November 22, 2013
Thanksgiving is less than a week away. Whether you're roasting your turkey, brining it or ditching the bird altogether, join us as we share recipes and ask cooking experts for their best techniques and tricks on how to spice up entrees, side dishes and desserts for the holiday season. Also, we share a few recipes for "Thanksgivukkah," since Thanksgiving and Hanukkah overlap this year.
In an historic shift on Thursday, the Senate voted 52-48 to eliminate the filibuster for most presidential nominations. Prompted by Senate Republicans' decision to stall three nominees to the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, the new rules will allow a filibuster to be broken by simple majority. Supporters say the change will eliminate obstructionism. Opponents call it a power grab. We explore the history of the filibuster and the implications of the rule change.
November 21, 2013
In this era of constant distraction, focus is daunting. But psychologist and journalist Daniel Goleman says the ability to focus is the key factor in achieving success, more than IQ or social background. Goleman joins us to discuss how we can cultivate different types of attentiveness, from a narrow focus that shuts out the world to the "open awareness" that is receptive to seemingly unrelated ideas.
November 20, 2013
What do Mel Brooks, Sarah Silverman and Rodney Dangerfield have in common? Besides having the knack to reduce audiences to fits of laughter, they all happen to be Jewish. In her book "No Joke: Making Jewish Humor," Harvard Yiddish professor Ruth Wisse looks at Jewish humorists throughout history. She also explores jokes that border on anti-Semitism, and looks at the different chapters of Jewish humor.
The de Young Museum in San Francisco is now showing the largest exhibit in its history: a 300-plus piece collection of works by British pop artist David Hockney. The exhibit encompasses a range of Hockney's paintings and drawings, as well as his newer explorations creating art with iPads, iPhones and digital videos. Richard Benefield, the museum's deputy director, joins us for a discussion of the artist's life work.
On Tuesday, President Obama briefed Senate leaders on the international negotiations over Iran's nuclear program, set to restart this week in Geneva. Some lawmakers have expressed skepticism about the talks and favor imposing new sanctions. Meanwhile, the rift between the U.S. and Israel over Iran continues to widen. We'll discuss the latest developments in the region, including Tuesday's bombings at the Iranian embassy in Beirut which killed at least 20 people.
The opera "Porgy and Bess" premiered on stage in 1935 as one of the first productions to feature an all-African-American cast. George and Ira Gershwin wrote the music and lyrics to the story by DuBose Heyward, about the love between a crippled man and a drug-addicted woman in the poverty-stricken neighborhood of Catfish Row in South Carolina. The show was later criticized as racist, and has been readapted for modern audiences, most recently by director Diane Paulus. We discuss the history of "Porgy and Bess" and the current run of the Paulus version at the Golden Gate Theatre in San Francisco through December 8.
November 19, 2013
At Stanford University, nearly 45 percent of faculty members for undergraduates are in humanities departments -- but fewer and fewer students are taking those classes. Fewer than 18 percent of undergraduate applicants have a primary interest in the humanities. Schools nationally are seeing more students pick pre-professional majors that they see as having a more direct route to a job after college. Only about 7 percent of undergraduates major in the humanities nationally. That's about half as many as did in the 1970s. We discuss the values of a humanities education and what the downward trend means for schools and society.
When two leading heart organizations released new cholesterol guidelines last week, they included an online risk calculator to help doctors assess whether or not patients should take cholesterol-lowering statin drugs. Now, some experts say the new calculator overestimates heart attack risk, and could lead to over-prescription of statins. We discuss the controversial new guidelines and calculator, and examine the latest research on cholesterol and heart disease.
November 18, 2013
Last week, the California Department of Conservation released a draft of new regulations for hydraulic fracturing. "Fracking," as the technique is often called, is a controversial method of oil-retrieval that injects water, sand and chemicals into the soil. We'll discuss the proposed regulations, and what they could mean for California's economy and environment.
November 15, 2013
Should public money be spent to subsidize sports arenas? It's an old debate playing out in Sacramento. The City Council has approved a plan to build a new arena for the city's pro basketball team, the Kings, using a $258 million taxpayer subsidy. Will the investment pay off in jobs, economic development and civic pride? Or will the city struggle to pay off the costs in the long run, as other cities that have built major arenas have in the past?
President Obama announced on Thursday that millions of Americans who face cancellations of their existing health plans under the Affordable Care Act can now keep that coverage for another year. We examine what the rule changes may mean for California consumers, and take stock of the state's rollout of Obamacare.
November 14, 2013
Harvard neuroscientist and philosopher Joshua Greene has brought a new dimension to the study of morality by scanning the brains of people as they struggle with philosophical dilemmas. Greene argues that humans are hardwired with a "tribal" mentality, an "us-versus-them" perspective that leads to clashes over political and social issues like abortion, gay marriage and gun rights. In his book "Moral Tribes," Greene explores how we make moral decisions, whether we put individual rights above the common good, and how this explains many of the social debates between different groups and countries.
Since 2008, New York Times reporter James Risen has refused to testify in the espionage case of a former CIA official accused of leaking information, saying he has the right to protect his sources. Risen faces jail time after a federal appeals court ruled against him, and he now hopes to take his case -- and the issue of a journalist's First Amendment rights -- to the U.S. Supreme Court. The award-winning journalist has a long history of reporting on government surveillance programs, and has written two books on the CIA.
November 13, 2013
The bloody battles of World War I have been memorialized in classics such as "All Quiet On the Western Front" and through the verse of poets like Wilfred Owen. Now, cartoonist Joe Sacco revisits those trenches with his newest work, "The Great War," a 24-foot long drawing depicting the first day of the Battle of the Somme in 1916, called the bloodiest 24 hours in the history of the British military. Joe Sacco and journalist and historian Adam Hochschild join us to discuss the art and impact of The Great War.
A new poll by State Farm Insurance finds that nearly one in four drivers accesses the web while driving. The four-year survey also shows an increase in older drivers who own smartphones, and that adults and seniors - not just teens - are texting while driving. We'll discuss the findings and ideas to encourage safer driving.
November 12, 2013
On Thursday, literary communities around the world will be hosting readings, listening to music, and eating madeleines to celebrate the life and legacy of author Marcel Proust. This month marks the 100th anniversary of the publication of "Swann's Way," the first volume in Proust's 3,000-page, seven-volume novel, "In Search of Lost Time." We speak to longtime Bay Area journalist and Radio Proust host Larry Bensky about how Proust became one of Western literature's most iconic figures.
Life is a series of murders, lies, and corruption for hard-boiled Russian detective Arkady Renko. Renko is the brainchild of crime novelist Martin Cruz Smith, and the star of his series of Russia-based books, starting with the bestseller "Gorky Park" in 1981. In the eighth book of the series, "Tatiana," the detective investigates the murder of a Russian journalist.
Recovery efforts are underway after one of the strongest typhoons in recorded history slammed into the Philippines on Friday, leaving many residents without food, water or electricity. The southern city of Tacloban was reportedly hit the hardest by Typhoon Haiyan, with some early estimates saying as many as 10,000 people could be dead. We talk about the devastating aftermath and recovery efforts, and hear reactions from the Bay Area Filipino community.