Veterans Day: Show Veterans and Active Soldiers Your Support

It’s the 8th Veterans Day since 9/11 and while hundreds of thousands of troops remain deployed in unstable areas of Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere, what’s truly discomforting is the number of Veterans of the wars of this decade who are unable to return to normal citizen lives.

At least 4,780 U.S. servicemen and women are listed as casualties of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, according to the Washington Post’s excellent tribute page.

Some estimates suggest there are more than 755,000 veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. Of that group, more than 181,000 are collecting disability benefits today, according to the Department of Veterans Affairs. philly.com

And considering the current unemployment rate over 6% and the fact that as many as 50 million Americans are without health insurance, today is a great day to give back — even just a little — if you’re fortunate enough to have both a job and health insurance and most of all, good health.

One in four of America’s homeless are veterans and at least one in five veterans of the Iraq War are reported to suffer symptoms of PTSD.

So today, I’m donating to Iraq Veterans Against War (part of the Veterans for Peace 501(c)(3)) in hopes that I can boost the morale of troops still on the ground — not knowing for sure when they’ll return. And ultimately in hopes that we won’t have to fight wars in the future that have no clear agenda or endgame.

Continue reading “Veterans Day: Show Veterans and Active Soldiers Your Support”

R.I.P. Studs Terkel

studs terkelOne of the greatest radio voices of all time, pioneering storyteller Louis “Studs” Terkel died today. He was 96. What he gave to journalism and radio storytelling has everything to do with my addiction to podcasts, public radio and journalism of the people for the people and to the people.

It goes without saying that Terkel’s unique traveling interview style, best illustrated on 1963’s “This Train” is the model for great audio and visual storytelling of today. While riding the train from Chicago to the civil rights march in Washington D.C., Terkel gathered the voices of anger, joy and ultimately optimism from people of all ages making that historic trip. Just listen to part one of “This Train” below and, suddenly, you won’t think This American Life is the most revolutionary program to hit radio.

Studs was a Chicago guy but his stories had a purely American bent, touching on difficult matters of importance and celebrating life coast to coast. I’m sorry that he will not be around to see Barack Obama become president, although he discussed as much with a Huffington Post scribe in the days before his passing. I’m also sad that the Cubs couldn’t pull it out this year for Terkel and other Cubs fans who’ve waited the better part of 100 years to see a championship.

Studs Terkel was an activist until his dying days, playing a prominent role challenging AT&T’s corroboration in releasing records to the National Security Agency in 2006.

I hope to locate the full audio of this amazing piece to post later. For now, here’s the first 50 minutes of “This Train.”

Video and more below:

Continue reading “R.I.P. Studs Terkel”