1. Down and Out in Indiana

    March 31, 2015 by MelStar1

    The Eiffel Tower opened to the public on this day in 1889. The scale model replica you have on your bookcase was opened to mild disappointment in 1989, the year your aunt got divorced and went to France to “find herself.”


    Today on StandUP!


    There was much discussion and open phones throughout the entire show on the Religious Freedom Restoration Act currently driving people crazy from Muncie to Evansville. Some thoughtful, some without much thought at all, but all worth a listen.

    There is another installment of the great, informative debate series “Intelligence Squared” happening this evening in Manhattan and it’s all about whether President Obama, or any President, exceeds his Constitutional authority when he wages war on a foreign entity without the support of Congress. We were given a tease of the proceedings by Intelligence Squared moderator and ABC News correspondent John Donvan.

    Next, we went inside some of the past and recent history of the Supreme Court with Ian Millhiser, Senior Constitution Policy Analyst for the Center for American Progress and author of the new book, “Injustices: The Supreme Court’s History of Comforting the Comfortable and Afflicting the Afflicted.”

    We closed out the “having a guest” portion of the program today with another visit into the dank, rotten, neglected corner of Pete’s yard his children call “The Realm of Loss and Death” but Pete calls a “garden.” Our guide across this horticultural River Styx was the Garden Editor for WTOP Newsradio in Washington D.C. and host of the nationally syndicated (including here on NPR Now 122) home gardening show “You Bet Your Garden,” Mike McGrath.

    Now, if you’ll excuse me I am going to NOT bake cakes for gay couples, but only because I can’t bake well and don’t own a bakery.





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  2. Listener of the Day

    March 30, 2015 by MelStar1

    President Ronald Reagan was shot March 30, 1981 by John Hinckley, Jr. Press secretary James Brady, also shot that day, would work for the creation of new restrictions and controls aimed at preventing such violence from happening again. In November 1993, President Clinton signed the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act into law.


    Today on StandUP!

    Indiana University professor and author Dr. Aaron Carroll has a new piece up at the NYT’s Upshot today, and the meat of it is all about red meat. For years, an overconsumption of food items like red meat have been labeled as the leading contributing factor for America’s declining physical health, but recent studies show that no single nutrient should be to blame for such things.

    Next, we spoke to the founder and senior partner of the Center for Courage and Renewal, Parker J. Palmer, about the ideas found in his latest book, “Healing the Heart of Democracy: The Courage to Create a Politics Worthy of the Human Spirit.” If there is one thing most Americans can agree on, it’s probably how divisive and harsh the political world seems to be these days, and Mr. Palmer talked with Pete about ways to solve that.

    Our last guest of the day was stand-up comic, former Chelsea Lately writer, and author Sarah Colonna. Sarah stopped by to talk up her new book, “Has Anyone Seen My Pants?” and talked with Pete about everything from life in comedy, life as a woman in Hollywood, and life as the fiancee of an NFL player.

    Now, if you’ll excuse me I need to solve the mysterious deaths of several Listeners of the Day.





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  3. Nuked Week

    March 27, 2015 by MelStar1

    I just got back from a “work” lunch with my “boss” where we had “food” and a couple of “alcohol drinks,” so let’s be brief.


    Today on StandUP!

    CNN Executive Editor of Politics, Mark Preston, stoically weathered my Lindsey Graham impression before telling Pete all about the chance that upstart Democrat Martin O’Malley could challenge Hillary Clinton for their party’s Presidential nod.

    We spent the second hour with Dean Obeidallah, who not only writes good writings for Daily Beast but hosts his own Saturday morning show right here on Insight 121. Today, Dean wanted to share with us the story of a Georgia man who planted a bomb with the intention of misleading authorities that it was detonated by Muslims, all as an act of “Patriotism.”

    …And we concluded Nuclear Weapons Week with a bit of a radio roundtable with two well educated experts on the subject. Scott Sagan is the S.G. Munro Professor of Political Science at Stanford University and author of “Moving Targets: Nuclear Strategy and National Security.” Ward Wilson is Director of the Rethinking Nuclear Weapons Project and author of “5 Myths About Nuclear Weapons.” Pete Dominick is the 100 lb. rat who interviewed them about the state of nuclear weapons in the modern, foreign-policy driven world.

    Now, if you’ll excuse me I have to make plans for the weekend.





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  4. Beating Swords into Plowshares

    March 26, 2015 by MelStar1

    On March 26, 1997, the members of the Heaven’s Gate cult were found dead inside their compound in Rancho Santa Fe, California. Not every believer committed suicide that day, and some former Heaven’s Gaters still maintain a website about the group.


    Today on StandUP!


    First up, we welcomed Senior Fellow at Demos, former Wall Street exec and journalist with bylines in the New York Times, Fortune, The Nation and more…Nomi Prins. Pete and Nomi talked about the world of finance and how closely bankers are actually plugged into the politics of Washington, D.C.

    Next, Ritu Sharma visited us for one final preview of her Women’s History Month special airing this Saturday at 5p East here in Insight 121. Ritu is the author of “Teach a Woman to Fish: Overcoming Poverty Around the Globe.”

    Then, we said hello to actress and director Regina King. Promoting her new ABC series “American Crime,” Regina and Pete also had a great discussion on the changing state of roles for minority actors and actresses in Hollywood.

    Our last guest of the day was the investigative journalist Eric Schlosser, whose recent article in the New Yorker, “Break-In at Y-12,” about Catholic anti-nuke protesters breaking into one of America’s most secure and important Uranium storage facilities was my impetus for suggesting Nuclear Weapons as a theme week. Eric is also the author of “Command and Control,” and the culture-shifting “Fast Food Nation.”

    Now, if you’ll excuse me I am going to pretend that my alma mater didn’t suffer one of the most heartbreaking defeats in recent memory. 





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  5. What Are You Reading?

    March 25, 2015 by MelStar1

    I just read that in 1965, two NASA astronauts smuggled a corned beef sandwich into space. Now I don’t feel so bad sneaking candy into a movie theater.


    Today on StandUP!

    Pete started the show off today with our award-winning, groundbreaking, genre busting segment called,”WHAT’CHA READIN’?” You guys are really READIN! Keep READIN! Yeah!

    Next, we welcomed Pulitzer Prize winning journalist and bestselling author, David Cay Johnston. The author of “Free Lunch: How the Wealthiest Americans Enrich Themselves at Government Expense (And Stick You With the Bill),” joined us to discuss the finer points of the GOP budget.

    Then, we visited with Stephen Walt for the first time in a long time. The Robert and Renee Belfer Professor of International Affairs at Harvard University joined us to discuss the ideas he’s changed his mind on in recent years,which are all highlighted in his latest Foreign Policy article, the aptly titled “I Changed My Mind.” Afterwards, we took your calls on things you’ve changed positions on, receiving answers ranging from “radio” to “religion.”

    Our final guest of the day came to us from the Ploughshares Fund, where he is Director of Policy. Tom Collina continued the path of knowledge we started on Monday and Tuesday, leading us through the build-up of nuclear stockpiles throughout the Cold War. He is a good source on the subject, considering the primary aim of the Ploughshares Fund has always been to work toward a more peaceful world through nuclear disarmament.

    Now, if you’ll excuse me I am going to make a variety of annoying sounds at my desk until it’s time to leave.





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  6. No Cruz for You

    March 24, 2015 by MelStar1

    The Exxon Valdez ran aground in Alaska on this day in 1989, spilling somewhere between 11 million and 32 million gallons of oil into Alaska’s Prince William Sound. Pretty chill move on our part.


    Today on StandUP!

    We *could* spend an entire show just pulling apart and analyzing Ted Cruz’s presidential chances, or we could take a path less well-worn by today’s newsmedia. Guess which one Pete chose?

    Our first guest is the Director of Public Affairs for the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Benjamin Corb. Pete asked Benjamin to come on the show and talk about biomedical research from a political aspect: how is the research viewed by Congress, and how does the funding process work?

    In hour two, we welcomed Elizabeth Anderson, Professor of Philosophy and Women’s Studies at the University of Michigan. She is the author of 2013’s “The Imperitive of Integration,” and we asked Elizabeth why ethnic communities self-segregate, and whether a more integrative approach to community would help solve America’s issues with race?

    In case you missed yesterday’s kickoff, it’s Nuclear Weapons Week here on the ol’ Stand UP! Ranch and we continued the discussion today with a look at the short and long term effects of nuclear weapons on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan. Paul Ham is author of “Hiroshima Nagasaki: The Real Story of the Atomic Bombings and Their Aftermath,” and the tales he shared of victims, sickness, recovery and death were sobering, to say the least.

    Today’s show ended with a peak at Sister Giant 3, an event coming to Los Angeles March 28th and 29th. Featuring speakers like Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), radio host Thom Hartmann, and former Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH), the event seeks to upend current, stagnant political discussion and consciously find ways to make sure candidates are more in touch with the issues of actual voters. The event is in it’s third iteration and is the brainchild of author and spiritual lecturer Marianne Williamson, who joined us today to discuss the event.


    Now, if you’ll excuse me I am going to try and use astrophysics to figure out into which black hole all the Far Side, Bloom County and Calvin & Hobbes books I owned as a child disappeared.





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  7. Half-Life

    March 23, 2015 by MelStar1

    Senator Ted Cruz announced today that he will be running for President of the United States of America in the 2o16. Some say the political climate is not right for a run by the Senator from Texas, but he’ll probably deny it.


    Today on StandUP!

    Indiana University professor, health policy expert and author of several books dispelling health and body myths, Dr. Aaron Carroll joined us in the first hour to talk about recent studies on cholesterol. A lot of it can be bad for you, but so can not enough.

    Next, we were joined by CNN Money and Early Start anchor, Christine Romans. Christine has authored a new book, “Smart Is the New Rich: Money Guide for Millennials,” using her business acumen and knowledge of personal finance to help guide a whole new generation of earners…and their nervous parents…to financial freedom.

    The world is constantly changing, and as we dash off toward the future at a breakneck pace, Pete wanted to take a look at what the future could have in store for humankind. So, he turned a veteran of several TED talks on the matter and co-author of ,“Evolving Ourselves: How Unnatural Selection and Nonrandom Mutation are Changing Life on Earth,” Juan Enriquez.

    Finally, we ended the show with the beginning of a new “theme week,” and this time the topic is: Nuclear Weapons. We decided to begin at the beginning of the Atomic Age in America, and spoke to Richard Rhodes, author of “The Making of the Atomic Bomb,” as well as 24 other great books. From the creation of weaponized balls of Uranium-235 in the hills of Tennessee to testing grounds in New Mexico and all the way to tiny island waystations in the Pacific, it was a genuinely white-hot, radioactive hour of radio.

    Now, if you’ll excuse me I have to go cheer on the Murray State Racers against Tulsa in the NIT Tournament tonight .




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  8. Going Clear Into the Weekend

    March 20, 2015 by MelStar1

    It’s the first day of Spring! Enjoy it, because it’s likely all downhill from here.


    Today on StandUP!

    Wowee Zowee! What a show!

    It all started with Pete and CNN Executive Editor of Politics, Mark Preston, having a gentleman’s argument about the deficit and who where the blame falls for governmental inaction: Congress or the Executive Branch?

    Next, we got some help staying organized, productive and stress-free with David Allen, author of 2002’s “Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity,” newly revised for 2015.

    Ritu Sharma is principal at Sharma Solutions, as well as author of the recent book, “Teach A Woman to Fish: Overcoming Poverty Around the Globe.” She joined us once again during this Women’s History Month to discuss issues facing the fairer sex across the globe and here at home. Ritu has a two hour special airing next Saturday, March 28th celebrating women and discussing these issues further.

    We had two great in-studio guests for the last hour of the week. First up, we welcomed Marty Rathbun, one of the subjects of Alex Gibney’s new documentary on the Church of Scientology, “Going Clear.” Mr. Rathbun spent 35 years in the church and has been critical of their practices since he left Scientology in 2004. If you get a chance to catch this documentary, you will be as fascinated as we were with what Mr. Rathbun had to say.

    Then, we welcomed the very funny Owen Benjamin, who dazzled us with tales of his time working as a heckler at a Renaissance Fair in Upstate New York. There was also some talk of the Gem Wars. You warlocks out there know what I’m talking about…


    Now, if you will excuse me I have to free up the emotional bandwidth necessary to deal with the blinding snowstorm out my window.



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  9. A Minor Case of Zepps

    March 19, 2015 by MelStar1

    March Madness! March Madness! Maaaaaaarch Madness!


    Today on StandUP!


    Josh Zepps from Huffington Post Live filled in today while Pete attended to more pressing issues.


    Sarah Kliff is a senior editor at Vox.com overseeing health, medicine and education coverage. She joined the show this morning to dig into the Federal Budget presented by Republicans this week. Among the many belt-tightening provisions of the budget are great changes to Medicare.

    In the second hour, we were joined by Reed College Political Science professor and Dan German Visiting Professor at Appalachian State University, Paul Gronke, who gave us an overview on voter rights and a small history lesson on the ceremony surrounding voting in America. This was all spurred by a new law in Oregon that will automatically register residents to vote when receiving a new or renewed driver’s license.

    Starbucks baristas won’t just be writing your name in the weirdest, most oddly phonetic way possible on your cups anymore; they’ll be writing things like “Race Together” as a way to encourage friendly discussions on race. Josh welcomed Fusion.net culture editor Danielle Henderson to the show to discuss the good intentions and poor executions of campaigns like this from large corporations.

    Sony announced a new streaming TV service for its PS3 and PS4 platforms, adding to a growing number of options for Americans looking to break up with their cable television provider. We asked New York Times TV and Media Business reporter Emily Steel to give us all the facts before we dove into such a suddenly rich sea of opportunity.

    Our final guest teaches Sociology at Boston University and authored the recent, “The New Prophets of Capital,” Nicole . Aschoff. Josh asked Nicole to join us today to discuss here latest piece in Jacobin Magazine, “Smartphone Society.” In less than a decade, web enabled, application dependent “smart” phones have become not just commonplace, but essential to the daily lives of millions of Americans.

    Now, if you’ll excuse me I have a doctor’s appointment, I think I’ve got a case of March Madness.




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  10. [Austin Powers Voice] “Shah, Bibi!”

    March 18, 2015 by MelStar1

    If you have a mild feeling that you are missing out on something big, it’s because SXSW is in full swing. The annual conference that began as a way for musicians to network and be discovered has become a marketers dream, attracting hundreds of thousands of tastemaking revelers to Austin, TX.


    Today on StandUP!


    You should probably know that, at some point during today’s show, we talked about our morning routines, grooming habits, and terrible airline…”incidents.” For instance, I set four alarms every night and Pete is considering using an eye cream.

    Guest-wise, it was another standout show. In the first hour, we welcomed the award-winning foreign correspondent Stephen Kinzer, who served as the NY Times’ Bureau Chief in Turkey, Germany and Nicaragua as well as Latin America correspondent for the Boston Globe. Stephen has also authored several books that give context to modern US foreign relations throughout the world, and today he joined us to discuss his work and experience in Iran.

    In hour two, we spent a few minutes with Stephenie Foster from the Secretary’s Office of Global Women’s Issues at the State Department. She was one of the speakers on the Women Thrive panel Melanie and Pete attended last week, and she joined us today to talk about that, and the work she does at State to create a better quality of life for women across the globe.

    Then we talked about all that stuff I mentioned at the top of the post.

    Next, we spoke with Aaron David Miller about the election results out of Israel, which gave sitting Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party much to cheer about. Aaron David Miller served as an adviser on the Middle East to several Secretaries of State, and he currently sits as Vice President for New Initiatives and Distinguished Scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. His most recent book is titled, “The End of Greatness: Why America Can’t Have and Doesn’t Want Another Great President.”

    Our last guest of the day comes to us from the pages of Rolling Stone magazine, specifically her article on BP and the aftermath of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, “10 Reasons BP Got Off and Offshore Drilling Just Got More Dangerous.” Antonia Juhasz is an oil and energy expert, policy analyst and investigative journalist who has been covering the dark side of the petroleum industry, sometimes from inside a submersible deep below the Gulf of Mexico.

    Now, if you’ll excuse me I have to pick out the proper swan costume to wear to the Bjork concert this evening.



    Miss the show? Catch it here. Listen to some of our favorite interviews here

  11. For the Girls.

    March 17, 2015 by MelStar1

    How much money will be wagered during the not-even three week long NCAA Men’s College Basketball Tournament?

    $2.5 Billion…


    Today on StandUP!


    We did things a little different today.

    For starters, Dr. Aaron Carroll sat in for the entire show.  Dr. Carroll is a Professor of Pediatrics and the Director of the Center for Health Policy and Professionalism Research at Indiana University. Today we asked him to take your calls and help bust health-related myths and tall tales, calling upon the several books he has written on the matter.

    Somewhere in the middle of it all, Pete welcomed our only other guest: the singer, actress and object of Pete’s daughters’ celebrity worship, Bridgit Mendler. She starred on the Disney Channel series “Good Luck Charlie,” and is about to debut on the second season of the much more adult NBC sitcom “Undateable.” Besides all that, we talked about the nature of her fame, the up and the downs, and all the good charity work her success has allowed her to accomplish.

    OH! I almost forgot: Dr. Carroll has written a great article for the New York Times considering a modern parents’ dilemma from a pediatrician’s perspective. Give it a read, please.


    Now, if you’ll excuse me I am going to go to a fancy coffee shop and pretend to read the New Yorker but really it’s a comic book.





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  12. The World Is On Fire

    March 16, 2015 by MelStar1

    The NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament brackets were selected yesterday afternoon, and John Oliver did a great job dismantling college athletics last night.


    Today on StandUP!


    First, we took a call from “Chuck” who thought we were making too much fun of Sen. Ted Cruz for possibly scaring a child.

    Then, we had our first visit in a long time from Diane Ravitch! Diane is a Research Professor of Education at NYU and former Asst. Sec’y of Education and counselor to Sec’y of Education Lamar Alexander during George H.W. Bush’s term in office. Pete and Diane talked about pies, tarts and various home remedies for itchy feet. Just kidding, they talked about education.

    Next, we were joined by Executive Director for the Sierra Club and author of “Coming Clean: Breaking America’s Addiction to Oil and Coal,” Michael Brune. Pete and Michael discussed renewable energy sources and their place in the American home of the future.

    Staying with an environmental/sustainable theme, we welcomed Dickson Despommier, PhD Emeritus Professor of Public Health and Microbiology at Columbia University to the show. He is the author of “The Vertical Farm: Feeding the World in the 21st Century,” and joined us today to talk about ways to provide more food to more people in a far more sustainable way.

    Our last guest of the day was noted historian and historical novelist Thomas Fleming. Mr. Fleming has written over 50 books, including his newest, “The Great Divide: The Conflict Between Washington and Jefferson That Defined a Nation.”

    Now, if you’ll excuse me I have to use the restroom to casually confess to three murders while mic’ed up by a documentary film crew.



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  13. Pi Day the 13th

    March 13, 2015 by MelStar1

    Tomorrow is a very special Pi Day.


    Today on StandUP!


    We had a fun conversation about the veracity and effectiveness of homeopathic medicine and, once we recovered, we were ready to welcome our first guest.

    Mark Preston is the Executive Editor, CNN Politics and this week he filled us in on his recent jaunt to Iowa, a state politicians find themselves drawn to every four years like long dead baseball players in a tear-jerking Kevin Costner flick. Mainly, though, Pete and Mark talked about married life and parenting.

    Our next was Asst. Professor of Lawyering Skills at Howard University and  retired Air Force Colonel Morris Davis. From 2005 to 2007 he was chief prosecutor for the terrorism trials at Guantanamo Bay, and he joined us today about that time. Listen to the whole interview below:



    Our last guest of the week, before another edition of our groundbreaking Open Phones Friday segments, was comedian and actor Al Madrigal. A former correspondent for the Daily Show and current actor on NBC’s “About A Boy,” Pete and Al had a grand old time trading stories about a comedian’s life on the road. Really makes you want to put on a padded blazer and pick up that microphone…


    Now, if you’ll excuse me I’m going to go listen to some Hot Tuna.




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  14. Sexual Geraldo

    March 12, 2015 by MelStar1

    Franklin D. Roosevelt gave the first of his Fireside Chats on this day in 1933.


    Today on StandUP!

    Our first guest, Njeri Rionge, is the Managing Partner of Njeri Rionge Business Consulting, Inc. She is an entrepreneur credited with bringing low cost Internet to East Africa, and you MAY recognize her from a Cadillac commercial spotlighting her work. Pete and Njeri talked about developing the third world, the way of life in Nairobi, Kenya and her first business making and selling yogurt, of all things.

    In hour two, we spent  a few minutes with author Dennis Lehane. The author of “Mystic River” and “Shutter Island” joined us to talk about his new novel, “World Gone By” and also a little about his writing process and family life.

    Then, Ritu Sharma joined us once again to talk women’s issues and her upcoming two-hour special celebrating Women’s History Month. Ritu is principal at Sharma Solutions and author of the recent book, “Teach a Woman to Fish: Overcoming Poverty Around the Globe.”

    For our last hour, we sat down with the host of “Let’s Consider the Source,” which airs Monday’s at 6pm East, here on SiriusXM Insight 121, Bob Mann. Bob is also a professor and Chair of the Communication Arts program at Caldwell University in New Jersey. We had a great hour talking about the business and history of radio.

    Now, if you excuse me I am going to go home and pretend that a whole bag of pita chips and a container of hummus is a healthy snack.



    Miss the show? Catch it here. Listen to some of our favorite interviews here