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May 2009

 

Friday, May 1, 2009

David Broder of The Washington Post joins Bob to talk about the latest news from the capital and beyond. Next, Bob talks sports with our sports guy, Dave Zirin. Then, today, we begin broadcasting classic audio essays from Edward R. Murrow’s 1950s This I Believe series on The Bob Edwards Show. Each week, Bob will talk with This I Believe executive producer Dan Gediman about a featured essayist and play the essay as originally broadcast more than 50 years ago. In addition to Edward R. Murrow’s personal essay, you’ll hear in weeks to come essays by baseball legend Jackie Robinson; Marty Mann, the first woman in AA; writer and activist Helen Keller; and Walter White, the long-time executive secretary of the NAACP.

 

Monday, May 4, 2009

Jonah Lehrer is the editor of Seed magazine and the author of Proust Was a Neuroscientist. His newest book examines how the human brain makes decisions. All decisions are made in the context of the real-world. Lehrer uses examples from professional “deciders” — quarterbacks, poker players, serial killers and pilots —- to help explain what’s happening in the brain when it’s trying to make up its mind. The book is called How We Decide.

 

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

In 2007, Russian President Vladimir Putin posthumously named American-born George Koval a Hero of the Russian Federation, the highest honorary title awarded to a Russian citizen. Putin revealed that Koval, who worked at the U.S. military research center in Oak Ridge Tennessee, passed along nuclear secrets to the Soviet Union. Journalist Michael Walsh writes about George Koval for Smithsonian Magazine’s May edition in “Iowa-Born, Soviet-Trained.” Then, Sally Ride was not the first woman in space, two Soviets beat her. But as the firstAmerican woman in space, Ride inspired a generation of young girls to get interested in science. In 2001, the astronaut founded Sally Ride Science, a company that creates entertaining science programs and books for kids, with a particular focus on girls. Ride’s latest books - Mission: Planet Earth and Mission: Save the Planet - teach kids about global warming and how to become responsible energy consumers.

 

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

First, Frances Perkins was FDR’s Secretary of Labor and his moral conscience. The very first woman to hold a cabinet level position, it was Perkins who created and guided many of the New Deal programs. Perkins’ ideas became some of the country’s most important laws. Journalist Kirstin Downey has written the very first biography about Perkins. It’s titled The Woman Behind the New Deal. Then, writer Arthur Phillips uses our modern culture’s preoccupation with iPods, cell phones, and the internet to question whether we are actually closer as a society or further apart in his new novel The Song Is You. Phillips is also the author of AngelicaThe Egyptologist and Prague. Finally, we’ll discuss the world of entertainment with regular contributor David Kipen.

 

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Bernd Heinrich is one of those biologists who leaves his lab, goes out to the woods and starts taking notes. He has written captivating, highly-readable books about bumblebees, ravens, insect thermoregulation, and even whole seasons. Summer World: A Season of Bounty is the follow up to his earlier best-seller Winter World. Then, Phoebe Snetsinger was one of the most famous bird watchers of the 20th century. When she died in 1999, Snetsinger’s “life list” - a tally of each kind of bird she’d seen – included 8,398 species of the 9,700 thought to exist at the time. No other birder in the world had ever topped 8,000. Olivia Gentile writes about Snetsinger’s life in a new book called Life List: A Woman’s Quest for the World’s Most Amazing Birds.

 

Friday, May 8, 2009

Bob visits a new exhibit at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History: “I Do Solemnly Swear: Photographs of the 2009 Presidential Inauguration.” Photojournalists Karen Ballard and Robert McNeelydiscuss the images and the significance of documenting American history through photographs. Then, Bob talks with Washington Post political writer David Broder. Finally, This I Believe executive director Dan Gedimantalks with Bob about the essay from Edward R. Murrow, who hosted the original series from 1951 to 1955. The newsman gained acclaim for his CBS Radio broadcasts during World War II. Later, his television series tackled subjects ranging from Joseph McCarthy to farm worker rights. In his essay, Murrow describes the fear and uncertainty Americans felt in the early 1950s. (And he admits that his own personal beliefs are not certain, saying, “It would be easier to enumerate the items I do not believe in, than the other way around.”)

 

 

Monday, May 11, 2009

Bob talks with political commentatorJames Carvilleabout the future of the Democratic party. His new book is called40 More Years: How Democrats Will Rule the Next Generation.Then, actor and directorKenneth Branaghstars as the scruffy Swedish detective Kurt Wallander in the new Masterpiece Mystery! miniseries based on the bestselling novels by Henning Mankell.Wallanderwon the BAFTA (the British equivalent of the Emmy) for Best Television Drama Series and airs Sundays on PBS from May 10thto May 31st.

 

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Bernard Madoff’s Ponzi scheme was “a deception that lasted longer, reached wider, and cut deeper than any other business scandal in history.” Bob discusses it withMartin Smith, correspondent with the PBS current events series Frontline. Frontline’s investigation into the scandal is called “The Madoff Affair” and it airs today at 9 PM Eastern (check local listings). Then, one simple question sent journalist and running enthusiastChristopher McDougallacross the globe: Why does my foot hurt? In his quest, McDougall ran endurance races across America, visited science labs at Harvard, and spent time with a tribe in Mexico’s Copper Canyons, whose speed and health could match any Olympic marathoner. McDougall’s book is titledBorn to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen.

 

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

E. Ethelbert Milleris a poet and a champion of his fellow poets—though “literary activist” is the term he uses to describe himself. He’s also a baseball fan, and nearing 60 years of age, figures he’s inThe Fifth Inningof his life. That’s the title of his second memoir in which he uses baseball as a metaphor for measuring his life.Then,Jorma Kaukonenis one of the most accomplished guitar players in America. His intricate fingerstyle melodies are well known to fans that have followed his career from The Jefferson Airplane to Hot Tuna to solo work. Kaukonen joins Bob in our performance studio to play a few tunes and to talk about his latest CD,River of Time.

 

Thursday, May 14, 2009

BioethicistPeter Singeroffers this thought experiment. Is keeping more money than we actually need to survive — as opposed to giving it away to help people dying from malnutrition and easily treated diseases — the same as committing murder? Singer makes the case in his new bookThe Life You Can Save: Acting Now to End World Poverty. Then, Bob talks sports with our sports guy,Dave Zirin.

 

Friday, May 15, 2009

David BroderofThe Washington Postjoins Bob to talk about the latest news from the capital and beyond. Next, after years of interviewing nursing home residents, psychologist and journalistIra Rosofskytakes a hard look at growing old in America. Rosofsky’s book is titledNasty Brutish and Long: Adventures in Old Age and the World of Eldercare. Then, the installment of our ongoing seriesThis I Believe.Bob talks with executive directorDan Gedimanabout the essay from Marty Mann. Born into a wealthy Chicago family, Mann worked as a magazine editor, art critic and photographer. She was the first woman to join Alcoholics Anonymous and she also created the National Committee on Alcoholism.

 

Monday, May 11, 2009

Bob talks with political commentatorJames Carvilleabout the future of the Democratic party. His new book is called40 More Years: How Democrats Will Rule the Next Generation.Then, actor and directorKenneth Branaghstars as the scruffy Swedish detective Kurt Wallander in the new Masterpiece Mystery! miniseries based on the bestselling novels by Henning Mankell.Wallanderwon the BAFTA (the British equivalent of the Emmy) for Best Television Drama Series and airs Sundays on PBS from May 10thto May 31st.

 

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Bernard Madoff’s Ponzi scheme was “a deception that lasted longer, reached wider, and cut deeper than any other business scandal in history.” Bob discusses it withMartin Smith, correspondent with the PBS current events series Frontline. Frontline’s investigation into the scandal is called “The Madoff Affair” and it airs today at 9 PM Eastern (check local listings). Then, one simple question sent journalist and running enthusiastChristopher McDougallacross the globe: Why does my foot hurt? In his quest, McDougall ran endurance races across America, visited science labs at Harvard, and spent time with a tribe in Mexico’s Copper Canyons, whose speed and health could match any Olympic marathoner. McDougall’s book is titledBorn to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen.

 

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

E. Ethelbert Miller is a poet and a champion of his fellow poets—though “literary activist” is the term he uses to describe himself. He’s also a baseball fan, and nearing 60 years of age, figures he’s inThe Fifth Inningof his life. That’s the title of his second memoir in which he uses baseball as a metaphor for measuring his life.Then,Jorma Kaukonen is one of the most accomplished guitar players in America. His intricate fingerstyle melodies are well known to fans that have followed his career from The Jefferson Airplane to Hot Tuna to solo work. Kaukonen joins Bob in our performance studio to play a few tunes and to talk about his latest CD,River of Time.

 

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Bioethicist Peter Singer offers this thought experiment. Is keeping more money than we actually need to survive — as opposed to giving it away to help people dying from malnutrition and easily treated diseases — the same as committing murder? Singer makes the case in his new bookThe Life You Can Save: Acting Now to End World Poverty. Then, Bob talks sports with our sports guy,Dave Zirin.

 

Friday, May 15, 2009

David Broder of The Washington Post joins Bob to talk about the latest news from the capital and beyond. Next, after years of interviewing nursing home residents, psychologist and journalist Ira Rosofsky takes a hard look at growing old in America. Rosofsky’s book is titledNasty Brutish and Long: Adventures in Old Age and the World of Eldercare. Then, the installment of our ongoing series This I Believe. Bob talks with executive director Dan Gediman about the essay from Marty Mann. Born into a wealthy Chicago family, Mann worked as a magazine editor, art critic and photographer. She was the first woman to join Alcoholics Anonymous and she also created the National Committee on Alcoholism.

 

Monday, May 18, 2009

A new book is being touted as the butterfly equivalent of The Orchid Thief, the wildly popular behind the scenes look at rare flower collectors. Author Peter Laufer tells Bob all about his new book The Dangerous World of Butterflies: The Startling Subculture of Criminals, Collectors, and Conservationists. It touches on the relationships between butterflies and organized crime, ecological devastation, species depletion, the integrity of natural history museums and the art world. Then, before he picked up the guitar, Andy Friedman had the same job as Truman Capote: working in the mailroom at The New Yorker magazine. Eventually, Friedman started selling his drawings to the magazine. And now his former employer is reviewing his music, labeling it art-country and proclaiming that Friedman belts out “country songs about love, highways, booze, and art with a growl that’s unexpectedly tender.” Friedman plays some songs for Bob off his new album, Weary Things.

 

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Deepa Narayan is Senior Advisor in the Poverty Reduction and Economic Management Network of the World Bank. She’s conducted many studies in many countries to explore how people move out of poverty permanently, from the perspectives of men and women who have experienced it first-hand. She’s learned that poor people do not fit the stereotypes often linked to poverty: that they are drug users, alcoholics, unmotivated, and unable to repay debt. Rather, it’s often the opposite. Narayan’s latest study is published in the book, Moving out of Poverty: Success from the Bottom Up. Then, Mike Luckovich has won two Pulitzer Prizes for his editorial cartoons. He calls the Pulitzer “the ultimate coloring contest.” Luckovich is the staff editorial cartoonist for theAtlanta Journal-Constitution but his work is also syndicated to hundred of papers nationwide and regularly appears in Time, Newsweek, The Washington Post, and The New York Times.

 

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

The McCallen Building was the first LEED certified structure built in Boston. To environmentalists, the green building methods are forward-thinking and socially responsible but the construction workers who actually put the place together didn’t see the point at first. The new film The Greening of Southie documents the ascent of The McCallen Building, explains LEED certification and illuminates their specific building techniques. The film is narrated by the building owner, architects, project managers…and most notably, the formerly skeptical construction workers. Filmmakers Curt Ellis & Ian Cheney join Bob to discuss their new documentary and the green building movement in general. Ellis & Cheney first spoke with Bob last year about King Corn, their eye-opening expose of the corn industry. Then, a commentary from cowboy poet Baxter Black about Ty Murray, the crossover cowboy with fleet feet.

 

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Bob talks with Lee Abrams, the director of innovation for the Tribune companies, which owns a number of newspapers and is trying mightily to make them profitable.  Bob asks Lee how the Tribune is reimaging its printed products and what Abrams sees in the future for print journalism. Then, a third of pet owners admit buying birthday presents for their furry friends. Many groomers now offer pedicures as part of their routine service. And if your dog is deemed to be suffering from separation anxiety, your vet might prescribe Prozac. It’s all part of the $43 BILLION a year pet industry. Michael Shaffer has written an expose of our pet-obsessed culture. It’s called One Nation Under Dog.

 

Friday, May 22, 2009

David Broder of The Washington Post joins Bob to talk about the latest news from the capital and beyond. Next, director Stephan Elliott talks with Bob about adapting playwright Noel Coward’s classic Easy Virtue for the big screen. This comedy of manners has a glamorous American woman (Jessica Biel) disrupting the quiet world of her new husband’s prim British family. Kirstin Scott Thomas and Colin Firth co-star. Then, this week’s installment of our ongoing series This I Believe. Bob talks with executive director Dan Gediman about the essay from Educator and folklorist J. Frank Dobie. He wrote numerous books and articles about vanishing ways of life on the ranches of his native Texas. Dobie taught in the English department at the University of Texas for many years, and was a lecturer on U.S. history at Cambridge during World War II.

 

Monday, May 25, 2009

It’s been more than forty years since many Americans were shipped to and died in the jungles of Vietnam. For this Memorial Day, we pay tribute to our service men and women with an encore presentation of our award-winning show
Stories fromThird Med: Surviving a Jungle ER. The documentary includes stories of the Navy’s Third Medical Battalion, which served alongside the Third Marine Division. They were based near the DMZ, closest to the enemy in North Vietnam. Four decades later, the doctors and corpsmen recount the horror (and humor) they can never forget, and reflect on the forces that drive men to war in the first place.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

WriterRuth Reichlis editor in chief forGourmet, former food critic for both theNew YorkandLos Angeles Times, and the author of three bestselling memoirs. Her latest memoir,Not Becoming My Mother and Other Things She Taught Me Along the Way,is a tribute to her mother, Miriam Brudno, whose larger than life personality dominated Reichl’s younger years. Then, neuroscientistDr. Richard Restakasked his colleagues - who happen to be some of the world’s leading brain scientists andresearchers - “what can we do to improve our brain power?” He compiled their answers,along with current neurological research and findings inThink Smart: A Neuroscientist’sPrescription for Improving Your Brain’s Performance.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

The American Cancer Society and the National Institutes of Health recommend women have a mammogram done every year starting at age 40. But there are more than a quarter million women who were diagnosed with breast cancer before they reached that age.Maimah Karmois one of them. She is the founder of the Tigerlily Foundation, an organization whose mission is to educate young women about the risks of breast cancer. Then, philosopherDenis Duttonsays evolution explains why we have become a species obsessed with artistic expression. In his new book,The Art Instinct: Beauty, Pleasure and Human Evolution,Dutton debunks a century of art criticism and scholarship by arguing that human tastes in the arts are not determined by local culture or social constructs but are instead inborn and universal. Dutton is the founder and editor of the website Arts & Letters Daily which was named by the Guardian as the “best Web site in the world.”

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Pakistan “has more terrorists per square mile than anyplace else on earth, and it has a nuclear weapons program that is growing faster than any place else on earth.” The quote is from Bruce Riedel, one of the authors of President Obama’s review of Afghanistan-Pakistan strategy. Recent satellite photographs show two new plutonium reactors less than 100 miles from where Pakistani forces are currently fighting the Taliban. Nicholas Schmidle has spent the past two years living in and reporting from Pakistan. He’ll talk to Bob about the rapidly changing headlines coming out of Pakistan. Then, for her newest album,Neko Casetrolled craigslist for free pianos and assembled a “piano orchestra.” The music makes a nice backdrop for Case’s spellbinding voice.Middle Cyclonedebuted at #3 on the Billboard chart and is still holding steady on the indy charts. Case went on world tour, took a break and now heads back out for round two starting May 28 in Albuquerque.

 

Friday, May 29, 2009

David BroderofThe Washington Postjoins Bob to talk about the latest news from the capital and beyond. Next, between 1999 and 2000, the phone number of a conservative U.S. Senator appeared in the phone records of a Washington, DC call-girl service five times. That information was revealed as part of the investigation of Deborah Jeane Palfrey which began in 2006. Last May, the so-called “D.C. Madam” took her own life. Palfrey’s attorney and confidant,Montgomery Blair Sibley, discusses his client’s life and why he thinks the justice system protected the wrong people inWhy Just Her – The Judicial Lynching of D.C. Madam, Deborah Jeane Palfrey.Then, this week’s installment of our ongoing seriesThis I Believe,Bob talks with executive directorDan Gediman about the essay from Herbert Lehman. He was the son of the co-founder of the Lehman Brothers investment banking firm in 1908 and served in the Army during World War I, rising to the rank of colonel. Lehman, a Democrat, was Governor of New York from 1933 to 1942, and served as U.S. Senator from 1949 until 1957.