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MG Show Christmas Special
The little lady with the big (and beautiful) voice, fifteen year old Opera star Holly Stell, Holly's Christmas sang at the lighting of the National Christmas Tree in Washington DC.
The Gospel of Matthew says that the Holy Family fled to Egypt. But what happened for the nearly 6 years they were there? Filmmaker and best selling author Paul Perry picks up their trail in his documentary Jesus: The Lost Years. See the trailer here: www.lostyears-themovie.com
How did 5 monks from Wisconsin create a $10 million internet business? By selling ink and toner without huge markups and giving the money to those in need. Father Bernard McCoy and Sarah Caniglia, Lasermonks: The Business Story Nine Hundred Years in the Making tell their remarkable story. Btw, need any ink or toner? www.lasermonks.com
Enjoy some music from Andrew T. Miller's Christmas Cantata, The Birth of Christ recorded at Christ Church Cathedral in Dublin. Narration by actor Liam Neeson.
Vote for Jesus: When Politics and Religion Collide
Thirty years ago, with the passage of Roe v. Wade, Evangelical Christians entered the political fray. In the middle of it all was Frank Schaeffer, Crazy for God: How I Grew Up as One of the Elect, Helped Found the Religious Right, and Lived to Take All (or Almost All) of It Back. The son of the late Evangelical author and speaker Francis Schaeffer, Frank shares his personal experiences.
"I'm sorry for the part I played in that. I look back with great regret now at the fact that had it not been for my father and I and a lot people we inspired, it's very unlikely somebody like George W. would have been president for eight years."
- Frank Schaeffer
Then ... Jeff Sharlet, The Family: The Secret Fundamentalism at the Heart of American Power investigates the secretive, pseudo-Christian group that operates at the highest levels of government and industry.
Up Close and Personal: Franklin Delano Roosevelt
One of the most beloved Presidents of modern times, FDR lead the country through the Great Depression and World War II. His eldest grandson, Curtis Roosevelt, Too Close to the Sun: Growing Up in the Shadow of my Grandparents, Franklin and Eleanor was three years old when he moved into the White House. He offers a personal view of his famous grandparents.
Then ... When asked what he was reading, Barack Obama said he was reading the book by independent biographer Jean Edward Smith, FDR. With his unique ability to inspire, FDR was a master at politics and became the champion of the common man.
You've heard the expression, "when life hands you a lemon, make lemonade"? Well, Michael Gates Gill, How Starbucks Saved My Life: A Son of Privilege Learns to Live Like Everyone Else made coffee instead. Fired from his high-powered advertising job, he was broke, divorced, and diagnosed with a brain tumor. At the age of 63, he donned the green apron and black cap.
Then ... His oncologist told him to look into hospice care, but Roger Martin, Racing Odysseus: A College President Becomes a Freshman Again beat the cancer. With his new lease on life, he decided to spend a semester attending classes and rowing crew with 18 year olds. At the age of 61, he enrolled as a Freshman at St. John's College in Annapolis, Maryland.
MG Show commentator Victoria Zackheim on second chances.
Answering the Call of Duty
Throughout America's history, brave men and women have responded to the call of duty. During World War II, American operatives Stephen Hall and Howard Chappell were dropped behind enemy lines to sabotage Nazi supply lines. Patrick O'Donnell, The Brenner Assignment: The Untold Story of the Most Daring Spy Mission of World War II
"West Point's motto is Duty, Honor, Country, and I came away with a duty to my country as well. And it is to pay attention to these people who are carrying this burden. Whether you supported the war or not. . I think it's important to pay attention to what they're doing and become involved."
- Bill Murphy
Then ... In 2002, at the graduation ceremony at West Point Military Academy, President Bush laid out his argument for pre-emptive war. Bill Murphy, In A Time of War: The Proud and Perilous Journey of West Point's Class of 2002 tells the stories of the first class in a generation to graduate into armed combat.
The Mysteries of Egypt - Then and Now
How the Great Pyramid was built is one of history's most enduring mysteries. But that puzzle may now be solved. Egyptologist Bob Brier, The Secret of the Great Pyramid: How One Man's Obsession Led to the Solution of Ancient Egypt's Greatest Mystery describes how this question obsessed French Architect Jean Pierre Houdin - And how he discovered the solution.
"As an architect, he said, what made sense was that the pyramid was built from the inside out. … The ramp is inside the pyramid. It’s still there, hidden, after 45 centuries, waiting to be discovered."
- Bob Brier
Then, Egyptian author Alaa Al Aswany, became an international sensation with the publication of his novel, The Yacoubian Building. His latest , Chicago: A Novel is set in the Windy City and shows the complex lives of Egyptian students and expatriates living in America. He discusses modern Egypt's struggle for modernity, tolerance and democracy.
Space - The Final Frontier
President Bush has articulated a new vision for the nation's space program. NASA is moving forward with a new focus for the manned space program: To return humans to the moon, to go to Mars and beyond. Michael Griffin, Administrator, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, discusses the return of humans to space for the purposes of exploration and discovery. Then, in 1972, Eugene Cernan, The Last Man on the Moon: Astronaut Eugene Cernan and America's Race in Space left the last human footprint on the moon. He reminisces about America's heyday in space.
"I started to climb up the ladder, looked down at my footprint down there (on the moon), and I wanted to stay, we couldn’t, but I wanted to stay. I’ve equated it to sitting on God’s front porch. That’s where I had been for three days of my life."
- Eugene Cernan
Live Event -October 7, 2008
President Emeritus Stephen Joel Trachtenberg at George Washington University
As a university president for 30 years, Stephen Joel Trachtenberg, Big Man on Campus: A University President Speaks Out on Higher Education has had to watch what he says. Now that he's stepped down from the presidency of George Washington University, he's able to tell all in a new memoir. From his early education to his thoughts on the future of higher education in America.
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Behind the Veil and on the Runway
Qanta Ahmed, In the Land of Invisible Women: A Female Doctor's Journey in the Saudi Kingdom a doctor, was raised and educated in the UK. She spent two years in Saudi Arabia working at a hospital. She describes the surprising women she met and how they live under oppressive laws.
"This is not a judgment on veiling. Veiling I think is always the choice of the Muslim woman to make. … This should be a personal choice. The objection I have, which is very intense, is to the fact that the question of women’s choice is removed from this."
- Qanta Ahmed
Then ... At the age of 16, Cheryl Diamond, Model: A Memoir took her perfectly proportioned self to New York City to become a high-fashion model. She takes us behind the scenes of the sometimes ugly business of modeling.
Food, Glorious Food!
Half of all Americans are overweight, a third are obese. The South Beach Diet has changed the way America eats by emphasizing good carbs, good fats and lean proteins. Now its creator, Dr. Arthur Agatston, The South Beach Diet Supercharged: Faster Weight Loss and Better Health for Life will change the way Americans exercise.
"The diet debates are over. We’re beyond low-fat vs. low-carb. It’s the right fats, the right carbs, lean protein, plenty of fiber. That’s universally agreed upon now."
- Arthur Agatston
Then, "Think tank chic" Chris Fair, Cuisines of the Axis of Evil, And Other Irritating States: A Dinner Party Approach to International Relations has written a foreign policy book and cookbook in one.
MG Show commentator Victoria Zackheim on the other woman.
And You Thought Your Summer Vacation Was Exotic?
One of National Geographic's first female photographers, Annie Griffiths Belt, A Camera, Two Kids, and a Camel: My Journey in Photographs discusses her travels to remote areas of the globe, often with her two kids in tow.
Ralph Peters, Looking for Trouble: Adventures in a Broken World, has been a lifelong traveler, in and out of uniform. He has experience in 70 countries on six continents, and has a talent for spotting (and enjoying) crises.
"The one thing you will absolutely learn [from travel] is that humanity is endlessly fascinating. I always tell people, that to be a good intelligence officer, is very much like being a novelist. You don’t have to love humanity, but you have to be fascinated by human beings."
- Ralph Peters
We Will Never Forget
There are many unsung heroes from 9/11. Like the former Navy Seal who ran into the flames of the Pentagon over and over again to save his colleagues, or the national operations manager of the FAA Command Center, who, on his very first day closed U.S. airspace and brought over 4,000 planes safely to the ground.
Patrick Creed and Rick Newman, Firefight: Inside the Battle to Save the Pentagon on 9/11 tell the inside story of the fires at the Pentagon. Then...
Lynn Spencer, Touching History: The Untold Story of the Drama That Unfolded in the Skies over America on 9/11 takes us behind the scenes of the response to the attack coming from the air.
Lessons From the Heartland
Pulitzer Prize winning literary critic Michael Dirda, An Open Book: Coming of Age in the Heartland describes his youth in the small working-class town of Lorain, Ohio. Michael Dirda has been a writer and senior editor for the Washington Post's Book World for over 25 years. Then...
After failing at twenty-two other jobs, Barbara Corcoran, Use What You've Got, and Other Business Lessons I Learned from My Mom borrowed money, quit her job as a diner waitress, and started a tiny real estate business in New York City. Today, the Corcoran group is New York's premier real estate company.
What's a Nice God Like You Doing in a Place Like This?
God and religion are invoked in many areas of American society. Including US foreign policy. Madeleine Albright, The Mighty and the Almighty: Reflections on America, God, and World Affairs was Secretary of State during President Clinton's second term. She explains the role of faith in international relations. Francis Collins, The Language of God: A Scientist Presents Evidence for Belief is one of the nation's leading scientists and a devout believer. He discusses his own spiritual journey and the relationship between science and spirituality. Finally, when you think of Las Vegas, you probably don't think of God. Neither did Jud Wilhite, Stripped: Uncensored Grace on the Streets of Vegas when he left LA to become senior pastor of the city's largest church.
"Every American President has invoked God is some form or another. President Bush, however, I think, has made his belief much more a part of American policy than any other - except maybe for President McKinley...."
- Secretary Albright
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Just Some Good Ol' Boys
Two very unlikely Congressmen. As Cooter in the popular TV show The Dukes of Hazzard, Ben Jones, Redneck Boy in the Promised Land: The Confessions of "Crazy Cooter" grew up in the hills of Virginia. He battled alcoholism and became a successful actor, then a two-term congressmen. www.cootersplace.com Then ...
As a child, James E. Rogan, Rough Edges: My Unlikely Road from Welfare to Washington dreamed of going to Congress. He eventually achieved his dream, but on the way had a few bumps on the road. As the illegitimate son of a cocktail waitress and bartender, he was initially raised by his grandparents in San Francisco's hardscrabble neighborhoods. As a young man, he bartended at biker bars and strip joints to pay for law school.
"There’s a disconnect between the people who make television shows – in Los Angeles and New York and those kind of sensibilities and tastes and all that hot, young, what’s new, edgy stuff, and the folks out in the heartland of America who have to watch that crap."
- "Crazy Cooter"
Building a New Middle East
How do we win the war against jihadists and preserve our way of life? Author and terrorism expert Walid Phares, The Confrontation: Winning the War against Future Jihad has written the third in a trilogy of books. He offers a multi-pronged global strategy to defeat jihadism. Then ...
Should America be engaged in democracy building in the Arab world? Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution Tamara Cofman Wittes, Freedom's Unsteady March: America's Role in Building Arab Democracy says that the Arab world is changing rapidly, and the U.S. had better play a part.
"The ideological factions which basically reject democracy as a concept. They’re not shy about it. But they control the microphone. … Those freedom seeking, liberal, democracy forces in the region simply don’t have a microphone. And when they do have a microphone, you’re going to listen to a very different message."
- Walid Phares
Reality Check - Life in Palestine and Israel
In one of the most volatile areas of the world, emotions run high on both sides of the issue. In this show, we bring you a reality check. Saree Makdisi, Palestine Inside Out: An Everyday Occupation describes everyday life of Palestinians living under occupation. He then explains why he thinks a one-state solution is best. Then ....
Gregory Levey, Shut Up I'm Talking: And Other Diplomacy Lessons I Learned in the Israeli Government was a Canadian law student living in New York. Through a bizarre series of events he ended up working for the Israeli mission of the UN, then in the Prime Minister's office in Jerusalem.
"How can the Isrealis have seriously meant to end the occupation and allow the formation of an independent Palestinian state when at the same time they were, and they continue, to actively settle the territory with their own population?"
- Saree Makdisi
New Republic editor at large Peter Beinart, The Good Fight: Why Liberals - and Only Liberals - Can Win the War on Terror and Make America Great Again argues that America shouldn't flinch from its fight against terrorism but include international dialog in its decision making. He explains why liberals are uniquely qualified to fight Islamic jihadism. Then...
Former corporate fraud and racketeering investigator turned investigative journalist Greg Palast, Armed Madhouse takes an inside look at the actors he claims decided the 2004 presidential election, the invasion of Iraq, and who also have already decided who will win in 2008.
Graduation Special - Women in the Workplace
Career expert Nicole Williams, Earn What You're Worth: A Wildly Sophisticated Approach to Investing in Your Career and Yourself is the founder and CEO of Wildly Sophisticated Media. She offers young women a fresh look at the their worth in the marketplace. She explains how to assess your tangible and intangible assets and put it all together to finally earn more money. Then ...
Many women who were brought up to be "nice girls" find themselves over-looked when it's time for promotions. Career coach Lois P. Frankel, Nice Girls Don't Get the Corner Office: 101 Unconscious Mistakes Women Make That Sabotage Their Careers identifies many mistakes women make in the office that are holding them back.
"I don’t know that women understand intrinsically what they’re worth…. And without that fundamental belief of what you’re worth, I think it’s very difficult to get out there and ask for it."
- Nicole Williams
Eyewitness to Genocide - Voices from Sudan
Daoud Hari, The Translator: A Tribesman's Memoir of Darfur narrowly escaped the destruction of his village which claimed the life of his beloved older brother. Instead of taking up arms, he decided to risk his life as a translator for Western journalists. Then...
As a little boy, his mother told him that if the village were attacked, he should run away, as fast as he can. When the Government forces of the North attacked his village, killing and setting homes on fire, seven year old Alephonsion Deng, They Poured Fire On Us From the Sky: The True Story of Three Lost Boys From Sudan ran - as did thousands of children like him. Now in his mid-twenties living in the US, he tells his story.
"We are the people of Darfur. We’re educated or not educated, this land belongs to us. We have the right to live in Darfur and we have the right to go back to our country. And we have the right to [live] in peace in Darfur."
- Daoud Hari
Memorial Day Special - Behind the Front Lines
While flying a mission over Somalia in 1993, Blackhawk helicopter pilot Michael J. Durant, In the Company of Heroes: A True Story by Michael J. Durant was shot down. A fire fight ensued at the crash site and a severely injured Durant was the only survivor. Facing certain death at the hands of an angry mob, he was instead whisked away and held captive for 11 days. This is the personal story behind the movie Black Hawk Down in Durant's own words. Then ...
Former Navy SEAL Chuck Pfarrer, Warrior Soul: The Memoir of a Navy SEAL recounts his eight years in America's premier Special Ops force. He discusses the harsh details of SEAL training - and some of the many missions he participated in, including Beirut, Lebanon and the stand-off during the hijacking of the Achille Lauro. Along with the professional challenges, Pfarrer details the toll his work took on his personal life.
Inside Political Prisons
** Encore Presentation: Originally posted for Week of July 15, 2007
Repressive regimes use prisons and torture to control and instill fear into their populations. In this show, we'll get a glimpse at political prisons from the inside. Marina Nemat, Prisoner of Tehran: A Memoir was arrested, along with thousands of other youngsters by Khomeini's Islamic regime in Iran at the age of 16. She was sentenced to death but was saved at the last minute by one of her jailers. Then, Simon Schorno, Spokesperson, International Committee of the Red Cross describes his experience visiting political prisons around the world and the mission of the ICRC.
"When you're in a place like Evin, there is no future. There's only the present and then you only have the past. So you really rely on your good memories from your home and the way your life use to be before here. And I would have done anything to protect that idea of home."
- Marina Nemat
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Animals: Friend and Foe
Ruth Harkness was neither an explorer nor a scientist but she succeeded in being the first American to bring back a live baby panda. Vicki Constantine Croke, The Lady and the Panda: The True Adventures of the First American Explorer to Bring Back China's Most Exotic Animal discusses the life of this fascinating woman. Then ...
Susan Casey, The Devil's Teeth: A True Story of Obsession and Survival Among America's Great White Sharks documents the ancient creatures that roam the Farallon Islands off the coast of San Francisco and uncovers research that gives new insight into the mysterious life of these predators.
"5 or 6 sharks came up ... in a couple of cases, lifted their head out of the water and bit the corner of the boat - just circling around, it was very surreal. I was stunned because I couldn't believe how big they were. ... they're more whale-shaped than fish-shaped."
- Susan Casey
In 1925, a deadly diphtheria epidemic gripped Nome, Alaska as a ring of solid ice surrounded the coast. A fresh supply of diphtheria serum was desperately needed. Only dog sled teams could bring the serum in from the railway nearly 700 miles away, and they had only a matter of days. Laney Salisbury, The Cruelest Miles: The Heroic Story of Dogs and Men in a Race Against an Epidemic details the courageous efforts of man and dog that saved a town.
Finding Faith (Eventually)
A best selling author, Anne Lamott, Grace (Eventually): Thoughts on Faith took a, what she calls "erratic" path to Christianity. For her, laughter is "carbonated holiness" which she amply uses to express the frailty of the human condition and the grace that gets her through it.
"I don't have an interesting doctrine, I don't have an interesting theology. ... I don't understand the triune nature of God or who shot the Holy Ghost. But I have a relationship with Jesus. And the left-wing, progressive activists of Christianity is where I've cast my lot."
- Anne Lamott
Then, Peter Gillquist, Becoming Orthodox: A Journey to the Ancient Christian Faith was a devout evangelical Protestant. But when he began searching for the ancient Christian faith, he was astonished to find it alive and well in the Orthodox church.
A flamboyant journalist writes about a killing spree - his own. Austrian Jack Unterweger was a celebrated author, journalist and playwright. He was also a serial killer. Author John Leake, Entering Hades: The Double Life of a Serial Killer tells his story. Then, federal prosecutor Stanley Alpert, The Birthday Party: A Memoir of Survival was kidnapped off the streets of Manhattan by gun-toting thugs on his birthday. By building a relationship with his abductors, he lived to tell his story.
"[Jack Unterweger] was a true sadist. His sadistic desires never went away. In fact while he was in prison, without any kind of sexual outlet, they probably hightened. So he gets out of prison, he may have thought, 'I've got a lot to lose now, I will try to keep my sadistic desires in check.' But he didn't succeed."
- John Leake
Spicy Latino Literature
Two of Latin America's most popular writers: Antonio Skarmeta, The Dancer and the Thief: A Novel is the author of the book The Postman that became an Academy Award winning movie. His newest book, tells the story of a petty thief, a master safe cracker and a ballet dancer in Santiago, Chile. Then, Esmeralda Santiago, The Turkish Lover is one of today's preeminent Latina authors. Her memoir continues the story begun in her previous books When I Was Puerto Rican and Almost a Woman. At the age of twenty-one, Esmeralda leaves her family in Brooklyn for Ulvi, an older Turkish man. Over the next seven years, she takes a journey of self-liberation that ultimately leads to her graduation from Harvard University.
"As a writer, I try to be very close to my characters. I'm not there to judge them, I'm not going to teach them anything. And I don't want to prove anything through them to anybody.... And sometimes I'm suprised [at] the things they do."
- Antonio Skarmeta
Special - Live Interview March 27, 2008
Mimi interviews Michael Scheuer, Marching Toward Hell: America and Islam After Iraq at the City of Fairfax Regional Library. He was a CIA analyst for 22 years and head of the bin Laden unit between 1996 to 1998. He argues that US foreign policy in the Arab world is the root cause of Islamic terrorism. This is his third book. The show includes questions from the audience.
"When I describe the grievences that Muslims have against America, I'm simply not saying that they're correct. What I try to operate from is how do we best defend ourselves. And we best defend ourselves by understanding what motivates the enemy. However you define that enemy."
- Michael Scheuer
The Global AIDS Pandemic
Three individuals, who have turned their lives around to educate, advocate and care for those afflicted with the disease. Kay Warren, Dangerous Surrender: What Happens When You Say Yes to God is the wife of Pastor Rick Warren of the Purpose Driven Network. After reading a magazine article, she felt God urging her to get involved. Then, Kate Roberts, Founder and President of YouthAIDS was a successful advertising executive. Ten years ago, she turned her attention completely to marketing to safe behavior to youth. Finally, John Chittick, Founder of TeenAIDS sold his business and walks the globe talking to and educating teens about AIDS.
"Her name was Joanna. She was a homeless woman dying of AIDS - about a week away from death. ... Her picture hangs on the wall of my office. And every single day I am reminded that AIDS has a name and a face. It's personal."
- Kay Warren
Depression and Suicide - In the Belly of the Beast
Depression strikes not just those afflicted but family members as well. Gail Griffith, Will's Choice: A Suicidal Teen, A Desperate Mother, and a Chronicle of Recovery tells the story of her son Will who tried to take his own life while struggling with depression at the age of seventeen. Then ...Ted Courtemanche, The Philosophy of Rich: A True Story of Brothers and Resurrection lost his younger brother Rich to suicide. He chronicles his brother's struggle with Bipolar Disorder and descent into despair. www.philosophyofrich.com
"You don't see it now, Will, but there is a light at the end of the tunnel. ... After seconds passed, he said, 'Mom, if I thought there was a light at the end of the tunnel, I wouldn't be depressed."
- Gail Griffith
Easter Special - The Monastic Life
The BBC television series "The Monastery" involved five non-monks living the monastic life for forty days while TV cameras tracked their progress. It was a surprise hit in the UK. The series host, Abbot Christopher Jamison, Finding Sanctuary: Monastic Steps for Everyday Life says that although the rule of St. Benedict was written 1,500 years ago, its wisdom is still applicable to modern issues and troubles. Then, an American monk and anthropologist, Father Mark Gruber, Journey Back to Eden: My Life and Times Among the Desert Fathers spent a year in Egypt's deserts studying Coptic Christian monasticism for his doctoral dissertation. His research became more of a pilgrimage as he was deeply moved and affected by the intense spirituality of the monks and Christians of Egypt.
"[The program] really had a very big impact. ... I think that it struck a cord that life today has become so manic, so busy, so preoccupied with everything that's unimportant. And yet people have been convinced that they have to be preoccupied with the unimportant."
- Christopher Jamison
Stalin and the Stalinist Dictatorship in North Korea
Behind every inhuman act, there is the all-too-human individual who perpetrated it. This is part of the lesson of the biography by Simon Sebag Montefiore, Stalin: The Court of the Red Tsar on Joseph Stalin. This is the outcome of the author's exhaustive research in newly opened Russian archives and intensive interviews with descendants of Stalin's inner circle. Then ... While the US focuses on the threat of Iran's nuclear program, North Korea is practically ignored. Gordon Chang, Nuclear Showdown: North Korea Takes on the World discusses Stalinist dictator Kim Jung Il and his nuclear program that imperils his neighbors and the world.
"In Russia, (Stalin's) legacy is a poison that prevents the creation of the development of civic society in a normal way. ... And, we see his legacy in Iraq, we see his legacy in North Korea, it's a terrible legacy."
- Simon Sebag Montefiore
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Philanthropy from the Heart
Daughter of oil magnate H.L. Hunt, Swanee Hunt, Half Life of a Zealot became a philanthropist, and later U.S. Ambassador to Austria during the Clinton administration all while attending to the critical needs of one daughter who suffers from mental illness. She is the founding director of Harvard’s Women and Public Policy Program, and president of the Hunt Alternatives Fund. Then, Valerie Sobel, Andre Sobel River of Life Foundation lost her teen age son to brain cancer. She was able to get through it because her family support and resources allowed her to be with him around the clock. She became determined to help single caregivers of children with life-threatening illnesses care for their children full time by relieving their financial burdens.
"It is an unfair advantage that I’ve had because of my money. There’s no question. Which means I have an even greater responsibility for how I use my resources."
- Swanee Hunt
The Search for Truth
Despite much international outrage at atrocities committed in Rwanda or Bosnia, the question remains: how, after the fact, can we help give a voice to victims and their families? For Clea Koff, The Bone Woman: A Forensic Anthropologist's Search for Truth in the Mass Graves of Rwanda, Bosnia, Croatia and Kosovo, it is the dead who can still call out their murderers. She is a forensic anthropologist and has served, since the age of 26, on several UN missions and exhumed thousands of bodies. Then ... Of all the characters of the Whitewater scandal, none served more time in jail than Susan McDougal, The Woman Who Wouldn't Talk - Why I Refused to Testify Against the Clintons and What I Learned In Jail. Ken Starr and the Office of the Independent Council offered her full immunity in exchange for damaging evidence against the Clintons. Her refusal to testify landed her in jail for contempt of court.
Dying to Speak Out
Film maker Theo Van Gogh was murdered in cold blood in the streets of Amsterdam. Mohammed Bouyeri, an angry young Muslim, shot him then slit his throat for making a movie that "blasphemed" Islam. Dutch journalist Ian Buruma, Murder in Amsterdam: The Death of Theo van Gogh and the Limits of Tolerance attempts to make sense of the murder that shocked Holland and the world. Then...
J. Timothy Hunt, The Politics of Bones: Dr. Owens Wiwa and the Struggle for Nigeria's Oil
"We find it most intolerable that we who sit on oil should be one of the poorest, if not the poorest , people in the country ... We, on the contrary, are chased out of our land by oil-prospecting companies and left to languish in poverty." - Nigerian activist Ken Saro-Wiwa, executed by the Nigerian dictatorship in 1994.
Valentine's Day: Matters of the Heart
Frank Sinatra sang that love and marriage go together like a horse and carriage, but its just not that easy. John Gray, Why Mars & Venus Collide: Improving Relationships by Understanding How Men and Women Cope Differently with Stress is the psychologist that first introduced the idea that men and women are from "different planets." In this latest book he shows how we can reduce stress in our relationships. Then ...
The fact that marriage is now based on love between two people is a relatively recent phenomenon. Stephanie Coontz, Marriage A History: From Obedience to Intimacy Or How Love Conquered Marriage explains how marriage has evolved over history and the dramatic changes it has gone through.
"Almost every couple I counsel or coach, they’ll start talking about their problems. And the first thing I focus on is helping them realize that this is not about your partner, its not even about you – its about the effects of stress on you and on your partner."
- John Gray
Stumbling Upon Greatness
Michael Oher was born to play left tackle, but he had barely touched a football by his sixteenth birthday. Raised by a crack addicted mother, his future looked bleak until a wealthy, loving family took him in and set him on a path leading to NFL greatness. Bestselling author Michael Lewis, The Blind Side: Evolution of a Game tells his story. Then... Ken Jennings, Brainiac: Adventures in the Curious, Competitive, Compulsive World of Trivia Buffs is the longest-running champion on the television quiz show, Jeopardy!. He discusses his experience on the show and explores the purpose of retaining so much seemingly meaningless knowledge.
Women and Islam
* An Encore Presentation: Originally posted for the Week of May 13 , 2007
Does Islam condone and institutionalize the oppression of women? Or does it liberate and elevate them? Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Infidel came to international fame following the shocking murder of Theo Van Gogh in Holland. She grew up in a devout Muslim family, but when she fled to Holland, she became increasingly disillusioned with Islam's treatment of women. She eventually rejected her faith and became a member of the Dutch parliament where she fought for the rights of Muslim women. But, Asma Barlas, Professor of Politics at Ithaca College in New York says that the Koran could and should be interpreted and Islam practiced in a way that creates equality between the sexes.
"Each and every time, after the 11th of September when I got engaged in these debates and I would say, 'please let's look at our own faith, let's reflect on it, let's change it,' my fellow Muslims would call me an infidel. And I thought it’s just high time to accept that as a title."
- Ayaan Hirsi Ali
Music on a Mission
Two musicians, both Irish, both working for peace and social justice. OK, their music is a bit different. Tommy Sands, Irish singer, songwriter and social activist grew up on a farm in Northern Ireland. At his house Catholics and Protestants would come to enjoy music, dancing and all around fun. He learned early on the power of music to bring people together and to heal. As one of the premier voices of Irish Folk music, he has been on the forefront of encouraging peace talks in Northern Ireland and has even helped American juvenile prisoners write their life stories in a song. Then, Michka Assayas, Bono: In Conversation with Michka Assayas is a music journalist based in Paris. He sat down with U2's lead singer and discussed his family, music, religion and activism.
"We couldn’t find words to describe or express our feelings at that time. Nobody knew what to say … Words on the wings of music can seep deeper and soar higher and express hurt and pain inside much better."
- Tommy Sands
Science: Hypomania & Erupting Volcanoes
Hypomania is a mild form of the mental illness mania. according to Johns Hopkins University psychologist John Gartner, The Hypomanic Edge: The Link Between (A Little) Craziness and (A Lot of) Success in America, these unusually energetic, and creative people may also account for America's tremendous success as a nation. Then ... The blast of the Mount Vesuvius volcano was a thousand times more powerful than that of Hiroshima. Scientist Charles Pellegrino, Ghosts of Vesuvius: A New Look at the Last Days of Pompeii, How Towers Fall, and Other Strange Connections discusses the last days of an ancient Roman civilization.
"These are the kind of people that either succeed fantastically, or fail fantastically. ... You’re going to swing for the bleachers. You may not make it. But of the people who really make it big, a great number of them have this temperament."
- John Gartner
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