policy has, to a certain extent, fallen out of favor. President Obama’s most recent budget didn’t include the term at all. Read more on the demise of cap and trade in yesterday’s New York Times.
by John Dankosky - Watch for a redesign of the CTNewsJunkie site coming up soon. Owner/Editor Christine Stuart writes: ”While not much will change visually, our new software platform will give us more flexibility in how we deliver news. We also have made it easier for readers to share content on the site.”
Meanwhile, The New Haven Independent’s Paul Bass reports that the Journal-Register company(which owns the New Haven Register) has” laid out a path for JRC to move from the ice age to the digital age.” This includes giving video cameras to all reporters.
And, Rick Green turned us on to the latest player in the hyper-local online news market, The Daily Norwalk. The paper is part of Main Street Connect, a national company providing “high-quality profitable community news sites and to knit those sites into a national communications network.”
by John Dankosky –A writer who has spent his career covering pro wrestling is all over the Connecticut media this week, taking on the business practices of Former Wrestling CEO and current Senate candidate Linda McMahon.
“I think in this Senate race, there’s an over-emphasis on You Tube clips of supposedly embarrassing TV content, and racy material and so forth. That’s not where I’m coming from at all. My focus is on the atrocious health and safety standards of this unregulated, out-of-control industry that entertains millions by has a tremendous human death toll.”
“I would like people to start taking real death in the fake sport of wrestling almost as seriously as they take Roger Clemens and Barry Bonds’ fake records in the real sport of baseball.”
“He is peddling a for-profit book that has been routinely debunked by the facts. WWE has a very thorough wellness policy, and I don’t believe there is another entertainment company in America with a more comprehensive drug testing policy.
“He would have the public believe that Linda McMahon is responsible for the personal choices of every person ever associated with WWE even if that association ended years and years ago. People understand that many individuals in the entertainment business live healthy and responsible lifestyles, and many do not. Nobody in America blames Disney for Lindsey Lohan’s car accidents, or Warner Bros. for the Heath Ledger tragedy, or 20th Century Fox for the unfortunate turn of events surrounding Corey Haim.”
Listen for Linda McMahon on Where We Live on Tuesday, March 30.
by Catie Talarski – Thanks to all who came out to support experimental Radio Theater last night! The second installment of Catie Talarski’s Radio Adventure Theater was a huge success. Despite the fact that we had to make last minute changes to the venue. Public Radio folks are nothing if not resilient.
I want to thank a few people instrumental in helping me pulling this off: WNPR heroes John Dankosky, DJ Libby Conn Franklin, Patrick Skahill, Jeff Cohen, Bruce Barber and Jonathan McNicol; Janice Lamotta from The Studio @ Billings Forge, Tracy Dumont from The Lyceum and camera man Helder Mira. See here for photos from the one and only Chion Wolf.
A highlight of the evening was the super smooth beats of Joel Weik and Jordan Critchley from String Theorie. Amazing.
Thank you all for your donations. We raised about $100 to benefit Red Cross Haiti Relief.
The Radio Adventure Theater is a work in progress – so I appreciate any feedback or ideas for future listening events…
If you weren’t able to make it, you can still listen to the radio pieces I curated around the theme of “Rituals”. All audio was procured from the Public Radio Exchange. What is the Public Radio Exchange, you ask? I show you:
To listen to the audio, all you have to do is create a (FREE) user name and password. Then you can listen till your heart’s content!
Here’s what we listened to at Catie Talarski’s Radio Adventure Theater: Rituals
Spring Peepers by Ed Herrmann
A natural sundscape featuring spring peepers, recorded near Leelanau, Michigan. The smallest frogs in Michigan are also the loudest
For Whom the Bell Tolls by Jackson Braider
A church bell rings the hour in rural France. Then, two and a half minutes later, it rings it again. This sets Jackson Braider thinking about our modern obsession with synchronizing our clocks with those of the rest of the world. The piece is a mini-essay with sound.
What’s the Deal with Adults and Coffee? by Bonnie Sue Hitchcock
Sylvia Hitchcock-Jones sets out to understand the coffee thing. She interviews a barista and learns the ins and outs of the addictive elixir.
Scared by John Biewen
A (very) short story of love and anxiety. A child grows to age 13 in three minutes while a father muses on parental fears
This I Believe – Harold Taw
Seattle attorney and writer Harold Taw wrote this essay as part of “This I Believe”, a national media project that invites people from all walks of life to share the core values that guide their lives. He believes a unique birthday tradition helps his family prosper.
Flanking on the Far Day by Kent Hoffman
(The story is about ten minutes into the hour-long episode of CBC Radio’s “Outfront” program – which is no longer on the air. )
Kelly McCarthy has always known the significance of her Dad’s yearly ritual of preparing his Harley Davidson motorcycle for the first ride of Spring. But this year the ritual means even more. Her Dad had a heart attack in the winter and his recovery has focused on just one thing: getting back on his Harley. And this time Kelly is along for the ride.
A Tantalizing Tradition by Rebecca Sheir
Blintzes, brisket, noodle kugel, chicken soup… being a vegan at a traditional Jewish meal isn’t exactly a piece of cake — be it honey, streusel, or kosher-for-Passover. In this tantalizing tidbit, one Jewish vegan kibitzes about how putting away the meat, eggs and dairy also meant putting the kibosh on thousands of years of culinary convention.
Radio Lab – Laughter
(We listened to about the first eight minutes of this Radio Lab episode. One of my favorite Radio Programs by far.)
The great philospher Aristotle thought that laughter is what separates us from the beasts. That a baby does not have a SOUL, until the moment it laughs for the first time. Historian Barry Sanders, says that according to Aristotle, this moment of “human ensouling” is supposed to happen when a baby is 40 days old.
“I”m very concerned about the degree to which the implementation of this legislation is left up to the states and to private insurers. There should be a choice within these new exchanges of a public insurance plan that competes on a level playing field with private insurance.”