Paging Dr. House!

November 27th, 2012

If the debate about healthcare has taught us anything, it is the consequence and impact of unexpected disease. One illness can put us into poverty.  But it can also literally make us crazy. Imagine an illness, a medical mystery at first, that exhibits all the signs of demonic possession, that takes you over the line between sanity and insanity.

That's the story of Susannah Cahalan. She tell us her remarkable story in her memoir Brain on Fire: My Month of Madness .

My conversation with Susannah Cahalan:

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Where are the great woman chefs?

November 20th, 2012

Why are there so few big name woman chefs? How are they different than men in the kitchen? Why have both Julia Child and The Food Network done a disservice to women in the kitchen? Powerhouse food journalist Charlotte Druckman takes us behind the kitchen doors of some of some of the leading female chefs in Skirt Steak: Women Chefs on Standing the Heat and Staying in the Kitchen

My conversation with Charlotte Druckman:

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In France, they do kiss on main street

November 19th, 2012

One of the many, but essential things that separates America and France are their attitudes toward love and sex; or as Joni Mitchell said, “in France they kiss on Main street,”

The French love, love. It occupies a special place in their pantheon of fashion, food, wine and sex. But how did this come to be? How is it that French, culture has come to embrace love in ways that set it apart from so many other western cultures?

Marilyn Yalom, a former professor of French and presently a senior scholar at Stanford, explains How the French Invented Love: Nine Hundred Years of Passion and Romance

My conversation with Marilyn Yalom:

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The changing legal landscape of same-sex marriage

November 14th, 2012

It is, arguably, the civil rights issue of our times. Same sex marriage has also become one of the most politically volatile. It divides red and blue states, most profoundly divides generations and, perhaps more than any other single political issues, attitudes are changing as the recent elections in Maryland, Main and Washington showed us.

While polarized positions on issues like guns, death penalty, healthcare and immigration harden over time, in the case of gay marriage the public seems to be becoming more accepting.   While we still wait to see if the US Supreme Court is going to take up California’s Prop 8, it’s clear that it will hear one of many cases on the issue of gay marriage. Because more than anywhere else the battle is being fought in the courts as well as the political battlefield.

Michael J. Klarman, is a Civil Rights historian as well as  the Kirkland & Ellis Professor at Harvard Law School. He takes us inside the legal battle in From the Closet to the Altar: Courts, Backlash, and the Struggle for Same-Sex Marriage My conversation with Michael J. Klarman:

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The Boys of Pointe du Hoc

November 9th, 2012

On June 6th 1984, Ronald Reagan gave one of his most powerful speeches marking “the Boys of Pointe du Hoc,” who took on one of the toughest missions of D-Day. Now, acclaimed military historian Patrick O’Donnell takes us up close and personal with these men who led the way across Europe.

O’Donnell has collected oral histories and has woven them together as the spine of  his new work Dog Company.  It shall forever preserve the men and their mission.

My conversation with Patrick K. O’Donnell:

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Florida Again

November 5th, 2012

As we saw this past weekend, every time we enter a major election, the politics of voting rights moves front and center. While the methods used and those using them to suppress voter turnout seem to shift with time and with each election, the debate seems as old as the republic itself.

The problem is that in this cynical age, it adds to the disconnect between individuals and whether they think their vote and their voice matters. The current effort at voter suppression is no different and is the subject of a new look by Tova Andrea Wang in her new work The Politics of Voter Suppression: Defending and Expanding Americans' Right to Vote.

My conversation with Tova Andrea Wang:

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The Case for Government

November 1st, 2012

Deep within the American DNA is the faith in rugged individualism. The idea that we are the captains of our fate and that what we accomplish is solely by our own initiative and the sweat of our own brow. The problem is the reality is far different. Much of this is simply because our origin story is so inconsistent with how America works and has worked.

That gap, lies at the heart of political debate in America today. It may very well be what this coming election turns on. Who made that, how do we recover from disasters, how do we solve problems and the role of government in the 21st century

Professor and historian Steven Conn sits at ground zero of the debate, at Ohio State University. He's the editor of a collection of essays To Promote the General Welfare: The Case for Big Government My conversation with Steven Conn:

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