Streams

Special Operations Forces and the Terrorist Threat in Africa

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Journalist Eliza Griswold talks about the roots of extremist organizations like Boko Haram in Africa, and how the United States’ special forces are approaching them. She wrote about it in her article “Can General Linder’s Special Operations Forces Stop the Next Terrorist Threat?” in the New York Time Magazine Sunday, June 15. Griswold is also the translator of  I Am the Beggar of the World: Landays from Contemporary Afghanistan, a book of poems by Afghan women, and The Tenth Parallel.  

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Major Influence: Extremism on the Rise, Creating Fiction out of Reality

Thursday, June 26, 2014

On today’s show: Eliza Griswold talks about the roots of extremism in Africa and how American Special Forces are dealing with organizations like Boko Haram. Akhil Sharma joins us for this month’s Leonard Lopate Show Book Club to talk about his novel, Family Life. We’ll get a preview of four radio plays based on James Joyce’s Dubliners that will be performed in the Jerome L. Greene Space. Plus, a look at how Middle Eastern nations like Saudi Arabia and Turkey are playing a role in the rise of the insurgent group ISIS in Iraq. And find out how a Soviet era medical technique of injecting certain kinds of bacteria could help wean us off of our dependence on antibiotics.

 

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Reality into Fiction: Akhil Sharma on Family Life

Thursday, June 26, 2014

In Akhil Sharma’s darkly funny, heart-wrenching second novel, Family Life, the Mishra family leaves Delhi, India, for a better life in America. To eight-year-old Ajay and his older brother Birju, their new home is full of possibility and wonder until an accident at a swimming pool leaves one brother severely injured and the other lost and virtually orphaned in a strange land. Ajay feels the lonely weight of obligation to live up to the promise of his injured brother.

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The Delicious Knish

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Laura Silver describes her round-the-world quest for the origins and modern-day manifestations of the knish. Starting in New York, she tracks down heirs to several knish dynasties and discovers that her own family has roots in a Polish town named Knyszyn. In Knish: In Search of the Jewish Soul Food Silver tells stories of entrepreneurship, survival, and delicious knishes. She even meets legendary knish maker Mrs. Stahl’s granddaughters, who share their family recipe.

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Why Movie Musicals Matter

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Historian Richard Barrios looks at movie musicals and how they’ve become a major part of our lives. In Dangerous Rhythm: Why Movie Musicals Matter. Barrios goes behind the scenes, Barrios explores movie musicals from those first hits, "The Jazz Singer" and "Broadway Melody," to present-day Oscar winners "Chicago" and "Les Miserables," and uncovers the rocky relationship between Broadway and Hollywood. He recounts which films became our most indelible cultural touchstones— like" Singin' in the Rain," "The Sound of Music," "Camelot, and "West Side Story" to name a few—and others ended up as train wrecks.

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Our Favorite Movie Musical Numbers

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Inspired by today's conversation about movie musicals, here are some of our favorite numbers, going all the way back to Busby Berkeley.

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Jazz Age Manhattan and the Making of Modern America

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Manhattan was transformed by jazz, night clubs, radio, skyscrapers, movies, and the tremendous energy of the 1920s. Donald Miller details the story of Manhattan’s growth and transformation in the roaring twenties and the brilliant people behind it. His book Supreme City: How Jazz Age Manhattan Gave Birth to Modern America looks at everyone from Walter Chrysler to William Paley, Elizabeth Arden and her rival Helena Rubenstein, who all shared ambition and a drive to fulfill their dreams in New York. He explains how Manhattan became the social, cultural, and commercial hub of the country.

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Eli Wallach: From Bandit to Broadway

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Eli Wallach's acting career spanned six decades. The Brooklyn native played everything from a Mexican bandit to a French general to a Mafia don on screen, but he really loved the theater. He won a Tony Award for his role in Tennessee Williams's "The Rose Tattoo."  He and his wife Anne Jackson appeared together on stage in many plays. He continued working well into his nineties with films like "Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps." He died recently at the age of 98 and you can hear his 2006 conversation with Leonard about his work in the film, "The Holiday."

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David Boies and Ted Olson Make the Case for Marriage Equality

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Attorneys David Boies and Ted Olson tell the inside story of the Supreme Court’s landmark ruling on California’s Proposition 8. Boies and Olson argued against each other in the Supreme Court in Bush v. Gore in 2000, but they joined forces after that battle to forge the unique legal argument that would pave the way for marriage equality. Their book Redeeming the Dream: The Case for Marriage Equality tells the story of the five-year struggle to win the right for gays to marry, from Proposition 8’s adoption by California voters in 2008 to its defeat before the highest court in the land in Hollingsworth v. Perry in 2013.

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Recipe: Mrs. Stahl’s Potato Knishes

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Fannie Stahl’s granddaughters summoned recovered memories to bring this recipe to life. Toby Engelberg, who sold her knishes in the Bay Area for a while, enlisted the help of her elder cousin from New York, Sara Spatz, who, as a young woman, worked in her grandmother’s shop in Brighton Beach. I was there to learn. What struck me most was the aroma. It filled the kitchen as soon the skins were peeled from the first onions, and lingered long after the last tray of knishes had cooled.

Makes about 18 knishes.

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Marriage Equality, Mouthwatering Knishes, Movie Musicals, Manhattan and Modern America

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

On today’s show: David Boies and Ted Olson discuss their five-year battle for marriage equality in front of the Supreme Court. Laura Silver describes traveling around the world to track down the origins of the knish—and finding its modern incarnations. We’ll take a look at what makes movie musicals like "The Sound of Music" and "Singing in the Rain" so popular. And Donald Miller explains how Manhattan was transformed in the 1920s and how it became the country’s cultural and commercial capital.

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Profiting from Offenders When They Get Out of Jail

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Sarah Stillman investigates the industry of extra-carceral justice options, which include private-probation companies, halfway houses, and residential treatment centers. Her article “Get Out of Jail, Inc.” in the June 23, 2014, issue of The New Yorker, looks at the legality of a system of "offender-funded justice" that seems to profit from offenders, many of whom cannot pay their fees.

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A Cole Porter Score, Rescued From Oblivion

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

When the Jazz Age crossed over to France in the 1920s, Cole Porter was in the center of it all. In 1928, he created a revue for the Café des Ambassadeurs, Paris' hottest night club, which became a sensation. Later that year, Porter had his first hit on Broadway and “The Ambassador Revue” fell into oblivion until 2012 when the score was rediscovered by Ken Bloom and Christophe Mirambeau in an archive in Milan, Italy. Ken Bloom talks about unearthing that score, along with Grammy-winner Vince Giordano, bandleader for the Nighthawks, and Tom Wopat, who will be performing "The Ambassador Revue" at its American premiere on June 27 at Town Hall.  

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To Rise Again at a Decent Hour, a Novel by Joshua Ferris

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Joshua Ferris discusses his new novel, To Rise Again at a Decent Hour. It’s about Paul O'Rourke, a dentist made of contradictions: he loves the world, but doesn't know how to live in it and he’s an atheist not quite willing to let go of God. When someone begins to impersonate Paul online, and he watches in horror as a website, a Facebook page, and a Twitter account are created in his name, he realizes that the online "Paul" might be a better version of the real thing.

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Capitalism, Inequality, and Delhi's Transformation

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

The boom following the opening up of India’s economy pulled Delhi into the chaos of destruction and creation: slums and markets were torn down to make way for shopping malls and apartment blocks. The transformation was abrupt and unequal, and it sparked both ambition and rage in Delhi. Rana Dasgupta examines the expansion of the global elite and the extraordinary transmogrification of India’s capital, His book Capital: The Eruption of Delhi is an intimate portrait of the city of Delhi and offers a glimpse of what capitalism will become in the coming, post-Western world.

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Rising Again: Transformation in Delhi, a Rediscovered Cole Porter Score

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

On today’s show: Rana Dasgupta explores the city of Delhi through its people—from drug dealers to metal traders to psychoanalysts to billionaires—and what they reveal about one of the world’s fastest-growing cities. We’ll hear about “The Ambassador Revue,” a Cole Porter score that was recently rediscovered in Italy! Joshua Ferris talks about his latest novel, To Rise Again at a Decent Hour. And The New Yorker’s Sarah Stillman talks about the industry of halfway houses, treatment centers and private-for profit probation companies that have sprung up recently.

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It Can Be Good to be Stubborn

Monday, June 23, 2014

Flexibility is usually seen as a virtue, and it’s almost always preferred to stubbornness, but constitutional law professor Richard H. Weisberg wants us to reexamine our collective cultural bias toward flexibility, open-mindedness, and compromise. In In Praise of Intransigence: The Perils of Flexibility he argues that flexibility has not fared well over the course of history, and that emergencies both real and imagined have led people to betray their soundest traditions. He illustrates his argument with historical examples from Vichy France and the occupation of the British Channel Islands during World War II as well as post-9/11 betrayals of sound American traditions against torture, eavesdropping, unlimited detention, and drone killings.

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Jón Gnarr Accidentally Became the Mayor of Reykjavik and Changed the World

Monday, June 23, 2014

Actor, comedian, and former mayor of Reykjavik Jón Gnarr talks about his political career—and why he founded the Best Party in 2009 to satirize his country’s political system. He promised to get the dinosaurs from Jurassic Park into downtown parks, free towels at public swimming pools, and a “drug-free Parliament by 2020.” Gnarr was soon meeting international leaders and being taken seriously as the mayor of a European capital. In his book How I Became the Mayor of a Large City in Iceland and Changed the World, he recounts how it all happened and describes his vision of a more enlightened politics for the future.

Jon Gnarr 

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Online Tracking Is Getting Creepier

Monday, June 23, 2014

Julia Angwin explains how the marketers that follow you around the Web are getting nosier, increasingly seeking users' offline data—such as how many kids you have and what kind of car you drive—to target you with even more intrusive ads. Her ProPublica investigation “Why Online Tracking Is Getting Creepier” shows how this process of matching users' online and offline identities, often called "onboarding," works and why it’s a hot trend in Silicon Valley. Onboarding can be used to tag specific customers, such as big spenders, so that when they visit the client's Website it's customized to show them more expensive offerings.

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FDR, Detroit, and Arming America During World War II

Monday, June 23, 2014

In 1941 President Roosevelt realized we needed weaponry to fight the Nazis—most important, airplanes—so he turned to Detroit and the auto industry for help. The Ford Motor Company went from making automobiles to producing the airplanes, which made all the difference between winning and losing the war. A. J. Baim discusses how they did it. His book The Arsenal of Democracy: FDR, Detroit, and an Epic Quest to Arm and America at War centers on Henry Ford and his tortured son Edsel, who, when asked if they could deliver 50,000 airplanes, made an outrageous claim: Ford Motor Company would build a plant that could make a “bomber an hour.”  

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