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The Barack and Milt Show

With Barack Obama

Back in 1995, as he was readying himself for his attempt to get elected to the State Senate of Illinois, this youngish Chicago lawyer (and former community organizer!) joined us to discuss his new book and his attitudes toward various major matters. Having heard him on the air for this hour and a half discussion would you have predicted a “big public career” to come?  Frankly, it did not so strike me. But upon the guest’s departure the program’s producer, an otherwise calm, quite intelligent and slightly cynical recent Yale graduate, excitedly declared, “I don’t know where he’s going but I want to go there with him!!” How much of the Obama to come do you hear in this longish sample of the Obama that was?

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Which Are the Really “Great Books?”

With Mark Bauerlein and Bruce Gans

Those, say our guests,  that are among “the best that has been thought or said.” Our two very well read guests are Mark Bauerlein of Emory University and Bruce Gans of Wright College  who is also the founder of the Great Books Institute. Yes of course, Plato, Machiavelli, Dante, Shakespeare and the rest of that crowd are discussed; but you will be surprised and probably fascinated by some of the other authors who show up and are here quoted and appreciated in a memorable discussion from 2004.

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Why Evolution is True

With Jerry Coyne and Robert Richards

That, as it happens, is the title of a book by Jerry Coyne, one of our guests in this assertive and informative 2009 show. He is Professor of Evolutionary Biology at the University of Chicago. Our other guest, Robert Richards, is in Philosophy of Science at the same institution and both are, among other things, major experts on Darwinian theory. But, say the doubters, how could something as complex as the human eye have “just evolved” rather than have been designed? They explain that one and a great deal more in this noteworthy discussion.

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Jimmy Carter Remembers…..

With Jimmy Carter

..his boyhood growing up in deepest Georgia where all of his childhood friends were black. Whatever your opinion of Carter as President, he was and remains an interesting writer and, frankly, a great talk-show guest. Here he is back in 2000 telling stories from his then-just published book, “An Hour Before Daylight: Memories of a Rural Childhood.” He does, indeed, make the earlier rural south live in this conversation which was much enjoyed by his interlocutor.

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The View from the Center of the Universe

With Joel Primack and Nancy Abrams
That was the title of a major book by Joel Primack and Nancy Abrams. We discussed  it with them in 2006 and went for the very big picture. Primack, of the University of California at Santa Cruz, is one of the world’s leading cosmologists and happens, as well, to be one of the discoverers of “dark matter.” What do you know about the origins of the Universe, about its size and total content, about its future and, incidentally, about the possibility (likelihood?) that there are other universes, perhaps an infinity of them? The facts and possibilities are laid out here as Primack and Abrams make it sing and zing for you!!
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Is the Mind a “Blank Slate?”

With Steven Pinker

The idea that it is (and that experience is the basic influence upon personality) was strongly argued by British philosopher John Locke. The contrary view is that much of what we are in intelligence personality and character is set by genetics. The simpler version of the argument is “nature vs. nurture.”
Steven Pinker, Professor of Psychology at Harvard, is on the nature side and rejects the causal primacy of experience. He lays it all out in a popular book that was published in 2002, namely, “The Blank Slate: the Modern Denial of Human Nature” which we discussed in this, to the host, fascinating program.

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Politics as Show Biz

With Robert Schmuhl

One of the best analysts I know makes a point of never voting! That’s Robert Schmuhl, Chairman of American Studies at the University of Notre Dame. Why does he stay  out of the booth? And why does he view the coming national election as in the hands of the public artists (their art being the one on which Aristotle wrote in “The Rhetoric”) and the billionaire-backed groups that win nominations  and then go on to victory or to falter in the final presidential race?  Schmuhl laid out his overview of modern politics as a form of show biz in his classic work, “Statecraft and Stagecraft” and, in his and his interviewer’s opinion the situation now is far more so than when that book first appeared some years ago.

Insights about the current and rather disheartening political scene abound in any extended conversation with this clear-eyed fellow who keeps his distance (the better to see behind their masks) from the pols and their acolytes. And here is just such a conversation  in which a good time was had by two old friends, the one still learning from the other.

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The Great Tough Guy

With Robert Parker

A message from Milt to all subscribers:

It’s time to open up more communication lines between the host and the subscribers. We may later go to Facebook, Twitter and/or etc. But for now how about good, old fashioned e-mail? Anything you want to say, ask, suggest or assert just send to me at: miltonrosenberg45@hotmail.com

Despite a busy schedule concerned with other projects I will try to respond, at least briefly,  to whatever you send.

With earnest thanks for your interest,

Milt

 

is one way to define Robert Parker who was the master of that literary genre though personally he was a great friend and an always amusing companion. I was lucky enough to know him for many years before his too-early demise and here is one of our conversations which covers a hell-of-a-lot in a mere twenty-two minutes.

 

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The Secret Wars of the CIA

With Bob Woodward

That was the sub-title of Bob Woodward’s book about William Casey who ran the CIA as a war operation. Before Casey’s death IN 1987 Woodward interviewed him deeply and fully and shortly after that published this astonishing account and gave us this rather stunning discussion of the hidden history he had uncovered.

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