Sunday, November 29, 2009

Nov 30 - Dec 4 Programs

Jean’s Pick of the Week: Well, we probably OD’ed on Glen Beck and his pals, but I found last Monday’s program about Fort Hood to be quite stimulating. It made me think hard about political correctness and how it disallows honest questions and, therefore, the possibility of arriving at any real understanding of an event as troubling as the shootings. Why shouldn’t we be allowed to ask hard questions about Islam? Nidal Hasan, however confused and misguided, was obviously at least in part motivated by his religion. I myself wonder what it is about Islam -- its history, its culture, or perhaps a mis-reading of certain passages in the Koran -- that lends itself to acts of violence? When the scandal of priest pedophilia came to light in the media, as a Roman Catholic, I didn’t hesitate to ask hard questions about the Church: was it the doctrine of celibacy in the priesthood, or the worship of the Virgin Mary, or the teachings about sex, that had nurtured this kind of perversion? Never did I think to confuse sexual deviance and the abuse of boys with the fundamental teachings of Jesus himself. As freedom loving people who practice open-mindedness and critical thinking, a vigorous pursuit of the truth is what I would expect, and even demand, from any such inquiry.

Monday: Have you ever made soap? Did your grandmother make soap? Melinda Coss, author of The Handmade Soap Book, taught herself how to make soap and then started teaching soap-making in countries like Tanzania and Nigeria where soap is power!

Tuesday: Half the Sky: Pulitzer Prize winners Nicholas Kristof and his wife Sheryl WuDunn join us to talk about why the oppression of women and girls in the developing world is the single most important human rights issue of our time, and how helping them can radically alter our world. Dr. Tererai Trent, part of the hopeful story Kristof and WuDunn tell, will join us this hour as well.

Wednesday: Traveling the Silk Road: I was in New York City last weekend and had a chance to see this exhibit on opening day at the Museum of Natural History. I still remember the smell of the jasmine, the roses, and the patchouli! My husband was mesmerized by the astrolabe. For almost three thousand years, a web of trading routes connected the civilizations of China, Northern Africa, Europe, and the Middle East, transporting everything from silk and religion to disease across the ancient world. We’ll travel from Xian, the old capital of China, to ancient Baghdad with Dr. Mark Norell, curator of the exhibit.

Thursday: “Finishing the Job”: Obama’s War in Afghanistan: After much pondering, President Obama is expected to announce his decision on sending more troops to Afghanistan this week. Who will he please? Who will he alienate? And how will Afghan people respond?

Friday: The New Moosewood Cookbook: Vegetarianism has been given a shot in the arm of late. if you’re interested in a diet that’s not only better for you but better for the planet where better to go than to the Moosewood Restaurant? Join us and Moosewood insiders Nancy Lazarus and David Hirsch for recipes from the new Moosewood Cookbook, Cooking For Health.

Happy Thanksgiving Everybody! It’s still great to be an American.


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