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Bob Elsewhere

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July 2012


Monday, July 2, 2012

When Barack Obama was campaigning for president, he pledged to close the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, and to follow the rule of law in fighting terror groups. Nearing the end of his first term, there are still prisoners at Gitmo, and covert drone air strikes, in which the U.S. military and the CIA act as judge, jury, and executioner, are at an all-time high. Daniel Klaidman, a reporter for Newsweek, examines Obama’s foreign policy decisions in the new book, Kill or Capture: The War on Terror and the Soul of the Obama Presidency.  


Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Director Benh Zeitlin’s film Beasts of the Southern Wild is a combination of tall tale, heartbreaking reality, and southern charm.  Winner of this year’s Grand Jury Prize at Sundance and three top awards at Cannes, the film features break-out performances from new-comers Quvenzhané Wallis and Dwight Henry.  Then, when John Philip Sousa shaved his beard it made national news. He was the best known musician in the world in 1900; in some cities, his name was more widely known than even the President’s.  John Philip Sousa IV joins Bob to share stories about his great-grandfather and discuss his legacy.  Sousa has recently co-authored the book, John Philip Sousa’s America: The Patriot’s Life in Images and Words.


Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Ronnie Dunn spent 20 years as “The Voice” behind the hit superstar country duo Brooks & Dunn. Now, A year after the two amicably split to pursue solo careers, Dunn is touring behind his solo album, Ronnie Dunn. He speaks with Bob about what’s driving him to start over as a “new artist” after being part of one of popular music’s most successful acts. Then, in a collection encompassing more than two hundred original essays and more than a thousand pages, Greil Marcus offers a kaleidoscopic view of what “Made in America” means in his book titled A New Literary History of America. It’s now out in paperback.


Thursday, July 5, 2012

Recently, President Obama issued an executive order that allows more than 800,000 young people to remain in the US legally without fear of deportation. In 2010, we produced a documentary titled Papers: Stories of Undocumented Youth. We shared the story of Isabel Castillo, a young woman who graduated high school with a 4.0 GPA. However, her prospects for a career in social work came to a near halt.  Like many others, Castillo didn’t have a social security number. At six years old, her parents crossed the US-Mexico border and brought her to Harrisonburg, Virginia. It’s estimated that 65,000 undocumented students graduate from high school each year.  The young adults without social security numbers aren’t able to work and most aren’t able to pursue college.  Also featured in the documentary was Anne Galinsky. She chronicled the lives of these young people and their struggle to get authorized to live in the country they call home.  Bob talked with Castillo, her friends, and teachers to discuss why they support the DREAM Act (the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors Act), which would help young students on a path to citizenship.


Friday, July 6, 2012

Doyle McManus, Washington columnist for the Los Angeles Times, joins Bob to discuss the latest political news. Next, Financial journalist and bestselling fiction writer John Lanchester’s (A Debt to Pleasure, 2001) most recent novel, Capital, blends his understanding of world economics with his talent for telling a story. Capital weaves together a number of seemingly unrelated narratives, set during the 2008 financial collapse.  Then, in this week’s installment of our ongoing series This I Believe, we hear the essay of Lisa Sandin.  Society’s standard of beauty is difficult for all but a few of us to achieve.  Sandin knows she is not one of those precious few.  But instead of allowing herself to be defined by a birth defect, Sandin believes her brain and soul as well as her words and actions determine the person she truly is.


Monday, July 9, 2012

Bill Nye is one of the best known public advocates for science education. A one-time engineer at Boeing and amateur standup comic, Nye inspired a generation of children with his PBS program Bill Nye the Science Guy.Today he hosts The 100 Greatest Discoveries on the Science Channel and The Eyes of Nye on PBS. Bill Nye joins Bob to discuss the importance of science in society, new frontiers of research and the scourge of teachers everywhere, summer ‘brain drain.’  Then, working in the tradition of Graham Greene and John le Carre, writer Alan Furst is the best-selling author of historical espionage thrillers.  His most recent book, Mission to Paris, follows a Hollywood actor-turned-secret-agent as he navigates the political intrigue of Paris in 1938.   


Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Filmmaker Mark Wexler explores how Americans are living longer than ever before in history in his documentary How to Live Forever, which is now available on DVD.  Then, last month, Mary Chapin Carpenter released her 12th studio album, Ashes & Roses. The acclaimed country-folk singer-songwriter has sold over 13 million records and won five Grammy Awards for hits like “Passionate Kisses” and “He Thinks He’ll Keep Her,” is touring with longtime friend Shawn Colvin this summer.


Wednesday, July 11, 2012

After Congressman Paul Ryan said that his Catholic faith helped shape the Republican budget plan, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops responded by calling it an immoral document.  And now Ryan has another group of Catholics questioning his theology:  Nuns.  For two weeks, a group of nuns traveled by bus through nine states to protest the Republican budget, which includes major cuts to safety-net programs like Medicaid and food stamps.  Along the way, the “Nuns on the Bus” have visited homeless shelters, food pantries and hospitals to bring attention to the services they say will be “decimated” by the Ryan plan.  The Vatican recently got involved and criticized the group for focusing too much on poverty and keeping “silent’ on issues like abortion and same-sex marriage. Sister Simone Campbell is the executive director of Washington, D.C.-based social justice lobby Network, which organized the bus tour.  Then, Brandon Jones is the author of All Woman and Springtime, a novel that Pulitzer-prize winning author Alice Walker calls an “absorbing, chilling, and important” novel. A story of girlhood and human sex trafficking, Bob talks to Jones about the intersections of his research and creative writing.


Thursday, July 12, 2012

Jeff Bell is the founder of “Adversity to Advocacy Alliance,” an organization that helps people create positive changes through the power of storytelling.  Cory Reich was diagnosed with ALS in 2007 and founded “Cory’s Crusade” to give voice to others with ALS.  After Mary Nicholson suffered a stroke in 2003 and her family was told she would remain in a vegetative state, she recovered and is the founder of Healings in Motion.  Robert Villanueva suffered from bipolar disease and is a national speaker and trainer for The National Alliance on Mental Illness.  Dacher Keltner, professor of psychology at University of California, Berkeley and Director for Greater Good Science Center, will explain the research that shows how helping others helps oneself.  Then, writer Ben Mezrich tells the bizarre but true story of Thad Roberts, who as only a man crazy and crazy in love would do, decided to steal the moon for his girlfriend.  NASA fellows Roberts and his girlfriend attempted to steal moon rocks locked away in one of the most impenetrable laboratories on earth.  Mezrich, author of The Accidental Billionaires (from which The Social Network was adapted), tells this true crime story in his book Sex on the Moon, now out in paperback.


Friday, July 13, 2012

Doyle McManus, Washington columnist for the Los Angeles Times, joins Bob to discuss the latest political news. Next, Jeff Himmelman has gotten a lot of flak recently for his authorized biography about Washington Postlegend Ben Bradlee, Yours in Truth.  Since the release of the book, Bob Woodward – Himmelman’s former boss and co-author — has made the accusation that the young writer “betrayed” his former mentor to write a cheap “tell-all.” Himmelman joins Bob to talk about the dangers in writing about people who are still alive.  Then, in this week’s installment of our ongoing seriesThis I Believe, we hear the essay of Tina Boscha.  Stepmothers get a bad press.  From the ancient Greeks to Cinderella to countless movies, a sour expression and a bad attitude have been the hallmarks of Dad’s new wife.  Boscha is doing her best to change that stereotype.  She loves her stepkids and experiences all the joys and frustrations of being a parent.


Monday, July 16, 2012

Chip Taylor’s songs have been recorded by Johnny Cash, Peggy Lee, Dusty Springfield, Aretha Franklin and Frank Sinatra. But over the past year, Taylor has released not one, but three of his own studio albums, including one recorded with his three granddaughters. The newest, F**k All The Perfect People, was recorded in Norway and includes the track, “This Darkest Day,” a tribute to the victims of last year’s attacks in Oslo. Then, author Nell Freudenberger’s third novel, The Newlyweds, is a story of betrayal, love, marriage, and secrets. From the backyards of America to the back alleys of Bangladesh, two lovers are brought together by an arranged marriage and the internet. Freudenberger talks to Bob about her latest book and what it’s like to win literary awards from PEN and the American Academy of Arts and Letters.


Tuesday, July 17, 2012

National Book Award finalist and Edgar Award winner Jess Walter’s new novel, Beautiful Ruins, examines our contemporary obsession with celebrity.  This epic tale spans 50 years, beginning in Italy with a young American actress in the legendary Elizabeth Taylor/Richard Burton behemoth Cleopatra.  Then, in 1957, 19 year old Janet Groth wanted to be a writer.  Fresh from her Midwestern college, Groth interviewed at The New Yorker for a job, ending up as a receptionist, the position she held for the next 21 years.  Her memoir, The Receptionist: An Education at The New Yorker, is an insider’s look in America’s most prestigious magazine.


Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Yellowstone National Park turns 140 years old this year, and thousands of people will visit over the summer.  But what those tourists may not realize is that America’s first national park has a very dark past. George Black tells the story in his new book Empire of Shadows. Then, 22-year-old New Zealand singer-songwriter Kimbra is featured on a number of songs, including Gotye’s hit “Somebody That I Used To Know.”  Her first studio album, Vows, was released in May and continues to gain critical acclaim. Kimbra talks to Bob about her music and her career so far.


Thursday, July 19, 2012

Electronic technology is becoming ever-more commonplace in modern society, and authors Parag & Ayesha Khanna have written a book which attempts to predict and explain some of the coming changes. Their book is titled Hybrid Reality: Thriving in the Emerging Human-Technology Civilization. Then, Bob talks sports with John Feinstein, Washington Post columnist and co-host of SiriusXM’s “Beyond the Brink” (Mad Dog Radio, channel 86).


Friday, July 20, 2012

Doyle McManus, Washington columnist for the Los Angeles Times, joins Bob to discuss the latest political news. Next, Bob talks with Charlie Schroeder, who spent two years reenacting his way through 2,000 years of Western civilization.  He wrote a book about the experience called Man of War.  Then, in this week’s installment of our ongoing series This I Believe, we hear the essay of Susan Chang.  The digital revolution has fully transformed life in America.  Our eyes and ears feast on delights from “the cloud” and just about any piece of information you’d ever want to know is a Google search away.  Chang was an early adopter of digital devices, and rode the bandwagon for more than two decades.  But now, she has chosen an analog life, progressing at a slower pace, and making time for reflection and enjoyment – not just entertainment.


Monday, July 23, 2012

Many of us stop believing in magic around the same time the Tooth Fairy pulls her last bait-and-switch.  But author, physicist, and magic-aficionado Alex Stone believes that adults should rethink this disbelief, using the power of … physics. Stone has written for Harper’s, Discover, Science, and The Wall Street Journal. He talks with Bob about magic, the mind, and his book Fooling Houdini: Magicians, Mentalists, Math Geeks & the Hidden Powers of the Mind.


Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Lauren Greenfield set out to make a documentary about David and Jackie Siegel, billionaires who were building the biggest house in America: 90,000 square feet, 10 kitchens, 17 bathrooms, a bowling alley, and an ice skating rink.  But the story turned into an allegory about the American Dream after the economic crisis hit and the Siegel’s time share empire - created by taking advantage of people’s real estate dreams – crumbled. The Queen of Versailles is now out in limited release.  Greenfield won the U.S. Directing Award for Documentary Film at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival.  Next, one isn’t the loneliest number for author and professor Michael Cobb.  Single: Arguments for the Uncoupled is Cobb’s treatise on single life that argues against the negative perception of single life in history and popular culture. He shares insights from his book and lifestyle with Bob.  Finally, we end today’s show with the musings and observations of children’s book writer Daniel Pinkwater


Wednesday, July 25, 2012

We remember Sally Ride, the first American woman in space. Ride inspired a generation of young girls to cultivate and maintain their interest in science.  In 2001, the astronaut founded Sally Ride Science, a company that creates entertaining programs and books for kids, with a particular focus on girls.  Ride’s books Mission: Planet Earth and Mission: Save the Planet, teach kids about global warming and how to become responsible energy consumers.  Sally Ride died Monday at the age of 61.  Then, we bring back Bob’s 2008 visit to the Kennedy Space Center where he witnessed the November 14th launch of the Space Shuttle Endeavour and learned about the past, present and future of NASA.  Bob also speaks with public radio reporter Pat Duggins about his book Final Countdown which chronicles the history of the Space Shuttle program.


Thursday, July 26, 2012

In his new book Freedom’s Forge, Pulitzer Prize Finalist Arthur Herman tells a little-known story from World War II: how two American businessmen—the President of General Motors William Knudsen and construction giant Henry Kaiser—oversaw an output of war materials (weapons, tanks, planes, guns, and ammunition) that almost defies imagination. Herman calls it the greatest industrial miracle in history, and makes the case that these men changed the face of not only American business and industry but of American society. Then, Bob talks sports with John Feinstein, Washington Post columnist and co-host of SiriusXM’s “Beyond the Brink” (Mad Dog Radio, channel 86).


Friday, July 27, 2012

Doyle McManus, Washington columnist for the Los Angeles Times, joins Bob to discuss the latest political news. Next, Harvey Weinstein is the co-founder of Miramax Films and co-chairman of The Weinstein Company.  He joins Bob to discuss The Intouchables, other upcoming films – including Paul Thomas Anderson’s The Master, Quentin Tarantino’s Django Unchained, and John Hillcoat’s Lawless – and the family business. Then, in this week’s installment of our ongoing series This I Believe, we hear the essay of John Warner.  Science has created many wonderful things for us.  Plastics, medicine, and many synthesized chemicals have made modern life possible.  But sometimes, our bodies react to these newly created chemicals in tragic ways.  Warner is a chemist, and the death of his son from a birth defect left him asking for the first time, why do we need so many new chemical compounds?  Warner says chemists need to take a look at their relationship with the community they serve, focusing on the cumulative effects of the compounds they release into the environment.


Monday, July 30, 2012

Today The Bob Edwards Show presents the premier feature in a series titled “An ‘Occupational Hazard’: Rape in the Military.”  One in three of active-duty women serving the U.S. military have reported being the victim of sexual assault while serving, which is double the rate for civilians.  Based on estimates from the Department of Defense, 19,000 servicemen and women were sexually assaulted in 2010 and most of those violent acts don’t get reported because in the military, victims are required to report to their chain of command.  As such, only eight-percent are brought to justice, either through prosecution or some form of military nonjudicial punishment.  Defending themselves in civilian court in 2011, the Pentagon argued that sexual assault is an “occupational hazard” in the military.  Throughout today’s program we will hear from servicemen and women about their Military Sexual Trauma, advocates who help treat and raise awareness about the problem, and lawmakers about what is and isn’t being done to change the culture that protects these sexual perpetrators.


Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Today we continue the series, “An ‘Occupational Hazard’: Rape in the Military.”  The culture that seemingly tolerates sexual assault begins early in the military careers of patriotic young men and women.  In the latest assessment, there were 65 sexual assaults reported at the military academies, only one went to court martial, and the number of reported sexual assaults doubled at the U.S. Naval Academy.  Annie Kendzior was a star student and athlete recruited to the academy in her junior year of high school.  Annie and her father Russ Kendzior describe how she was assaulted twice in her first semester, then after reporting those attacks her junior year, the Naval Academy had her dismissed claiming she had a personality disorder.   Next, Tina Reed is former Naval Academy reporter for the Capital Gazette and she discusses what she has learned through FOIA requests. Lastly, Shelley Tillman was a sergeant in the Army and she describes the degrading environment she endured as a woman in boot camp. Then, you don’t get more genre-crossing than classically-trained cellists playing hip hop and heavy metal hits, but that’s exactly what The Portland Cello Project (PCP) does.  Currently on tour for their new release, Homage, four members of the group join Bob in Sirius XM’s performance studio to talk about and perform some of their inspired arrangements.