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Tuesday October 5, 2010

President Pledges To Boost Community Colleges, But Falls Short On Funding

(Jeffrey Beall/Flickr)

(Jeffrey Beall/Flickr)

President Obama is hosting the first-ever White House summit on community colleges today. While the two-year schools are glad to be getting the recognition, many are disappointed that the initial $12 billion the president pledged to them is now just $2 billion. Other community college leaders tell the Chronicle of Higher Education that the White House seemed to throw together the summit at the last minute and didn’t get input on topics important to educators. Jeff Selingo, editor of the Chronicle of Higher Education, is our guest.

General Speaks Out On Military Suicides After Losing His Soldier Son

The chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, Admiral Mike Mullen, warned recently that the number of military suicides will likely increase as large numbers of troops return home after multiple deployments. Mullen’s warning comes on the heels of a Pentagon task force report that found the military’s suicide prevention efforts, even after they’ve been beefed up, are still inadequate. We speak to Army Major General Mark Graham, a leading figure in that prevention effort. Gen. Graham lost both of his soldier sons, one in combat and the other, a promising ROTC cadet, to suicide in 2003.

Peace Prize Nominee Awaits Announcement From Jail Cell

Pro-democracy protesters hold a candle light vigil supporting jailed dissident Liu Xiaobo, shown on a poster, in Hong Kong. (AP)

Pro-democracy protesters hold a candle light vigil supporting jailed dissident Liu Xiaobo, shown on a poster, in Hong Kong. (AP)

Liu Xiaobo, a leading figure in the struggle for human rights and democracy, has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. He is currently serving an 11-year prison term in China for “inciting subversion of state power.” Chinese officials have protested his nomination, saying “his actions are diametrically opposed to the aims of the Nobel prize.” We speak with Larry Siems of the PEN American Center, a human rights organization which nominated Liu Xiaobo for the peace prize.

Making Non-Renewable Materials Infinitely Useable

Saleem Ali makes a passionate argument in a recent article for what he calls “elemental accounting” — tracking and accounting for the elements that go into consumer goods. Ali says the elements in products may be non-renewable, like the Boron in Pyrex cookware and Platinum in catalytic converters, but they are also indestructible. If we account for them, we can design products that make re-using those elements simple, and that would keep the elements in use indefinitely. Ali is a professor of Environmental Studies, and his new book is “Treasures Of The Earth: Need, Greed, and a Sustainable Future.”

Pulling The Wool Over Readers’ Eyes

Author James Frey with Oprah Winfrey in 2006. (Harpo Productions/AP)

Author James Frey with Oprah Winfrey in 2006. Frey admitted to fabricating parts of his memoir on Winfrey's show. (Harpo Productions/AP)

Did you know that Mark Twain liked to make up news stories when he was a young reporter? That Frenchman Vrain-Denis Lucas duped the literary and scientific establishments during the 19th century with fake letters from Alexander the Great and Cleopatra? We revisit a conversation with Melissa Katsoulis, the author of “Literary Hoaxes: An Eye-Opening History of Famous Frauds.”

Music From The Show

  • Dntel, “Last Songs”
  • Sigur Ros, “Nybatteri”
  • Paul Simon, “50 Ways To Leave Your Lover”
  • Radiohead, “Where I End and You Begin”
  • Freddie Hubbard, “Little Sunflower”
  • Steve Reich, “Music for Mallets”
  • Ken Vandermark, “New Acrylic”
  • Grace Slick, “White Rabbit” performed by Jefferson Airplane
  • nancy hoffmann

    I can’t find the very interesting interview with a young writer who has become alienated from his family because of his recently published book. I tried your site vey carefully, but can’t identify the book. There was something like “Burn or Burning” in the title.
    Thanks for your help,
    Nancy hoffmann

    • Kevin Sullivan

      Hi Nancy, I think you heard that interview on WHYY’s Radio Times about Jay Varner’s book, “Nothing Left to Burn.” http://whyy.org/cms/radiotimes/

  • Ann Marie Wolfe

    Re mental health care for members of the military:

    One of the significant deterrents to seeing military behavioral health specialists is the fact that the military is exempt from HIAA regulations. Given that, the normal procedure is to inform a soldier’s chain of command if they have sought care. While this might be appropriate if the individual presents a danger to themselves or others, it’s totally out of place if someone needs help with depression, anxiety or any number of other situations, especially as there remains such a stigma attached to those conditions.

  • http://michaelfogler.com Michael Fogler

    re: military suicides

    There’s a very effective solution to this: get rid of the military and/or get young people to do something else with their lives. The military trains people to hate, destroy, and kill, which goes against the grain of decent humanity. Even if a young person only gets the training, it doesn’t feel good. And if they go off to Iraq or Afghanistan, what they see and participate in is unspeakably horrible. The best prevention is to not participate in militarism.

  • Katherine

    I recently retired from the US AF Reserves. When I came back from my first tour to IRAQ I was diagnosed by my private doctor with depression. I went on a very low dosage of Zoloft. this worked very well. When I put listed this as one of my medications at my next medical exam, I was told that I would have to get out of the military as I was taking a ‘mind altering drug’. I said ok, I’ll try counseling instead. Counceling did not work. So, I went back on this very low dosage and no longer listed it as a medication. I found out later that there are many others who have gone through the same thing.
    When I worked with men in the Army, it’s even worse there.

  • Terry Harris

    One of the problems that community and technical colleges have is finding enought qualified instructors. Its hard to schedule enough classe if you don’t have anybody to teach them.

    Classes at 1AM is not a bad idea. That might fit werry well with some of the student’s work schedules. Not everyone works an 8AM to 5PM schedule.

  • Elaine Rowan

    This is for Major General Mark Graham. We lost our oldest son to two kinds of leukemia. I’m an artist and I painted a picture of him (taken from a photograph when he was on a rowing team). I feel it is a way to “celebrate” his life. When I hear of someone that has lost a child, my heart goes out to them, and I offer to paint a picture from one of their favorite photos. It is therapy for me.

    So, I am willing to paint pictures of the two sons that you lost (from your favorite photos)at no cost to you. Each member of our family has a giclee’ print from the original painting that I made. The original painting of our son is with our grandson (who was only 4 years old when his father died). I also “gifted” a painting to a mother who lost her son at the age of only 6-8 years old.

    Major General Graham, if you wish to have me “gift” you with a painting of each of the sons that you lost, I would be only too happy to do it for you. I have to admit that I am a perfectionist (I only release the paintings when I am absolute satisfied that I have captured the “essence” of the subject) — so it may take quite a while, but it gives me great pleasure to do this.

    You can reach me at e.rowan@suddenlink.net, if you wish to have me do this for you.

    Best Wishes,

    Elaine Rowan

  • Piltdown Frog

    I enjoyed the interview with Melissa Katsoulis, the author of “Literary Hoaxes: An Eye-Opening History of Famous Frauds.” I will have to get that book. When I was a lad, the Clifford Irving / Howard Hughes biography was the big scandal.

  • http://hereandnow.org Susan Raymond

    I heard your heartbreaking show on military suicide and depression in the military. I agree with Mark’s wifes comment about mental illness being stigmatized in society in general because it is an “above the neck” illness. I went through a horrible depression while going through my divorce 16 years ago and remember a mental health therapist saying that under the right circumstances, anyone is susceptible. However, there is still a stigma attached to mental illness. Life and medical insurance companies have denied coverage to me because of a history of depression, even through I am recovered and not on any medicine or in treatmnet. When are we going to realize that depression is a more normal reaction to the extreme stressors that so many people endure in our society

  • EKP

    Treatment for mental health “problems” in military personnel will often lead to discharge from the service for the service member’s inability to be deployed, or because the mental health problem is determined to be a pre-existing condition.

    Any service member intending on making the military a career will not voluntarily seek mental health care if they believe they will lose their job.

  • Norm Nason

    Regarding mental health care for members of the military:

    I think most are missing the point entirely. The military suicide problem stems from the fact that the armed forces’ primary objective is to produce and deploy soldiers capable of fighting while enduring extreme wartime pressures. There is no room in the military mindset for accommodating or sympathizing with those who cannot handle this pressure, for indeed, such a response runs counter to its mission.

    Any attempt by the armed forces (any armed forces) to address the suicide issue should be viewed for what it is: a ruse intended to placate the public–so that the business of warfare may be continued unabated behind the scenes.

Robin and Jeremy

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

August 28 Comment

Catching Up With The Polyphonic Spree

The choral rock band out of Dallas, Texas, has been thrilling audiences with its live performances for over a decade.

August 28 5 Comments

‘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.

August 27 Comment

Veteran Honored, But Struggles To Keep Business Open

Former Marine Matt Victoriano is being recognized as a "Champion of Change" at the White House.

August 27 40 Comments

In Defense Of Schlock Music: Why We Love/Hate It

Music critic Jody Rosen defends the kind of over-the-top, sentimental songs that Journey, Lionel Richie, Billy Joel and Prince made famous.