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January 2011


Monday, January 3, 2011

We’re welcoming new Sirius XM subscribers to our show with some of Bob’s best interviews.  We begin with Philip Seymour Hoffman.  He won the best actor Oscar for playing Truman Capote in the 2005 film Capote.  Then, Yo Yo Ma is perhaps the world’s most famous classical musician. Bob talks with him about his celebrity, his favorite parts of the classical repertoire, and why he’s expanded into world music in recent years.


Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Our welcome to new Sirius XM subscribers continues with Bob’s comprehensive discussion with top legal minds about the US Supreme Court. Our guests are Dahlia Lithwick, a contributing editor at Newsweek and senior editor at Slate where she covers the Supreme Court; Georgetown University Law Center professor Randy Barnett, author of Restoring the Lost Constitution: The Presumption of Liberty; and Geoffrey Stone, professor at the University of Chicago Law School and author of Top Secret: When Our Government Keeps Us in the Dark.


Wednesday, January 5, 2011

New Yorker magazine contributor Calvin Trillin has been a frequent guest of Bob’s. Today, we revisit one of Bob’s favorite interviews with the esteemed writer and humorist.  Next, a listener favorite.  Bob talks with Steve Fishell, producer of the Stephen Foster CD Beautiful Dreamer. It includes 18 classic songs by various artists, including John Prine, Michelle Shocked and Mavis Staples.”


Thursday, January 6, 2011

Bob pays tribute to legendary jazz pianist, composer and educator Dr. Billy Taylor. In his six-decade career, Taylor played with a who’s who of jazz from bebop pioneers Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie to the modern era.  Billy Taylor died on December 28th at the age of 89.


Friday, January 7, 2011

Our week-long welcome to new subscribers concludes today with a Bob Edwards Show staple: Washington Post political columnist David Broder.  He joins Bob to talk politics. Then, Jimmy Carter. He’s been a guest on this program several times and, today, we revisit one of Bob’s favorite conversations with our 39th president.  And, finally, another show mainstay: our weekly personal essay series, This I Believe.  Today, we’ll from judge Christina Habas.


Monday, January 10, 2011

For 23 years, Gary Noesner worked as an FBI hostage negotiator—10 of them as the Bureau’s chief negotiator.  Noesner and his unit specialized in nonviolent confrontation and communication, and he has written about his high-stress job in the book Stalling For Time: My Life as an FBI Hostage Negotiator.


Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Last week, DNA evidence exonerated yet another man who had served decades in prison for a crime he did not commit. In recent years, that story has become so common that it’s almost heartbreakingly unsurprising. Ten years ago, Illinois governor George Ryan declared a moratorium on the death penalty in his state, saying the criminal justice system was flawed and that too many innocent people were in danger of being executed. That’s the perspective of The Center on Wrongful Convictions at Northwestern University Law School. We’ll spend the hour talking with the Center’s Executive Director Rob Warden, who gave up his job as an investigative reporter to fight for innocent inmates. We’ll also talk with a former inmate who helps others plead their cases, and someone who has found a half-measure of justice — released but not yet exonerated.


Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Joshua Green is a senior editor of The Atlantic and a weekly political columnist for the Boston Globe. He writes in his latest posting for, “Whether or not it’s fair to blame Jared Lee Loughner’s shooting against Rep. Gabrielle Giffords on overheated political rhetoric and violent imagery, the episode will probably mark a turning point in how the media cover politics.” He’ll discuss that topic with Bob as well as his profile of Senator Mitch McConnell in the newest issue of The Atlantic magazine. Then, historianLeigh Eric Schmidt, the Charles Warren Professor of American Religious History at Harvard University, looks at the controversial and fascinating life of 19th century sexologist Ida Craddock in his book Heaven’s Bride: The Unprintable Life of Ida C. Craddock, American Mystic, Scholar, Sexologist, Martyr and Madwoman.


Thursday, January 13, 2011

First time novelist Tom Rachman’s debut The Imperfectionists was a critical success and a New York Timesbestseller.  Drawing from his own experiences as a newspaper foreign correspondent in Rome, Rachman’s novel follows a group of reporters trying to survive the collapses of the print world.  The book is now out in paperback.  Then, The Museum of Broadcast Communications has collected over 100,000 hours of television and radio programs, charting the history of those broadcast media. It owns memorabilia commemorating everything from children’s programs to the first televised presidential debate. And it houses the Radio Hall of Fame, of which our own Bob Edwards is a member. What the Museum does not have at the moment is a home. That will change once a new building in downtown Chicago is completed this spring. Founder and President Bruce DuMont gives us a tour of the construction site.


Friday, January 14, 2011

Doyle McManus, columnist for the Los Angeles Times, joins Bob to talk about the week’s headlines from the Beltway and beyond. Then, actress Rosamund Pike plays Miriam, Barney Panofsky’s (Paul Giamatti) third wife and true love in the new film Barney’s Version.  Based on Mordecai Richler’s final novel, Barney’s Version is Panofsky’s skewed but hilarious recounting of his life’s ups and downs.  Minnie Driver, Dustin Hoffman, and Scott Speedman costar.  Then, in this week’s installment of our ongoing series This I Believe, we hear the essay of Elynne Chaplik-Aleskow.  She is the founding general manager of public television station WYCC, and a Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Wright College in Chicago. She has three sisters. One of them, Ivy, died in a plane crash decades ago, but the remaining sisters keep her memory alive to this day, seeking guidance from her charitable personality and thinking of themselves as an unbroken circle of four.


Monday, January 17, 2011  

In honor of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr’s birthday we dip into our archive to bring back two of Bob’s interviews. First, his conversation with filmmaker Bill Jersey about his documentary A Time for Burning which explores the civil rights issue from one of the least likely of vantage points—a white, middle-class congregation in Nebraska—and reveals some of the more powerful observations about race and equality to come out of the ’60s. Jersey’s documentary was named to the National Film Registry.  Then, Bob talks with educator Jane Elliott about her now-famous exercise.  On April 5, 1968, the day after Martin Luther King was killed; Elliott conducted a bold experiment on her students, making them understand what discrimination feels like first hand. Some called her “Blue-Eyes Brown-Eyes” experiment “evil” and “Orwellian” — said it abused the children’s trust. Others championed her as a brilliant educator on par with Plato and Aristotle.  Almost all of the students involved in the experiment said it strengthened their character.  Elliott explains why, decades later, her exercise still matters.


Tuesday, January 18, 2011  

Today, PBS’s Frontline begins a new monthly magazine program with three reports. Pulitzer Prize-winning Washington Post reporter Dana Priest joins Bob to talk about the first of those stories.  Are We Safer? investigates the terrorism-industrial complex that has grown in the wake of 9/11.  Then, Tom McGuane is the author of nine novels including The Sporting Club, The Bushwhacked Piano, and Ninety-two in the Shade, three works of nonfiction and two collections of stories.  His first novel in eight years is titled Driving on the Rim.  McGuane was inducted into The American Academy of Arts & Letters in 2010.


Wednesday, January 19, 2011   

For 50 years, Amnesty International has been working to draw attention to human rights abuses around the world and demand justice for those whose rights have been violated. To coincide with the 50th anniversary of the organization’s founding, Amnesty International has released Freedom: Stories Celebrating the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The book is a collection of thirty short stories, each a reflection on one of the articles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.  Larry Cox, Executive Director of Amnesty International USA talks with Bob about the organization’s history, accomplishments and future.


Thursday, January 20, 2011  

Practical Wisdom: The Right Way to Do the Right Thing is the name of a new book by Barry Schwartz and Kenneth Sharpe.  “Practical wisdom” is also a virtue first identified by Aristotle, which arguably, has been undermined by modern life.  Schwartz and Sharpe discuss what has affected our ability to make decisions and how we can better foster that skill.


Friday, January 21, 2011

Doyle McManus, Washington columnist for the Los Angeles Times joins Bob to talk about politics and other news. Next, Bob talks with Edge of Sports host Dave Zirin about the NFL, NBA and college basketball. Then, in this week’s installment of our ongoing series This I Believe, we hear the essay of Mary Anne Mrugalski.  She is an award-winning radio reporter in Chicago. When adversity creeps into her life, Mrugalski camps out in her kitchen, making loaves of whole wheat bread. She says the activity of making hearty food from scratch clears her mind, and her problems no longer seem insurmountable.


Monday, January 24, 2011

Before we get too far into 2011, Bob talks to Ann Mack of JWT Intelligence about the 100 things to watch this year, from technology to culture.  Mack is JWT’s Global Director of Trendspotting.  Then, founded in 1988 by two juniors at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, the satirical newspaper The Onion grew from a college-town favorite to a Peabody Award winning (still satirical) news organization.  JJ Adler, director and co-executive producer of the Onion News Network and Carol Kolb, head writer, talk about The Onion’s history and the debut of the Onion News Network on the Independent Film Channel. 


Tuesday, January 25, 2011

In 1968, Stanford ecologist Paul Ehrlich published the best-selling book The Population Bomb in which he stated, “The battle to feed all of humanity is over … In the 1970s and 1980s hundreds of millions of people will starve to death in spite of any crash programs embarked upon now.” Ehrlich has been criticized for making false, doomsday predictions although he maintains that, if anything, his book was overly optimistic. Now in his 80s and one of the most famous environmentalists working today (he was on Johnny Carson more than 20 times), Ehrlich is still teaching, researching and publishing. His latest book, “Humanity On a Tightrope,” examines ways to create a sustainable society capable of preserving the planet. Then, German immigrant and 19th century entrepreneur William Steinway rose from poverty to become one of New York City’s most powerful figures.  He kept a detailed record of his life and times, and now, for the first time, the 2,500 pages of his diaries are available for scholars and the public to read on-line.  The William Steinway Diary is available at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History website.  Curator Cynthia Hoover and on-line editor Anna Karvellas discuss the project.


Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Beloved children’s book author Norton Juster is the author of the classics The Phantom Tollbooth and The Dot and The Line.  He recently teamed up again with friend and illustrator Jules Feiffer for a new book, titled The Odious Ogre. Then, singer-songwriter and now playwright Rain Perry discusses her most recent album Internal Combustion.  Perry is also the composer of the theme song of the TV show Life Unexpected


Thursday, January 27, 2011

Four million Americans are afflicted with glaucoma and half of them don’t even realize it. Glaucoma is the primary culprit of preventable blindness and for Eve Higginbotham, Executive Dean for Health Sciences at Howard University, the disease packs another punch: it’s six to eight times more common in African Americans than in other tested groups. Dr. Higginbotham speaks with Bob to mark January as Glaucoma Awareness Month. Then, Andrew Alexander is an innovative and influential theatre, film, and television producer, known most widely for his leadership of The Second City theatre company and the hit television show SCTV. Finally, Bob visits Second City’s Chicago campus where he interviews actors Amanda Blake Davis, Tim Baltz & Tim Mason and observes an improve comedy class in action.


Friday, January 28, 2011

Doyle McManus, Washington Bureau Chief for the Los Angeles Times joins Bob to talk about politics and other news. Next, Frank X Walker’s latest book of poems, I Dedicate This Ride, was inspired by Isaac Murphy, a 19th century jockey who rode three Kentucky Derby winners.  The son of a slave, Murphy’s success earned him wealth and international fame.   In the early years of thoroughbred racing, most of the jockeys were African-American.    As the profession became more lucrative, black jockeys were replaced by whites. Then, in this week’s installment of our ongoing series This I Believe, we hear the essay of John Samuel Tieman.  He believes in God, and he believes in love. Tieman says both God and love are present everyday in his life, expressed simply and profoundly through the hands of everyone he meets.


Monday, January 31, 2011

Stephanie Coontz is a social historian and in her most recent book she revisits the one book that drastically created change for women in the United States nearly fifty years ago.  In A Strange Stirring: “The Feminine Mystique” and American Women at the Dawn of the 1960s, Coontz reflects on the advances and obstacles of feminism since that time. Then, in Franklin and Eleanor, biographer Hazel Rowley examines the evolution of the Roosevelt marriage from conventional Victorian union to a radical, political partnership. The Roosevelt marriage was also one filled with scandal: FDR’s lifelong affair with Lucy Mercer, Eleanor’s purported lesbianism, and many more in between.