BTS 9/26/2005: Katrina Report / Avian Flu; On John Roberts, Federalism and its Consequences

Listen: Mike Davis - Michele Landis Dauber

ON tonight’s BTS we continue looking at Katrina’s catastrophe – on the ground and the larger implications for the state of the state. The disaster exposed extreme cynicism, incompetence and sheer racism previously hidden or ignored.

We begin with Mike Davis, who returned to Southern California last night after more than a week in Louisiana, and we’ll talk about what he saw, as well as his new book The Monster At Our Door: The Global Threat of Avian Flu. The parallels are conspicuous and ominous -- since prevention of mass death depends on a government prepared to deal with disaster.

We then speak to Michele Dauber of Stanford University Law School on the implication of a Roberts Supreme Court -- and the connection between the two segments is clear as Prof. Dauber focuses on the history of federal disaster relief, and the way FDR and New Deal lawyers used the precedent of disaster relief in his struggles with the Court to expand federal authority during the New Deal.

Read More for info on tonight's guests:

1. Mike Davis is the author, most recently, of The Monster at our Door: The Global Threat of Avian Flu (New Press) but also Prisoners of the American Dream (Verso), Magical Urbanism, City of Quartz, Ecology of Fear, Late Victorian Holocausts, Dead Cities, Under the Perfect Sun (With Kelly Mayhew and Jim Miller); plus a series of books for children: Pirates, Bats and Dragons and Land of the Lost Mammoths.

2. Michele Landis Dauber is an Associate Professor of Law and Sociology at Stanford University. She is the author of numerous articles and a forthcoming book, entitled The Sympathetic State, about American constitutional history. Her work focuses on the history of federal disaster relief, and on the way that Franklin Roosevelt and the New Deal lawyers used the precedent of disaster relief in his struggles with the Court to expand federal authority during the New Deal. Before teaching at Stanford, Professor Dauber served as a law clerk to Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals Judge Stephen Reinhardt, a liberal icon (from Los Angeles).