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Bob Elsewhere

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November 2008


Monday, November 3, 2008

Bob talks politics with David Broder of The Washington Post. Then, over 130 years ago, the United States elected the first African Americans to its government. The new politicians faced a hostile press, public backlash and extreme racism while attempting to remake America after the bitter division of the Civil War. As we approach the possibility of electing the country's first African American president, those pioneers are now mostly forgotten or brushed off as puppets of the Republicans and reconstruction. Bob talks with Pulitzer Prize-finalist Philip Dray about his new book, Capitol Men which aims to enlighten Americans on this important chapter in our nation's history.


Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Thomas Mann and Norman Ornstein are scholars on government; Mann at the Brookings Institution and Ornstein at the American Enterprise Institute. They talk with Bob about the issues confronting our next president and Congress, no matter who wins the Oval Office and Congressional majorities. Then, Tracy Campbell talks to Bob about the history of election fraud and his book, Deliver the Vote: A History of Election Fraud, an American Political Tradition-1742-2004.


Wednesday, November 5, 2008

For a round up of post-election analysis Bob talks with Rebecca Roberts of XM's Potus '08, Dr. Ronald Walters, the Director of the University of Maryland's African American Leadership Center and David Broder of The Washington Post.


Thursday, November 6, 2008

Andrew Bacevich is a unique observer of American politics. He is a retired Army colonel, a self-described conservative Catholic, a history professor at Boston University and the father of a soldier who was killed while fighting in Iraq. Bacevich writes, "Counting on the next president to fix whatever is broken promotes expectations of easy, no-cost cures, permitting ordinary citizens to absolve themselves of responsibility for the nation's predicament." Bob talks with Bacevich about the direction the country should be heading under a new administration. His book is called The Limits of Power: The End of American Exceptionalism.


Friday, November 7, 2008

In the newest issue of The Atlantic magazine, reporter Jeffrey Goldberg tests the Transportation Security Administration and finds that measures put into place after September 11th amount to nothing more than "security theater." Then, Egyptian writer Alaa Al Aswany is the Arab-language's best selling novelist, founding member of the Kefaya political party, and still practices dentistry in his downtown Cairo office. Bob talks with Aswany about his new novel Chicago, which is a follow-up to his 2002 debut The Yacoubian Building. Chicago is a story of a group of Egyptian expats struggling in post 9/11 America.


Monday, November 10, 2008

Bob talks politics with David Broder of The Washington Post. Then, Bob speaks with Dana Gioia, he’s the out-going Chairman of the National Endowment of the Arts, the government agency charged with promoting arts in the United States. Gioia took over the NEA at a time when many Republicans were calling for it to be abolished. Gioia's mantra is "arts are not a luxury" and he has spent his four years in the post shepherding programs like Shakespeare in American CommunitiesNEA Jazz Masters, and The Big Read. Gioia recently announced that he will resign in January.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Lee Atwater was a blues-playing Republican operative who led his party to historic victories, changed the way America elects Presidents and helped make "liberal" a dirty word. To Democrats, Atwater was a ruthless political hatchet man; one Congresswoman called him “the most evil man in America.” On Tuesday, November 11th, the PBS program Frontline airs Boogie Man: The Lee Atwater Story. Bob talks with filmmaker Stefan Forbes about Atwater’s life and legacy, the role he played in the victories of President Reagan and both Presidents Bush and his influence on his then-protégé Karl Rove. Then, it was a song that John Steinbeck called "immortal;" "Lili Marlene" started as a German love song and through a strange turn of events was adopted by both sides as the unofficial anthem of WWII. Writers Liel Leibovitz and Matthew Miller recount its history in Lili Marlene: The Soldier's Song of World War II.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

In this year's presidential election, Republicans lost nine states to Barack Obama that George W. Bush won in 2004. The Democrats also solidified their control of Congress, gaining 20 seats in the House and at least six in the Senate. Republican strategist Whit Ayres and Washington correspondent for the Los Angeles Times, Doyle McManus, discuss what went wrong for the GOP and what conservatives have to do to rebuild their party. Then, Bob talks with our music reviewerAnthony DeCurtis about a new re-issue of the late Warren Zevon's classic self-titled album from 1976.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Some women went to Iraq thinking they would provide basic support as mechanics and supply clerks, but instead found themselves fighting alongside Marines in some of the bloodiest battles. The special group was given the name "The Lionesses" for their role in combating the counterinsurgencies. Filmmakers Meg McLegan and Daria Sommers interviewed five of these women and present their stories in the PBS documentary titled Lioness. Bob talks to McLegan, Sommers, and one of the Lionesses, Ranie Ruthig about how women cope with the trauma of war. Then, long before Arianna Huffington, 18th century aristocrat Germaine de Stael was the first intellectual queen of contemporary society. Bob talks with writer Francine du Plessix Gray about the biography Madame de Stael: The First Modern Woman which examines the life of the woman hated and exiled by Napoleon for her radical liberalism.


Friday, November 14, 2008

Bob talks with artists Christo and Jeanne-Claude about their exhibit: "Christo and Jeanne-Claude: Over The River, a Work in Progress." The exhibition of more than 150 photographs, collages, drawings, and maps, will chronicle the artists’ process as they prepare to assemble and suspend massive panels of silvery fabric horizontally over the Arkansas River in Colorado. The exhibition traces the development of this ambitious project over the past 16 years.


Monday, November 17, 2008

Bob talks politics with David Broder of The Washington Post. Then, much like the bear who went over the mountain, 25 years ago writer William Least Heat-Moon set off across America to see what he could see. He recorded his findings in Blue Highway, putting his work on the literary map. Now, after all these years, he ventured out again to see how small town America has changed. His new book is called Roads to Quoz: An American Mosey.


Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Musician Elvis Costello is adding television host to his resume. Beginning December 3rd, the Sundance Channel will air a series called Spectacle in which Costello talks and performs with celebrities including Sir Elton John, Tony Bennett, Lou Reed, Julian Schnabel and Bill Clinton. Then, New York Times diplomatic correspondent Helene Cooper talks with Bob about her new book, The House at Sugar Beach. Cooper was born into a society of wealth and privilege in Liberia, as a descendent of one of the first settlers in the African country. In 1980, her life was forever changed when the Liberian government was overthrown and her family was forced to flee to America. Cooper tells the story of how she reconnected with her Liberian roots years after she left the country.


Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Denis Leary started his career as a stand-up comedian, but has developed into a respected film and television actor. He leads his own award-winning dramatic series Rescue Me on the cable network FX. Leary also still loves performing and writing comedy. His new book is called  Why We Suck: A Feel Good Guide to Staying Fat, Loud, Lazy and Stupid. Then, as chancellor of Washington, DC public schools, Michelle Rhee is one of the most controversial government workers today. Since her appointment in the summer of 2007, Rhee has fired nearly 800 teachers, principals and assistant principals. She also took the teachers union and the city council to task. Clay Risen interviewed Rhee and parents, teachers, and school staff for his article in The Atlantic and will discuss what he learned as part of that investigation.


Thursday, November 20, 2008

Bob talks with Salon sports writer and Bob Edwards Show regular King Kaufman about sports. Then, a visit with legendary composer, producer and musician Quincy Jones. And, finally, SIRIUS XM's classical music expert Martin Goldsmith talks with Bob about composer and conductor Leonard Bernstein.


Friday, November 21, 2008

Writer Michael Lewis compiled an anthology of the best contemporary financial articles in the book Panic! He talks with Bob about America's history of financial catastrophes and contextualizes the latest economic crisis. Then, songs of praise are sung throughout the world, but their musical forms are as richly diverse as the beliefs that inspire them. Our resident folklorists share a few of the most dynamic and historically interesting examples of praise songs from the vast holdings of the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress.


Monday, November 24, 2008

Bob talks politics with David Broder of The Washington Post. Then, Space Shuttle Endeavour blasted off from the Kennedy Space Center on Friday, November 14 – the last scheduled night launch for the program. Bob was there to witness the countdown and to learn about the past, present and future of NASA. We’ll meet two astronauts, Catie Coleman who’s already been to space twice and Robert Satcher who’s scheduled to fly late next year for the first time. Bob also speaks with local public radio reporter and NASA expert Pat Duggins about his latest book Final Countdown which chronicles the history of the Space Shuttle program.


Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Actor Christopher Plummer is one of the greatest actors of both the stage and the screen. He talks with Bob about his memoir, In Spite of Myself which chronicles his seemingly foolhardy move to abandon his upper-class Canadian home for New York City's theaters.


Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Bob talks with historian and business scholar Niall Ferguson. Ferguson is author of the upcoming book The Ascent of Money: A Financial History of the World. Then, Bob remembers journalist Tom Gish, who died this past weekend at the age of 82. Gish, along with his wife Pat, published the Mountain Eagle of Whitesburg, KY. Gish tirelessly investigated the environmental practices of the coal industry, overcoming threats of violence and the firebombing of their newspaper offices. We'll hear an excerpt from Bob's 2004 interview with Tom and Pat Gish.


Thursday, November 27, 2008

It’s Thanksgiving and Bob spends an hour with one of public radio’s favorite personalities. In the early 1970’s, Susan Stamberg was one of the first producers hired by the fledgling National Public Radio and later she became the first woman to anchor its nightly news program, All Things Considered. Bob talks with Stamberg about her experience as a radio pioneer, what she feels makes a great interview and the true story behind her mother-in-law’s Thanksgiving cranberry relish.


Friday, November 28, 2008

Bob speaks with folk singer Arlo Guthrie about the 40 year anniversary of "Alice's Restaurant Massacree." It’s Guthrie’s epic 18 minute song detailing all sorts of real life indignities suffered by the draft-age Arlo in Stockbridge, Massachusetts. Guthrie only performs the song every ten years, saying that's how it stays fresh. The conversation with Bob also covers Guthrie’s career, his father Woody, Huntington's disease and Arlo’s four musical children.