Last week the United States Supreme Court overturned the nearly 50-year-old Roe vs Wade decision, which afforded women the constitutional right to an abortion.
That was a court battle fought, and one, by a young Texas attorney. In fact, Sarah Weddington was only 27 when she argued the case before the high Court on behalf of her client, the pseudonymous Jane Roe..
When 20 years later, Sarah Weddington was still gravely concerned about the future of the ruling that she won.
And now, we see that her concerns were well founded.
And Sarah Weddington, as it turns out, had a personal interest in the outcome of Roe vs. Wade.
Who knew that a little boy born to a lower middle-class family in England, who grew up with asthma and put up with teasing from his classmates, and like to smoke by the time he was aged 10, would grow up to become one of the world’s greatest rock singers?
That’s kind of the short version of the life of Eric Burdon, who in 1962 joined a quartet that soon became known as the animals. Burdon was their lead singer.
As a leading member of the British invasion, the animals produced a number of hits.
In 2002, Eric Burdon wrote an autobiography, a book called. Please Don’t let me be misunderstood. And that’s when I have a chance to talk with him by phone. So here now, from 2002, Eric burdon.
In the last 20 years the LGBTQ movement has made enormous social and political strides, but what we sometimes forget is that enormous strides begin with baby steps.
More than seven decades ago, a man who took many of those first baby steps and established the modern gay rights movement was a man named Harry Hay.
Hay knew something about organizing unpopular political movements because as early as the 1930s Hay was a communist — and this was at a time when the Communist party was very homophobic. Hay married a woman and was married for several years before finally acknowledging that he was gay.
By 1950 Harry Hay recognized that the gay and lesbian community — which didn’t even really have a name yet — had rights and needed those rights protected.
Calling up on some of the same skills he used as a communist organizer. Harry Hay started the Mattachine Society. And that, many historians agree, gave rise to the modern gay rights movement.
I met Harry Hay in late 1990. He was the subject of a biography by writer Stuart Timmons called The Trouble With Harry Hay.
So here now from 1990 Stuart Timmons and Harry Hay
Fifty years ago this week, a botched burglary at the headquarters of the Democratic National Committee in Washington, DC touched off a criminal conspiracy that eventually brought down the president of the United States, Richard M. Nixon.
It’s the scandal that to this day is simply known by the name of the office complex where the burglary occurred: Watergate.
All this week on Now I’ve Heard Everything we’re featuring interviews I’ve done with figures connected to Watergate. Our last episode featured former Washington Post editor Ben Bradley. On Friday, my conversation with the mastermind of the burglary, G. Gordon Liddy.
One of Nixon’s loyalists at the center of everything was his White House counsel, a young lawyer named John Dean.
As the investigation into the cover-up began to widen, Dean quietly began cooperating with prosecutors.
Later, famously, Dean was heard on a White House tape telling the president:
Dean recounted that episode in his congressional testimony:
After serving a brief prison sentence for his role in Watergate, Dean wrote several best-selling books, and his political views changed, as well.
And in the last 20 years, Dean has become a strong voice against what he sees as the authoritarian nature of the modern conservative movement – Republicans, in particular
In 2005, Dean wrote a book called Worse Than Watergate, which was followed in 2006 by one called Conservatives Without Conscience. And that’s when I met him.
And then we talked again a year later, when he wrote what was the third book in his trilogy.
So what you’ll hear now is first an excerpt from my 2006 interview, then after a short break, my 2007 conversation with John Dean:
John Dean is 83 now. His last book, Authoritarian Nightmare, was published in 2020.
Fifty years ago this week a group of burglars broke into the headquarters of the Democratic National Committee in Washington, DC.
They were sent there by – and paid by – operatives working to re-elect President Richard M. Nixon.
Those DNC offices were located in a Washington complex called The Watergate, where a security guard. found the burglars and caught them.
And the whole thing might have been successfully covered up, if not for the relentless pursuit of the story but two young Washington Post reporters, Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward.
Backed by their editor Ben Bradlee, and the paper’s publisher, Katharine Graham, Woodward and Bernstein eventually unraveled the scandal now known simply as Watergate.
It was a time that changed American politics, and American journalism, permanently.
Each of the interviews will be featuring this week on Now. I’ve Heard Everything is centered on one figure from the Watergate scandal.
On Wednesday, my conversations with the former Nixon White House counsel John Dean, who was a central figure in the conspiracy and cover-up.
And then on Friday, the man often called the mastermind of the DNC break-in, former FBI agent and Nixon operative G. Gordon Liddy.
But first, in today’s episode, the iconic and renowned Washington Post editor Ben Bradlee. He took over at the Post in 1965, in the thick of Vietnam, the civil Rights movement and a changing journalism landscape.
And although Watergate may be the thing he is best remembered for now, it was not the only major story he was involved in.
I met Ben Bradlee in 1995, when he wrote his autobiography, a book called A Good Life.