FROM THIS EPISODE
In a year of massive recession, one of America's patriotic traditions is in big trouble. Fourth of July fireworks displays have been cut back and even cancelled all over the country. In Punta Gorda, Florida, Euclid, Ohio and Montebello, California, tomorrow's fireworks displays won't be what they used to be. In some cases, there won't be any at all, says P.J. Huffstutter, national reporter for the Los Angeles Times.
Americans are about to celebrate the Fourth of July at a time when America's international reputation has been in decline. A country that sees itself as free, prosperous and generous is identified with the war in Iraq, Abu Ghraib and the defense of torture. Since Americans don't know much about the rest of the world, restoring the country's image will be a two-way street. Can Hollywood be an agent of public diplomacy, explaining the US to other people, at the same time it educates Americans about the rest of the world?
John Zogby, President and CEO, Zogby International
Bronwen Maddox, Prospect magazine
Mike Medavoy, author, 'You're Only as Good as Your Next One'
Rick Barton, Senior Adviser, Center for Strategic and International Studies' International Security Program
Peter Beinart, New America Foundation (@PeterBeinart)
Mike Medavoy and Nathan Gardels
Yesterday, Vice President Joe Biden turned up in Iraq and the White House announced that he's in charge of the process of troop withdrawal and redeployment. He's already in charge of the stimulus plan, also called the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Michael Scherer of Time magazine calls it "the stampede for dollars."