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Bob Edwards Weekend

July 2008

July 5-6, 2008


  • In his new book, A Government Ill Executed, Paul Light sounds the alarm on the collapse of the federal agency system. One of his proposals to fix the problem calls for drastically trimming the number of presidential appointees to head and serve in various federal government departments and agencies.
  • More than 40 world leaders gathered in Rome recently to discuss soaring food prices that threaten nearly 1 billion people with starvation. That could lead to violence around the globe. Paul Roberts, the author of the best-selling The End of Oil, now investigates the modern food system with his new book, The End of Food.


  • Since this is an election year, we are inundated with pundits and politicians talking about "real" Americans and what they want out of life. The question is, what is an American, really? What makes us different from people in other countries? How has our culture been shaped by our history and the continent we conquered? The novelist Russell Banks ponders those questions in his first work of nonfiction, titled Dreaming Up America.
  • Filmmaker Alex Gibney makes his fourth appearance on this program to discuss his new project.  The latest documentary for the Peabody and Academy Award-winning director is called "Gonzo: The Life and Work of Dr. Hunter S. Thompson."  It’s narrated by actor Johnny Depp and opens this weekend.


July 12-13, 2008


  • Brandon Mayfield was an American lawyer in Oregon when he was mistaken for a terrorist involved in the bombings in Madrid.  Mayfield was arrested after his fingerprint had been incorrectly identified. Steven T. Wax was Mayfield's public defender and is the author of Kafka Comes to America: Fighting for Justice in the War on Terror – A Public Defender’s Inside Account.  Wax argues that what happened to his client is proof that everyone's civil liberties are in jeopardy in today's political climate.
  • Since the Innocence Project began in 1993 more than 200 people have been exonerated after DNA testing.  That includes 15 who were on death row. Jon Gould is Chair of the Innocence Commission for Virginia and the author of The Innocence Commission: Preventing Wrongful Convictions and Restoring the Criminal Justice System.



  • David Simon's HBO series, "The Wire," dealt with politics, crime, journalism and everyday life in inner-city Baltimore.  And it did all of that in layers and nuance usually reserved for novels.  "Generation Kill" is the name of Simon’s new project.  The seven-part mini-series is about the war in Iraq and premieres Sunday night on HBO.
  • "Exile in Guyville" was Liz Phair's debut album in 1993.  She said at the time that it was a song-by-song reply to the Rolling Stones' Exile on Main Street. Fifteen years later, Phair reissued the ground-breaking album with a few never-before-released songs from the original recording sessions, and a DVD documentary which she shot herself to explain how it all came about.


July 19-20, 2008



  • Even though he was a U.S. Congressman for two terms, Ben Jones is best-known as "Crazy Cooter" for his role on The Dukes of Hazzard. Jones' road to the halls of Congress was an unlikely one – starting in a shack with no electricity or plumbing. Jones tells his story in his memoir Redneck Boy in the Promised Land.
  • Ry Cooder's eclectic and celebrated career qualifies him to stand among America’s most accomplished guitarists. He has relentlessly pursued new challenges, working as a session musician, a songwriter, a film music composer and a producer. His unique collaborations have earned Cooder three Grammys, including his most recent for 1998's worldwide smash Buena Vista Social Club. Cooder's latest album is titled: I, Flathead: The Songs of Kash Buk and the Klowns, it is being released simultaneously with a novella of the same title.


  • Bob talks with author Richard Bausch about his 11th novel titled, Peace. It tells the story of a company of American soldiers scrabbling up an Italian mountainside in the closing days of World War II. The Germans are retreating and Bausch's crew has been sent on a thankless mission: to confirm the retreat without being killed.

July 26-27, 2008


The collapse of the sub-prime mortgage industry has cost many people their homes, worsened the credit crisis and shaken up Wall Street financial firms. In their new book, Chain of Blame, authors Paul Muolo and Matthew Padilla detail the growth of sub-prime lenders and how mortgages turned into a Wall Street bubble.

Bob talks with writer Edward Dolnick about his new book The Forger's Spell: A True Story of Vermeer, Nazis, and the Greatest Art Hoax of the Twentieth Century. It tells the story of a mediocre Dutch artist who convinced the world that his paintings were the lost and invaluable work of Dutch master Johannes Vermeer.


"Whatever happened to my flying car?" and other questions about promised technologies are answered by Nick Sagan in the book, You Call This the Future? Nick is the son of the late astronomer Carl Sagan.

Linda Salzman-Sagan was the wife of Carl Sagan. She was also the co-producer of the phonographic time capsule that was launched aboard the Voyager Spacecraft in 1977. The capsule, and its gold-plated record, have left the solar system and are drifting through space, waiting to be found by intelligent life. Salzman-Sagan talks about the sounds and images she helped select to represent all of humanity.