Von Drehle, David — Triangle, the Fire that Changed America

Until September 11, 2001, The Triangle Shirtwaist Fire of March 25, 1911 was the deadliest workplace disaster in the history of New York City.  The fire shocked the nation and exposed the life-threatening conditions in America’s sweatshop industry.  It gave energy to the labor movement and unions, and remade the Democratic Party of the time. 

Our guest, David Von Drehle, is the author of “Triangle, the Fire That Changed America,” a book that presents a detailed examination of how this single event changed the course of the 20th century politics and labor relations. In this book, Von Drehle concludes:

As for the mostly nameless young women and men who went on strike in 1909 and bravely walked those relentless picket lines through a freezing winter—and especially those remarkable young people who later died at the Triangle—their memory grows.  Their individual lives are mostly lost to us, but their monument and legacy are stitched into our world. 

David Von Drehle and I visited by phone from New York City in early September 2003, and began with his description of the fire on March 25, 1911 that changed America.

The book David Von Drehele recommends is “Plunkitt of Tammany Hall” by William Riordan. 

This program was originally broadcast on September 9, 2003.

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Hong Fincher, Leta Ph.D. — Gender Inequality in China: Part Two Workplace Disparity

Welcome to part two of our conversations about the erosion of gender equality in China with our guest Leta Hong Fincher, the author of “Leftover Women: The Resurgence of Gender Inequality in China”. Her book is based in part on her research for the Ph.D. in sociology she received in 2014 from Tsinghua University in Beijing, China.

In this 2nd conversation we discuss the extent of what if anything is done about domestic violence in China, the difference in the retirement ages for women and men and the requirement that women submit to a gynecological examination before obtaining a civil service job.

When Leta Hong Fincher and I visited by phone on August 9, 2014 we began with a discussion of domestic violence in China.

The book Leta Hong Fincher recommends is “The Birth of Chinese Feminism: Essential Texts in Transnational Theory,” by Lydia H. Liu, Rebecca E. Karl and Dorothy Ko.

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Blake, Tim — Marijuana & the California Drought Part Two

This is the second of two interviews about the nation-wide acceptance of the recreational and medicinal use of marijuana.  Our guest is Tim Blake, founder of The Emerald Cup, California’s oldest competition among outdoor growers of organic cannabis.  He shares his opinions about the future cultural and legal acceptance of marijuana. 

Tim Blake and I continued our conversation about the growing nation-wide acceptance of marijuana and why. His comments and opinions are his, and were recorded in the studios of Radio Curious on January 17, 2014.

The book Tim Blake recommends is “The Urantia Book:  Revealing the Mysteries of God, the Universe, Jesus and Ourselves,” published by the Urantia Foundation.

Tim Blake’s comments and opinions are his and not necessarily that of Radio Curious.  We’re just curious.

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Benally, Leonard — A Navajo Elder Remembered

In this edition of Radio Curious assistant producer Christina Aanestad speaks with Leonard Benally, a Dine’ elder. Dine is the indigenous name for the Navajo people. Leonard Benally lived in an area called Big Mountain on the Navajo and Hopi reservations close to the Arizona-New Mexico border. He died on October 11, 2013 from cancer.

In the 1970′s a Hopi – Navajo land dispute erupted on Big Mountain; some claim it was devised to move the Navajo out of the area because Peabody Coal wanted the coal rich land below their feet. As a result, an estimated 20,000 Dine’ were displaced. A few hundred remain to this day-refusing to leave. Leonard Benally was one of them.  

In August, 2012 Leonard Benally agreed to talk about his life.  He began the conversation by describing the boarding schools he was forced to live in, as a child, one being the school for Navajo children in Tuba, Arizona.

Leonard Benally recommends people listen to XIT an indigenous rock band from the 1970′s. This conversation with Leonard Benally was recorded in August of 2012 and first aired on Radio Curious in October 2013.

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Leinen, George — A Mortician’s Philosophy

Continuing our series on the funeral industry in the United States we visit with the owner of a mortuary in a rural northern California town.  As professionals describe their work and philosophy, George Leinen, owner of Empire Mortuary in Ukiah, California since 2000,  joins us in this edition of Radio Curious to share his thoughts and experiences.  We discuss funeral industry trade associations, business practices in some sectors of the industry, and how our guest’s philosophy evolved.

In this program, recorded in the studios of Radio Curious on September 21, 2013 we began our visit when I asked George Leinen to describe embalming,  what it is, and why it’s done.

The book George Leinen recommends is “The American Way of Death,” by Jessica Mitford.

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Czifra, Steven — Eight Years in Solitary Confinement Part Two

This is our second interview with Steven Czifra, a 38 year old undergraduate student at the University of California at Berkeley who spent almost 16 years in prison beginning when he was 14 years old.  For almost eight of those years he was held in solitary confinement. 

Having been held in a solitary confinement facility known as the SHU, security housing units of California’s juvenile and adult prisons, for almost eight years, he recently participated in the hunger strikes in solidarity with current prisoners to end the use of those facilities.

In the first of a two-part series on prisons from the prisoner’s perspective, Steven Czifra shared his story and experiences.  Our first conversation ended when he was about to explain his desire to give a voice to the segment of the population which ends up in prison, and is otherwise not heard.  Who they are and why they are there. 

In this second conversation recorded from his home in Berkeley, California in September 14, 2013, Steven Czifra tells more of his personal story, his background and reflections and how he chose to turn his life around.  

The book Steven Czifra recommends is “We’re All Doing Time:  A Guide to Getting Free,” by Bo Lozoff.  

Click here to listen to part two of our interview with Steven Czifra or on the media player below.

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Czifra, Steven — Eight Years in Solitary Confinement Part One

In this edition of Radio Curious we visit with Steven Czifra, a 38 year old undergraduate student at the University of California at Berkeley who spent almost 16 years in prison beginning when he was 14 years old. 

Having been held in a solitary confinement facility known as the SHU, security housing units of California’s juvenile and adult prisons, for almost eight years, he recently participated in the hunger strikes in solidarity with current prisoners to end the use of those facilities.

In the first of a two-part series on prisons from the prisoner’s perspective, Steven Czifra shares his story and experiences. In part-two we talk about his reflections and how he chose to turn his life around. 

Our conversation, recorded from his home in Berkeley, California on September 14, 2013 began when I asked him what led up to his first incarceration. 

The book Steven Czifra recommends is “The New Jim Crow:  Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness,” by Michelle Alexander.  

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Slocum, Josh — The Privatization of Death Part Two

The traditional rights of families to care for their dead is the topic of this two-part interview on the funeral industry in the United States, with Josh Slocum and Lisa Carlson, co-author’s of “Final Rights: Reclaiming the American Way of Death.”

Final Rights” tells the story of the loss of control over what to do at the time of a death in the family, the euphemisms regarding death, and the laws and regulations in each of the 50 states and Washington, D.C.  The chapter “Tricks of the Funeral Trade” tells how, when grieving the loss of a loved one, many people fail to compare prices, and become vulnerable to suggestions that their love for the deceased is measured by the amount of money paid for the funeral, the casket and the burial.   

Josh Slocum directs the Funeral Consumers Alliance.  Lisa Carlson directs the Funeral Ethics Organization

In part two Josh Solcum discusses the cultural pathology about death that led to the loss of our rights to deal with our dead at death and allows the state to regulate private family activities that we’d never tolerate in any other sphere.

Josh Slocum and I visited by phone from his office near Burlington, Vermont, on August 30, 2013 and began with his description of how we as a culture deal with death.

The book he recommends is “The Selfish Gene,” by Richard Dawkins.

Our interview with Lisa Carlson, recorded from her home in Vermont, on August 26, 2013, can be heard here

More information on this topic may be found on our website’s law department.

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Carlson, Lisa — The Privatization of Death Part One

The traditional rights of families to care for their dead is the topic of this, the first of two interviews on the funeral industry in the United States, with Lisa Carlson and Joshua Slocum, co-author’s of “Final Rights: Reclaiming the American Way of Death.”

Final Rights” tells the story of the loss of control over what to do at the time of a death in the family, the euphemisms regarding death, and the laws and regulations in each of the 50 states and Washington, D.C.  The chapter “Tricks of the Funeral Trade” tells how, when grieving the loss of a loved one, many people fail to compare prices, and become vulnerable to suggestions that their love for the deceased is measured by the amount of money paid for the funeral, the casket and the burial.   

Lisa Carlson directs the Funeral Ethics Organization Josh Slocum directs the Funeral Consumers Alliance

In our first interview with Lisa Carlson, recorded from her home in Vermont, on August 26, 2013, she describes how the common lore of what to do at the time of death has been lost.

 Lisa Carlson and Josh Slocum are co-authors of “Final Rights: Reclaiming the American Way of Death.” The books website is finalrights.org.  The books she recommends are those written by John Grisham.   

Our interview with Josh Slocum will be posted here soon.  More information on this topic may be found on our website’s law department.

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Swearingen, Wesley — Illegal FBI Break-Ins, Told By a Former Agent

Agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation have a history of illegal break-ins to homes and offices as well as conducting wiretaps without a search warrant.  In the years when J. Edgar Hoover was the Director of the FBI, these warrantless break-ins came to be known as “black-bag jobs”.

This archive edition of Radio Curious is a December 1995 interview with Wesley Swearingen a former FBI agent and author of “FBI Secrets: An Agent’s Expose.”  This book describes some of the “black-bag” warrantless searches in which he was involved, and his opinion of those activities.  Swearingen concludes his book by saying that the Hoover era will continue to haunt the FBI because Hoover knowingly undermined the United States Constitution. When I spoke with Wesley Swearingen from his home near Tucson, Arizona, in December 1995, I asked him what he meant by that.

The book Wesley Swearingen recommends is “Official and Confidential: The Secret Life of J. Edgar Hoover,” by Anthony Summers.

Originally Broadcast: December 20, 1995

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