Now Cough

Sunday, October 29, 2006


I'm just back from the Third Coast festival, an annual gathering of radio producers who do some incredible work. The festival is pulled together by Chicago Public Radio and it is always inspirational and exciting.

For those not familiar, the festival highlights original voices and producers at the top of their craft..a craft that more and more seems obscure and nacent as commercial radio homogenizes and consolidates sound.

Do yourself a favor and listen to some of the winners. We have them on the Public Radio Exchange:

My Lobotomy This is the incredible story of Howard Dully, one of the many thousands of people who were lobotomized. He and producers Piya Kochhar and David Isay spent more than a year tracing what happened to him (and many like him) and why. He finally confronts his father in one of the most moving and loving moments ever captured. A powerful story of brutality, power, justice and finally reconciliation.

Goat and Cow This is a strange and complex story about watching a goat climb on top of a cow, which leads to the discovery of hundreds of scattered letters on a California rural road, which leads to a mystery and a woman and a very involved detective story. Goat and Cow is one of the segments in a program called Radio Lab. If you have never heard this show we have a ton of them on PRX. Jad Abumrad, Ellen Horne and Robert Krulwich produce the show. It is like no other radio program ever.

Thembi's Diary You can listen to hundreds of stories about AIDS, read huncdreds more and still not get a better picture of the disease and its threat than this. Joe Richman gave a young woman named Thembi a recorder in her native South Africa and she chronicles what it is like to be young and living with AIDS. This story is poweful because you can hear how this disease her case it spreads because she is simply human. Hear how she copes and, most movingly, thrives with love and care and an utter appreciation for each day. Unforgettable.

Between Friends A secret among 10 year olds comes back in adulthood. Crime, abuse, ignorance, confrontation and survival from the fantastic CBC first-person series Outfront.

Kyenkyen Bi Adi Mawu Ann Heppermann, Rick Moody and Kara Oehler produced a series called Sound and Memory about the power of music and connection. This award-winning segment is based on a Ghanian song translated as "Someone Has Done Me Wrong." A young Muslim man says it reminds him of his father, a former ruler in Ghana, and his survival from an assassination attempt.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Join the Club

Well, whether the North Korean nuke was bigger than some say (Russians suggest 15 kilotons) or an embarrassing dud (Jane's Defense suggests perhaps a "pre-or-post-detonation event"), Kim's boys did something underground that rocked the world and a few earthquake detectors.

Regardless, if this one wasn't the big pop we were all expecting the next one certainly will be.

And George Bush will have seen another country enter the Nuclear Club on his watch. He has utterly failed to prevent North Korea from going 'nuculer.'

It wasn't Saddam who had WMDs, it has been North Korea -- with the means, intent, technology and support facilities. This White House has refused direct talks with the crazies in North Korea. Thus, a voice of rationality and moderation has been especially absent from dealing with the Pyongyang megalomaniacs.

Has Bush made the world a safer place? No. The best he can do now is wag a finger at Mr. Kim, as he did in this excerpt from his statement today:

The transfer of nuclear weapons or material by North Korea to states or non-state entities would be considered a grave threat to the United States, and we would hold North Korea fully accountable of the consequences of such action.

Yeah, yeah. And this sort of 'will not stand' talk got us this nuke or almost-nuke blast. What does 'fully accountable' mean? We aren't going to attack North Korea because that would result in Seoul being leveled in about 30 seconds. Sanctions, along the lines of the pressure we are pushing for at the UN, have one the president noted:
...Threats will not lead to a brighter future for the North Korean people.

Axis of Evil. Sounds good until you have to do something about it.

Now what?