It's A Free Country ®

Ethics Reform in Albany

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Ken LovettDaily News Albany bureau chief, talks about the new ethics reform legislation in Albany and other legislation still to come before the June 20th end of session.


It's A Free Country ®

Tax Cap for Rent Regs

Thursday, June 02, 2011

Rent regulation and the property tax cap is about giving people certainty that they can afford to live in their homes... people can plan based on those issues.

NYS Assembly Speaker (D-64th) Sheldon Silver, on The Brian Lehrer Show.

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The Leonard Lopate Show

Perjury and the Ethics of American Life

Monday, May 30, 2011

James Stewart discusses what he sees as an epidemic of perjury sweeping our country, undermining the foundation of our courts, and explains why he thinks it’s symptomatic of a broader breakdown of ethics in American life. Tangled Webs: How False Statements are Undermining America: From Martha Stewart to Bernie Madoff goes behind the scenes of the trials of Martha Stewart, Lewis "Scooter" Libby, Barry Bonds, and Bernard Madoff, and includes interviews with prosecutors, investigators, and participants speaking for the first time. The book looks at age-old tensions between greed and justice, self-interest and public interest, loyalty and duty.

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The Takeaway

Was Justice Served in Nazi Prison Guard Trial?

Friday, May 13, 2011

Former Nazi death camp guard John Demjanjuk was found guilty of nearly 30,000 counts of accessory to murder in a German prison. At age 91, Demjanjuk was sentenced to five years in prison, but will be released pending a possible appeal. Demjanjuk is accused of being a prison guard at the Sobibor camp in Nazi occupied Poland in 1943. Does he deserve an appeal? David Cesarani,  professor of history at Royal Holloway, University of London, joins us for more on the story. 

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Transportation Nation

UPDATE: Metro Committee Approves Contract, Despite Ethics Questions

Friday, April 15, 2011

(Washington D.C. -- David Schultz, WAMU) Metro is moving forward with a $200 million contract extension for the company that operates its MetroAccess transit service for people with disabilities -- despite some questions about whether the contractor may have engaged in unethical lobbying.

Documents obtained by Transportation Nation partner, WAMU, show the contractor, MV Transportation, hired a lobbyist who until recently served as one of Metro's top executives and a member of its Board of Directors. The lobbyist, Emeka Moneme, sent emails to several of the advisers to the Metro Board requesting meetings to talk about MV, just nine months after he left the agency. Metro's ethics rules prohibit its executives from working on Metro-related business for at least a year after they leave.

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One of the advisers who received an email from Moneme forwarded it to WAMU. Through a public records request, WAMU has obtained a copy of a second email sent from Moneme's office to another Metro Board adviser. The second email also requests a meeting to discuss MV, and is almost identical to the first.

WAMU has contacted all the advisers to the Metro Board, but almost half have not responded. Of those who did, all -- including the two who received emails from Moneme -- say they did not agree to a meeting with him nor with anyone representing MV Transportation.

Moneme has refused to discuss the matter. MV says it hired him to do "community outreach," not to lobby his former co-workers.

Metro's General Manager Richard Sarles says he believes its contracting process has not been compromised, and a formal investigation has not been launched. Sarles says the advisers to Metro's Board of Directors serve in a voluntary capacity not on Metro's payroll. Therefore, Sarles says, Metro's ethics rules do not govern them.

Sarles acknowledges that, in government contracting, sometimes the mere appearance of impropriety can be as damaging as actual impropriety itself. “I’m always concerned that we have the appearance of proceeding the way we should with regards to our procurement rules," he says.

But Sarles says, because none of the advisers agreed to meet with Moneme, he's confident Metro's ethics procedures are being followed. "To my knowledge" he says, "thus far, those procedures have not been violated.”

MV Transportation's contract extension is scheduled to come up before the Metro Board for a final vote later this month.

(To see a copy of the email Moneme sent, visit WAMU's website.)

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The Leonard Lopate Show

The Hippocratic Myth

Thursday, April 07, 2011

M. Gregg Bloche, a health policy expert with a background in medicine, law and journalism, looks at the ways society is pushing physicians to ration care and to use their skills on behalf of insurance companies, hospital bureaucrats, government officials, and the courts―putting patient trust at risk. In The Hippocratic Myth: Why Doctors Are Under Pressure to Ration Care, Practice Politics, and Compromise Their Promise to Heal, he looks at the tensions between doctors and patients and examines how doctors have double agendas as caregivers and arbiters of cost, which compromises their ability to prioritize patient needs, and why there’s a need for doctors to forge a new compact with patients and society.

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It's A Free Country ®

Next Up: Maintaining Ethics in Albany

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

With the budget out of the way, Albany is turning its attention to new ethics rules for legislators. Governor Cuomo and Speaker Sheldon Silver say they’ve worked out a deal, helped in part by scandal after scandal after scandal in the New York statehouse.


The Takeaway

Investigation: Ethics Violations in Health Experiments

Friday, March 04, 2011

This week, a presidential bioethics committee met to discuss one of the most shocking violations of medical ethics — a clinical study done back in the 1970s on nearly 400 African American men in Tuskegee Alabama to study the progression of syphilis. The men believed they were receiving free health care from the US government. But just days before the committee met, a new comprehensive investigation by the Associated Press found that for decades, the United States government also knew about and authorized medical experiments on disabled people and prison inmates. Experiments included injecting cancer cells into the chronically ill at a New York hospital and giving hepatitis to mental patients in Connecticut.


On Being

Evolving "Faith" [remix]

Thursday, December 30, 2010

At the turn of the year, we look at how American culture's encounter with religious ideas and people has evolved in the past decade — and this radio project with it.


The Leonard Lopate Show

The Dark Side of Medicine

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Carl Elliott, professor at the Center for Bioethics at the University of Minnesota, discusses the problems with medicine’s growing commercialism. In White Coat, Black Hat: Adventures on the Dark Side of Medicine, he looks at the social and legislative changes that have blurred the line between consumer capitalism and medicine.

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It's A Free Blog

In Rangel's Defense

Friday, November 19, 2010

I began working for Charlie Rangel in his now infamous rent-controlled campaign office in the summer of 2006 as an intern still in high school. I have continued to proudly work for him, as well as other Congressional members, ever since. I agree with District Attorney Robert Morgenthau, the greatest New York crime-buster of the 20th century, who said Rangel is being “railroaded” and that “he’s done more for the people of New York City than anybody else.”

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Rangel Apologizes for Embarrassing Colleagues, Chief Counsel Recommends Censure

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Updated 3:15pm

Nearly in tears, Rep. Charlie Rangel asked members of the ethics panel to treat him fairly.

“What the press has done to me, my family and my community is unfair,” said Rangel, saying news outlets will continue to call him a “crook.”

Rangel, never one to hold back his thoughts, said, “I thank you for this awkward opportunity to express myself.”


The Brian Lehrer Show

Doctors on Pharma Payrolls

Thursday, November 18, 2010

WNYC reporter Ailsa Chang talks about ProPublica's Dollars for Docs investigation and what some New York City doctors earn from the pharmaceutical industry.

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It's A Free Blog

Why Rangel Walked Out

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

An ethics panel of eight House members deliberated over two days before delivering a sad but unsurprising blow to 20-term New York congressman Charles Rangel. The 80-year-old democratic representative from Harlem was charged with 13 counts of fundraising and financial misconduct. Yesterday, he was convicted on 11 of those charges.

But not before some theatrics: Charlie Rangel refused to defend himself in the congressional ethics hearing, on Monday. Why did he walk out in protest? And what was the effect, if any?

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Rangel Found Guilty of 11 Ethics Violations

Tuesday, November 16, 2010


Rep. Charlie Rangel was found guilty of 11 ethical violations by a bipartisan Congressional panel who will now determine what punishment to recommend to the full House for an up or down vote.

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The Brian Lehrer Show

Olbermann's Ouster

Monday, November 08, 2010

Joel Meares, assistant editor of the Columbia Journalism Review, talks about MSNBC’s suspension of Keith Olbermann for political contributions, and expectations of journalistic objectivity.

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Transportation Nation

Lautenberg Launching ARC Tunnel Investigation

Thursday, October 28, 2010

This press release just out from the office of Senator Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ), who is steaming mad about the cancellation of the ARC tunnel.

Here's the press release.

NEWARK – U.S. Senator Frank R. Lautenberg (D-NJ) today announced that he has launched an investigation into the cancellation of the nation’s largest infrastructure project.  The investigation seeks to determine the circumstances, actions and motivations that led to the largest loss of Federal transportation resources in New Jersey history.  Following a preliminary report that will be released before the end of this year, a final report will be delivered to the public within six months that will catalog all details and include recommendations to prevent such a loss of Federal revenue in the future.
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The Takeaway

Pre-Natal Testing and Medical Assumptions

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

A lot of you responded to our conversation Monday about whether or not to go through with pre-natal testing for Down syndrome. One response in particular stood out: mother-to-be Jocelyn commented on our website that her fetus had tested positive for Down syndrome, and she planned to continue the pregnancy. Some of her caregivers, however, had assumed that she would terminate her pregnancy. To respond to Jocelyn's comment, we have Dr. Andrea Price, OB/GYN at the Women's Health Alliance of New Jersey.

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The Leonard Lopate Show

Underreported: Human Egg Trafficking

Thursday, September 09, 2010

On today's first Underreported segment, Scott Carney, contributing editor at WIRED Magazine, tells us about the rise in human egg trafficking in Cyprus and Spain, and how loose regulations for egg donation and IVF in certain countries are resulting in a global egg trade. His article “Unpacking the Global Human Egg Trade” appears in the September issue of Fast Company

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The Takeaway

The End: The Line Between Life and Death During Organ Donation

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

All this week we’re talking with our friends from Scientific American about endings: in nature, culture and science. For most of human history the clearest, most black and white ending in our lives was death. However, in recent decades, life support technology has made death a gray area, leading to right-to-life debates, as in the case of Terri Schiavo. But the question of when someone is dead becomes especially important when dealing with the process of organ donation.

We asked you, our listeners: If you are are an organ donor, what made you agree to it? If not, what's your reason against it? Let us know in the comments or call 877-8-MY-TAKE and we'll play the responses on the air.

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