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In Please Explain, we set aside time every Friday afternoon to get to the bottom of one complex issue. Ever wonder how New York City's water system works? Or how the US became so polarized politically? We'll back up and review the basic facts and principles of complicated issues across a broad range of topics — history, politics, science, you name it.
 
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(1/10/21) No matter your political leaning, most of us can sense that America is barreling toward a catastrophe of some sort. Drawing upon sophisticated predictive models and more than 150 interviews with civil war scholars, military leaders, law enforcement officials, secret service agents, agricultural specialists, environmentalists, war historia…
 
(1/6/21) Sunset in a Glass: Adventures of a Food and Wine Road Warrior is a collection of true stories from Spanish culinary and travel authority Gerry Dawes, a recipient of Spain’s esteemed Spain's National Gastronomy Award. From sharing tables with icons like Anthony Bourdain, James Earl Jones or Keith Hernandez to sitting down with the county’s …
 
(1/4/21)“Where does Russia belong in the pantheon of nations? What does it see itself offering the world of today and the world of tomorrow,” writes Dr. Matthew Schmidt associate professor of national security and political science at the University of New Haven in his article for the peer-reviewed journal Demokratizatsiya entitled Is Putin Pursuin…
 
(12/21/21) Regular contributor to the show Pete Muroski of Native Landscapes in Pawling, New York is an expert on just about anything you’d want in your garden. He also knows how to get the most out of your gardening experience while respecting the local ecosystem. In this installment of Leonard Lopate at Large on WBAI, Pete talks about the ways yo…
 
(12/20/21) Everywhere we look, corporations and governments are spying on us—seeking personal information about who we are and whom we know. Ad networks monitor our web-surfing to send us "more relevant" ads. The NSA screens our communications for signs of radicalism. Schools track students' emails to stop school shootings. Cameras guard every stre…
 
(12/17/21) In addition to his work on WBAI and WNYC, investigative journalist Bob Hennelly’s writing has appeared in the New York Times, Slate, the Village Voice, the Christian Science Monitor, the Miami Herald, the Chief-Leader, the Detroit Free Press along with dozens of other magazines, online publications and newspapers. In his latest appearanc…
 
(12/16/21) When attorney Chris Hansen discovered that women were being charged exorbitant fees to test for hereditary breast and ovarian cancers, tests they desperately needed—all because Myriad Genetics had patented BRCA genes, he sued them. In his new book The Genome Defense: Inside the Epic Legal Battle to Determine Who Owns Your DNA, attorney a…
 
(12/15/21) Ever since President Ronald Reagan successfully branded government as a dangerous threat, privatization has touched every aspect of our lives, from water and trash collection to the justice system and the military. However, citizens can, and are, wresting back what is ours. The Privatization of Everything: How the Plunder of Public Goods…
 
(12/13/21) As we being to emerge from the pandemic, other crises move center stage—outrageous inequality, climate disaster, desperate refugees, mounting tensions of a new cold war. The abiding motif of our time appears to be relentless chaos. Acknowledging the possibilities for new beginnings at moments of catastrophe, Mao Zedong famously proclaime…
 
(12/10/21) Sibling language experts and regular contributors to the program Kathryn and Ross Petras are the authors of the bestselling You're Saying It Wrong: A Pronunciation Guide to the 150 Most Commonly Mispronounced Words—and Their Tangled Histories of Misuse and the hosts of a popular NPR podcast. In this installment of Leonard Lopate at Large…
 
(12/7/21) Have you ever wondered what really goes on at your insurance provider’s office? Why do your claims get denied? Why are your prescription drug prices so high? How To Avoid Being a Victim of the American Healthcare System: A Patient's Handbook for Survival, the new book by Dr. David Wilcox, offers tips on how to get more from your health ca…
 
(12/2/21) In the 1982 Supreme Court decision Island Trees School District v. Pico, the justices ruled that school officials can’t ban books in libraries simply because of their content. However, attempts to censor syllabi or ban books in one form or another continue to shape our education system. In this installment of Leonard Lopate at Large on WB…
 
(12/1/21) Chemist, artist and industrial hygienist Monona Rossol is the founder of Arts, Crafts and Theater Safety, Inc. The not-for-profit corporation is dedicated to providing health and safety services to the arts. She is also the health and safety director for the Local 829 Union of the United Scenic Artists International Alliance of Theatrical…
 
(11/30/21) In 2005, Gloria J. Romero became the first woman ever to hold the title of Democratic majority leader of the California State Senate. In her new book, Just Not That Likable: The Price All Women Pay for Gender Bias, Senator Romero explores the conundrum faced by female leaders in all fields—expected to exhibit strength and a strong will, …
 
(11/29/21) The history of Africa has long been relegated to the remote outskirts of our global story. What if, instead, we put Africans at the center of our thinking about the origins of modernity? Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism professor and former New York Times foreign correspondent Howard W. French does just that in his new b…
 
(11/23/21) For anyone still experiencing the extended symptoms known as long COVID, health effects from the virus that stubbornly won’t go away, a full recovery is still not in sight months after surviving the worst. In their new book Long Haul COVID: A Survivor’s Guide: Transform Your Pain & Find Your Way Forward, author and COVID survivor Julie L…
 
(11/22/21) The fight over the future of the Postal Service is on. Leadership at the USPS has been handed over to special interests whose plans includes higher postage costs, slower delivery times and fewer post offices. In his new book First Class: The US Postal Service, Democracy, and the Corporate Threat, historian and policy analyst Christopher …
 
(11/19/21)In the beginning, Earth was an inhospitably alien place―in constant chemical flux, covered with churning seas, crafting its landscape through incessant volcanic eruptions. Amid all this tumult and disaster, life began. In his new book A (Very) Short History of Life on Earth: 4.6 Billion Years in 12 Pithy Chapters, senior editor of the sci…
 
(11/18/21) Cancer is a complex, evasive enemy and there are no quick victories in the fight against it. But the battle has been a monumental feat of medical and scientific research and fundraising acumen. In their new book A New Deal for Cancer: Lessons from a 50-Year War, editors Charles Fuchs and Abbe Gluck bring together some of today’s leading …
 
(11/16/21) With unpredictable weather creating a bizarre harvest season up and down the East Coast, our favorite gardening guru Pete Muroski of Native Landscapes in Pawling, NY returns to the program to take your calls. Join us for a discussion on preparing your garden for the colder months while helping insects, birds and other animals maintain lo…
 
(11/15/21) In addition to his work on WBAI and WNYC, investigative journalist Bob Hennelly’s writing has appeared in the New York Times, Slate, the Village Voice, the Christian Science Monitor, the Miami Herald, the Chief-Leader, the Detroit Free Press along with dozens of other magazines, online publications and newspapers. In his latest appearanc…
 
(11/11/21) Retired US Army lieutenant colonel, American University professor, public policy leader and former Republican Senate candidate from Virginia Daniel Gade teamed up with Wall Street Journal Reporter Daniel Huang for his new book Wounding Warriors: How Bad Policy is Making Veterans Sicker and Poorer. Drawing from interviews with dozens of v…
 
(11/10/21) Discovered by director King Vidor when she was a Broadway chorus girl in the production Blackbirds of 1928, South Carolina-born actress Nina Mae McKinney (1912-1967) was still a teenager when she made her screen debut the following year in Hallelujah, Hollywood’s first feature film with sound that included an all-Black cast. Following ra…
 
(10/28/21)Two distinct Americas have always coexisted throughout the history of our nation. In his book American Schism: How the Two Enlightenments Hold the Secret to Healing Our Nation, Seth David Radwell looks at what led us to the raging partisan division we are currently experiencing. From the nation’s original sin of slavery through Jim Crow s…
 
(10/27/21) We don’t vote for federal judges; they’re appointed by the President and confirmed by the Senate. However, public influence has undeniably had a dramatic effect on the Court, it is the wealthy and powerful who have always benefitted from our legal system. Attorney Richard Jacobs’s new book Democracy of Dollars: Where Natural and Constitu…
 
(10/26/21) No one was prepared for what happened when a mysterious respiratory illness emerged in Wuhan, China in January of 2020. Politicians, government officials, business leaders and public-health professionals were seemingly unable to do anything to while the most devastating pandemic in a century ravaged local communities. As Wall Street Jour…
 
(10/25/21) Even by the most conservative estimates, we have a decade or less to radically slow global warming before we risk hitting irreversible tipping points that will lock in catastrophic climate change. The good news is that we now know how to slow global warming enough to avert disaster. In his new book, Cut Super Climate Pollutants Now! The …
 
(10/22/21) Erica Abeel’s new historical fiction novel The Commune is a look at the Hamptons commune populated by the newly liberated women present at the creation of the seminal 1970 Women's March for Equality. Find out what happens when these pioneering feminists find themselves whipsawed between the bold new ideals of the women's movement and the…
 
(10/21/21) Sibling language experts and regular contributors to the show Kathryn and Ross Petras are the authors of the New York Times bestseller You're Saying It Wrong: A Pronunciation Guide to the 150 Most Commonly Mispronounced Words—and Their Tangled Histories of Misuse as well as Awkword Moments: A Lively Guide to the 100 Terms Smart People Sh…
 
(10/19/21) Chude Pam Allen and Robert Allen’s new book Reluctant Reformers: Racism and Social Reform Movements in the United States, an updated edition of the latter’s iconic 1974 title, explores the racism that drove the US political system from the early 19th century to the end of World War II. In addition to a forward by New York Times columnist…
 
(10/15/21) From the early 1980s to the mid-1990s, Bryan Miller was a household name among East Coast foodies as the restaurant critic for the New York Times. Over the course of his decade as a columnist, he dined out more than 5,000 times in eateries around the world. Wine Spectator once called him “the most powerful restaurant critic in America.” …
 
(10/14/21) From the first Women’s March the day after the 2017 inauguration to the Blue Wave in the 2018 midterms or the flood of female presidential candidates in 2020, women from across the ideological spectrum became energized in a way America had not witnessed in decades in response to the presidency of Donald Trump. They marched, they organize…
 
(10/8/21) Companies hold the power to shape our daily lives, the state holds the power to make them fall in line and the people hold the power to choose their leaders. But now, this balance has shaken loose. Through interviews with some of the world’s most influential thinkers and innovative economic and political models, The Raging 2020s: Companie…
 
(10/7/21) Digital technology, big data, big tech, machine learning and AI are revolutionizing both the tools of economics and the phenomena it seeks to measure. In her book Cogs and Monsters: What Economics Is, and What It Should Be former advisor to the UK Treasury and the Bennett Professor of Public Policy at the University of Cambridge Diane Coy…
 
(10/6/21)“Whatever the justification for foreign intervention, the results are the same,” Ian Buruma writes in his Project Syndicate op-ed The Colonial Trap. “Dependency—not just on another state, but on NGOs and other well-meaning institutions that do what governments should be doing—fuels corruption…The colonial elites, bloated with free money, h…
 
(10/4/21) There’s no shortage of false prophets out there serving up misguided dieting advice. Count calories! Cut carbs! Exercise more! Skip meals! Add this powder to your water! Pop a pill! Yet as more people try diligently to follow this advice, waistlines continue to expand. In Supersized Lies, Robert J. Davis, PhD, aka The Healthy Skeptic, sho…
 
(9/30/21) Drone pilots who carry out targeted assassinations, undocumented immigrants who man the kill floors of industrial slaughterhouses, guards who patrol the wards of the United States’ most violent and abusive prisons—in his new book Dirty Work: Essential Jobs and the Hidden Toll of Inequality in America, journalist Eyal Press looks at the st…
 
(9/28/21) US soldiers are stationed in over 800 locations across the world to enforce our country’s concept of the rule of law. In his new book The Spoils of War: Power, Profit and the American War Machine, Harper’s Magazine editor Andrew Cockburn examines the true intentions behind Congress’s adventures in “nation building.” Join us for a hard loo…
 
(9/23/21)The streets of Brooklyn may not be considered ideal terrain for cultivating wine grapes, but what about our rooftops? In this installment of Leonard Lopate at Large on WBAI, Rooftop Reds director of operations Clara Kann and founder Devin Shoemaker join us to discuss their unique approach to winemaking.…
 
(9/22/21) George Washington is said to have remarked that anyone who attempted to provide an accurate account of the American Revolution would be accused of writing fiction. Of course, no one called the uprising from American colonists by that name or referred to the struggle as the Revolutionary War at the time. John Adams insisted that the Britis…
 
(9/14/21) Civil War (or, Who Do We Think We Are), the new film by Emmy-nominated director Rachel Boynton (Big Men, Our Brand is Crisis) considers how Americans tell the story of the Civil War and its legacy of slavery and racism. Join us for a look at our own history in this installment of Leonard Lopate at Large on WBAI.…
 
(9/13/21) You may think the story of human evolution begins following the asteroid impact that killed the dinosaurs. Yet, over the last 20 years scientists have made discoveries that have forced them to rethink that narrative. In her new book, Beasts Before Us: The Untold Story of Mammal Origins and Evolution, palaeontologist and the Leverhulme Ear…
 
(9/10/21) In 1961, at the height of the Cold War, the United States severed diplomatic relations with Cuba. For over five decades, the standoff continued before Barack Obama normalized relations with the island in 2014 only to have the policy reversed by his predecessor. In her new book Cuba: An American History, historian and the Julius Silver Pro…
 
(11/9/21) James Reston Jr. is the author of 18 books ranging from politics to medieval history to science to baseball. In his latest, The Nineteenth Hijacker: A Novel of 9/11, he set out to use fiction as a way of understanding radical Islam and its role in what was a defining moment in the lives of anyone old enough to remember. As the 20th annive…
 
(9/7/21)Although the free jazz movement of the 1960s and ‘70s was much maligned in some jazz circles, its pioneers—Ornette Coleman, Cecil Taylor, Sun Ra, Albert Ayler and John Coltrane—are now acknowledged as central to the evolution of jazz as one of America’s greatest art forms. Documentarian and drummer Tom Surgal’s new film Fire Music examines …
 
(9/3/21) Police officers are nine times more likely to kill African-American men than they are other Americans. Yet, in his new book Presumed Guilty: How the Supreme Court Empowered the Police and Subverted Civil Rights, legal scholar and dean of the law school at UC Berkeley Erwin Chemerinsky argues that the problem goes way beyond racism in law e…
 
(9/2/21) In her new book What About the Baby? Some Thoughts on the Art of Fiction, bestselling novelist Alice McDermott assembles the pithiest wisdom about the act of writing that she has collected throughout her career as an acclaimed novelist and college professor. Join us for musings on the art of creating great literature in this installment of…
 
(9/1/21) Every drug certified by the FDA must be tested using the horseshoe crab derivative known as Limulus lysate. Because of this, a multimillion-dollar industry has emerged involving the license to bleed horseshoe crabs and the rights to their breeding grounds. In the latest edition of his book Crab Wars: A Tale of Horseshoe Crabs, Ecology, and…
 
(8/27/21) Investigative journalist and regular contributor to the show Bob Hennelly’s work has appeared in the New York Times, the Village Voice, the Christian Science Monitor, the Miami Herald, the Detroit Free Press along with dozens of other magazines and newspapers. His reporting has been featured on 60 Minutes and C-Span's America and the Cour…
 
(8/26/21) From the initial discovery of the coronavirus, President Trump refused to take responsibility and encouraged the entire GOP to ignore safety guidelines. In their book Nightmare Scenario: Inside the Trump Administration's Response to the Pandemic That Changed History, Washington Post economics editor Damian Paletta and national health poli…
 
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