Farmers have been operating for more than a year now without a farm bill. Since the 2008 bill expired, there’s been an ideological debate surrounding the funding of certain programs in the farm bill, including the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. There are currently two versions of the bill stalled in Congress, one passed by the Senate and one passed by the House, and if legislators can’t come to a compromise by Jan. 1, farm policy written in the 1940s will take effect. This hour on Focus, we’ll talk about why there’s been such a fight over this year’s farm bill and how that differs from farm bills past.
After years of debate and political wrangling, the Illinois House and Senate narrowly approved a plan to deal with the state's $100 billion public employee pension problem. On a special edition of Illinois Lawmakers, host Jak Tichenor and his guests discuss the negotiations and last-minute efforts to pass the agreement negotiated by the four legislative leaders and a bipartisan conference committee of Representatives and Senators.
House Speaker Michael Madigan (D) Chicago, describes the shuttle diplomacy role he played in the final days and hours leading up to the vote in an exclusive newsmaker interview on the program. Two of the conference committee members, Rep. Elaine Nekritz (D) Northbrook and Rep. Darlene Senger (R) Naperville provide an in-depth discussion of the agreement's details. Later, Sen. Daniel Biss (D) Evanston, a conference committee member and Sen. David Luechtefeld (R) Okawville, an Assistant Senate Republican Leader, explain the reasons for their votes. Biss was one of 30 senators voting for the bill. Luechtefeld was one of 24 senators voting "no." The House approved the bill 62-53. Union officials representing state workers and retirees say the changes are unconstitutional and are planning a legal challenge.
The Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra was originally formed from members of Wynton Marsalis’s septet and surviving members of the Duke Ellington Orchestra. They’ll play in Bloomington Thursday night, and Kevin Kelly talks with longtime member Victor Goines, a clarinetist and saxophonist, on the Wednesday edition of “Live and Local.” Also on the show, guest host Roger Cooper will preview Charleston Alley Theatre’s production of Miracle on 34th Street with members of the cast.
A bill to fix the state’s massively underfunded pension system is headed to Gov. Pat Quinn’s desk. We’ll talk with Illinois Public Radio Statehouse Bureau Chief Amanda Vinicky and former state senator Rick Winkel about what’s in the bill and what happens now.
The Illinois Legislature Tuesday approved a historic plan to eliminate the state's $100 billion pension shortfall, considered the worst in the nation. Illinois Public Radio's Amanda Vinicky and other guests join host Jim Meadows to discuss the situation.
The House voted 62-53 Tuesday in favor of the plan, which the Senate approved just minutes earlier. It now goes to Gov. Pat Quinn, who has said he will sign it.
Lawmakers in the two Democrat-controlled chambers took up the plan after years of inaction on a problem that other states have addressed. It has damaged Illinois' credit rating and diverted key funds from schools and social service agencies. Legislative leaders say the plan will save the state $160 billion over 30 years by cutting retirement benefits for hundreds of thousands of workers and retirees. Labor unions oppose the measure and say they plan to file a lawsuit arguing it's unconstitutional.
Help roast 2013 to a crisp with the Capitol Steps and their annual year-in-review awards ceremony. It’s all in their hour-long special, “Politics Takes a Holiday!” This year will feature all-new awards, such as:
“Best Moment in Senator Ted Cruz’s 21-hour Filibuster,” “Most ‘icky’ Tweet from Carlos Danger” “Best Thigh-Reducing Exercises to do While Waiting for Healthcare.gov” and, of course, “Best Reason to Spy On the American Public- Because You Can."
NPR Music brings you another great concert from the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. Andy Bey, Stanley Cowell, Sullivan Fortner and Michele Rosewoman perform their favorite holiday songs in the concert taped on Dec. 7.
The Other Guys, an offshoot of the University of Illinois Varsity Men’s Glee Club, call themselves a “comedy octet.” They also happen to sing a cappella music of many styles really well. They’ll give their annual Holiday Concert Saturday night, and they’ll sing for us live on the Thursday edition of “Live and Local.” Also, guest host Vincent Trauth will welcome I Ketut Gede Asnawa, director of the University’s gamelan group, in advance of Saturday’s concert.
Join hosts Mindy Ratner and Bill Morelock for a one-hour celebration of Hanukkah, the Jewish Festival of Lights. There's plenty of music from Jewish communities around the world, plus an exploration of holiday traditions, and a special story reading by the incomparable Theodore Bikel.
Dov Frimer, arr H Netsky/J Jacobson - Al Hanissim (Hebrew) - Zamir Chorale of Boston and instrumentalists/Joshua Jacobson (Afka 901)
Traditional, arr J Miller - Shehecheyanu (Hebrew) - Chicago a cappella/Jonathan Miller (Chicago a cappella 2005)
Chaim Parchi, arr J Jacobson - Aleh Neiri (Hebrew) - Chaim Parchi, soloist; Zamir Chorale of Boston/Joshua Jacobson (Afka 901)
Flory Jagoda, arr H Netsky - Ocho Candelikas (Ladino) - Soloists and New England Conservatory Jewish Music Ensemble/Hankus Netsky (Rounder 3165)
Leo Low, arr L Moore - Likhtelekh (Yiddish) - Coro Hebraeico/Neil Levin (Naxos 8.559410)
Traditional/Oujda, Morocco - Hanerot Hallalu ("These Light We Kindle") (Hebrew) - Voice of the Turtle (Titanic 159)
Traditional, arr A. Binder - Maoz Tsur "Rock of Ages" (Hebrew)
Italian chant - Maoz Tsur
Italian chant, arr Benedetto Marcello - Maoz Tsur
Italian chant, arr Hugo Chaim Adler - Maoz Tsur
Zamir Chorale of Boston/Joshua Jacobson (Afka 901)
David Weintraub - Eight Bright Candles - Eaken Piano Trio (Naxos 8.554714)
Break bed: Samuel Adler - To Celebrate a Miracle (excerpt) - University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music Wind Symphony/Rodney Winther (Naxos 8.559410)
Theodore Bikel reads "The Lost Menorah" by Howard Schwartz from Adam's Soul: The Collected Tales of Howard Schwartz (published by Jason Aronson in 1992; now out of print); used with the kind permission of the author
Scott Robinson - Great is the Miracle, mvt II - Eaken Piano Trio (Naxos 8.554714)
Shelley Olson - Blessing for A Chanukah Cantata - Rosemary Quinn-Milch, cello (Maju Music 00-1.1)
Traditional Sephardic/Adrianopoli, Greece - Quital'tas (Ladino) - Piffaro, with Julianne Baird (rec live in concert, Dec 3, 2011)
Yiddish Folk Song - Bulbes "Potatoes" - Emil Decameron and His Orchestra, rec Vienna 1959 (Vanguard Classics OVC 6005)
Mikhl Gelbart, arr Mark Zuckerman - Ikh bin a kleyner dreydl (Yiddish) - Chicago a cappella/Jonathan Miller (Chicago a cappella 2005)
Traditional, arr J Jacobson - Drey, Dreydelekh (Yiddish) - Zamir Chorale of Boston and instrumentalists/Joshua Jacobson (Afka 901)
Flory Jagoda - Hanuka (Ladino) - Voice of the Turtle (Titanic 159)
Traditional Klezmer - Keshenev Bulgar - New England Conservatory Jewish Music Ensemble/Hankus Netsky (Rounder 3165)
Susan Stamberg and Murray Horwitz bring their immensely popular NPR holiday broadcast to life with readings of specially commissioned stories by well-known writers including Lev Raphael, Margot Singer, and Shira Nayman. Nationally renowned and beloved, Susan Stamberg is an NPR "founding mother," having been on the staff since the network was founded in 1971. She currently serves as a Special Correspondent. For many years, Murray Horwitz was NPR's Vice President of Cultural Programming. Prior to that, he was NPR's Director of Jazz, Classical Music and Entertainment Programming.
Internationally renowned for alluring stage productions and songs of heartwarming inspiration, Celtic Woman present their new chapter of musical enchantment in HOME FOR CHRISTMAS. Vocalists Lisa Lambe, Susan McFadden, Méav Ni Mhaolchatha and Celtic violinist Máiréad Nesbitt perform timeless holiday favorites (“Silent Night,” “I’ll Be Home for Christmas,” “It Came Upon a Midnight Clear,” “Joy to the World”) with their signature Celtic twist, under the distinctive musical direction of Emmy®-nominated music producer David Downes.
HOME FOR CHRISTMAS, directed by Russell Thomas and filmed at Dublin’s Helix Theatre, is both a visual and aural feast. Featuring Ireland’s finest musicians composing a 36-piece orchestra and the 40-member Philharmonic Choir, this large-scale production is a moving and festive celebration of the music cherished for generations.
Since Celtic Woman’s March 2005 American debut on public television, the unique all-female ensemble has emerged as a spectacular commercial success and a genuine cultural phenomenon. Their evocative, uplifting music has crossed over national and cultural borders to touch the hearts of a devoted fan base that spans the globe. The adult contemporary ensemble has gone on to achieve world-renowned success by connecting directly to fans via public television and international tours. Celtic Woman has sold over eight million CDs and DVDs worldwide, with multi-platinum album sales in nine countries, and over 2.3 million concert tickets sold.