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AMERICAN MOSAIC - November 8, 2002: How Many Americans Vote? / Music by Josh Groban / Remembering Our Friend Richard Thorman - 2002-11-07


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


This is Doug Johnson. On our program today:

We play music by Josh Groban...

Answer a listener’s question about how many Americans vote in general elections ...

And tell about a former Special English writer who died recently.

Richard Thorman


The Voice of America has lost a good friend. Former Special English writer, editor and broadcaster Richard Thorman died recently at a hospital in Baltimore, Maryland. He was seventy-seven years old. People who listen to VOA Special English programs heard Richard Thorman’s work for many years. Mary Tillotson remembers him.


Richard Thorman was born on Long Island in the state of New York. He graduated from Williams College in Williamstown, Massachusetts and studied literature at Columbia University in New York City. During World War Two he served in the armed forces. For many years he worked as a broadcaster in New York State. He joined VOA Special English in nineteen-eighty-four and retired in nineteen-ninety-seven.

During those years, Richard wrote and edited news programs for Special English. He wrote about science. He told about the lives of important Americans. Some of his programs described American writers like Edith Wharton, Ernest Hemingway and F. Scott Fitzgerald. He especially enjoyed writing about fiction writers because he himself wrote books. Among his works are a novel, “Bachman’s Law” and “Hardly Working”, a collection of short stories.

One of Richard Thorman’s stories was adapted for Special English. “The Stradivarius” told about a man who believed he had an extremely valuable violin. Part One of “The Stradivarius” will be broadcast Saturday on the Special English program “American Stories.”

Our listeners came to know Mister Thorman’s speaking voice as well as his writings. For several years, Richard wrote and read a series of his comments on the air. “One Man’s Thoughts” told about many subjects. Listen to Richard Thorman as he remembers the happiest day of his life. It took place in Paris, France, when he was a young man. He was walking to a hotel to meet friends.

RICHARD THORMAN: "Children played in the public gardens. Old people sat in the park enjoying the afternoon sun. Lovers walked along the edge of the River Seine.

“I felt something in my throat that made it hard for me to swallow. Before I could stop myself, I jumped into the air and hit my heels together. I knew I would be happy again in some other places and at some other times. But it would never, never be exactly like this.”

Midterm Elections


Our VOA listener question this week comes from Brazil. Andercley Rodrigues Santos asks how many Americans vote on Election Day.

That is a good question to answer just a few days after the general election in the United States. General elections are held in the United States every two years. Americans voted on Tuesday, November fifth in what is known as a midterm election.

Midterm elections are held in the middle of the term of the president. President Bush was elected in two-thousand to a four-year term in office. The results of midterm elections often show how Americans feel about the policies of the president and the Congress. The results of the congressional races affect the ability of a president to govern for the rest of his term.

On Tuesday, Americans voted for members of Congress and state and local officials. Voters in thirty-six of the fifty states elected a governor. Voters elected all four-hundred-thirty-five members of the House of Representatives. They also elected thirty-four of the one-hundred members of the Senate.

An independent group, the Committee for the Study of the American Electorate, estimated that seventy-seven-million Americans voted on Tuesday. This is only about thirty-nine percent of the voting-age citizens. Fewer Americans generally vote in midterm elections than in presidential elections. Fifty-one percent of American voters took part in the presidential election in two-thousand.

Americans give several reasons for not voting. Many say they are too busy to vote. Others say emergencies prevented them from getting to the voting place on election day. Still others say they are not interested in politics. This situation has led some people to say there should be a law that would require all Americans to vote. This has not been seriously considered. But some private organizations are trying to get more people to vote, especially young people.

One such group is called “Rock the Vote”. It has been working for the past twelve years to increase the number of young people who vote in elections. “Rock the Vote” has reported some progress. The group’s leaders say that this year they influenced one-hundred-thousand young people to become new American voters.

You can find out the results of the November fifth midterm election on the Special English program “In the News” on Saturday.

Josh Groban


Josh Groban is a young singer who performs classical and popular songs. His record album has sold more than one-million copies. Shep O’Neal tells us about him.


Josh Groban is twenty-one years old. He lives with his family in Los Angeles, California. He was discovered by a record company official when he performed at the inauguration of California Governor Gray Davis in nineteen-ninety-nine. His first recording was a song in the movie “A.I.: Artificial Intelligence” with Lara Fabian. The song is called “For Always.”


Josh Groban released his own record album last year. It is called “Josh Groban.” He calls it pop music with classical influences. He sings songs in English, Italian and Spanish. One of the most popular songs on the album is this one, “To Where You Are.”


Josh Groban sang at the closing ceremony of the Winter Olympics earlier this year in Salt Lake City, Utah. He has appeared on many American television shows. He is also planning to perform his music across the United States. We leave you now with Josh Groban singing another song from his album. This one is sung in Spanish and is called “Alejate” (al-e-HOT-ay).



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 Jeri Watson. Our studio engineer was Glen Matlock. And our producer was Paul Thompson.