Better Know A Guest: March 26 – 29, 2012

The Colbert Report Guest Line Up Hello Hubsters! As karenatasha is away at a conference, I am here to present this week’s roster of guests. After what always feels like a lengthy break week, it’s always nice to get back into the swing of things. As you will see, we have a very intellectual week ahead of us, with an MIT professor, an illustrious political scientist, an actor who has adopted a very worthy cause, and a provocative Jewish author/blogger addressing issues affecting Israel. So without further adieu, away we go!

Monday, 3/25: Dr. David Page

Dr. David Page serves as Director of the Whitehead Institute and is a professor of biology at MIT. The Whitehead Institute describes its mission, according to its website, as providing “scientists with the resources and freedom to follow their scientific instincts, form novel collaborations and conduct high-risk research.” Dr. Page likens the Institute to a place where scientists, like an “artists colony,” can pursue their scientific ambitions, and “empower maximally creative—really wildly creative—individuals to realize their dreams.”

Dr. Page’s lab has pioneered discoveries about the human Y-chromosome, mapping the Y-Choromosome in 1992, and fully sequencing it in 2003, a process that took several years. Essentially he is the Y-Chormosome expert. As a result of his lab’s efforts, we have a better understanding of the human genome and the male chromosome, and its nature and tendencies, which has far reaching implications in our understanding of modern biology. For example, studying infertile men led to his lab’s 1995 discovery of “AZF deletion,” a genetic trait which we now know most commonly causes male infertility.

He is an Investigator at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. According to his bio-page on the Whitehead Institute website, he established the Whitehead Task Force on Genetics and Public Policy. He also co-edits Current Opinion in Genetics and Development and is an associate editor of the Annual Review of Human Genetics and Genomics.

Dr. Page received his M.D. from Harvard. Stephen is going to have hard time being “Stephen” for this interview, to be sure.

Tuesday, 3/26: Charles Murray

Prepare for fireworks. Charles Murray’s new book, Coming Apart: The State of White America: 1960-2010, argues that profound shifts are taking place in white America. The book observes statistics of decline amongst the white lower class in terms of marriage rates, illegitimacy rates, employment rates, and church attendance. He then compares two fictional neighborhoods, upper-class “Belmont” (which is, coincidentally, or maybe not so, the name of the town where Mitt Romney grew up) and the lower-class “Fishtown” to demonstrate the disparities and decline. Undoubtedly his assertions will rouse the Stephen! After all, USA number one. In everything.

The political scientist, pundit, and author has been a fellow at the conservative think-tank American Enterprise Institute since 1990. In 2009, he won the AEI’s high honor, The Irving Kristol Award. Of the libertarian persuasion, many of his books have dealt with the topics of welfare reform, libertarianism, and socioeconomics. His best selling 1992 book with the late Richard J. Hernnstein, The Bell Curve, attracted both critics and praise for its argument that IQ was a better determining factor of material success and overall personal outcome than one’s parent’s socioeconomic status or education. His 1984 publication, Losing Ground, is thought of as the inspiration for the Welfare Reform Act of 1996.

Murray hails from small town Iowa, but graduated from Harvard in 1965 and received his Phd. in political science from MIT in 1974. He spent six years abroad, working for the Peace Corps in Thailand for four years, and for U.S. agency for International Development.

David Frum writes a thorough, five part review of Mr. Murray’s book on The Daily Beast here.

The Toledo Blade also provides an illuminating review here.

Follow him on twitter.

Wednesday, 3/27: Mark Ruffalo

Things are about to get exxplosive. Hunky actor/director Mark Ruffalo is familiar to most of us for his work onscreen, but he is appearing on TCR to talk up Water Defense, an organization he founded committed to ending unsafe and immoral practices and promoting sustainable, environmentally friendly energy sources. Water Defense’s current objectives are to ban fracking in New York State and provide clean water to the residents of PA. Their website warns that “Water Defense will launch our new campaign to exxpose natural gas on The Colbert Report.” The mission is a personal one: Ruffalo’s home is located near the Delaware River, which may be fracked in the future.

As an actor, he is a stalwart of the indie scene, and is best known and acclaimed for movies such as You Can Count on Me (2000), and, more recently, The Kids Are All Right (2010), for which he received an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor.

Ruffalo is also no stranger to tragedy: his brother, Scott, was murdered in 2008 in a still-unsolved shooting incident in Los Angeles. In 2002, he was diagnosed with a benign brain tumor, which left him facially paralyzed for a brief time. He is fully recovered and in good health.

Sign up here to find out more about the big announcement on Water Defense’s website.

Watch Mark and Keith Olbermann discuss the issue of fracking on Countdown (via YouTube) and check out the Web extra on the environmental news site, Grist.

Check out Mark’s upcoming films: The Avengers, based on the famous Marvel comic and Thanks for Sharing, a comedic look at sexual addiction which was co-written and directed by Stuart Blumberg.

He appeared on TDS once in 2004.

Visit his website.

Like him on his Facebook page.

Follow him on Twitter.

Thursday, 3/28: Peter Beinart

Peter Beinart blogs extensively about Israel on Zion Square, a newly launched site on The Daily Beast, where he is also a senior political writer. The blog, of which he is chief-editor, focuses on issues affecting Israel, Palestine, Zionism, and the path going forward. He has written a book The Crisis Of Zionism, which argues that secular, liberal American Jews and the much more conservative Zionists are becoming further apart– a rift, although inevitable in today’s changing times, that can pose a great threat to the future of Israel. He first posited this idea in an essay in NYT in 2010, and is now bringing it to book format.

A week ago he wrote an essay on NYT exhorting American Jews to support boycotts of Israeli settlements for the sake of saving Israel. He is taking this stance as he believes in a two-state solution, and that the encroachment of Israeli settlements into the West Bank blur the line too much between the two entities.

Prior to writing for The Daily Beast/Newsweek, Beinart worked in various editor roles for The New Republic. He also wrote the book The Good Fight: Why Liberals—and Only Liberals—Can Win the War on Terror and Make America Great Again. A supporter of the Iraq invasion, it was a position he later recanted. His works have appeared in The New York Times, Time, and The New York Review of Books.

He is also Associate Professor of Journalism and Political Science at The City University of New York, and a Schwartz Senior Fellow at the New America Foundation.

Born of South African immigrant parents, he attended Yale University, where he was a member of the Yale Political Union. He was a Rhodes Scholar at University College, Oxford University, where he mastered in philosophy.

Read of a review of The Crisis of Zionism here.

Peter once appeared on TCR back in 2006.

Visit his website.

He’s got a Facebook page.

Follow him on Twitter.

And let’s check in with our good friend Jon Stewart!

Monday, 3/25: Shaquille O’Neal

Shaq is a household name- the 7 ft. 1″ power center, who ranks 6th for the most points scored in the NBA, is hard to miss. In addition to being a championship, legendary basketball player, he has released four rap albums, and appeared on film and TV. After retiring from the NBA in 2011, Shaq can now be found commentating on Inside the NBA on TNT.

This clip with Shaq and Tracey Morgan on Jimmy Fallon always make me laugh.

He is pretty epic on the Twitter.

Tuesday, 3/26: Sam Worthington

Sam Worthington is an Australian actor who has starred in blockbuster films like Avatar, as well as Termination Salvation. He is now appearing Wrath of the Titans.

He is well known in Australia for his role as Howard on Aussie television’s Love My Way. He has appeared in several prominent Australian films, including Somersault (2004), for which he won the AFI Award for Best Lead Actor.

Check out his studly-looking website.

He has a nice fan site here.

Follow him on Twitter.

Wednesday, 3/27: Ahmed Rashid

This guest looks to be interesting, particularly because Pakistan is so much on the international news these days. Mr. Rashid is a Pakistani author, journalist, and commentator. His new book, Pakistan on the Brink: The Future of America, Pakistan, and Afghanistan, explores the current turmoil his country is experiencing, particularly in light of the Bin Laden debacle. He writes for the Wall Street Journal, The Nation, Daily Times (Pakistan). He as appeared on CNN and BBC World. His best seller Taliban: Militant Islam, Oil and Fundamentalism in Central Asia, has been widely translated and used as an authoritative treatise on the Taliban in the wake of the September 11th attacks.

Listen to him talk to Terry Gross on NPR about his new book.

His personal website is here.

Facebook page is here.

Thursday, 3/28: Rachel Maddow

Rachel needs no introduction, other than to say that in additional to being the host of MSNBC’s nightly The Rachel Maddow Show she is a huge Jon Stewart fangirl. She is promoting her new book, Drift: The Unmooring of American Military Power. In the book, she argues that American complacency about being perpetually at war is costing our nation dearly in terms of financial, human toll, and deviation from our core American values.

She has appeared on TDS twice and once on TCR in 2008.

Buy her book here.

Visit her show’s site.

Follow her on the Twitter.

Well, happy viewing! Thanks for checking out this week’s lineup. We’ll chat later in the episode guides.

  • Mr. Arkadin

    Can’t we just trade all of this weeks guests for Rachel? She really should do TCR again. It’s been too long! What’s your problem, Maddow! Why is it always Jon, Jon, Jon!

    Honestly, I think I’m most interested in hearing what colbaby’s reaction to Shaquille O’Neal appearing on TDS is. As some of you may know, our friend colbaby, is an enemy of the short. And she gets a tremendous thrill out of seeing the littles mocked by the talls. (See Jon meeting Stephen Merchant.) And with the prospect of the 7 ft. 1 inch Shaq standing next to Jon on Monday. I fear her glee might be so great she’ll never recover! And we may never hear from her again. :(
    Be strong colbaby! Keep the smelling salts nearby. We need you!

    • CN Helper

      Sometimes I wish we could flip the shows guests – it would be awesome to have Shaq or Rachel Maddow on TCR this week. It is true, Shaq will envelop poor Jon on Monday. Jon always seem to take it in stride.

    • karenatasha

      I have to say, I’m not unhappy with the way the guests are doled out. I hate Charles Murray, and I think that Stephen will do a better job undermining him than Jon would. (Partly, you can’t be overtly rude to your guests, so Stephen’s stealth approach will be more successful.) The thing about Murray is that his argument is racist; the point of “The Bell Curve” is that he also argued that blacks generally have a lower IQ without taking the construction of the test (particularly at the point the book was written) into account.

      As for Rachel, I’m afraid I think she’s more comfortable with Jon than with Stephen. I love her, but she’s earnest, and that seems to go well with Jon. I think the two of them have a good rapport. Clearly, she enjoys Stephen, but isn’t sure about how to handle his faux-conservative style.

      Thank you so much, CN Helper, for doing such a great job and for rescuing me in my week of need. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate it.

      • CN Helper

        My pleasure. I am glad I could help. I have to give props as well to Kris, who contributed some content and also fact-checked me.

        • Karenatasha

          Thank you, too, Kris! So nice to leave my “baby” in such good hands.

    • colbaby

      “…enemy of the short….seeing the littles mocked…”

      I believe they prefer the term vertically challenged. And you call ME the monster?! Anyway, you make it sound like some sort of sick fetish. Like tall women carrying heavy things. Wait a minute…what if Shaq picked up Jon and carried him around?

      Nobody talk for a minute…

      • lockhart43

        “Wait a minute…what if Shaq picked up Jon and carried him around?”

        You soothsayer!!

  • karenatasha

    Hey–how many people think Jon and Stephen will discuss Cheney’s new heart?

  • lockhart43

    I can’t wait for Mark Ruffalo. Bless his heart for working to ban fracking – I had no idea of his environmentalist ideals, but learning that makes me like him more. I really hope he can raise more awareness about fracking – the last person that I recall having the knowledge to talk about it on either TDS or TCR (there may have been someone on TCR last year who mentioned it, someone please correct me if I’m wrong as I’m sadly drawing a blank) was T. Boone Pickens on TDS last year, and Pickens was in total denial and completely disappointing. I’m also excited to see Rachel Maddow on TDS.

    If anything, I’m just happy our boys are back. Last week was particularly brutal in terms of show withdrawals.

    • Mr. Arkadin

      I think you may be thinking of former PA. Gov. Tom Ridge, maybe? He talked about fracking on TCR last year. But was a complete shill for the process. Thankfully Stephen nailed him (with a smile, of course!) pretty good about it.

      And Lockhart43, if you’re still up. Are you really saying that Shaq picks up Jon tonight!?
      Oh, there’ll be no living with colbaby if that’s true! 😉

      • colbaby

        It’s true and it was glorious.

      • lockhart43

        You’re right! It was Tom Ridge. And you’re right again: Ridge was also disappointing. I have a feeling Ruffalo will not disappoint, thankfully.

        Yes, Shaq picked Jon up like a little child and it was glorious, as colbaby declared. What was almost better was Jon’s comment afterward: “Now I know how my son feels.”

      • lockhart43

        Just for good measure, I went back into the Hub archives to look up the Tom Ridge episode, and I’ll thank you for reminding me that he was on last year. After reading my post from the recap, I was completely frustrated with Ridge and the way he dodged Stephen’s questions about fracking. Like I said, Ruffalo will not disappoint, thank the Lord. :)

        • Mr. Arkadin

          You’re welcome! Glad I could help.

          I’ve seen Ruffalo many times talking about fracking on Keith Olbermann’s show. He’s very good. (As a matter of fact. Keith liked him so much he made him a Countdown contributor right on the spot!) But he’s not one for pithy answers. So hopefully “Stephen” will give him a little room to breath and get his point across. Before he nails him, naturally. 😉