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Bob Edwards Weekend - February 2012

February 4-5


Los Angeles Times columnist Doyle McManus joins Bob to discuss the latest political news.

Jonathan Gruber served as a health care reform advisor to Mitt Romney when he was governor of Massachusetts and to President Obama as he worked to pass the national Affordable Care Act.  The legislation has confused many people and it’s an issue that is sure to be at the center of the presidential campaign.  To help sort through the misconceptions and confusion, Gruber has distilled the very complicated bill into a very simple format: Health Care Reform: the comic book. 

In this week’s installment of our series This I Believe, we hear the essay of Opal Ruth Prater.  When a marriage ends early because of an unexpected death, the surviving partner is often devastated. Prater’s husband died 15 years ago, and she’s never stopped loving him. Prater says her husband’s death affected their family greatly, but his life impacted it more. She finds his spirit both in her memories and in the eyes of their four children.


National Geographic explorer-in-residence Wade Davis takes readers along George Malloy’s ill-fated and harrowing attempt to climb Mt. Everest in his book Into the Silence: The Great War, Mallory, and the Conquest of Everest.

The new Muppet movie is a box office smash, reconfirming that Jim Henson knew what he was doing when he created the beloved characters. Tale of Sand is a Jim Henson-written screenplay that was released as a graphic novel. Stephen Christy is the editor of the project and he joins Bob to talk Henson’s surprising and unexpected work.


February 11-12


Los Angeles Times columnist Doyle McManus joins Bob to discuss the latest political news.

When Pastor Robert Jeffress called The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints a cult on national television last year, Mormons and even some non-Mormons took offense.   But the incident proved that although the LDS church continues to grow in numbers, there are still many people who don’t understand the religion.  With Mormon presidential hopeful Mitt Romney campaigning fiercely for the Republican nomination, Matthew Bowman’s book The Mormon People: The Making of an American Faith offers context and explanation for this sometimes mysterious religion.

In this week’s installment of our ongoing series This I Believe, we hear the essay of Kathy Heffernan.  Every parent knows the early morning wail of small children — “I don’t want to go to school!” Heffernan’s son Sam was part of the protesting chorus, until he met his sixth grade teacher, Mrs. Hogan. Heffernan says other teachers had seen a boy who refused to pay attention, but Mrs. Hogan recognized Sam as a knowledgeable, capable student who loves to read. Her reward was a Valentine’s Day box of chocolates.


Until the early 20th century, borrowing money for personal use was done at the fringes of the economy because under the laws then lending was not profitable. But by the 1920s, personal debt began to be a mainstream part of American life. Now we are a nation deep in debt. The average American has $15,000 in credit card debt —- and then there are mortgages, car notes and student loans. In Borrow: The American Way of Debt, economist Louis Hyman explains how personal credit created the middle class and almost bankrupted the nation.

This week marked the 200th anniversary of writer Charles Dickens’s birth.  The author of A Christmas Carol, A Tale of Two Cities and others, Dickens was the Victorian era’s most beloved writer.  Biographer Claire Tomalin’s new book Charles Dickens sheds light on the life of this famous writer.


February 18-19


Los Angeles Times columnist Doyle McManus joins Bob to discuss the latest political news.

Ken Ballan is a former federal prosecutor and congressional investigator who spent five years as a researcher interviewing more than a hundred Islamic radicals. He was tasked with learning more about their lives, faith and motivations. Terrorists in Love tells the stories of six of the men - from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Saudi Arabia – and gets past the clichés about terrorism to reveal the surprising hearts and minds of some Jihadists. 

In this week’s installment of our ongoing series This I Believe, we hear the essay of Emily Walshe.  Most of us are so busy, we wish for more hours in the day. Between work and family obligations — and time spent driving between the two — there’s very little time left for repose. This time of year puts Walshe in mind of hibernation. She says time for rest should be a part of everyone’s life, and looks to the rhythm of nature for inspiration. 


Actor Max Von Sydow has portrayed priests, doctors, popes, cardinals, dads, a James Bond villain, Jesus Christ, the devil, an assassin, grandfathers, a soccer loving Nazi and Ming the Merciless in a Flash Gordon remake, to name just a few of his many roles. Bob talks with the Swedish-born actor about his long career and about his latest role. Von Sydow received his second Oscar nomination for his part as “the renter” in the new film Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close.

As a banjoist for The Punch Brothers, Noam Pikelny has helped expand the sound of bluegrass.  He earned the first annual Steve Martin Prize for Excellence in Banjo and Bluegrass Music, and now has released his second solo album, Beat The Devil and Carry A Rail.  Pikelny joins Bob in the Sirius XM Performance Studio to discuss his work and play a few tunes.


February 25 - 26


Los Angeles Times columnist Doyle McManus joins Bob to discuss the latest political news.

Next, Bob gets a preview of the 84th Academy Awards from The Daily’s Rich Juzwiak. They’ll discuss the Oscar races for Best Picture, Best Actress, Best Actor and much more.

Then, Bob chats with his old friend James Cromwell.  He takes us behind the scenes of the surprise hit and Oscar favorite, The Artist.  Cromwell plays Clifton, the silent film star’s chauffeur.

In this week’s installment of our ongoing series This I Believe, we hear the essay of Jodi Webb. We’ve all heard that you can’t just throw money at a problem, and hope it goes away. You also need some effort. Webb says a community is only as strong as its volunteers. Churches, after school programs, and all manner of service organizations rely on volunteers to complete their good works. And Webb’s family is always on the front lines. Webb says volunteering is something her mother taught, and now she thinks of it as a family trait, like blue eyes or bossiness.


Dutch foreign correspondent Linda Polman has spent the last 20 years reporting from West and East Africa, Afghanistan, and Haiti.  Her experiences covering humanitarian disasters have led her to be critical of aid agencies and non-governmental organizations, and she has spelled out her criticisms in books like War Games: The Story of War and Aid in Modern Times and The Crisis Caravan: What’s Wrong with Humanitarian Aid.  Bob speaks to her about what she calls the “humanitarian aid industry.”

Michel Gabaudan is the president of Refugees International, and a former member of the United Nations High Commission on Refugees. His organization conducts field missions around the world to gather information about the basic needs of displaced people. He also refutes much of what Linda Polman has written about humanitarian aid in her books.