Wednesday, January 18, 2012

  • Debating Tucson School District’s Book Ban After Suspension of Mexican American Studies Program

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    Public school officials in Tucson, Arizona, have released a list of seven books that can no longer be used in classrooms following their suspension of the district’s acclaimed Mexican American Studies program. Last year, Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction John Huppenthal ruled the program violated a new state law, saying it "promote[s] resentment toward a race or class of people." "If all you’re teaching these students is one viewpoint, one dimension, we can readily see that it’s not an accurate history, it’s not an education at all. It’s not teaching these kids to think critically," Huppenthal says, "but instead it’s an indoctrination." We host a debate between Huppenthal and Richard Martinez, the attorney representing teachers and students trying to save the Mexican American Studies program. "What has occurred here is that [Huppenthal] has taken away from our entire community a curriculum that was adopted by our school board, that was developed by our school district, and that had successfully operated for well over 10 years," Martinez says. "It’s just part of the same kind of tactics that have been employed in Arizona reflected by [SB] 1070, the anti-immigrant perspective. It is the anti-Latino perspective that exists in this state." [includes rush transcript]

  • "The Operators": Michael Hastings on the Inside Story of America’s War in Afghanistan

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    We speak with reporter Michael Hastings about the "disastrous past year" in Afghanistan and the mentality a decade of war has bred there. The U.S. has "funneled billions of dollars in weapons and training into a chaotic place like Afghanistan, training these young guys to kill people, and then are shocked when they see the results," Hastings says of the outcry that followed last week’s appearance of a video showing four uniformed U.S. marines urinating on the corpses of three Afghan men, which has been widely condemned by officials in the United States and in Afghanistan. His new book, "The Operators: The Wild and Terrifying Inside Story of America’s War in Afghanistan," originated with his 2010 Rolling Stone article, "The Runaway General," about Gen. Stanley McChrystal, then commander of the war in Afghanistan, and his inner circle. McChrystal was fired after the article was published. [includes rush transcript]

  • Expansion of Indefinite Detention under NDAA Compounds Extradition Fears of WikiLeaks’ Assange

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    Rolling Stone journalist Michael Hastings was with WikiLeaks founder and editor-in-chief Julian Assange when the pretrial military hearing for accused Army whistleblower Private Bradley Manning was taking place in Fort Meade, Maryland, last month. Hastings says the military’s case against Manning, coupled with President Obama’s recent authorization of a measure expanding indefinite detention anywhere in the world in the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), has added further urgency to Assange’s effort to avoid extradition from Britain. "Julian Assange’s fear is that he will be extradited to Sweden...and then there will be some kind of media campaign where the U.S. government or the Swedish government starts leaking things about 'Oh, Assange helped the Iranians' or 'Assange helped the Taliban with this information,'" Hastings notes. "And then they’ll say, 'Well, you know, we need to try him as a spy.' And though that case might be very, very difficult to prove, it’s the threat of it that, in my mind, is so damning." [includes rush transcript]