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MAKING THE GRADE: The No Child Left Behind Act

with John E. Chubb, Martin Carnoyvia Uncommon Knowledge
Friday, January 14, 2005

In 2001, President Bush signed into law the No Child Left Behind Act, a bipartisan effort to mandate national education standards and increase federal funding of education. At the time, critics on both sides of the political spectrum were troubled by the expansion of federal power over education that the act represented and by the education standards the act mandated. Now, nearly half a decade later, has No Child Left Behind been a success? If not, how should it be reformed? Peter Robinson speaks with John E. Chubb and Martin Carnoy.

MONKEY BUSINESS: Evolution and Intelligent Design

with Massimo Pigliucci, Jonathan Wellsvia Uncommon Knowledge
Friday, January 14, 2005

In October 2004, the school board in the small town of Dover, Pennsylvania, ordered its high school biology teachers to preface classes on evolution with the statement: "Darwin's Theory is a theory not a fact. Gaps in the theory exist for which there is no evidence." As an alternative to evolution, the school board suggested "intelligent design," a theory holding that life on earth could not have developed at random. Are there gaps in the theory of evolution that undermine its credibility? What should we make of "intelligent design"? And just what should we be teaching our children about the development of life on earth? Peter Robinson speaks with Massimo Pigliucci and Jonathan Wells.

THE ELECTORAL COLLEGE'S EXCELLENT ADVENTURE: Should We Abolish the Electoral College?

with Jack Rakove, Tara Rossvia Uncommon Knowledge
Monday, December 13, 2004

As required by the Constitution, the president of the United States is elected not by the national popular vote but by the vote of the Electoral College. In the Electoral College, each state receives as many votes as it has members of Congress. Because every state has two senators and is guaranteed at least one House member, votes of small states count more heavily than votes of large states. Has the Electoral College served the nation well? Or should it be abolished and replaced by a system in which every vote counts the same? Peter Robinson speaks with Jack Rakove and Tara Ross

RIAL POLITIK: Defusing the Iranian Nuclear Crisis

with Larry Diamond, Abbas Milanivia Uncommon Knowledge
Monday, December 13, 2004

Iran—the same country that took American diplomats hostage twenty-five years ago and whose leaders often refer to the United States as the "Great Satan"—may be on the verge of developing nuclear weapons. How worried should we be? What can the United States do, if anything, to defuse the threat of a nuclear-armed Iran? Is a military response feasible? Or should the United States focus on strengthening the movement for democratic reform within Iran? Peter Robinson speaks with Larry Diamond and Abbas Milani.

DIVORCE, TRANSATLANTIC STYLE? The Future of the Transatlantic Alliance

with Niall Ferguson, Josef Joffe, Coit Blackervia Uncommon Knowledge
Wednesday, November 3, 2004

For forty-five years, the threat of conflict with the Soviet Union brought the United States and Western Europe into a tight partnership, most notably represented by the NATO military alliance. But with the Soviet Union gone and the European Union on the road to possible superpower status in its own right, does the transatlantic alliance have a future? Peter Robinson speaks with Niall Ferguson, Josef Joffe, and Coit Blacker.

COMMANDING HEIGHTS: American Empire

with Niall Ferguson, Ivan Elandvia Uncommon Knowledge
Wednesday, November 3, 2004

Since the end of the cold war, the United States has been the world's only superpower, accounting for 43 percent of the world's military expenditures. During this time, America has led major interventions into Kosovo, Afghanistan, and Iraq. Are the United States and the world better off when America follows a unilateral, interventionist foreign policy? Or should the United States reduce its overseas presence and instead emphasize international cooperation? Peter Robinson speaks with Niall Ferguson and Ivan Eland.

GREAT EXPECTATIONS: The Future of the European Union

with John O'Sullivan, Adrian Wooldridgevia Uncommon Knowledge
Monday, October 25, 2004

For some six decades, the continent of Europe has enjoyed remarkable peace and prosperity. What role has the European Union played in this success? And what role should the European Union play in the future? According to some European leaders, the purpose of the European Union is to create a superpower capable of counterbalancing the United States. Is the goal of a superpower Europe a good idea? Is it even possible? Peter Robinson speaks with John O'Sullivan and Adrian Wooldridge.

WHO NEEDS THE UNITED NATIONS? Reforming the United Nations

with Victor Davis Hanson, Jane Walesvia Uncommon Knowledge
Monday, October 25, 2004

In 2003, the secretary general of the United Nations appointed a 16-member commission to assess the threats to worldwide security in the twenty-first century. The commission came back with a number of recommendations for reforming the UN itself. Is this institution so important that it must be preserved and reformed? Or, given its lack of response to the crisis in Iraq, the ongoing nuclear crises in North Korea and Iran, and the humanitarian crisis in the Sudan, is the UN beyond reform? Perhaps it has outlasted its usefulness. Peter Robinson speaks with Victor Davis Hanson and Jane Wales.

LATIN AMERICA GOES SOUTH: Political Reform in Latin America

with Stephen Haber, Alvaro Vargas Llosavia Uncommon Knowledge
Thursday, October 21, 2004

Over the last quarter century, Latin America appears to have made remarkable political and economic progress—an undeniable shift towards democratic government and free market economics. Yet during the last five years, several Latin American countries have experienced one political and economic crisis after another. Why? Have democratic and free market reforms failed Latin America? Or are enduring problems of governmental structure still to blame? Peter Robinson speaks with Stephen Haber and Alvaro Vargas Llosa.

HOMELAND INSECURITY: Homeland Security

with Frances Edwards, Stephen Flynnvia Uncommon Knowledge
Thursday, October 21, 2004

The terrorists behind the 9/11 attacks took advantage of vulnerabilities in a critical part of America's infrastructure—our air transportation system. Experts have pointed to similar vulnerabilities in our nation's food supply, our ports, and our chemical and nuclear facilities. Congress and the Bush administration responded to the threat of other such attacks by creating the Department of Homeland Security. But has the government done enough? What more should we be doing to defend against potentially devastating domestic terrorist attacks? And just how much can we do without infringing on our freedom and way of life? Peter Robinson speaks with Frances Edwards and Stephen Flynn.

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For more than a decade the Hoover Institution has been producing Uncommon Knowledge with Peter Robinson, a series hosted by Hoover fellow Peter Robinson as an outlet for political leaders, scholars, journalists, and today’s big thinkers to share their views with the world. Guests have included a host of famous figures, including Paul Ryan, Henry Kissinger, Antonin Scalia, Rupert Murdoch, Newt Gingrich, and Christopher Hitchens, along with Hoover fellows such as Condoleezza Rice and George Shultz.

“Uncommon Knowledge takes fascinating, accomplished guests, then sits them down with me to talk about the issues of the day,” says Robinson, an author and former speechwriter for President Reagan. “Unhurried, civil, thoughtful, and informed conversation– that’s what we produce. And there isn’t all that much of it around these days.”

The show started life as a television series in 1997 and is now distributed exclusively on the web over a growing network of the largest political websites and channels. To stay tuned for the latest updates on and episodes related to Uncommon Knowledge, follow us on Facebook and Twitter