Playlist: Genevieve's Favorites
Compiled By: Genevieve Sponsler
Hi, I'm Genevieve. I work at PRX and listen to A LOT of pieces. These are some of my favorite pieces from over the years. Random and good.
From Sarah Yahm | 12:13
An oral history of AIDS in Provincetown Massachusetts
Provincetown is both a gay vacation mecca and a small fishing village on the tip of Cape Cod. This piece examines the way AIDS affected this unique small town in the 80's and 90's.
From Jeff Cohen | 02:57
My five year old cut off my three year old's hair. A few weeks later, I decided to interview them and get their explanations. Here's what they told me.
From Kirsty McQuire | 06:15
One woman's philanthropic mission comes full circle.
During the leap year of 2012, Bernadette Russell embarked on a mission to complete 366 Days of Kindness. Her efforts were prompted by the riots that spread through her adopted home town of London and across English towns and cities, between 6th and 10th August 2011.
Bernadette has left sweets in phone boxes, books on trains, £5 notes on buses. She has given away balloons, cakes, flowers and lottery tickets, written letters to a soldier returned from Afghanistan and offered her socks to the homeless. She practiced ‘targeted’ rather than ‘random’ acts of kindness but she says she ‘expected nothing in return.’
Bernadette is now turning her 366 philanthropic experiences into a stage play, in collaboration with Jacksons Lane Theatre in London and with support from Birmingham Rep and Forkbeard Fantasy.
Bernadette has left sweets in phone boxes, books on trains, £5 notes on buses. She has given away balloons, cakes, flowers and lottery tickets, written letters to a soldier returned from Afghanistan and offered her socks to the homeless. She practiced ‘targeted’ rather than ‘random’ acts of kindness but she says she ‘expected nothing in return.’
From The Truth | 10:32
Spin class gets personal.
On this episode of The Truth, we're going to spin class. Warm up that saddle and pick up the pace, as we go inside the imaginations of two very competitive women.
Chet Siegel as Sam
Emily Tarver as Lisa
Ed Herbstman as Kirk
Produced by Jonathan Mitchell
written collaboratively by The Truth, from a story by Chet Siegel
Special thanks: Peter Clowney, Kerrie Hillman, Madeline Sparer and Chris Bannon. Recorded at WNYC and on location in New York City
From Andy Mills | 04:11
A child's Christmas thoughts spring into song.
Sometimes it's an object's imperfections that makes you fall in love with it. And sometimes that object is an escalator.
[For Director's Cut version, go to: http://www.prx.org/pieces/89156-99-invisible-43-the-accidental-music-of-imperfe]
Ever since the industrial revolution, when it became possible for products to be designed just once and then mass produced, it has been the slight imperfections and wear introduced by human use that has transformed a quality mass produced product into a thing we love. Your worn blue jeans, your grandmothers iron skillet, the initial design determined their quality, but it’s their imperfections that make them comfortable, that make them lovable, that make them yours.
And if you think that a “slightly broken” escalator can’t be lovable, then our own Sam Greenspan would like to introduce you to Chris Richards. Chris Richards is a music critic for the Washington Post, and after years of ignoring the wailing and screeching of the much maligned, often broken escalators in the DC Metro, he began to hear them in a new way. He began to hear them as music.
- This story was adapted from one Sam Greenspan produced for his podcast, Whisper Cities, which tells stories of overlooked places and the people who find them.
- The designer of the first DC Metro stations was Harry Weese. Weese’s “Jailhouse Skyscraper” in downtown Chicago was profiled in 99% Invisible #26 by Dan Weissmann. The Metro ceilings may be brutalism at its best.
From Eric Molinsky | 07:47
Every year, a consumer research group surveys the most popular TV shows for liberals and conservatives. Independent producer Eric Molinsky investigates what makes a show Red or Blue, even if it's just supposed to be entertaining.
Have you ever come across a TV show and wondered, who watches this stuff? Who are these people? You might find the answer in a report by a consumer research group on the TV viewing habits of liberals and conservatives. The study doesn’t factor in race, gender or class, just people who self identify as very liberal or very conservative. But some very clear trends emerge. Studio 360s Eric Molinsky was curious what makes a show appeal to one side of the political spectrum, even when there’s no politics on the surface.
Comedy Sketch from Kasper Hauser
From Brendan Greeley | 02:38
Every line in the 2004 State of the Union address that received more than twenty seconds of applause
It's hard not to sound partisan when doing something like this; I timed the applause that followed every line in Bush's State of the Union address and present here only those lines that really got Congress on its feet. I tracked in my own voice reading out the length in seconds of each round of applause. I'm not sure how this reflects on the speech; to be fair, all politicians rely on stock phrases to make people clap; a lot of these could have been said by any President in the last twenty years. Still...
From FM Odyssey | 01:57:43
Music and interview. Denny brings his humor and stories to FM Odyssey and sets the record straight on the real story of the Mama's Papa's with live performances in the studio by Denny and Robin and Eddy
It?s easy to say, in retrospect, that the interview I did with Denny Doherty from the Mama?s & Papa?s, was one of the very best interviews I?ve ever done in my 16 year career as the host of FM Odyssey, but it was! It was a serendipitous moment. It was March of 2003 and Denny came to visit me at the FM Odyssey studios for a 20 minute interview as he was on his way to a recording session in Orlando, FL. While the tape was rolling, Denny received a phone call telling him his recording session was canceled; he looked at me and said, ?I have no place to go? and I said, ?I have so much more to ask about?. And the FM Odyssey retrospective of the Mama?s & Papa?s became history. Without a net, for two hours, the tape never stopped rolling and neither did we! As you listen, keep in mind there were no post production edits. What you?ll hear in this interview is everything, just the way it happened.The connection we had with each other spills out in this show. He was funny and witty and I guarantee you won?t stop laughing for days after you hear this. The real facts about the history of the Mama?s and Papa?s have never been told like this before. Thank you, Denny, for sharing a brief sliver of your life with me.
From Jonathan Mitchell | 58:27
an hour-long audio mosaic about abortion in America
Pro-choice. Pro-life. Most people have already chosen sides in the ongoing debate, so why revisit the issue? Shades of Gray shares a range of stories told by people young and old who have been directly affected by abortion, instead of the polemics of irreconcilable extremes. It's a carefully crafted audio mosaic and a stark portrayal of the intensely personal nature of our relationship with abortion. Originally distributed nationally by PRI in January, 2003 Winner of the 2004 Golden Reel for National Documentary.
PRX homepage image from Shutterstock.
From Robert Karl Skoglund | 01:14
Is our generation just as irrational as the one that burned witches?
Nowadays, a man who cheats on his wife is not considered capable of governing. But a man who consistently lies to his constituents while killing 100,000 women and children will discover that people stand and applaud when he enters a room.
From Center for Public Integrity | 06:38
An investigative report about 935 false statements made by top Bush Administration officials.
President Bush and seven of his top officials made at least 935 false statements in the two years following 9/11 about the national security threat posed by Saddam Hussein's Iraq, an exhausted examination by the Fund for Independence in Journalism and the Center for Public Integrity shows. This orchestrated campaign was the underpinning of the Bush administration's case for war. This report covers the main findings of this investigation into the Bush administration's false statements. It includes comments from Lee Hamilton, co-chair of the 9/11 commission, explanations from Charles Lewis, the founder of CPI, who initiated this investigation, and excerpts of speeches in which President Bush made false statements about Iraq, Al Qaeda, and weapons of mass destruction. Additional audio of Rep. Robert Wexler, D-FL, questioning Secretary of State Condoleezza Rica about the Center's report.
An affliction that disproportionately affects public radio listeners.
VO: It affects scores of people everyday... Vox: I never thought it would happen to me... VO: People all over the country are succumbing at alarming rates... Vox: But then I found myself sitting in my car after I'd put it into park...just sitting there... Vox: I haven't even told my husband about it. Vox: I keep going back... Vox: I keep wanting more... Vox: I think my friends are starting to notice... Vox: But I can?t stop, I need to keep listening... VO: Have you been taking an inordinate interest in the platforms of the presidential candidates? Have you found yourself wondering about whether Ivory Billed Woodpecker sightings are hoaxes? If you recognize these symptoms then you might have Fabu-philitis an affliction marked by increased curiosity in the world around you, sympathy or even appreciation for terrible puns, and slackened interest in Britney Spears. Public Radio listeners are especially susceptible to Fabu-philitis. If you or someone you know has developed Fabu-philitis stay tuned for the number to call. We can't help, but we can ease the guilt a little. Vox: I always thought it was something that happened to other people.
From Jenna Hammerich | 12:26
When you're raised by hippies, anything goes.
From Dmae Roberts | 03:23
Ever try to give your cat a bath?
Dmae records a friend giving two cats a bath during flea season some years ago. When it aired on NPR in the late 80s, cats across America cried out in sympathy....all set to the tune of "Talk to the Animals" from Dr. Doolittle. This piece is a how "not" to instruction on the unpopular art of bathing cats. No animals were harmed in the making of this piece. But it is still cringe-worthy....
From Jake Warga | 13:38
Search for meaning of a friends suicide.
A portrait of a friend, and a personal struggle for meaning. Opens: "It takes four seconds after jumping off the Golden Gate bridge to hit the ocean 220 feet below. Four long seconds. Last October my friend Phil was riding his bicycle over the bridge. Around mid-span, he stopped, took off his helmet?and jumped to his death. One-one thousand. Two-one thousand. Three-one thousand. Four-one thousand... 8min version aired 11/28/05 "AllThingsConsidered" This is the 12min version--all things considered (13:10 with out music). 8min available, but not encouraged. Brother of Phil: http://www.thisamericanlife.org/Radio_Episode.aspx?sched=1061
From The Truth | 10:35
Can coconut cake + random phone calls = love? Find out, when these two Valentine's Day traditions collide.
Elizabeth and Brian are strangers. It's Valentine's Day. They're lonely, as usual. But things will be different this year, when one random call from the phone book and a slice of coconut cake collide. This fictional romantic comedy was originally produced for Weekend America's final broadcast in January 2009.
Original music composed and performed by the producer specifically for this piece.
Sarah Vowell, John Hodgman and Joshuah Bearman on Presidents' Day, along with a fifteen-piece marching band and a new song about all forty-three presidents. (PRX editorial warning for stations: Refers to Bush as current president. Preview before licensing.)
"Like Garrison, John is a terrific writer who succeeds in establishing a strong, funny tone for the program immediately. You want to hear what this guy has decided to tell you, in part because you can't quite predict what he'll say next." -- Chris Bannon, Executive Producer, WNYC John Hodgman's Little Gray Book Lectures -- a mix of readings, songs, discussions, cooking demonstrations, appearances by mascots of professional sports teams and occasional contests -- are praised by the LA Times as "increasingly conspicuous." In this lecture, Sarah Vowell reads from her book "Assassination Vacation," in which she fails to connect with a group of tourists in a Massachusetts bed and breakfast on the subject of Presidential assassinations. Welshman Jon Langford (The Mekons) accompanies her on vocals and guitar. Joshuah Bearman lectures on the subject of Bigfoot and his alleged encounters with President Theodore Roosevelt, and host John Hodgman recounts with love George Washington's wise and kind decision to be our President only twice. As with every Little Gray Book Lecture, Jonathan Coulton will sing an original song, this one about all forty-three presidents, accompanied by a fifteen-person marching band playing "Hail to the Chief."
A Lesson In Social Confusion (Or How I Essentially Became Street Kabuki Performer Entirely By Accident)
From Ryan Scammell | 03:32
A humorous look at awkward social interactions
From Robert Karl Skoglund | 02:01
Old people are surprised when they meet a classmate who is still alive
From Paul McDonald | 03:25
Why is it that I cannot get an Earned Income Credit for my cat?
From Michael Paul Mason | 22:29
A riveting and haunting journey into one of America's most sensational murder mysteries.
The small town of Villisca, Iowa isn't the setting you would expect for one of America's most sensational murder mysteries, but listeners are immediately swept into this century-old story as they tour the town with Darwin Linn, owner of the Villisca Axe Murder House. Not only is the house the site of the grisly murders, but it's also ranked as one of the 50 most paranormal homes in America--and yes, a paranormal moment is caught on tape.
On June 10, 1912, an entire family and their two overnight guests were brutally murdered with an axe, and the crime was never solved. In this suspenseful narrative, we encounter Darwin in a sleepy storefront, and then take a ride with him through the town. We visit the homes of various suspects, including a traveling minister and an Iowa State Senator. As we approach the scene of the murders, we're pulled a hundred years back in time.
Inside the Villisca Axe Murder House, we retrace the tragic killings and its bizarre aftermath. At the same time, we develop an odd fascination with our guide, who confesses that owning the place has changed his world view. Finally, we're brought face-to-face with an eerie, supernatural moment that occurs inside the house, during the interview itself.
The Guardian of the Murder House is an unforgettable retelling of a terrible Midwestern crime, but it also acts as profile of a man whose life is intimately affected by his ownership of the home.
From Julie Bruins | 20:33
There's a Christmas Album for everyone. Even your pets.
Since 1992, Los Angeles musician Mike Spalla has been re-creating Christmas classics using his cats and dogs. Whether or not you think it's tasteful, the Jingle Cats certainly have their fans, as a spate YouTube videos and related paraphanalgia show. Explore the Jingle Cats phenomenon, how it got started and just how these quirky carols are created, and enjoya track from the recent Jingle Cats release, Puppy Holidays.
From Sound Portraits | 28:33
One man's quest to uncover the hidden story behind the lobotomy he received as a 12-year-old child.
On January 17, 1946 a psychiatrist named Walter Freeman launched a radical new era in the treatment of mental illness in this country. On that day he performed the first-ever transorbital or "ice pick" lobotomy in his Washington, D.C. office. Freeman believed that mental illness was related to overactive emotions, and that by cutting the brain he cut away these feelings.... Freeman was equal part physician and showman and became a barnstorming crusader for the procedure. Before his death in 1972, he performed ice pick lobotomies on no less than 2500 patients in 23 states. One of Freemen's youngest patients is today a 56-year old bus driver living in California. Over the past two years he has embarked on a quest to discover the story behind the procedure he received as a 12-year-old child.. A warning: some of the material broadcast in the following documentary may not be suitable for children.
From Hans Anderson | 09:24
When God talks to me, sometimes it means I have to do things I don't want to do
From Tom Tenney | 02:55
"I Didn't Know That" is a sonic exploration of propaganda and state-controlled "truths," created almost entirely from found clips appropriated from public domain educational and US military-training films. Any use of copyrighted material constitutes a fair use as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law.
A three-minute sonic collage created almost entirely from appropriated materials, mostly soundtracks from military training and educational films, for the Third Coast Festival Short Docs Challenge. I’ve included a brief statement of intent below, but my suggestion is to listen to the piece before reading, if you choose to read it at all.
Statement of Intent:
The piece was actually inspired by a Brecht quote about “an inescapable profusion and confusion in the tower of Babel.” I thought that “I didn’t know that” would be a good starting point for an exploration of state-controlled “truths” with the title phrase representing the public’s naive willingness to accept what we now recognize as mistruth and propaganda. I wanted the tension between time periods to emphasize how relativistic these messages are, depending on when we hear them – hopefully the mixing of periods emphasized the relationship between contemporary and dated material.
I originally titled the piece ” I Didn’t Know That: A Triptych” because I tried to create three distinct sections. The first is the monologue of media controlled messages, the second is a dialogue between the messages. The third section actually begins with Brecht himself reading a poem in his native German entitled “To Those Who Follow in Our Wake”, which, in translation, begins:
Truly, I live in dark times!
An artless word is foolish. A smooth forehead
Points to insensitivity. He who laughs
Has not yet received
The terrible news.
From Eric Molinsky | 02:39
The raid on Osama bin Laden's compound, as told through movie and TV clips where life imitates art imitating life.
The raid on Osama bin Laden's compound by US Special Forces felt like a Hollywood movie. Ironically, the terrorists were also fans of Hollywood blockbusters. Didn't they anticipate how those turn out...for the terrorists? Independent producer Eric Molinsky retells the raid using movie and TV clips, where life imitates art imitating life.
A true story. When my best friend broke up with me, I wished her dead. Then she had a brain hemorrhage.
When I was 12 years old, I was the ugliest kid in school. I was the fattest kid in school. I was the kid that didn't even get a Valentine's Day card from the nice Christian kids. And so one day I'm standing in front of the classroom, waiting for class to start, and this girl walks up to me. She says, "You look lonely. I see you every day eating lunch by yourself in the library. I think you should come and eat lunch with me, and my friends."
So begins this true story of my very first best friend. When our friendship eventually exploded, I wished her dead every day for two weeks straight. And then she had a brain hemorrhage. Funny and sad, this real story will resonate with anyone who ever had to go through the perils of seventh grade.
From Jake Warga | 06:40
No matter where you go, the past goes with you
No matter where you go, the past goes with you... In Florez, Guatemala, I come across my mother, even though she's been dead over 10yrs. Aired NPR: All Things Considered, May 6, 2008 http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=90231948 Jake Warga's mother died more than 10 years ago, but he found her on the streets of Guatemala and in a homeless German woman.
From Jake Warga | 10:09
A portrait of Grandma and Alzheimer’s
From Rob Rosenthal | 09:03
An audio composition featuring the foghorn of Portland Headlight.
The drone of a foghorn, a sound that is embedded in the sonic landscape of Maine. We experience the sound of a lighthouse foghorn as a monosyllabic tone played again? again?again? Our listening experience is informed, in part, by our location in relation to the horn and by the rhythm of the drone. What if we were able to break from these constraints and the foghorn was heard at once, from several locations? "Heard: At Once ? Portland Headlight" is the first in a series of audio compositions featuring "remixed" environmental field recordings. In this piece, the horn is heard and reheard simultaneously along with all of the sounds of the "biophony" surrounding the lighthouse: waves, channel buoys, airplanes, birds, and passing ships. The audio was Recorded May 28, 2002 at various points along the rocky shore of Fort Williams in Cape Elizabeth, Maine. This piece aired on WMPG-FM.
From Love + Radio | 13:10
A drunk dial to an ex.
Adrianne sips on some whiskey and imagines a call to her ex-boyfren from high school. Let’s call him “Jason.” Also featuring Brendan Sullivan.
From Andy Raskin | 03:12
Melodies heard on Tokyo train platforms.
87-year old Zelda Kaplan:"I am very interested in fashion. I like to look nice. I still love to dance. My friends are dead. ... So with whom should I go out? If I don’t go out with young people, who else is there?"
Zelda Kaplan was 87 when we met at a bar in Manhattan. It was around 6PM. But her day wasn't ending. Her night was just beginning. After we met for a drink she was off to a fashion show. Then dinner. And dancing at a hot nightclub after that. Its the legend of Zelda. She’ll make you smile.
- The Date: Spring 2003
- The Scene: Irish pub, New York City
- The Source: Minidisc recorder
- The Story: Profile originally ran in The L Magazine.
From Andrew Norton | 04:45
Buck Dietz is a figure model. That means he has to stand naked and completely still for long sessions while artists sketch him. But for Buck, it's more than just standing there. He shares his surprising techniques that make his artform... sing.
In this half-hour radio show, we'll explore Bradbury's terrifying vision of a future without books as we discuss his groundbreaking 1953 novel, Fahrenheit 451.
A world without books. That's something writer Ray Bradbury has imagined and re-imagined for much of his 85 years. As one of the most influential science fiction writers in history, Bradbury's work, more than 500 short stories and 11 novels to date, has helped shape the last half century of American literature and popular culture. The program features Bradbury along with several cultural luminaries, including Orson Scott Card, John Crowley, Paquito D'Rivera, Hector Elizondo, Nat Hentoff, Ursula K. Le Guin, Azar Nafisi, Luis Alberto Urrea and Sam Weller.
If the suburbs had a flag, it would probably have a cul-de-sac on it. But what would it stand for?
From WGBH Radio Boston | 05:56
Writer Jay Allison talks about the events in his life that cause him to rethink his relationship with guns.
Aired on ATC on 7-16-04 In this short "illustrated essay" for radio, writer/producer Jay Allison considers his history with guns and his attraction to them, as a man and as an American. In considering a handgun purchase, he touches on childhood memories, political correctness, responsibilities of fatherhood, myths of manliness, impotence against terrorism, the isolation of divorce, the complexity of patriotism, and Frank Sinatra. No liberal or conservative stand is taken in this piece. It is deliberately ambivalent.
I was sitting in bed reading one night when I heard the strangest sound...
A look back at the year--2003
With the recent execution of Saddam Hussein and the focus on the ongoing war in Iraq contributing to major changes in the balance of power in Congress and in the White House itself, I thought a look back at the beginning of the conflict and the capture of Saddam would be a good companion piece to "A Shortcut Through 2006". History repeating... --------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 2003 was a year full of tension and turmoil as the forces of War & Peace seemed on collision course worldwide and certainly here at home. This retrospective was driven by the emotional climate of the time and inspired by the evolving situations at the United Nations and in the halls of Congress and continued through the patriotic march into Iraq. Featuring George W. Bush, Ossie Davis, Daniel Ellsberg, Michael Moore, Fred Rogers, The Weekend Players, Barbara Streisand, Adrian Brody, Arundhati Roy, Gore Vidal, Natasha Atlas, Harry Belafonte, DJ Krush, Colin Powell, The Dixie Chicks, Donald Rumsfeld, Gov.Arnold Schwarzenegger,
From Public Radio Exchange | 18:32
Sworn in as the 44th president of the United States, President Obama spoke of a difficult journey ahead that may take years to see through. Before one of the largest crowds ever assembled on the National Mall, Obama also touched on terrorism, hard work, and the struggle for civil rights.
I stand here today humbled by the task before us, grateful for the trust you have bestowed, mindful of the sacrifices borne by our ancestors. I thank President Bush for his service to our nation, as well as the generosity and cooperation he has shown throughout this transition.
Forty-four Americans have now taken the presidential oath. The words have been spoken during rising tides of prosperity and the still waters of peace. Yet, every so often the oath is taken amidst gathering clouds and raging storms. At these moments, America has carried on not simply because of the skill or vision of those in high office, but because We the People have remained faithful to the ideals of our forbearers, and true to our founding documents.
So it has been. So it must be with this generation of Americans.That we are in the midst of crisis is now well understood. Our nation is at war, against a far-reaching network of violence and hatred. Our economy is badly weakened, a consequence of greed and irresponsibility on the part of some, but also our collective failure to make hard choices and prepare the nation for a new age. Homes have been lost; jobs shed; businesses shuttered. Our health care is too costly; our schools fail too many; and each day brings further evidence that the ways we use energy strengthen our adversaries and threaten our planet.
These are the indicators of crisis, subject to data and statistics. Less measurable but no less profound is a sapping of confidence across our land – a nagging fear that America’s decline is inevitable, and that the next generation must lower its sights.
Today I say to you that the challenges we face are real. They are serious and they are many. They will not be met easily or in a short span of time. But know this, America – they will be met. On this day, we gather because we have chosen hope over fear, unity of purpose over conflict and discord.
On this day, we come to proclaim an end to the petty grievances and false promises, the recriminations and worn out dogmas, that for far too long have strangled our politics.
We remain a young nation, but in the words of Scripture, the time has come to set aside childish things. The time has come to reaffirm our enduring spirit; to choose our better history; to carry forward that precious gift, that noble idea, passed on from generation to generation: the God-given promise that all are equal, all are free, and all deserve a chance to pursue their full measure of happiness.
In reaffirming the greatness of our nation, we understand that greatness is never a given. It must be earned. Our journey has never been one of short-cuts or settling for less. It has not been the path for the faint-hearted – for those who prefer leisure over work, or seek only the pleasures of riches and fame.
Rather, it has been the risk-takers, the doers, the makers of things – some celebrated but more often men and women obscure in their labor, who have carried us up the long, rugged path towards prosperity and freedom.
For us, they packed up their few worldly possessions and traveled across oceans in search of a new life.
For us, they toiled in sweatshops and settled the West; endured the lash of the whip and plowed the hard earth.
For us, they fought and died, in places like Concord and Gettysburg; Normandy and Khe Sahn.
Time and again these men and women struggled and sacrificed and worked till their hands were raw so that we might live a better life. They saw America as bigger than the sum of our individual ambitions; greater than all the differences of birth or wealth or faction.
This is the journey we continue today. We remain the most prosperous, powerful nation on Earth. Our workers are no less productive than when this crisis began. Our minds are no less inventive, our goods and services no less needed than they were last week or last month or last year. Our capacity remains undiminished. But our time of standing pat, of protecting narrow interests and putting off unpleasant decisions – that time has surely passed. Starting today, we must pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and begin again the work of remaking
America. For everywhere we look, there is work to be done. The state of the economy calls for action, bold and swift, and we will act - not only to create new jobs, but to lay a new foundation for growth. We will build the roads and bridges, the electric grids and digital lines that feed our commerce and bind us together. We will restore science to its rightful place, and wield technology’s wonders to raise health care’s quality and lower its cost. We will harness the sun and the winds and the soil to fuel our cars and run our factories. And we will transform our schools and colleges and universities to meet the demands of a new age. All this we can do. And all this we will do.
Now, there are some who question the scale of our ambitions - who suggest that our system cannot tolerate too many big plans.
Their memories are short. For they have forgotten what this country has already done; what free men and women can achieve when imagination is joined to common purpose, and necessity to courage.
What the cynics fail to understand is that the ground has shifted beneath them – that the stale political arguments that have consumed us for so long no longer apply. The question we ask today is not whether our government is too big or too small, but whether it works – whether it helps families find jobs at a decent wage, care they can afford, a retirement that is dignified. Where the answer is yes, we intend to move forward. Where the answer is no, programs will end. And those of us who manage the public’s dollars will be held to account - to spend wisely, reform bad habits, and do our business in the light of day – because only then can we restore the vital trust between a people and their government.
Nor is the question before us whether the market is a force for good or ill. Its power to generate wealth and expand freedom is unmatched, but this crisis has reminded us that without a watchful eye, the market can spin out of control – and that a nation cannot prosper long when it favors only the prosperous.
The success of our economy has always depended not just on the size of our Gross Domestic Product, but on the reach of our prosperity; on our ability to extend opportunity to every willing heart – not out of charity, but because it is the surest route to our common good.
As for our common defense, we reject as false the choice between our safety and our ideals. Our Founding Fathers, faced with perils we can scarcely imagine, drafted a charter to assure the rule of law and the rights of man, a charter expanded by the blood of generations. Those ideals still light the world, and we will not give them up for expedience’s sake.
And so to all other peoples and governments who are watching today, from the grandest capitals to the small village where my father was born: know that America is a friend of each nation and every man, woman, and child who seeks a future of peace and dignity, and that we are ready to lead once more.
Recall that earlier generations faced down fascism and communism not just with missiles and tanks, but with sturdy alliances and enduring convictions. They understood that our power alone cannot protect us, nor does it entitle us to do as we please. Instead, they knew that our power grows through its prudent use; our security emanates from the justness of our cause, the force of our example, the tempering qualities of humility and restraint.
We are the keepers of this legacy. Guided by these principles once more, we can meet those new threats that demand even greater effort – even greater cooperation and understanding between nations. We will begin to responsibly leave Iraq to its people, and forge a hard-earned peace in Afghanistan. With old friends and former foes, we will work tirelessly to lessen the nuclear threat, and roll back the specter of a warming planet. We will not apologize for our way of life, nor will we waver in its defense, and for those who seek to advance their aims by inducing terror and slaughtering innocents, we say to you now that our spirit is stronger and cannot be broken; you cannot outlast us, and we will defeat you.
For we know that our patchwork heritage is a strength, not a weakness. We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus – and non-believers. We are shaped by every language and culture, drawn from every end of this Earth; and because we have tasted the bitter swill of civil war and segregation, and emerged from that dark chapter stronger and more united, we cannot help but believe that the old hatreds shall someday pass; that the lines of tribe shall soon dissolve; that as the world grows smaller, our common humanity shall reveal itself; and that America must play its role in ushering in a new era of peace.
To the Muslim world, we seek a new way forward, based on mutual interest and mutual respect. To those leaders around the globe who seek to sow conflict, or blame their society’s ills on the West – know that your people will judge you on what you can build, not what you destroy. To those who cling to power through corruption and deceit and the silencing of dissent, know that you are on the wrong side of history; but that we will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist.
To the people of poor nations, we pledge to work alongside you to make your farms flourish and let clean waters flow; to nourish starved bodies and feed hungry minds. And to those nations like ours that enjoy relative plenty, we say we can no longer afford indifference to suffering outside our borders; nor can we consume the world’s resources without regard to effect. For the world has changed, and we must change with it.
As we consider the road that unfolds before us, we remember with humble gratitude those brave Americans who, at this very hour, patrol far-off deserts and distant mountains. They have something to tell us today, just as the fallen heroes who lie in Arlington whisper through the ages. We honor them not only because they are guardians of our liberty, but because they embody the spirit of service; a willingness to find meaning in something greater than themselves. And yet, at this moment – a moment that will define a generation – it is precisely this spirit that must inhabit us all.
For as much as government can do and must do, it is ultimately the faith and determination of the American people upon which this nation relies. It is the kindness to take in a stranger when the levees break, the selflessness of workers who would rather cut their hours than see a friend lose their job which sees us through our darkest hours. It is the firefighter’s courage to storm a stairway filled with smoke, but also a parent’s willingness to nurture a child, that finally decides our fate.
Our challenges may be new. The instruments with which we meet them may be new. But those values upon which our success depends – hard work and honesty, courage and fair play, tolerance and curiosity, loyalty and patriotism – these things are old. These things are true. They have been the quiet force of progress throughout our history. What is demanded then is a return to these truths. What is required of us now is a new era of responsibility – a recognition, on the part of every American, that we have duties to ourselves, our nation, and the world, duties that we do not grudgingly accept but rather seize gladly, firm in the knowledge that there is nothing so satisfying to the spirit, so defining of our character, than giving our all to a difficult task.
This is the price and the promise of citizenship.
This is the source of our confidence – the knowledge that God calls on us to shape an uncertain destiny.
This is the meaning of our liberty and our creed – why men and women and children of every race and every faith can join in celebration across this magnificent mall, and why a man whose father less than sixty years ago might not have been served at a local restaurant can now stand before you to take a most sacred oath.
So let us mark this day with remembrance, of who we are and how far we have traveled. In the year of America’s birth, in the coldest of months, a small band of patriots huddled by dying campfires on the shores of an icy river. The capital was abandoned. The enemy was advancing. The snow was stained with blood. At a moment when the outcome of our revolution was most in doubt, the father of our nation ordered these words be read to the people:
Let it be told to the future world...that in the depth of winter, when nothing but hope and virtue could survive...that the city and the country, alarmed at one common danger, came forth to meet.
America. In the face of our common dangers, in this winter of our hardship, let us remember these timeless words. With hope and virtue, let us brave once more the icy currents, and endure what storms may come. Let it be said by our children’s children that when we were tested we refused to let this journey end, that we did not turn back nor did we falter; and with eyes fixed on the horizon and God’s grace upon us, we carried forth that great gift of freedom and delivered it safely to future generations."
Harry Truman speaks about democracy and faith.
Harry S. Truman was the 33rd President of the United States, serving from 1945 to 1953. Born and raised in Missouri, Truman was a farmer, businessman, World War I veteran and U. S. Senator. As President, his order to drop atomic bombs on Japan helped end World War II. TRANSCRIPT: I believe in a moral code based on the Ten Commandments found in the 20th chapter of Exodus, and in the fifth, sixth and seventh chapters of the Gospel according to St. Matthew, which is the Sermon on the Mount. I believe a man ought to live by those precepts, which, if followed, will enable a man to do right. I don?t know whether I have or not, but I have tried. I believe that the fundamental basis for a happy life with family and friends is to treat others as you would like to be treated, speak truthfully, act honorably and keep commitments to the letter. In public life I have always believed that right will prevail. It has been my policy to obtain the facts ? all the facts possible ? then to make the decision in the public interest and to carry it out. If the facts justify the decision at the time it is made, it will always be right. A public man should not worry constantly about the verdict of history or what future generations will say about him. He must live in the present; make his decisions for the right on the facts as he sees them and history will take care of itself. I believe a public man must know the history and background of his state and his nation to enable him to come more nearly to a proper decision in the public interest. In my opinion, a man in public life must think always of the public welfare. He must be careful not to mix his private and personal interests with his public actions. The ethics of a public man must be unimpeachable. He must learn to reject unwise or imprudent requests from friends and associates without losing their friendship or loyalty. I believe that our Bill of Rights must be implemented in fact; that it is the duty of every government ? state, local or federal ? to preserve the rights of the individual. I believe that a civil rights program, as we must practice it today, involves not so much the protection of the people against the government, but the protection of the people by the government. And for this reason we must make the federal government a friendly, vigilant defender of the rights and equalities of all Americans; and that every man should be free to live his life as he wishes. He should be limited only by his responsibility to his fellow man. I believe that we should remove the last barriers which stand between millions of our people and their birthright. There can be no justifiable reason for discrimination because of ancestry, or religion, or race, or color. I believe that to inspire the people of the world whose freedom is in jeopardy, and to restore hope to those who have already lost their civil liberties, we must correct the remaining imperfections in our own democracy. We know the way ? we only need the will.
Here it is, the latest song in our "Year In Your Ear" series. We're calling it "Someone's Screaming Outside." Trayvon Martin, George Zimmerman, one gunshot and our attempt at telling their complex story using only sounds found on YouTube. Should clear up all remaining questions, right?
NEW! Watch the "music video" (and we use that term loosely) at our series page or at YouTube under MadGeniusBlog.
While working on its debut album, the anonymous vérité pop collective Mad Genius decided to follow the real money with this foray into public broadcasting.
Keeping with what we do best, we're sampling the world's news and audio culture (both professional and amateur) in an effort to tell stories in a way that would make Ira either cry in pain or throw fits of furious envy. Maybe both, come to think of it. We're taking the talking heads and turning them into pop stars, making music with the media and nothing more. The goal is to create an hour-long musical time capsule by the end of the year. That is, of course, unless the apocalypse comes first.
Here's our latest episode. We're calling it "Someone's Screaming Outside." Trayvon Martin, George Zimmerman, one gunshot and our attempt at telling their complex story using only YouTube reaction to the situation. Should clear up all remaining questions, right?
As we write this, we're developing our next track. A little Columbian samba that takes on the Secret Service. Our question for you: Should we be scared? Will M.I.B.'s visit our studio at Mad Manor? Stay tuned...
From 170 Million Americans for Public Broadcasting | 03:30
Roman Mars of PRX's REMIX Radio, 99% Invisible, KALW, Snap Judgment, Third Coast and more explains how Mr. Rogers saved public media... the first time around.
Roman Mars of PRX's REMIX Radio, 99% Invisible, KALW, Snap Judgment, Third Coast and more explains how Mr. Rogers saved public media... the first time around.
From Sarah Yahm | 28:41
a piece about the symbolic meaning of fat in our culture
A fresh and different perspective on the obesity epidemic. Why are we so terrified of fat? what does it symbolize? How are we projecting other anxieties onto fat people and the fat body? In order to answer this question this piece follows Christian dieters, Northern California foodies, and fat activists.
On a summer night in the early 1990s a small group of friends gather for a dinner party in Los Angeles. Just for fun, someone suggests having a séance with a homemade Ouija board.
By the end of the evening, perceptions of reality have been altered, relationships have been damaged, and the guests are forever changed.
Three people who were there tell the shocking, funny, and hauntingly tragic story of The Séance.
On a summer night in the early 1990s a small group of friends gather for a dinner party in Los Angeles. Just for fun, someone suggests having a séance with a homemade Ouija board. By the end of the evening, perceptions of reality have been altered, relationships have been damaged, and the guests are forever changed. Three people who were there tell the shocking, funny, and hauntingly tragic story of The Séance.
From HowSound | 20:45
You'll want to listen twice to Emily Hsiao's conversation with a man who wants his swastika tattoo removed.
Here's what I want to know: On the radio, why don't we hear more conversations with interesting people? Not newsmakers, not academics, not pundits, not authors.... interesting as they may be. I'm thinking of people telling stories about what journalist Walter Harrington calls "the momentous events of everyday life."
Emily Hsiao's radio story, "Leaving A Mark," is just that. On the face of it, the story is a simple conversation between Emily and Bruce Roderick. But, there is SO much more going on. In fact, you should listen twice.
As you listen, keep in mind, this is Emily's second story ever. Her first, and this one, were both produced at the Transom Story Workshop this fall. If we don't hear more stories from Emily -- and soon -- I will personally hunt her down, put a mic in her hand, and make her start interviewing strangers -- her interview with Bruce is THAT good.
Best, RobPS - The Transom Story Workshop is currently accepting applications for the Spring 2013 Workshop. Registration ends January fourth.
PPS - "Leaving A Mark" is not for the feint of heart, even after I beeped all the expletives.
From WLRN | 58:31
20 years ago today (August 24th) Hurricane Andrew turned South Florida upside down. In this hour-long documentary, WLRN uses home videos, archival news footage, 911 calls, personal recollections and even a bureaucratic document from the British consul general in Miami to tell the story of Hurricane Andrew.
The documentary follows two main characters each changed by the storm in their own profound way: Jenny Del Campo, a typical teenager living in southern Dade County and Bryan Norcross, a TV weatherman.
20 years ago today (August 24th) Hurricane Andrew turned South Florida upside down. In this hour-long documentary, WLRN uses home videos, archival news footage, 911 calls, personal recollections and even a bureaucratic document from the British consul general in Miami to tell the story of Hurricane Andrew. The documentary follows two main characters each changed by the storm in their own profound way: Jenny Del Campo, a typical teenager living in southern Dade County and Bryan Norcross, a TV weatherman.
From Whitney Jones | 14:10
Whitney Jones tells his story of losing faith and finding new ways to connect with the world around him.
Whitney grew up Mormon. However, when the Mormon church decided to support Proposition 8 to stop same-sex marriage in California, Whitney walked away from the Mormon church. The comfort of knowing his place in the world and the feeling of belonging were gone. As Whitney looks for new ways to connect with the world around him, he ends up on Nantucket and stumbles upon the house of his great-great-great-great-great-grandfather, Silas Paddack.
From Eve Abrams | 05:30
Costuming is a way of life during the Mardi Gras Season
The Park?s Geyser Guy takes us on a tour.
More than two million people each year visit Yellowstone; it's America's first and most famous national park. The main attraction are the geysers and hot springs. There are 120+ of these thermal features, Old Faithful being the most popular. For 26 years, Rick Hutchinson was known simply as 'the geyser guy' at Yellowstone. He was a geologist, a naturalist, and the world's foremost authority on geysers. He died in 1997, in an avalance while skiing t check some backcoutry geysers. In 1996 producer Barrett Golding went on a tour with Rick Hutchinson through Yellowstone's geyser basins.
From Aaron Henkin | 06:22
An audio tour through the Cat Fanciers' Association's Exotic Cat Show
Remember Christopher Guest's "Best in Show" mocumentary about obsessed dog lovers? Well, this is the real thing --- but with cats. Welcome to an afternoon spent wandering the aisles of the Cat Fanciers' Association's Exotic Cat Show in Baltimore County. This story aired originally during a local arts & culture special on Your Public Radio, WYPR, in Baltimore.
I delivered a pizza one time...
"Generation Putin" is an hourlong special on young people and politics in the former Soviet Union. Embeddable on SoundCloud, too.
It's been over 20 years since the collapse of the Soviet Union. Young people in Russia, Ukraine, Kazakhstan and Georgia are facing unemployment, democratic pressure, and the legacy of repression, while being influenced by the West, punk music, and the Pussy Riot trials. PRX sent a reporting team from the Seattle Globalist to explore the tensions in these countries, described by The Atlantic as 'uneasily suspended' between two political eras.
It's been over 20 years since the collapse of the Soviet Union.
Young people in Russia, Ukraine, Kazakhstan and Georgia are facing unemployment, democratic pressure, and the legacy of repression, while being influenced by the West, punk music, and the Pussy Riot trials. PRX sent a reporting team from the Seattle Globalist to explore the tensions in these countries, described by The Atlantic as 'uneasily suspended' between two political eras.Join host Brooke Gladstone for Generation Putin, an in-depth look at the millennial generation in the post-Soviet states. Embed, stream and share the special and segments on SoundCloud.
Many songs, books, and movies focus on love and romance, but what happens when they become one’s only source for learning? Philly Youth Radio’s Jaya Montague used to love romantic movies, especially Twilight. But recently, she decided that she needed to find better sources if she wanted to end up with her own fairy tale. Here is her quest to find answers.
Many songs, books, and movies focus on love and romance, but what happens when they become one’s only source for learning? Philly Youth Radio’s Jaya Montague can tell you. She’s a junior at the Philadelphia High School for Creative and Performing Arts and she used to love romantic movies, especially Twilight. But recently, Jaya decided that she needed to find better sources if she wanted to end up with her own fairy tale.
From Jake Warga | 13:27
Never before aired! PRX exclusive!
A personal tour through the Holy Land, looking at how the conflict started and what it's like today between Jerusalem and Bethlehem...between birth and re-birth.
Also a slideshow:
A narrated audio-rich trip through the holy land exploring the modern state of Christmas. Between Jerusalem and Bethlehem, between Easter and Christmas, there is a modern and yet ancient wall. In my travels I explore the origins of the conflict, all the way back to Abraham:
"...The name “Isaac” means “He Laughs” His laughter and blood becomes David’s...A lineage dripping with laughter, but blood is mixed with tears. Ishmael, the name, means “He Weeps” The brother of Isaac, the brother of Laughter, weeps to this day...
...In Jerusalem, religions compete to see which can get you up the earliest. Call to prayers from loud speakers in minarets try to beat the roosters. Then come wake-up bells from churches. Not even an Atheist can over-sleep in the holy land. "
From Eric Winick | 15:20
Arriving at her family's storage space in Syracuse, NY, a Brooklyn-based writer and mom is surprised to find the contents far more plentiful and significant than expected. And now, with her four year-old daughter in tow, she has to figure out how to deal with it.
From Claes Andreasson | 59:59
The effects of the nuclear weapons tests in Nevada on people working at, and living downwind from the test site
On September 23, it has been 16 years since the latest U.S. nuclear weapons test. Between 1951 and 1992, the United States detonated a total of 928 nuclear weapons tests at the Nevada Test Site. Starting in the early 1990s producer Claes Andreasson has interviewed people working at, and living nearby the test site. As well as scientists, legal scholars and test officials. "Dirty Harry-When the American Dream Became a Nightmare" is a look back, with added interviews done in 2006. "Dirty Harry" is hosted by Jon Beaupre. Support for the program comes from PRX's Reversioning Project. "Dirty Harry" was awarded 2006 Best Investigative Story by the Los Angeles Press Club. Judges' comment: John Beaupre and Claes Andreasson bring alive the devastating, long-lasting, and tragic effects of America's above-ground nuclear testing program in the Nevada desert of the 1950s and early 60s. Beaupre and Andreasson contrast the horrific experiences of survivors, both at the test sites and those downwind from the mushroom clouds, with the bogus official government assurances that the radioactive fallout was safe. It's a haunting story of cancer, death and the long search for justice in the wake of more than 900 above-ground nuclear detonations. It was an American embarrassment and an American tragedy. But Beaupre and Andreasson do it justice.