Monday, July 20, 2009
As lawmakers try to come up with a viable health care plan, we’ll hear from people advocating lesser-known ideas that have picked up traction nationally. As a national health care plan moves though Congress, we’ll consider some of the plans being debated. Jacob Hacker believes people should have the right to a government-run, government-chartered insurance company. Without that government-run company, Hacker argues, there’s not enough pressure on the insurance companies to really drive down costs and improve quality. Hacker is a professor at Yale University at the author of two books on health care reform. Then, today is the 40th anniversary of the first lunar landing. Bob talks with the fourth man to walk on the moon, Alan Bean. Bean is also a painter and the author of Painting Apollo.
Tuesday, July 21, 2009
Thavisouk Phrasavath was a young boy living with his parents and 8 siblings in Laos when his father, a member of the Royal Army of Laos, joined a secret army formed by the CIA. When the U.S. pulled out of Loas, and left the country to the Pathet Lao, Phrasavath’s father was declared an enemy of the state and disappeared. Cinematographer turned director Ellen Kuras met Phrasavath 23 years ago, and together they made a documentary of Phrasavath’s experiences, calling it The Betrayal (Nerakhoon). It received an Oscar nomination for Best Documentary in 2008 and airs today on PBS. Then, in many high schools, shop class is now a thing of the past, replaced by classes aimed to turn students into “knowledge workers.” Philosopher and bike mechanic Matthew Crawford argues in his book Shop Class As Soulcraft: An Inquiry into the Value of Work that the detailed work of a trade teaches us to use our brains and our hands, and allows us to accomplish something truly useful.
Wednesday, July 22, 2009
For millions of women, the books they read (and re-read) as young girls helped them become the women they are today. Lizzie Skurnick writes the column “Fine Lines” for Jezebel.com, and blogs about books on her website Old Hag. Her book Shelf Discovery: The Teen Classics We Never Stopped Reading explores why the books of so many women’s youth continue to inspire, inform, and mold them well into adulthood.
Thursday, July 23, 2009
Matthew Aid has been studying the United States government’s most secret agency for the past 20 years. The Secret Sentry: The Untold History of the National Security Agency is the culmination of his research. The book traces the agency from its creation in 1945 to its unprecedented involvement in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Friday, July 24, 2009
David Broder of The Washington Post joins Bob to talk politics. Next, Then, in Methland: The Death and Life of an American Small Town, Nick Reding tells the story of the methamphetamine epidemic as it sweeps the American heartland, focusing on the small Iowa town of Oelwein. Then, in this week’s installment of our ongoing series This I Believe, Bob talks with executive director Dan Gediman about the essay from James A. Michener. He wrote his Pulitzer Prize winning novel, Tales of the South Pacific, during his naval service in World War II after winning a transfer from a desk job in Washington to the Pacific theater. Michener’s literary career spanned 50 years and 40 books.