Monday, May 11, 2009

Today on Kresta - May 11, 2009

Talking about the "things that matter most" on May 11

3:00 – Taking Humanitarianism Seriously

Lady Caroline Cox is a member of the British House of Lords, founder and CEO of an organization called the Human Aid Relief Trust (HART) and has dedicated her life to humanitarian causes, particularly relating to disability. HART works to provide aid and advocacy for those who are, or who have been, suffering oppression and persecution, and who are largely neglected by the international media. It relies on first-hand evidence of human rights violations, using this as a basis for a powerful twin-track program of international advocacy in such arenas as the House of Lords and the media, and targeted aid-work focusing on sustainable community development, local partnership and regional networks of support. We talk with Baroness Cox about her life and work.

3:20 – Race, Murder, and the Search for Justice in the American South
I AM N-N-NOT DYING! screamed Willie Francis, a 17-year-old African-American convicted of murder by an all-white Louisiana jury in 1946, during the failed electrocution. Francis's story is emblematic of the time and place—a prominent white man in a Cajun town was gunned down, and soon Francis was picked up and, under duress and without an attorney, confessed to the crime. Despite no eyewitnesses and scant physical evidence, Francis was convicted and sentenced to death. After surviving the first execution attempt, he waited in prison nearly a year while the battle over his fate went all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. Drawing on extensive research and interviews, Gilbert King offers us a compelling examination of American racism and justice.

4:00 – Kresta Comments

4:20 – With the Pope in Jerusalem

“Even though the name Jerusalem means 'city of peace,' it is all too evident that, for decades, peace has tragically eluded the inhabitants of this holy land,” Pope Benedict said in Israel this morning, as he called for “every possible avenue” to be pursued to find peace. The Pope was welcomed to Israel at Ben Gurion International Airport by a military honor guard, a cadre of religious and civil officials and Israel's president, Shimon Peres today. Benedict XVI delivered a speech in which he first noted that he stands “in a long line of Christian pilgrims to these shores, a line that stretches back to the earliest centuries of the Church’s history ... I come, like so many others before me, to pray at the holy places, to pray especially for peace – peace here in the Holy Land, and peace throughout the world.” So what can we expect from the Holy Father’s visit to the Middle East? Steve Ray is there and offers his perspective from the ground in Jerusalem.

4:40 – TBA

5:00 – In the Footsteps of Benedict

Even before Pope Benedict XVI began his trip to the Middle East, saying that he would travel as a “pilgrim of peace,” the world's media outlets offered their perspectives on the likely political outcome of the papal voyage. The New York Times saw the trip as a fence-mending mission, while BBC more tendentiously suggested the need for the Church to atone of centuries of anti-Semitism. Al Jazeera offered a comparatively mild view of the Pope's arrival in Jordan, saying that he had shown respect for Islam. While some Muslim leaders had demanded a formal apology for the Regensburg speech, the papal spokesman, Father Federico Lombardi, said with some asperity that “we cannot continue until the end of the world to repeat the same clarifications.” That comment might apply as well to the Israeli religion minister who demanded another papal condemnation of Holocaust-denial. We talk to our own journalist, Patrick Novecosky, who traveled with the Holy Father in Amman, Jordan.

5:20 – The “Republican War on Science”
Journalist Chris Mooney recently wrote a book entitled The Republican War on Science. The basic thesis is that science and scientists have less influence with Republicans than at any time since the Eisenhower administration. He argues that science is politicized by conservatives, spun or distorted to fit the speaker’s agenda; or, when they’re its too inconvenient, ignored entirely. Now, MSNBC host Chris Matthews is taking this argument to new heights in the last week in interviews with Rep. Mike Pence and former Congressman Tom Tancredo. We play portions of these interviews and analyze them with Dr. Michael Behe.

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