January 23rd Show : Blog Of The Nation On today's show, Political Junkie, Overlooked Oscars, Is Iraq Getting Better?, Interpreting Lyrics.
NPR logo January 23rd Show

January 23rd Show

Hi all. I'm back... a year older and trying desperately not to let it show. Thank you, Sarah, for being a much taller (and younger) me and for holding down the "Coming Up" fort! And speaking of coming up, here's what's coming up on the show today:

So much is going on politically, it's a good thing the Political Junkie is mega-sized. Fred Thompson drops out, the race between Clinton and Obama heats up, and the Republicans are heading to Florida. NPR's Ken Rudin talks about South Carolina with Andy Gobeil, the host of South Carolina's weekly news and public affairs program, The Big Picture. Then we travel further south and talk politics with Lance deHaven-Smith, professor of public administration and policy at Florida State University. Following that, we'll talk with Matt Singer, the host of Independent Film Channel News, about the movies that didn't get an Oscar nod this year but you think should have. And we'll look back on the career of Australian actor Heath Ledger (see today's post entitled, A Sad Day for Tinseltown).

In our second hour, we'll talk with three people how have gone to Iraq to find out if the lives of the Iraqis have improved. They will discuss what they saw and whether or not security has improved a year after President Bush ordered additional troops into the region. And does this sound familiar:

Don't push me, cause I'm close to the edge
I'm trying not to lose my head
It's like a jungle, sometimes it makes me wonder
How I keep from going under.

That's the chorus from Grandmaster Flash & the Furious Five's hip-hop classic The Message. I remember the first time I heard and entirely memorized that song. Once I had choreographed my dance moves to match the song's back beat, I realized the lyrics were giving me a view of a grittier side of life. Author Felicia Pride talks about how hip-hop music has educated and informed the way she views money, loss of innocence, newfound independence and heartbreak (just to name a few) in her new book, The Message: 100 Life Lessons from Hip-Hop's Greatest Songs.