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Archive for April, 2011

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  • The first journalist to interview Bernie Madoff after the money manager was sentenced to 150 years in prison says she was struck that Madoff hadn't fundamentally changed.

    Even behind bars, says New York Times financial writer Diana Henriques, Madoff was a "fluent liar."

    "The magic of his personality is how easy it is to believe him — almost how much you want to believe him," she tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross. "For example, he assured me in that first interview — and in emails subsequently that we exchanged — that he wasn't going to talk to other writers. … Of course, it wasn't true, he was talking to others. It was all a lie."

  • What if the United States has started a new century stuck in the last one, pouring resources into its military and short-changing what should be the real heart of its strength – that is, strength at home?

    A strong economy. A strong society. The point is raised and made powerfully in a new essay from – of all places – the heart of the Pentagon.

    Two top U.S. military strategic thinkers under the pen name “Y” are pushing hard for a new American vision. Less bristling with guns. More spending on education. For real prosperity and security.

  • Lying is as old as civilization itself. People tell lies for many reasons, often with few or no consequences. But in a judicial system based on people telling the truth under oath, lies can ruin lives. In a new book, a Pulitzer-Prize-winning journalist and lawyer argues that perjury has become commonplace. And it's being committed by people at the highest levels of business, politics, media and culture. He examines the high-profile trials of Martha Stewart, I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, Barry Bonds and Bernie Madoff. And he explores why people with so much to lose by lying do it anyway. A discussion with James B. Stewart on how lies can harm people and societies – and why loyalty almost never trumps honesty.

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  • The first shots of the American Civil War were fired 150 years ago in the Charleston, S.C., harbor. Less than two days later, Fort Sumter surrendered. It would take the Union army nearly four years to bring the coastal fortification back under its command.

    On Fresh Air, historian Adam Goodheart explains how national leaders and ordinary citizens responded to the chaos and uncertainty in the days and months before and after the struggle at Fort Sumter, an almost-bloodless two-day battle that became the start of the Civil War almost by mistake.

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  • Liberalism, which is stronger in richer, better-educated, more-diverse, and, especially, more prosperous places, is shrinking across the board and has fallen behind conservatism even in its biggest strongholds. This obviously poses big challenges for liberals, the Obama administration, and the Democratic Party moving forward.

    But the much bigger, long-term danger is economic rather than political. This ideological state of affairs advantages the policy preferences of poorer, less innovative states over wealthier, more innovative, and productive ones. American politics is increasingly disconnected from its economic engine.  And this deepening political divide has become perhaps the biggest bottleneck on the road to long-run prosperity.

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