We’ve assembled a special batch of conversations to celebrate the Fourth of July weekend. Bob talks with Peter Sagal, host of the NPR quiz show Wait, Wait…Don’t Tell Me. A few years ago, he set out across America on a motorcycle to find out what we as citizens of this nation know – and how we feel – about our founding document. The result was a four-part documentary called Constitution USA with Peter Sagal. The series is available online at PBS.
Each year, about one million people renounce the country of their birth and swear allegiance to the United States of America. A few years ago, one of those new American citizens was the Dutch-born husband of filmmaker Alexandra Pelosi. “I can’t be a foreigner in my own family,” Pelosi recalls her husband saying. His story inspired Pelosi to travel the country attending naturalization ceremonies to record the stories of brand-new Americans. Her film is titled Citizen USA: A 50 State Road Trip.
We close the show with a new essay from author Daniel Pinkwater about his father’s personal journey as a naturalized citizen.
On July 2, 1937, Amelia Earhart’s plane disappeared over the Pacific Ocean, as she and her navigator Fred Noonan attempted to circle the globe. They were declared dead, but neither their bodies nor the plane’s wreckage were ever found. Bob looks for answers with biographer Susan Wels, author of Amelia Earhart: The Thrill of It.
Then, the average American uses 150 gallons of water per day. In the developing world, the average is five. Even then, the water is often contaminated: The United Nations estimates that dirty water is responsible for the deaths of 500 children each day. Water is the third largest industry in the world, right behind electricity and oil. But can anyone really own water? That’s one of the questions Irena Salina investigates in her documentary, Flow: For Love of Water.