U.S. and North Korea talks begin in Beijing: University of Chicago professor Bruce Cumings discusses North Korea; The role of poets in a time of war: Grace Paley, Vermont s official state poet, talks about the peace movement.
8:00-8:01 Billboard 8:01-8:10 Headlines 8:10-8:11 One Minute Music Break 8:11-8:30: Envoys from the US and North Korea have begun a second day of face to face talks in Beijing about North Korea s nuclear program. Negotiators on both sides have refused to comment on the progress of the talks. But North Korea s official news agency said the US invasion of Iraq shows that other countries need a strong physical deterrent force to protect themselves. A memo from Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld urging removal of the North Korean government and leaked earlier this week has exacerbated tensions. The U.S delegation is being led by the Assistant Secretary of State James Kelly. The last time Kelly met with a North Korean delegation, he accused them of pursuing a clandestine nuclear weapons program, sparking the crisis in October. President Bush then suspended all aid shipments. North Korea restarted its nuclear program, expelled UN inspectors and withdrew from the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. Last week, North Korea announced that it is already reprocessing spent fuel rods- a necessary step to produce weapons grade plutonium. All of this comes as the Pentagon has acknowledged for the first time that the Bush administration intends to produce -- not just research -- a thermonuclear bunker-busting bomb. Federal officials signed documents in Washington this week to launch a preliminary design contest between Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico. The San Jose Mercury News reports the so-called Robust Nuclear Earth Penetrator will be a full-power hydrogen bomb that would throw up enormous clouds of radioactive dust while wreaking large-scale damage and death if used in an urban area. The bomb will be thousands of times more powerful than the conventional bunker busters dropped on Baghdad. * Bruce Cumings, history professor at the University of Chicago. He has written several books including Korea's Place in the Sun: A Modern History. 8:20-8:21 One Minute Music Break 8:30-8:58: It has been a tough year for poets. Two months ago Laura Bush cancelled a White House poetry symposium honoring Emily Dickinson, Langston Hughes and Walt Whitman. The First Lady feared the invited poets may invoke poems critical of invading Iraq. A spokesperson for Bush explained the cancellation at the time by saying: While Mrs. Bush respects and believes in the right of all Americans to express their opinions, she too has opinions and believes that it would be inappropriate to turn what is intended to be a literary event into a political forum." Across the country thousands of poets protested the decision and countless poetry readings were held from coast to coast. In Vermont, the 80-year-old Grace Paley took part in one of these readings alongside Jamaica Kincaid, Galway Kinnell and other well known poets. According to a local press account only Paley received a standing ovation. One of her poems dated from the 1960s and compared the mountains of Vermont to those of Vietnam. It included the line: The holes in the mountains are red. Paley has been active in the peace and poetry movements since the 1960s. Living in New York she helped found the Greenwich Village Peace Center in 1961. Eight years later she went on a peace mission to Hanoi during the war. She attended the World Peace Conference in 1974. She would go on to actively take part in the antinuclear and women's peace movements. In 1980, she helped organize the Women's Pentagon Action. And in 1985 Paley visited Nicaragua and El Salvador, after having campaigned against the U.S. government's policies toward these countries. She was also one of "The White House Eleven," who were arrested in 1978 for unfurling an anti-nuclear banner on the White House lawn. On the literary front, she is the nation s most acclaimed writers. She has received countless awards and glowing reviews for her poetry and fiction. Among her books are The Little Disturbances of Man, Later the Same Day, Enormous Changes at the Last Minute. She has received, among other prizes, a Lannan Literary Award, a National Book Award, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and an award from the National Institute of Arts and Letters. She also is the recipient of several awards from the National Endowment for the Arts (including a Senior Fellowship in recognition of her lifetime contribution to literature). And last week for the second time she became an official state poet. First she was the official state poet of New York from 1986 to 1988 and now she has been selected as Vermont s official state poet. * Grace Paley, poet, writer and activist who was recently named Vermont s official state poet. 8:58-8:59 Outro and Credits Democracy Now! is produced by Kris Abrams, Mike Burke, Angie Karran, Sharif Abdul Kouddous, Ana Nogueira, Elizabeth Press with help from Noah Reibel and Vilka Tzouras. Mike Di Filippo is our our music maestro and engineer. Thanks also to Uri Galed, Angela Alston, Emily Kunstler, Orlando Richards, Simba Rousseau, Rafael delaUz, Gabriel Weiss, Johnny Sender, Rich Kim, Karen Ranucci, Fatima Mojadiddy, Denis Moynihan and Jenny Filipazzo.