Before Rob Gifford got his current job as NPR London Bureau Chief, he spent six years as NPR's Beijing correspondent. While there, he made the 3,000 mile journey from east to west along China's Route 312. Then he wrote a book about it, China Road. Rob joins us via ISDN from London today to tell us all about his exotic roadtrip, his time in China, and to share some observations about China's present and future role as growing world superpower.
Not long ago, I mentioned there would be some forthcoming pictures of a cute kitten. We had BARCS on, and they brought this great puppy, and hopefully it inspired some people to do something nice for an animal, like maybe adopt one from the shelter. We got this kitten from our neighbors, who obviously didn't have their cat fixed. Maybe they're pro-life.
And now, a serious question, which picture is the cutest? Cast your vote here.
For more info about Jena 6, click on the names below to go to a couple of other blogs that were mentioned during the show today:
Whether or not you agree with Robert Kaplan's politcal opinions and worldview, which are undoubtedly controversial, a couple points are hard to argue.
He's highly influential, not only through his prolific writing, which includes a dozen books and twenty years worth of features and op-eds in everything from the NY Times to The Washington Post to military journals to The Atlantic Monthly, where he serves as correspondent, but also through the role he has played as advisor to the US government and military.
He's a great writer, always conveying a wealth of information in a way that is both literary in style and readable. He does a great job of combining on-the-ground reporting, history, politics, travel writing, and literary references with his own forward-thinking analysis.
That said, you can decide for yourself what you think of Kaplan's opinions. Click here for an archive of his articles for The Atlantic Monthly. His most recent book is Hog Pilots, Blue Water Grunts. I would strongly recommend one of his earlier books, Balkan Ghosts, an in depth look at the tumultuous Balkans.
Leave your comments here to let us know what you think of today's interview and any of Kaplan's writing that you may have read.
Before we get to the cute puppies at 1pm, we'll be taking a look at health care reform. You can never have enough pictures of cute puppies, though. If anyone would like to share any of their own, please feel free. Actually, I should post some pictures of the new kitten in my house that's about 7 weeks old, talk about cute. Check in soon for those. I know everyone has a lot to say about health care reform, not to mention a lot of questions. Today, we'll be discussing different ideas for reform, the possibility of a single payer system, what the presidential candidates are talking about, and much more. So, call or write in with your own thoughts, ok? Thanks. -Justin
September 30, 2007 will mark the 800th anniversary of the great Sufi mystic poet Rumi. A number like 800 deserves more than one day of celebration, so we'll be starting ours at 1pm today with Coleman Barks, who has done the finest English-language Rumi translations that I have read. If you already are familiar with Rumi's tremendous body of work, I don't need to write anything else here. If not, I hope you'll have a chance to hear today's show. There's plenty of Rumi's writing, as well as information about him online, as well. Click here for one good place to start. -Justin
Reporting from Iraq, not everyone's idea of a choice job. Despite the obvious risks, some people wouldn't have it any other way. One of our guests this hour, The Washington Post's Baghdad Bureau Chief Sudarsan Raghavan, has been on with us a couple times before. Last time, his hearing was damaged from a bomb blast in the Green Zone that he was caught in the middle of. I remember him talking about whether he considered leaving Iraq after that, and it sounded like he really felt compelled to stay. Check out his articles here.
Two other reporters are joining us for the first time today, Gordon Lubold from the Christian Science Monitor and Tina Susman from the LA Times. Just click on their names to see what they've been writing.
Hopefully, we'll have an hour today that goes beyond all of the political rhetoric on Iraq last week, from Petraeus and Crocker's testimony to Bush's speech, and helps us gain an understanding of what is really going on there.
I was trying to figure out how to describe our guest for 1pm today, which isn't easy. It seems like he has a lot of pursuits going on, with a common underlying motivation, but not anything that fits into the usual categories. Then I found a mention on this website of an award he won that seems to sum it all up: The Temple Award for Creative Altruism. You can learn more about the award and the institute behind it here. It was the phrase "creative altruism" that struck me, though. That seems to be the common thread in his works, whether doing prisoner outreach, writing books and music, starting the first biodiesel processing nonprofit in his home state of North Carolina, and more, which we'll hear about today. -Justin
First of all, is it just me, or does "General Petraeus" sound like a character from The Aeneid or some other Greek war epic? It's a strange contrast with "Ambassador Crocker."
Secondly, the attention seems to really be focused on him, as opposed to Ambassador Crocker. Maybe Crocker feels slighted, or maybe he's happy to avoid the harsh glare of the spotlight. Either way, here are a couple takes on our willingness to trust military opinion on the war moreso than political opinion: one from the NY Times yesterday and one from The Center for Media and Democracy.
Back to school.. never my favorite time of the year. So, I'm thankful that as students from nursery school to grad school go back to school this time of year, I'm not among them.
That being the case, I wouldn't have chosen to do what author Linda Perlstein did. She spent a year immersed in the life of Tyler Heights Elementary School in Annapolis. Her book, Tested: One American School Struggles To Make The Grade, chronicles the time she spent there. Its focus is on the effect No Child Left Behind, and the increased focus on standardized testing in education, is having on school administrators, teachers, and most importantly, students.
Public education in the US has changed a lot in just the past few years. If you have first-hand experience with those changes, as a student, parent, teacher, or through any other perspective, we welcome your thoughts, as always.
First off today, Iraqi-born, Maryland-residing professor Adil Shamoo joins us to discuss where he would like to see US foreign policy in Iraq go from here. Here's his July 16 editorial from The Sun: "America Should Leave Iraq, But For the Right Reasons."
Then, we'll hear about the long history of struggle for democracy within Iran. Our guests are Janet Afary and Kevin B. Anderson. They are husband and wife, and co-authors of both the book Foucault and The Iranian Revolution: Gender and The Seductions of Islamism and the recent article in The Nation magazine "The Iranian Impasse."
Lastly, anyone been to The Walters Museum lately and seen The Gee's Bend exhibit? Tune in to hear an interview with Louisiana Bendolph and Mary Lee Bendolph, two of the quilters from Gee's Bend, as well as Linda Day Clark, whose photographs from Gee's Bend make up an accompanying exhibit.
Two shows in one blog post.
At noon we'll have our monthly installment of open phones. If you want to get your ideas for discussion in early, comment here and we'll see what you have to say before we go on the air!
Then at one, we'll join in the frenzy of anticipation for the new Harry Potter book, which is going to be out at midnight on Friday. I learned all about how closely guarded a secret this book is being kept until then when I looked into getting an advance review copy. Turns out there's no such thing; I guess they don't need to worry about a lack of publicity. So, it leaves us to speculate about what is going to happen in the last book. We'll also hear some ideas about what you and your kids can read once you've exhausted the Harry Potter collection.
Here's a list of books that were discussed today:
- Harry Potter Series
- Chronicles of Narnia
- Phillip Pullman’s books
- Lion Boy series
- Inheritance trilogy – Christopher Paolini
- Twilight and New Moon – Stephanie Myers
- Coraline – Gaiman
- Wizards Hall – Jane Yolen
- So you want to be a Wizard – Diane duane
- The Great Stalk and Company – Kipling
- The Omen – Terry Prachett
- Good Omens – Neil Gauman
- The House of the Scorpion – Nancy Farmer
- Mercedes Lackey - Tamora Pierce
- Bartimaeus Trilogy
- Lord of the Rings Trilogy
- Mike Lupica
- Matt Christopher
- The Dangerous Book for Boys
- The Spy Handbook
- The Redwall Series – Brian Jacques
- Enid Blyton’s books
- Discworld Series – Terry Pratchett
- Lloyd Alexander’s books
First off, a geography test. Can you find the Eastern Shore on this map?
While much of The Eastern Shore is still full of small towns and farms, places like Kent County and Worcester County have seen large population growth and increasingly widespread development. This hour we'll be looking at some of the concerns accompanying current development projects around the region.
As Jessica is from Ocean City, perhaps she has more to add here.
These pictures will make sense if you listen to the show on Monday, I promise.
This hour we'll have interviews with the authors of some pieces that caught our attention in the papers lately, or in one case, online. If you want to do some homework over the weekend, here's a link to each one:
Parents' paranoia takes toll on kids' health, happiness by L.J. Williamson in The Baltimore Sun
Finished reading the articles for noon and looking for something else to read over the weekend? Read the book that we'll be discussing in the second hour on Monday with author Camelia Entekhabifard. It's called Camelia: Save Yourself By Telling the Truth, A Memoir of Iran.
Camelia was born and raised in Tehran. She has a pretty incredible story about being imprisoned there for her work as a journalist, and charming her way into an opportunity to flee the country after some horrible months in solitary confinement.
Now she lives in New York City and continues her work as a journalist around the world. Just not in Iran.
- Ahmad Khalidi, a co-editor of Mideast Mirror, a London-based daily, as well as the Editor-in-Chief of the quarterly Journal of Palestine Studies.
- William Waack, a newscaster for O Globo, Brazil. He's spent multiple decades as a reporter, editor, and international correspondent for the Brazillian Press.
- Andrei Sitov, the Washington Bureau Chied for the Itar-Tass news agency of Russia.
- and Hugh Williamson, the Berlin correspondent for the Financial Times since 2001.
I'm going to jump in here with a few quick words about this hour's show. I just came out of the studio, where we recorded the interview that will be played at 1pm. The conversation never came around to Paris Hilton or any of the recent political scandals, but it did cover a lot of very interesting ground. To find out the details, you'll have to listen. If you don't catch it at 1pm, just go to http://www.wypr.org/M_Steiner.html. We'll have the audio up there as soon as possible.
We taped the show in advance in case we had any trouble with all of the international phone connections, and to better coordinate with schedules in so many time zones. Since we won't be taking calls as it airs, we're really looking forward to some feedback right here!
(psst....this is Jessica, sneaking in with one for the ladies! )