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Between The Lines Archive
For The Week Ending Feb. 2, 2001

Special Report on the Crisis
at the Pacifica Radio Network and WBAI, New York

Click here to listen. Needs RealPlayer 7 or 8.

Indepth interviews with:

  • Utrice Leid, WBAI interim general manager
  • Bernard White, fired WBAI program director
  • Leslie Cagan, Pacifica foundation board member


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:

Missouri Citizens Group Director: Attorney General Nominee John Ashcroft Too Extreme for Missouri, Too Extreme for the Country
Says 28-Year Career and White Supremacist Affiliation Contradicts Pledge to Enforce Civil Rights Law
Interview by Denise Manzari.

George W. Bush's nomination of former Missouri Republican Sen. John Ashcroft to head the Justice Department has raised strong objections by civil rights, women's and gay and lesbian groups. A hero of the conservative right, Ashcroft readily admits that if he could pass a single law, he would outlaw abortion, even in cases of incest and rape. His record of opposition to desegregation legislation and his campaign to block the nomination of a black judge to the federal bench speaks to his insensitivity to issues of race, say his critics.

Ashcroft's endorsement of an avowedly pro-Confederate magazine, the "Southern Partisan," labeled by some as white supremacist, should be sufficient grounds to question his nominee's qualifications for this important position, say opponents.

Narrowly defeated by Missouri Democrat Mel Carnahan, who died just weeks before last November's election, leaders of the Christian Right and other conservatives successfully lobbied President-elect Bush to nominate Ashcroft for attorney general. After a week of confirmation hearings and some tough questioning, Ashcroft claims he will uphold the law of the land despite his strongly held views. But some senators were skeptical of what they described as a "confirmation conversion."

Between The Lines' Denise Manzari spoke with John Hickey, the executive director of the Missouri Citizen Education Fund, who spoke about why he believes that if John Ashcroft is too extreme for Missouri, he's too extreme to head the Justice Department of the country. To act locally, call the fund at (314) 531-2288 or visit their website at

Interior Department Nominee Gale Norton at Odds with Public Support for Protecting the Environment
Interview by Scott Harris.

Gale Norton, President Bush's pick to head the Interior Department, along with John Ashcroft, is among the most controversial cabinet appointments made by the 43rd president. Norton, a protege of James Watt, spent four years working with the former Interior Secretary at the Mountain States Legal Foundation underwritten by corporate contributors.

As Colorado's attorney general, Norton was an advocate for the state's "self-audit" law which allows corporate polluters to police themselves to determine compliance with federal environmental law. Norton also worked as a lobbyist for a lead paint manufacturer that had been deemed responsible for 75 toxic waste Superfund Clean-up sites. While serving as a lawyer in the Reagan administration's Interior Dept. from 1985 through 1987, Norton unsuccessfully fought to open up the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil drilling.

Underscoring many environmental group's opposition to the Norton nomination, activists with Greenpeace draped a banner reading, "Our Land, Not Oil Land" over the facade of the Interior Department building the day before George Bush was sworn into office.

Between The Lines' Scott Harris spoke with John Passacantando, executive director of Greenpeace USA, who discusses what he believes is at stake for environmental policy if Gale Norton is confirmed by the U.S. Senate to head the Interior Department.

To contact Greenpeace, call1-800 326-0959 or visit their Web site at

NOW's Patricia Ireland Says Progressive Groups No Longer Divided But Ready As Coalition to Confront Bush Agenda
Interview by Scott Harris.

Thousands of people traveled to Washington, D.C. from all over the country on Jan. 20 to stand in a freezing rain during inauguration ceremonies in order to convey their anger at what many in the crowd felt was a stolen election and the subversion of democracy. The protesters, estimated by organizers to number some 20,000, confronted unprecedented security measures including barricaded streets and metal detection screening check points all along the inaugural parade route.

Housewives from Ohio, registered Republicans from Louisiana, secretaries from Detroit, students from California and mainstream Democrats from all over -- some of whom had never participated in protest demonstrations before -- gathered at the Supreme Court and along Pennsylvania Avenue to hold up signs proclaiming "Hail to the Thief." Many others booed or shouted "Shame" as a limousine carrying the new chief executive sped by through streets lined by police.

Speakers at protest rallies held at various locations in Washington during the inauguration ceremony included 91-year-old Granny D, who fought for campaign finance reform by walking across the U.S.; the Rev. Al Sharpton, Dick Gregory and National Organization for Women President Patricia Ireland.

Between The Lines' Scott Harris spoke with Ireland after she addressed several thousand people at a rally on inauguration day. She assesses the strength and spirit of progressive groups before President Bush began his first full day at work by signing an executive order ending federal funding to international family planning organizations.

To contact NOW, call (202) 628-8669 or visit their Web site at

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

  • Pentagon critic says Bush administration may offer opportunity to cut outdated and expensive weapons systems. (Fairfield County Weekly, Jan. 24, 2001)
  • President Bush could face first real political test in late January as U.S. Navy resumes military exercises on the Puerto Rican Island of Vieques. (In These Times, Jan. 22, 2001)
  • Department of Energy's zero tolerance for whistleblowers. (Mother Jones online, Jan. 17, 2001)

Senior news editor: Bob Nixon
News writer: Rich Fraser
Program narration: Prue Cullen
News reader: Denise Manzari
Distribution: Harry Minot, Anna Manzo, Jeff Yates
Web editor/producer: Anna Manzo
Producer: Denise Manzari
Executive producer: Scott Harris

... MORE ...

WPKN Special Update on GOP National Convention Defendants
Columbia Law School Graduate and ACT-Up Activist Speak Out About Their Upcoming Trials

Between The Lines/WPKN Counter-Inaugural Protest Archive (in MP3):

"'Stolen Election' Outrage Unites Once Divided Progressive Factions with Mainstream America" Interview with John Cavanaugh, Institute for Policy Studies, at a counter-inaugural protest coalition press conference in Washington D.C., Jan. 19, 2001. He described the six coalitions made up of dozens of groups that would protest Bush Inauguration.

" Political Shocks of Electoral College Resolution and U.S. Supreme Court Coup Spurs New Era of Activism" Interview with Ronnie Dugger, founder of Alliance For Democracy, Jan. 19, 2001. He spoke at a counter-inaugural protest coalition press conference in Washington D.C., Jan. 19, 2001.

"Dems and GOP Two Branches of Washington, D.C.'s 'Company Town,'" Patricia Ireland, president of the National Organization for Women, interviewed at Washington, D.C. Dupont Circle inauguration protest.

On the street:
"New Orleans Woman at Supreme Court" Drove 15 hours from Louisiana with her mother, 64, and stepfather to join thousands demonstrating outside U.S. Supreme Court in freezing rain.

"Detroit Michigan Woman, at Supreme Court"Rode bus 11 hours from Detroit to protest at U.S. Supreme Court.

Between The Lines/WPKN 'Bush Policy Agenda Watch' Archive:

"Attorney General Nominee's Career Marked by Opposition to Reproductive Rights and Civil Rights Law"

"From Vietnam to Florida's Disenfranchisement of Black Voters: Unheroic Moments in Secretary of State Nominee Colin Powell's Career"

"Economist Says the Bush $1.3 Trillion Tax Cut Proposal Benefits the Rich Without Forestalling Recession"

"Progressive Coalition Gears Up for Battle Against Bush Cabinet Nominees"


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