Show 345: Crises in Egypt

Crises in Egypt

Audio here!

Michael O’Neil interviews Larry Pintak who spent time living and working in Cairo for many years. Our previously announced program will air, instead, in Mar…ch, 2011.

Larry Pintak is the founding dean of the Edward R. Murrow College of Communication at Washington State University.

Pintak spent four years as director of the Kamal Adham Center for Journalism Training and Research at The American University in Cairo where he led the only graduate journalism program in the Arab world, headed a variety of USAID-funded professional journalism training programs, and created Arab Media & Society,, a portal for Egyptian civil society, a U.S. election resource site for Arab journalists, and the first Arab “virtual newsroom” in Second Life.

His columns and op-eds appear in The New York Times, The International Herald Tribune, The Daily Star Beirut, The Daily News Cairo, Arab News, Gulf News, Tempo (Indonesia), The Jakarta Post, Al-Shurooq Egypt, the Turkish Daily News and other newspapers in the Middle East and Muslim world, along with Columbia Journalism Review online,, and a variety of U.S. and European outlets. He is the author of “Seeds of Hate: How America’s Flawed Middle East Policy Ignited the Jihad and “Reflections in a Bloodshot Lens: America, Islam & the War of Ideas”

Pintak holds a Ph.D. in Islamic Studies and has also written extensively on Buddhism and Eastern religion.

Show 344: The Morality of Abortion…

The Morality of Abortion and the Immorality of Those Who Would Force Women to Bear Children Against Their Will.

Audio here!

For the 38th anniversary of Roe V. Wade, join Sunsara Taylor for a special hour of Equal Time for Free Thought celebrating the right to abortion, celebrating the doctors and health care providers who risk their lives every day to provide women access to this essential right, and to examine the state of abortion rights today.

The hour will begin with Dr. Leroy Carhart, one of the few doctors left who provides second trimester abortions.  After the assassination of Dr. George Tiller in 2009, Dr. Carhart stepped out even further – and became targeted by the anti-choice fascists as “enemy # 1” – by declaring that he will continue to serve the women who need abortions in his area.  Further, he has expanded his practice to Baltimore and is working to train more doctors in later term abortion services.

Then, the show will feature a three way conversation between:

Merle Hoffman, the President and Founder of Choices Women’s Medical Center and the Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of On the Issues Magazine.  She has been on the front lines providing abortions since 1971 and an outspoken activist and women’s rights advocate.

Debra Sweet, the National Director of World Can’t Wait.  She was central to organizing clinic defense against Operation Rescue across the country throughout the 90’s and continues to expose and mobilize against the attacks on women’s right to abortion and the providers who serve them.

Carole Joffe, author of “Dispatches From the Abortion Wars: The Cost of Fanaticism to Doctors, Patients, and the Rest of Us,” as well as, “Doctors of Conscience: The Struggle to Provide Abortion Before and After Roe V. Wade.”

Together, we will look back to the days before abortion was legal, examine the changing moral discourse surrounding abortion, confront the full scope of the danger now posed to women who so desperately need this right, and celebrate – and draw inspiration from – those who have committed themselves to fighting to protect and expand abortion access.

Show 343: Brains, Consciousness, & Mental Health w/ Rob DeSalle

Brains, Consciousness, & Mental Health w/ Rob DeSalle

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While it seems an obvious reality for people who are naturalistic in their world-view, understanding our brain as the source of all of our behavior, thoughts, and personality, is not necessarily the way most people think.  It is surprising how many people have the belief that consciousness is – in one form or another – supernatural.

The enduring belief that consciousness is the manifestation of a nonmaterial phenomenon, such as a soul, and not directly the result of our brains interacting with our environment is an idea which we on ETFF think needs to be challenged.

This month, in particular, the horrific events in Arizona raises the issue of the way our society regards and responds to mental illness, and that seems to call into question whether we believe that our behavior is primarily the result of our brains responding to our environment, or something more.

While many media pundits  are quick to use judgmental terms as regards the shootings – such as ‘crazy,’ ‘evil,’ ‘psycho,’ such language fails to get us close to any sort of effective method to prevent or at least reduce the number of such incidents.

The naturalistic alternative to understanding human behavior is embodied in the wonderful new exhibition called “Brain: The Inside Story” at AMNH.

Rob DeSalle is a Curator of Entomology at the American Museum of Natural History.  He is affiliated with the AMNH Division of Invertebrate Zoology and works at the Sackler Institute for Comparative Genomics, where he leads a group of researchers working on molecular systematics, molecular evolution, population and conservation genetics, and evolutionary genomics of a wide array of life forms ranging from viruses, bacteria, corals, and plants, to all kinds of insects, reptiles, and mammals.

Rob is also Adjunct Professor at Columbia University (Department of Ecology, Evolution and Environmental Biology), Distinguished Professor in Residence at New York University (Department of Biology), Adjunct Professor at City University of New York (Subprogram in Ecology, Evolutionary Biology, and Behavior), Resource Faculty at the New York Consortium in Evolutionary Primatology, and Professor at the AMNH Richard Gilder Graduate School.

Show 342: An Anti-American Manifesto w/ Ted Rall

An Anti-American Manifesto?

Audio here!

Sound a bit too radical for Freethinkers? Even for left-leaning humanists and atheists? Maybe a wee bit too “negative” for “Bright-Sided“* Americans (*thanks Barbara Ehrenreich!)?

Well then, what about “violent revolution?” That may even make radical philosopher Ted Honderich flinch!

Ted Rall, cartoonist for Universal Press Syndicate, is a revolutionary. While not devoted to any particular revolutionary flag – communist, socialist, anarchist or otherwise – he IS suggesting that the time for radical change has come, and if we don’t move NOW to be the ones we’ve been waiting for, “they” will.

In his new book, he writes, “Right-wing organizational names change, but they amount to the same thing: the reactionary sociopolitical force – the sole force – poised to fill the vacuum when collapse occurs. The scenario outlined by Margaret Atwood’s prescient novel The Handmaid’s Tale – rednecks in the trenches, hard military men running things, minorities and liberals taken away and massacred, setting the stage for an even more extreme form of laissez-faire corporate capitalism than we’re suffering under today – is a fair guess of how a post-U.S. scenario will play out unless we prepare to turn it in another direction.”