Friday, August 05, 2005

Ruth's Morning Edition Report

Ruth: Thursday morning on NPR's Morning Edition, there was a segment that actually surprised me because it was a strong one.

Rick Santorum, 'It Takes a Family'

Morning Edition, August 4, 2005 · Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA) is one of the Republican Party's strongest and most conservative voices. He talks about his new book, It Takes a Family, where he discusses the politics of intelligent design, and what he'd like to hear from Supreme Court nominee John Roberts.

Gaskateer Steve [Inskeep] isn't anyone I expect anything from at this point. So as Rick Santorum was brought on to push his book, a response to Hillary Clinton's It Takes a Village in title if not in execution, Tracey and I were both rolling our eyes. If my grandson's diaper didn't need changing, I would've sworn the odor was coming from the speakers.

So imagine my surprise when, after Senator Santorum went on at great length about what a victim he is, Steve pointed out the obvious -- Senator Santorum is in the Senate, he's considered a powerful person so this talk of victimizing seems a bit overdone.

Now Steve could have gone through and picked apart each "fact" that Santorum offered and maybe he should have. But I was very surprised that Steve would point out the obvious. I don't know how it played out to others listening but Tracey and I were quite pleased with the interview for that reason. It was almost worth listening to the Senator list all the names he's been called. Well, not quite all, he was very selective in the list he was supposedly reading from. For instance, "tax cheat" wasn't on the list despite the fact that there are questions around the issue of his children's schools. He also didn't list "Man-On-Dog Santorum." He probably couldn't list that one because he was attempting to provide the kinder and gentler side and insist that he's never attacked anyone so it wouldn't have been wise to offer a nickname that refutes that claim.

I was honestly impressed with Steve. Maybe my expectations are so low with regards to him?

After Morning Edition, Tracey and I decided to catch WBAI via online stream due to the fact that community member Jonah and Micah have been noting it. WBAI is a Pacifica station broadcasting out of New York City. When we tuned in Democracy Now! was starting. I've grown so used to watching Democracy Now! on television, that I kept finding myself turning around to look at the TV screen to check, for instance, Joseph Wilson's facial expression.

The program after was First Voices which was a pleasure to listen to. Here's a description of the show:

First Voices brings to the airwaves the experiences, perspectives and struggles of Indigenous people who have been almost totally excluded from both mainstream and progressive, alternative media. Our purpose is to help ensure the continuance and survival of Indigenous cultures and Nations by letting the People tell their own story, in their own words, and often in their own languages and ways of speaking. And with as little outside interference and interruption as possible.
As we open up the airwaves week after week to the voices seldom heard in the last 511 years, it is our hope that the newcomers to this Land - that is, every immigrant group - will begin to question their assumptions about Indigenous people here. We hope they become educated and informed, get activated, break down their romanticization, break free of their stereotypes, and begin to form real relationships with Indigenous communities based, finally, on respect and real understanding.
This one hour is devoted to bringing the voices of the Indigenous Peoples of Turtle Island (i.e., North America) and connecting their struggles with those of other Indigenous Peoples around the world. And while never forgetting that standing upon Mother Earth is a great responsibility.
We ask our guests with great respect to do the honor of coming on the program to offer their knowledge, wisdom, and experience, a knowledge that has been handed down over hundreds of thousands of years. It is a responsibility we take very seriously, and we know it is with great urgency that we ask these voices to be shared in this time of changes. We hope we offer our listeners a perspective they have been missing for far too long. The voice America has tried to silence, the voices of Indigenous Peoples.
Tiokasin knows that First Voices Indigenous Radio belongs to all the Native Peoples here in Turtle Island (renamed North America by the occupiers). The responsibilities that can be taught by listening to the real land owners(so to speak) and understanding the knowledge, the wisdom, the struggles, and the unheard voices .
It is said that if the lies continue about Native peoples it will create an illusion that all Americans will dearly pay for in the future...and the future is now. What kind of world are Americans creating with their priviledge of denying Native people's voice and the reality of truth that Natives experience daily.
Tiokasin's global perspective reality is the experience of living with and understanding these two worlds - Indigenous and non-Indigenous. The teachings of the Lakota are profoundS.and relevant in the universe today! Lakota knowledge empowers through inclusion, by teaching responsibility of choices. This contributes to an emerging world, affecting the environmental/Mother Earth issues we as human beings ponder when it comes to what it means to be civilized.

The main issue discussed was a same-sex couple, Native American, and their struggle to have their relationship recognized. They had been issued a marriage certificate but then there were objections. The issue was addressed in terms of tribal soverignty and the traditions of Native Americans' beliefs. It airs every Thursday and I intend to listen again and hope that you will sample it as well.

The show following it was Christmas Coup Comedy Players (CCCP). The sad news with regards to this program is that it only airs once a month (the first Thursday of every month). We were laughing throughout this program. There was a comic bit about the Bully Boy where he was speaking, it was actually him, and when he'd say "And, uh, it's, uh" two voices would begin chanting that phrase. I also enjoyed a CNN parody but Tracey and my favorite comic routine was probably Pat who was a non-political woman until 9/11 and now had a great deal to get off her chest, instead of just worrying about her dusting and boiling her chicken.

Here's the program description:

A program of political satire featuring up-to-the-minute irreverence and radio art, with contributions from satirists throughout the comedy catacombs.

We were laughing throughout the program. Tracey asked, as only a grandchild can and have it really hit home, "Is this what it was like in the old days?" After I explained to her that I really didn't live through the golden age of radio, as a child I did live through the golden age of television, I explained that the programs that we heard today were the sort that wouldn't have been unexpected in the early days of NPR when communities were more likely to broadcast local shows. You could have an hour on issues that were crucial to Native Americans, you could have a comedy program. These days, you're more likely to get the syndicated programs. Tracey compared it to MTV and noted that "in my day" she could see some music videos but these days it was "less free form." Tracey was shocked when I suggested she speak to her uncle about MTV because when he was a teenager, MTV was nothing but music videos. You couldn't pull him away from the TV because either some song he loved was on or he just knew they were going to play it next.

But NPR used to be more free form. There was an excitement to listening to WBAI today based just on the fact that they were still free form. Some members have e-mailed that NPR is just "too slick" for them. I'd suggest that those members might enjoy listening to WBAI. The Morning Edition Report is my way to weigh in on public radio and Pacifica is public radio. So in future entries, I'll attempt to check in on other Pacifica stations. Thank you to to Jonah and Micah for making sure that the community was aware of WBAI.

In closing, let me note that Morning Edition profiled Carly Simon last week.

Carly Simon Sings American Classics, Again
by Susan Stamberg
Morning Edition, July 28, 2005 · Carly Simon has seen a lot of life: at the age of 60 she's survived divorce, anxiety attacks, breast cancer and the loss of several loved ones. But she still has a mile-wide smile, a generous spirit and that indelible voice.
Her newest album of standards -- called Moonlight Serenade -- includes songs she learned as a little girl. Carly and her sisters always sang, washing dishes in the family kitchen in Riverdale, New York.
All the Simon girls grew up to make their lives in music, and so did Carly Simon's daughter, rocker Sally Taylor. Joanna Simon is an opera singer. Lucy Simon wrote the hit Broadway musical The Secret Garden. In the early 1960s, wearing matching outfits, Lucy and Carly Simon sang folksongs in clubs and coffee houses.

When Lucy had a baby in 1965, the act broke up. Carly Simon began to write music, as well as sing it. And in 1971 a song on her very first album became a hit.
Now, more than 30 years later, she's on her fourth recording of American classics by composers such as George & Ira Gershwin and Cole Porter.

If you enjoyed Kat's review of Midnight Serenade as much as I did (I bought the album, Kat), you'll probably want to listen to the interview.