Almost every day on our program, we end with a "Reporter's Notebook," on events or issues that aren't necessarily leading the news. In this rebroadcast of today's To the Point, we present a collection of our favorite interviews from this year with the authors of remarkable books. We hear how Barack Obama's biographer learned more than the President knew about his own ancestry; why Exxon-Mobil's not really an American company — and how women came out of the secretarial pool into senior positions in the news industry. We also get a scathing account of America's fumbling efforts to transform Afghanistan — before and during our longest war. Plus, a conversation with Salman Rushdie about surviving a fatwa.
FROM THIS EPISODE
Rajiv Chandrasekaran is an editor and foreign correspondent for the Washington Post. His book, Imperial Life in the Emerald City, was a scathing account of US mishandling of the war in Iraq. His latest is Little America: the War Within the War for Afghanistan. We talked to him at KCRW's studio in Santa Monica in July.
On September 18 of this year, we interviewed the novelist Salman Rushdie, whose memoir about living under a fatwa had just been published. Rushdie says the fatwa was based on a misunderstanding of his earlier novel, The Satanic Verses, which Iran's Ayatollah Khomeini denounced as an insult to Islam. Coincidentally, Rushdie's memoir, Joseph Anton, was published in the midst of another international uproar. Seventy-five lives were lost in the Middle East, North Africa and Pakistan in protests over the film, The Innocence of Muslims — which was very much intended to be an insult to Islam.
In 1975, Lynn Povich became the first female senior editor of Newsweek magazine, where she started out as a secretary. But her rise from an entry-level position to senior management was different from those of the men who preceded her. It took legal action. She's written a book about the process: The Good Girls Revolt: How the Women of Newsweek Sued their Bosses and Changed the Workplace.
Apple has challenged Exxon Mobil as the biggest American company, but Exxon Mobil deals with fuel for the energy that powers the world's economy — including Apple computers. Now it's become a sort of state on its own, with a foreign policy that may not conform to the foreign policy of its home country. Exxon Mobil is not "a US company," according to its former president, Lee Raymond. "I don't make decisions based on what's good for the US." He's cited in the new book, Private Empire: Exxon Mobil and American Power, authored by Pulitzer Prize-winner Steve Coll, staff writer for the New Yorker magazine.
Steve Coll, New America Foundation
More From Which Way, L.A.?
Which Way, LA? The Question that Won't Go Away 23 years ago, the fires of the Rodney King riots were burning and the sirens wailing when KCRW first asked, WWLA? We've been through fires, floods, earthquakes and massive social, cultural and economic change. While this is the last program titled WWLA? the question still needs to be asked. We talk with a group of important and thoughtful people about what LA has become and about the challenges to be faced in the future…as we continue.
Then and Now: Is LA Still the Car Capital of the World? Urban planners got some bad news today. Ridership on public transit in Southern California is on the decline, despite the billions being spent in recent years to build light rail and subway lines. Why aren't more drivers leaving their cars at home, as traffic gets more congested than ever? Meantime, there's a shortage of money to repair aging roads, bridges and other parts of the infrastructure. We look at the impact on the state's economy.
Does California Have a Double Standard for the Public's Protection? Porter Ranch and Vernon are mirror images of each other. In one, schools have been closed and thousands of residents are being moved away by the polluter—just months after a natural gas leak was discovered. In the other, residents complained for years about health risks to school children from exposure to lead and arsenic from a battery recycling plant— until the federal government finally stepped in.
Is 'Warfare' a Thing of the Past at the LAPD? Video of police misconduct wasn’t as common 25 years ago as it is today. The spectacle of LAPD officers beating Rodney King was a wake-up call, but didn’t persuade a jury in Simi Valley. When the cops received not-guilty verdicts, the city exploded. We hear from veteran officers who say they’ve changed. What about their tactics? Have they gained the trust of marginalized communities and people of color?
LATEST BLOG POSTS
Weird and wonderful movies to get you in the Christmas spirit You know the classic holiday movies, such as ”It’s a Wonderful Life” and “A Christmas Story.” There are less traditional favorites like “Home Alone” and “Love Actually.” But maybe you’re… Read More
Cartoonist Roz Chast on Manhattan: ‘I feel more alive when I’m there’ Part of the pleasure of reading Roz Chast’s cartoons in the New Yorker is realizing your life isn’t so miserable after all. Her characters live in a world filled with… Read More