Democracy Now! April 24, 2002

Program Title:
Democracy Now! April 24, 2002
Series Title:
PRA Archive #: 

Thomas Concannon has been sentenced to die. He has done nothing wrong, he has committed no crime. He simply got sick under the wrong insurance plan. Today, from one death row to another: today is the birthday of Mumia Abu-Jamal. He has been on death row for twenty-one years.

9:01-9:06 Headlines: 9:06-9:07 One Minute Music Break 9:07-9:20 A LEGAL AID ATTORNEY IS DYING OF MULTIPLE MYELOMA. SIGNA INSURANCE HAS DENIED HIM A BONE MARROW TRANSPLANT, CALLING THE PROCEDURE EXPERIMENTAL Two years ago, Thomas Concannon was diagnosed with multiple myeloma, a rare form of cancer. Multiple myeloma is extremely difficult to cure, but in recent years, bone marrow transplants have proven increasingly effective in treating the disease. If Thomas gets a bone marrow transplant from his sister, he has a 60 percent chance of survival. But this weekend, his insurance company, Cigna, refused to pay for the procedure. Cigna is a major Health Maintenance Organization, worth more than $91 billion. In 2001, it brought in more than $19 billion in revenue. But last Friday, as Thomas Concannon lay on the operating table, Cigna told his doctors they could not perform the bone marrow transplant. They said it was too expensive. We got this story very late. We left messages for the head of Cigna, but were told this morning that the company would not be able to comment on todays program. They said they were not familiar with Thomas Concannons case and needed more time to prepare a response. However, we did manage to reach Dr. Kenneth Miller, Thomas Concannons doctor, last night. I asked him why he believes Thomas needs the operation Cigna has denied him. TAPE: DR KENNETH MILLER, cancer patients doctor. He is professor of medicine at Tufts University and director of the bone marrow unit at the New England Medical Center GUEST: THOMAS CONCANNON, head of the federal defenders of the eastern district of the Legal Aid Society, dying of multiple myeloma IN STUDIO GUEST: JAN MARPFIN, wife of cancer patient IN STUDIO GUEST: ELISABETH BENJAMIN, supervising attorney in the health law unit of the Legal Aid Society IN STUDIO VIDEO: clips from the film John Q TO HELP SAVE THOMAS CONCANNONS LIFE, PLEASE CONTACT: Janet Maurer, Medical Director of Lifesource at CIGNA HealthCare.Phone: 860 226 7560 E-Mail: Island Peer Review (independent reviewer organization) PHONE: 516-326-7767 9:20-9:21 One Minute Music Break Wendell Potter, Assistant Vice President and Corporate Spokesperson for CIGNA Corporate Communications PHONE: 215-761-4450 E-Mail: 9:21-9:40 A LEGAL AID ATTORNEY IS DYING OF MULTIPLE MYELOMA. SIGNA INSURANCE HAS DENIED HIM A BONE MARROW TRANSPLANT CONTD 9:40-9:41 ONE MINUTE MUSIC BREAK 9:41-9:58 FROM ONE DEATH ROW TO ANOTHER: TODAY IS THE BIRTHDAY OF MUMIA ABU-JAMAL: HE HAS BEEN ON DEATH ROW FOR TWENTY-ONE YEARS. Today is the birthday of Mumia Abu Jamal. He is 48. He has spent twenty-one years of his life on death row. On December 9th 1981, Abu-Jamal was driving a cab in Philadelphia when he says he saw a police officer beating his brother William Cook on a street corner. In the ensuing chaos, both he and officer Daniel Faulkner were shot, and Faulkner died. Abu-Jamal was sentenced to death for the murder of Faulkner in 1982. He has been on death row ever since.And from Pennsylvania's death row, award-winning journalist and former Black Panther Mumia Abu-Jamal has spoken to the world for twenty-one years. His writings and commentaries from death row have made him a world-renowned celebrity for racial equality and against the death penalty. His books Live From Death Row, Death Blossoms and All Things Censored have sold over 150,000 copies and been translated into seven languages. At the time of his arrest, Mumia was a leading broadcast journalist and president of the Philadelphia chapter of the Association of Black Journalists. Widely acclaimed for his work with NPR, the Mutual Black Network, the National Black Network, WHYY, and other stations, he was known as Philadelphias voice of the voiceless. Well, today we are going to hear some of the voice of the voiceless, recordings Mumia made from death row and as a radio journalist. A couple years ago, Noelle Hanrahan, of the Prison Radio Project, went through hours of recordings and she found some rare interviews, which are featured on a recently-released CD, 175 Progress Drive. Tape: Mumia Abu-Jamal, journalist and political prisoner on Pennsylvanias death row Mumia Abu-Jamal reporting for All Things Considered/NPR on October 3, 1980 on Jimmy Carters presidential campaign in Pennsylvania (1:11) Mumia Abu-Jamal interviewing reggae musician Bob Marley (1:11) Friends Like These, a commentary recorded recently for Free Speech Radio News Guest: Julia Wright, writer and activist. She wrote Daughter of a Native Son about her early life with her father, the late, great Richard Wright, author of Native Son and Black Boy. Guest: Tom Morello, guitarist for the band Rage Against the Machine Contact: Today is the international day of fundraising for the legal case of Mumia Abu-Jamal. Send checks payable to the Black United Fund and marked for Mumia Abu-Jamal Legal Defense to: International Concerned Family & Friends of MAJ at P.O. Box 19709, Philadelphia, PA 19143 You can send Mumia a birthday card: Mumia Abu-Jamal #AM8335 175 Progress Dr., Waynesburg, PA 15370 LINKS:,,,, MUSIC: 6: MUMIAS BLUES Broke Toe Rezo Shoulda Gone to the Hospital 20: UNDER THE INFLUENCE (FOLLOW ME) Cee-Lo Cee-lo Green and his Perfect Imperfections. (Arista) 40: GET ON BOARD Kim & Reggie Harris Rock of Ages (Appleseed recordings CD) End: FREEDOM Rage Against the Machine 9:58-9:59 Outro and Credits

Date Recorded on: 
April 24, 2002
Date Broadcast on: 
April 24, 2002
Item duration: 
59 min.
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WPFW; Amy Goodman, host. April 24, 2002
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