Archive of Shows from 2007-2008
Democracy Forum on WERU FM Community Radio
Here is information on programs from the 2008 archive.
Election of Maine's Attorney General - November 11, 2008
Many Mainers may not be aware of what role the attorney general plays in our state, how the attorney general is chosen, or who's seeking the office this year. In this program, we learn how Maine's Constitutional officers are chosen. Then we meet the three people who are seeking the office of attorney general this year.
Guest: Cab Howard, Assistant Professor of Law and Public Policy at the University of Maine School of Law. Professor Howard joined the Law School as a Visiting Assistant Professor in 1997 after nearly a quarter century of public service as a member of the Maine Attorney General's Office.
- John Brautigam
- Sean Faircloth
- Janet Mills
Democracy & Health Care Reform - October 4, 2008
- How do things work that we don't yet have universal coverage?
- 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? Lobbying?
- Is it true that Medicare Part D was written to give the pharmaceutical industry what it wanted? Who wrote this legislation? How was it passed?
- 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?
- What can be done to get the health care reform most people want in the U.S.?
Trish Riley is 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.
This program originally broadcast at 3:00 p.m. on Saturday, October 4, 2008. You can hear it from the archive at WERU FM.
Government Privatization - August 2, 2008
- 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
- What spheres have been privatized, considered or debated to be privatized
- What trends and future developments do we see
- What are the ramifications: accountability, constitutional, political, economic, social, separation of powers
- What are the problems for democracy
- Are there appropriate safeguards and oversight in place to protect against corruption
- What are the reform proposals
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 www.sikahn.com.
This program originally broadcast at 3:00 p.m. on Saturday, August 2, 2008. You can hear it from the archive at WERU FM.
Lobbying - July 12, 2008
- What lobbyists do and how they work
- Statistics about growth in lobbying: $$ spent; # of lobbyists
- Spending by corporate lobbyists vs. public interest groups
- Court protections for lobbying
- Access to and benefit by governement officials
- Lobbying and campaign finance
- Revolving door
- People and policy in a democracy
- Possible reforms
- Online resources
Sheila Krumholz is Executive Director at the Center for Responsive Politics.
This program originally broadcast at 3:00 p.m. on Saturday, July 12, 2008. You can hear it from the archive at WERU FM.
Corporations and Democracy - June 7, 2008
- 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 are some of the problems with that relationship? How have corporations influenced public policy? Is democracy as a system of government adversely impacted by the current relationship?
- How could things change? 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?
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.
This program originally broadcast at 3:00 p.m. on Saturday, June 7, 2008. You can hear it from the archive at WERU FM.
Consitutional Checks and Balances - May 3, 2008
- How the Constitution provides for checks and balances and the separation of powers and how it is supposed to work.
- The history of concentrated executive power in modern times.
- Some of the methods used by the Executive branch to increase its power and recent examples of the way that each of these methods has been used, including:
- Inherent powers
- Political appointments & the civil service
- Signing statements
- Unitary Executive theory
- Whether the Legislative branch is institutionally weakened by the forces of modern politics?
- Whether constitutional protections are adequate to modern reality.
Neil Kinkopf teaches constitutional law, criminal law, legislation and civil procedure at Georgia State University College of Law. He is co-chair for the issue group on Separation of Power and Federalism at the American Constitution Society for Law and Policy. During the Clinton Administration, Professor Kinkopf was a special assistant in the Department of Justice's Office of Legal Counsel, where his practice focused on issues of presidential power. Read more at www.acslaw.org.
This program originally broadcast at 3:00 p.m. on Saturday, May 3, 2008. You can hear it from the archive at WERU FM.
Professional Civil Service & Political Appointments - April 5, 2008
- Historical perspective on political appointments and the professional civil service.
- How it works now: how big is the federal bureaucracy and what percentage are appointed vs. hired into the civil service.
- Appropriate balance between conformance to direction set by the duly elected president and protection from misuse of presidential authority for political purposes.
- Trends in civil service resignations/whistle blowers from one administration to another.
- Role of contractors and trends in outsourcing functions previously performed by governmental employees.
- Role and responsibility of the legislative branch?
- Is there real cause for alarm?
- What kinds of reform might be considered?
This program originally broadcast at 3:00 p.m. on Saturday, April 5, 2008. You can hear it from the archive at WERU FM.
Open Government - March 1, 2008
- What are the legal and Constitutional bases for citizens' right to know and for government claims to secrecy?
- What is the rationale for secrecy and what are its legitimate uses?
- How much of what's been classified in the past has been done under legitimate interests vs. self-serving ones?
- What are the recent trends in classifications and declassifications; what are recent changes to law & practice?
- What are the other aspects of open government: open meetings; citizen participation, etc.?
- How do trends in privatization of government function affect citizens' rights to know; does citizens' right to know then conflict with intellectual property law and proprietary information?
- What are the options for citizens & Congress to get information
This program originally broadcast at 3:00 p.m. on Saturday, March 1, 2008. You can hear it from the archive at WERU FM.
Campaign Finance Reform - January 5, 2008
- How does money affect election outcomes? Does the top spender always win?
- What's the background on campaign finance regulation? What kinds of campaign finance reform are possible and desirable?
- What are the arguments against campaign finance reform?
- How would public funding work?
- Where do reformers go from here?
This program originally broadcast on January 5, 2008. You can hear it from the archive at WERU FM.
Term Limits - November 3, 2007
- They did not lead to greater gender or ethnic diversity, as proponents hoped.
- They did lead to less experienced legislatures, a loss of knowledge among legislators, and a more chaotic legislative process.
- They led to a loss of power in legislatures relative to the executive branch.
- They do seem to have caused legislators to vote their conscience more often, relative to the wishes of their constituents.
- They do seem to have caused power to shift from the State House of Representatives to the State Senate.
Karl T. Kurtz, Director of the Trust for Representative Democracy at the National Conference of State Legislatures. Karl has studied the effects of term limits on state legislatures around the country and co-edited the book, Institutional Change in American Politics: the Case of Term Limits, which takes a comprehensive look at the long-term effects of the 1990s wave of term limits legislation.
This program originally broadcast on November 3, 2007. You can hear it from the archive at WERU FM