Politics Is Personal

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Tuesday, August 31, 2010

On today's show: The New Yorker’s Jane Mayer talks about the billionaire Koch brothers and the war they’re waging against the Obama presidency. Then, Greg Donaldson tells the true story of ex-con trying to reenter society, chronicled in his book Zebratown. Also, we'll find out about the life and legacy of Charlie Chan and the real Cantonese detective who inspired the character in fiction and movies. Plus, Heidi Cullen talks about climate change and the weather of the future.

Billionaire Brothers

New Yorker staff writer Jane Mayer discusses Charles and David Koch, billionaire brothers who are waging a war against President Barack Obama. They have donated more than $100 million to right-wing causes; including the Tea Party. Her article “Covert Operations” appears in the August 30 issue of the New Yorker.

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Greg Donaldson talks about spending eight years reporting on a couple—an ex-con from Brownsville, Brooklyn, and a young woman with a six-year-old daughter—attempting to make a home together in Elmira, New York. Zebratown: The True Story of a Black Ex-Con and a White Single Mother in Small-Town America looks at the difficulty that ex-cons have in successfully re-entering society and the problems that this can cause for them, their families, and the communities where they live.

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The Untold Story of Charlie Chan

Yunte Huang discusses Charlie Chan, the fictional detective based on Chang Apana, a detective from Honolulu, and how the character defined America’s distorted perceptions of Asians and Asian Americans. His book Charlie Chan: The Untold Story of the Honorable Detective and His Rendezvous with American History, weaves the story of the evolution of the character of 'Charlie Chan' with the real-life detective Chang Apana’s rough-and-tumble career.

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The Weather of the Future

Heidi Cullen, senior research scientist with Climate Central, looks at climate change not just as an event set to happen in the distant future, but as something happening right now. Her book The Weather of the Future: The Weather of the Future: Heat Waves, Extreme Storms, and Other Scenes from a Climate-Changed Planet, combines the latest research from scientists on the ground, with state-of-the-art climate-model projections in order to create climate-change scenarios for seven of the most at-risk locations around the world—from the Central Valley of California to Greenland.

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