thumbnail of Focus 580; Latinos in America Today
Hide -
If this transcript has significant errors that should be corrected, let us know, so we can add it to FIX IT+
And then the team to South Korea to investigate allegations that American troops killed civilians there nearly 50 years ago. The Associated Press has reported accounts by American veterans and South Korean villagers that U.S. soldiers killed up to 400 civilians at No Gun Ri South Korea early in the Korean War. A subsequent report said that in addition to the No Gun Ri incident in late July of 1950 the army destroyed two strategic bridges as South Korean refugees streamed across killing hundreds. The investigators led by the Army's inspector general leave tomorrow and planned to hold one day of talks on Friday with their South Korean counterparts. I'm Carl Kasell. NPR News in Washington. Support for NPR comes from members of the American Institute of Architects offering consumers a directory of its members and information on architecture on the web that online dot com. Today's broadcast is made possible in part by a grant from Remax realty associates currently handling over 30 percent of the real estate sales transactions in Champaign County Remax
realty associates three five to fifty seven hundred Remax encourages you to join them in supporting public radio. Good morning. Welcome to focus 580 This is our telephone talk program. My name's David Ensor thanks for tuning in this morning. In this part of focus 580 will be talking a bit about Latinos in America today and what it means to be Latino or Latino in America today and as it turns out that's maybe not such an easy question to answer. At least each individual in a sense has to supply his or her own answer. We're talking this morning with two guests both of them teach here at the University of Illinois Matt Garcia who's a professor of history and guard. She's professor of communications research. Both of them are involved in the conference that will be taking place starting tomorrow on the campus looking at this very question. Scholars from this campus and from other places will be here
talking about different aspects of life for Latinos in America about Latinos and American culture. Political popular about the field of Latino studies. And we thought it might be interesting to have them on the program to talk a little bit about some of these issues perhaps not quite on the same scholarly level but on a little bit more of a popular level and see what sort of answers there are to this question What does it mean to be Latino in America today. Our guests are here and we're certainly interested in having people participate in the conversation too. Your questions comments are certainly welcome all we ask is that people try to be brief in their comments just so we can include as many different people as possible and keep things moving along. Our number though here in Champaign-Urbana if you would like to call 3 3 3 9 4 5 5. We also have a toll free line good anywhere that you can hear us and that is 800 to 2 2 9 4 5 5 so whichever number works for you locally
3 3 3 W I L L. And then there's that other number if it would be a toll call or a long distance call you got to pay for the call you can make the call on us 800 to 2 2 9 4 5 5 so at any point here if you'd like to join the conversation do that. Thanks very much to you both for being here. You know I guess the point where you start with and is it people don't already know this already is that simple demographics tell us that Latinos are an increasing presence in this country and everywhere in this country and that we know that if they if things go as they are by some time in the next few years but Tino's will be the largest minority group in the country and certainly already there's been a lot of comment about how Latinos are changing influencing shaping American popular culture in the arts and so forth. And then there are some more interesting questions about on deeper levels. Are there ways in which the
increasing presence of Latinos are changing America. I want to ask that question but I want to sort of save that for a little bit. One of the the points that you wanted to make and she was you know just about the idea that people should should think about the fact that there is an important presence of Latinos in the Midwest in the middle of the country and it's not so much just something that's about California or about New York. And maybe that Sagan sort of underscores just how important Latinos are becoming to the country. Well one of the impetus is be behind this conference was to really kind of highlight the fact that the Tino's are everywhere in the United States not just in New York City and Texas and that California has been everywhere for a long time and that there are many issues that Latinos face that are very diverse throughout the country so we can not just continue to talk about it in terms of coastal terms the east and the West Coast in another
kind of corollary to that is the fact that we have Latino studies here at the University of Illinois. We have a wonderful wonderful group of scholars and a wonderful group of students and so partly this conference is meant to kind of let. Community the local international community know that he knows are here and that Latino studies is here and that we should focus part of our research program on what's going on throughout the country not just in the coastal areas. Yeah I was really just recently I was really struck there was an article in The New York Times appeared on the front page and if you saw it about how people in New York are starting to think more and more that being able to speak Spanish is going to be really important. And one of the things that really struck me about that article was the fact I hope I'm remembering that right is that one out of every five New Yorkers speak Spanish at home. And that Latinos are becoming a very important part of the makeup of that city. And I'm wondering though if you have some feeling or maybe we have even have some numbers for
the Midwest if you for example take a look at a city like Chicago. Are we seeing the same thing and then also even if you look outside of Chicago look at St. Louis or look at Indianapolis or are maybe smaller cities are you really seeing that same trend. Well I think that Chicago is an example of the kind of. Hybrid Latino community that we're trying to champion in terms of this conference and the programs that we're recreating here at the University of Illinois I think there's a tendency to either be focused on Mexican-Americans and that would be a Western focus. And then on the other hand to focus on Puerto Rican in the in the east. And what's interesting about Chicago is that it is really an all encompassing Latino or any god that exists there that incorporates Cubans Puerto Rican Dominican is Mexican-Americans of course the the biggest star in Chicago is Sammy Sosa Dominican. And so
people forget that Illinois is a place for a lot they need God in particular. Chicago for example you were asking about numbers. Chicago ranks as the third largest Latino population in the United States as far as a city and Cook County is also the third largest Latino county in the United States. Illinois as a whole ranks as the fifth largest in the United States so it is very much a very diverse community. Also I'd mention that instead of places like L.A. where there's a central body that people identify with East L.A.. Chicago is a poly centric one has poly centric body yes. They have the historic Pilsen and Little Village area but they also have newer places on the southeast side. Even the north side which is in some ways characterized as as white. Go in there you're be surprised at the emergence of a Latino community on the north side
and and so I think Chicago in particular is an important place for exploring ideas of interconnectedness between the various Latinos that make up like the dot in the US. Well that's really I think that that's it. It's something that people living in Illinois I would think particularly people living in downstate Illinois would be kind of surprised about because I think if you asked people where what states in the United States would you think there would be large numbers of Latinos and people are going to say Florida and Texas and California and perhaps also New York because of New York City. But I would bet on a lot of people's lists Illinois would either not be on the list or it would they wouldn't they would be surprised to say that it was within the top five in numbers. Well specially in counties I mean when you think about Cook County you think of the various counties that exist in Dade County for example. But yet. Cook County ranks over over those. So it's over over Dade So it's really
an emerging place for a Latino community. I'm going to be in Chicago be interviewed and I am. Right yeah exactly. One of the things that seems to me and some of the conversations I had with people who have done some study of Latinos in this country and things like you know their their political identifications and how they think about themselves. One thing that seemed to come through very strongly was this idea that you cannot think of Latinos as some kind of immense coherent homogenously sort of group that in fact for for a lot of people they are much more likely to think of themselves as not as Latino Americans but as with their 4:40 really strong with with the place where they have family roots either where they came from or where their family came from and the more likely to identify as
Cuban-Americans or Mexican-Americans or Puerto Rican Americans. And but I guess I wonder is there still some sense in which people are also identifying with this larger term Latino or Latina and that they do see this you know being a part of some really larger group in addition to maybe a smaller group that they have a closer. The immediate sort of white family and geographic tie to I mean how do other people think about those two categories that the sort of smaller one and then that this really big one. Right. I think it's an issue of history an issue of geography I mean some populations clearly have been here for hundreds of years predate what we call the Anglo US population. Some populations are quite recent right recent immigrants and some have been here for generations or a couple hundred years and so there's that there's also the thought that Latino is kind of a category is rather recent in terms of the United States and so
on and so it almost currently especially in certain regions is something that almost implies some kind of a political conscience that you are in fact like you said kind of purposefully and explicitly and consciously kind of aligning yourself with a pan Latino identity although recognizing the fact that there is just huge diversity within Latinos Of course it's not a coherent homogeneous population racially wise. I mean that's that's one of the weirdest things about Latinos in terms of how the United States government sees us is that you know we are Hispanic in the U.S. Census you know and we're that cat that we're at category in the U.S. Census because you can be white or you can be black which are supposedly racial categories. Yet if you're Latino you can be white or black because when you fill up black is black but not his Benteke rights a Latino even the U.S. Census acknowledges that Latinos are just this kind of mixture thing that is not racially based that it's very very very heterogeneous racially y second city education class politically wise.
And so therefore it's very hard to make a kind of generalizations about them as you know population. And there are very many people in the Latino population who do not see themselves as Latino because like I said it's it's a very recent kind of identity Mark. Well that's that's interesting. Maybe you might want to talk about that a little bit more there. So the sort of the shift at least in some people's minds between Hispanic and Latino and what what that what sort of meaning comes with that and you know it may be that a lot of a lot of people I mean I guess I I made the shift because that just seemed to be the sort of what was the preferred term without knowing well what what's behind that and does does do those two different words really say to you two very different things. So it's very much coded language and we could go on at great length about that. Books have been written quite literally about this issue but I think just to break it down in simplistic terms I think hispanic is often seen as a very politically
conservative identity one that's imposed upon the Latino community by the federal government. It came about during the Nixon era and it was a way of homogenizing otherwise very radical elements within the larger Latino population in particular the Chicano movement was going at that time in the 1970s you had the Puerto Rican movement going and so this was a way of kind of watering down that very intense political movement. And Latino is an interesting idea which emerged. Well the origins are somewhat disputed but there's an important study by Felix by the on Chicago of all places in which the NIS MO or the identity of being Latino emerges amongst working class Puerto Ricans and Mexicans who found found common cause in creating a labor movement around that ethnic identity. And so it's there in the 1970s that this
idea of Latino comes about. But quite interesting only about the history of those two words Hispanic and Latino. They're both European origin. The idea of a Latino comes from Napoleon the third and and so that's an interesting idea because a lot of people will say well I prefer Latino because it's non European world actually has a European origin. Hispanic obviously comes from Spain and it's a Spanish origin were. So both have their roots in Europe. But I think Latino is regarded as much more of a left maybe big D Democratic identity although that's changing as well. So and the thing about Hispanic is that in terms of the census again it can include Spanish people. You know like from space. And so it's a it's a it's a it's a much broader term than Latinos because it's not. It's not dealing just with the Americas. It's also dealing with certain Portuguese and Spanish populations. And
so what happens sometimes is say for example a Spanish American person can actually apply and get it. A scholarship for under-represented groups because the category Hispanic officially and legally includes Spanish people and so that you know it's a kind of an interesting site. Let me reintroduce our guest for this first part of focus 580 for anyone who might have tuned in in last few minutes we're talking with Emap Garcia He's professor of history and professor of communications research both of them here at the University of Illinois about Latinos in America today and this whole question of Latino and Latino identity what does it mean to be Latino in America. They are involved in a seminar looking at some of these various issues. People from this campus and from outside of Champaign Urbana going to be here Thursday Friday and Saturday to discuss some of these very issues. And we thought it be interesting today to do the same to invite them here and talk a little bit about some of these questions
your comments and questions of course are welcome 3 3 3 W I L L toll free 800 1:58 W while I'm going back to the point that you made about Chicago and about the fact that Chicago and the Latino community in Chicago is maybe a little bit different than some other places because of its diversity and that in some other places it would be more likely that you would find maybe larger numbers of of one particular group say Mexican Americans in Southern California or Puerto Rican Americans in New York City. How does what does it mean for the Latino community in Chicago I mean does that really in what ways is it different or is it different in order small ways at all. I think that you know in some ways where you see Chicago as a metaphor where I kind of are the kind of the direction and the future of Latino studies because not even not even in New York can you pretend it's about Puerto Ricans and not even in California can you pretend it's about Mexican Americans as the situation is heterogeneous and to continue to
study it as homogeneous kind of bounded communities it's not very helpful anymore. And New York for example really actually Dominicans are almost outnumbering that New York Puerto Rican and so on that's seldom mentioned. I've lived in California and Chile in American if you will and I thought friends who were Peruvian and what they saw from everywhere Venice are Latinos and of course in Chicago there's a bunch of Colombians you know and then it's a lot of us and everywhere and so that the situation is very heterogeneous and also quite often as I mentioned with the North Side of Chicago. Chicago Latinos don't necessarily live in just Latino communities. We are. We're everywhere. You know we are part of the very fabric of this nation and so that that is truly one of the things that we wanted to explore one of the issues both in the seminar and in this conference and in the book we're going to do after this conference is this kind of heterogeneity and this need to study things in a much more complex and interactive manner and that's really kind of the way that both my research and that's personal research is going and the way that everybody
who's participating in this conference is through. I think it's really important to remember you know this idea about Chicago's metaphor is really important for even studying the east and west coast because you you have to remember that for example Los Angeles although it's the second largest Mexican city in the United States second to Mexican Mexico City it's also the second largest Salvadoran you know city. It's the second largest Guatemala Teko city. It's it's a very large city for Latinos in general and it's. And so the ways in which we get it we characterize the East Coast as Puerto Rican the West Coast is Chicano is a bit reductive especially today. SP You mentioned Dominican. That's really important I mean one of the important connections that we're trying to draw out is not only the idea that Latinos are here in reshaping America but they're transforming the hemisphere as well. And quite recently. The Dominican Republic was the first country in Latin
America in the Caribbean to elect a transnational migrant as a president their president who is now Fernandes Rayna was raised on the Upper West Side of New York City and he intends to go back to New York after he's served his term in the D.R. So it's really interesting that you know we have to remember that it encompasses far more than the historic Chicano Mexican-American Puerto Rican communities that that existed here we haven't said very much about Cubans either. But that's an important component of that as well. Huge. One of the you make a point or raise a question I think is interesting one and that is. You know that the extent to which Latinos in the United States seem. Want to Maine really maintain ties with the places that they came from and that this is maybe a little bit different from the immigrant experience that we've seen in the past although in part that simply
may be due to you know ease of transportation. I mean there would have been a time when once you got here there was there was no going back it would have been extremely difficult and now and also to being able to make that movement is is easier but I just I still think that this may be and you can tell me if I'm wrong and this may be a significant difference between a lot of Latinos and other people who came to the United States from other places and that is still maintaining in their minds a sort of almost a dual citizenship. And I wonder if if in fact that that is true whether you think that that's something that will continue. Across a number of generations. Or that a certain point will come when that that won't be as true as it is now. It's quite literal. I mean that the fact that dual it dual citizenship exist. The Mexican government just recently passed a law that allows their citizens in the United States to maintain their Mexican citizenship as they become U.S.
citizens as well. The United States is the one that's very much resistant to this idea. For example both the Dominican and Mexican congresses are currently considering legislation that would allow immigrants to vote in their elections from the U.S. and to give an example of how that would impact for example Mexican politics. The voting bloc of adult Mexican voters in the United States would rival the voting bloc that is in Mexico City would comprise 15 percent of the country's electorate. So this idea of dual citizenship is already in existence for Latin American countries the United States is the one that is very resistant to this idea than yourselves of Puerto Rico of course and if you're preoccupied you know a special place in this whole kind of you know hemisphere because Puerto Rican star part of the United States and they're not part of the United States so they kind of occupy this kind of US state that's within kind of one kind and you know they're
neither here nor there and they're always in the kind of state of mobility and fluidity and yes. Puerto Rican populations the research suggests that go back and forth quite often and all the time and I think it is a little bit difficult. For example say Chilean or Peruvian populations to go back and forth as much so I do think that you did have a little bit of a point there in terms of the geography of it all you know it just it's different kind of crossing the border say from San Diego to Juana quite often and you know you can literally do it daily and people work across the border and live across the border both ways. We're live in New York in decline and vice versa. But but going a little bit further south gets gets a little bit more expensive and time consuming. But there's also the economic kind of there. Well here you kind of talked about the political there which is very important but economically wise I mean people send money back you know and there are certain economies which depend on the people who are here sending kind of the remittances they're called back home to to to the people who who stayed behind and so
there's economically that that link. And and culturally I don't want to service your area of study but media media is very important in forging this trans national Latino community. We don't know this and necessarily in Champaign-Urbana because we on our regular television stations do not have the. The prerequisites for one of his own and Telemundo and the big conglomerates that now exist and huge media markets like Chicago or Los Angeles but that has become a daily reality for people to watch programs that are broadcast from Mexico City or broadcast from. Miami Florida and certainly American broadcasters American cable systems people who are in the communications obviously that's something they know about because there they have started to forge these sorts of connections. But as Matt said it's really something that you're in Champaign-Urbana you're not going to see that but if you live in a place where there are there are significant
numbers of Spanish speaking people you're certainly going to see that. And in terms of broadcasting mode like say in terms of popular culture even in Champaign-Urbana even on Top 40 stations you get to hear Jennifer Lopez and Ricky Martin who are kind of like you know popular culture and mainstream popular culture. You get MTV their stuff is being played on MTV. You saw the MTV Awards and both Ricky Martin and Jennifer Lopez were in and Jennifer Lopez was in there in the Academy Awards right. So you get that you get the circulation of course of popular music. Right now there's been this incredible kind of explosion in terms of the stuff we're getting from Cuba because we don't want to pick a side and being an incredible influence in terms of musical kinds of law. Formats not just not just Latino but any kind Jass or any kind of music you know that you cannot and cannot discount acumen the kind of contribution and so you have those vans touring the country. You have all that when at least a social club which sold the very first day and throughout the country I mean we couldn't everybody here who wanted to go see him in Chicago none of us got
tickets because they sold out before we could get access to the phone lines. And so that you do have this incredible circulation with us Latino and Latin America kind of popular culture among the Latino population but among the general population too. Yeah. I wonder though that that that's again one of those issues where one of those examples where this question of identity gets sort of confusing just walking to the to the music store rocking the record store and looking where these things are shelved. Yeah. And are they are they have a special section or are they within ethnic or international. I read an article that was not very old and it was sort of commenting upon the growth in popularity of Latino performers and the fact that that on Broadway you can you can see them and. There you are you're starting to see them on TV in places like that there was a quote from from Mark Anthony who said you know he was he was sort of confused because he said Well I think of myself
as an American and I perform and I'm singing in English and I'm recording here in the United States. But my discs are in the ethnic section and you know they were but they were back there with the with the with the quote unquote foreign foreign performers and so he was saying well what you know I don't I don't think of myself in that way and yet somebody decided well you're you belong in this category. Even though he was recording in the United States and at least doing some of his songs in English I mean that that's a study in itself the way that say record stores and now book stores because you know you get a lot of records in bars in the US and borders I was reading in the octopus a couple months ago somebody wrote in that we shouldn't buy anything at borders because they actually categorize. They don't have even a hip hop section they have a soul section so they have hip hop in soul you know even though hip hop is is. Huge huge musical kind of formation which by the way has contributions from Latino populations an artist as well as this rap
you know rap is really kind of an urban thing not necessarily an African-American thing and so from the very beginning we have both Latinos and African-Americans kind of being very active in RAW which is coded You know as African-American music but it's really very multicultural because just like we have said that Latinos cannot be kind of picked to these kind of homogeneous population. Latinos live you know with African-Americans with Asian Americans with Anglo Americans and so in terms of musical and cultural forms it's very difficult nowadays to find cultural forms that are you can just pick to say one ethnicity because there's just such collaboration hybridity and these things. Well historically that's true as well I mean my research on the 1950s and 60s rock n roll in Southern California while there was quite a few African-American artists who made a name for themselves a lot of Latino artists were influenced by that music. Ritchie Valens being the best known one and a whole genre of Chicano R&B
developed and influenced I think the what we consider mainstream rock n roll today with a form of music known as the East Side sound which came out of the east side of Los Angeles. And so groups such as Los Lobos that are popular today are reminiscent throwbacks if you will to that type of music and can you continue it to the present. So the idea that Latinos are attached to any particular type of music or that don't have connections to other cultural forms is really a mistake. Even historically. Yeah. We have several callers to talk with. We'll we'll do that one if you guys will put on your headlines and you can hear them and maybe I should also reintroduce our guests Valdivia is professor of communications research and Matt Garcia's professor of history here at the University of Illinois. We're talking about Latino identity and this is one of the sort of issues that they and some other scholars from this campus and elsewhere
will be talking about as part of a seminar under the auspices of the Center for Advanced Study that will be taking place the next couple of days on the campus. And as we continue to talk of course questions are welcome 3 3 3 9 4 5 5 for Champaign Urbana toll free 800 to 2 2 9 4 5 5. We'll start in with a color in champagne. Line 1. Hello. The rare reference to early heard discussion about media availability. You might like to know that the local cable outlets simulcast HBO in Spanish for those who want to do that great. That's one thanks. OK. Alright well it made maybe whole well before we have Univision but you know that's that's interesting to know that that is available. Yes. All right let's go to our line number four oh and ah yes yeah I am one that nobody ever talks about the people in New
Mexico. It's really interesting how much influence they had. I mean if you go with it it's a total deformed. And how you how you can invite category do you put them in the Spanish and you go there and you talk to people and they say don't know me and that makes it can still be a not to be a spanish. They said they came didn't like it then you meant the Spaniards. So how do you categorize these people. There's no doubt that it's so cultural. They could mend a contribution out. There's no doubt that New Mexicans in particular represent a very unique part of the Mexican community if you will. But yet they don't in some ways identify as Mexican there's a whole group of
people that consider themselves he Spano which is really a way of referencing their Spanish background their Spanish identity and you know there's been scholarship about the border region and New Mexico is a good example of in which at the time in which Mexican immigration as is happening in the twenty early 20th century that that there is a an attempt by. New Mexicans and middle class or upper class Mexicans on the border region to make a Faustine pack if you will with whiteness. That is to say that they identified as Spanish as a way of taking on a European origin and separating themselves out from the darker skinned Mysti so immigrants that are coming across. Now that is that is one moment in which this takes place but also New Mexico is very different in that the kind of race relations that existed there were very much more separate
than they were in say Chicago. Scuse me in California or Texas. There was an attempt to really separate from the Indian populations there and so New Mexico admittedly is very very unique. It is yeah. And in the villages absent the DNA only if it be acted like decent. Home to Spanish but not here. I mean and that's why from Spain I mean and yet when you make that kind of connection to Spain you're almost implicitly making a connection to some kind of racial purity because I mean really spin. Think so really kind of the first modern nation to kind of try to establish an identity as a racially poor racially pure nation I mean they kicked out the Jewish population in 49 too. They kicked out the Spanish and because really it's kind of the kind of the first modern kind of attempt in the in that in terms of a nation to stablish some kind of
purity within its national borders. And so kind of an implicit any kind of Spanish it's part. It's not it's not what I think it's part of the kind of historical record that they kicked out. You know certain populations at certain points in their history like kicked out so yeah sure sure. Morris of course Jim was Rob would say at one time to occupy but you know and that all contributes to Mexican history because New Mexico was the first frontier region that really got settled by the Spanish who had come into Mexico conquered central Mexico and then moved northward to New Mexico. Yeah but it's really in place you know there's no way you could see it. Right well thanks for coming. Thank you. How do. How do we let you know people in again. I know I it's risky to ask for sweeping generalizations right but I mean I wonder how people do think about the the various contributions of who they are and what they are that do come from Europe and
that those that are really have to do with the indigenous cultures that the Europeans came and mixed with and in some cases obliterated. Yeah I mean how is that. How is that if you sort of thought about that. Well you know I teach a course on your kind of history and there's been a lot of debate where you start Chicano history and traditionally the historians before the feminist movements of the 1970s feminist literature they started with the separation of. Northern Mexico or what is today the southwest from Mexico with the US Mexican War in 1848. But more recently particularly feminist writers such as Gloria will do and who will be here. She evoked the memory of a lama who was in some ways the creator of
the mother of Mahe County God or the misty so people and so now when when we teach the kind of history we started back to the conquest of Mexico because the creation of the people that now live in the borderlands and live in the Southwest are people that came from that process so you can't just start from the point of conflict in the US-Mexican war in 1848 but you have to go all the way back. And if you go all the way back there I mean part of the recent some of the populations were kind of welcoming to the Spanish kind of of course this and stuff like that. Well it's because you know there was no more than 80. And what we now know is Mexico even then. You know the ass stakes were incredibly imperialistic and so there was you know conflict going on in the land even at that time and so you really cannot go back to sort of a kind of a some kind of you know I don't know nostalgic time when all was well and everybody got along together and there was no oppression because that was happening when the
Spanish got here and said it's an incredibly difficult and that's just Mexico. Why don't you ask about Latinos and that's just Mexico. I mean you know there's everything else happening. Yeah well let's talk with some other folks let's go to the next callers are all in Urbana also taken in the order they came in starting with one number two. Hello. Yeah I thought I'd bring up a couple of points and see if you could pick up your guest. And in the end is one is that I've got three of them actually. OK all right just into my first one would be that I've heard national security analysts refer to Latin America as a resource for the United States. And I don't know what you read into that but. When I couple that with the idea that they tend to our media and our our policymakers decisions decision makers tend to lump all Latinos into one group very much like they treated the
Soviets for example which was which was a very diverse society. You know I suspect they mean something I'm not too positive when they say it's a resource. Number two there's a there's. Thing I think there's there's quite a lot of seeing Latinos as being Catholics because they're mostly Catholic. There's the suspicion that there are still socialists want to pick up on that. And the third the third thing is that I wish the Jew in there would talk a little bit about how new all this with you know incursion into the media is because there's been a lot of resistance to it. Apparently the people managing our media have have not looked on too kindly on our understanding in the past and this is all very
new. Hang up with that I think there's plenty of it. If you can keep us going for quite a while. Well we'll let the guests you can comment on whatever taken whatever direction you want. You just know that. Yeah. Just one thing about Catholicism and its links to socialism in fact that is in some ways true with liberation theology in the nineteen eighties. And so it helped fuel revolutions in Central America. Now I don't know to what extent you bring that up to the president say all Catholics are socialists but there was definitely that connection at that time so I'm not sure if that was what the caller is referring to but my dad was certainly object to that being a non-socialist force the very various permutations of Catholicism. And you know yeah you have Catholics of all sorts and in fact if you again look at the say Central American History of liberation theology. And but also the revolutionary movements are that's a dogma. The Catholic Church you
know was active in all the political you know possibilities. You know we have the cardinal really kind of a house in the US you know in the church and then we have two members of the of the FSL and one being Catholic priest and so we have really Catholic Catholics come in like Latinos come in all sorts of political proclivities because as you may well imagine the Bible and Catholic doctrine is very open to interpretation and so people do interpret it in many ways. Now I just kind of a as a little kind of a factoid. The big the largest Catholic population in the world is in Brazil and that's partially because Brazil is a huge country with a huge population. And we seldom talk about Brazil so in terms of Latinos because of the language and the kind of different historical kind of circumstances of that country. Latin America is a resource. Of course it is a resource I mean George Lipsitz was here last semester he's a scholar.
Among other things like Tino's among other populations and I mean one of the things he says in his book is that you know the Southern California economy would crumble if it weren't for Latinos functioning at every level at every level of the economy. And many of them crossing the border back and forth many of them being said back and forth as Californians do not need them. Then there are also there's also the issue of just raw materials you know that we use from California I mean from Latin America. And so you know it's a somewhat You just add on to something that's current I mean the reason why George Ryan is in Cuba I think has to do with this idea of Cuba as a resource as a potential market that needs to be opened up. And even though they restricted him to humanitarian messages there was always an economic. Undercurrent to all the reporting that came out of all this it's been very interesting to see how they have gone back and forth. First it was a trade mission then and always humanitarian mission and now it's sort of like well I think we're really acknowledging the what it what it really is that it really is about the possibility
of there being some economic ties. I mean that's that seems like it's right up front even though it may not be. We're not talking about it that way but that certainly is what started this whole thing and it's still it's still there and the humanitarians Tarion stuff is kind of window dressing. Well that kind of added on this morning with you know bringing home the boy to tell it that's taken care of in the United States. Although my understanding of it was that a large part of that kind of trip was funded by business interests not necessarily the state of Illinois. Well the CEO of APM was right there next to George Ryan throughout the trip so well let's see if we get least one more caller in here again Urbana. This is my number one. Hello is that me. Yes. Yes ma'am. Thank you. Oh this is maybe off of the left field but I do not understand the censorship itself by having your cake and eating it too. Are you or are you
at the center of the country. Well well yes. This gets us into a variety of issues but you know how you define citizenship as well and I define citizenship as. Supporting the country. You are live there paying taxes doing your job. Being loyal to that country putting its interests in a prime location in your life. But if you're a citizen you do those things. Now how can you also do those same thing for another country. I don't care which country it is. Dual citizenship confuses me. Well a lot of Latino immigrants would say that they are supporting two countries at the same time that they're sending home profits from their work in the United States to support their communities and their families and their kin networks in their country of origin. But they're also paying
taxes as they work and buy things in the United States and so when your criteria for citizenship is being met by those immigrants and this concept of a cultural citizenship which is you know recognizing the fact that Latinos have been here they actually predate Anglos. And that there is an economic component to it that that there is a contribution to the fostering of a development of a modern economy in both the United States and their country of origin is one that that lends itself to a more expansive idea of citizenship. And I think that's the kind of citizenship that the Mexican government is trying to recognize in the United States is resistant to. Right well I'll drop in a few more names. Undoubtedly there are many people in the United States who whose ancestors came from Ireland know Ireland had a lot of trouble. Is it possible to be a citizen
of the United States of Ireland. Well I don't know what the particular legal possibilities there are might be possible and I not be possible. I mean. You know this is a really kind of a contemporary issue because for example in the contemporary global economy we almost have no nationally based corporations. You know I'm not going about money I'm talking about money. Yeah I'm not talking about money. I think historically anyone who came from any place sent money back to the folks at home who are right you know yeah but I'm not talking about big corporations or anything else. I'm talking about loyalty. Well I guess that's what I'm talking about loyalty in the sense that contemporarily. People and corporations leave very complicated lives and it's very difficult to kind of narrow it down to one particular location although I agree with you that there are very
many different kind of perspectives on this issue and people feel quite quite strongly about this. Oh I think I think this is something is a really interesting and I think it goes way it goes beyond you're talking about but Dino's I really think that it's that it's a way in which the the the American immigrant experience has changed or is changing that that is that it is more and I and you know like I hear the caller saying that that she's having a tough time with this concept but I I kind of think that that is something that. People who have come the United States within the last say a generation or so are more seem not to have a problem with the idea of dual citizenship even though I think maybe the idea that you could vote in both places that's that's maybe in an exceptional kind of condition. But but the idea that you would actually feel that you could say to yourself yeah I I could feel loyal to both countries I do feel connected to both countries. It seems to me that that's something that's that's new
in maybe one way in which you know the country is is changing. It's very contemporary. I mean it really speaks to some of the issues we'll be talking about in these conferences. You know we really have kind of a new situation here in the US. That's why the word Latini that you know it's it's a very kind of complex. Notion of identity that cannot be narrowed down quite easily. Maybe we thought we could you know write down even through you know what you know we're going to have to stop because we are simply at the end of the time but I'm sure that a lot of these issues we're going to talk about again and other days. But for the moment we have to say thanks to Dave and I met Garcia Garcia's professor of history and grad L. Davies professor of communications research both at the University of Illinois. Thanks for coming over and spending some time with us. Thank you very thank you. Broadcast of our show focus 580 made possible in part by a grant from the art mart in the Lincoln Square Mall Urbana the art Mart is pleased to support public
radio in east central Illinois and the next hour of our show will be talking about the Web that is the World Wide Web as a news medium. And our guest for the program will be Russ Mitchell who's been writing about technology computer technology for a long time he was editor at Wired The online magazine has also written about technology issues for U.S. News and World Report in Business Week and this week is spending a week on the U of I campus as the first technology writer in residence so we'll talk about the Web as a news medium with him in the next part of the show tomorrow morning Jim Kaylor will be here to talk about what you can see the sky this time of year he's professor of astronomy at the U of I. And will answer whatever questions you might have on that area. So hope you can stick around for the next hour and join us tomorrow for our show and right now we want you to stay tuned because we have an update for you on the commodity markets. That Lending Tree dot com. This is NPR National Public
Radio. Ier from w h y y in Philadelphia I'm Terry Gross with FRESH AIR.
And today's Fresh air the seductive moaning crooning and recitations of Barry White. The oversized deep voiced singer is the guru of love to some fans and entertaining camp to others his hits of the 70s combined funk and disco. He said you were the first the last my everything has been revived and Allie McBeal now has a new CD and a new autobiography early in his career he wrote songs about love for the female trio Love Unlimited. But when it came to singing themselves he was a reluctant performer. Also Marine Corrigan reviews headlong the new novel by British writer Michael Frayn. That's all coming up on fresh. First the news. From National Public Radio News in Washington the encore of a coalman the prime minister of Armenia has been shot and
killed. A gunman opened fire in the parliament. At least four other senior officials were also killed. NPR's Michele Kelemen reports from Moscow. Several gunmen burst into Parliament just as Prime Minister Abbas Ganser key Seann was speaking to the assembly. The gunmen opened fire and seized hostages. Lawmakers and observers fled in panic and live television coverage of the speech was cut. Interior Ministry forces say police are now surrounding the building and central yet of on the prime minister was rushed to the hospital Armenia's president Robert Gibbs reportedly arrived later at the scene to consult with security officials. Witnesses say the gunmen shouted they were launching a coup. Some journalists recognized the gunmen saying at least one of them was a former journalist and a member of a nationalist party. Officials have not commented on these reports. Michele Kelemen NPR News Moscow. Reports from Chechnya say heavy airstrikes continue to fall on the provinces capital Grozny. Today's hits are said to be the most serious since last
week when several Russian rockets fell on a downtown market killing scores of people. Chechen officials say 38 people have died and about 100 were hurt but that has not been confirmed. Russian military officials say they want to wipe out Islamic militants and have sent troops into the region. A federal appeals court in Chicago has the highest court to uphold state laws banning some late term abortions. The nine judge panel narrowly decided measures in Illinois and Wisconsin are constitutional. Chuck Bach of Wisconsin Public Radio reports. About 30 states have passed laws banning a certain type of late term abortion described by abortion opponents as partial birth abortion. Many local courts of deem the law's illegal and one appeals court recently agreed. But appellate judges in Chicago have now upheld state bans passed in Wisconsin and Illinois. Anti-abortion rights groups are thrilled but Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin spokesperson Amalia Vox says she is stunned when 18 other courts have ruled that laws very similar to the fire on
caused. You know for the very reason because we believe that it could be applied to other procedures. The appeals court has ordered lower courts in the two states to make it clear the new laws only apply to a specific type of late term abortion issue may eventually go to the Supreme Court. For NPR News this is Chuck Harbach in Milwaukee. The Supreme Court will also decide whether the electric chair is a method of execution is really cute cruel and unusual punishment. The justices are hearing a case from Florida. In one incident blood dripped from underneath a face mask of a condemned man. There was also evidence that he was suffocated before the execution began on Wall Street the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 16 points at ten thousand three hundred eighteen trading is moderate. This is NPR. In NPR's business update stock trading has been mixed. Today companies are continuing to report quarterly earnings figures and the government says there was some signs of slowing in terms of purchasing last month. NPR's Jack Speer reports.
The news that quarterly earnings were up that both online auction firm e-bay and at Compaq the nation's largest manufacturer of personal computers probably was not enough to boost the overall technology sector today. E-bay shares fell sharply that was as investors expressed their disappointment the online auction firm's third quarter earnings were not higher. Company waited until after the market closed yesterday to announce it posted a net income of one point four million dollars during the quarter or about a penny a share. Compaq says it earned one hundred and seventeen million dollars for the three months ending in September. On the economic front the Commerce Department reported today orders to U.S. factories for durable goods things like cars and airconditioners designed to last three years or more declined 1.3 percent in September. Jack Speer NPR News Washington. New York's highest court of appeals has unanimously upheld a lower court decision throwing out a lawsuit against five of the biggest cigarette makers in the country. The suit charged the companies used deceptive practices to sell their products. The court ruled the suit did not
show any proof that the plaintiffs were addicted to cigarettes. This is a fundamental requirement to show injury under New York law. The lawsuit covered a million people and had sought to recover money that smokers spent on cigarettes. The third largest drugstore chain in the country says earnings during its third quarter rose 19 percent. Officials with CBS drugstores say their net income was well over one hundred twenty one million dollars. I'm CORBA Coleman NPR News in Washington. Support for NPR comes from Ivy developers of digital delivery solutions and burst where a patented burst enabled delivery technology burst dotcom. Today's broadcast is made possible with support from Christie Clinic association with offices in Champaign Urbana Rantoul and Mahomet providing quality health care to the residents of central Illinois. We would like to thank these business friends who support helps make this broadcast day possible on WRAL Omega type champagne. Richard ups a law
office Rantoul paradise farms Dan fourth Pearman pharmacy Paris Peckham and associates champagne rolls O'Byrne Stanko and kept champagne and Redmond production company in Martin's ville for more information on joining the W while business friends call 2 1 7 3 3 3 0 8 5 0. Good morning welcome back to the second hour focus 580. This is a telephone talk program my name is David Inge. Thanks for tuning in Jack brightness the producer for the show. Bryan Wagner is at the controls this morning. And it's part of focus 580 will be talking a bit about the history of and future of the World Wide Web particularly as a news medium. And we'll be talking this morning with a journalist who has been covering the web for a long time. His name is Russ Mitchell and he has written for a number of publications. He was the former senior technology writer at U.S. News and World Report. He also worked for
BusinessWeek and also was for a while the editor at Wired The online magazine of Wired In fact he was there when in 1996 they won the National Magazine Award for general excellence more recently he's been working for a company called Red Hat which is distributing Linux a computer operating system that some people think can make a real serious challenge to Microsoft which has been dominant in that field. He's here visiting the University of Illinois as the first technology writer in residence and we're pleased that he could come and spend a little bit of time talking with us particularly about how the Web is going to change the news business as we talk. Questions of course are welcome three three three. W I L L and toll free 800 1:58 W while also whichever number works for you. The first one. Three three three W I L L is for local folks and the other is toll free so if it would be a long distance call for you use that number that's 800 to 2 2
9 4 5 5 or W L L. Well thanks for being here. Thank you. If I was here I want to talk just a little bit about Red Hat and then maybe go on to some other subjects. And because I think you know some folks will be really interested in this and to others this won't mean anything at all. But I'm particularly interested in having you talk a little bit about this venture because here we've got a company that is distributing something which is essentially free. They're actually apparently making money selling something that's free. That's right. Which is kind of it is kind of odd Linux is this. It's an operating system that was was developed by a guy in Finland Finland apparently a brilliant computer guy developed this and then put it out there for free and sort of put it out and said to everybody else here I've made this I think it's pretty good. Maybe you think there are some ways we can make this better let's all just sort of work on it together and a lot of people think that it's for at least some applications it's really it's really good and it is available for free. Now
here we have Red Hat. That's that's packaged it and is selling it. How do you make money selling something that actually you can get for free. Well there's there's the the core software that's that is free but just having core software isn't necessarily helpful You also need to know how to use it. So what Redhat is doing right now is putting it on a CD you can download it from the web but they put it on a CD which is very convenient to load. They include a manual to tell you how to use it. They give you 30 day support and sell it for 80 bucks. And last year that was very profitable for Red Hat this year it'll be profitable for them. But going out into the future that is not really the core strategy for Red Hat. If you give away something free if you put it in a box with a manual sell it for 80 bucks is a pretty big profit margin there. But that's not going to last there's there's a.. Because this this operating system is free. Anybody can sell it and there are some people selling it without the manual
but they're selling it for 799 and CDs. Clearly that's not a long term business strategy. But what Redhat really wants to do is support and service and education and training for Linux and for all open source software if you like me to talk about open source I'd be glad to do that. And they've also built which I'm deeply involved in Red Hat dot com which is growing into a real portal for people that are interested in Linux and Open Source software. OK. Well there yeah I guess maybe we should define that. And as I understand it basically what we're talking about is software that's some software is proprietary it's secret. The Microsoft guys they don't want you to know what's in it. But exactly the open source is basically the guys who design and say Here I'll show you this is it exactly here it's no secret most software that's sold is proprietary software and by making proprietary you can get some pretty steep profit margins I mean it costs almost nothing. Effectively
nothing for Microsoft to sell one more marginal piece of software so every dollar that you're spending on that goes right into Microsoft's pockets. And that's one reason Bill Gates is the richest man in the U.S. and pretty close to the richest person in the world. The best way to describe open source software I think for you know for people who aren't really computer geeks I think is to pretend that Microsoft was a car company and they sold a car under the brand name Microsoft. And when you bought this car the hood would be sealed and you could only open it with a magic combination and the only people that had that magic combination were the Microsoft dealers. And when you took the car you couldn't fix it yourself you couldn't ask your friends to look at it you couldn't take it to an auto mechanic and fix it you would have to take it to the dealer and the dealer would tell you. The price the dealer would determine what was wrong with the dealer would determine how to fix it. If you had a redhat car or any other Linux distributor car the hood would open just as car who heads
open and pretend the engine is the software. You could look at that engine and if you're a car geek or you know the metaphor as a computer geek you could look at that. Engine or software and if you wanted to fix it yourself you could do that. If your neighbors were really good at fixing cars they could come up and give you a hand if most of you were completely baffled as more and more people are about the insides of cars. You could take it to an auto mechanic. Your choice of auto mechanics around town you could get the best price if you wanted to customize the car. You could do that if you don't like the carburetor you could put in a carburetor and if you didn't if you wanted more horsepower you could put more horsepower in. So it allows a lot more freedom and flexibility. And incidentally these cars would be a lot more reliable of a Linux operating system is much more reliable than Microsoft's operating system. That's that's what open source software allows the way it's developed is over the web with people contributing ideas to creating these open source software programs and allowing everybody to see that
source code just like the hood allows you to to see inside the engine I should say one thing. The real growth for Linux is on the server side which is if you're on the web you know you're this is computer speak Arabic your home computer your computer at work is considered a client. And then when you tap into kind of the corporate system or tap into a web site those are servers and Linux is growing very rapidly and cutting into Microsoft on the server side it's still got a ways to go on the dest desktop. If you really know your way around computers or you know you're kind of a hobbyist that way. It might be time to try Linux because it's a much more reliable system it doesn't crash. There are people that you know my Windows machine when I use it crashes at least once a day. The Linux people use it for two or three years and it doesn't crash so it's got those benefits. But kind of the easy user interface stuff is not quite come along yet so if you're intimidated by computers. I was just waiting a little while before you bought Linux. If you really like computers I'd run out and buy a Linux package and put it up and
see what you think. Yeah that's that certainly reflects the thing that I have things that I have read about it that it can be terribly hard and time consuming to load it and maybe to get it to do what you want. You an average person off the street can't you know you really have to kind of know what you're doing but if but if you satisfy those qualifications then apparently some people think is just fabulous Will you indeed think that it will at some point be something that either this or something like it really will make the move to the desktop. I think so it'll take a little bit of time and I'm not expecting that Microsoft will be displaced from the desktop but I think it will emerge as a an alternative operating system. And it will get easier and easier to use over time because of course the companies that want to make money on Linux recognize that they need to make it easier to use. Well let's talk about some other things and also I want to again invite people to
write to write and to call them if they have questions. If you'd like to talk with our guest We're talking this morning with Russ Mitchell currently as we've mentioned he's working for this company called Red Hat which is distributing the Linux computer operating system. He's been a journalist for quite a long time and I guess I didn't mention the beginning he was a graduate the University of Illinois. That's right 1977 and has been doing for a lot of his career writing about high tech. He is the first technology and writer technology writer in residence here by this week. He's also worked for U.S. News and World Report for Business Week and also was managing editor of Wired The online magazine in fact at the time that he was there. They won the National Magazine Award for general excellence in 1990 6. So if you have questions about where the computer business is going I'm sure he'll have some thoughts for you. Three three three W I L L toll free 800 1:58 WFLA. Well we really want to talk some about the Web
as a news medium and we have seen relatively recent and explosive growth of the Web as a news source. We now know that. Virtually every organization that advocates for some issue has a website. Great many newspapers have online editions magazines do political parties do candidates do. Politicians do the think tanks do the television networks do. CNN does and it is just sort of staggering and there must be some some significant number jump on every day right. It's in fact it's so much that it can be really time consuming just trying to look for what you think can can help you out what what more can happen other than that's just going to be more and more and more. Well I think that people are kind of struggling to maintain some kind of brand identity on the Web right now and I think what you're going
to see even though the Web sites will continue to promote proliferate. You'll see and you already are seeing brands emerge as trusted places to go and I guess we're talking mainly about news here I mean there's all kinds of stuff on the web we could talk about but. My. And I'm glad to do that too because I've been covering this for a while I can talk about e-commerce or whatever but in terms of news. There is going to be trusted brands that will emerge. They won't necessarily be the traditional media in fact. With magazines like Salon online which broke the Henry Hyde story when the rest of the media were sitting on it has kind of marked itself as an up and commer on the web. And I think salon dot com is a very good site. Matt Drudge I'm not so impressed with but at least he did break the Monica story. The fact that Newsweek was sitting on it so that so new people or will emerge and they won't necessarily be the big players the big players play too conservatively. They're
gone the big players can't they can't dictate what the American public sees or hears or in terms of news anymore and these new people will emerge. But there's a lot of garbage out there there's no question about it and it's very difficult to determine who's good and who's bad and we're in a period now where that's being sorted out and there is there is a lot of untrustworthy stuff but again I think the the the the good high quality journalism sites will emerge with with the brands of their own. I think that competition is a very good thing in the web certainly allows for competition. I think that a proliferation of choices is a good thing the only downside is it is hard to find the stuff you're looking for. That's getting better all the time. I think that even in television with the proliferation of channels I think people talk about how lousy cable TV is and I agree most of the stuff on there is complete garbage. But I also think that there is more quality television now than there has ever been.
The ratio of garbage to high quality television might be even higher. But if you look at the total number of good television programs on compared to the total number of television programs on when there were just three networks and PBS I think you'll see that there's there's more than ever and I think the same thing is happening on the web where there's a lot of garbage to sort through but if you can figure out a way to do that and if companies can come up with ways to help you do that you'll find that there's there's more good journal there will be more good journalism out there than there's ever been. Yeah I think to me one of the the big things and really you you talked about it was how now. Someone in previously who had been sort of a small player or small individual Now it's possible to secure a national audience. Right. You know the old line used to be about freedom of the press was for just those people who could afford to have a press. Exactly well now for a relatively small investment you can have a website and now suddenly you can. You can make yourself accessible to
and a national audience and become a player on the national scene and certainly Matt Drudge is an example who somebody who did that or even something that previously was a small sort of insider publication. When I think about that that we've been hearing some lately from Roll Call the Capitol Hill newspaper. But you know who who who read Roll Call. Well members of Congress did and I'm sure people within the Washington political sphere did but nobody outside of Washington knew anything about roll call and yet now this is something that again it's going to is breaking national stories because they have the sources. Right. And now they're increasingly accessible to this large outside audience. Exactly yeah. Roll call was always highly respected from by by journalists but they just didn't have the distribution. It's a great it's a great example. Now they through the web they do have distribution and they can really go nationally and
internationally with this in ways that they they just couldn't hope to do before. You know when you're dealing with sending pulp through you know the mail system. It's just a much more cost effective way to deliver information. And you'll see more and more more and more obscure but very good outfits come to the fore and really gain more attention as a reader as a result of the web. So who loses who loses. I think bad quality over time will lose I think. I think that you know that I gave a talk to two journalism students the other day on in total of the 10 reasons why newspapers are toast. I think that regional and local newspapers are really facing a big problem and they could lose a lot in this in this world if they don't move to the Web very quickly and look at it as their main strategic asset in the future. And the main reason is that
economics it's not that the web itself is or that the content that's on the Web is going to drive them out of business it's the economics of the web that will drive them out of business unless they really take the Web seriously. And I think the primary reason is that newspapers on average draw 40 percent of their revenues from classified advertising and 50 percent of their profits in classified advertising that's you know it's not putting all your eggs in one basket but it's it's getting close. And the Web just lends itself to classified advertising a way that newspapers don't and even newspapers that are putting their classifieds on the web don't quite get it. The San Francisco Chronicle and I'm told the News Gazette although I haven't really looked into this. So if I'm wrong please forgive me but I put classified ads on the web as the same way they appear in the newspaper now in a newspaper there's a kind of real estate restrictions on how much you can fit on a page. On the Web there's no such restriction and yet you see ads that will be selling a black Chevy b l k
with automatic transmission 80 chrome wheels C H R and not very much about the car just basic information. So I was looking for a car and I looked at it. The sensor chronicled the did it this way then I looked at excite the web portal excite and they have a classified ad thing which is nationwide and you can focus in on your area. And I called up the cars I was looking for the used cars I was looking for and I got pictures of the cars got full descriptions as much as the person wanted to write a couple of cars actually had the maintenance records and you know it just lends itself much more to it. Classified Advertising in the newspaper business does. There were papers are really getting hit most immediately is in the job classifieds and there are national job boards. One is called The Monster Board on the web that are really cutting into job and I'm not so much shorter cooks but I'm talking about. If you need a computer professional
or any kind of job a marketing director any kind of job that people would be willing to move to another state for is going on to the Web just so. So if they start they're not to lose all the classified advertising but if that 50 percent profit starts getting cut cut in two that's going to be very difficult. And then really quickly the we alluded to this a little earlier but the distribution costs of newspapers are just amazing you have to grow trees cut them down pulverized them make paper send huge rolls of paper to the printing plant build a printing press run it through the printing press fold the papers bind them up putting on put them on trucks that are usually delivered in big cities by union wage drivers. They deliver them to the paper carriers than the paper carriers carry this you know heavy pulpy thing and put it on your doorstep electrons weigh practically nothing. And you can imagine the cost savings there. So that's that's another economic factor that's going to work against newspapers. We have a couple callers here let's talk with them. Champagne Cali to start off with wine
1. Hello. Thanks. Thank you. That's not what I called about island and I don't have but a moment I want to ask you about transmit whether they put anything up on their website. The sort of Unix Linux. It's been a quite a mystery and I'm sure there are some people speculating that it's Microsoft Money splitting them up or so it is time to work on a buoy or something I don't understand. Still improving the OS and his leisure time and the other thing is. This. The interactive use quote unquote site called Flash org that's recently been gone private's been purchased. I mean it was basically just one of these interactive things that came up and it was news for nerds. But I'm just wondering
if you're evaluating its change as a metaphor to talk about the possibilities and drawbacks too. I'm going up and right now those are three good questions I'll take I'll take them one by one. And you did talk about the infrastructure costs associated with going on the web. It's it isn't free to go on the web. It does cost something. It's much more in the you know affordability range for individuals to get on the web then then trying to distribute you know news over paper or television would have been. But nonetheless it's getting more expensive because in the early days before they were you know huge number of people on the web you could just host a website on your own personal computer with a few a few phone lines and you could grow from there. If you're going to get any number of hits at all you need to buy computer servers and a lot of phone lines coming in and such so there is there is a certain amount of cost but those
costs are so much lower than the cost of other forms of media that it really does give individuals a chance to get on and make their voice heard. My guess is 99 percent of the audience. Or more aren't familiar with the leanest Torvalds and Transmeta and what he's doing there so let me. It is an interesting story so let me tell you Alina says in what he might be doing with the Microsoft connection is Lina's Torvalds is the Finnish guy we talked about earlier who. Who started Linux in Finland in the early 90s. The reason he started it was because he hated Microsoft as he thought it was a crappy program and he couldn't afford the kinds of Unix which is an alternative operating system that companies like Sun sold because it was so expensive to buy that hardware he was a struggling student. So he applied his brilliant mind into making a variant of Unix called Linux which would work on personal computers. And that's where Linux came from. He has
moved to the US he's working for a company in Silicon Valley called Transmeta. He's spending he told me spending about half his time working on. Continuing to develop Linux with the Linux community. But the other half of the time is spent at this chip company called Transmeta. You asked me what's on their website. I know this is a very secretive company nobody knows quite what they're doing and they've had to apply for patents but they've applied for patents in such a complicated way that even engineering people I know can't quite figure out what this chip is going to be doing so I can't really help you there. The Microsoft connection is that this is funded by Paul Allen. Who is the. Who Is Bill Gates sidekick in in starting Microsoft. Although he has this Microsoft connection I think it's it's unfair or inaccurate anyway to to continue to see Paul Allen as a Microsoft guy. He's he split off from Microsoft he's very very rich. He's doing his own thing. And if he thought he could make money by going up against Microsoft he would certainly do it.
Other people might know him as the owner of the Portland Trailblazers by the way. And then the third question was about the site called Slashdot dot org and if anybody's nerdy or geeky out there and hasn't heard of Slashdot dot org I'd be surprised but if you haven't gone there it's a good place to go. It's a site that covers sort of this Linux world we're talking about but also just covers the cutting edge of what's happening in computing and software and science. But the way they do it is a different kind of model they basically Cadge stories from other publications and link to them and they do it. There are a lot of people that link on the Web these guys do it in a really accessible way and then they have a community that has discussions about these about these stories and you can join in on these online discussions. One thing I like about Slashdot is that you know there's there there are when you invite the whole world in you're going to get a lot of people who have nothing to say or who are.
You know working out their psychotherapy on line or whatever. One thing that Slashdot does is rate people's comments and you can you know argue about the rating system but you can program it so they read it from one to five with five being the best if you only want to see the 5s you can do that and it makes it much more efficient to you know get it past the people that probably shouldn't be contributing so-called ideas anyway. And I really like that formula I think Slashdot a pretty cool site and I wish them well and I would encourage anybody who's interested in that kind of a matter tute to go visit them I think they were sold to a company called Andover. It was started just by one or two or three individuals but it was sold to this Andover company but I don't think they're going to mess with the formula. I think they're going to stick with it. Let me reintroduce our guests then we'll take some of the calls we're talking this morning with Russ Mitchell he's a journalist who spent most of his journalistic career writing about technology he spent 10 years at BusinessWeek after that he worked as managing editor of
Wired magazine from 95 to 97. Then after that worked for U.S. News and World Report as senior technology writer. And just this past August he signed on with the company Red Hat. As we have mentioned a company that among other things has been distributing the Linux computer operating system and certainly has plans to do other sorts of things as well. He's here visiting the campus He's a graduate of the University of Illinois and is this week spending the week as the first technology writer in residence. If you have questions call us 3 3 3 W I L L toll free 800 1:58 W while our next caller is in Belgium. Lie number two. Hello hello. Yes I have a very basic sort of question and I don't know very much about computers at all but this Linux system when you use Microsoft you have various applications to do what you want. You know all the different kinds of programs they run into. Well those. Programs run in this Linux or do you have to start completely over again.
That's a very good question. If you're using it on the desktop yes you you. Microsoft sees no percentage in making their products adopting their products for Linux so you can't use Microsoft products. On Linux there are there's a ways to go in developing applications but Netscape the Netscape browser you can use on Linux. There are several packages that are competitive with Office 2000 and actually there are free or close to free. One of them is called Star Division which was just bought by Sun Microsystems chorale which made Word Perfect which is about the closest to Microsoft Word that I've seen has an office package that you can use. So there are basic office packages and basic applications available for Linux. The but the but with the proviso that you can't use Microsoft products. But anybody who develops for Microsoft uses their type of jargon so it won't work either on Linux right now.
The the courts have ruled that a lot of the look and feel and basic commands for for software can't be patented or or or. I'm a little out of my league your patented copyrighted whatever but they can't be protected legally and so you'll see things like. Well for instance Microsoft Excel used the basic command structure of the original spreadsheet Lotus and Excel has become the number one spreadsheet corellas Word Perfect uses commands that are virtually identical with with Microsoft Word so that that really isn't a problem I see. OK thank you very much. You bet thank you. Next to Urbana line number three. Hello. Yes thank you. Years ago when I was in the military Yeah I've been drafted like say 25 years ago I talk to people in communications and they told me that they were
surprised but that like when they were in that they found themselves. Acting as a censor to news items that would come from overseas and you know they were telling me as they were they were supposed to be telling those. And over the years it's been kind of I've always looked to see if for evidence of that. And it's it's been kind of interesting that now that there are a lot of English language or some English language newspapers out there originating out of other countries say England or Canada and various other spots you know occasionally there's a story which which doesn't make any headlines here I'm getting at is really like that. I like the ability of picking and choosing what I want to believe in and what source I want to believe in and what source I don't want to believe in and I want I like the takes they come up with. But I want to I want to know do you. Would you. Can
you. Me in any way that that there isn't some way that big brother out there isn't going to be able to filter stories coming in from overseas in some way and somehow stop there. There my being able to read. Technically I mean. Well technically end. Well there's a very interesting topic and my first response sounds flip but it's really not. Congress could get in the way of your getting information. They tried to pass a law several years ago that would have. It was called the Communications Decency Act that would have banned certain kinds of material on the Internet and if one of these foreign sites or even a US site contained words and some people you know said even words as. AS. Or topics that involve breasts or
something like that would have come under this original Communications Decency Act they're trying to pass or they're trying to enforce through the courts another one that's not quite as Honoris but that's a way that the information can be filtered I mean the Congress is really trying to censor the Web in a way that they're not censoring print material they kind of see it more like broadcasting and they still got their their heads in a space where broadcasting spectrum was scarce and that of course would cause government to reg want to regulate that. And there was a need for government to regulate that I think that's less and less true and certainly not true in a in an area like the web I don't see any reason why the web should be any more restricted than than newspapers are. That's a debatable point but that's my opinion in terms of. Censoring foreign news coming in. There is no way in a democracy like the US right now that the government could get away with filtering information that's coming in from other countries so this is another great thing about the Web the US media covers the world
from a particular perspective. Organizations like NPR or public radio in general I should say put. Well puts the Canadian Broadcasting Network on the BBC on and you do get a different take on the world and with the Web you can get news English news from India. You can if you want to you know hear their take on the NE India Pakistan conflict. You could go that it's just a huge proliferation The only question is finding it but it's not really that hard to find the really real problem and the biggest the biggest the fact that the we'll have in this area is places like say Serbia or Saudi Arabia or other places where there is censorship. And people find it in so I was in Saudi Arabia during the Gulf War and saw it when you bought a magazine. I don't know if people probably have seen that Nordic Track ad with a woman on the the cross-country ski machine. Well they would take a magic marker and
cross out her breasts. Which were fully clothed. There were also crossing out information they didn't want people to see. And so here I was a small enough country that could do that on the web they really can't do that and I think that you're going to the Web is going to help spread democracy around the world. Or there is a big brother problem. And in China for instance there are they. If they won't they won't be able to keep them there. Sorry they won't again they won't they won't be able to keep the. Keep metaphorically the Chinese wall completely solid. But if they can control the ISPF like anybody out there that uses an ISP like AOL or AT&T Worldnet or Earthlink if China can control the ISP ISP as they control the information that comes through those and they can do a lot of filtering and actually one complaint is that a lot of big companies that want to do business in China and do business on the web in China are just playing along with their their censorship.
I think that if the web were a lot of proliferate in China I think you'd see democracy come a lot quicker. So as far as the you know it's one thing saying that you are going to just ban bans somebody from you'd like to try banning somebody from the web. There is sort of another level that call it seemed to be hinting at was the idea that there might be. Surreptitious filtering or censoring that maybe you would. The site would be there and as far as you were as you were concerned looking at it it would be what it was but that there is there some way for for this government or some other government to in effect do what you said. The Saudis were doing were going into a magazine and crossing stuff out there you would know that something was crossed up but maybe if it was just if it was just lifted or taken or changed. You might look at it and it wouldn't be so obvious as if someone with Ted taken a right as your marker and crossed something out. For all practical purposes no. The there may be a you know. People can vandalize websites and maybe temporarily a website could be changed.
But that problem is recognised and taken care of so fast to that. You know people would recognise it immediately. You might quote but you need to question the source that it's coming from I mean it's practically it's practically impossible for people to censor other people's information but certainly you have to recognize that you know stuff that comes from a particular company or a particular government is going to have a point of view and you certainly have to take that in mind in their propaganda there. They can use the web for propaganda but in terms of filtering out in a democracy in a real democracy filtering out and actually separate issues really making changes unless their callers out there that are aware of the technologies that I'm not. I would say that that's practically not a problem. Urbana again here Lie number two. Hello. Yes good morning. OK. All the world goes on the idea of propagating their own kinds through babies.
Right now when a baby is born that baby gets a great big computer for presents because that baby doesn't have to learn to read or how to compute or figure that baby can just put a punch the right that gets the web then they're off and running. I think this is really terrible to think that people are not going to be able to be aware of things in the world or to have some idea of what is happening or what's important unless. They have access to something called the Web cam bot hours. Everyone's going to afford the toys that you need in order to get there. Yeah they're very good. You're making some very good points. I will note that there's a
lot of writing on the web so you have to read to be able to use it. I agree with you that if you take a child and put him or her in a room with a computer and leave them alone that's not going to be very effective way to educate somebody. But that's where parents and teachers come in and I think it's rary important to continue with teaching critical thinking skills and to have lots of human human interaction at the same time using the computer not as a replacement for humans for what humans do best but as a tool the computer can do some things really well and better than humans but a computer cannot really teach critical thinking skills or morals or ethics to a child and I think that you're right that there has to be deep parental involvement and deep educational involvement from whatever school the children are attending. In terms of affordability that is a big issue. I think my opinion is that it's the market the marketplace is rapidly solving that because computers are getting cheaper and cheaper and cheaper all the time there's something called Moore's
Law that says that the power of a semiconductor doubles every 18 months in the universe of that is it's the price of any one piece of computing power is halved in 18 months and that law has been proven true for the last more than a decade. And you're seeing computers that used to go for $4000 that are available now for $500 if you agree to buy a particular internet service. You can even get computers free I would necessarily advise that because there are hidden costs but you can get a very cheap computer and those computers will keep getting cheaper and cheaper. Now I think the most desperate of the poor will not be able to afford this technology but that's a deeper issue that goes beyond technology. The desperately poor often don't have a good plumbing etc.. I'm not sure how to solve that but I don't think that's a technology issue. But I will note that TVs are in the homes of nearly 100 percent of the population and computers
are getting to the point where there will be almost as cheap as TVs. I don't. Or perhaps cheaper in some ways. I don't think that the issue is as much a cost issue although I'll agree they're not cheap enough yet although they're getting there. The issue is really an education issue and it's a question of educating parents to the point where they know they need to give their children access to the World Wide Web. And it's again getting back to the original point. An educational issue for children to teach them how to use the web in a way that improves their education improves their life skills and improves their critical thinking skills. And then not using the technology as a replacement for all of the social interaction and moral and ethical teaching that are so important. So I think that the issues you bring up are are crucially important so I want to thank you for bringing them up. Well you see children who are going to school are probably going to be caught up in the web where the computer that's in the classroom
you know we have a lot of people who are not in school anymore. And what is going to happen to them if they're all the way they're going to get the news that that is on the machine. They cost $500 or something of the sort and then learn how to make it work. What will happen to a great many people who are alive in the world today who pays the taxes and try to. Keep it going and all that stuff we're throwing. Our civilization away. We're going to change everything. And I don't know what that whether that's a good thing or a horrible thing. My guess is in hope. My guess is that you're a senior is that true. That's true there. OK. So I'm just amazed when I talk to my my grandfather about the enormous amount of change that has occurred
since he was a child. Automobiles in airplanes and factories and and there's just been incredible amount of change. And I would say that tell me if you disagree but I would say that the society on balance is better off people are healthier people are better educated people have more freedom in their lives. We've given up a little bit in the in the sense of maybe some peace and contentment and some rural contemplation and in some of those issues but I would say that in terms of health and and prosperity I think we're much better off and I think that the computer is just another stage in that evolution. I'm wondering what you think about that. Well. I suppose you're right and I suppose that there will be very simple computers out there so that. People who are going to learn. The complex of the well being able to punch a couple of days and read a newspaper.
You're exactly right if I can interrupt the long before the news is out disappears you'll be able to get what's called an Internet appliance which will initially cost about $300 but I wouldn't be surprised if in a few years it cost fifty or a hundred dollars and you will be able to It'll be very specific you won't won't need to know computer cause you'll be able to just push a few buttons or even speak a few words into it and it will spit out your newspaper on your printer which also be extremely cheap and the cost isn't going to be zero but it's going to be as affordable as any. Any minor or medium level appliance that you have in your home. When's all that going to happen over the next few years. Well I'd say I'd say within. Well right now there are these kinds of computers that will be coming out later this year early next that are in the $300 range but I would say that they'd be in the $100 range within three years. Wow. OK thanks. Thanks for calling for the call. This really gets back to that though too.
One of the questions that I wanted to raise and I'm sure people raise all the time and that is yes there certainly is a wealth of information available on the web and I can read the New York Times on the web but it's tough for me to take my computer down to the coffee shop with me. You know I still want the paper and I still would like to have the Atlantic and The New Yorker and my novels. You know I still want to have them in print what really is the future for print as a way of conveying information. That's a really good question. I've heard somebody say that if excuse me for living in an all electronic environment all electronic media and somebody said while I came up this way with this way of crushing trees and putting this stuff on paper people would say Man that's a very cool technology and because it was New You could probably you know sell the daily paper for three or four bucks and be so portable you could take it anywhere you wanted to go and it would be very readable. It's not so much the. I'm not saying that newspapers are a bad medium. In terms of accessibility and
portability they're very good actually it's just that the economics are working working against them. However printers are getting much better. There's this technology called agent's technology that helps you find stuff on the web that's getting better and I think the day's not far off where you can just be able to get up in the morning in your morning paper if you want it on paper will be printed and ready to go perhaps even folded for you and ready to go and take take with you. And you mentioned magazines and books although some of there's some movement toward electronic books. I think that I again this is these are economic issues I still think that there are. I think that I mean people print out a lot of stuff on paper the paper industry is in better shape than it's ever been. People like paper it's a really good medium. The only difference is that the user is bearing the cost of the paper rather than the you know Web people that are you know sending out the electrons. And I also think in magazines that people really like magazines you can get a richness of visual information in magazines or photographs. You can if they use good paper and good
reproduction really beautiful photographs it can become a real. If you're reading a literature or literary journalism as opposed to just news it's a much better format for that I think. And. And it's a place where a newspaper editor can create a real experience in community where you know if you're interested in anything from. You know a fashion to quilting to cars you know you kind of get this magazine that's just a pleasure to sit down and read in an easy chair with the light on and get away from some of the celeb tronics stuff that you know frankly I'm very interested in but sometimes I get overloaded on it and I like to you know just do some kind of fireside reading with a book or a magazine. I think there's a good future for books and magazines. But I wonder you know people do talk about the fact that they were working on devices that would be electronic books and making all sorts of you know interesting ideas that of all of the things that you could build into it that you could if you could produce something that would be sort of like a book that portable give you that experience you kid the
ideas that you know you want to read Jane Austin yellowed Pride and Prejudice in there. And not only that. You know one can manage all kinds of stuff that you're reading along you come across a word you don't know you've touched. Touch the screen and it'll call up the dictionary. You can if you if that describes something that somebody is wearing and you want to know well what is that look like. You can get it to give you a picture you can get it to give you a picture of the English countryside if you're wondering what the setting of this looked like I mean there are there's all sorts of ways in which you could build in a multimedia kind of stuff into that. And you know it's all sounds very interesting but I do wonder how eventually all this shakes out you know what is it that people are really going to. They're the kind of things that we can do. And then there are the things that people are going to want to do. Right and the big question is you know which of those two things are going to end up lining up. What really do people want the technology to do for them. And and we don't I don't really really don't know yet. You know there's there was all this movement toward information on CD-ROM and it
really didn't take off very well before the web there was multimedia stuff and there were very few successes there. Part of it was that computers were still a lot more expensive at the time. I think that there will be a lot of room for this Jane Austin kind of go deeper kind of electronic book that you're talking about. But I think there are a lot of people who just want to read the book itself. You know one of the magic things about this stuff is that you will have the choice MIT actually is working on electronic paper. And I don't I haven't seen this yet but they you know they're saying that if this can be developed you'll have this. These pieces of plasma that are thin like paper and almost feel like paper and look like paper and you will be able to download information in a way that actually looks and feels like a book. I think that'll be great for people who are more visually oriented coming up through you know used to reading on screens for people in advanced stages of their life like ourselves that are really used to books I think we're going to continue to like print but I've noticed young people really like you know the feel of fine quality paper and a
nicely made books and magazines too. We'll have to leave it there. Thanks very much. Thank you. Russ Mitchell He's currently the first technology writer in residence here at the U of I. Former formerly worked for BusinessWeek U.S. News and also for a couple of years was managing editor of Wired magazine broadcast of our show focus 580 made possible in part by a grant from the massage therapy professionals at bodywork associates of champagne bodywork associates has been providing practical relief for tired aching muscles since 1900. That's it for us we want you to stay tuned though because up next much more with Celeste Quinn in the afternoon magazine. Thank you David coming up today in the one o'clock hour of the afternoon magazine our topic.
Focus 580
Latinos in America Today
Contributing Organization
WILL Illinois Public Media (Urbana, Illinois)
If you have more information about this item than what is given here, or if you have concerns about this record, we want to know! Contact us, indicating the AAPB ID (cpb-aacip/16-96wwqbvc).
Episode Description
This episode of Focus 580 features a discussion of Latinos in America today between host David Inge and guests Matt Garcia, Angharad Valdivia, and Russ Mitchell. The discussion touches on the large Latino population in Illinois, difficulties with grouping Latinos into one homogeneous group, and issues that arise from ethnic labels. Callers pose additional questions for the guests to consider.
Asset type
Race and Ethnicity
Public Affairs
No copyright statement in content.
Media type
Embed Code
Copy and paste this HTML to include AAPB content on your blog or webpage.
Guest: Garcia, Matt
Guest: Valdivia, Angharad
Guest: Mitchell, Russ
Host: Inge, David
AAPB Contributor Holdings
Illinois Public Media (WILL)
Identifier: focus991027_dat (Illinois Public Media)
Format: DAT
Generation: Master
Duration: 00:54:00
If you have a copy of this asset and would like us to add it to our catalog, please contact us.
Chicago: “Focus 580; Latinos in America Today,” WILL Illinois Public Media, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed May 26, 2024,
MLA: “Focus 580; Latinos in America Today.” WILL Illinois Public Media, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. May 26, 2024. <>.
APA: Focus 580; Latinos in America Today. Boston, MA: WILL Illinois Public Media, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from