The 1800s composition “Vexations,” by Erik Satie, comes with a cryptic instruction to perform the piece 840 times in a row. Many thought that it couldn’t be done, but in the late 1960s, John Cage and some friends decided to give it a shot.
On a July afternoon in 1937, 15-year-old Betty Klenck Brown was listening to her family's shortwave radio. She was writing down lyrics to popular songs when she turned the dial and heard the unimaginable: "This is Amelia Earhart. This is Amelia Earhart." Betty jotted down everything she heard over 3 hours.
Gene Matthews was a missionary serving in South Korea at a time when the country was ruled by military dictators. Gene helped dissidents like future South Korean president and Nobel Peace Prize winner Kim Dae Jung by smuggling documents and ministering to victims of torture.
Gamal Helal is the top Arabic interpreter at the State Department. He has served three presidents, numerous defense secretaries and secretaries of state in their diplomatic efforts in the Middle East. He’s got a handful of new bosses, from Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton to a special Middle East Envoy. Tensions in the region are high, and expectations may now be higher.
Craig Ingraham and Bill Perkins were living the quintessential Southern California life in the 1960s: going to the beach, making music and chasing girls. But then, to Craig's surprise, Bill signed up for the Marines on a lark. Right before Bill left for boot camp they had a fight over a girl. Craig never got the chance to say goodbye.
The CIA is under renewed scrutiny this morning. Lawyers and judges in Denmark and Spain have announced their push for evidence that the CIA directed secret flights through their countries. It's suspected that these flights were used to transport suspected terrorists to prison at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba.Charlotte Dennett has faced the secrecy of the CIA up close. Her father was a high level spy for the OSS, the pre-cursor to the CIA, based in the Middle East. Also in this episode, Adawale is Nigerian by birth, and he's just decided to get his American citizenship. Though he won't be able to vote in the primaries, he's been inspired by the energy of the current election season and believes it's his duty to enable himself to vote.
Shen Tong was in Tiananmen Square the night of the massacre there 18 years ago. He later came to the U.S. where he continued to be politically active in support of a democratized China. But Shen eventually gave up activism for capitalism. He decided he could have a greater influence as an individual by bringing technology to Chinese society. Dick also talks with Jaykumar Menon, a lawyer in New York. In 2000, Jaykumar was part of a legal team that sued Li Peng, the former Chinese prime minister, for human rights abuses committed at Tiananmen Square.