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August 2010


Monday, August 2, 2010

Each Monday this month, we’re replaying some of our favorite interviews with a summer time theme. Today, we put to rest one myth of summer: school teachers having the most of it off.  In an interview from September 2005, Bob speaks with Ninive Clements Calegari and Daniel Moulthrop authors of a book called Teachers Have it Easy: The Big Sacrifices and Small Salaries of America’s Teachers. Bob will also talk to one teacher who broke his students’ and principal’s hearts when he left teaching to sell real estate. 

 

Tuesday, August 3, 2010  

Bob talks with Edge of Sports host Dave Zirin about his new book, Bad Sports: How Owners are Ruining the Games We Love. Zirin says the people who are supposed to be the stewards of professional sports are instead overly obsessed with squeezing every last dollar from fans – to the point that many fans are now alienated from the teams they grew up loving. Then, as Tony award winning actress and singer Carol Channing approaches her 90th birthday early next year, she continues to charm people with her talent and zest for life.  Channing won a Tony in 1964 for her turn as Dolly Levi in the Broadway production of Hello, Dolly! and in 1995 was awarded a Lifetime Achievement Tony.  Channing’s new album is called For Heaven’s Sake.

 

Wednesday, August 3, 2010   

Today we begin a new series about coastal Louisiana, examining the special challenges faced by that region, as Mother Nature and man continue to test its resilience. Bob talks with Mark Schleifstein, a reporter for theTimes Picayune, who won a Pulitzer Prize for his post-Katrina coverage, and who has been writing about the effects of the oil and gas industry on the Louisiana marshland. Then, Bob talks with Shirley Laska, the founder of the Center for Hazards Assessment Response and Technology at the University of New Orleans. She predicted the catastrophic effects of Hurricane Katrina, and her center studies coastal communities, examining the ways people cope with frequent disasters.

 

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Gene Weingarten is so good at what he does that he’s won a Pulitzer… twice. As a feature writer for theWashington Post, Weingarten muses about whatever strikes his fancy. One of his most well-known pieces was about a stunt he set up with the violin virtuoso, Joshua Bell. Weingarten stationed Bell outside of a busy metro stop to see if anyone noticed. Hardly anyone did.  Weingarten talks with Bob about that and many of his other memorable stories from a new collection titled The Fiddler in the Subway.

 

Friday, August 6, 2010  

David Broder of The Washington Post joins Bob to talk politics. Next, in her book, The Year of the Flood, which is out in paperback, Margaret Atwood has created a dystopian world that can be read as a commentary on religion, politics, science and the environment.  Then, in this week’s installment of our ongoing series This I Believe, Bob talks with curator Dan Gediman about the essay of Roger Baldwin. Baldwin founded the American Civil Liberties Union, and helped defend John T. Scopes, the Scottsboro Boys, the Ku Klux Klan, and many others. Born into a wealthy Boston family, Baldwin started his career as a social worker in St. Louis. 

 

Monday, August 9, 2010   

We continue our summer vacation by taking a break with a drink from Bob’s home state. Bourbon historian Susan Reigler talks about one of Kentucky’s most famous exports on location at the Bourbon Bistro which offers more than 130 bourbons. Then, from sunny Southern California, Rey Fresco is a new band made up of old high school friends. Bob talks to the members about their multicultural backgrounds, their catchy sound and their unusual instrumentation. The band’s lead instrument is a 36-string harp played by an ethnomusicologist, while the drummer taught himself to play AND to make his own drums from surfboard fiberglass. Rey Fresco’s debut CD is called The People and it features ska, reggae, pop, country, Cuban, Latin and soul influences.

 

Tuesday, August 10, 2010  

Michael Bronner is a correspondent for GlobalPost, an international news site.  He is a Peabody and Murrow winner and a multiple Emmy nominee and his latest work is a five-part series based on exclusive interviews with former Geneva-based UBS bank director Bradley Birkenfeld, who turned whistleblower and caused the 2009 standoff between the US and UBS.  Then, it wasn’t until he had spent twenty years as a professional soldier that Andrew Bacevich began to question the truths he had accumulated about U.S. foreign policy. Bacevich is a retired colonel and now a professor of history and international relations at Boston University. He is the rare military intellectual who is listened to by both the right and the left. His newest book,Washington Rules: America’s Path to Permanent War, is a critical rethink of American foreign policy

 

Wednesday, August 11, 2010  

We continue our series No Place Like Home with an hour on how hurricanes and oil spills have affected the culture and the seafood industry of the region. Bob talks with Mike Voisin of Motavatit Seafoods in Houma and tours his plant as workers process the much smaller than usual small harvest of oysters. Charlie Robin is a fifth generation shrimper in Yscloskey. He’s traded his shrimp nets for oil boom and is working for BP to skim the oil and save his future. And in Larose, Bob talks with John Serigny who’s been hunting ducks in the area for almost five decades. As their wetland habitat disappears, so do the ducks.

 

Thursday, August 12, 2010  

After youth’s ripening “we rot and rot,” wrote Shakespeare. But that hasn’t stopped man from trying to figure out ways to slow down the aging process. Once upon a time, the blood of the young was transfused into aged veins. Today the science is more sound as David Stipp writes in his new book The Youth Pill: Scientists at the Brink of an Anti-Aging Revolution.  Then, Robert Duvall’s filmography features some of the greatest productions to come out of Hollywood: To Kill A MockingbirdThe Godfather I & IIApocalypse NowLonesome Dove, and Tender Mercies, for which he earned an Oscar.  His latest film is Get Low and in it he portrays the town recluse who stages his own “living funeral.” Duvall chats about his fifty-plus-year-career in-studio with Bob.

 

Friday, August 13, 2010 

David Broder of The Washington Post joins Bob to talk politics. Next, In Animal Kingdom, 17-year-old “J” Cody must learn to survive the death of his mother not knowing who to trust: the police or his own crime-laden family.  The Australian thriller won the Grand Jury Prize at this year’s Sundance film festival.  Writer and director David Michod and actor Ben Mendelsohn, (“Pope” Cody) discuss the story, the characters and the ten year process to complete the film.  Then, in this week’s installment of our ongoing series This I Believe, Bob talks with curator Dan Gediman about the essay of English novelist Aldous Huxley.  He was born into a family of scientists and writers. He is best known for his books Brave New World (1932) and Point Counter Point (1928), but also wrote poetry, essays, screenplays and children’s books. Huxley died in 1963.

 

Monday, August 16, 2010

We continue our summer time theme by taking a musical break with Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller.  They met as teenagers in Los Angeles in 1950, forming a songwriting team that churned out hits for early rhythm & blues artists—and later for Elvis Presley, The Drifters, The Coasters, Peggy Lee and many more.    Their partnership even extends to a joint autobiography titled, Hound Dog.  And it just so happens that Elvis Presley died on this date 33 years ago.

 

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

“Stiff,” “Spook” and “Bonk” were the titles of Mary Roach’s previous books, all exploring some strange sides of science (cadavers, the afterlife and sex research respectively). For her newest book, Roach takes readers to the final frontier, or at least the road astronauts take to get there. In “Packing for Mars,” Roach investigates space simulations and all their weirdness.

 

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

This week in our series “No Place Like Home,” we’ll focus on wildlife. While oil was still gushing out of the broken well in the Gulf of Mexico, and even now that the well is sealed, birds, turtles and many other animals are coated with goopy brown crude. Bob talks with Emily Guidry Schatzel of the National Wildlife Federationabout how her group is working alongside the government. Bob also talks with state and federal wildlife biologistsTodd Baker and Sharon Taylor about the efforts to rescue, clean and relocate those animals. And we’ll visitthe bird rehabilitation center at Fort Jackson, where dozens of brown pelicans have been cleaned and nursed back to health.

 

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Inspired by the events of September 11th, 2001, NFL player Pat Tillman left his football career to serve his country as an Army Ranger. Just two years after he joined, Tillman was killed in Afghanistan. When the government tried to use his death as war propaganda, the Tillman family fought back, not only to preserve the true memory of their son and brother, but also to uncover the truth of his death. Director Amir Bar-Lev’sdocumentary “The Tillman Story” opens August 20th in select cities. Then, in memory of her husband Marie Tillman founded the Pat Tillman Foundation in 2004. The Foundation supports veterans and military families through educational resources, building a new community of veteran scholars and advocating on behalf of military families. Richard Garcia is a current Tillman Scholar.

 

Friday, August 20, 2010

David Broder of The Washington Post joins Bob to talk politics. Next, American artist Chuck Close is a master of highly detailed, larger-than-life portraits that bring out his subjects’ intellectual depth. Writer and personal friend Christopher Finch’s biography “Chuck Close: Life” takes readers through Close’s art student days in Seattle to his professional success with critics and the public alike. In 1988, Close suffered a spinal artery collapse, leaving him wheelchair bound but still painting. In 2000, President Bill Clinton awarded Close with the National Medal of Arts. Then, in this week’s installment of our ongoing series “This I Believe,” Bob talks with curator Dan Gediman about the essay of writer and lecturer Ruth Cranston.  She was born in Cincinnati, lived in 18 different countries during her life, including 10 years in Switzerland where she worked for the League of Nations. She wrote “World Faith: The Story of the Religions of the United Nations.”

 

Monday, August 23, 2010   

Bob talks with travel writer Rick Steves.  For the past 30 years, Steves has advocated for thoughtful and informed traveling  in his PBS series, his radio show, and of course his best selling travel guide books.   His new book, Travel As a Political Act, is about why we travel and how being a good traveler creates positive ties with the citizens of other nations.  Then, Bob talks to Keith Bellows, editor-in-chief of National Geographic Traveler magazine. Bellows travels around the globe and compiles a list of the 500 greatest trips the world has to offer. The list encompasses every continent and every possible mode of transportation, including the world’s top 10 elevator rides.

 

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Bob talks with James Fallows, National Correspondent for The Atlantic.  In his wide-ranging blog at theatlantic.com, he comments on everything from the rise of China to the President’s grammar. Then, Glen Lapp is one of ten humanitarian workers who were killed early this month in Afghanistan. The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack, saying the medical workers were trying to convert Muslims. Lisa Schirch is professor at Eastern Mennonite University’s graduate Center for Justice and Peacebuilding.  She talks about Lapp, an EMU alum, their friendship, and their commitment to the effort in Afghanistan.

 

Wednesday, August 25, 2010 

This week in our series No Place Like Home, we’ll head to the bayou to get a firsthand look at the marshes and swamps that are so important to coastal Louisiana’s culture and ecology. Denise Reed is a professor at the University of New Orleans, and she’s been studying the wetlands for decades, monitoring loss and imagining ways to grow new land. Tab Benoit is concerned about wetlands loss, but you won’t find him lecturing about it in a classroom. Benoit is a blues singer from Houma and a founder of the group Voice of the Wetlands. He’ll take Bob on a boat ride through the swamps — both healthy and depleted.

 

Thursday, August 26, 2010  

Women won the right to vote in this country 90 years ago this month but not without a hard-fought battle that is little remembered today. After years of thoughtful  lobbying didn’t work, suffragists - led by the iron-willed Alice Paul -  tried more revolutionary tactics. They demonstrated, rallied, paraded, went on hunger strikes and picketed the White House,  some chaining themselves to the fence. Many of the protesting women were arrested, force fed and brutalized. A new book by journalist Mary Walton tells the dramatic story of the final push to get the 19th amendment passed. It’s titled  A Women’s Crusade: Alice Paul and the Battle for the Ballot. Then, Miami Herald columnist Carl Hiaasen’s latest novel is a satirical look at the likes of Lindsay Lohan.  It’s called Star Island.  He and Bob talk celebrity culture and Florida politics.

 

Friday, August 27, 2010  

David Broder of The Washington Post joins Bob to talk politics.  Then, when Jesse Saperstein was diagnosed Asperger’s syndrome as a young man, he was glad at last to have a name for his social and behavioral problems. Asperger’s, a mild form of autism, is often characterized by repetitive routines, peculiarities in speech, and a lack of social understanding, which includes trouble understanding empathy.  Saperstein’s book Atypical: Life with Asperger’s in 20 1/3 Chaptershumanizes the difficult world of autism.  And in this week’s installment of our ongoing series This I Believe, Bob talks with curator Dan Gediman about the essay of Swedish economist and diplomat Dag Hammarskjold who was the second Secretary-General of the United Nations, serving from 1953 – 1961. He worked to ease tensions between Israel and Arab nations, and to defuse the Suez crisis. Hammarskjold was killed in a plane crash in Zambia in 1961.

 

Monday, August 30, 2010

Jonathan Lethem describes his novel this way: “It’s set on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, it’s strongly influenced by Saul Bellow, Philip K. Dick, Charles G. Finney and Hitchcock’s “Vertigo,” and it concerns a circle of friends including a faded child-star actor, a cultural critic, a hack ghost-writer of autobiographies, and a city official. And it’s long and strange.” Chronic City is Lethem’s seventh novel.  It’s now out in paperback.   Then, a few final words with Michael Quinion, author of the website WorldWideWords.org.

 

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

 In desperate situations, fear can give us the adrenaline we need for survival, or drive us to total terror and impede our ability to think clearly.   Science writer Jeff Wise, columnist for Popular Mechanics, examines how and why we respond to fear in his book Extreme Fear: The Science of Your Mind in Danger.  Then, “bad guys and outlaws” are the subject for this installment with our resident folklorists Nancy Groce and Stephen Winick from the Library of Congress.

 

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

 We continue No Place Like Home, our series of interviews gathered in coastal Louisiana, with a look at the past, present and future of New Orleans as the city marks the fifth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina.  Tulane University professor Lawrence Powell provides some historical perspective. Next we join former New Orleans mayor Maurice “Moon” Landrieu for a driving tour of the destruction caused by the flooding, damage which still cuts across social and economic boundaries five years later. Then we meet recent Tulane graduate Kerry Mitchell Kraft. She was an incoming freshman in August 2005, on campus for orientation as Katrina approached. She evacuated, but then returned to finish school and plans to make her home in New Orleans.

 

Thursday, September 2, 2010

 In 1978, anti-Apartheid activist Rick Turner was gunned down at his family’s home in Durban, South Africa. Twenty years later, his daughter Jann Turner met actors Kenneth Nkosi and Rapulana Seiphemo on the set of a South African soap opera. Now the three friends have a production company, “Stepping Stone Pictures,” which creates positive images reflecting the promise of post-Apartheid South Africa. One December, the trio took a memorable road trip that became the basis of their latest film, White Wedding. ThenPresident Obama declared the end of combat in Iraq this week. John Crawford is a combat veteran who wrote about his experiences in a book called The Last True Story I’ll Ever Tell.

 

Friday, September 3, 2010

 David Broder of The Washington Post joins Bob to talk politics. Next, in his memoir, Open: An AutobiographyAndre Agassi goes well beyond his on-court wins and losses to reveal his secrets (e.g., he hates tennis) and others’ (e.g., the Association of Tennis Professionals tolerated his drug use).  Agassi discusses his abusive father, the hairpiece he wore during tournaments, the shoe lifts Brook Shields made him wear to their wedding, and much more. Then, in this week’s installment of our ongoing series This I Believe, Bob talks with curator Dan Gediman about the essay of Elizabeth Deutsch. When she was 16, she won a This I Believe essay contest in the Cleveland Press newspaper. Her prize was a trip to New York City to record her essay for broadcast on the original series. Deutsch went on to become a professor of plant breeding at Cornell University.