This Weekend's Program

Bob Edwards Weekend, December 17-18, 2011

HOUR ONE:

Last year, the conservative talk show host Glenn Beck regularly singled out an obscure academic calling her an enemy of the Constitution. Frances Fox Piven, Beck warned, was after a progressive take-down of America and was responsible for a plan to “intentionally collapse our economic system.” The newfound attention from Beck sent Piven’s books to bestseller lists, but she also received hundreds of death threats from Beck listeners. The interest in Piven was rooted in an article she wrote with her husband, Richard Cloward, in 1966, “The Weight of the Poor: A Strategy to End Poverty.” Now her research and writings have been collected in an updated book, Who’s Afraid of Frances Fox Piven? The Essential Writings of the Professor Glenn Beck Loves to Hate.

Husband and wife public radio hosts and syndicated columnists Joe and Terry Graedon are back with a new book called Top Screwups Doctors Make and How to Avoid Them.  Each year, more than six million people are harmed by doctor errors, prescription mistakes and diagnostic disasters – and about a hundred thousand hospital patients die every year from preventable medical errors – including Joe Graedon’s own mother.

In this week’s installment of our series This I Believe, we hear the essay of Susan Hall.  Her son was born with a disorder that has stalled his cognitive development, but nothing has limited his love of music. Hall’s home is a warehouse of electronic keyboards, and her son’s favorite activity is to play along with the tunes programmed into the keyboards. Hall says the musical playtime allows her to accomplish household chores, but it also opens a window of connection she wouldn’t otherwise have with her son.

HOUR TWO:

When world-renowned ceramicist Edmund de Waal inherited a collection of 264 Japanese wood and ivory carvings called netsuke, he decided to find more about his family’s past and how they came to own such a priceless collection.  His memoir The Hare with Amber Eyes: A Hidden Inheritance is the story of de Waal’s ancestors, the Ephrussis, one of Vienna’s most powerful and wealthy dynasties.  The family and their fortune were almost entirely destroyed by the Nazis during World War II, and the netsuke is all the remains of their once-fabulous wealth.

It’s time for our annual visit with Rolling Stone contributing editor Anthony DeCurtis.  He’ll share his list of the best CDs of 2011, just in time to include on your holiday shopping list.

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