Monday, June 22, 2009

Environmentalist Bill McKibben returns to the show to talk about his latest project: The number 350 – as in parts per million – is the level scientists have identified as the safe upper limit for CO2 in our atmosphere. McKibben talks about that magic number, why this year is so crucial to scientists concerned about climate change, and what he is planning for October 24th, the International Day of Climate Action. Then, Chancellor Michelle Rhee is one of the more controversial figures in education right now. Immediately after starting her new post in 2007, she fired scores of teachers and administrators throughout the DC Public School System. Rhee argues she’s doing what’s right for the students, even if it’s unpopular. As the next segment in our ongoing series on education reform, Rhee will discuss the value of teachers and how to motivate low income and minority students.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

The United States Coast Guard has roughly 50,000 members and has rescued over a million people in its nearly 220 year history. Writer David Helvarg’s book Rescue Warriors: The U.S. Coast Guard, America’s Forgotten Heroes charts this often-overlooked organization’s history and their contemporary work in disasters like Hurricane Katrina. Then, under the provisions of the National Recording Preservation Act of 2000, 25 recordings deemed “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant” are added to the National Recording Registry each year. Gene (Eugene) DeAnna, the head of the Recorded Sound Section at the Library of Congress, joins Bob to discusses this year’s selections which include Marian Anderson’s recital at the Lincoln Memorial in 1939; the sounds of the ivory-billed woodpecker in the Louisiana swamp forest; Etta James’ “At Last”; Winston Churchill’s “Sinews of Peace” speech; and the original cast recording of “West Side Story.”


Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Writer Luis Alberto Urrea’s latest novel, Into The North, tells the epic journey of 19 year old Nayeli, as she sets out from her native Mexico to find her own “Magnificent Seven” to save her village from the drug dealers who have taken over the town. Inspired by the 1960 film, Nayeli travels to America in search of protectorates. Urrea was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize and has won an American Book Award, among many other honors; his previous books include The Hummingbird’s Daughter and The Devil’s Highway.


Thursday, June 25, 2009

Every night, there are 250,000 homeless veterans and not nearly enough beds for them to sleep on. Of that total, 4,000 served in Iraq and Afghanistan. Bob visits a shelter in Washington, DC dedicated to supporting homeless veterans to talk directly to former military men and women and the social workers who try to help them. Then Bob talks to Chad Lego who served in Iraq from June 2007 to February 2008 and joined the Circle of Friends for American Veterans to help those who find themselves without a place to call home. Lego attended the annual National Conference for Veterans and discusses the lack of services for our men and women in uniform once they are released from the military.


Friday, June 26, 2009

David Broder of The Washington Post joins Bob to talk politics. Next, in the late 1920s, Henry Ford built an agricultural and industrial utopia in the middle of the Amazon rainforest. The size of Tennessee, “Fordlandia” had a golf course, square dances, a library, restaurants, clapboard houses with front porches——a little slice of Americana in the Brazilian jungle. Ford’s plan was to create the largest rubber plantation on the planet. Inevitably, it was a complete failure. Historian Greg Grandin writes about Ford’s failed project in Fordlandia: The Rise and Fall of Henry Ford’s Forgotten Jungle. Then, in this week’s installment of our ongoing series This I Believe, Bob talks with executive director Dan Gediman about the essay from Louise Dickinson Rich. Her life in northern Maine became the fodder for her best-selling book, We Took to The Woods. Following her husband’s death, Rich moved with her children back to her hometown of Bridgewater, Mass., where she wrote numerous adult and young adult books.