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Tuesday, April 03, 2012

Van Jones talks about his time as the green jobs advisor to the Obama White House and explains why he resigned after just six months. Then, former "SNL" castmember Rachel Dratch discusses her rollercoaster career and finding happiness when she least expected it. Today’s installment of A History of the World in 100 Objects takes a look at a set of chess pieces that were found on a Scottish beach. Just in time for Passover, Jonathan Safran Foer and Nathan Englander talk about their new version of the Haggadah. Ben Zimmer on the unexpected origins of the word jazz. And, director Steven Ives talks about his new film, “Grand Coulee Dam” a Depression-era public works project that transformed Washington State.

Van Jones on Rebuilding the Dream

Green economy pioneer Van Jones discusses his journey from grassroots outsider to White House insider. In Rebuild the Dream, he explains why he resigned his post as a special advisor to the Obama White House and proposes a plan to fix our democracy and renew the American dream.

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Rachel Dratch

Rachel Dratch talks about her new memoir, Girl Walks Into a Bar: Comedy Calamities, Dating Disasters, and a Midlife Miracle. The former Saturday Night Live star recounts the adventures and unexpected joy of dating and becoming a mother when she least expected it, at the age of 44.

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Jonathan Safran Foer and Nathan Englander's New American Haggadah

Jonathan Safran Foer and Nathan Englander discuss The New American Haggadah, their take on a traditional Passover prayer book. The Haggadah recounts, through prayer, song, and ritual, the extraordinary story of Exodus, when Moses led the Israelites out of slavery in Egypt to wander the desert for forty years before reaching the Promised Land. Safran Foer edited Englander's translation, and major Jewish writers and thinkers like Jeffrey Goldberg, Lemony Snicket, Rebecca Newberger Goldstein, and Nathaniel Deutsch also provide commentary. It is designed and illustrated by the Israeli artist and calligrapher Oded Ezer.

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Ben Zimmer on the Origin of the Word "Jazz"

Ben Zimmer, language columnist for the Boston Globe and executive producer of the Visual Thesaurus and Vocabulary.com, will talk about the first known use of the word “jazz”—and its surprising link to baseball.

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“Grand Coulee Dam”

Director Steven Ives talks about his new documentary, “Grand Coulee Dam,” about a public works project that played a central role in transforming the Northwest and was the largest hydroelectric power producing facility in the world when it was completed in March 1941. But the dam prevented access to one of the greatest salmon rivers in the world, and the native people who lived along the Columbia suffered a profound cultural decline. “Grand Coulee Dam” premieres on PBS on April 3 at 8 pm.

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Guest Picks: Rachel Dratch

Rachel Dratch was on the Lopate Show recently, sharing some dating advice and revealing the origin of the Debbie Downer skit on "Saturday Night Live." She also told us what she's been reading and listening to recently.

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