As with past years, we conclude 2019 with our annual Heroes and Zeros show with our good friends Brenda Christensen and Dan Tynan.Except this year, we are covering Heroes and Zeros both for 2019 and the decade as a whole.
Dec 11, 2019
Josh Levin is the national editor at Slate and the host of the sports podcast Hang Up and Listen. He previously worked at the Washington City Paper and has written for Sports Illustrated, the Atlantic, GQ, and Play: The New York Times Sports Magazine. He is a graduate of Brown University. The Daily Beast calls his book, The Queen: The Forgotten Life Behind an American Myth (Little, Brown and Company), "one of the most outlandish true crime capers of the season. On the South Side of Chicago in 1974, Linda Taylor reported a phony burglary, concocting a lie about stolen furs and jewelry. The detective who checked it out soon discovered she was a welfare cheat who drove a Cadillac to collect ill-gotten government checks. And that was just the beginning: Taylor, it turned out, was also a kidnapper, and possibly a murderer. A desperately ill teacher, a combat-traumatized Marine, an elderly woman hungry for companionship— after Taylor came into their lives, all three ended up dead under suspicious circumstances. But nobody- not the journalists who touted her story, not the police, and not presidential candidate Ronald Reagan- seemed to care about anything but her welfare thievery. Part social history, part true-crime investigation, Josh Levin's mesmerizing book, the product of six years of reporting and research, is a fascinating account of American racism, and an exposé of the "welfare queen" myth, one that fueled political debates that reverberate to this day.
Nov 12, 2019
Philip Mudd, the ex-deputy director of the CIA's Counterterrorist Center and FBI's National Security Branch, appears regularly on Fox News, CNN, and NPR. He is the current director of enterprise risk at SouthernSun asset management in Memphis, Tennessee.Black Site: The CIA in the Post-9/11 World is a bold account of one of the most controversial and haunting initiatives in American history, Black Site tells the full story of the post-9/11 counterterrorism world at the CIA.When the towers fell on September 11, 2001, nowhere were the reverberations more powerfully felt than at CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia. Almost overnight, the intelligence organization evolved into a warfighting intelligence service, constructing what was known internally as “the Program”: a web of top-secret detention facilities intended to help prevent future attacks on American soil and around the world. With Black Site, former deputy director of the CIA Counterterrorist Center Philip Mudd presents a full, never-before-told story of this now-controversial program, directly addressing how far America went to pursue al-Qa’ida and prevent another catastrophe.Heated debates about torture were later ignited in 2014 after the US Senate published a report of the Program, detailing the CIA’s use of “enhanced interrogation techniques” to draw information from detainees. The report, Mudd posits, did not fully address key questions: How did the officials actually come to their decisions? What happened at the detention facilities―known as “Black Sites”―on a day-to-day basis? What did they look like? How were prisoners transported there? And how did the officers feel about what they were doing?Black Site seeks answers to these questions and more, first by examining pre-9/11 Langley, when the CIA was tasked with collecting, disseminating, and analyzing information related to overseas events. Mudd argues that September 12, 2001, marked an operational revolution, as officials suddenly felt the weight of protecting a nation from a second wave of attacks inside the United States. Re-creating the incredibly tense atmosphere of the time, Mudd reveals that many officials felt an unshakable personal responsibility to thwart another attack.Based on interviews from dozens of officials―many of whom have never spoken out before― Black Site illuminates how the Agency quickly stepped into the process of organizing a full-blown interrogation program. Mudd offers a deeper understanding of how the enhanced interrogation techniques were developed and how intelligence professionals prepared to talk to the world’s most hardened terrorists. With careful detail, he takes us through the process of each legally approved technique, including waterboarding.As compelling as it is revelatory, Black Site shows us the tragedy and triumph of the CIA during its most difficult days.
Nov 8, 2019
A deeply textured and compelling biography of comedy giant Mel Brooks, covering his rags-to-riches life and triumphant career in television, films, and theater, from Patrick McGilligan, the acclaimed author of Young Orson: The Years of Luck and Genius on the Path to Citizen Kane and Alfred Hitchcock: A Life in Darkness and Light. Patrick McGilligan is the author of Alfred Hitchcock: A Life in Darkness and Light; Fritz Lang: The Nature of the Beast; and George Cukor: A Double Life; and books on the lives of directors Nicholas Ray, Robert Altman, and Oscar Micheaux, and actors James Cagney, Jack Nicholson, and Clint Eastwood. He also edited the acclaimed five-volume Backstory series of interviews with Hollywood screenwriters and (with Paul Buhle), the definitive Tender Comrades: A Backstory of the Hollywood Blacklist. He lives in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, not far from Kenosha, where Orson Welles was born.
Oct 15, 2019
Alissa Quart is the executive editor of the journalism non-profit Economic Hardship Reporting Project. She co-founded its current incarnation with Barbara Ehrenreich. She is also the author of four previous acclaimed books, Branded, Republic of Outsiders, Hothouse Kids and the poetry book Monetized. She writes the Outclassed column for The Guardian and has published features and reported commentary in many magazines and newspapers, most recently for The Atlantic, The New York Times, The Nationand The New York Review of Books. She has won the Columbia Journalism School’s 2018 Alumni Award and the LA Press Club Award for Commentary, was a 2010 Nieman fellow at Harvard University, and has been nominated for an Emmy and a National Magazine Award. Squeezed: Why Our Families Can't Afford America (Ecco) is her most recent book. Alissa Quart, executive editor of the Economic Hardship Reporting Project, examines the lives of many middle-class Americans who can now barely afford to raise children. Through gripping firsthand storytelling, Quart shows how our country has failed its families. Her subjects—from professors to lawyers to caregivers to nurses—have been wrung out by a system that doesn’t support them, and enriches only a tiny elite. Squeezed is an eye-opening page-turner. Powerfully argued, deeply reported, and ultimately hopeful, it casts a bright, clarifying light on families struggling to thrive in an economy that holds too few options.
Mar 14, 2019
Miriam Pawel is the author of In The Browns of California, journalist, and scholar. Miriam weaves a narrative history that spans four generations, from August Schuckman, the Prussian immigrant who crossed the Plains in 1852 and settled on a northern California ranch, to his great-grandson Jerry Brown, who reclaimed the family homestead one hundred forty years later. Through the prism of their lives, we gain an essential understanding of California and an appreciation of its importance. The magisterial story is enhanced by dozens of striking photos, many published for the first time.
Dec 25, 2018
CLBR presents its annual year-end Heroes and Zeros episode as guests Brenda Christensen, Denise Howell and Dan Tynan highlight those doing wonderful things on the internet and those deserving a cyber lump of coal. Plus, Bennet announces sadly, it most likely will be our last live broadcast as I have decided its time to move on. Officially, he is taking a break for a few months before finally deciding whether to continue with the show for a ninth season.
Dec 18, 2018
Beth Macy is the author of the widely acclaimed and bestselling books Truevine and Factory Man. Based in Roanoke, Virginia for three decades, her reporting has won more than a dozen national awards, including a Nieman Fellowship for Journalism at Harvard. Dopesick: Dealers, Doctors, and the Drug Company that Addicted America (Little, Brown and Company) is the only book to fully chart the devastating opioid crisis in America: "a harrowing, deeply compassionate dispatch from the heart of a national emergency" (New York Times) from a bestselling author and journalist who has lived through it. In this masterful work, Beth Macy takes us into the epicenter of America's twenty-plus year struggle with opioid addiction. From distressed small communities in Central Appalachia to wealthy suburbs; from disparate cities to once-idyllic farm towns; it's a heartbreaking trajectory that illustrates how this national crisis has persisted for so long and become so firmly entrenched. In these politically fragmented times, Beth Macy shows, astonishingly, that the only thing that unites Americans across geographic and class lines is opioid drug abuse.
Dec 13, 2018
A former reporter for the Charlotte Observer, Pam Kelley has won honors from the National Press Club and the Society for Features Journalism. She contributed to a subprime mortgage exposé that was a finalist for the 2008 Pulitzer Prize for Public Service. She is the author of Money Rock: A Family’s Story of Cocaine, Race, and Ambition in the New South (The New Press). Meet Money Rock. He’s young. He’s charismatic. He’s generous, often to a fault. He’s one of Charlotte’s most successful cocaine dealers, and that’s what first prompted veteran reporter Pam Kelley to craft this riveting social history—by turns action-packed, uplifting, and tragic—of a striving African American family, swept up and transformed by the 1980s cocaine epidemic. This gripping tale, populated with characters both big-hearted and flawed, shows how social forces and public policies—racism, segregation, the War on Drugs, mass incarceration—help shape individual destinies. Money Rock is a deeply American story, one that will leave readers reflecting on the near impossibility of making lasting change, in our lives and as a society, until we reckon with the sins of our past.
Dec 11, 2018
Michael Beschloss is the author of nine books on presidential history, including, most recently, the New York Times bestsellers Presidential Courage and The Conquerors, as well as two volumes on Lyndon Johnson’s White House tapes. He was also editor of the number-one global bestseller Jacqueline Kennedy: Historic Conversations on Life with John F. Kennedy. He is the NBC News Presidential Historian and a PBS NewsHour contributor and has received an Emmy and six honorary degrees. Presidents of War (Crown) is a groundbreaking and often surprising saga of America’s wartime chief executives. Ten years in the research and writing, Presidents of War is a fresh, magisterial, intimate look at a procession of American leaders as they took the nation into conflict and mobilized their country for victory. It brings us into the room as they make the most difficult decisions that face any President, at times sending hundreds of thousands of American men and women to their deaths.
Dec 11, 2018
1 hr 1 min