KUOW Presents

No longer on air.
Joshua McNichols

KUOW Presents connects listeners to a diversity of stories and perspectives from around the Pacific Northwest and around the world on topics that matter to our daily lives.

To find stories by KUOW Presents older than October 15, 2012, go to www2.kuow.org and select "KUOW Presents" from the show dropdown menu in the search function.

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War Crimes & Reconciliation
11:07 am
Thu April 11, 2013

The Redemption Of General Butt Naked

Credit Sundance Institute and Film Festival

One of the warlords who terrorized Liberia during the country’s 14-year civil war was a man who called himself “General Butt Naked." He ran a brigade of child soldiers – most of whom he’d kidnapped and taught to rape, cannibalize and torture.

After the war, a group of evangelical Christians reached out to the former warlords. General Butt Naked was among those who converted. He now travels the country as a preacher, under the name Joshua Blahyi, asking forgiveness from his victims.

Filmmakers Danielle Anastasion and Eric Strauss spent five years following Blahyi around Liberia. They wondered whether a man like that could ever truly be reformed. And the answers they found are far from clear.

More stories from KUOW Presents, Thursday, April 11:

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8:48 am
Wed April 10, 2013

Annette Spaulding-Convy's "Bonsai Nun"

Annette Spaulding-Convy's debut collection draws on the five years she spent as a Dominican nun.
Credit University of Arkansas Press

As a former Dominican nun in the Roman Catholic Church, Annette Spaulding-Convy is intimately aware of the complex messages the institution sends about women's bodies. Her poem "Bonsai Nun" finds an apt metaphor in the severe pruning required to make a tree fit the aesthetic and spiritual ideal.

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8:00 am
Wed April 10, 2013

Making Peace At Home: A Mother And Daughter's Story

A vintage postcard depicting corporal punishment.
Credit Flickr Photo/HA! Designs - artbyheather

In the US, it’s no longer considered socially acceptable to spank your child. But parents may still be heard expressing a nostalgia for that period when it was easier to discipline a child, when a parent’s word was the law and disobedience could be quickly checked with a hand or a wooden spoon. This nostalgia is reinforced by the belief that in other countries, children are still spanked and turn out fine, or even better.

That’s what makes this story from South Africa so interesting. There’s a program there in the poorest public schools that seeks to give parents alternative ways to discipline their children. We get an intimate view inside the relationship of one mother and daughter as they struggle to escape their cycle of violence and rebellion. Despite the foreign setting, it’s clear that what’s at stake for families is the same all over the world.

Other stories on KUOW Presents, Wednesday, April 10:

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10:37 am
Tue April 9, 2013

Seattle Man Cured Of HIV: Five Years Later, Tired Of Still Being The Only One

Credit Flickr photo/ Lst1984

Scientists are still trying to sort out whether a baby supposedly cured of HIV was truly infected in the first place. Until that's sorted out, the number of people known to have been cured of HIV is exactly one. A man from Seattle, named Timothy Brown. He was cured in Germany and now lives in San Francisco. And even though his cure was confirmed back in 2008, no one else has yet survived the risky treatment he endured. And while he’s happy to have recovered, he says it’s lonely at the top. After all, when you’re the only survivor, there’s no support group you can join.

Other stories on KUOW Presents, Tuesday, April 9:

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Political Refugees
8:00 am
Mon April 8, 2013

How To Escape From A North Korean Labor Camp

Revolutionary Martyrs' Cemetery in Pyongyang, North Korea.
Credit Flickr Photo/Gabriel Prehn Britto

Kim Yong grew up as an orphan in North Korea. His orphanage was a mansion, filled with the sons and daughters of dead North Korean war heroes. Kim hoped to honor his father’s legacy through his fierce patriotism. Every winter’s day, he meticulously brushed the snow from a statue of then-North Korean leader, Kim Jong Il.

But then, police came and dragged him to a labor camp. They said his father had been a spy for the CIA. And although he’d not seen his dad since he was three, they sent him to a labor camp. Not until he saw a friend beaten to death did he finally shift blame from his father – to the regime.

Kim Yong knew then, he had to escape. Hear how he did it, today on KUOW.

Other stories on KUOW Presents, Monday, April 8:

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Roots Of Extremism
8:00 am
Thu April 4, 2013

If A Tree Falls: The Story Of Eco-Terrorist Daniel McGowan

Scene from the film 'If A Tree Falls: A Story Of The Earth Liberation Movement.'
Credit Courtesy/Marshall Curry Productions, LLC

Daniel McGowan is a convicted terrorist. That means we can't sympathize with him, right? Not so fast, says filmmaker Marshall Curry. His documentary, "If A Tree Falls," paints an intimate portrait of the man who used arson as political protest with the Earth Liberation Front, a group the FBI considers America's number one domestic terrorist threat.

Other Stories on KUOW Presents, Thursday, April 4:

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Art & Technology
12:58 pm
Wed April 3, 2013

Eric Whitacre’s Virtual Choir

Eric Whitacre's Virtual Choir
Credit Flickr/ TED Conference

Eric Whitacre is as close as a choral composer can be to a superstar. He sees lots of fan videos on YouTube of people singing his songs. That got him wondering. What would happen if he got all those people singing together, at the same time, on the Internet? This is how Eric Whitacre created the world’s largest virtual choir.

More stories on KUOW Presents, Wednesday, April 3:

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2:44 pm
Tue April 2, 2013

Marjorie Manwaring Offers A Poem Of Second Chances

'Search for a Velvet-Lined Cape' from Mayapple Press
Credit Mayapple Press

As spring edges out winter and previously bare tree limbs are suddenly effusive with blossoms, there's a sense that almost anything -- or anyone -- deserves a second chance. In her poem "A Quiet," poet Marjorie Manwaring meditates on alternative endings and the possibility of redemption.

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10:52 am
Tue April 2, 2013

Is It Ever Okay For A Non-Native Person To Wear A Headdress?

The Village People at the 2008 MLB All-Star Game. For some, the native headdress has deep spiritual significance. For others, it just means "party." Hear today how one incident brought these two sides into an unusual partnership.
Credit Flicker photo / Al-HikesAZ

Feather headdresses have become part of our cultural iconography. But for many Native Americans, the headdress has deep spiritual meaning, and its misuse is deeply offensive. 

When the fashion company Paul Frank printed T-shirts showing a monkey wearing a headdress, blogger Adrienne Keene took her outrage public. But she kept an open mind, because she knew the problem wasn't hatefulness, but ignorance.

Now she and the Paul Frank company have forged an unlikely partnership and are working together to bring Native American imagery into the fashion world in a culturally sensitive way.

Listen to her CBC interview.

More stories from KUOW Presents, Tuesday, April 2:

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April Fools' Hoaxes
2:00 pm
Mon April 1, 2013

This NOT Just In: The Great Space Needle Collapse Hoax Of 1989

Credit Wikipedia / King 5

KING TV’s “Almost LIVE!” comedy sketch program panicked viewers and raised the ire of local officials with an April Fools' Day Space Needle collapse hoax on April 1, 1989. With a simulated news bulletin and pre-Photoshop modified photograph, the phony news report generated hundreds of phone calls and resulted in an on-air apology from host John Keister. 

The power of an April Fools' news story. Today, on KUOW.

Other stories on KUOW Presents, Monday, April 1:

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12:44 pm
Thu March 28, 2013

Evangelical Christianity Edging Out Catholicism In Guatemala

An evangelical Christian church in Guatemala.
Credit Flickr Photo / Eric++

Latin America has been Catholic pretty much since the time of the conquistadores. But that tradition may come to an end soon, as evangelical Christianity vies to become the number one religion in countries such as Guatemala. Today, we hear from one Guatemalan town that converted en masse.

Other stories on KUOW Presents, Thursday, March 28:

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Marriage In History
1:52 pm
Wed March 27, 2013

Federal Regulation Of Marriage Dates Back To Emancipation Of Slaves

This 1865 celebration of emancipation by artist Thomas Nast portrays an optimistic view of the future of blacks in the US. Strong families were considered important to reconstruction. But gathering around the hearth with family was in reality much more complicated. Slave holders had routinely broken up families, and the dislocated slaves often remarried. This legacy complicated family structure so much that the federal government had to step in to help sort out who was married to whom.
Credit Library of Congress / Thomas Nast

Before emancipation, slaves couldn’t legally marry other slaves. Of course, that didn’t stop them from getting married in their own way. But those informal marriages were seldom recognized by slave holders, who broke up families regularly as they bought and sold individuals. After being dislocated, many slaves settled down with new families, often getting married several times.

After the civil war, blacks gained the right to legally marry. But the patchwork of local and state laws regulating marriage made it nearly impossible to sort out the undocumented and often conflicting claims about which former slaves were married to whom. So on behalf of ex-slaves, the federal government stepped in, setting up bureaus to help sort out the mess.

After reconstruction, federal authorities handed control of marriage back to the states. But this episode from history helps frame the current debate on same-sex marriage. History’s lesson: Usually, the federal government will leave things to the states. But if the federal government decides things have become too messy or inequitable, it may step in.

Hear this story today, on KUOW Presents around 2:30, or at your leisure, online.

Other stories on KUOW Presents, Wednesday, March 27:

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2:54 pm
Tue March 26, 2013

Poet Colleen McElroy On Choosing "What Stays Here"

Author Colleen McElroy.
Credit Photo Credit/Ingrid Papp-Sheldon

In her poem "What Stays Here," Colleen McElroy imagines life as a female soldier who must choose between loyalty to herself, and loyalty to a military code that says "keep quiet" and "get along." Like many of the poems in McElroy's ninth collection, "Here I Throw Down My Heart," (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2012) the poem awakens us to voices and stories we might otherwise never hear with such intimacy and power.

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10:15 am
Tue March 26, 2013

The Rabbi And The Klansman

The olive branch, an ancient symbol of reconciliation.
Credit Flickr Photo/horrigans

Loving your enemies doesn’t always work. But when a Rabbi moved from New York City to Lincoln, Nebraska, and was targeted by the Grand Dragon with the local KKK, he was determined to try.

Other stories on KUOW Presents, Tuesday, March 26:

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Art From Tragedy
9:22 am
Mon March 25, 2013

An Orchestra Of Guns

The grooved interior of the barrel of a giant gun.
Credit Flickr Photo/ hapticflapjack

Pedro Reyes has fashioned an orchestra from guns. These guns have killed people: rival drug dealers, police informants and innocent bystanders. Now, they’ve been repurposed as musical instruments and they’re touring Mexico and the US.

It’s more than just a novelty performance. The artist considers it a kind of exorcism, and his musicians do not take their charge lightly. It takes a certain reckless faith to hold a gun to your head and know the only thing coming out of the barrel will be music.

 Other stories on KUOW Presents, Monday, March 25:

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