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AMERICAN MOSAIC - July 6, 2001 - 2001-07-05


Welcome to AMERICAN MOSAIC - VOA’s radio magazine in Special English.


This is Doug Johnson. On our program today...

We play songs by John Lee Hooker...

answer a question about the American court system...

and, tell about a statue of a character in an American television program.

Statue to Mary



That is the theme song from an American television program first broadcast in the Nineteen-Seventies. “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” told about a young single woman named Mary Richards. She lived in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The people of that city are planning to honor her. Shirley Griffith has more.


“The Mary Tyler Moore Show” is still being broadcast on an American cable television network called TV Land. Some critics say it was one of the best television shows ever produced.

The TV Land network is paying about one-hundred-fifty-thousand dollars to build a metal statue of Mary Richards, played by Mary Tyler Moore. It says the statue will stand on the street in Minneapolis where Mary Tyler Moore threw her hat into the air at the opening of each show. TV Land hopes to present the statue to the city in the fall.

The mayor of Minneapolis has welcomed the planned statue. Sharon Sayles Belton said Mary Richards was an important character to millions of American women in the Nineteen-Seventies. She also noted that the program showed Minneapolis as a good place to live. Citizens of Minneapolis hope people will want to visit the statue.

Other American cities have built similar statues. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania has a statue of the character Rocky Balboa played by Sylvester Stallone in the movie “Rocky.” New York City honors a character from the old television show “The Honeymooners”. It has a statue of the bus driver Ralph Cramden, played by Jackie Gleason. The statue is outside New York’s main bus station.

Some critics object to the idea of honoring people who never existed. They say it will only create confusion in the future about what was real and what was not. Evan Maurer is director of the Minneapolis Institute of Arts. He says enough people are confused already. He lives in the house that is shown on television as the home of Mary Richards. He says people come to his door wanting to know if Mary Richards still lives there.

United States' Court System


Our VOA listener question this week comes in an e-mail from South Korea. Hoon Lee asks about the system of courts in the United States.

The United States court system includes federal and state courts. Federal courts deal with criminal and civil actions involving the United States Constitution or federal laws. Federal courts hear cases involving the United States government. They hear cases between people from different states and cases involving other countries or their citizens. They also hear cases involving situations that took place on the sea and violations of patent and copyright ownership.

Each state has at least one federal district court. District courts are the first courts to hear cases involving violations of federal laws. Then the cases may be tried in courts of appeals. The United States is divided into twelve district areas. Each one has a court of appeals. There is also a federal court of appeals.

The federal court system also includes special courts. They try cases involving claims against the federal government, tax disputes, and military questions.

The United States Supreme Court is the highest court in the nation. A person who loses a case either in a federal appeals court or in the highest state court may appeal to the Supreme Court.

State courts receive their power from state constitutions and laws. The first court that hears a case involving a state law is local, such as a county court. Other local courts hear only one kind of case. For example, small claims courts try cases involving small amounts of money. Probate courts handle family financial situations following a death. Other special courts deal with traffic accidents and disputes among family members.

Higher state courts are known as circuit courts, or superior courts. These hear more serious cases. The decisions from these cases may be appealed to an even higher court. The highest court in most states is its supreme court.

John Lee Hooker


Blues musician John Lee Hooker died at his home near San Francisco, California last month. He was eighty-three years old. Steve Ember tells about one of the most influential blues artists of all time.


John Lee Hooker was born in Mississippi. His interest in music came early. He sang religious songs in church as a boy.

Hooker’s father was a Christian clergyman. He did not approve of his son’s interest in music. But John Lee Hooker learned how to play the guitar anyway.

Hooker dreamed of becoming a professional blues singer. His dream came true in Nineteen-Forty-Eight when his first recorded song became a hit. “Boogie Chillen” was one of the most popular Rhythm and Blues songs that year.


John Lee Hooker was a major influence on other musicians and rock and roll bands. He invited some of them to record with him. The result was Hooker’s album “The Healer” released in Nineteen-Eighty-Nine. John Lee Hooker won a Grammy award for a song on the album. It is called “I’m In the Mood”. He performs it with Bonnie Raitt.


“The Healer” became the best selling blues album of all time. Hooker said it was the finest recording he ever made.John Lee Hooker is honored in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the Blues Hall of Fame. He also won five music industry Grammy awards. Last year he received a special Grammy for his lifetime of music. We leave you now with John Lee Hooker singing “Mister Lucky.”



This is Doug Johnson. I hope you enjoyed our program today. And I hope you will join us again next week for AMERICAN MOSAIC—VOA’s radio magazine in Special English.

This AMERICAN MOSAIC program was written by Nancy Steinbach and Caty Weaver. Our studio engineer was Gary Speizler. And our producer was Paul Thompson.