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Audio archives of spoken word broadcasts from Community Radio WERU 89.9 FM Blue Hill (weru.org)

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  • Host: Ann Luther, League of Women Voters of Maine    
    Engineer: Amy Browne

    Program Topic: The Civic Mission of Public Education

    (NOTE: This was an abbreviated version of Democracy Forum. Due to technical difficulties the show was 30 minutes rather than the usual 60.)

    Key Discussion Points:
    a) We discuss whether inequities in public education and the failure of public schools to prepare all children for citizenship contribute to political inequality.
    b) Has there been a decline in civic education? Or an evolution in what constitutes civics instruction?
    c) What do kids typically learn about how government and democracy work in Maine and in the United States?
    d) What do citizens need to learn to be effective in civic life?
    e) In what ways do disparities in the quality of education among school systems widen empowerment gaps between rich and poor children?

    Guests:
    Meira Levinson, Professor of Education at Harvard Graduate School of Education www.gse.harvard.edu/faculty/meira-levinson
    Bill Richards, Maine educator and former Associate Commissioner of Instruction for Maine.   

    The all-volunteer team at the League of Women Voters – Downeast who plan and coordinate this series includes:
    John Bradford
    Linda Hoskins
    Ann Luther
    Pam Person
    Leah Taylor
    Linda Washburn

    FMI re League of Women Voters of Maine: www.lwvme.org

    No Comments
  • Host: Ann Luther, League of Women Voters of Maine    
    Engineer: Amy Browne

    Program Topic: Privatizing Public Policy: Is Philanthropy Good for Democracy?

    Key Discussion Point:
    a) We discuss philanthropy, foundations, shadow networks, and the private drivers of public policy from the Koch Brothers to the Gates-inspired Giving Pledge.
    b) To what extent is a libertarian world-view pushing down taxes and reducing the size of government while increasing concentrations of private wealth? Has there also been an increase
    in charitable and public-benefit giving?
    c) Is private generosity displacing public dollars in supporting charitable, educational, research, and other non-governmental institutions? Has this shift in funding created a change in priorities for these dollars?
    d) How much of this private giving is transparent? Can we tell where the money is going and to what ends?
    e) Government bureaucracy has a terrible reputation for waste and fraud. Is this kind of philanthropy more effective? Does it get the job done? Could the public sector spend the money more
    effectively?
    f) Whose interests are being served? Is this good for democracy? What can citizens do?

    Guests:
    Theda Skocpol, Victor S. Thomas Professor of Government and Sociology, Harvard University; sociology.fas.harvard.edu/people/theda-skocpol
    Alec MacGillis, Alec MacGillis covers politics and government for ProPublica. www.propublica.org/site/author/alec_macgillis

    The all-volunteer team at the League of Women Voters – Downeast who plan and coordinate this series includes:
    John Bradford
    Linda Hoskins
    Ann Luther
    Pam Person
    Leah Taylor
    Linda Washburn

    FMI re League of Women Voters of Maine: www.lwvme.org

    No Comments
  • Host: Ann Luther, League of Women Voters of Maine    
    Engineer: Amy Browne

    Issue: Participatory Democracy

    Program Topic: Press or Propaganda: Corporate Media, a Free Press, and the Future of Democracy

    Key Discussion Points:
    -Tension between corporate, profit-motivated ownership of mainstream media and the public interest mission served by journalism in an open democracy.
    -What roles are old and new media playing in forming an educated electorate in 21st century America?
    -The long-held belief in a liberal media bias has been challenged by the success of Fox News and the like. Is this kind of POV media a new phenomenon in American journalism? Which side is winning?
    -What happens when the ultra-rich like Sheldon Adelson, Rupert Murdoch, and Jeffrey Bezos start buying up news outlets?
    -Is this good for democracy? What can citizens do?

    Guests:
    Michael Franz, Associate Professor at Bowdoin College and co-director of the Wesleyan Media Project. mikemfranz.com/
    John Christie, co-founder and senior editor for the Maine Center of Public Interest Reporting. pinetreewatchdog.org/about/

    The all-volunteer team at the League of Women Voters – Downeast who plan and coordinate this series includes:
    John Bradford
    Linda Hoskins
    Ann Luther
    Marge May
    Pam Person
    Leah Taylor
    Linda Washburn

    FMI re League of Women Voters of Maine: www.lwvme.org

    No Comments
  • Host: Ann Luther, League of Women Voters of Maine    
    Engineer: Amy Browne

    Issue: Participatory Democracy

    Program Topic: Us vs Them: Is Government the Enemy

    Key Discussion Points:
    a) We’ll discuss the history and cultural origins of American attitudes toward government
    b) How these attitudes have evolved over time, and
    c) Whether these attitudes have been purposefully amplified by vested interests.

    Guests:
    Colin Woodard, award winning author and journalist www.colinwoodard.com/
    Amy Fried, Professor of Political Science at the University of Maine umaine.edu/polisci/faculty-and-staff/amy-fried/

    The all-volunteer team at the League of Women Voters – Downeast who plan and coordinate this series includes:
    John Bradford
    Linda Hoskins
    Ann Luther
    Marge May
    Pam Person
    Leah Taylor
    Linda Washburn

    FMI re League of Women Voters of Maine: www.lwvme.org

    No Comments
  • Host: Ann Luther, League of Women Voters of Maine    
    Engineer: Amy Browne

    Issue: Participatory Democracy

    Program Topic: Moochers and Freeloaders: Welfare for the Rich, Welfare for the Poor

    Key Discussion Points:
    a) We’ll discuss the relationship between free markets and democracy;
    b) Have the rules of government and markets have been rigged in favor of big money interests and corporations?
    c) Has populist sentiment has been played to generate resentment over welfare for the poor?
    d) Who is being served in American democracy today?
    e) What can ordinary citizen do? What policies should they support?

    Guests:
    a) Vanessa Williamson, Fellow in Governance Studies at the Brookings Institution
    www.brookings.edu/experts/williamsonv?view=bio

    b) Garrett Martin, Executive Director of the Maine Center for Economic Policy

    MECEP Staff Bios

    The all-volunteer team at the League of Women Voters – Downeast who plan and coordinate this series includes:
    Linda Hoskins
    Ann Luther
    Marge May
    Pam Person
    Leah Taylor
    Linda Washburn

    FMI re League of Women Voters of Maine: www.lwvme.org

    No Comments
  • Host: Ann Luther, League of Women Voters of Maine    
    Engineer: Amy Browne

    Issue: Participatory Democracy

    Program Topic: Whose Democracy Is It? Wealth and Income Inequality, Money in Politics

    Key Discussion Points:
    a) The great American experiment in democracy was founded on the ideal of a sovereign people —
    government responsive to the will of the people. Does American democracy still serve that ideal?
    b) Are policy outcomes today more responsive to wealthy donors than to the majority voters?
    c) Is the new populism evident in the current presidential primaries fed by voter frustration with government? Is
    money in politics somehow responsible for that frustration?
    d) If it’s not practical or even wise to think of eliminating income and power disparities, do we even have a
    problem?
    e) What are some practical solutions?

    Guests:
    Mark Schmitt, Director of the Political Reform Program at New America
    www.newamerica.org/experts/mark-schmitt/

    Tony Corrado, Professor of Government at Colby College
    www.brookings.edu/experts/corradoa?view=bio

    No Comments
  • Host: Ann Luther, League of Women Voters of Maine    
    Engineer: Amy Browne

    Program Topic:  Political Equality: The Founding Vision, the Modern Reality

    Key Discussion Points:
    a) What do we mean when we talk about political equality?
    b) Was it an ideal embraced by our founding fathers?
    c) What did it mean to them? What does it mean to us today?
    d) To what extent has the founding ideal been realized or thwarted?

    Guests:
    a) Prof. Ralph Ketcham, Maxwell Professor Emeritus of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University, www.maxwell.syr.edu/psc/Ketcham,_Ralph/

    b) Prof. Mark Brewer, Professor of Political Science at the University of Maine, umaine.edu/polisci/faculty-and-staff/mark-brewer/

    The all-volunteer team at the League of Women Voters – Downeast who plan and coordinate this series includes:
    Linda Hoskins
    Ann Luther
    Marge May
    Pam Person
    Leah Taylor
    Linda Washburn

    FMI re League of Women Voters of Maine: www.lwvme.org                    

    No Comments
  • Host: Ann Luther, League of Women Voters
    Engineer: Joel Mann
    Issue: Participatory Democracy

    Program Topic: Political Advertising and Its Effect on Voters and Elections

    Key Discussion Points:
    a) How important is political advertising in helping people learn about candidates?
    b) How does political advertising work and why is it worth the many millions of dollars being spent on it.
    c) Is it good for democracy?
    d) What can citizens do?

    Guests by name and affiliation:
    A) Richard R. Lau, Professor of Political Science at Rutgers University, fas-polisci.rutgers.edu/lau/.
    B) Kathleen Hall Jamieson, Professor of Communication at the Annenberg School for Communication and Director of the Annenberg Public Policy Center at the University of Pennsylvania, www.asc.upenn.edu/faculty/Faculty-Bio.aspx?id=129.

    Call In Program: No

    No Comments