#1429: A Warrior Writer, Skid Row Artist And Trump Anecdote

Dec 12, 2016

On this week’s 51%, we meet a woman veteran who turned to writing to process her experience overseas and upon return. Then we meet a woman trying to nurture her art while being homeless and we hear about a time when Donald Trump had a Cosmopolitan invitation. I’m Allison Dunne and this is 51%.

Jenny Pacanowski is an Iraq combat veteran. She’s also a writer. I recently met her at a Veteran Arts Showcase at the FDR Presidential Library and Museum in Hyde Park, New York. She was part of the program, reading her poetry. And she facilitated a Warrior Writers workshop. Pacanowski says her goal is to help veterans and civilians by healing the wounds of war and military culture through the arts. She hopes that creating smoother reintegration programs will keeps veterans from paths that lead to suicide, addiction and homelessness. 

Most skid rows in America feel like someplace you don’t want to be. They are in gritty neighborhoods; people live under tarps and in tents and belongings are pushed into overstuffed bags. But as Michael Ratcliffe found, sometimes you can find a place where something beautiful is nourished, though it might be short-lived. 

DENVER (AP) — A federal judge is asking the State Department to reconsider its decision to deny a passport to a Colorado resident who refused to check either male or female on the application. In a recent ruling U.S. District Judge R. Brooke Jackson said he did not think the government had acted rationally in denying a passport to Dana Zzyym, who was born with ambiguous sexual characteristics and does not identify as either male or female. However, he said he wanted to give it a chance to reconsider, saying it was not time to weigh in yet on the constitutionality of the decision. Zzyym, a Navy veteran, praised the ruling but acknowledged it was the "first step in a long battle." A handful of countries allows intersex people like Zzymm to designate their gender with a third option.

We previously brought you an interview with Brooke Hauser, who wrote the biography “Enter Helen, The Invention of Helen Gurley Brown and the Rise of the Modern Single Woman.” Gurley Brown, author of the groundbreaking bestseller Sex and the Single Girl, took over an ailing Cosmopolitan magazine and revamped it, serving as its editor from 1965-1997. Hauser says Gurley Brown was a letter writer, and that included with Hillary Clinton and now President-elect Donald Trump. 

The interview with Brooke Hauser about her book is in 51% show #1424.

And that's our show this week. Thanks to Patrick Garrett for production assistance. Our executive producer is Dr. Alan Chartock. Our theme music is Glow in the Dark by Kevin Bartlett. This show is a national production of Northeast Public Radio. If you’d like to hear this show again, sign up for our podcast, or visit the 51% archives on our web site at wamc.org. And follow us on Twitter @51PercentRadio

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