Three years ago, the comedienne and storyteller Elna Baker published her memoir, The New York Regional Mormon Singles Halloween Dance. It’s about being a twenty-something Mormon virgin in a town – New York City – that doesn’t take kindly to that type. A lot has changed for Elna Baker since 2009: now she’s an ex-28-year-old virgin and ex-Mormon comedienne. Elna joins Doug to talk about leaving the church, her journey to Siberia and the challenges of honest storytelling. (Rebroadcast)
Friday, we're rebroadcasting a conversation Doug had earlier this year with end-of-life care expert Ira Byock about his book "The Best Care Possible." Dr. Byock says that the one thing worse than having someone we love die is having them die badly. That's why his work has steered clear of the "more-is-always-better" philosophy that results in so many Americans experiencing painful and dehumanizing deaths. We'll talk about practical solutions for reforming our health care system and why Byock is determined to put the "care" back in healthcare.
Around 930 CE, the most perfect copy of the Hebrew Bible was written. Over the centuries, it was stolen by Crusaders, ransomed to Egypt and eventually found a home in Syria, where it was protected by the Jewish community in Aleppo. Today it's in Jerusalem, but how it arrived there with nearly half the pages missing is a story of subterfuge, state cover-ups and even greed. Thursday, Doug is joined by journalist Matti Friedman to talk about "The Aleppo Codex" and the role it played in creating modern Israel.
When science writer Florence Williams was breastfeeding, she decided to have her milk tested for environmental contaminants. Her results were average for American women and included chemicals found in flame-retardants and jet-fuel. It's not, she says, what her daughter had in mind for dinner. It set her off on a journey to study the history of breasts: how they evolved and what modern life is doing to them. Wednesday, we're talking to Williams about what she calls her natural and unnatural history of breasts. (Rebroadcast)
Gun sales surged in the wake of the Aurora shooting massacre as some began to question the need for stricter gun control laws. The debate over gun rights has generated controversy throughout our nation’s history, whether at the time of the Founding Fathers, the genesis of the Ku Klux Klan, the struggle for civil rights or in 2008 when the Supreme Court ruled on the landmark Heller case. On Tuesday, Doug speaks with the law scholar Adam Winkler, who reminds us in his book Gunfight that guns are as much a part of American culture as gun control.
Last month, the Supreme Court ruled that states can choose for themselves whether to expand Medicaid. In Utah, that would mean coverage for 50,000 uninsured people. Governor Gary Herbert has called federal health care reform "bad policy," but Utah is waiting until the 2013 legislative session to decide. Monday, KUER begins a series on the future of Medicaid in Utah and reporters Terry Gildea and Andrea Smardon join Doug to explore these questions: Can Utah afford to expand Medicaid? Can it afford not to?
Frank Sinatra called Spencer Tracy “The Gray Fox.” Some actors called him “The Pope.” The biographer James Curtis calls Tracy the greatest actor of his generation. Through the years, Tracy’s legacy has faded, eclipsed by that of Katharine Hepburn, one of his great loves. Curtis has written a biography of Tracy that refurbishes his story, detailing his relationship with his wife, Louise, his love affair with Hepburn, his drinking problem and his inimitable acting chops. (Rebroadcast)
Political commentator E.J. Dionne Jr. says that at the center of America's political dysfunction are two competing ideas – our love of individualism and our deep affection for community. It's a push and pull that Dionne traces back to the earliest days of our country, and he's written a new book that traces the history of that tension. Thursday, he joins Doug to make the case that America is at its best when these core values are in balance.
After serving his LDS mission in China, Eric Chipman shipped a great big Chinese zither harp, or guzheng, home to Salt Lake City. He didn’t exactly know how to play it, but he ended up incorporating the guzheng into the folky bluegrass he writes. Chipman then rounded up some musician friends, got a hold of some more traditional Chinese instruments and formed the band Matteo. The band’s four members recently returned from a trip to China, where they learned to better play their instruments and the Chinese music that gives the band its unique sound. Matteo is playing in the RadioWest studio on Wednesday and they’ll chat with Doug about their sonic smelting of Eastern and Western music.
In the spring of 1857, President James Buchanan appointed a non-Mormon governor for the Utah Territory and sent troops to enforce the order. Armed skirmishes between the Mormon militia and the U.S. Army followed, and the roughly year-long conflict is now known as the "Utah War." Doug speaks with LDS Church Historian Richard Turley as well as independent historians Will Bagley and David Bigler about this pivotal moment in Utah history. (Rebroadcast)