A conversation that happened on Tuesday, March 22, 2011 in the Lopate Show offices...
Blakeney: On Wednesday's Patricia T. O’Conner segment we’re talking about “cat words”—like “cat’s pajamas” and “kitty corner.”
Steven: That’s exciting. I’ve always wondered what’s up with the phrase “sitting in the cat bird seat.” It doesn’t make any sense to me. At all. Is it about a cat that that is perfectly poised to catch a bird sitting in a seat? Since when do birds sit in seats? Has it caught and eaten a bird and is sitting in the bird’s seat? I do not understand this idiom! Then again, as a child, I imagined the phrase “shooting fish in a barrel” involved shooting fish out of some kind fish shooting device into a barrel on the other side of a field, not using a gun to shoot fish swimming around in a closed container. So, maybe I’m not the right person to be thinking about these things.
Blakeney: I think it’s about being in advantageous position. As in: you’re a bird, sitting in the seat above the cat. But we could just look it up… >>>
"I think, I really fear, that the countdown to civil war in Yemen has just begun. It’s not just about protests in Yemen. You have some major defections by army generals in the last 24 hours. You have internal divisions within the ruling party of Pres. Ali Abdullah Saleh. Some elements from his own tribe are calling for him to step down. You have now a military standoff between special forces led by his son and the first division of the army of which the generals, some of his closest generals, have defected. You have turmoil engulfing most of the Yemen. You have a separatist movement in the South; you have a tribal insurgency in the North. But most important of all, I would argue, the new democratic revolt that has been sweeping the Arab world has reached Yemen with a vengeance."
Fawaz Gerges, professor of Middle Eastern Politics and International Relations at the London School of Economics. For more of the interview, click here.
“In fact, many Egyptians believe that the security apparatus played a key role in fueling sectarian tensions because that played into its hands. And the reality – I’m not saying there were no tensions - but the scenes in the Liberation, the Tahrir, Square really show very clearly that Egyptians are finally getting to know one another and this is really one of the most important lessons of what has happened in Egypt.”
-- Fawaz Gerges, professor of Middle Eastern Politics and International Relations at the London School of Economics. You can hear his whole conversation with Leonard about the many different roles of mosques in the protests in Egypt here.
“In looking at Egypt, for example, the protesters are focusing on getting Mubarak out of office, but the food issue hangs over Egypt because they import such a large amount of their grain. In fact, I think Egypt is currently the world’s leading wheat importer, having surpassed Japan and Brazil which are the other big 3 wheat importers. But what happened with Egypt was that a year or so ago, they signed…a 5-year contract with Russia to supply the Egyptians with 3 million tons of wheat a year, and the ink was hardly dry on that contract before the Russians were announcing that they were embargoing all grain exports. And so suddenly Egypt had to scramble to replace what they were expecting to get from the Russians.”
-Lester Brown, president of the Earth Policy Institute and author of World on the Edge: How to Prevent Environmental and Economic Collapse. You can hear the entire interview here.
On Wednesday, as events continued to unfold across Egypt, Leonard spoke to Tarek Osman about what’s happened in Egypt over the last 55 years, since the rise of Gamal Abdul Nasser.
While Osman, the author of Egypt on the Brink: From Nasser to Mubarak, saw the roots of today’s events as going all the way back to Napoleon, he described great changes in the last 60 years:
"If you look at 1950, the midpoint of the 20th Century at Egypt and try to speculate how this country would look 50 or 60 years down the line…most speculators, most strategic thinkers would have imagined an Egypt that is very different from Egypt today. Today, Egypt is very conservative; at that time it was very liberal. At that time, in the 50’s, it was very nationalist. Today it’s very sectarian oriented. It was very cosmopolitan. Today it’s not cosmopolitan. At that time, Egypt was a worldly city – even in terms of social glamor. Today, it’s certainly far from that.”
Watching events unfold in Egypt, it’s hard to believe that I was there 3 weeks ago. I went as part of a tour that whisked us around the country, seeing all of its incredible ancient sites. With a packed itinerary, we didn’t have much free time to explore Egypt’s cities on our own, and I can’t say that I got a feel for what life in Egypt is like. But I watched hundreds of miles of Egypt go by through the windows of buses, cars and trains and here’s a taste of what I saw:
It's December, and it seems that every media outlet - the New York Times, the Economist, and NPR, to name just three - is publishing their lists of the top books of year. We at the Leonard Lopate Show wanted to get into the end-of-year listing spirit but we're also overachievers, so here are two lists of our favorite books of the year.
This week we asked listeners to send us their haiku about the economy, and you responded in droves. We also got one limerick by a listener calling himself "Dr. Goose."
The New American Dream
The Smiths of 212 Willow Lane
Thought their mortgage a terrible strain.
They defaulted and then,
moved next door to 210
Where they rent and are solvent a-gain.
We talk to listener David Lefkovits about how he started writing limericks for his blog, Limericks Economiques.
Between the 1910s and 1920s an unprecedented social change occurred in the United States when six million black Americans left the South and headed North and West in what came to be known as the Great Migration. Yesterday, we asked listeners to share their stories of the Great Migration. Della Beaver shares her family's story of why her parents moved from South Carolina to Chester, Pennsylvania, and what it was like to travel back to the South to visit their relatives.
Though the headlines this morning say the Tea Party won big last night, that narrative discounts the fact that those candidates aren't likely to win in the general election in November. So what do yesterday's primaries say about the nation's political climate?
Jeff Zeleny, national political correspondent for The New York Times, explains what the results from these state-wide races can tell us about the national political picture or whether they hinged on local issues.
Not many people on Wall Street were willing to speak out about the excessive risks that they saw on Wall Street as the financial meltdown began. Louise Story, Wall Street and finance reporter for our partner, The New York Times, tells the stories of two men who pointed out the risks they saw, and paid the price for it.
Russian police have started cracking down on opposition groups by confiscating their computers, saying they might have pirated Microsoft software on them. Clifford Levy, Moscow bureau chief for our partner, The New York Times, describes the role that Microsoft has played in these crackdowns.
Last week's plan by a pastor in Florida to burn copies of the Quran on September 11th got you weighing in, long after Pastor Terry Jones's announced he would not go ahead with the event .
Concerns about the effects of the chemical bisphenol-A have grown in recent years. The chemcial can be found in the linings of cans and is used to make plastic bottles and containers. Half a dozen states have already banned it from children's products over fears that BPA mimics the effects of hormones. But the scientific community has not come to a clear consensus on how BPA affects human beings. Denise Grady, reporter for The New York Times, explains that the fight over what to do about BPA is now becoming political.
As the players ended the first week of the U.S. Open, many familiar faces moved on: Venus Williams advanced in straight sets, and Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal both won. Amy Eddings, host of "All Things Considered" on New York Public Radio, was at the U.S. Open on Sunday. She wraps up all the weekend's action.
In the last two years, the world has been shaken by the financial crisis that has affected all corners of the globe. Hugh Pym, correspondent for the BBC, discusses the findings of a study that looked at global recovery in 26 countries. The study focused particularly on how we differ when it comes to budget deficits. The poll asked how citizens felt about their government taking steps "in current economic conditions" to reduce the government's deficit and debt.
Former Lehman Brothers chief executive Richard Fuld testified before the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission on Wednesday. He described his frustration that his firm did not get the help that other firms later got from federal regulators. Louise Story, Wall Street and finance reporter for The New York Times, explains what we're learning from the FCIC, which is tasked with finding out what caused the financial and economic crisis in 2008.
President Obama declared the end of combat operations in Iraq last night. David Sanger, chief Washington correspondent for The New York Times, analyzes President Obama's address from the Oval Office last night, and explains what it reveals about the future of the U.S. in the Middle East. Sanger says that Obama's speech was interesting for its message that the commitments in Iraq and Afghanistan are not open-ended, and that there are bigger priorities at home, including the economy and job creation.
Since the financial crisis began in 2008, hundreds of banks have folded and federal regulators have become more cautious about the banks they approve to go into business. Hartie Spence is the President and CEO of Lakeside Bank in Lake Charles, La. He explains how Lakeside Bank became the only truly new bank to open this year.
The Detroit Symphony Orchestra is one of the nation's top orchestras. It has been facing financial problems in recent years, with corporate contributions and ticket sales down and an operating deficit that could reach $5 million this year. Now they are negotiating with the orchestra's musicians over a new contract.