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This Author: Terry Gross
This Publisher: National Public Radio

NPR: Fresh Air Podcast by Terry Gross

NPR: Fresh Air Podcast

by Terry Gross

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Fresh Air from WHYY, the Peabody Award-winning weekday magazine of contemporary arts and issues, is one of public radio's most popular programs. Hosted by Terry Gross, the show features intimate conversations with today's biggest luminaries.


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Best Of: Marc Maron / Rabbi Susan Silverman / "I Feel Like"

Author: NPR
Fri, May 27, 2016


In season four of the IFC show 'Maron,' the comic (playing a fictionalized version of himself) relapses with painkillers, and ends up losing his podcast, his cats, and his home. Marc Maron talks about his own experience in rehab, his confessional comedy, and how to reconcile his anxious persona with his current success. Also, linguist Geoff Nunberg discusses the usage of "I feel like." Rabbi Susan Silverman is a mother of five children (two of whom were adopted from Ethiopia) and the older sister of the irreverent comic Sarah Silverman. She talks about how she became a rabbi after growing up in a secular family, her separation anxiety, and her relationship with her sister.

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Comic Maria Bamford

Author: NPR
Fri, May 27, 2016


The star of the new Netflix series 'Lady Dynamite' has used comedy to address her struggles with OCD, bipolar disorder, and suicidal thoughts. She spoke to Terry Gross in 2013. Film critic David Edelstein reviews the documentary 'Weiner,' about former congressman Anthony Weiner's 2013 political scandal.

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In New Political Warfare, 'Armies Of Video Trackers' Swarm Candidates

Author: NPR
Thu, May 26, 2016


The New Yorker's Jane Mayer discusses conservative activist James O'Keefe's latest botched sting operation, and the new kind of political opposition research he pioneered. TV critic David Bianculli reviews the remake of 'Roots.'

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An Unflinching Look At The Human Cost Of American Wars

Author: NPR
Wed, May 25, 2016


J. Kael Weston, former State Department adviser for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, talks about why he feels personally responsible for the deaths of 30 marines and one navy corpsman. "There's a memorial in South Boston that says, 'If you forget my death only then will I have died in vain,' and I think that's the cleanest , most powerful message that should apply to every war," Weston says. Book critic Maureen Corrigan shares her favorite suspense novels of the summer.

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Marc Maron On Sobriety And His 'Uncomfortable' Comfort Zone

Author: NPR
Tue, May 24, 2016


In season four of the IFC show 'Maron,' the comic (playing a fictionalized version of himself) relapses with painkillers, and ends up losing his podcast, his cats, and his home — and living in a storage unit. Marc Maron talks about his own experience in rehab, his confessional comedy, and how to reconcile his anxious persona with his current success. Also, linguist Geoff Nunberg discusses the usage of "I feel like."

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Susan Silverman On Anxiety, Adoption And Faith

Author: NPR
Mon, May 23, 2016


Rabbi Susan Silverman, the author of the memoir 'Casting Lots,' is a mother of five children (two of whom were adopted from Ethiopia) and the older sister of the irreverent comic Sarah Silverman. She talks about how she became a rabbi after growing up in a secular family, her separation anxiety, and her relationship with her sister. Ken Tucker reviews album 'Cult Following' by Little Scream.

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Best Of: 'Black-ish' Creator Kenya Barris / Author Viet Thanh Nguyen

Author: NPR
Fri, May 20, 2016


Barris' ABC comedy series 'Black-ish' was inspired by his own family experiences. He talks about police brutality, Obama's inauguration, and raising his kids in a predominantly white neighborhood. John Powers reviews the film, 'A Bigger Splash.' Viet Thanh Nguyen and his family fled their village in South Vietnam in 1975. He won the Pulitzer Prize this year for 'The Sympathizer,' a spy novel set during and just after the war in Vietnam.

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Bryan Cranston

Author: NPR
Fri, May 20, 2016


After five seasons as Walt on AMC's 'Breaking Bad,' Cranston reinvented himself as Lyndon B. Johnson in the play (and now HBO film) 'All the Way.' Film critic David Edelstein reviews 'Maggie's Plan,' starring Greta Gerwig, and we remember '60 Minutes' correspondent Morley Safer in an excerpt of his 1990 interview. He died Thursday at 84.

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The Panama Papers Explained

Author: NPR
Thu, May 19, 2016


Documents leaked from a Panama-based law firm have offered new insight into how easy it is for the rich and corrupt to hide their assets. McClatchy's Kevin Hall has been reporting on the documents. Jazz critic Kevin Whitehead reviews a new album from Ralph Peterson's trio. Maureen Corrigan reviews 'Eleven Hours,' a novel about the "beauty and brutality" of childbirth.

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'Black-ish' Creator Kenya Barris

Author: NPR
Wed, May 18, 2016


Barris' ABC comedy series 'Black-ish' was inspired by his own family experiences. He says the show is about "raising your kids in a different environment than you were accustomed to being raised in." He talks about police brutality, the n-word, and why his show isn't like 'The Cosby Show.'

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Author Viet Thanh Nguyen: 'Vietnam Is A Country And Not A War'

Author: NPR
Tue, May 17, 2016


Viet Thanh Nguyen and his family fled their village in South Vietnam in 1975. He won the Pulitzer Prize this year for 'The Sympathizer,' a spy novel set during and just after the war in Vietnam. TV critic David Bianculli discusses late-night TV's shift to any-time social media.

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The Power Of Genes

Author: NPR
Mon, May 16, 2016


Dr. Siddhartha Mukherjee says genetics play a significant role in identity, temperament, sexual orientation, and disease risk — but that environment also matters. His new book is 'The Gene.' John Powers reviews the film, 'A Bigger Splash.'

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Best Of: Writer Richard Russo / Daniel Clowes / A Cultural History Of Pit Bulls

Author: NPR
Fri, May 13, 2016


Pulitzer-Prize winning author Richard Russo on his new novel 'Everybody's Fool,' caring for his mother who suffered from OCD, and why he "feels like an idiot" going to cemeteries. Daniel Clowes is one of the most influential artists in the independent comics world. He talks about his latest book, 'Patience.' Author Bronwen Dickey says the idea of pit bulls as predators is based on myth and misinformation. In the early Hollywood era, the dogs were often chosen to appear in comedies. Her book is 'Pit Bull: The Battle Over an American Icon.'

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Baltimore Author On 'Living (And Dying) While Black'

Author: NPR
Fri, May 13, 2016


Author D. Watkins says that crack destroyed his East Baltimore neighborhood, and he explains how the real day-to-day of selling drugs is nothing like the movies. David Edelstein reviews 'Love & Friendship,' adapted from a Jane Austen novel. We remember poet Michael S. Harper.

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Actor Gary Cole / Cartoonist Daniel Clowes

Author: NPR
Thu, May 12, 2016


Gary Cole talks 'Veep,' getting mistaken for Gary Coleman, and why 'Office Space' endures. Daniel Clowes is one of the most influential artists in the independent comics world. His latest book, 'Patience,' uses time travel to look at the ways random events can set a life on a new path.

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Is America In A 'Vicious Circle' Of Jailing The Poor?

Author: NPR
Wed, May 11, 2016


There are almost 12 million admissions to local jails each year in the U.S. Activist Nancy Fishman says that most of those jailed are poor people being held for low-level offenses, like traffic violations. Ken Tucker reviews a new album from Car Seat Headrest.

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Pit Bull: The History Of America's Most Feared Dog

Author: NPR
Tue, May 10, 2016


Author Bronwen Dickey says the idea of pit bulls as predators is based on myth and misinformation. In the early Hollywood era, the dogs were often chosen to appear in comedies. Her book is 'Pit Bull: The Battle Over an American Icon.' Rock historian Ed Ward shares soul singer Clarence Carter's story. Book critic Maureen Corrigan reviews 'Heat & Light' by Jennifer Haigh.

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Writer Richard Russo On Why He Thinks He's 'Everybody's Fool'

Author: NPR
Mon, May 09, 2016


Pulitzer-Prize winning author of 'Empire Falls' Richard Russo on his new novel 'Everybody's Fool,' caring for his mother who suffered from OCD, and why he "feels like an idiot" going to cemeteries. TV critic David Bianculli reviews the series finale of 'The Good Wife.'

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Best Of: A Personal History Of L.A. Punk / Comic Jerrod Carmichael

Author: NPR
Fri, May 06, 2016


A look back at the L.A. punk scene with three people who helped define it. John Doe and Exene Cervenka, co-founders of the band X, and Dave Alvin, who joined X for a few years as their lead guitarist. In John Doe's new memoir, 'Under the Big Black Sun,' Doe brings together his own essays and stories from other musicians and scene-makers from that time. Comic Jerrod Carmichael has been described as having "one of standup's most unorthodox approaches to exploring race and class." His standup can make you squirm because he says things like, "I'm starting to appreciate slavery." Jerrod Carmichael is the creator and star of the NBC sitcom 'The Carmichael Show.'

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Former NYC Cop On 'The Job'

Author: NPR
Fri, May 06, 2016


Retired New York City police officer Steve Osborne shares stories including chasing a robber into a train tunnel and breaking up a knife fight. "Your heart is pounding; your adrenaline is shooting out of your ears," he says. "And you got one second to get it right." Over his 20 years of duty he never fired his gun. His memoir, 'The Job,' is now out in paperback. Jazz critic Kevin Whitehead reviews 'Perfection' from power trio David Murray, Gerri Allen, and Terri Lyne Carrington. Film critic David Edelstein reviews 'Captain America: Civil War.'

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A New Look At China's Cultural Revolution

Author: NPR
Thu, May 05, 2016


Historian Frank Dikötter says newly opened archives offer fresh details about the chaos China experienced in the 1960s, when Chairman Mao urged students to take to the streets. Ken Tucker offers his thoughts on Beyoncé's 'Lemonade.'

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Pakistani Squash Champion Maria Toorpakai / Director John Carney

Author: NPR
Wed, May 04, 2016


Growing up in the tribal region of Pakistan, Maria Toorpakai pretended she was a boy in order to compete as a weightlifter. Later she became an internationally-known squash champion. Her memoir is 'A Different Kind of Daughter.' Also, Fresh Air producer Ann Marie Baldonado talks to 'Once' director John Carney about his new film 'Sing Street,' about a teenager in the '80s who starts a band.

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Larry Wilmore On The Correspondents' Dinner

Author: NPR
Tue, May 03, 2016


The 'Nightly Show' host talks about his controversial performance at the White House Correspondents' Dinner in which he used the n-word referring to the President. "It definitely was a risk," he says. Also, we remember Jesuit priest and anti-war activist Daniel Berrigan who died Sunday.

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A Personal History Of L.A. Punk

Author: NPR
Mon, May 02, 2016


A look back at the L.A. punk scene with three people who helped define it. John Doe and Exene Cervenka, co-founders of the band X, and Dave Alvin, who joined X for a few years as their lead guitarist. In John Doe's new memoir, 'Under the Big Black Sun: A Personal History of L.A. Punk,' Doe brings together his own essays and stories from other musicians and scenemakers from that time.

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Best Of: Questlove / Tom Hanks

Author: NPR
Fri, Apr 29, 2016


An onstage interview with Ahmir 'Questlove' Thompson, the co-founder and drummer of The Roots. He talks about Prince, his late father Lee Andrews, and his new book, 'somethingtofoodabout.' David Edelstein reviews the new film 'Elvis & Nixon,' and Tom Hanks talks about growing up with multiple parents and religions. He stars in the new film 'A Hologram for the King.'

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'New Yorker' Cartoonist Writes 'Honest Portrait' Of His Parents

Author: NPR
Fri, Apr 29, 2016


Bruce Eric Kaplan, cartoonist for The New Yorker, recalls growing up in the 1960's and 70's in New Jersey. His illustrated memoir is called 'I Was A Child.' A remembrance of Harry Wu, who died Tuesday at the age of 79. Wu spent 19 years in a Communist Chinese labor camp. Milo Miles reviews a new tribute album for gospel-blues performer Blind Willie Johnson and David Edelstein reviews the new film 'Elvis & Nixon.'

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Comic Jerrod Carmichael On Stand-Up, Family And 'The Carmichael Show'

Author: NPR
Thu, Apr 28, 2016


Carmichael has been described as having 'one of standup's most unorthodox approaches to exploring race and class.' His standup can make you squirm because he says things like, 'I'm starting to appreciate slavery.' Jerrod Carmichael is the creator and star of the NBC sitcom 'The Carmichael Show.' On a typical episode, Jerrod, and the characters of his girlfriend, his parents and brother, take different positions on issues such as — once you know the allegations against Bill Cosby, is it still OK to watch The Cosby Show? Also, jazz critic Kevin Whitehead reviews a new album of live performances by jazz legend Sonny Rollins and Maureen Corrigan reviews Betsy Lerner's new memoir about reconnecting with her elderly mother.

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Onstage Interview with Ahmir "Questlove" Thompson

Author: NPR
Wed, Apr 27, 2016


Ahmir "Questlove" Thompson, the drummer and leader of The Tonight Show's house band The Roots, says he's obsessed with the creative process. His new book, 'somethingtofoodabout', is a collection of his interviews with chefs about how art and creativity apply to their preparation and presentation of food. Speaking with Terry Gross in front of an audience in Philadelphia, Questlove talks about Prince, his late father Lee Andrews, and the food equivalent of the 'Mona Lisa.'

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Tom Hanks

Author: NPR
Tue, Apr 26, 2016


Tom Hanks is one of the most popular actors of our time. In his new film, 'A Hologram for the King,' he plays a business man who's lost confidence in himself — in contrast to the courageous men Hanks has played in films like 'Captain Phillips,' 'Saving Private Ryan,' and 'Apollo 13.' Hanks tells Terry Gross why he doesn't think he has their kind of courage, about growing up a child of two divorces, and getting exposed to a variety of religions. Rock critic Ken Tucker reviews Sturgill Simpson's new country album.

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Hillary The Hawk: Inside Clinton's Tenure As Secretary Of State

Author: NPR
Mon, Apr 25, 2016


Mark Landler of The New York Times discusses Clinton and Obama's contrasting views on America's role in the world. Clinton, Landler says, was often the hawk, more willing to intervene with force. His book is 'Alter Egos.'

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Best Of: Yellowstone / One Autistic Man's 'Emotional Awakening'

Author: NPR
Fri, Apr 22, 2016


National Geographic journalist David Quammen warns that Yellowstone is "in danger of being loved to death." Maureen Corrigan reviews two works of historical suspense fiction. John Elder Robison, who has autism, talks about the brain experiment that left him with a sense of empathy he had never experienced before. His new book is 'Switched On.'

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The Songs And Pathways Of 'The Living Bird'

Author: NPR
Fri, Apr 22, 2016


Wildlife photographer Gerrit Vyn and essayist Scott Weidensaul share bird calls and discuss some of the remarkable abilities of birds. Film critic David Edelstein reviews 'The Huntsman: Winter's War' and 'Tale of Tales.' Ken Tucker reflects on the life and music of Prince.

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Electric Currents And An 'Emotional Awakening' For One Man With Autism

Author: NPR
Thu, Apr 21, 2016


'Switched On' author John Elder Robison says the emotional empathy he gained after receiving transcranial magnetic stimulation was intense. "It's like I lost a protective shield," he says. Dr. Alvaro Pascual-Leone joins Robison to talk about TMS treatment.

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'Scary Old Sex': Stories Of Love From The Aged

Author: NPR
Wed, Apr 20, 2016


74 year-old author and psychiatrist Arlene Heyman discusses her debut short-story collection, which focuses on the sex lives and intimate relationships of characters in their 60s and 70s. Maureen Corrigan reviews two works of historical suspense fiction. Jazz critic Kevin Whitehead reviews the new album from Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Henry Threadgill.

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David Duchovny

Author: NPR
Tue, Apr 19, 2016


Duchovny talks about how 'The X-Files' made him a better writer. His novel, 'Bucky F*cking Dent,' is about a a son reuniting with his absentee father. John Powers reviews the new AMC series 'The Night Manager.'

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Is Yellowstone In Danger Of Being 'Loved To Death'?

Author: NPR
Mon, Apr 18, 2016


Each year, the park attracts millions of visitors and provides a home to countless animal species. But National Geographic journalist David Quammen warns that balancing tourism and preservation can be tricky. Ken Tucker reviews 'A Cure For Loneliness' by Peter Wolf.

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Best Of: W. Kamau Bell / 'Shugs & Fats'

Author: NPR
Fri, Apr 15, 2016


Comic W. Kamau Bell is taking his political and social satire to CNN, where he's hosting a new docu-series called 'United Shades of America.' He describes himself as having made a living finding humor in the parts of America he doesn't understand. Kevin Whitehead reviews jazz guitarist Julian Lage's album 'Arclight.' Comics Nadia Manzoor and Radhika Vaz play Muslim immigrants dealing with speed dating, cat calls and other aspects of life in secular New York in their sketch-comedy series 'Shugs & Fats.'

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The Science Of The Teenage Brain

Author: NPR
Fri, Apr 15, 2016


Why do teenagers behave like — teenagers? We get an explanation from neuroscientist Dr. Frances Jensen, who says our brains are still maturing through our 20s and that the front part of the brain is the last to develop. "And what's in the front? Your frontal cortex and prefrontal cortex; these are the areas where we have insight, empathy, impulse control," she says. "Risk-taking behavior is suppressed by activity in your frontal lobes." Her book is 'The Teenage Brain.' Film critic David Edelstein reviews 'The Jungle Book.'

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Comic W. Kamau Bell

Author: NPR
Thu, Apr 14, 2016


Comic W. Kamau Bell is taking his political and social satire to CNN, where he's hosting a new docu-series called 'United Shades of America.' He describes himself as having made a living finding humor in the parts of America he doesn't understand. The original premise of the series was a black guy goes places he shouldn't or you wouldn't expect him to go. Bell formerly hosted a series of political satire called 'Totally Biased,' which was on the FX and FXX Networks.

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The Magnificent (And Maddening) Story Of Traffic

Author: NPR
Wed, Apr 13, 2016


Edward Humes describes his new book as a "transportation detective story" that chronicles the hidden characters, locations and machinery driving our same-day delivery, traffic-packed world. Also, Fresh Air producer Sam Briger talks to jazz guitar prodigy Julian Lage.

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'Shugs & Fats' Mixes Hijabis With Hipsters

Author: NPR
Tue, Apr 12, 2016


Comics Nadia Manzoor and Radhika Vaz play Muslim immigrants dealing with speed dating, cat calls and other aspects of life in secular New York in their sketch-comedy series 'Shugs & Fats.' Book critic Maureen Corrigan reviews a novel by Irish writer Edna O'Brien.

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Novelist On Marriage, Cancer And The Pain Of Uncertainty

Author: NPR
Mon, Apr 11, 2016


Charles Bock's wife died from leukemia just before their daughter's 3rd birthday. Bock relived the final years of her life while writing his new novel, 'Alice & Oliver.' He drew on his wife's diaries for the novel. Kevin Whitehead reviews Julian Lage's album 'Arclight.'

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Best Of: Samantha Bee / Inside The Start-Up Bubble

Author: NPR
Fri, Apr 08, 2016


Bee, who was the longest-serving 'Daily Show' correspondent, has a new political satire show called 'Full Frontal' on TBS. Ken Tucker reviews a new album from Robbie Fulks. Dan Lyons was in his 50s when he was laid off from Newsweek and went to work for a start-up. He says it was part frat house, part cult. He wrote for the HBO series 'Silicon Valley,' and his new memoir is 'Disrupted.'

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Remembering Merle Haggard

Author: NPR
Fri, Apr 08, 2016


"I was, to say the least, probably the most incorrigible child you can think of," Haggard told Terry Gross in 1995. The country legend died Wednesday morning in California. It was his 79th birthday. Historian Eric Foner recently won the American History Book Prize from the New York Historical Society for 'Gateway to Freedom,' about the Underground Railroad. He discussed the book in 2015.

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Samantha Bee

Author: NPR
Thu, Apr 07, 2016


Bee, who was the longest-serving 'Daily Show' correspondent, has a new political satire show called 'Full Frontal' on TBS. She talks about feminism, her hotline for rape threats, and why she doesn't like doing stand-up comedy. Film critic David Edelstein reviews 'Louder than Bombs.'

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How States Are Overruling Local Laws

Author: NPR
Wed, Apr 06, 2016


Lisa Graves says that states can overrule local laws, and legislatures are increasingly using preemption to stop things like fracking bans, minimum wage increases, and protections for LGBT people. Ken Tucker reviews a new album from Robbie Fulks, and John Powers reviews a Brazilian film called 'Neon Bull.'

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A 'Misadventure In The Start-Up Bubble'

Author: NPR
Tue, Apr 05, 2016


Dan Lyons was in his 50s when he was laid off from Newsweek and went to work for a start-up. He says it was part frat house, part cult. He wrote for the HBO series 'Silicon Valley,' and his new memoir is 'Disrupted.' Maureen Corrigan reviews novel 'Alice & Oliver,' and Fresh Air says goodbye to our longtime administrative assistant, Dorothy Ferebee.

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'It Was Torture': An Abu Ghraib Interrogator Confesses

Author: NPR
Mon, Apr 04, 2016


The techniques Eric Fair used were legal, but what he did still weighs on his conscience. "There is no middle ground," he says. "Torture is an enhanced interrogation." His new memoir is 'Consequence.'

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Best Of: Ray Romano / Baseball Injuries

Author: NPR
Fri, Apr 01, 2016


Romano tells us how he landed a role in Martin Scorsese's series 'Vinyl,' how Letterman gave him his big break, and what makes him cry. Commentator Sarah Hepola says after years of complaining about hate on the Internet, she became part of the problem. Finally, pitchers of all ages are increasingly blowing out their elbows and needing what's known as Tommy John surgery. Sports writer Jeff Passan discusses his new book 'The Arm.'

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Remembering Actress Patty Duke

Author: NPR
Fri, Apr 01, 2016


Duke won an Oscar for her portrayal of Helen Keller in 1962's 'The Miracle Worker.' She died Tuesday at the age of 69. She spoke to Terry Gross in 1988. Also, novelist Vendela Vida discusses her novel 'The Diver's Clothes Lie Empty,' about the sense of dislocation that often comes with traveling to another country. Film critic David Edelstein reviews the Miles Davis biopic, 'Miles Ahead.'

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