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Tuesday, Sep 4, 2012
At once intimate and chilling, the film offers an intricate look at the profound difficulties of Sabere's life in Afghanistan.

Editor’s note: ‘I Was Worth 50 Sheep’ is streaming on PBS Video Player through September.


At 16, Sabere is trying to divorce her husband. Golmohammad beats her, she explains, and she’s had four miscarriages, at least one caused by an especially severe beating she describes in detail for I Was Worth 50 Sheep. At a safe house for women in Mazar, Afghanistan, she finds both sympathy and legal help.


As Nima Sarvestani’s documentary reveals, however, she also finds complications. First, she remains fearful of her husband, a Taliban in his 60s who killed his first two wives. And second, she’s at risk with her stepfather, Khalegh, who takes her in to live with her ten-year-old half-sister, Farzaneh. The haven he offers is dreadfully uncertain: “War is everywhere,” he says more than once, meaning that he can’t guarantee the safety of the girls living with him, that they may be sold for sheep if something happens to him. Moreover, Khalegh feels pressured to sell Farzaneh. When Sabere protests that the girl is too young to be married, he asks, “What can we do? He is violent.”


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Tuesday, Sep 4, 2012
"It's really high highs and really low lows," Dr. Dennis sums up, "But you do one amazing thing and you change someone's stars forever."

“It’s absolute life or death stress, where basically, people’s lives are hanging with every decision you make.” Dr. Andrew Dennis smiles and shakes his head as he describes his work in the trauma unit in Chicago’s Stroger Hospital. The daunting violence in the city has made headlines this summer, and Chicago Trauma makes clear at least one cause, the “roughly 100,000 gang members,” who also take their work seriously.


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Monday, Sep 3, 2012
The film counters the bad rap teachers and teachers' unions have been getting recently, with testimonials to teachers' dedication and energy in the face of daunting odds.

“There are about 40 desks in this small classroom,” says Denver middle school English teacher Amanda Lueck. “I’ve got students sitting on the counter.” She worries about limited resources and escalating needs. “If there were three of me,” she says, “I might be able to get it done.” Like other teachers interviewed in American Teacher, Lueck attests both to her dedication to teaching and the frustrations that come with it. The job is hard. “Almost nothing harder,” points out Brad Jupp, the US Department of Education’s senior program advisor, “because teachers are constant active decision makers, they make thousands of decisions a day, they do it about the life of a child in that moment.” In Texas, history teacher Erik Benner’s students love him, in part because, as he says, “I try to treat the kids like young adults,” even as he’s unable to support his family on his teacher’s salary at Trinity Springs Middle School (he also works as an athletic coach at the school and has a second job at Floor & Decor). And Rhena Jasey, in Maplewood NJ, remembers friends advising, “Anybody can teach: you went to Harvard, you should be a doctor or a lawyer, you should make money.” After six years teaching in public school, she took a position with the Equity Project Charter School (T.E.P.), in NYC’s Washington Heights, a change she


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Thursday, Aug 30, 2012
At the last Republican Convention -- in 2008 -- two young men from Midland, Texas were arrested by the FBI and charged as terrorists.

“Both of us are very proud to be Americans and when you see someone is poisoning what you love, and what you believe in, I think if you allow yourself, you become someone who wants to fight against it.” As David McKay describes his thinking, you might think you know where Better This World is headed. McKay and Brad Crowley, two friends from Midland, Texas, tell a story that seems familiar: as young activists, they were arrested at the Republican National Convention in 2008. As the film unfolds, they’re fighting their legal cases. At the time, which is to say, after 9/11, says FBI Assistant Special Agent Tim Gossfeld, domestic terrorism was a specific target: “That is what we need to focus all our resources on,” he asserts, “to the best of our ability.”


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Tuesday, Aug 21, 2012
Smart, informative, and often funny, the show illustrates its host's faith, that every play can be broken down and rethought, can be a learning experience, can make the next plays better.

“When do you sleep? You know, who needs it?” Jon Gruden’s first words to Bryant Gumbel on this week’s Real Sports. advised that getting up at 3:15am every morning to look at game film and prepare for work, Gruden agrees. “Yeah, it’s probably not wise at times, probably not normal,” he says, looking serious for a moment before he smiles. “But it’s my rhythm, it’s the beat that I go to.”


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