Friday, August 26, 2011

Programs for the Week of 8/29

Jean’s Pick of the Week (watch video): Redeemers: Power Brokers Who Shaped Latin America: Just before going on the air on Tuesday, I got a call from Wisconsin’s former Lieutenant Governor Barbara Lawton who has an abiding interest in the politics of Latin America. She was effusive. “Oh, I just found out that you have Enrique Krauze on your show today. What a coup! He is so great!” And so he was, blazing a path through Latin America’s complicated political and intellectual history, bringing to life the great literary and revolutionary figures from the past whose legacy endures today. Best of all was the overall message: the image of the caudillo that began with Simon Bolivar who famously prophesied, “Out of my grave a thousand dictators will spring,” may very well end with the post-modern caudillo Hugo Chaves. Democracy has taken hold south of the border. Maybe we should pay closer attention. We might learn something.

Monday: The Inter-Species Language of Grief: Ever since her husband lost the ability to speak after suffering a stroke, Diane Ackerman has been grieving. She finds that, out of empathy, her acute sense of loss has connected her with the losses and grieving of others, including animals.

Tuesday: Environmental Degradation as Slow Violence: Nigerian activist, Ken Saro-Wiwa, refused to let the oil industry's disastrous effect on his community go unnoticed. He's just one voice showcased in Rob Nixon's new book urging us to see environmental degradation as a kind of slow violence affecting the poorest in our communities.

Wednesday: Pearl Buck in China (encore): A blond blue-eyed daughter of a Presbyterian missionary, Pearl Buck grew up in rural China amid bandit raids, beheadings and battles, when infant girls were strangled and thrown to the dogs. Helen Spurling's biography looks at the years that shaped Buck as a writer and gave her magic power. (Rebroadcast from July 19, 2010)

Thursday: Rambunctious Nature: Environmentalist Emma Marris says it's time to abandon the idea of preserving nature in its pristine state, and move forward instead with creating the "rambunctious garden," which she describes as "a hybrid of wild nature and human management."

Friday: Odd Bits: When it comes to meat, the prime cuts seem to get all the attention. Australian Jennifer McLagan, author of the infamous "Fat," explores why we shy away from odd bits, from tongues and brains, to gizzards and trotters, their taste potential, and how we can approach them with more confidence in the kitchen.

It’s sad to see summer fade away, especially after such a glorious – and mosquito free – month in Wisconsin. No dog days this August. Happy grilling!


Friday, August 19, 2011

Programs for the Week of 8/22

Nota Bene: Here on Earth is still looking for two new producers. For more information about the openings, please go to our website:

Jean’s Pick of the Week (watch video): The Food We Brought

Monday: Sufism in the West: One of my most memorable interviews some years ago was with Pir Vilayat Inayat-Khan, then head of the Sufi Order of the West, a man who was hang-gliding in his eighties. His son, Pir Zia Inayat-Khan has succeeded him as the head of the Sufi Order International, an organization begun by his grandfather in the early 20th century to bring Sufism to the West. He joins us to talk about how he bends the mystic tradition and inter-faith work to remedy the world’s most pressing issues.

Tuesday: Redeemers: Power Brokers Who Shaped Latin America: Evita PerĂ³n, Che Guevera, Hugo Chavez. Latin America has had its share of strong leaders. Enrique Krauze, one of Latin America's leading intellectuals, brings to life the ideas and figures that shaped a continent.

Wednesday: Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Ever Seen (encore): Journalist Christopher McDougall gathered information about the Tarahumara, a little known tribe of the world’s greatest distance runners who live in Mexico's Copper Canyon and can outlast any animal on earth. (Rebroadcast from 8/17/2010)

Thursday: Mindfulness and Medicine: For patients with life-threatening illnesses such as cancer, it can be hard to find comfort in the face of death. Susan Bauer-Wu and Elana Rosenbaum, who both encountered cancer in their personal lives, are medical professionals who teach the practice of mindfulness as a way for patients to rediscover strength and serenity.

Friday: We All Scream for Ice Cream: Be it soft-serve, gelato, Indian kulfi or Isreali glida, some form of ice cream treat can be found throughout the world in restaurants and home freezers. Ice cream’s story is a tale populated with Chinese emperors, English kings, Italian hokey-pokey street vendors and a gourmand American First Lady.

Nobody can say we're not eclectic!


Friday, August 12, 2011

Programs for the Week of 8/15

Applications for our two openings for Here on Earth producers are beginning to trickle in. Please go to

Jean’s Pick of the Week (watch video): Robert Jay Lifton's Life of Listening: What I liked this week is the way Robert Jay Lifton's perspective on the psychology of war connected to Helen Benedict's expose of what it’s like to be an American woman in combat, and that program led, in turn to Pumla Gobodo-Madikezela's extraordinary exploration of the power of forgiveness in post-apartheid South Africa. Honest, folks, we didn't plan it that way!

Monday: Who Are We?: Gary Younge is a black British male of Caribbean descent who speaks Russian and French and lives the United States. So who is he? Better yet, who are we? We'll discuss the influence of identity in our lives and in our world, and we'll try to discern when its influence is a problem and when it's not.

Tuesday: Elvis Lives!: As of today, the 34th anniversary of the death of the King of Rock n Roll, there are 200,000 Elvis impersonators worldwide, from Mexico's El Vez to Japan’s Yasuma Mori who sings about his blue suede kimono.

Wednesday: Forbidden Lessons in a Kabul Guesthouse: To help the Afghan people, Suraya Sadeed made many harrowing attempts to traffic cash and supplies under the noses of Iranian border guards, drug runners, and suicide bombers. She concealed an estimated $100,000 in U.S. cash by strapping it to her stomach and feigning pregnancy while slipping past the Taliban.

Thursday: Global Word Play (encore): How many ways are there to say "believe me" in the world? In English, we say "I'm not pulling your leg." In Russian, the phrase is "I'm not hanging noodles from your ear." We’re reaching back to 2009 for this incredibly fun hour with author Jag Bhalla about the amusing ways different cultures describe their world. (Rebroadcast from June 24, 2009)

Friday: TBA:

Lori will be filling in for me this Friday while I am at the Christine Center's Interfaith Retreat about the 13th century encounter that took place between St. Francis of Assisi and the Sultan Malak-al Kamil. Rich stuff. I call it l. Rich stuff. I call it "champagne for the soul."


Friday, August 5, 2011

Programs for the Week of 8/8

***Announcing two Here on Earth producer openings:******
We currently have two producer positions open on Here on Earth: one is three-quarter time with benefits and academic staff status; the other is a half-time position with no benefits but the possibility of a future upgrade. If any of you are interested in applying, or know someone who might be, please go to the above links for full descriptions of both positions, or email me directly: We are very sorry to be losing our excellent Here on Earth producers, Carly Yuenger and Dominique Haller, within a month of each other, and are anxious to find their replacements. Please help us spread the word. Here on Earth is committed to bringing good news of the earth and its people, to fostering cross-cultural understanding and to encouraging world citizenship. Plus, we have a lot of fun.

Jean’s Pick of the Week (watch video): Norway Responds to Terror: Kudos to ace producer Carly Yuenger who snagged former Norwegian Prime Minister Bondevik for today’s show. A better guest to suss out Norway’s extraordinary response to its recent homegrown terror attacks I cannot imagine. As the founder and president of Norway’s Oslo Center for Peace and Human Rights, he was able to give real perspective and depth to his country’s long record on human rights and commitment to openness and freedom. We’ll see what kind of compromises Norway may have to make in the future, but so far, they are inspiring.

Monday: Ramadan: The Feast and the Fast (encore): Since Ramadan began last Monday, which represents a particular hardship for American Muslims, we thought you might enjoy learning about how different the experience of Ramadan can be depending on where you happen to find yourself. Compare fasting here in America in the heat of long summer days to countries like Syria where everyone sleeps all day and feasts all night (unless they happen to be under siege, of course). (Rebroadcast from September 1, 2009)

Tuesday: Robert Jay Lifton's Life of Listening: In his new memoir, psycho-historian Robert Jay Lifton says that he's spent most of his life listening. From talking to victims of Chinese thought reform, to Japanese survivors of Hiroshima, to Nazi doctors, he bore witness to some of the 20th century’s darkest moments and responded with hope and activism.

Wednesday: Sand Queen: In the process of interviewing women veterans of the Iraq war for her book, The Lonely Soldier, Helen Benedict noticed that when questioned about their experiences with sexual harassment, many of these women remained silent. So Helen decided to write the novel SAND QUEEN to give voice to the unspeakable.

Thursday: The Power of Forgiveness: What is it about expressions of remorse and apology that open the door to forgiveness? Few people are better suited to exploring this question than Pumla Gobodo-Madikizela, a psychologist and commissioner for South Africa's Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

Friday: Rooster Sauce: "Rooster Sauce," as Sriracha (rhymes with Feraca but no relation) is commonly known, can be found in the home, at the corner diner, and behind the scenes in some of America's top restaurants. You'll enjoy exploring the endless possibilities of cooking with this favorite hot sauce with Lori Skelton sitting in for me while I set out for the Christine Center to facilitate this year's Interfaith Retreat with Sufi master Jamal Rahman and Wheaton Franciscan Gabrielle Uhlein. (see last Tuesday's show: Francis and the Sultan – also my favorite.)

For more information about Francis and The Sultan, go to or just call 715-267-7507. I hope to see you there August 12-14. The Christine Center is a very special place of pilgrimage and hermitage set deep in the heart of Wisconsin’s Amish country and I am particularly excited about this year’s timely retreat with Jamal and Gabrielle, two people alive with joy. Come if you can. Dance and sing.