Daily Briefing - Wednesday September 29, 2010

JR Ross has spent the last decade covering Wisconsin politics. Fort the past four years, he has been the editor of WisPolitics.com, the state’s premier political news service. Prior to that, he spent a decade with The Associated Press, including six years as the statehouse correspondent.

Joyce Battle is the Director of Publications and Senior Analyst on South Asia and the Middle East at the National Security Archive, an independent non-governmental research institute and library located at the George Washington University. She directed the Archive’s project on Iraq and edited the set Iraqgate: Saddam Hussein, U.S. Policy, and the Prelude to the Persian Gulf War, 1980-1994. Much of that work is available on the Internet at the National Security Archive’s website.

Christine Fair is a professor in the Center for Peace and Security Studies within Georgetown University’s Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service. Previously, she has served as a senior political scientist with the RAND Corporation, a political officer to the United Nations Assistance Mission to Afghanistan in Kabul, and as a senior research associate in USIP’s Center for Conflict Analysis and Prevention. She is also a senior fellow with the Counter Terrorism Center at West Point. She has authored, co-authored and co-edited several books including Treading Softly on Sacred Ground: Counterinsurgency Operations on Sacred Space, The Madrassah Challenge: Militancy and Religious Education in Pakistan, and Fortifying Pakistan: The Role of U.S. Internal Security Assistance.

Les Radke is the Local Election Supervisor here at KPFK. For the past ten years, he has been a member of Californians for Electoral Reform, a group that fights to replace the winner-take-all system in the US with a proportional representation system used in most industrialized countries. He helped write the Pacifica Bylaws, particularly the section on elections. He was a Local Election Supervisor at KPFA in 2003, and a National Election Supervisor in 2006 and 2009.

Daily Briefing - Monday September 27, 2010

Wendell Potter is a senior fellow on health care at the Center for Media and Democracy. He has been outspoken on both the need for a fundamental overhaul of the American health care system and on the failures of American media as a watchdog for democracy. Potter moved to the Center for Media and Democracy after a long career as a corporate public relations executive for one of the nation's largest health insurers, CIGNA Corporation, where he was the company’s chief corporate spokesman. Prior to joining CIGNA, Potter headed corporate communications at Humana Inc., another large for-profit health insurer. 

Congressman Peter DeFazio has represented Oregon’s 4th Congressional District since 1987. A US Air Force veteran who has worked as a gerontologist in his professional life, DeFazio has developed a reputation for standing up against corporate interests and for personal integrity. He voted against both NAFTA and GATT, and has refused to accept pay raises while the government is in deficit spending. He has linked his take-home pay to Social Security cost-of-living adjustments, and has donated the rest, $320,000 all told, to reducing the national debt and funding scholarships at five southwestern Oregon community colleges. DeFazio has recently been under attack by the Astroturf front group “Concerned Citizens of America.” On Friday, he went to the group’s Washington DC headquarters in an effort to determine exactly who has been funding those attacks in an attempt to buy his Republican opponent a seat in Congress. 

Graham E. Fuller is a former vice chairman of the National Intelligence Council at the CIA. He also served as the CIA’s Kabul station chief and as a senior political scientist at RAND. Currently an adjunct professor of history at Simon Fraser University, he has lived and worked in the Muslim world for nearly two decades and is the author of numerous books about the Middle East, including The Future of Political Islam and most recently A World Without Islam. He will be speaking at the Los Angeles Public Library downtown tomorrow, Tuesday, at 7:00 PM.

Background Briefing - Sunday September 26, 2010

Avraham Burg is the son of holocaust survivors and has been active in politics as a leader in the Israeli Labor Party and the One Israel party. He was Speaker of the Knesset from 1999 to 2003. Several of his books have been best-sellers in Hebrew, and he is the author of the English-language book, The Holocaust is Over; We Must Rise From Its Ashes.

Thomas Barfield is a professor of Anthropology at Boston University where he directs the Institute for the Study of Muslim Societies and Civilizations. He is also President of the American Institute of Afghanistan Studies. Dr. Barfield conducted extensive ethnographic fieldwork in northern Afghanistan in the mid-1970s as well as shorter periods of research in Xinjiang, China, and post-Soviet Uzbekistan. He is author of The Central Asian Arabs of Afghanistan, The Perilous Frontier: Nomadic Empires and China, and is co-author of Afghanistan: An Atlas of Indigenous Domestic Architecture. His book, Afghanistan: A Cultural and Political History, came out earlier this year, and he has just returned from Afghanistan.

Jonathan Taplin is a Professor at the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Southern California where he specializes in international communication management and digital media entertainment. Taplin began his entertainment career in 1969 as Tour Manager for Bob Dylan and The Band. In 1973 he produced Martin Scorsese’s first feature film, Mean Streets. He went on to produce television documentaries, including The Prize and Cadillac Desert for PBS, and twelve feature films including The Last Waltz, Under Fire, To Die For. Taplin was a founder, Chairman, and CEO of Intertainer, the pioneer video-on-demand company for both cable and broadband Internet markets, and he holds two patents for video on demand technologies. He blogs at Jontaplin.com. Call: 212-759-4100 rm 1101