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January 2013


Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Lori Andrews became a consumer activist when she was seven and her Ken doll went bald. She wrote a letter to Mattel and got results. Now Andrews’ attention is focused on online privacy. Her book titled I Know Who You Are and I Saw What You Did: Social Networks and the Death of Privacy has just been released in paperback.  Then, 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.  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, is now available in paperback.


Wednesday, January 2, 2013

On November 18, 1978, more than 900 people killed themselves in a jungle in Guyana. A book titled A Thousand Lives: the Untold Story of Hope, Deception, and Survival at Jonestown tells the story of five of those who willingly followed pastor Jim Jones to South America and to their own demise. Author Julia Scheeres joins Bob to discuss the tragedy.


Thursday, January 3, 2013

Lawrence Powell is a professor emeritus in Tulane University’s Department of History – so who better to write about the first 100 years of New Orleans?  His latest book is titled The Accidental City and it covers the period from the first hunters, trappers and explorers in the region through the end of The War of 1812.  Then, Bob talks with Joey Burns, a founding member of the band Calexico. Burns will discuss the band’s music, branded by some as “desert noir,” Calexico’s homebase of Tucson, Arizona, their ideas for immigration reform and why they decided to record their latest CD in New Orleans. Calexico’s seventh studio album is called Algiers.


Friday, January 4, 2013

Doyle McManus, Washington columnist for the Los Angeles Times, joins Bob to discuss the latest political news.  Next, for fans of the hit PBS Masterpiece series Downton Abbey the wait is almost over.   January 6th kicks off the third season of the Emmy award-winning series, letting viewers finally find out what happened to their favorite residents of the English manor house.   Bob talks with actor Jim Carter, who plays Carson, Downton’s ever-steady butler and actor Rob James-Collier, who plays Thomas, the villain viewers love to hate.  Then, the latest installment of our ongoing series This I Believe.


Monday, January 7, 2013

University of Pennsylvania Law School Deputy Dean William Burke-White talks to Bob about his recent article in The Atlantic “A Wife Accused of War Crimes: The Unprecedented Case of Simone Gbagbo.” Gbagbo is the first woman and first non-governmental official indicted for crimes against humanity by the International Criminal Court.  Then, over the years, jazz pianist and composer Dick Hyman has played with luminaries like Benny Goodman, Teddy Wilson, Marian McPartland and Ralph Sutton.  Now, Hyman plays with someone a little closer to home.  Late Last Summer: A Collection of Original Waltzes is a collaboration between Hyman and his daughter, musician Judy Hyman, a founding member of The Horse Flies. This February, Dick Hyman and jazz vocalist Heather Masse release their collection of standards titled Lock My Heart.


Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Pam Simon was one of the 13 people wounded in a Tucson, Arizona grocery store parking lot when a gunman open fired on a constituent meeting hosted by Simon’s then-boss, Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords. Now two years since the rampage that claimed six lives, Simon is working with other survivors of mass shootings to help New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg in his efforts to get meaningful gun control legislation passed. Then, the National Institute for Civil Discourse, based in Tucson, Arizona, was established after the Gabrielle Giffords’ shooting. The organization’s executive director, Carolyn Lukensmeyer, talks to Bob about how to return confidence in American government by encouraging civil discourse.


Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Bob speaks with journalist Deborah Scroggins about two Muslim women who have become world famous for their diametrically opposed political views. The Somali-born Ayaan Hirsi Ali and Pakistani Aafia Siddiqui offer a striking contrast in the issue of Islamic women’s rights and the often-overlooked place of women in that society. In her book, Wanted Women: Faith, Lies, and the War on Terror, Scroggins offers a comprehensive dual biography of these two women who, despite their divergent ideological paths, share similarities in their backgrounds, age and education.  It’s now available in paperback.  Then, starting his career at just eight years old, Ricky Nelson soon became America’s most famous little brother on the popular 1950s TV show The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet.  As a teenager, Nelson sang Billboard’s first number one single, “Poor Little Fool,” and went on to have a successful career as a musician.  Bob talks with music journalist Sheree Homer about her book Rick Nelson: Rock ‘n’ Rock Pioneer.


Thursday, January 10, 2013

More than seventy-five percent of Americans eat peanut butter (our own Chad Campbell not being among them until his mid-30s). Jon Krampner explains how and why it became everyone’s favorite sandwich spread in his new book Creamy & Crunchy: An Informal History of Peanut Butter, the All-American Food. Then, Bob talks with brothers Jonathan and Tad Richards about their new book titledNick & Jake.  In what’s billed as “an epistolary novel,” the two famous literary characters, Nick Carraway and Jake Barnes, refugees from Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby and Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises, strike up a correspondence and then friendship and romp through 1950s America with a bizarre cast of fictional and historical figures including Sartre and Joe McCarthy.  Jonathan Richardsreviews movies for the Santa Fe New Mexican and his political cartoons are seen regularly in the Huffington Post. He illustrated Alan Arkin’s children’s book Cosmo. Tad Richards is the author of seventeen novels and various works of nonfiction, poetry, plays, screenplays and songs, most recently “Banks of the Hudson” on an album by singer/Congressman John Hall.  Finally, Bob talks sports with veteran sports columnist John Feinstein.


Friday, January 11, 2013

Doyle McManus, Washington columnist for the Los Angeles Times, joins Bob to discuss the latest political news.  Then, on January 12th, 2010,  an earthquake ripped through Haiti’s capital city and killed an estimated 300,000 people, making the world wonder if a country could withstand any more deprivation, of both the natural and manmade kind. Journalist Amy Wilentz was there when Baby Doc fled, and she was there decades later, just after the earthquake hit.  In her new book Farewell Fred Voodoo: A Letter from Haiti, Wilentz guides readers though the country’s long and tortured history. She returned from a reporting trip in December, and discusses what day-to-day life is like in Haiti now, three years after the devestation.  Finally, the latest installment of our ongoing series This I Believe


Monday, January 14, 2013

Reporter Kim Barker has been covering dark money in politics for the investigative outlet ProPublicaand she discusses what she’s learned since November 6th about laws that were broken during the last election cycle.  Then, Bob and artist Lincoln Schatz talk about Schatz’s latest contribution to the Smithsonian Portrait Gallery.  It is a multimedia installation called The Network and it weaves together first person accounts from Washington power brokers, some famous and some not.


Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Journalist and historian Nick Turse spent 10 years researching Pentagon archives and interviewing Vietnam War veterans and survivors for his book Kill Anything That Moves: The Real American War in Vietnam. Then, roll out the welcome wagon for Steve Winick and Nancy Groce, they bring us audio selections from the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress. In this edition, they share songs about neighbors.


Wednesday, January 16, 2013

First-time novelist Jeff Backhaus talks to Bob about his book Hikikomori and the Rental Sister.  Then, award-winning English writer Edward St. Aubyn’s novel, At Last, is the final installment of his acclaimed Patrick Melrose series.  A master of dark comedy and difficult truths, St. Aubyn is one of contemporary literature’s finest novelists.  His book is now available in paperback.


Thursday, January 17, 2013

George Howe Colt explores the complexity of fraternity in his new book Brothers.  The book is part memoir – Colt grew up in a family of four brothers — and part history of iconic brothers—the Booths, the Van Goghs, the Kelloggs, the Marx Brothers, and the Thoreaus. Then, humans have a natural desire to live with others, not alone. But Eric Klinenberg argues that during the past half century, our species has undergone a remarkable social experiment. For the first time in all of human history, vast numbers of people are living alone. In 1950, only 22 percent of Americans were single. Today, more than 50 percent are and about 1 out of every 7 adults live alone.  Klinenberg explores what this means for our society in his book Going Solo, now available in paperback. 


Friday, January 18, 2013

Doyle McManus, Washington columnist for the Los Angeles Times, joins Bob to discuss the latest political news. Then, designer, painter, puppeteer, sculptor, and musician Wayne White started his career as a cartoonist in New York City and got his first big break on the TV show Pee-wee’s Playhouse, which earned him three Emmy Awards.   White is the subject of a new documentary titledBeauty is Embarrassing, airing January 21st on the PBS series Independent Lens.   Finally, the latest installment of our ongoing series This I Believe.  


Monday, January 21, 2013

In honor of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr’s birthday we bring back Bob’s conversation with Clarence Jones.  Jones served as Dr. King’s attorney and advisor for eight years and helped craft some of King’s most beloved speeches. Then, in 1944 when he was just fifteen years old, Martin Luther King, Jr wrote a speech called “The Negro and the Constitution.”  Its existence was known, but no one had compared that early piece of writing to the famous “I Have a Dream” speech until recently.  A freshman at Wake Forest University, William Murphy, discovered during his class assignment that that speech was likely the basis for King’s Dream speech delivered on August 28, 1963.  John Llewellyn is an Associate Professor of Communication at Wake Forest University who taught that freshman class.  He talks about the revelation and its significance to the Civil Rights Movement.


Tuesday, January 22, 2013

From 1942 until 1949, Oak Ridge, Tennessee did not exist on any map.  It was a secret city, built and operated by the United States Army as one of the sites of the Manhattan Project.  And although at its peak 75,000 people lived there, most had no idea what they were working on until the day the bomb was dropped.   There are still plenty of Manhattan Project alumni living in Oak Ridge, and Bob spoke with several of them during a visit. Colleen Black started working as a leak detector when she was just 18-years-old; Bill Wilcox, now the city’s historian, worked as chemist; and Richard Lord arrived 10 days after graduating with an electrical engineering degree.


Wednesday, January 23, 2013

The chief economist for Google says that the field of statistics is turning into a “sexy” discipline.  In his new book, Naked Statistics: Stripping the Dread from the Data, Dartmouth professor Charles Wheelen explains how and why that’s changing – and why we all should care about the amount of data growing every year.  Then, Ashok Rajamani talks to Bob about his memoir The Day My Brain Exploded: A True Story.


Thursday, January 24, 2013

Pulitzer-Prize winning author Jared Diamond talks to Bob about his 48 years in Papua New Guinea, his interest in tribal culture, and his latest book The World Until Yesterday: What Can We Learn From Traditional Societies?  Then, Bob talks sports with veteran sports columnist John Feinstein.


Friday, January 25, 2013

Doyle McManus, Washington columnist for the Los Angeles Times, joins Bob to discuss the latest political news. Then, travel writer Pico Iyer crosses the globe in this very personal exploration of his similarities and life-time connection with writer Graham Greene. Iyer’s book is titled The Man Within My Head and it’s now available in paperback.  Finally, the latest installment of our ongoing series This I Believe.


Monday, January 28, 2013

Bob goes behind the scenes of the New Orleans institution Preservation Hall with Ben Jaffe. The building has been around since the 1750s and five decades ago Jaffe’s parents turned what was an art gallery into the undisputed home and showcase of traditional New Orleans jazz.  Then, a talk with David Simon about his HBO series Treme, which is set in New Orleans in the first few years after Hurricane Katrina.  Finally, Bob visits with New Orleans musician Davis Rogan, the real life inspiration for the lead character in Treme. Rogan is known as “the real Davis” around town. 


Tuesday, January 29, 2013

We begin with Bob’s visit to the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival and his conversation with the iconic blues legend Dr. John.  Next, Bob takes the ferry across the river to Algiers to sit down with drummer Stanton Moore for a New Orleans music lesson.  Then, Bob sits down at a cafe on Frenchman Street with Troy Andrews, better known as Trombone Shorty.  Finally, Bob samples a New Orleans delicacy: a snoball from Hansen’s SnoBliz.  Ashley Hansen Springgateruns the business started by her grandparents in 1939.  In fact she still shaves the blocks of ice on the very same machine her grandfather invented and built.


Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Bob talks with NOLA’s own legendary pianist, composer, arranger, and producer Allen Toussaint.  Then we travel to the home of Irma Thomas, known as “The Soul Queen of New Orleans,” to learn all about her life and music. There were some struggles along the way but Thomas tells us about winning her first Grammy award in 2007 for her album After the Rain


Thursday, January 31, 2013

New Orleans is hosting its first Super Bowl in over a decade, followed closely by the city’s annual Mardi Gras celebration.  Bob talks with Mayor Mitch Landrieu about the challenging logistics surrounding those two events, plus the city’s burgeoning film industry, the always lively music scene, and the city’s continuing recovery from Hurricane Katrina.  Landrieu is halfway through his first term as the mayor of New Orleans and the son of former mayor Maurice “Moon” Landrieu.  Next, we’ll meet a Swedish import to New Orleans. Theresa Andersson grew up in Scandinavia but when she arrived in southern Louisiana in 1990 she felt at home.  Andersson has now spent most of her life in New Orleans and performs live as a one woman band, recording herself on many different instruments and building songs on stage.  She demonstrates that process for Bob.  Finally, pianist Jon Cleary invites us into his home studio for a master class in New Orleans music.  Cleary is another import: he still speaks with a British accent but when he sits in front of a piano all you can hear is New Orleans.