Thursday, December 6th on Your Call, a conversation with Nina Simon, Executive Director of the Santa Cruz Museum of Art & History, and author of “The Participatory Museum.” Listen from 10-11 a.m. on KUSP and KUSP.org.
Fearless forecasters: Neuroscientist Sam Wang and Political Scientist Drew Linzer
Nate Silver isn’t the only forecaster to project the results of last Tuesday’s presidential election with preternatural accuracy. Sam Wang of the Princeton Election Consortium and Drew Linzer of Votamatic both hit the bullseye, too, and they explained to me why it’s not really so preternatural after all (hint: statistics works). We talked about their methods, why so many pundits and political partisans missed the boat, and whether it’s bedtime for bloviators.
Two new movies (shown at the 2012 Pacific Rim Film Festival) pay tribute to musical instruments and/or traditions that haven’t always gotten their due in mainstream USA.
In part one, Tad Nakamura, director of Jake Shimabukuro: Life on Four Strings. It’s a moving portrait of the musician who’s taken the ukulele—sometimes wrongly dissed as a novelty instrument—to virtuosic heights.
Jake Shimabukuro and Tad Nakamura (left); Mexican Diva Lila Downs and Shawn Ashmore (right).
In part two, Tom Gunderson director of Mariachi Gringo, the tale of a young man from the midwest who falls in love with Mexico and devotes himself to mariachi music. Lead actor Shawn Ashmore devoted himself to the music too, going to school on vihuela.
The puppet cast of the children's TV show "Sesame Street" represents a cross section of American voters -- from the orphan child Big Bird to the independently wealthy Bert and Ernie to the homeless Oscar the Grouch.
Just like that, Big Bird was a new Internet superstar. Twitter reported 17,000 Big Bird tweets a minute last night during the presidential debate, many asking whether the 8-foot-tall yellow creature is in the 99 percent or maybe the 47 percent.
We take a look at some of the characters from “Sesame Street” to see where they fall on the economic continuum.
Big Bird sleeps in a nest outside what looks like an apartment building on “Sesame Street.” His neighbor — Oscar — lives in a trash can. But after doing some investigating, it turns out Big Bird is a perpetual 6-year-old who was put into bird foster care by a well-meaning bird social worker named Miss Finch.
So, it would be safe to say Big Bird is not a privileged muppet. In case you don’t believe it, we asked an expert. Caroline Ratcliffe is an economist and Senior Fellow at the Urban Institute.
“If I had to put him on an economic continuum,” says Ratcliffe, “I would put him in the lower quintiles of the economic distribution.”
Writer Elizabeth Jensen, who has been covering public broadcasting for the past 20 years, says there’s a reason for that. “‘Sesame Street’ was really created to educate poor children and get them ready for school.”
Jensen calls “Sesame Street” Head Start for television, referring to the federal program that preps low income kids for kindergarten. She says it was important for the characters to be relatable, and it’s worked for more than 40 years — no matter what your class background.
Election issues: Big Bird is concerned about the social safety net and whether funding for programs like Head Start will dry up.
Oscar the Grouch
Oscar the Grouch” is the garbage-can dwelling resident on “Sesame Street.” He’s obviously poor, but seems pretty content as he’s able to get by on scavanging for food and other objects. Oscar has even managed to acquire two beat-up cars: an old, broken-down taxi and a car called the “Sloppy Jalopy.” In his spare time, Oscar runs a youth group called the Grouchketeers.
Election issues: Oscar might be worried about government stimulus spending that would hire more firemen, policemen and sanitation workers — they might disturb his trash can.
Biff and Sully
Biff is a shining example of America’s blue-collar middle class. He and his silent pal, Sully, are construction workers on “Sesame Street.” Biff has a wife named Ethel and four kids he supports by doing small jobs around the neighborhood.
Election issues: Jobs, jobs and jobs. Since the collapse of the housing marketing in 2008, Biff and Sully have had a hard time finding construction work. And now he’s worried more than ever about his ability to save for the future, particularly if there are changes to the student-loan program that would make it harder for his kids to attend college.
Count Von Count
The Count is a math teacher by trade. He lives in an old, beat-up mansion that he shares with his collection of bats. He also works part-time as an elevator operator, perhaps indicating that he can’t pay for his bills each month on a teacher’s salary. That said, he does own his home and is able to afford his fancy car “The Countmobile.”
Election issues: As a homeowner, the Count should be worried about changes to mortgage-interest deduction rules. As a teacher, education funding is a big concern.
Bert and Ernie
The pair has no formal employment and a lot of free time, which lead us to believe these two are independently wealthy and living off of investment income. For example, Bert’s favorite pastime is watching pigeons. He also collects cans and paper clips. Ernie, meanwhile, has no formal employment and enjoys taking baths with his “Rubber Duckie” and playing the saxophone.
Election issues: This duo is most focused on proposals to change the investment income tax rate. It’s unclear which way the pair lean on the subject, but this little known fact might reveal something about their political affiliation: Bert is the president of the National Association of W Lovers.
Intro: Terry Green & talk by Silenced Majority co-author, Denis Moynihan (32 min.)
Video produced & edited by Nada Miljkovic.
Camera work: Nada Miljkovic & Luisa Cardoza.
KUSP hosted the Amy Goodman event at Cabrillo College.
Democracy Now! is on the road for a 100-city tour to help raise critical funds for public & community television and radio stations across the country. Amy Goodman and Denis Moynihan spoke at Cabrillo College.
Amy and Denis have a new book entitled: The Silenced Majority: Stories of Uprisings, Occupations, Resistance, and Hope.
KUSP sends great big thanks to Amy, Denis and the DN crew for making this great event possible!
Frances Cornford - - - - - - - - Ann Lauterbach - - - - - - - - Carol Ann Duffy - - - - - - - - Sarah Hannah
Eva Saltzman, poet and co-editor of the anthology Women’s Work, joins host Dennis Morton on the KUSP Poetry Show for September 9, 2012. She and Dennis continue the theme of last week’s Poetry Show, discussing Women’s Work. Eva also reads some of her own work, including two unpublished poems.
Among other goals, the anthology aimed to partially redress the paucity of female poets included in English-language anthologies. Eva’s co-editor was Amy Wack, poetry editor of Seren Press. From Women’s Work, Eva reads:
In the second half, Eva and Dennis continue the discussion of Sarah Hannah. Then the talk turns the poetry workshop Eva led in Santa Cruz last Saturday. Next, Eva offers some words of advice to aspiring poets. The show concludes with Eva reading a couple more poems, including one of her own.
Note: Eva Salzman was last a Poetry Show guest on August 16, 2009 (back in the pre-blog Dark Ages). You can find a podcast of that show in the Poetry Show archives.
Dr. Fiona Mulvey and Prof. Kenneth Holmqvist join us for a discussion on how the human eye works and a bit about eye tracking research.
Also, a mars robot sees rock and attacks it! Plus, networked cars help reduce traffic.
Microsoft has just unveiled a new look and feel to its corporate logo. Following 25 years from its former iteration, this is the first major Microsoft logo change in the company’s history. The new logo includes a multicolored symbol that’s typically found on the company’s Windows products — the first time the wordmark has been accompanied by an image. Speaking to The Seattle Times, Microsoft’s Jeff Hansen reveals that the new logo is designed to “signal the heritage but also signal the future — a newness and freshness.”
Dr. Fiona Mulvey spends her days analysing eye movement data and its relationship to the activity of the brain. She is also the Chair of the COGAIN association and the Eye Movements Research Association, and a member of the International committee for the standardisation of eye data quality.
Prof. Kenneth Holmqvist
Prof. Kenneth Holmqvist leads the largest eye tracking group in the world in Lund University, Sweden. He is the author of the seminal work on eye tracking, the President of the Eye Movement Researchers Association and the Chair of an international standardisation committee for eye data quality.
After the show Fiona, Kenneth, Ben and I hit the beach for a bite to eat. We ran into the Ukalaly group of Santa Cruz (50 or so uks playing away). Kenneth and I talked more about eye tracking and bike riding, and Fiona and Ben played some music . It was a blast.
The Poetry Show for August 19, 2012 opens with host Dennis Morton reading from the July/August 2012 Poetry Magazine. Included are poems by Brian Swann, Robin Ekiss, Kay Ryan and Tony Hoagland, and an essay by Mary Ruefle titled “I remember, I remember”.
And now for something completely different… a selection from the Burma Shave poems that appeared on little signs lining the highways of America in the 1950s and 60s.
The second half of the show begins with several poems by Denise Levertov and Martina Evans, from book number 9 of the Penguin Modern Poetry series.
In the show’s concluding segment, Dennis welcomes a very special guest – his grand-daughter Giovanna, visiting from Oregon. Giovanna reads a few of her favorites from Garcia Lorca.
Eminent American poet Dana Gioia is the guest, via pre-recorded interview, of host Dennis Morton on the Poetry Show for July 29, 2012. Native Californian Gioia returns to the Poetry Show after an absence of more than ten years.
The wide-ranging interview, recorded at the KUSP studio on July 10, coincides with the publication of Gioia’s fourth and latest full-length collection of poetry, titled Pity the Beautiful.