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Between The Lines Archive
For The Week Ending Jan. 19, 2001


LISTEN to this week's half-hour program of Between The Lines by clicking here or any of the individual interview segments below (All in RealAudio, needs RealPlayer 7 or 8.)

This week we present Between The Lines' summary of under-reported news stories and:

Progressive Coalition Gears Up for Battle Against Bush Cabinet Nominees
Interview by Scott Harris.

George W. Bush will be sworn into office on Jan. 20, although he lost the election by more than 500,000 votes. Yet despite a pledge to heal the wounds of the disputed election, the incoming president has made Cabinet appointments that have instantly triggered intense opposition from women's organizations, labor unions, environmentalists, civil rights groups and advocates for gay and lesbian rights.

The Bush nominee to head the Justice Department, John Ashcroft, is a vocal opponent of civil rights law, gay rights legislation and abortion even in the case of rape or incest. The former senator from Missouri has also opposed federal employee health coverage of prescription contraceptives.

The incoming Bush administration's candidate to lead the Interior Department, Gale Norton, served as a lobbyist for a lead paint manufacturer charged with numerous violations of environmental law and favors polluters policing themselves.

Mr. Bush's original choice for Labor Secretary, Linda Chavez, long opposed the minimum wage and derided the women who file sexual harassment lawsuits as "crybabies." Eight years ago, Chavez criticed Clinton administration appointees for employing undocumented immigrants; Chavez's own nomination was withdrawn due to similar allegations made against her.

Between The Lines' Scott Harris spoke with Robert Borosage, founder and co-director of the Campaign for America's Future, who assesses the battle ahead for Bush Cabinet nominees and the emerging progressive coalition gearing up to confront the next administration's political and economic policy agenda.

Contact the Campaign for America's Future by calling (202) 955-5665 or visit their website at

Related articles

A Special Report on the Latest Conflict at Pacifica Radio's WBAI
Interview by Scott Harris.

Listeners and staff of New York City's only progressive radio station WBAI are holding meetings and taking to the streets to battle what they describe as a "Christmas Coup," where on Dec. 22, key staff were fired or banned and the locks changed in the middle of the night. The Pacifica Foundation which owns WBAI and four other outlets in major cities around the U.S. dismissed 10-year WBAI manager Valerie Van Isler, after she refused to move to another position in Washington D.C. Program Director Bernard White and two other producers were also fired, but Pacifica's Executive Director Bessie Wash declined to specify the reason for the terminations, citing confidentiality concerns.

The 50-year-old network founded by pacifists after World War II has been embroiled in conflict since 1999, when Pacifica fired a popular station manager and other veteran staff at their Berkeley, Calif. station, KPFA. Months of protest by thousands of listeners opposed to the changes eventually led to a return to local control. More recently, Amy Goodman, the host of Pacifica's daily public affairs program "Democracy Now," charged Pacifica management with enforcing rules to "exert political control" over her award-winning show. Meanwhile, lawsuits filed against the network by listener groups and dissident Pacifica board members are now making their way through the courts. Local autonomy is one of the major issues to surface within Pacifica during these disputes. A change of the by-laws at the network in March 1999 resulted in severely limiting the input of each station's local advisory board on critical decisions.

A leaked memo written by a member of the governing board advocating the sale of some of Pacifica's stations has increased speculation that the network is preparing to abandon its listener base. Kenneth Ford, vice chairman of the Pacifica Board, says programming on the network has become "irrelevant" and stuck in the politics of the 1960's. In order to survive, he says, the five stations must appeal to a broader, younger audience.

Between The Lines' Scott Harris spoke with two representatives in the Pacifica dispute: WBAI's interim station manager Utrice Leid and Pacifica Foundation board member Leslie Cagan. Utrice Leid, host of WBAI's "Talk Back" program was installed as the station's interim manager after the firing of Van Isler on Dec. 22. She maintains that problems at WBAI were initiated by unnamed individuals driven by personal agenda.

Leslie Cagan, a longtime peace and social justice activist, joined the Pacifica Foundation Board of Directors in June, 2000. She is unhappy with the network's direction and questions the current board's commitment to the ideals upon which Pacifica was founded.

For more information, contact the WBAI listener hotline at 1-(800) 825-0055 or visit the listener activist website at: The Pacifica Radio Network can be contacted by calling (202) 588-0999 or visit their website at

Related interviews:

Related articles:

This week's summary of under-reported news
Compiled by Bob Nixon.

  • Effects of global warming concretely visible at North Pole; Arctic ice cap has melted 40 percent since 1965. (New Internationalist, November 2000)
  • High levels of industrial toxins, such as PCBs, now found in Inuit women, polar bears, seals and fish in northern Canada. (The Progressive, December 2000)
  • Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan's outreach efforts now include accepting funding and moral support from Rev. Sun Myung Moon's Unification Church. (In These Times, Dec. 25, 2000)

Senior news editor: Bob Nixon
Program narration: Denise Manzari
News reader: Elaine Osowksi
Distribution: Harry Minot, Anna Manzo, Jeff Yates
Web editor/producer: Anna Manzo
Executive producer: Scott Harris

... MORE ...

Inauguration Week Teach-Ins, Protests

National Organization for Women (

Independent Progressive Politics Network (

International Action Center (

Stop the Death Machine: Free Mumia Abu-Jamal (

Trust The People ( - Working for Voter Rights

Between The Lines/WPKN Election Crisis Archive:

"Human Rights Attorney Assesses Lasting Impact of 'Stolen Election'"

"Law Professor Calls Electoral College a Relic of Slave Era"

"Racial Discrimination Against Florida Voters Unexamined in Election Controversy"

"GOP Injection of Anger, Resentment into Election Politics Dangerous"

"Civil Rights Groups Continue to Investigate Racial Voter Intimidation in Florida Election"


"Now It's Unofficial: Gore Did Win Florida" Observer of London, Dec. 24, 2000, by Ed Vulliamy

"Election Anger Fuels Protesters"Washington Post, Dec. 21, 2000, by David Montgomery and Arthur Santana

"A Dark Cloud", by Robert Parry,, Dec. 10, 2000

"Electoral College Unfair from Day One" New York Times, Nov. 9, 2000. NYT online subscribers Click here.

"If the Vote Were Flawless..." Miami Herald, Dec. 3, 2000

"Fla. Spoilage Likelier for Blacks," Washington Post, Dec. 3. 2000

"57 Red Flags: Proof Bush Never Won Popular Vote in Florida"(Accessible via Internet Explorer, America Online)

"Black Leaders Sue to Overturn Election", by Scott Gold, Los Angeles Times, Dec. 6, 2000."


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