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The Week Ahead in Politics and Congressman Keith Ellison

President Obama is planning a series of speeches as the White House attempts to take back the initiative on key issues like Health Care. We speak with Rick Klein, Senior Political Reporter for ABC News and author of the network's blog, The Note.

Also, today is the last day for members of Congress to talk face-to-face with their constituents after a summer recess that was dominated by the health care reform debate. We speak to Rep. Keith Ellison of Minnesota's 5th District, who supports a public option, about his summer and how he plans to go forward once he returns to Washington tomorrow.

From Walden to Wobegon

A woman and young boy walk around Walden Pond in Concord, Mass., in 2003.  (AP Photo)
A woman and young boy walk around Walden Pond in Concord, Mass., in 2003. (AP Photo)

As summer draws to a close, we dip our toes into bodies of water known as kettle ponds. These are lakes formed by the meltdown of glacial ice. Walden is the most famous kettle but they stretch from Maine to Montana. Robert Thorson says they represent a significant part of America's historical and cultural heritage. Thorson is a professor of geology at the University of Connecticut. His book is, "Beyond Walden: The Hidden History of America's Kettle Lakes and Ponds.

America's First Daredevil

Nate Dimeo, producer of the Memory Palace, brings us the story of Sam Patch, a boy who literally rose out of the textile mills of early 19th century America to become the Evel Knievel of his time.

To Text Or Not To Text?

That is the question many linguists are asking about the relationship between the cyber language and literature. Some call text messaging 'slanguage' because vowels or punctuation can go missing and claim it hurts literacy. On the other hand in Japan text-messaging is considered a literary form with people composing and reading novels on their cell phones. We revisit a conversation we had on the subject with David Crystal, Honorary Professor of Linguistics at the University of Wales and author of "Texting: The Great Debate."

Joyce Maynard's 'Labor Day'

We speak with author Joyce Maynard. Her new novel "Labor Day" is about a divorced mother and her son, who take in an escaped convict one Labor Day week-end. We speak with Joyce about the book, and about the difficult choices parents sometimes face, which Joyce wrote about in a recent column in the New York Times.

Music from the show

  • Euphone, "My Boatship"
  • Herbie Hancock, "Watermelon Man"
  • Freddie Hubbard, "Little Sunflower"
  • Ahmad Jamal, "Patterns"
  • Charles Mingus, "Pedal Point Blues"
  • Rachel Portman, "The Closer You Get"

This program aired on September 7, 2009.

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