On November 1st, President Bush issued an executive order that would all but block access to the Regan White House and potentially that of all other recent presidents. The Bush administration contends that the order is necessary to protect national security, but presidential historian and Boston University professor Robert Dallek suggests that Bush is trying to protect members of his own administration and possibly his father from embarrassing revelations. Larry Mantle discusses the executive order and who will lose out when access to historical records is reduced.
The smallpox virus killed half a billion people in the last century, three times the number of those killed in all the wars during that period of time. Larry Mantle discusses the history of smallpox, from its infection rates of the eighteenth century to its status as the "ultimate weapon" today. Jonathan Tucker, author of Scourge (Atlantic Monthly Press), joins the conversation and contends that smallpox is not an illness of the past because of its palpable threat as a military weapon, and what could happen if the virus fell into the wrong hands.