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Thursday September 23, 2010

President Obama Addresses The UN General Assembly

President Obama addresses a summit on the Millennium Development Goals at United Nations headquarters in New York. (AP)

President Obama addresses the Millennium Development Goals summit at U.N. headquarters in New York. (AP)

For the second time in as many days, President Obama is speaking before the United Nations’ annual gathering of world leaders. Yesterday, he focused on development issues at the Millennium Summit. Today, he speaks to the General Assembly. To analyze the president’s address and report on reaction at the U.N., we turn to Colum Lynch, U.N. correspondent for The Washington Post.

American Agents Go Undercover To Snag An Iranian Arms Smuggler

In 2007, after working for four years to organize a sting operation, U.S. agents apprehended an Iranian arms smuggler. The Philadelphia Inquirer’s John Shiffman details the operation that snagged Amir Hossein Ardebeli, who bought largely from American companies.

White House Looks For New Economic Quarterback

National Economic Council Director Larwrence Summers, left, and Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner walk back to the Oval Office. (AP)

National Economic Council director Larwrence Summers, left, and Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner walk to the Oval Office. (AP)

The White House made it official this week — top Obama economic adviser Larry Summers will return to his post at Harvard. He is the third senior economic adviser to quit the administration this year. We speak with Peter Morici, business professor at the University of Maryland, about the candidates to replace Summers, and what the choice will say about the Obama administration’s economic policy.

Nations Jockey For Control Of North Pole Resources

Nations bordering the North Pole are holding a summit to discuss how to share the area’s potential riches, like the gas and oil that are becoming more accessible due to global climate change. The BBC’s Rajesh Mirchandi reports.

Wordsmiths Offer Help For The Verbally Challenged

Do you mix-up, mispronounce or mangle words? The editors of the American Heritage dictionaries can help. They’ve put out guides like “100 Words Almost Everyone Mixes Up Or Mangles,” “100 Words Almost Everyone Mispronounces” and “100 Words Almost Everyone Confuses And Misuses.” We talk words and word usage with one of those editors, Steve Kleinedler of the American Heritage dictionaries.

  • Here, or Hear, And Now? What words do you mangle?
  • Music From The Show

    • Christian McBride, “Theme for Kareem”
    • The Rolling Stones, “She’s So Cold”
    • Dean & Britta, “Herringbone Tweed”
    • Rupert Holmes “Escape(The Pina Colada Song)”
    • RAlan Jay Lerner and Frederick Loewe“Why Can’t the English” performed by Rex Harrison and the cast of “My Fair Lady”
    • Ashley MacIsaac, “Sleepy Maggie”
    • The Wee Trio, “Flint”
  • Michael Schardt

    My pet peeve word I hear mispronounced consistently is erudite. People always want to make it 4 syllables by saying “eh-ree-ah-dite.” Why?

  • Frog

    Little known fact…the Bee Gees originally titled their hit song “Jibe Talking”.

  • William Watson

    Oxford English Dictionary
    RAVEL -entangle or become entangled or knotted
    RAVELLING -a thread from fabric which is frayed or UNRAVELLED

    Therefore ravelled and unravelled are NOT synonymous!!!

  • Amy Beckwith

    My pet peeve is ‘trooper’ when referring to someone as a real ‘trouper’…it originated with the vaudevillian troupes, who knew that the show must always go on, but is almost inevitable misspelled whenever I see it! And troopers do have a lot of great qualities, but not the same meaning at all!

  • Amy Beckwith

    And that was supposed to be ‘inevitably’!

  • Carol

    I have SO MANY peeves re English language abuse and one of them is the one, Robin, you mentioned was your mother’s…the misuse of the word IMPORTANT vs IMPORTANTLY. Look – it’s EASY to remember correct usage: IMPORTANTLY is an ADVERB and adverbs define verbs, adjectives, and other adverbs…NOT NOUNS. The phrase (correctly used) “but, most important…” is a contraction of the clause “but, WHAT is most important”. IMPORTANT is an adjective defining – as adjectives do – the (elided) NOUN, “WHAT”

  • Robert B. Pierce

    I’ve never been upset by the word “hopefully.” As your guest Steve Kleinedler pointed out, other adverbs, such as “thankfully” and “fortunately,” are used in this manner with no objections.

    There is an easy way to admit “hopefully” to the ranks of accepted usage: call this use of adverbs “the adverbial absolute,” and the problem is solved.

    So there!

  • Beverly Johnson

    Michele Martin’s conversation with the two theologians regarding Bishop Eddie Long was uninformative and deferential. When she asked Dr. Dash what protections were in place to guard against sexual abuse he basically said that seminarians are taught about in seminary. She did not follow up and say “That’s it?????????????????????????” The truthful answer is “There aren’t any. No one is watching Bishop Long. Because he brings in money and members.” Doesn’t anyone get it that many people who are so vociferously against gays are often extremely conflicted about their own sexuality and actually act on those impulses?Furthermore, he’s no pastor – nor can anyone be with 25,000 members. He’s a business manager and a grandstander. By the way, what governing body made him a “Bishop?????????????????????????????????” It seems to me that many black churches often have a plantation mentality regarding their pastors, many of whom are self-appointed.

  • diane kampf

    I hear people say something is going to “land up” instead of “end up”

    and of course there’s “irregardless”–arghhh!!!!

  • Basil Harris

    One that drives me nuts is “ec cetera” instead of “et cetera.” And worse than that, there’s “and ec cetera.” Yikes!

  • orin

    I’ve always assumed flushed out an idea referred to bird hunting flushing a bird out so as to see and shoot it.

  • Lisa Jenkins

    Hi, great segment!

    I’ve heard people in my office say “supposably” instead of “supposedly”. What is the difference?


  • Debbie Berger

    Help! I am a Yankee living in the South, and here we AIR-E-ATE (aerate) our lawns and we also have PER-IF-EEE-AL (peripheral) vision!

  • Mark

    Most irritating: coupon vs. Q-pon

  • Hawkwood

    Sympathize vs. empathize vs. pity?

  • Kristin

    “taunt” instead of “taut” I have 2 friends who do this!

  • Robert

    Pronounce ‘CLIQUE’
    Americans say ‘CLICK’??? rhymes with ‘PICK’ and ‘SICK’
    Europeans say ‘CLEAK’ rhymes with ‘LEAK’and ‘FREAK’.

  • Laurie

    For me, it is when people use the word “regime” when they should use the word “regimen”!

  • Robert

    ALL AMERICANS please take note:
    The pronounciation of the capitol city of Scotland does NOT rhyme with Willimsburg.
    Please say after me ‘ED-IN-BURR-U’
    The ‘U’ rhymes with ‘UP’ without the P.
    Thank you from a disgruntled Scot now lost somewhere in the USA :-)

  • John Arndt

    My language pet peeve is “compare and contrast.” Since “compare” means to show similarities and differences, “contrast” is redundant. Our textbooks are full of directions to “compare and contrast.”

  • http://www.MikeMacDonald.com Mike MacDonald

    Here’s an expression that people often get wrong. They say “I could care less” instead of “I couldn’t care less.”

    It’s as if these people aren’t even paying attention to what the words actually mean.

    PERIPHERAL vision, not “Per-if-ee-al.” I was at the eye doctor and the assistant pronounced it incorrectly. Since that’s an important word in their business, I instantly became doubtful about them.

  • Yvonne

    My biggest pet peeve is the way the mainstream media and others (I think it started with therapists) have been using badly when describing how someone feels (emotionally speaking). Badly is an adverb. The verb ‘feel,” when speaking emotionally and describing a state of being (as opposed to describing how one’s sense of touch is working), is a copulative verb and takes an adjective, not an adverb. Other state of being & sensory words similarly take adjectives – you wouldn’t say “She looks prettily.” You’d say “She looks pretty.” There’s a good explanation of this at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xAy0mnKFN2Q.
    My second pet peeve is how in merchandising clothing, “pants” have become “a pant,” “shorts” have become “a short,” and “trousers” have become “a trouser.” What’s next, “a scissor”?

  • Nancy Taylor

    I think listeners might enjoy the early William Wegman video, The Spelling Lesson. It can be seen at

    on William Wegman, Short Films.

    These videos are inspired!

  • Tim Gray

    It’s funny, in the same show today in an earlier segment, John Shiffman, who is supposed to be a reporter, cannot even pronounce the word “nuclear”. Ever since George Bush, the man who was supposed to be leading our country revealed that he couldn’t pronounce the word either, it has driven me nuts!

  • Brian Bartley

    When I was younger, signing up for a potluck, I wondered what KRUH-DAYT was.


Robin and Jeremy

Robin Young and Jeremy Hobson host Here & Now, a live two-hour production of NPR and WBUR Boston.

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‘Enormous’ Growth Of Ocean Garbage Patch

The oceanographer who discovered the floating island of trash in 1997 says he's shocked by how much it's grown.