Hello, Zoners! I hope that everyone who celebrated Thanksgiving had a joyful and delicious day, and that our non-US friends had a wonderful week, too. Now, we have one more thing to be thankful for: the waiting is almost over and a new episode is on its way! Which guests are you most excited to see?
Monday, November 29th: Dan Savage:
Everyone who reads the Village Voice knows Dan Savage as the openly gay, witty, and straight-talking (no pun intended) writer of the newspaper’s “Savage Love” sex-advice column. Savage’s newest endeavor is the “It Gets Better” project. Heartbroken by the recent epidemic of suicides by gay adolescents, Savage established his site to bring hope to despairing LGBT teens, many of whom feel isolated and lack familial support. “It Gets Better” features videos downloaded by hundreds of same-sex couples and supporters who not only talk about their own difficult teen years, but, more importantly, stand as living proof that you can overcome that pain and enjoy a future filled with love, happiness, and community. In my opinion, Savage is saving lives, and it’s beautiful. You can go on the It Gets Better website and take the pledge to speak out against hate and intolerance.
In retaliation for the anti-gay stance of certain politicians, Savage has used their names to describe certain sexual acts and affects. Just google “Savage” and “Santorum” to see one–but warning: DON’T do this at work!
Tuesday, November 30: Tom Vilsack
As President Obama’s Secretary of Agriculture, Tom Vilsack is responsible for everything from protecting America’s farmers and improving rural infrastructure to increasing exports of US biotechnology and foodstuffs. Food for thought: One of Vilsack’s major initiatives is to reduce childhood obesity.
Vilsack’s most notorious moment as Secretary of Agriculture, however, had to do with his hasty firing of Shirley Sherrod based on a excerpt of a speech she gave, taken out of context. At first it appeared as if Sherrod (who is black) was refusing to help white farmers; when the entire clip is seen, it’s clear that she’s saying the exact opposite.
Before becoming Secretary of Agriculture, Vilsack was the first Democrat elected Governor of Iowa in three decades and actually ran for President in the 2008 race.
Fract: Tom Vilsack spent the first months of his life in an orphanage before being adopted. Like Stephen, he was raised Catholic.
Wednesday, December 1: Michelle Rhee
Michelle Rhee is the former Chancellor of the Washington DC school system and previously a member of Teach for America. She’s committed to education reform, including the rejection of automatic tenure for teachers. Some reports suggested that New York City’s Mayor Bloomberg was going to hire her to replace the recently resigned Chancellor, Joel Klein (who was her mentor), but she was never offered the position. Rhee is one of the major figures appearing in Waiting For Superman, made by former ‘Colbert Report’ guest Davis Guggenheim.
Fract: During the 2008 election, both McCain and Obama met with Rhee to discuss education, with Obama calling her a “wonderful new superintendent.”
Thursday, December 2: David Stockman
Former Reagan budget administrator David Stockman has recently criticized both parties for being financially profligate. Unlike most contemporary Republicans, he is against the Bush era tax cuts and believes we should trim the military budget. In opposition to most Democrats, he also believes in slicing entitlement programs.
The Texas-born Stockman attended Harvard Divinity School and served three terms in the House of Representatives before joining the Reagan administration. After leaving politics, he worked on Wall Street, for Salomon Brothers. Later, while CEO for Collins & Aikman, he faced civil charges from the Securities and Exchange Commission, but he ultimately was not prosecuted.
Fract: Althought Stockman wielded enormous power in the OMB, his star faded after an Atlantic magazine article where he admitted: “None of us really understands what’s going on with all these numbers.”
Everybody, enjoy the show–and let me know what you think about this week’s guests!