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Bob Edwards Weekend

November 2008


November 1-2



The Annenberg Political Fact Check is a non-partisan, non-profit organization whose mission is to "reduce the level of deception and confusion in U.S. politics." The organization's Deputy Director, Viveca Novak, joins Bob to help separate fact from spin in the 2008 presidential campaign.

Writer Neil Gaiman won so many awards for his last book Coraline that expectations are running high for his latest. Gaiman talks with Bob about The Graveyard Book which follows the story of young Nobody Owens who lives in a cemetery.




Thomas Cathcart and Daniel Klein share their strategy for deciphering exactly what politicians are trying to say. Their book is called Aristotle and an Aardvark Go to Washington: Understanding Political Doublespeak Through Philosophy and Jokes.


James Taylor is known as a great American songwriter having penned songs like "Fire & Rain" and "Sweet Baby James." But for his latest album, Covers, Taylor took some of his favorite songs by other artists and put his own twist on them. Taylor talks with Bob about his career, his new album and the recent political work he's been doing.


November 8-9



Barack Obama was elected the 44th President of the United States and with a new commander-in-chief comes a new administration. Chicago native and Princeton University political science professor Melissa Harris-Lacewell talks about what an Obama administration might look like. And our political roundtable will analyze the results of this historic election. Bob talks with Washington Post columnist David Broder, Rebecca Robertsof XM’s 24-hour presidential channel and with Dr. Ron Walters, Director of the African-American Leadership Center at the University of Maryland.


Bob talks with Washington Post reporter Jeffrey Smith about the Bush Administration's last push to weaken environmental regulations.


Steven Winick and Todd Harvey, folklorists with the Library of Congress, share historic musical field recordings from the archives that served as the basis of hits when they were later covered by more famous, contemporary artists. Hear how Feist, Led Zeppelin and Moby were inspired by what they heard in the American Folklife Center.



In the current issue of The Atlantic magazine, reporter Jeffrey Goldberg tests the Transportation Security Administration and finds that measures put into place after September 11th amount to nothing more than "security theater."

Egyptian writer Alaa Al Aswany is the Arab-language's best selling novelist, founding member of the Kefaya political party, and still practices dentistry in his downtown Cairo office. Bob talks with Aswany about his new novel Chicago, which is a follow-up to his 2002 debut The Yacoubian Building. Chicago is a story of a group of Egyptian expats struggling in post 9/11 America.


November 15-16



Bob speaks with Dana Gioia, the outgoing Chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts. Gioia took charge of the government agency at a time when many Republicans were calling for the NEA to be abolished. Gioia's mantra is "arts are not a luxury" and he has spent his four years in the post shepherding programs like Shakespeare in American Communities, NEA Jazz Masters, and The Big Read. Gioia recently announced that he will resign in January.

Bob talks Memphis music and radio with legendary music producer Jim Dickinson at his Zebra Ranch in north Mississippi. Dickinson made his first record in 1958 and has worked with Johnny Cash, Bob Dylan, The Rolling Stones, Aretha Franklin and many other big names. Being out of the spotlight at his home studio is where Dickinson says he’s most comfortable producing records – including those of his sons Luther and Cody – founding members of the band North Mississippi All-Stars.




In this year's presidential election, Republicans lost nine states to President-elect Barack Obama that George W. Bush carried four years ago. The Democrats also solidified their control of Congress, gaining 20 seats in the House and at least six in the Senate. Republican strategist Whit Ayres and Doyle McManus, Washington correspondent for the Los Angeles Times discuss what went wrong for the GOP and what conservatives have to do to rebuild their party.

Almost 140 years ago, the United States elected the first African-Americans to its government. The new politicians faced a hostile press, public backlash and extreme racism while attempting to help remake America after the bitter division of the Civil War. Those pioneers are now mostly forgotten or regarded as puppets of the Republicans and of Reconstruction. Bob talks with Philip Dray about his new book,Capitol Men which aims to enlighten Americans on this important chapter in our nation's history.

Bob talks with our music reviewer Anthony DeCurtis about a new re-issue of the late Warren Zevon's classic self-titled album from 1976.


November 22-23



Space Shuttle Endeavour blasted off from the Kennedy Space Center on Friday, November 14 – the last scheduled night launch for the program. Bob was there to witness the countdown and to learn about the past, present and future of NASA.We’ll meet two astronauts, Catie Coleman who’s already been to space twice and Robert Satcher who’s scheduled to fly late next year for the first time. Bob also speaks with local public radio reporter and NASA expert Pat Duggins about his latest book Final Countdown which chronicles the history of the Space Shuttle program.



Denis Leary started his career as a stand-up comedian, but has developed into a respected film and television actor. He leads his own award-winning dramatic series Rescue Me on the cable network FX. Leary also still loves performing and writing comedy. His new book is called Why We Suck: A Feel Good Guide to Staying Fat, Loud, Lazy and Stupid.


Bob talks with artists Christo and Jeanne-Claude about their exhibit Christo and Jeanne-Claude: Over The River, a Work in Progress. The exhibition of more than 150 photographs, collages, drawings, and maps, will chronicle the artists’ process as they prepare to assemble and suspend massive panels of silvery fabric horizontally over the Arkansas River in Colorado. The exhibition traces the development of this ambitious project over the past 16 years.


November 29-30



Musician Elvis Costello is adding television host to his resume. Beginning December 3rd, the Sundance Channel will air a series called Spectacle in which Costello talks and performs with celebrities including Sir Elton John, Tony Bennett, Lou Reed, Julian Schnabel and Bill Clinton.

Our resident folklorists Nancy Groce and Steve Winick from the Library of Congress dip into the archive of the American Folklife Center and bring along songs, poems, and stories about food.



Much like the bear who went over the mountain, 25 years ago writer William Least Heat-Moon set off across America to see what he could see. He recorded his findings in Blue Highways, putting his work on the literary map. Now, after all these years, he ventured out again to see how small town America has changed. His new book is called Roads to Quoz: An American Mosey.

Dr. Richard Fortey is a paleontologist, researcher and writer at the Natural History Museum in London. His latest book, Dry Store Room No.1, tells the behind-the-scenes stories of some of the museum’s quirkier employees. Dr. Fortey has been a member of the Royal Society since 2007 and is currently the President of the Geological Society of London.