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DARWIN'S GHOST: Sociobiology and Human Behavior

with Paul Ehrlich, Jeffrey Schloss, Lionel Tigervia Uncommon Knowledge
Friday, June 1, 2001

What can evolutionary science tell us about human behavior? During the past thirty years, biologists, anthropologists, and psychologists have begun applying Darwinian concepts, such as natural selection and survival of the fittest, to the study of behavior. Are social characteristics, such as aggression, love, and courtship, determined by our evolutionary past and encoded into our genes like physical attributes, such as walking upright or hair color? Are we slaves to our DNA, or does genetic determinism fail to explain fully what it means to be human?

YOU SAY YOU WANT A REPARATION: Reparations for Slavery

with Alfred Brophy, John McWhortervia Uncommon Knowledge
Monday, May 21, 2001

In recent years, a movement has been calling for the United States government to pay reparations for slavery in America. What does the federal government owe the descendants of slaves in this country? Should such reparations be viewed as a gesture of recognition for past wrongs or as an attempt to actually correct those past wrongs? Would payment of reparations erase the lingering economic problems in the African American community or would they do more harm than good? And if reparations are a good idea, who should receive them, all African Americans or just those descended from slaves?

SUDAN IMPACT: The Crisis in Sudan

with Bishop Macram Max Gassis, J. Stephen Morrisonvia Uncommon Knowledge
Monday, May 21, 2001

An eighteen-year civil war between the Arab north and the African south has created a humanitarian crisis in Sudan. Secretary of State Colin Powell has said of Sudan, "There is perhaps no greater tragedy on the face of the earth today." President George W. Bush has promised, that under his administration, foreign involvements would take place only where direct American interests are at stake. Does the tragedy in Sudan warrant direct U.S. involvement? If so, just what can, and should, the United States do?

DONKEY KONG: The Future of the Democratic Party

with David M. Kennedy, Susan F. Raskyvia Uncommon Knowledge
Monday, May 21, 2001

In 1936, Franklin Delano Roosevelt won reelection to a second term in one of the biggest landslides in American history. The outcome was a clear mandate in support of FDR's New Deal—an agenda of large-scale social and economic programs administered by the federal government. Sixty years later, in 1996, William Jefferson Clinton also won reelection to a second term, after declaring earlier that year that "the era of big government was over." How did the Democratic Party get from FDR to Bill Clinton? Now that the Democrats are out of the White House, will they continue the move to the center that Clinton initiated, or will they try to reinvigorate the traditional liberal base of the Democratic Party? Does that traditional base still exist?

Former Hoover fellow and Nobel laureate Milton Friedman.

THE HIGH AND THE MIGHTY: The War on Drugs

with Pete Wilson, Milton Friedmanvia Uncommon Knowledge
Thursday, December 21, 2000

America has spent three decades and hundreds of billions of dollars fighting a national war on drugs. Has the war on drugs been an effective way of dealing with America's drug problem or does it cause more harm than good? How should we weigh the moral and utilitarian arguments for and against the war on drugs; in other words, do we need to intensify the war on drugs or is it time to declare a cease fire?

POWER TO THE PEOPLE: Electricity Deregulation

with Gary Ackerman, Frank A. Wolak, Carl Woodvia Uncommon Knowledge
Wednesday, December 13, 2000

In 1996, California began the process of deregulating its electric utilities, a process closely watched nationwide, as twenty-five other states also move toward deregulation. The results thus far in California: A power crisis—electricity shortages, rolling blackouts, utilities on the verge of bankruptcy, and rising rates for customers. Was utility deregulation just poorly managed in California or are the electric utilities fundamentally different than industries that have benefitted from deregulation, such as airlines and telephone? Will the California power crisis bring the national movement toward energy deregulation to a halt or not?

TAKING THE INITIATIVE: The Initiative Process

with Bruce Cain, Ron Unzvia Uncommon Knowledge
Wednesday, December 13, 2000

Is the ballot initiative good or bad for American democracy? Today citizens in twenty-four states have the right to petition their fellow citizens in the law. Initiatives that are approved by voters become law, bypassing the normal legislative process. What are the benefits of this sort of direct democracy? And what are the dangers?

BYE BYE BILINGUAL: Bilingual Education

with Patricia Gandara, Ron Unzvia Uncommon Knowledge
Wednesday, December 13, 2000

Does bilingual education, teaching non-English speaking students academic subjects in their native language while they learn English, help students or hold them back? Should we use the English immersion method instead? Are the recent bans on bilingual education in California and Arizona a mistake or the beginnings of a national trend?

Former Hoover fellow and Nobel laureate Milton Friedman.

PAY IT BACKWARDS: The Federal Budget Surplus

with Milton Friedmanvia Uncommon Knowledge
Wednesday, December 13, 2000

What should be done with the federal budget surplus? Does it make sense to spend the surplus on new government programs? What benefits the economy more, cutting taxes or paying down the national debt? Nobel Prize-winning economist Milton Friedman offers his advice.

ON THE AMERICAN PLAN: American Foreign Policy

with Ken Jowitt, Michael Nacht, Jane Walesvia Uncommon Knowledge
Tuesday, November 28, 2000

From the Monroe Doctrine through the Truman Doctrine, from containment to détente, the principles behind America’s boldest foreign policy initiatives were straightforward and easy to understand. These simple principles told the rest of world what to expect from the United States and what we expected from the rest of the world. What were the principles behind American foreign policy in the 1990s? Did President Clinton apply those principles rigorously or haphazardly? How can President Bush do better?

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