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June 2012


Friday, June 1, 2012

Doyle McManus, Washington columnist for the Los Angeles Times, joins Bob to discuss the latest political news.  Next, we pay tribute to bluegrass legend Doc Watson who Bob spoke with in 2004.  The multiple Grammy winner was known for his flat-picking guitar style which influenced countless musicians and impressed countless fans.  Watson died on Tuesday at the age of 89. Then, in this week’s installment of our ongoing series This I Believe, we hear the essay of John Dyben.  Parents have a strong impulse to protect their children from harm, and to soothe their fears and worries.  But the world can be a scary place, and a little reality must sometimes creep past the sugar coating.  Dyben is a therapist, educator, and pastor.  His daughter’s bedtime fears about bogeymen encouraged him to think more deeply about the reassurances he offered her.  And eventually, he found himself admitting that though his love for her is strong, his protection of her is not absolute.


Monday, June 4, 2012

The diminishing clout of unions has resulted in an erosion of the middle class and has increased economic disparity between the rich and the poor.   Richard Kahlenberg, a senior fellow at The Century Foundation and labor lawyer Moshe Marvitt want to amend the Civil Rights Act to protect labor organizers.  Their book is titled Why Labor Organizing Should Be a Civil Right.  Then, in 2002, Norah Jones burst onto the music scene with the smash album Come Away With Me. Since then, Jones has used her honest & evocative voice to build a successful career including four studio albums and collaborations with the likes of Ray Charles, Herbie Hancock and Dolly Parton. Her fifth offering, titled Little Broken Hearts, is produced by Brian Burton, also known as Danger Mouse.


Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Love, Life and Elephants: An African Love Story chronicles Dame Daphne Sheldrick’s more than 50 years working to rehabilitate orphaned animals of East Africa whose parents were killed by poachers. Sheldrick is considered the authority on rearing wild animals and she is the first person to perfect a milk formula that has saved many milk-dependent elephants and rhinos. She began and still runs an orphanage near Nairobi whose inhabitants are all elephants. Dame Sheldrick’s life will soon be the subject of a major motion picture starring Nicole Kidman.  Then, we talk about breasts.  They’re the subject of reality TV shows, paparazzi shots, and halftime wardrobe malfunctions. They’re also the subject of Florence Williams’ informative first book Breasts: A Natural And Unnatural History.


Wednesday, June 6, 2012

His father bought him his first guitar, a “worn-in instrument with two strings,” for $4.35.  Since then, Buddy Guy says life “ain’t never been the same.”  Bob talks to Guy about his music and journey from Lettsworth, Louisiana.  His new book is When I Left Home: My Story


Thursday, June 7, 2012

Bob talks with banjo player Bela Fleck and the Original Flecktones, who have reunited for their latest CD called Rocket Science. Howard Levy is back on piano and harmonica, joining bandleader Fleck, bassist Victor Wooten and Futureman on percussion.  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, June 8, 2012

Doyle McManus, Washington columnist for the Los Angeles Times, joins Bob to discuss the latest political news.  Next, Echo is the sultry debut album of Carrie Manolakos. The songstress gained immediate attention when she released a cover of Radiohead’s “Creep” on YouTube.  Since, Manolakos has been distinguished by the likes of The New Yorker and other publications for her talent.  Bob talks to Carrie about her album, her career in performance theatre, and what we can expect from the burgeoning icon.  Then, in this week’s installment of our ongoing series This I Believe, we hear the essay of Andrew Riutta.  Raised to be tough, Riutta’s ancestors were farmers, miners and lumberjacks, and he followed them into the hard-day’s-work force.  Riutta believed he could muscle his way out of any problem and around any obstacle, until he learned he would be a father.  Riutta says fatherhood is the hardest job he’s had, and that it has softened his disposition and rounded his rough edges.


Monday, June 11, 2012

Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz worked in the Clinton administration as the chair of the President’s Council of Economic Advisors, then at the World Bank as Senior Vice President and Chief Economist. Now, he’s a professor at Columbia University. Professor Stiglitz’s newest book is The Price of Inequality: How Today’s Divided Society Endangers Our Future. He and Bob talk about how most Americans are worse off now than they were a decade ago and why Stiglitz thinks that endangers our democracy.


Tuesday, June 12, 2012

The author of almost 100 books, writer, children’s book author and illustrator, and public radio regular, Daniel Pinkwater is one of America’s most important voices in young people’s literature. His most recent book is Mrs. Noodlekugel. Then, Bob talks to Dale Cockrell and Matt Combs about Pa’s Fiddle, a CD series and live musical events that bring to life the songs found in Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Little House On the Prairie series. Charles “Pa” Ingalls was an avid fiddler, and the Little House books contain 127 old-time songs embedded in the narratives. Cockrell is the director of Middle Tennessee State University’s Center for Popular Music. Combs is director of the fiddle program at Vanderbilt’s Blair School of Music and is one of the primary fiddlers on the project.


Wednesday, June 13, 2012

40 years ago Finland implemented its economic recovery plan. Education was its central focus. Since 2000, Finland’s educational system remains among the top three on the globe; its students lead the world in reading, math and science. Bob talks to Pasi Sahlberg, Director General of Finland’s Ministry of Education, about his book Finnish Lessons: What Can the World Learn from Educational Change in Finland? Then, in 1912, Clarence Birdseye was working as a fur trapper in Canada and tired of the heavily salted foods that he ate during the long winter. On returning to America, Birdseye developed the patented Birdseye freezing process and started the company that still bears his name. Best-selling writer Mark Kurlansky tells his story in Birdseye: The Adventures of a Curious Man.


Thursday, June 14, 2012

Every momentous turn in human history is tied to a place — Italy during the Renaissance, France during the Enlightenment and England during the Industrial Revolution. David Talbot is the founder and CEO of the online magazine Salon, and he tells the story of San Francisco during the cultural revolution of the 1960s and 70s in the new book, Season of the Witch. Talbot’s narrative encompasses everyone from Harvey Milk to Jerry Garcia, Charles Manson to Jim Jones, and the events and movements they came to represent – all building blocks in what has come to be known as “San Francisco values.”


Friday, June 15, 2012

Doyle McManus, Washington columnist for the Los Angeles Times, joins Bob to discuss the latest political news. Next, looking back at last year’s Libyan civil war, award-winning journalist Lindsey Hilsum’s new book Sandstorm: Libya in the Time of Revolution gives readers a ground-floor view of the tumultuous Arab Spring. Hilsum is the international editor for Britain’s Channel 4 News. Then, in this week’s installment of our ongoing series This I Believe, we hear the essay of Mary Curran Hacket. When Curran Hacket was a child, her father’s never-give-up lectures were heard often by his eight children. She never did anything to challenge his fortitude until she became pregnant in her early twenties out of wedlock. Curran Hacket says her father didn’t lecture her – but he didn’t give up on her. And that inspired her not to give up on her own child.


Monday, June 18, 2012

Derek Jacobi is one of Britain’s most celebrated and respected actors. He first left his mark on the stage after being invited by Laurence Olivier to become a founding member of the Royal National Theater. Jacobi has played most of Shakespeare’s major roles, but it was his performance as a stammering Roman emperor in the epic BBC series I, Claudius that brought him international attention. Acorn Media has just released a 35th anniversary edition of I, Claudius on DVD. And last year the company released Discovering Hamlet, a 1990 documentary about Jacobi’s directorial debut with Kenneth Branaugh as Hamlet.


Tuesday, June 19, 2012

In 1876, an amateur birder named Genevieve Jones resolved to illustrate a book of nests and eggs inspired by the work of naturalist John James Audubon.   Tragically, Jones died before she completed her project, and her family finished the book in her memory.  The completed version – with only 90 published – became one of the most prized naturalist books of the 19th century.  Now, America’s Other Audubon, a full reprinting of Jones’ remarkable work, is available.  Bob talks with scholar Joy Kiser about her work on this project. Then, income disparities in the United States are now more vast than at any point since the Great Depression. The average CEO makes over $11 million dollars a year while the median household income for African Americans is just over $32,000 a year. Peter Edelman explains why it’s so hard to end poverty in America in his new book, So Rich, So Poor.


Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Paul Theroux spent four years after college in Malawi as a Peace Corps volunteer. Now, the prolific author of nearly 30 fiction novels and 15 travel books returns there in the tale of a retiree who returns to the Malawi village where he spent his own best years … only to find himself trapped by the people he came to help. Then, book critic and writer Laura Miller share what’s on her reading list this summer.


Thursday, June 21, 2012

Bob talks with Grammy-winning musician Rodney Crowell and best-selling author Mary Karr about their new musical collaboration. The two artists grew up a few years and a few dozen miles apart in east Texas, but when Crowell and Karr met in person a decade ago, they learned that their childhoods were very similar. Their CD is called Kin which explains how they feel about each other and signals that these songs are about “their people.” Bob also talks with Crowell about his memoir – Chinaberry Sidewalks – which is now available in paperback.


Friday, June 22, 2012

Doyle McManus, Washington columnist for the Los Angeles Times, joins Bob to discuss the latest political news. Next, Bob visits with the North Carolina ensemble Carolina Chocolate Drops. The band followed-up their 2010 Grammy-winning album Genuine Negro Jig with their latest CD titled Leaving Eden.  The group debuts original compositions along with traditional songs from America’s past.  Then, in this week’s installment of our ongoing series This I Believe, we hear the essay of Jeffrey Hollender.  Like many of us, Hollender lived his life on autopilot.  Instead of enjoying the present, he was always considering the past or the future.  Then, Hollender’s brother died.  That emotional shock persuaded Hollender to begin living his life more fully by living in the here-and-now.


Monday, June 25, 2012

Nashville singer-songwriter Kate Campbell took piano lessons as a child and switched to the guitar as a teenager. Since then, over the course of thirteen albums, she has written, recorded and performed almost exclusively on the acoustic guitar. On 1000 Pound Machine, Campbell returns to the instrument of her childhood and enlists Will Kimbrough to produce the eleven-song disc. Campbell joins Bob in our performance studio to talk about her new album and play a few of her songs. 


Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Assignment To Hell: The War Against Nazi Germany with Correspondents Walter Cronkite, Andy Rooney, A.J. Liebling, Homer Bigart, and Hal Boyle chronicles the stories of those five newspapermen who risked their lives on the frontlines to bring Americans the headlines. Bob speaks with the book’s author, Timothy Gay.  Then, on June 5th, Venus passed directly between the sun and the earth.  243 years ago, this same astronomical event changed the history of navigation techniques.  Science writer Mark Anderson charts this remarkable story in his new book The Day the World Discovered the Sun: An Extraordinary Story of Scientific Adventure and the Race to Track the Transit of Venus


Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Rajiv Chandrasekaran is senior correspondent and associate editor of The Washington Post.  He describes to Bob how President Obama’s 2009 surge in Afghanistan was bungled by Afghans, Pakistanis, military leaders, diplomats, and top national security aides.  Chandrasekaran will also discuss how the war against Al Qaeda has been affected elsewhere.  His newest book is Little America: The War Within the War for Afghanistan.


Thursday, June 28, 2012

In a special report, the online journalism outlet GlobalPost compares the battle against HIV/AIDS in two places – Washington DC and southern Africa.  Although the rate of HIV infection is effectively being lowered in many African countries, the same is not true in our capital city where rates still are persistently high.  Their series, “AIDS: A Turning Point,” is now online and will continue through July, when Washington, DC hosts the upcoming International AIDS Conference.  Bob talks with GlobalPost correspondent John Donnelly about the website’s series.  Next, Bob talks to editors Sarah Moon and James Lecesne who have compiled an anthology of letters written by 64 award-winning lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered authors. Each wrote a letter to his or her younger self offering advice, insight, and wisdom.  The book is called The Letter Q: Queer Writers’ Notes to Their Younger Selves. 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, June 29, 2012

Doyle McManus, Washington columnist for the Los Angeles Times, joins Bob to discuss the latest political news. Next, we remember director, playwright, author and screenwriter Nora Ephron. She died on Tuesday at the age of 71. Ephron wrote the scripts for movies such as When Harry Met Sally, You’ve Got Mail and Sleepless in Seattle. Bob talked with Ephron in 2006 about her best-selling book of essays titled I Feel Bad About My Neck: And Other Thoughts on Being a Woman.  Then, in this week’s installment of our ongoing series This I Believe, we hear the essay of Juliet Frerking.  Children are told they can be anything when they grow up, and many take that to mean that they can be anything extraordinary.  The “Guinness Book of World Records” fascinated Frerking when she was a child.  But beyond the unusual accomplishments it listed, the book inspired Frerking to attempt the extraordinary in her own life – things she otherwise might have thought impossible.