Ben Brock Johnson

Ben Brock Johnson appears in the following:

The Witte Boneyard: A Different Kind of Graveyard

Saturday, October 30, 2010

To get really spooked, one has to walk beyond the graves of Rossville Cemetery on Staten Island and clamber down the muddy embankment behind them to the city’s most impressive “bo...

Comments [4]

Not Like Mike: Michael McMahon and Michael Grimm Campaign on Differences in Staten Island Congressional Race

Monday, October 18, 2010

McMahon is a freshman Democrat, but he projects the aura of an experienced politician. In New York's 13th Congressional district, which includes all of Staten Island and the Brooklyn ...

Comments [5]

Florida Court Declares Gay Adoption Ban Unconstitutional

Friday, September 24, 2010

Last week, things looked a lot different for aspiring gay and lesbian parents in Florida, where a ban on adoption by gay couples has been in place since the 1970s. But after 13 months, the Third District Court of Appeal in Miami struck down the ban, saying it was unconstitutional. One of the people rejoicing today is former television anchor Charles Perez, who joined us last week to talk about the ban.


Jimi Hendrix's Musical Legacy

Friday, September 17, 2010

Guitarist and Rock music innovator Jimi Hendrix died 40 years ago this week in Kensington's Samarkind Hotel, he was 27.

Comments [2]

What's in the Small Business Bill?

Friday, September 17, 2010

The small business bill championed by President Obama and Democratic legislators is — after months of languishing in the Senate — moving through Congress. Expected to be easily passed by the House, the aid package includes $12 billion in tax breaks as well as $30 billion in government-backed loans for small businesses. Proponents estimate it may create as many as 500,000 jobs.


Feedback Loop: C-Sections, a Natural Birth?

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

A new study says that 1/3 of births in the United States are performed with the help of C-Sections. More than ever before drugs are also being used to induce labor. Many doctors and patients say that both of these procedures help make birth less painful and in some cases less dangerous. Others suggest that doctors prefer C-Sections because they protect them from lawsuits, although Takeaway guest Dr. Randi Hutter Epstein disputed that idea. Many of you had a lot to say about this subject, and responded throughout the show.



Read More


Feedback Loop: You Know You're an Adult When...

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Legally, it begins to happen when we turn 18, when we can buy cigarettes, or be charged as an adult for a crime. But we were asking, When did adulthood arrive for you? This weekend, The New York Times Magazine takes a closer look at whether recent evidence shows that adulthood is arriving later in life, and adolescense is lasting longer. Robin Marantz Henig, who wrote the story, chronicled how scientists and others came down on the issue, and we spoke to her and her daughter on today's show. We also wanted to hear from listeners, and we had a lot of responses.

Read More


David Lipsky on the Late David Foster Wallace

Thursday, July 01, 2010

Author and Rolling Stone contributing editor David Lipsky won a National Magazine Award for writing about the late author David Foster Wallace last year. We talk to Lipsky about his recent book, "Although Of Course You End Up Becoming Yourself: A Road Trip with David Foster Wallace," and his travels with the author. We also hear from Wallace's sister, Amy Wallace-Havens, on her brother's legacy.

Comments [13]

Transcript: David Lipsky on David Foster Wallace

Thursday, July 01, 2010

John Hockenberry: David Lipsky, this is kind of a dream come true. In a way you’re sitting down with a writer who you obviously admire, you’re spending time with him, is it also a way of vanishing into his work by sitting down with him?

David Lipsky:
Well, yeah, cause one of the great things about, both about being with him and then reading the book afterwards is it’s like being in an essay he’s doing live, it’s like being in his great narrative voice as he’s gong into a restaurant, as he’s going through an airport, as he’s going through the mall of America.  So it was as if you woke up inside one of David’s paragraphs.

John Hockenberry: And were you comfortable on this trip with him?

David Lipsky: In the beginning, he doesn’t - I have the impression he doesn’t like me, and I get that impression because he turns to me in a pizza restaurant and says “I’m not sure if you are a very nice man or not.”  But, yeah, then afterwards as we started driving around more, yeah. 

John Hockenberry: There was a sense of, in some of the recordings you made, and to hear David Foster Wallace’s voice right now is… y’know quite extraordinary, here’s him talking with you, on this road trip back in 1996, with every bit of the whimsy you would find on the page.

[AUDIO David Foster Wallace: I have this… here’s this thing where it’s going to sound sappy to you, I have this unbelievably, like, 5-year old’s belief that art is just absolutely magic, and that good art can do things that nothing else in the solar system can do. END AUDIO]

Hockenberry: Can you see his face, when he was saying that to you?

Read More

Comments [1]

Movie Date: Tom Cruise's Career

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Rafer and Kristen talk about the good, bad and ugly of Tom Cruise's strange and successful career, from "Rain Man," to "Oprah," to "Knight and Day." 

Read More


First Take: Kagan Hearings, Chicago Violence, Texting in Miami, The Case for Lebron, July 4th Food

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Posted 4:14 p.m.

Ben Johnson here on the day shift.

Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan continues to top the news, as the Solicitor General goes through her first day of questioning in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee. Along with praise from Democrats, there have been moments of contention. Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions told Kagan that during her tenure at Harvard University, she created an inhospitable environment for members of the military. Tomorrow's show will cover the play-by-play in more detail.

We're also looking at a developing story in Chicago concerning gun control, where this week's Supreme Court decision about the Second Amendment is against a backdrop of gang-related violence in that city. Today we spoke to a Chicago resident who has seen gun violence firsthand, and we're looking to continue the conversation into tomorrow. We plan on speaking with Tim White, a former gang member, to get his perspective on both the root causes of and solutions for gang violence in his city.

In Miami, our digital editor Jim Colgan is at our two-day summit on developing new sources through texting. Jim will visit Miami's Little Haiti neighborhood today and speak with community leaders and others about using texting for compelling reporting, and tell us about what and who he found tomorrow. That's also one of the cities that trying to court Lebron James, and we're looking to hear from you about your elevator pitch: why should Lebron come to your city?

Finally, we'll be speaking with a guy who really knows his patriotic food for the Fourth of July. Bill Yosses, the pastry chef at the White House, will give us a taste on the appropriate fare for Independence Day.

Read More


Senator Bob Casey Jr. Reacts to Pennsylvania Primary Results

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

In yesterday's primary, Pennsylvania Senator Arlen Specter lost to the more liberal candidate, Rep. Joe Sestak. This anti-incumbent fever has been well documented across the country and the question is, what will it mean for sitting Senators and Congressmen? We put that quetion to Sen. Bob Casey Jr., a moderate Democrat from Pennsylvania who has been watching the race closely.


Power Players: Rep. Bennie Thompson on Black Farmer Lobbying

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Black Farmers are on Capitol Hill this week lobbying for payment of a $1.2 Billion settlement ordered to them by a federal judge. Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle are on their side, so why is it so hard for them to get their check? Todd Zwillich speaks with Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) about some of the bureaucratic snags facing groups who don't have the money for lobbyists.


Evaluating Obama's Legacy After Health Care Win

Thursday, March 25, 2010

It could go down as the defining moment of his presidency. Though he was doubted and abandoned by supporters, President Obama was able to twist arms to pass health care reform, signing the bill into law on Tuesday. Today, he returns to the Iowa, the state where he first rolled out his vision of a health care overhaul as a candidate. What will be the lasting narrative of Obama's time in office, and will health care reform play a role?

Comments [3]

Polls and Policy Making: What Does 'Public Opinion' Really Mean?

Thursday, March 25, 2010

After plenty of examples suggesting otherwise, a new Gallup poll out this week indicates a majority of Americans actually support the passage of health care legislation.


Republicans Prepare for White House Health Care Meeting

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

President Obama has called for a health care summit at the White House, where republicans can offer up their own ideas on how to reduce costs, and the two parties can try again to find some common ground.


Michelle Obama's Campaign Against Childhood Obesity

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Today First Lady Michelle Obama will announce a campaign to fight childhood obesity. Part of the program will be to introduce healthier food in schools across the country. But will it work?

Comments [19]

Willie Mitchell's Final Soul Serenade

Friday, January 08, 2010

Willie Mitchell – trumpeter, arranger and producer for Hi Records – who launched the careers of such great soul singers as Al Green, died of cardiac arrest Jan. 5 at a hospital in Mem...