The Jimmy Carter Jonestown Massacre

Have you ever heard the phrase "Drinking the Kool-Aid"? Do you know where it comes from? Do you really?


It's an image that few Americans who were around at the time can forget: bodies - some piled on top of each other - sprawled around a crude tin-roofed building in the middle of the South American jungle. A mass suicide of over 900 church members who willingly (and some not so willingly) drank cyanide laced punch at the request of their leader, the Reverend Jim Jones.  The place was officially known as the Peoples Temple Agricultural Project or, as most people called it, Jonestown. 

The evening news of November 18, 1978 carried the shocking images around the globe and soon Americans began asking themselves the familiar question - how could this have happened?


In this episode, we'll be taking a look at some of the background to the Jonestown Massacre and, as this is a podcast called "The is the President", the US President's response to tragedy. In this case, a press briefing from President James "Jimmy" Carter on November 30, 1978. We'll also play a portion of what is known as the "Jonestown Death Tape", a harrowing real-time recording taken by Jonestown leader Jim Jones as he exhorted his followers to their deaths. And we'll try to set the record straight on the drink involved - despite the ubiquity of the phrase, the drink mix used in Jonestown was actually "Flavor Aid" and not "Kool Aid." 

If you'd like to read more about the goings on in the Guyanese jungle, Jonestown, the Rev. Jim Jones and the Peoples Temple, there's an excellent website maintained by San Diego State University that contains pictures, recordings, and a treasure trove of primary source documents.

On a lighter note, Harmon and Scott also discuss the merits of Philadelphia's cheese steaks, the James Bond movie "On Her Majesty's Secret Service," and the possibility of President Oprah.  

In addition, we're welcoming a new sponsor onboard - Dennis Miller. Yes, THAT Dennis Miller. Maybe you’ve seen him on “The O’Reilly Factor.” Perhaps you remember him from his days as an anchor of the “Weekend Update” segment on “Saturday Night Live.” 

So wherever you may know him from, now you’ll have the chance to see Dennis Miller
live at the Silver Legacy Resort Casino in Reno, Nevada on Saturday, Feb. 10, 2018.

Tickets start at $49.50 and can be purchased at the Silver Legacy web site. Enjoy 20 percent off a hotel room on the night of the show with the purchase of a show ticket. What a great Valentines Day idea! 

Use offer code TIX18 when purchasing.

This episode is also sponsored by BLACKBX. Running a restaurant, bar, pub or retail business? Offer your customers fast, free and secure wireless while gaining awesome customer insights.

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