The Scramble

Jonas Dahlbert

In 2011, Anders Behring Breivik killed 77 people in Norway, most of them teenagers. He's serving a 21-year prison term, which can be extended. But in the meantime, he'll study political science at Oslo University from his prison cell. 

This week, the long-awaited sequel to Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird hits bookshelves. Since it was announced, questions were raised about Lee's involvement in the release of this book. But now the conversation has changed to the content of the book. A New York Times review reveals the much beloved character of Atticus Finch was a racist during the Brown v. Board of Education era of the 1950s.

Lee Stranahan / Creative Commons

In the wake of another mass shooting, President Barack Obama took the podium in the White House press briefing room to address reporters. The shooting in a black church brings up a "dark part" of United States history. "This is not the first time that black churches have been attacked, and we know the hatred across races and faiths pose a particular threat to our democracy and our ideals," Obama said.

This hour, we explore several threads of the post-Charleston shooting, from the symbols of racism to the use of mental health to explain tragedy.

Sarah Parrott / Creative Commons

You get that Facebook invite. You think to yourself, "Yeah, that could be fun." You get reminders in the days leading up to the event. As the clock ticks down, you think yourself, "I like the person who invited me, but that dinner starts at 8pm on a Tuesday night. Do I really want to go?" No, you don't want to go but the RSVP says yes. You did what Henry Alford refers to as an "aspirational RSVP."

Diana Robinson / Creative Commons

Lots of awards were handed out in New York this weekend. The annual Tony Awards were given to the best Broadway productions of the year. But no amount of theatrical showmanship could top what happened in the Belmont Stakes.

American Pharoah completed horseracing's elusive Triple Crown.  Finishing a few lengths behind him in third place was Keen Ice, who is part-owned by two Connecticut residents. This hour, we speak with one of the local owners.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

Last week, we went up to do our annual live show from Great Barrington, Massachusetts at the Berkshire International Film Festival. Our usual host, The Triplex, had technical problems, so we pulled the plug with a few minutes left to go, which is why you heard a re-run about movie trailers. Meanwhile, we recorded this show so you could hear it today.

Yusuf Syed

If you listen to public radio, you probably know her name. If you don’t listen to public radio, then you probably know her name from the massively popular Serial podcast. Julie Snyder is the senior producer of This American Life and she’s the co-creator of that show’s spinoff podcast, which told the story of Hae Min Lee's murder in 1999 and the conviction of her ex-boyfriend Adnan Syed.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

The discussion about race and police started long before the recent events in Baltimore, Ferguson, Staten Island, and many other communities. Last year, former Major League Baseball player and current ESPN analyst Doug Glanville was questioned by West Hartford police in his own Hartford driveway while shoveling snow. That led to his widely distributed and discussed piece, "I Was Racially Profiled in My Own Driveway." This year, Glanville took it a step further and became a vocal supporter of legislation that would limit the jurisdiction of police when enforcing local ordinances.

Robert D. Ward / Public Domain

Former general and CIA director David Petraeus will not go to jail for leaking classified information to his biographer and mistress. Last week, he was sentenced to two years probation and a fine. Meanwhile, other leakers without the stars or stature are spending years behind bars. There are other discrepancies in military justice too. This hour, we talk to journalist Peter Maass from The Intercept.

Also we check in on local Nepalese residents who are grappling with this weekend's earthquake in their home country.

Wally Gobetz / Creative Commons

Patriots' Day is a time for celebration in Boston and across the nation. The biggest event held on this day every year is the Boston Marathon, which has turned it into a day for remembrance as well. The second race since the 2013 bombings is underway and this hour, we check-in with a public radio reporter at the finish line.

Also, the UConn Foundation has been under increased scrutiny both in the media and at the state capitol where a bill that would open up the non-profit to the state's Freedom of Information laws, was defeated.

Finally, we talk Star Wars with someone who actually took a ride in a X-Wing! Really. Ok - kind of really.

Drew Bennett / Creative Commons

The stage is set for the national championship in men's Division I college basketball. Sure, your team might not be there, but you know who to root against in Monday night's game: Duke. Why? This hour, we ask that question of a filmmaker who produced a film on one of Duke's biggest villains.

Also, Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy is everywhere on the cable news circuit lately. Is his national star rising, or does it just seem that way in Connecticut?

Finally, what are the takeaways from a review of a retracted Rolling Stone report on campus sexual assault?

The Scramble Goes Clear

Mar 30, 2015
Aaron Stroot / Creative Commons

This weekend, HBO premiered a documentary about the Church of Scientology that has been generating headlines and controversy for months. What new information was learned from the film? This hour, we talk with someone who has written extensively about the church.

Also, a "religious freedoms" bill was signed into law by Indiana Governor Mike Pence. Some businesses in the state are already receiving backlash from customers who won't do business in the state because of the law. Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy is expected to announce an executive order that will ban state-funded travel to Indiana. However, Connecticut is one of 19 other states with similar religious freedom laws on the books.

Marle Hale / Creative Commons

On Wednesday we find out the finalists for Hartford's new minor league baseball team. Will it be the Hartford Blue Frogs? How about the Hartford Honey Badgers? Do you like the Hartford Yard Goats better? I got it! How about the Hartford Huckleberries! What do you mean it's not on the list? 

This hour, lots of people call and tweet with their favorites. Take a listen. 

Sh4rp_i / Creative Commons

Arthur Chu argues that Andrew Jackson is the worst president we've ever had, and his face should be removed from the $20 bill. For starters, Andrew Jackson removed about 46,000 Native Americans from their established homelands to make way for White settlement leaving a "Trail of Tears" of starvation, disease, and death.

That's just the beginning of a long line of horrors: he annexed Florida, executed militia members after the War of 1812, and dismantled the central bank to push wildcat banks. Maybe America has never been a paragon of the ideals we hold dear, and maybe America would rather forget our past than deal with it. 

Digital Vision / Thinkstock

There is a lot of news about the fallibility of memory. Brian Williams is currently out of the NBC Nightly News anchor chair because of problems with some of his war stories. Coincidentally, Maria Konnikova wrote about "flashbulb memories" for the NewYorker.com, which is what Williams' problems may be attributed to.

This weekend, the Maryland Court of Special Appeals granted a request to review the case of Adnan Syed. His conviction of murdering his ex-girlfriend was the subject of the podcast Serial, but in many ways was also about memory.

In many high schools over the last few decades, students have been introduced to author Harper Lee through her debut and only novel To Kill A Mockingbird. Many people never expected a follow-up book but last week, it was announced that Go Set A Watchman will be released later this year.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

We decided to bow to reality, and make this hour all about getting ready for the storm. You’ve heard about the storm, right? We begin today with NBC Connecticut meteorologist Ryan Hanrahan, and find out why this particular storm has his profession in such a lather.

Then we move on to what most -- ideally all -- of you will be doing from Monday night through Wednesday morning: staying put.

Culture critic Linda Holmes and I will discuss some viewing recommendations. Watch them until the power goes out. If and when that happens, maybe you’ll still be able to read. You’ve still got time to add to your e-reader or physically pick up some of the books our final guest John Warner and I will be discussing. Warner is one of the commentators in a March tournament of literary fiction.

Dave Worley / Creative Commons

The Oxford Dictionary word of the year for 2014 is vape. I can get behind that. It's a word that describes something a lot of people are doing and it really did come of age in the last 12 months. The American Dialect Society, not so much. Their controversial word of the year is #blacklivesmatter, which is not a word or even close to being one word.

Aurelien Guichard / Creative Commons

Today on the Scramble, we talk to two cartoonists about the road ahead from the Charlie Hebdo massacre. I'm still wrestling with some of my own questions about what this story means to the world of satire, which I consider vitally important to the health of the world.

Mark Wyman / Creative Commons

The year is off to a tumultuous and sad start. Some New York Police Department officers continued their protest of Mayor Bill de Blasio at a funeral for a fallen colleague and reducing arrests for minor offenses. The protest is entering what Matt Taibbi described as "surreal territory." We also remember the iconic ESPN sportscaster Stuart Scott, who died Sunday. Finally, we discuss the news out of New Haven that The Anchor served its last drink this weekend.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

One nice thing about the holidays is that David Edelstein, America's Greatest Living Film Critic, comes back to his hometown and joins us for a conversation about movies. Recently on Fresh Air, he told Terry Gross that 2014 was a "very, very depressing year for film because none of the great material came from Hollywood studios."

Wikimedia user Jelson25

Hollywood sometimes has an image problem and recently leaked emails from Sony executives are not helping that image. Responses from some of those executives, including filmmaker Aaron Sorkin, may actually be making it even worse. 

Ken Hawkins / Creative Commons

The Scramble reacts to new developments in the University of Virginia case of alleged sexual assault and Rolling Stone’s concern about some its reporting. 

Then there's a second magazine story: what’s behind the mass -- and we do mean mass -- resignations at The New Republic. Most of its full-time staff and stable of contributing editors quit on the same day. Why?

Jamelle Bouie / Creative Commons

First and foremost, we're really sorry about the Wally Lamb cell phone connection. Do not adjust your radio (or streaming device).

It's the usual three-ring circus on the Scramble today starting with the five players for the St. Louis Rams who put their hands up in a "Don't Shoot" gesture during their introductions for Sunday's game. That gesture, of course, has become part of the iconography of the Ferguson Missouri story, and we talk to ESPN the Magazine's Howard Bryant about the role athletes play in raising consciousness and defying conventional news narratives.

Manfred Werner / Creative Commons

On the Monday Scramble, we're all about helping you survive the holidays. 

Let's say you've got a long -- maybe eight hours! -- drive ahead of you. God forbid you should talk. So what will you listen to? Audiobook? Podcast? Music? We know this married couple, Amanda and Neil. She's mostly a musician. He's mostly a writer. This hour, we imagine that eight-hour drive and let each of them program four hours of it.

Iryna Yeroshko / Creative Commons

Let's play a game. I'm going to name five things and you tell me what they are - "An Unnecessary Woman," "All the Light We Cannot See," "Redeployment," "Station Eleven," "Lila." They are the five fiction finalists for this year's National Book Award which will be given out this week.  Don't feel bad if you didn't get the answer - I wouldn't have either. My  connection to the nominees begins and ends with having picked up one of the five books from a table at - of all places - Whole Foods.

Tom Jervis / Creative Commons

First up on the Scramble today, writer and thinker Nicholas Carr, whose new book, "The Glass Cage" is about our blind surrender to automation. Most tellingly about the way we surrender (unthinkingly) control to sophisticated computer tools. 

You'll hear for instance, the story of a luxury cruise ship that ran aground on a sand bar because the GPS was spitting out wrong information and the entire crew ignored visual evidence that should have been a dead giveaway.

Rocky and Nelson / Creative Commons

Scandal is a theme today. 

One of our guests today is Anne Helen Petersen, who left academia to write full-time about celebrities and television and celebrity gossip.  One of the themes her first book, "Scandals of Classic Hollywood," is the history of Hollywood scandal so lets get my own theory out of the way. 

Donkey Hotey / Creative Commons

Okay, I'm warning you. You're going to have to adjust the band on your thinking cap. Christian Bok, our first guest, is an experimental poet with some fascinating ideas, some of which will strike you as unfamiliar and maybe dissimilar to any other ideas you ever heard. In a nutshell, Bok is part of a small movement of thinkers and writers who want to revolutionize the way literature is produced, stored and consumed. For example, Bok has spent years trying to encode  a poem into the DNA of a bacterium able to survive extreme conditions, like vacuums.

Jay Ryness / Creative Commons

Talk to any demographer. Marriage is in irreversible decline. According to Isabel Sawhill, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution and author of "Generation Unbound," 40% of young people are unmarried. Now, that doesn't mean people will stop getting married. You've been to a bunch of weddings this year. What it means is that marriage as a precondition to parenthood is no longer the established norm from which everything else is a deviation.

David Goehring / Creative Commons

We're back today after a one-week hiatus. 

Ben Nadaff-Hafrey is also back, this time as our Scramble SuperGuest.

We start today with a conversation about the embrace of U2 by Apple, and end with a chat about embraces in general.

So, leading off earlier this month, Apple had one of its special events. When people stop what they're doing to watch a big company roll out a new product, in this case the iPhone 6, Don Draper would be drooling in envy, right?

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