The Public Square

WILL - The Public Square - August 29, 2008

Patricia Syoen on “The Devil’s Highway

On September 12 Luis Alberto Urrea, author of The Devil's Highway will be speaking at the University YMCA Friday Forum from 12:00 noon to 1:30 pm. At 5:00 pm to 8:pm there will be a book signing event at Pages for All Ages. Come and enjoy a reading, signing, music and refreshments. In The Devil's Highway Urrea's brilliant investigative reporting tells us what went wrong. In 2001, 26 men entered the desert. This desert of southern Arizona is the deadly region known as the Devil's Highway, a desert so harsh and desolate that even the Border Patrol is afraid to travel through it, a place that for hundreds of years has stolen men's souls and swallowed their blood. Only 12 of the men made it out. This book tells the story from many different perspectives and with compassion for all involved: the survivors, the coyotes (those who get paid to lead people across the border) and the Border Patrol. This account gives names and faces to the men trying to come to the United States to secure a better life for their families back home. Luis Alberto Urrea is the recipient of a Lannan Literary Award, an American Book Award, a Western States Book Award, and a Colorado Book Award and he has been inducted into the Latino Literary Hall of Fame. The Devil's Highway was a finalist for the 2005 Pulitzer Prize for general nonfiction. Urrea's most recent book is The Hummingbirds Daughter He currently teaches at the University of Illinois, the Chicago Campus. These events are sponsored by the New Sanctuary Movement in Champaign-Urbana.

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WILL - The Public Square - August 08, 2008

Robert Naiman of Just Foreign Policy on offshore oil drilling

Hi, I'm Robert Naiman and I'mm Senior Policy Analyst at Just Foreign Policy, which seeks to reform US foreign policy by engaging more Americans in advocating for foreign policies based on the values and interests of the majority of Americans.

John McCain is urging Americans to support overturning a ban on most oil drilling off our coasts as a way to bring down gas prices. But the federal government's Energy Information Administration projects that Senator McCain's proposal would have no impact on gas prices in the near-term since it will be close to a decade before the first oil could be extracted. The EIA projects production would reach 200,000 barrels a day at peak production. It describes this amount as too small to have any significant effect on oil prices, even when production is at its peak.

If the US had raised auto fuel efficiency standards between 1985-2005 by a quarter of the amount it raised them annually from 1980-1985, instead of leaving them virtually unchanged, the result would roughly have been the equivalent of 3.3 million barrels of oil per day in new production,16 times the projected impact of offshore drilling.

If we negotiated a deal with Iran that led to the lifting of US sanctions, oil production in Iran could increase 1-2 million barrels a day. That would be 5-10 times the projected impact of drilling off our coasts.

Wouldn't it be better to pursue modest conservation and negotiations with Iran, having the effect of bringing 20-25 times as much oil on the market, rather than endanger tourism, fishing, and beaches on our coasts for a long-term effect that we won't even notice?

You can find more information about efforts to promote real negotiations with Iran on our website,

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