Fresh Air with Terry Gross

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Politics
1:07 pm
Thu August 23, 2012

Jane Mayer: Obama In 'Impossible Bind' Over Donors

President Obama is on record as opposing superPACs for normalizing gigantic donations, but his campaign has hesitantly decided to accept donations from such groups. He is shown above speaking during a campaign stop in Oskaloosa, Iowa, last week.
Scott Olson Getty Images

Originally published on Thu August 23, 2012 3:12 pm

When the Supreme Court ruled on the landmark Citizen United case in 2010, the landscape of presidential elections shifted. SuperPACs — entities that can't make direct contributions but are allowed to engage in limitless spending and fundraising independently of the campaigns — have allowed for the some of the largest indirect gifts by wealthy Americans in the nation's history.

Obama is on record as opposing superPACs for normalizing gigantic donations, but his campaign has hesitantly decided to accept donations from these outside groups.

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Author Interviews
11:57 am
Thu August 23, 2012

Paul Auster Meditates On Life, Death And Near Misses

Paul Auster is the author of fiction including The New York Trilogy and In the Country of Last Things.
Lotte Hansen Picador

Originally published on Thu August 23, 2012 2:28 pm

Paul Auster doesn't take living for granted. At 65, the author has had several "near misses," from sliding face-first into a jutting nail as a child to a traumatic car accident that almost killed him, his wife and his daughter.

Auster's new memoir, Winter Journal, is a series of meditations on his life, aging and mortality — including his mother's death.

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Interviews
12:17 pm
Wed August 22, 2012

Bill Hader On Sketch Comedy, His Love Of Old Films

Bill Hader was nominated for an Emmy as Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series for his role as Stefon on Saturday Night Live.
Mike Coppola Getty Images

Originally published on Thu August 23, 2012 3:12 pm

Comedian Bill Hader is adept onstage and doing live performances. But he's scared to death of standup.

He says he remembers watching Chris Rock's 1996 HBO special, Bring the Pain, and thinking, "I don't know how people do that."

"I need a character," Hader tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross. "I need people out there with me."

So Hader has stuck with sketch comedy — where he has been wildly successful.

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Author Interviews
1:10 pm
Tue August 21, 2012

Student 'Subversives' And The FBI's 'Dirty Tricks'

Mario Savio, shown here at a victory rally in UC Berkeley's Sproul Plaza on Dec. 9, 1964, was the face of the free speech movement.
AP

Originally published on Wed August 22, 2012 12:21 pm

In 1964, students at the University of California, Berkeley, formed a protest movement to repeal a campus rule banning students from engaging in political activities.

Then-FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover suspected the free speech movement to be evidence of a Communist plot to disrupt U.S. campuses. He "had long been concerned about alleged subversion within the education field," journalist Seth Rosenfeld tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross.

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Remembrances
12:52 pm
Tue August 21, 2012

Fresh Air Remembers Comedian Phyllis Diller

Phyllis Diller plays peekaboo with the cameraman before the start of her television show Bonkers in 1979.
Central Press/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue August 21, 2012 1:35 pm

Phyllis Diller, one of the first and one of the few female comic headliners of her generation, died Monday at the age of 95.

Diller performed in the persona of a crazed housewife. She usually dressed in outlandish, bad-fitting clothes with her hair teased into a disheveled mop. Then she'd fire off long strings of self-deprecating gags. She was so unattractive, she used to tell her audiences, that Peeping Toms asked her to pull her window shades down. Onstage, she called her husband Fang. Diller told Fang jokes like her male counterparts told wife jokes.

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