The Score: Nikki Haley, Danish Journalism, Leslie Cockburn, Texas Vet

This week on The Score – Nikki Haley resigns as U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations. Leslie Cockburn answers our questions. Danish journalism students visit Charlottesville. We ask an expert: what is the future of railroads? And the Texas government tries to silence a vet.

‘Toilet covers’
Leslie Cockburn Congress candidate Virginia RappahannockThis past week, the candidates for Congress in the Fifth District met to debate for the fourth time. Republican Denver Riggleman debated Democrat Leslie Cockburn at Piedmont Virginia Community College near Charlottesville. After the dust settled, we spoke briefly with Cockburn about congressional authority, Africa policy, and how to finance free college tuitions.

The first two questions I posed to her are similar to those I have asked of other candidates for Congress this year, including Senator Tim Kaine and his opponents, Corey Stewart and Matt Waters. Providing “free” education to community college students is one of her signature issues but — since I don’t think “free” means that teachers and administrators will work without pay — I wanted to know what programs she would cut to pay for it. She zoomed in on the Pentagon budget and $10,000 toilet seat covers for Air Force jets.

Danish Journalism Students
Vallekilde Højskole journalism students Denmark Charlottesville That same day in Charlottesville, a group of fifteen Danish journalism students from Vallekilde Højskole in Hørve (a small town in Zealand) came to hear me speak about U.S. politics and the news media in the lobby of 94.7 WPVC-FM.

The students were Amanda Laura Nygaard Frisk, Frida Agergaard Qvist, Helena Helle Hansen, Wraae Lasse Hjeresen, Rebecca Steffin, Rasmus Lykke Therkelsen, Rosina Clara Løkkehjærte, Sally Bech Mortensen, Larsen Sebastian Skov, Sofie Ewertsen Nissen, Sofie Lykke Pedersen, Tobias Leth Nielsen, and Sofie Strandby Smidt. They were accompanied by two teachers, Esben Christensen and Rasmus Thirup Beck. They had earlier visited the Washington bureau of The New York Times and the headquarters of The Daily Progress. Later, they were going to a shooting range before ending their U.S. trip in New York City.

During a break, I queried one of the teachers, Rasmus Beck, and one of the students, Amanda Frisk, about what they have observed during their tour of Virginia and DC and how Danish politics and journalism differ from what we have in the United States. I specifically asked about the state of freedom of expression in Denmark in the wake of the “Muhammed cartoon” controversy of more than a decade ago, involving editor Flemming Rose of Jyllands-Posten and worldwide reactions that stirred debate about censorship.

Riding the Rails
Randal O'Toole Cato Institute railroad transportationLast Wednesday in Washington, the Cato Institute hosted a panel discussion to launch a new book by senior fellow Randal O’Toole called Romance of the Rails: Why the Passenger Trains We Love Are Not the Transportation We Need, scheduled to be published on October 26.

A transportation expert, O’Toole’s previous books include Gridlock: Why We’re Stuck in Traffic and What to Do About It (2010) and The Vanishing Automobile and Other Urban Myths: How Smart Growth Will Harm American Cities (2000). I asked him a few questions about the future of railroads in 21st century America.

Nikki Haley at the UN
Last week we learned that Ambassador Nikki Haley has submitted her resignation as the Permanent Representative of the United States to the United Nations, effective at the end of this year.

On Thursday, I spoke by telephone with retired Foreign Service Officer Hugh Dugan, who served for many years at the U.S. Mission to the United Nations in New York. He currently teaches at the School of Diplomacy at Seton Hall University in New Jersey, where he is Sharkey Scholar and Fellow at the Center for UN and Global Governance Studies. Full disclosure: Professor Dugan and I attended both high school and college together.

(Read Dugan’s take on Haley’s resignation from Friday’s edition of The Hill, headlined “Haley’s comet lit up a dismal UN.”)

Silencing a Vet
Andrew Ward Institute for Justice Texas veterinarianThe Institute for Justice is a public interest law firm based in Arlington, Virginia. Most famous, perhaps, for its defense of the property rights of Suzette Kelo in the Supreme Court case that became the basis for the feature film, Little Pink House, IJ’s forty-four attorneys work to protect and preserve the rights of Americans to earn a living in the face of the regulatory state.

I met with IJ attorney Andrew Ward to learn about a federal case from Texas that involves a veterinarian who wants to give free advice to animal owners – but the Texas government won’t let him do that.

From the Archives
We heard earlier from the Cato Institute’s Randal O’Toole about the future of rail transportation. Reaching back into the archives, I found this conversation with another expert, Jim Burnley, who served as U.S. Secretary of Transportation under President Ronald Reagan. I asked him in June 2010 about high-speed rail and related issues.

Next week’s show is still being developed, but I know that it will include an interview with Cato Institute vice president Gene Healy on his recent white paper, Indispensable Remedy: The Broad Scope of the Constitution’s Impeachment Power. Other features will be drawn from next week’s headlines, so be sure to come back to listen and tell your friends how to find The Score.

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