Archives for 2008 Elections Coverage

Special Election Season SoapBox 10/6/08

Producers/Hosts: Matt Murphy & Amy Browne

A community “open-mic” style call in show

Weekend Voices: Democracy Forum 10/04/08

Producer: Marge May,  Host: Ann Luther, Co-president, League of Women Voters of Maine

Topic: Case Study in Democracy:  Health Care Reform

How do things work that we don’t yet have universal coverage?  Other industrialized countries have universal health care systems which provide better health outcomes than ours at a lower cost.    What does our failure to enact meaningful health care reform say about the state of our democracy?  Describe the ongoing impasse within the Congress with respect to passage health care reform.  How is health care reform legislation is drafted?   Who are the key players?  How do the House and Senate differ in their treatment of legislation in this area?  Over the years, health care has become increasingly privatized and run for profit.  What role has this played in the decision making process?   How big a factor is campaign finance?   What can be done to get the health care reform most people want in the U.S.?

Brian Biles, Professor in the Department of Health Policy at George Washington University.  In various roles, he has been helping to analyze and shape the nation’s health care policy for more than three decades. He spent much of that time in government service, having served as staff director of the House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Health and later, as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Health at the Department of Health and Human Services.
Trish Riley, currently serving as the Director of the Maine Governor’s Office of Health Policy and Finance.  Prior to joining the Governor’s staff, she served as president of the nonprofit Center for Health Policy Development and the executive director of its National Academy for State Health Policy.  She has served in appointive positions under four Maine governors and in numerous other leadership positions nationally and here in Maine in the field of health policy.

Healthy Options 9/03/08

Producer/Host: Rhonda Feiman

Topic: Healthy Political Action

How the political process is currently structured.  How individual citizens can participate in the process.  How to remain healthy and balanced while working politically.

Guest: Maura Melly is a public affairs consultant who specializes in government relations and community leadership with over 30 years of National experience in the public, private and non-profit sectors.

Weekend Voices 8/02/08

Executive Producer: Amy Browne

Producer: Marge May

Host: Ann Luther, Co-president, League of Women Voters of Maine

Topic:  Part of the on-going monthly “Democracy Forum” series.  Today: Corporations and Democracy

Private vs public:  what’s appropriate for the public sector, what’s appropriate for the private sector?
What would be the function of government if everything possible were privatized?   Why is it important to consider in a democracy?  What spheres have been privatized, considered or debated to be privatized?  Are there appropriate safeguards and oversight in place to protect against corruption?   What are the reform proposals?


Paul Verkuil is a litigator, counselor, businessman and scholar.  He is Professor of Law at Cardozo Law School, Yeshiva University, and Senior Counsel at the law firm of  Boies, Schiller & Flexner.   In addition to his current roles, he has served as Dean of the Cardozo and Tulane Law Schools and President of the College of William & Mary.  He has written numerous books and articles on public law issues, including his most recent book, Outsourcing Sovereignty: Why Privatization of Government Functions Threatens Democracy and What We Can Do about It.  You can read more about his background at the website for BSF LLP or at the website for Cordoza School of Law.

Si Kahn is a singer, songwriter and activist.  He is executive director of Grassroots Leadership, where their goal is to put an end to abuses of justice and the public trust by working to abolish for-profit private prisons.  Si is the author of the book, The Fox in the Henhouse: How Privatization Threatens Democracy.  You can read more about him and his work at

Talk of the Towns 6/26/08

Producer/Host: Ron Beard, University of Maine Cooperative Extension

Topic: Looking back, looking ahead:  Maine Towns and the Legislature

We live in towns and cities; we also live in the state of Maine.  Each jurisdiction creates policies that, depending on your point of view, help us or hinder us as we make our homes, our livings, and our lives.   In this program, we ask state legislators to comment on the 2008 session and policies that have clear connection to municipal government, to help us understand the sometimes fuzzy boundary between your town and your state.

Guests: Representative Chris Rector, Thomaston, Senator Christine Savage, Union, Representative Ted Koffman, Bar Harbor

Call in show

Weekend Voices 6/21/08

Executive Producer/Host: Amy Browne

Contributors: Marge May, Judi Beach, Karen Larsen


Segment 1: Produced by Marge May. An interview with Riane Eisler, author of “The Real Wealth of Nations: Creating a Caring Economics”. She was recently featured on New Dimensions, and spoke with WERU’s Marge May in March 2008

Segment 2: Produced by Amy Browne. We talk with Bruce Gagnon, a local peace activist and one of the leaders in the new group “Mainers for Cynthia McKinney”. The group is showing a film about McKinney in Blue Hill next week. FMI:

Segment 3: Karen Larsen with some reflections on the summer solstice.

Segment 4: 2 poems by Judi Beach—long time WERU volunteer who passed away in April. Thanks to her friend Karen Larsen—the former host of EarthTones, the show in which Judi’s Poetry Pantry aired—we now have several of her poems up on the WERU archives. These are “Eve Rethinks Eden” and “Beginning with lines by Neruda”. You can hear more of Judi Beach’s poetry at the WERU archives

Weekend Voices 6/07/08

Host: Ann Luther, Co-president, League of Women Voters of Maine

Producer: Marge May

Topic: Democracy Forum—Corporations and Democracy

What is a corporation, and how did it become the dominant form of business organization?
What is the history of the relationship between corporations and government?  Did corporations always have both economic and political power?   How did corporations come to have some of the same political rights as people? What do you see as the problems with that relationship?  Give some examples of how corporations have influenced public policy.  Is democracy as a system of government adversely impacted by the current relationship?  How would you change things?  Why would these changes work?  How would we get from where we are to where you would like to be?  Can a regulatory regime be sufficient?


Robert A. G. Monks is a prominent Maine citizen with a long and illustrious career in business, law, and government service.  His most recent book is Corpocracy: How CEOs and the Business Roundtable Hijacked the World’s Greatest Wealth Machine — And How to Get It Back.  You can read more about his background at the web site for Lens Governance Advisors, which is the law firm Mr. Monks created to continue his work in holding corporate management accountable to ownership and in improving shareholder value through increasing shareholder involvement:
Ruth Caplan is the author of the 1990 book, Our Earth, Ourselves, and she is a founding co-chair of the Alliance for Democracy and current co-chair of the Alliance’s Corporate Globalization/Positive Alternatives campaign.  She has been working since the early-nineties, in collaboration with other writers and activists, on a plan for an alternative economic system that is socially equitable and environmentally sustainable.  You can read more about the Alliance for Democracy at their web site:

Weekend Voices 4/05/08

Producers/Hosts: Marge May and Ann Luther, League of Women Voters of Maine

Topic: Democracy Forum: Civil Service & Political Appointments

Background and trends in the development of a professional civil service; recent trends in political appointments.
Interplay between professional civil service, political appointments, and presidential priorities.  Factors affecting the capabilities, performance and effective operation of the federal bureaucracy.

Guests: Paul C. Light, NYU Wagner’s Paulette Goddard Professor of Public Service.  He is also  a Nonresident Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution;  George A. Krause, professor of political science at the University of Pittsburgh.