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Public Defenders; Aleksandar Hemon; Typhoid Mary; Dr. Robert Lustig on Sugar, Fat, and Obesity

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Monday, September 02, 2013

The words "Equal Justice Under Law" are inscribed on the front of the U.S. Supreme Court. (Niel R/flickr)

Happy Labor Day! We're re-airing some favorite recent interviews for the holiday. We’ll look at the current status of public defenders and the legacy of the Supreme Court decision Gideon v. Wainwright. Aleksandar Hemon talks about growing up in Sarajevo and watching its destruction from Chicago during the Balkan War. Mary Beth Keane discusses her new novel about Typhoid Mary, called Fever. Dr. Robert Lustig explains how the massive amount of sugar we’re consuming has changed our brain chemistry, affecting what—and how much—we eat.

Public Defenders and Justice

The 1963 U.S. Supreme Court decision Gideon v. Wainwright states that all defendants facing significant jail time have the constitutional right to a free attorney if they cannot afford their own. Fifty years later, 80 percent of criminal defendants are served by public defenders. Karen Houppert chronicles the stories of people in all parts of the country who have relied on public defenders in Chasing Gideon: The Elusive Quest for Poor People’s Justice.

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The Book of My Lives, by Aleksandar Hemon

Aleksandar Hemon talks about his first book of nonfiction, The Book of My Lives, about growing up in Sarajevo, moving to Chicago just as war broke out in Sarajevo, leaving him no way to return home, and about starting a new life and family in this new city. He writes of his love of two different cities, the bonds of family, the joys of soccer, and the feelings of displacement.

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Fever, a Novel about Typhoid Mary

Mary Beth Keane discusses her new novel, Fever, about the woman known as “Typhoid Mary”—Mary Mallon. She was in Irish immigrant who became a cook for some of New York's wealthiest families until someone noticed that she left a trail of disease wherever she cooked. The Department of Health sent Mallon to North Brother Island, where she was kept in isolation from 1907 to 1910, then released under the condition that she never work as a cook again.

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Dr. Robert Lustig on Sugar, Fat, and Obesity

Dr. Robert Lustig documents the science and the politics that has led to the growthof chronic disease over the last 30 years. In the late 1970s the government mandated that we limit fat in our food, and the food industry responded by putting more sugar in. Dr. Lustig argues that the result has been a perfect storm, disastrously altering our biochemistry and driving our eating habits out of our control. In Fat Chance: Beating the Odds Against Sugar, Processed Food, Obesity, and Disease he presents strategies to readjust the key hormones that regulate hunger, reward, and stress, and suggests ways to improve the health of the next generation.

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