October 01, 2009

NCPR: The Listening Post

Partisan feelings

Dale HobsonMy brother was in town last weekend, so we took a leaf-viewing drive up into the mountains, first walking the Boreal Life Trail at the Paul Smiths VIC, then meandering up above Lake Placid on John Brown's Road. The day was sunny and cool, and the views all one could hope for, up behind the ski jumps looking east toward the Cascade Pass. As I had never visited the John Brown Farm, I took the chance to stop in for a moment.

The bearded abolitionist of my high school civics book (in life-size bronze) greeted me by the entryway--one arm sheltering an African American child, and looking out over the many-colored mountains. His eyes hold a terrible purpose; you can see in them the bloody partisan night raids of "Bleeding Kansas," the armed insurrectionist, captured and brought to trial for treason by then US Army Colonel Robert E. Lee at Harpers Ferry.

Brown inspires in me very mixed feelings. One must admire those who are willing to give their life in a cause. But the willingness to take life for a cause? That gives me pause. Particularly at a time when political temperatures are rising to a boil.

Brian Mann, in the In Box blog, has been tracking the hotter end of politics, noting a column this week by John L. Perry, suggesting that a military coup may be the only way to preserve the nation. And in reply to my Listening Post entry about the "American character," an old friend maintained that "As an issue, abortion is the slavery of the 21st century." Even shaving a few points off for heated partisan feeling, when I look at the statue of John Brown, and remember the legacy of slaughter and ruin it took to resolve the issue of slavery, I have to hope my friend is wrong about that.

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--Dale Hobson, NCPR Online

On air: Regional news | Planet Boy

The Eight O'Clock HourTomorrow (Friday) morning on The Eight O'Clock Hour: Observers call the race for the 23rd congressional district wide-open after a Siena College poll released Thursday. Politicians set politics aside for a moment in Albany--Gov. David Paterson, a Democrat, shared the stage with former Republican Gov. George Pataki for the unveiling of Pataki's formal portrait. And Researchers are learning more about the day-to-day lives of the state's burgeoning moose population: what they're eating, where they're going, and why their numbers are growing so rapidly. A project organized by the Wildlife Conservation Society uses tracking dogs to follow in their footsteps. Brian Mann spent a day with a team in the northern Adirondacks.

This Sunday at 3 pm on The Vinyl Cafe, host Stuart McLean tells the story of Dave and his son Sam's first school dance and explains all about "Planet Boy."

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Online: Writer Steve Almond | What's hot

The latest edition of Readers & Writers was a conversation with Steve Almond, whose most recent book, Not That You Asked, has been called a collection of "rants, exploits, and obsessions." The program is held this season in conjunction with the St. Lawrence University Writers Series. Listen to the series on the Readers & Writers page.

Top FiveYou can never predict which story is going to take off and spread throughout the region. We keep an eye on the numbers via our Google Analytics account. Here are the top five NCPR news stories of the last week:
1. Cornwall Island dispute continues (9/28)
2. Book Review: "Chains" (9/30)
3. Common Wealth, Common Wisdom: Ruth Garner—travels as a young girl shape a political career (9/29)
4. Birds, bats, and wind (9/25)
5. TV ad war heats up in 23rd House race (9/29)

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The Jay Ungar and Molly Mason Family Band, in concert at the Edwards Opera House, Saturday at 7 pm. With exceptional musicianship and a vast knowledge of a number of music styles, Jay Ungar & Molly Mason are one of the most celebrated duos in American acoustic music. More information.

The October Pet Fest, an Octoberfest for the whole family, even the family pet, at the Adirondack Lakes Center for the Arts, Blue Mountain Lake, Saturday, October 10, 10 am to 4 pm. Enjoy hotdogs, bratwursts and other German favorites. Beer and root beer tasting. Enter your pets in the Pet Show with fun categories like Best Fed Pet, I Look Like My Pet Award, Best Pet Trick, Best Stuffed Pet, and more. $5 General Admission. Food and drink sold separately. More information.