BTS 8/6/07: Spying Blank Check; Harry Shearer; Fare-Free Public Transit

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On tonight’s program we begin with the “Protect America Act of 2007” passed by Congress over the weekend -- it purportedly modernizes the FISA (Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978), but some see it as a spying blank check that Congress gave to Bush. We talk to Robert Parry and ask whether the Bush administration is spying on ‘terrorists’ or on us?

Then the incredible comic personality Harry Shearer joins us – that’s right, the Harry Shearer of This is Spinal Tap, The Simpsons & The Simpson movie, KCRW’s Le Show, blogger at the Huffington Post and more. He’s released a new CD today called “Songs Pointed & Pointless,” - and he’ll be performing some of them on Wednesday at the House of Blues - but you’ll hear him right here tonight on his songs, his ideas, his writings and more.

And finally on tonight’s Beneath The Surface we talk to David Olsen, a bicycle and public transit consultant, researcher and advocate, who says that "Fare-Free Public Transit Could Be Headed to a City Near You" – we’ll see what he thinks of the MTA’s new high bus fares in Los Angeles.

Read More for info on tonight's guests:

1. Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories in the 1980s for the Associated Press and Newsweek. His latest book is Neck Deep: The Disastrous Presidency of George W. Bush. His two previous books are Secrecy & Privilege: The Rise of the Bush Dynasty from Watergate to Iraq and Lost History: Contras, Cocaine, the Press & 'Project Truth' — all are available at

2. Harry Shearer is the co-creator and co-star of "This Is Spinal Tap", and has appeared in movies ranging from "The Robe" to "A Mighty Wind" to "For Your Consideration". His weekly radio broadcast, Le Show, is heard on dozens of public radio stations nationwide, and around the world via He has been caught practicing journalism in venues ranging from Newsweek to And he's the voice of a dozen characters on "The Simpsons". His first novel, Not Enough Indians, is in stores now, as is his DVD, "Now You See It", featuring some classic Saturday Night Live sketches he co-created and co-starred in.

3. David Olsen is a bicycle and public transit consultant, researcher and advocate who lives in Vancouver. He has written a five part series published by The Tyee, Canada's leading independent source of online news and views.