Shaky Footing

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Tuesday, March 22, 2011

On today’s show: We’ll find out how the earthquake in Japan—the world’s third largest economy—is affecting the global marketplace. Then, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist John Darnton talks about his lifelong quest to learn about his father, who was killed in WWII while working as a correspondent for the New York Times. Environmental writer Eugene Linden tells us about the few remaining indigenous cultures that have refused to join the modern world. Sarah Vowell describes the Americanization of Hawaii in the late 19th century.

The Future after Fukushima

Peter Bradford, a former member of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and a board member of the Union of Concerned Scientists, examines what the future may hold for the U.S. nuclear industry and its spent fuel and discusses the continuing efforts to cool the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.

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The Japanese Economy

Greg Ip, of the Economist magazine, and David Weinstein, Associate Director of Research at the Center of Japanese Economy and Business, part of the Columbia Business School, look at what happens when the world’s third largest economy grinds to a halt.

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John Darnton on His Memoir, Almost a Family

Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist John Darnton discusses his memoir Almost a Family, about what happened to his family when his father, a war correspondent for The New York Times, was killed in World War II when John was just eleven months old. He explores the powerful myth of the father-hero who gave his life for his family, country, and for journalism.


The Ragged Edge of the World

Environmental writer Eugene Linden talks about how the far corners on the earth have been changed by—or have resisted being changed by—modernity. The Ragged Edge of the World: Encounters at the Frontier Where Modernity, Wildlands, and Indigenous Peoples Meet looks at this environmental frontier—Vietnam, New Guinea and Borneo, pygmy forests and Machu Picchu, the Arctic and Antarctica, Cuba and Midway Island.

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Sarah Vowell's Unfamiliar Fishes

Sarah Vowell tells the history of the fiftieth state—Hawaii. Her latest book, Unfamiliar Fishes, gives an account of the transformation of the islands by New England missionaries who arrived in 1820, an incestuous princess pulled between her new god and her brother-husband, and also looks at sugar barons, lepers, con men, Theodore Roosevelt, and the last Hawaiian queen: a songwriter whose sentimental ode "Aloha 'Oe" serenaded Barack Obama, the first president from Hawaii, during his inaugural parade.

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Sitting in the Catbird Seat

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… >>>

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Guest Picks: Sarah Vowell

Sarah Vowell stopped by The Leonard Lopate Show to talk about some of her favorite picks.


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