Archive for The Radio Program

Unsung Heroines of WWII – The WASPS

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Listen to StitcherWe’ve broadcast several pieces commemorating Memorial Day and recognizing the 70th anniversary of Operation Overlord, the landings at the beaches of Normandy that led to the liberation of France and the defeat of Nazi Germany.

There’s no shortage of heroes among the thousand of soldiers who went ashore on June 6, 1944, especially those who made the ultimate sacrifice.

But there were also 1.074 heroines who never made it to the front lines but nevertheless were just as brave and courageous.  And the reason you may never have heard their story until now is that it was kept secret, for reasons that aren’t clear, for 35 years after the war ended.

These heroines were the Women Air Force Service Pilots, the WASPs.  They trained just as long and hard as the men and flew the same planes, fighters and bombers alike.  But they weren’t permitted to fly in aerial combat.  Instead, they flew over 60 million miles of operational flights, towed targets for live-fire practice and transported cargo.  Several of them were test pilots for jet-powered aircraft.

Thirty-eight WASPs lost their lives serving their country, all in accidents.  But because the rules didn’t classify them as being military, they were sent home for burial at their family’s expense, without honors.  In fact, the Army would not allow the US flag to be placed on a WASP’s coffin.prx-logo-B (2)

Thanks to our friends at the Public Radio Exchange, we were able to broadcast the story of the WASPs and are able to make it available here for a limited time.

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A Sad and Lonely Whale?

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Listen to Stitcher We humans get to share the planet with all different sizes and types of creatures. And whales may be the most awe-inspiring of all those creatures. Whales are mammals, like humans, who live in every ocean but they do not live “under water.” Whales spend about 90% of their time under water but have to surface to breathe. And they breathe through what are called blowholes.  These are openings usually found on top of a whale’s head that close when the whale is under water. When a whale surfaces, it spouts by blowing out stale air and excess water through its blowhole and then inhales fresh air back into its lungs through its blowhole. A whale’s respiratory system is incredibly efficient letting them stay submerged for upwards of an hour or longer for some species. Whales may be as small as about 11 feet long while a Blue Whale may be 100 feet long and weigh nearly 200 tons. And a whale’s life span mimics the human life span.  Humpback whales have an average life span of 77 years while a Bowhead Whale may live to be 100 years old. And in case you’re wondering, whales can’t sleep.  The reason is whales are “conscious breathers,” which means they have to think about breathing unlike humans where breathing is not something we have to think about.  Humans are unconscious breathers. This probably makes you wonder whether whales sleep if they can’t be unconscious in order to keep breathing. Well, the answer is whales rest but they don’t sleep.  And they rest by letting one half of their brain go to sleep at a time and then reversing the process for the other half of their brain. But what is most interesting about whales is they’re just as social as any two-legged human. Whales communicate with an array of sounds and noises that rival anything humans can speak. And the communication between whales is initiated and responded to just like human speech.  It varies in tone and style depending possibly on the whale’s mood or its circumstances. This last point leads us to our story.  If whales are just as social as humans, could that also mean that there could be an occasional non-social whale just like there are humans who are loners? Do you think that’s a stretch?  Do you think that’s attributing too much human-like behavior to something that might be nothing more than a big fish? Well, maybe you should listen carefully to what you’re going to hear next.  I guarantee that you’ll never think about whales the same again.prx-logo-B (2)  [formidable id=10 title=true description=true]

The Death Penalty – How would you live with yourself?

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This post’s topic and its podcast will engage you in a difficult and emotional topic – The Death Penalty.  And it will do that in a very direct and forceful way.  If this subject isn’t something you want to be part of, you’ll want to exit now.

The subject of the Death Penalty concerns only the worst of crimes – murdering another human being.  And it is complicated by how, in many instances, society punishes those who have committed that worst of crimes – by also killing them.

In Oregon, the intentional, purposeful killing of another human being is to be punished by the state killing the killer.  This punishment’s rationale comes from the Biblical maxim of an eye-for-an-eye; that is, there should be proportional punishment for wrong-doing.

It makes sense that something that’s been stolen should be returned to its owner and the thief punished for doing something that society does not condone.

But how to repay someone for the loss of a family member, a spouse or a child?  Stolen goods can be returned but a lost life can’t be restored.

And is the death penalty an effective deterrent, warning would-be killers that they’ll meet a similar fate if they commit the worst of crimes?

You and I, or at least most of us, enjoy the luxury of debating these questions from a safe, comfortable distance.  But how does it feel from the inside looking out?

What about the killer who’s been condemned to die?  What do they think and feel as they take that last walk down a hall leading to the death chamber’s open door, knowing they won’t be walking back out that door?

Is the person standing in that doorway the same person who committed the worst of crimes many years before when they were drunk or immature or drug-crazed?  Can people change and become better persons who should be able to rejoin society?

Should convicted killers be denied the opportunity to change and get a chance to keep living?  The death penalty doesn’t allow reformation and redemption because the killer’s victim has been denied those same rights.

Our podcast tells the story of someone who sits at the center of all these moral questions.  His duty was to care for the souls of all persons, regardless of the fate that awaits them. prx-logo-B (2)

Reverend Carroll Picket was hired by the State of Texas to minister to the souls of 95 persons as they were executed in the prison at Huntsville, Texas.  What did he see and feel after watching 95 people die?  How did he deal with his feelings, as a fellow human being?

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Who “REALLY” are your Neighbors?

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Listen to StitcherWhen you move into a neighborhood or an apartment building, you might spend some time watching and listening to what happens next door or across the street.

If you do, you’re probably only interested in how your neighbor’s house looks – do they mow their lawns and trim their hedges?

But instead of what your new neighbors might be doing, should you be asking “who” your neighbors are, rather than how they do things like mow their lawn?

How do you know if they’re honest, upstanding citizens who won’t make your neighborhood be the feature story of the evening news?

After all, the last thing you want is for your neighbor to be a serial murderer or an organized crime boss? Right?

How do you keep that from happening?

Well, you probably can’t.  Whoever moves in next door to you is going to move in, regardless of whether they’ve served time in the penitentiary.

Why can’t a self-respecting mafia family crime boss who wants to retire and stay out of the limelight buy the house next door to you?  Or move into the apartment above you?

Why can’t they be your neighbor even though they’ve robbed a dozen or so banks, so long as they mow their lawn regularly, trim their hedges and don’t host loud, late-night parties?

What do you expect from your neighbor, anyway?  Are you more concerned about the secrets they may be hiding or whether they spray the dandelions in their lawn?

All these questions and more suddenly confronted a Santa Monica, California neighborhood on an otherwise quiet June evening, three years ago.

That was when they learned who really was living in Unit #303.  Who really was that nice, quiet guy with the Panama hat who, for the past 16 years, had been the perfect next-prx-logo-B (2)door neighbor?

 

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Meet Some Real Heroines…

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Listen to StitcherNot everyone who was part of the “Greatest Generation” went ashore at Normandy on D-Day.  Or were part of the other famous battles of World War II.

But that doesn’t mean they didn’t sacrifice just as much as the soldiers, sailors and airmen who were in those battles.

75 years ago, the United States military didn’t have enough pilots to fly the planes needed for the war effort.

And pilots were needed for training, towing targets and ferrying planes back and forth.

To fill that need, 1,074 women stepped up.  And they endured and overcame what would have caused most men to quit.

For reasons never made clear, the records of the Women’s Airforce Service Pilots (the WASPs) were sealed for over 35 years after the war ended.  But their story has now been told.

Listen up to hear a story of pride, accomplishment and, most of all, perseverance.prx-logo-B (2)

And as a bonus, there’s another story in this podcast.  It’s all about a pair of what probably are your least favorite subjects – lawyers and advertising.  Stay tuned to hear from Lowell “The Hammer” Stanley.  When it finishes, you may still find it distasteful but “The Hammer” earns an “A+” for his target marketing.

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