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The Kojo Nnamdi Show
Updated: 58 min 22 sec ago

The Politics Hour - October 9, 2015

2 hours 52 min ago

The D.C. Council considers the nation's most generous family leave policy. Montgomery County bans most cosmetic lawn pesticide use. And Virginia's governor calls for tougher gun laws in the wake of another mass shooting. Join us for our weekly review of the politics, policies, and personalities of the District of Columbia, Maryland and Virginia.

Texas Fred, The Zydeco Cowboy: On Bringing a Louisiana Musical Tradition to D.C.

Thu, 2015-10-08 13:32

Fred Carter, better known as Texas Fred the Zydeco Cowboy, was born and raised in Southeast Texas, where he became fascinated with zydeco and its origins. Upon landing in the D.C. region, he shared his love for the music in the form of a local radio show he hosts and programs called "The Trail Ride." Listeners hear a range of musical genres, including zydeco, Cajun, country, blues and R&B, along with conversation on a variety of topics. He joins us to explore his passion for the music and culture behind zydeco.

Exploring The State Department Diplomacy Museum

Thu, 2015-10-08 13:06

The nation's capital has lots of monuments to military heroism. Now the first museum of diplomacy is under construction at the State Department. We talk with its director, a long-time foreign service official, about how technology has changed the practice of diplomacy and what America's involvement in recent wars says about the success of diplomacy in the 21st century.

Why Are Fewer Kids Participating In Sports? Blame The Parents

Thu, 2015-10-08 12:20

Ask a group of kids 'what's most fun about sports?' -- like George Washington University researchers recently did -- and you'll get lots of answers. Out of the 81 they came up with, 'winning' didn't even make the top 40. But for parents -- many of whom run and coach their children's sports leagues -- winning is an important way to groom their kids for college scholarships. Some say the result is an intense, hyper-competitive atmosphere that many kids have no interest in. We talk with experts about why fewer kids are playing sports and whether their parents may be to blame.

D.C. Council Member Vincent Orange On The Pepco-Exelon Deal, Million Man March

Thu, 2015-10-08 12:06

D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser this week threw her support behind a deal to allow the region's electric utility, Pepco, to merge with the nationwide provider Exelon. She other city officials previously opposed the idea of Exleon acquiring Pepco, but reversed her stance after Exelon offered a new plan with $78 million in concessions to the city. D.C. Council Member Vincent Orange, a former Pepco executive, joins Kojo to explore what's a stake for the city in the new agreement - and to reflect on the 20th anniversary of the Million Man March.

“Green” Hospitals: The Path to Eco-Friendly Healthcare

Wed, 2015-10-07 13:06

It's an unsettling irony of healthcare: the sector charged to "do no harm" is also one of the world’s top polluters of fossil fuels, chemicals and dangerous air pollutants. For Gary Cohen, founder of the Reston, VA.-based Health Care Without Harm and winner of a 2015 MacArthur Foundation "genius" grant, that irony prompted action that has led to changes worldwide in healthcare practices. From the elimination of mercury thermometers, to waste reduction and greater efficiency in operating rooms, Cohen's work has reached clinics in the most remote parts of the world. Kojo talks with Cohen about how hospitals can work more sustainably amid climate change, and he learns how one local hospital system is working to make its practices greener. 

The Realities And Possibilities Of Eating Well On $4 A Day

Wed, 2015-10-07 12:30

Countless politicians -- and some celebrities -- have attempted to feed themselves on $4 a day. It's the typical budget for the more than 46 million Americans who receive benefits through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). While some see the exercise as one that builds empathy, others see it as a publicity stunt. We consider the realities - and possibilities - of eating well on this kind of budget.

D.C.'s Proposed Paid Leave Law

Wed, 2015-10-07 12:06

In most parts of the country, you can't take off work and get paid just to have a child or help raise one. That may change here in D.C. if a newly-proposed law passes the D.C. Council and is signed by the mayor. It would guarantee nearly four months worth of paid leave for those looking to raise a child or tend to an sick family member to virtually all employees in the District. But these guarantees can't come without a price, and that has not sat well with some members of the business community. We talk with two council members about what this law would mean for those who work in Washington.

Marlon James On "A Brief History Of Seven Killings," The Caribbean Diaspora And Writing Long

Tue, 2015-10-06 13:32

In 1976, Bob Marley survived an assassination attempt amid political warring in Jamaica. Marley survived -- going on to become an even bigger legend than he already was -- but what about the men who plotted against him? Enter author Marlon James, whose fictional account of a sprawling, gnarly cast of characters behind the plot is a literary tour de force. We talk with him about the novel, his approach to writing and what it means to be part of the Caribbean diaspora living in the U.S.

Are D.C. Charter Schools Funded Fairly?

Tue, 2015-10-06 13:06

An association of Washington, D.C. public charter schools claims the city has provided millions of dollars less in funding for charter schools than traditional public schools. While opponents question the practicality of a uniform funding model that gives every school the exact same amount of funding, the lawsuit itself dredges up the issue of whether the D.C. Council has the authority to assign funding in the first place. We examine both sides of the funding issue, and how it relates to the ongoing debate over home rule.

Computer Guys And Gal: Taking Selfies To New Heights And More

Tue, 2015-10-06 12:06

Apple's decision to permit ad blocking on its iPhones sparks a debate about whether and how to quash mobile ads. Google unveils new Nexus phones loaded with the updated version of Android. And an artist introduces "dronies" -- video selfies shot by a GoPro on a drone -- on Instagram. The Computer Guys and Gal join us to discuss these and other tech topics.

Wendell Pierce on Acting, New Orleans, and his memoir, "The Wind in the Reeds"

Mon, 2015-10-05 13:32

Wendell Pierce is perhaps best known for his role as Detective "Bunk" Moreland in the TV series "The Wire." He also starred in "Treme," about his hometown, New Orleans, and the city's resilience after Hurricane Katrina. We speak to him about his memoir and his work rebuilding his childhood community, Pontchartrain Park.

Fighting Homelessness In D.C., Arlington And Nationwide

Mon, 2015-10-05 12:06

The number of homeless families seeking shelter in Washington, D.C., is growing -- and the District is not alone. Arlington County recently opened a homeless shelter. and in Los Angeles, the problem is so dire that officials declared a public emergency and proposed to spend $100 million more to help those without homes. We explore how policymakers locally and elsewhere are tackling homelessness.

The Politics Hour - October 2, 2015

Fri, 2015-10-02 12:06

Federal officials inject themselves in the debate over Metro safety. Maryland state lawmakers spar over early voting sites in Montgomery County. And Pope Francis' representatives in D.C. make a last-minute plea for a death row inmate in Virginia. Join us for our weekly review of the politics, policies, and personalities of the District of Columbia, Maryland and Virginia.

Montgomery County Drops High School Final Exams

Thu, 2015-10-01 13:32

In a move to reclaim teaching time and address concerns about over-testing, Maryland's largest school district is phasing out final exams. Montgomery County's Board of Education voted to eliminate end-of-semester, two-hour cumulative exams in its high schools and replace them with in-class tests, papers or other measures of student learning throughout the semester. But will students be ready for finals when they get to college? The director of secondary curriculum joins us to explain the decision.

On The Docket: A Supreme Court Preview

Thu, 2015-10-01 13:06

This summer the Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage, a blockbuster decision that reverberated in every state. On Monday when the Court starts its new term, a roster of equally charged issues will dominate the docket. From the death penalty and juvenile sentencing, to questions over affirmative action and restrictions on abortions, the roster will also put the Court’s nine justices under scrutiny. Kojo explores the pivotal cases on the docket this term and finds out how Court dynamics inside –- and outside –- the courtroom could impact cases.

Charging For Concerts In America's Front Yard?

Thu, 2015-10-01 12:06

The Landmark Music Festival for the National Mall last weekend featured performances from Canadian rapper Drake, alternative rock band The Strokes, and countless other big names in music. But unlike most other events held around our monuments and memorials, concertgoers had to fork over an entry fee to take it in. It was meant to raise money and awareness for the upkeep of the National Mall, but the festival also raised questions about whether or not an event put on by a private production company was a proper use of our shared parks. We talk about how we use the green space in and around the National Mall.

A Proposal To Privatize Some Ambulance Service: D.C.'s Fire And EMS Chief

Wed, 2015-09-30 13:30

After a series of challenges facing D.C.'s Fire and Emergency Medical Services Department, including long wait times and ambulance shortages, Mayor Muriel Bowser and Fire and EMS Chief Gregory Dean proposed the use of private ambulances for non-life-threatening 911 calls. We speak with Dean about how the city is addressing the department's challenges.

Understanding And Implementing FDA's New Food Safety Rules In D.C.

Wed, 2015-09-30 13:06

New York restaurant chain Fig & Olive has been linked to two Salmonella outbreaks on both sides of the country. While the cause was never determined and the D.C. location is back up and running after passing a health inspection, questions remain about the spread of the infection. Today, Kojo discusses the incident and examines the FDA's new food safety rules that were finalized the same week.

The Moments That Shaped The Face of Local Washington

Wed, 2015-09-30 12:06

The Washington region is diverse, complex, and constantly evolving. So the events that sparked meaningful changes and landmark moments aren't always obvious. As Washingtonian magazine celebrates its 50th anniversary, we explore how events like the election of Prince George's County's first African-American executive and a blockbuster King Tut exhibit at the National Gallery helped make the D.C. area what it is today. Washingtonian editor Michael Schaffer and local poet and activist Ethelbert Miller join Kojo for a look at Washington's evolution.