Join hosts Jim Braude and Margery Eagan for a smart local conversation with leaders and thinkers shaping Boston and New England. We feature our favorite conversation from each show. To hear the full show, please visit wgbhnews.org/bpr To share your opinion, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 877-301-8970 during the live broadcast from 11AM-2PM.
BPR Full Show 11/25/20: Breaking With Tradition
Today on Boston Public Radio:
M.I.T. economist Jon Gruber talked about shifting attitudes around the decriminalization of cannabis, and discussed the economic, public health, and social justice implications of marijuana legalization.
We opened up the lines to talk with listeners about this year’s Black Friday, getting your takes on pandemic-era shopping sprees.
National security expert Juliette Kayyem dove into the logistics of COVID vaccine distribution, and talked about a "rolling recovery” through the final months of the pandemic. She also talked about questions of presidential pardons during the final months of the Trump administration, and weighed in on President-elect Biden’s latest string of cabinet picks.
Behavioral economist Michael Norton broke down his research on why human beings have such a hard time breaking from tradition, ahead of this COVID-era Thanksgiving. He also took some time to respond to questions and comments from listeners on the subject.
Former DNC chairman Steve Grossman talked about his work with his organization The Initiative for Competitive Inner City, and their first-ever report ranking concentrated poverty in 450 American cities. He also discussed means of encouraging and stimulating growth in inner city economies, reflecting on the initiatives he'd like to see on a federal and state level.
TV expert Bob Thompson discussed news that former Jeopardy champion Ken Jennings is temporarily taking on Jeopardy hosting duties in the wake of Alex Trebek’s passing. He also reviewed the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air reunion, and HBO’s “Between the World And Me.”
We closed out Wednesday’s show by returning to listeners, to talk about the Thanksgiving Day traditions you’re holding onto this year – and maybe some ones you’ve invented in the time of coronavirus.
BPR Full Show 11/24/20: Feeling Convivial
Today on Boston Public Radio:
Filmmaker Michael Kirk discussed his latest film for FRONTLINE, “Battle for the Court,” about Sen. Mitch McConnell’s decades-long effort to transform the Supreme Court. You can catch Kirk’s film on Tuesday night at 10:00 on PBS, or online at PBS.org/Frontline.
Next, we opened our lines to get your takes on President-elect Joe Biden’s prospective cabinet picks.
Medical ethicist Art Caplan discussed the emergence of a third prospective COVID-19 vaccine – this time from biopharmaceutical company AstraZeneca – and its global implications for the next future of the coronavirus pandemic.
Artist and performer David Byrne spoke about "American Utopia,” his Broadway show, Spike Lee-directed HBO special, and now newly-released book created in collaboration with artist Maira Kalman. He also offered some thoughts on Joe Biden’s 2020 win, and explained why he’s been busy doodling in quarantine.
Food writer Corby Kummer gave the latest updates on struggles within Boston’s restaurant industry, cruel worker practices at U.S. slaughterhouses, and other major food headlines.
Travel guru Rick Steves weighed in on President-elect Joe Biden’s victory and the handful of ballot wins for cannabis legalization in the 2020 election. He also reflected on mindfulless and the Thanksgiving spirit, and what he's hoping his travel company will be able to achieve in 2021.
Rick Steves on Thanksgiving Mindfulness in the Year of COVID
On Tuesday, travel guru Rick Steves joined Boston Public Radio for his monthly check-in, where he reflected on the meaning of Thanksgiving, and its particular significance in the bizarre year of 2020.
"Every country has harvest festivals,” he said. “When travel and we clink glasses, we realize how beautiful and interconnected the world is, and realize how joy across the sea is just as real as joy across the table at home – and how hunger and suffering across the sea is just as real as sadness and struggles across our own family tables.”
He added, “thankfulness to me is really hollow without being mindful about our relative privilege, and the needs of the less fortunate."
During the interview, Steves also touched on his feelings about Joe Biden’s 2020 win, and spoke about what he’s hoping to achieve in 2021 with the slow easing of global travel restrictions.
Steves is an author, television and radio host, and the owner of “Rick Steves' Europe” tour group. You can catch Rick Steves’ Europe weeknights at 7:30 on GBH 2, and his radio show Travel With Rick Steves Sundays at 4:00 on GBH.
Through 'American Utopia,' David Byrne Argues For A Return To Hope In Our Democratic 'Experiment'
When COVID-19 hit, New Wave musician and former Talking Heads frontman David Byrne was forced to push back the return of his Broadway show, American Utopia.
But that didn’t silence the project altogether. In collaboration with artist Maira Kalman, Byrne converted the show into an illustrated book, and on Boston Public Radio Tuesday, he argued for a societal return to hope in the American experiment itself.
“(An American utopia) an imaginary ideal, but it’s nice to think that maybe we can get closer to it,” he said.
Byrne said he takes inspiration from the writings of Alexis de Toqueville, who wrote “Democracy in America” in the early 1800s.
“Obviously as we’ve seen, the experiment continues, it’s still an experiment,” he said. “There’s occasionally some bumps in the road, so far we’re still hanging in there … and can only hope that that kind of malleability that we have, leads us to a better place.”
Byrne has kept creating and adapting American Utopia during a pandemic that has affected much of American life as we know it. Touched by a national political discourse that seems more divided than ever, Byrne has also delved into the world of journalism, through a multimedia project called We Are Not Divided.
“I’d collect these things for myself, to help convince myself no we’re not necessarily going to hell in a handbasket, there are people doing things that are helpful,” said Byrne. “It really has helped me, when I start to despair, it’s really helped me see no that’s not the only news out there, some of the news is that people are bridging divides, people are doing things that are energy efficient, they’re finding ways to do things that are economically sound and putting us on the right path.”
Corby Kummer: To Dine Indoors, Or Not To Dine Indoors?
Food writer Corby Kummer spoke to Boston Public Radio on Tuesday about the issue of proper ventilation inside restaurants, during the pandemic.
“Indoor dining is problematic, and it needs spacing and ventilation and constant mask-wearing,” he said.
Kummer is a senior editor at The Atlantic, an award-winning food writer, and a senior lecturer at the Tufts Friedman School of Nutrition and Policy.
Art Caplan Expects 'Even More' Good COVID-19 Vaccine Announcements
With news that pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca has developed a COVID-19 vaccine that may be nearly 90% effective and is easy to transport, medical ethicist Arthur Caplan told Boston Public Radio on Tuesday things are looking good for widespread vaccine distribution.
“We now have at least three, I’m expecting more to come through the pipeline in the coming months,” he said. “We can call this the Goldilocks phenomenon. The AstraZeneca one has the promise of being able to get to places the other ones won’t, including poor parts of the world as well as rural America.”
The AstraZeneca news comes on the immediate heels of Pfizer and Moderna announcing their vaccines both show initial efficacy rates above 90% in late-stage trials, but must be stored in very cold temperatures. They use mRNA technology, which uses genetic material instead of the traditional deactivated virus to prompt an immune response. The AstraZeneca vaccine uses the more traditional method.
Additionally, Caplan said the AstraZeneca vaccine measures transmission rates after receiving the vaccine, where the other two do not.
“The first two vaccines only measured did you get sick, and they actually only measured did you get mild or moderately sick, figuring if that didn’t happen you weren’t going to get seriously ill,” said Caplan. “For the AstraZeneca one they measured did you infect other people as one of the study points.”
The AstraZeneca results are also only initial analysis of late-stage clinical trials.
Customer ReviewsSee All
Would it be possible to edit it so the segments are broken down in smaller chunks rather than a two or three hour episode? I’d love if there was a similar format as WBUR which gives the whole recording but also breaks them up into smaller bits by the stories covered. Just a suggestion.
Insightful intelligent radio.
Love Andy Ihnatko
I love public radio and how they allow other voices and don’t center the white male experience. Keep it up, we can’t please everyone. Republicans won’t be happy until you become Fox News anyway. Public radio is such a breath of fresh air, the rest of us are desperate for something substantial and thoughtful.
I’m in another state, thank you for providing this podcast as an alternative for listening. I can’t listen to the radio now since we are all at home anyway — need that pause button.
Nice to hear things from a Boston perspective! I subscribed for Andy, but everyone else is great too. The best interviews. Almost as good as Colorado Matters on CPR. 😄