Steven Valentino

Producer, The New Yorker Radio Hour

Steven Valentino appears in the following:

Object #8: "Wall St." Sign

Friday, March 02, 2012

The Wall Street sign is the first object on our list that is central to both the long history of New York City and the current moment. William D. Cohan, author of Money And Power told us “You can not overstate Wall Street’s importance from either a literal or symbolic point of view. It’s not up there with the Statue of Liberty, but it’s a symbol of what America is all about. That’s why there is so much disappointment about their behavior over the last few years.” (continue reading)

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Object #9: Manhattan Schist

Thursday, March 01, 2012

Who knew so many of our listeners were geology enthusiasts? Or that, to use a pun Leonard would probably dream up, they really know their schist? Charles Merguerian, chairman of the Geology Department at Hofstra University, seemed surprised and then pleased that New York City bedrock made the top ten of our list. He said “People always ask: What came first the chicken or the egg? But the answer is rocks. Rocks are so fundamental and basic to us and our existence that there is a natural tendency towards wanting to know about them.” (continue reading)

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Object #10: The NYC Subway Map

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

It’s fitting that we kick off our countdown of the 10 objects that tell the story of New York with an object that, quite literally, lets us explore the city. Even the most savvy, life-long New Yorker ends up consulting the subway map regularly. That's probably the case because — for better or worse — a subway map is the map that explains much of the city’s geography to us. (continue reading)

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High Line Creators Excited by Tappan Zee Idea

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

High Line creators Joshua David and Robert Hammond said they were enthusiastic about a long-shot proposal to turn the Tappan Zee Bridge into an over-water park on today's Leonard Lopate Show. Asked about Greenburgh town supervisor Paul Feiner's suggestion to convert the cantilevered bridge into a pedestrian walkway, both David and Hammond said they found the idea "exciting" and that they'd "love to take a walk on it." The bridge is currently slated for demolition and details about Feiner's idea to re-purpose the link between Rockland and Westchester counties are few, but according to yesterday's New York Times it draws a fair amount of inspiration from the equally popular High Line park in Manhattan and the Walkway Over the Hudson, further upstream. Construction of a new Tappan Zee Bridge has been fast tracked by the Obama Administration.


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Uranium: Useful for Atom Bombs & Dinner Parties

Friday, March 25, 2011

Today's Please Explain is about radiation. We present for you a primer on uranium, the radioactive rock:

Uranium is one of the heaviest and certainly one of the most volatile elements in nature. It’s also fairly abundant in the universe and can be found in the Earth's crust at a rate nearly 40 times that of silver. It's nucleus is so densely packed that uranium atoms can only be produced through the extreme force and pressure of a supernova. >>>


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A Duet

Thursday, March 24, 2011

The one and only Angela Lansbury stopped by the show today. She even sang a brief duet with Leonard.

Click here to hear it!

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Sitting in the Catbird Seat

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

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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Two Things You May Not Know About Guantanamo

Thursday, March 10, 2011

On today’s Backstory segment we spoke with The Miami Herald's Carol Rosenberg and Emily Berman from the Brennan Center for Justice about the US prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, which just turned 9 years old. Here are a two things we learned about the facility and the legal concepts that sustain it.

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Egyptian Cell Phone Surveillance & the Crackdown

Thursday, February 03, 2011

"One of the things that a cell phone network allows you to do in particular is to pinpoint the locations of individuals. And one of the things we do know about the Egyptian security state is that they depended on surveillance much more heavily than other countries might… One of the more cynical takes here is that the Egyptian government knew what they were doing. They wanted to shut down communications to take away organizing tools…This turned out not to work…It can’t be a coincidence that they turned the networks on at the exact same moment they began the crackdown that we are now witnessing... For activists that have just been casual users of cell phones, which is basically everybody but a small group of people who took precautions, the government will know their phone numbers, know how to reach them and how to look for them out on the streets...Those activists may be vulnerable.”

 —Andrew McLaughlin, former deputy Chief Technology Officer for the Obama Administration discussing why the Egyptian government shut down the internet and suddenly turned it back on, on today’s Leonard Lopate Show. You can hear the full interview here.

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Update from Cairo on Day of Protest

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Today, just hours before Hosni Mubarak’s announcement this evening that he would not seek another term as President, Leonard spoke with New York Times reporter Kareem Fahim in Cairo. There have been a number of developments in the last 48 hours, from the Finance Ministry saying that people out of work because of the demonstrations would be eligible for unemployment benefits, to the military’s announcement last night that it would not use force against demonstrators. The latter, according to Fahim, opened the door for today’s massive protest in Tahrir Square, which some news organizations say was attended by over a million people. (As a side note the Iranian government has said it supports the protesters; which is only a little ironic.)

Fahim told us that “The range of responses [from the Mubarak regime] is very hard to read or understand at this point. There are a number of new actors in the government and it’s not clear if everyone is acting under the President’s direction or if some of the people under him are trying to ease his path from power.” Mr. Mubarak took a step down that path this afternoon, but in his speech maintained that he will “die on [Egyptian] soil.”

Nobel Laureate Mohamed ElBaradei is known in this country mostly as a foil to the Bush Administration during his time as head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, but he is now the most prominent (and media friendly) opposition leader in Egypt. Fahim said that while ElBaradei has “name recognition in the country. I don’t think he has any base of support yet, although there is a large activist community, especially in Cairo that’s enthusiastic about him. But I think he’s an unknown quality to a lot of people and he ended up speaking for the opposition for the moment probably because he represents sort of a consensus figure and maybe a figure who might be seen as more palatable to whatever outside powers are involved in these discussions at this point.” The American Ambassador and recently appointed Egyptian Vice President Omar Suleiman spoke with ElBaradei today.

Several of the other producers on the show and I have been watching Al-Jazeera’s English feed online for the past couple days (You can watch it here). The network remains off the air in Egypt and Fahim mentioned that state-run television has been painting a very different picture about what is happening in the country. The Internet also remains shut down, but according to Fahim some activists saw that as a boon to the movement, saying “I spoke to several Internet generation activists…and they said once they had to leave their computers alone, once they were off Facebook, once they were off Twitter, there was nothing left to do but go to the streets. And that’s what they did. They sort of credit the decision to cut off the Internet with enlarging the size of the crowds."

The Lopate Show will continue to cover events in Egypt this week. 

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A Picture of Jerry Brown

Monday, January 03, 2011

Jerry Brown was sworn in today as Governor of California for a third time, making him the first governor in the Golden State’s history to hold non-consecutive terms. He was last in office from 1975 to 1983 and his official gubernatorial portrait from that period is unconventional to say the least. I grew up outside of Sacramento and I recall always stopping in front of this picture any time my school would take a tour of the Capitol building. So I asked Leonard, a painter in his own right, what his take on this unusual (and somewhat controversial) portrait is. Here’s his response:

I think Jerry Brown can be commended for commissioning Dan Bachardy to paint something out of the norm for his official portrait. Most politicians (including almost every President) have had their portraits done by hack painters…the kinds of artists who make their livings glorifying the CEOs of major corporations. That said, this painting is not all that inspiring either. So, although I used to be a painter, and wouldn’t want to see any artist denied a chance to make some money, I wonder whether politicians wouldn’t be better served being photographed by a fine photographer (someone other than the Karsh types who were the photographic equivalents of the hack portraitists).

What painter would you like to see commissioned to paint political portraits? Leave your answer in the comments section below!

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Ina Garten on the Art of Cooking

Monday, December 06, 2010

Ina Garten was a guest on today’s show. She had this to say about gender differences in the kitchen:

“I think men tend to approach recipes differently than women. I think men tend to just throw things into pots. And I’m speaking for myself, not all women, but I follow a recipe exactly. Until I decide to change it.”

For me, recipes and cookbooks are more about inspiration than anything else. I tend to avoid the narrow confines of a “recipe” and generally follow my Italian great-grandmother's approach to making food: take handfuls of things and throw them into a pan with ample amounts of butter until whatever you’re making “looks right,” or stall until your guests have consumed enough wine that the dish “tastes adequate.” After all, you’re supposed to have fun with cooking. And what could be more entertaining at a dinner party than the occasional oil fire?

Still, I'm just one male cook and I’m not sure if my culinary philosophy proves Ina's theory about gender differences correct. So I surveyed the women who work on the Lopate Show to find out if they view cooking more as an art or a science:

Blakeney Schick:

When I’m using recipes, which is most of the time, I follow the recipe at least once; mainly because – theoretically – the recipe has been created and tested by the writer and so it should work. Then, based on what I end up with, I may tweak the recipe or throw it in the “never again” pile.

Julia Corcoran:

When I’m making something I’ve made before or that’s similar to a recipe I’m familiar with, I don’t usually follow recipes exactly. Lately I’ve stopped measuring most ingredients because I can eyeball things pretty well, and if I want to add more of one ingredient and less of another, I don’t worry about what the recipe says. But when I’m making something complicated or something I’ve never made before, I usually follow the recipe pretty closely. And with baking, I measure and follow recipes closely—the proportions of things matter more.

Melissa Eagan:

If it’s a recipe I’m doing for the first time, I follow it pretty exactly – especially with baking things. But then I’ll experiment. And if I don’t have a particular ingredient, I’ll use what I have around, instead. For instance, when I’d run out of parsley for veal scaloppini, I “made do” with dill – and it was even better. I find I want to see how the recipe was “supposed” to be and get that right, before I make it my own. But, with baking, since it’s more of a science, I tend to follow the steps.

While this survey his hardly a scientific sampling, the Barefoot Contessa appears to be roughly right—at least when it comes to my co-workers. Fortunately, I never bake for these people.

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Gail Collins on Giving Third Party Candidates a Platform

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Mainly, if you've got seven people, five of whom no-one has ever heard of and will never hear of again, sitting there on the stage, you can’t expect the public to feel that it’s going...


Gail Collins on Yet Another Weird Day With Paladino

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

We have gotten to so many points in this particular campaign that I thought would never hear in a major election. You don’t say somebody is not a good father unless they’ve been arres...


Gail Collins on Political Baggage

Thursday, October 07, 2010

Gail Collins joined the Leonard Lopate Show on Tuesday, as she does every week for How Did Politics in America Get So Weird. This week we probed her on the Connecticut Senate race and...


Gail Collins on John Boehner's Tan, Van Buren's Girdle

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Congress is set to go into recess soon and that means we’re entering the final stretch of the midterm campaign. House Minority Leader John Boehner may have been hitting the press circuit, but he’s also made it clear to the Wall Street Journal he hasn’t been hitting the tanning salon, telling the paper last week that  "I have never been in a tanning bed or used a tanning product." Collins picked up there in the Leonard Lopate Show's latest installment ofHow Did Politics in America Get So Weird?


Gail Collins on Why We Need to Know Christine O'Donnell

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

This is one of the things that voters really want and need to know…not that you need to know that she was on the altar with the witch. But, is this person that’s running who you don...

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Gail Collins on Republicans and "Anti-Colonial" Obama

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

I find it so interesting that so many of the national Republicans are referring to what Obama has done over the past two years as so outside our comprehension, as if he had told every...