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Act One: The Cursed Generation

A bunch of 22-year-olds from Hong Kong explain why they are cursed and what that means for their and Hong Kong’s future. (17 minutes)

Act Two: The Fight

Katherine, Ira and Emanuele go to a protest and get tear gassed in front of a Ruth's Chris Steakhouse. (6 minutes)

Prologue

Ira talks to reporters John Diedrich and Raquel Rutlidge, from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. They got a call from a landlord who said agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives had trashed his place.

Prologue

In the town of Nowthen, MN, residents held meetings to debate whether a police force is worth the cost. And in Springfield, IL, the state police motorcycle division has been cut, leading to an increase in highway fatalities.

Act Two: Dream Come True

Perhaps the biggest proponent of smaller government in the United States is lobbyist and activist Grover Norquist, head of Americans for Tax Reform. He envisions a government reduced in size by half, and has compelled scores of conservative politicians take pledges to never raise taxes.

Prologue

Ira speaks with Middle East specialist Michelle Dunne to answer this question: Before the recent Arab uprisings, just how hard was the US pushing the government of Egypt to enact human rights reforms? (7 1/2 minutes)

Prologue

Republican Bill Jerke, a very conservative former Colorado State Legislator known as a tax "enemy," has a surprising job this election season. He's going around to lots of different conservative groups and urging voters NOT to vote for three Colorado ballot initiatives that would cut state taxes so severely, they'd essentially strangle state government from here on out.

Act One: Mister Fix It

Richard Ravitch has helped fix three governmental crises, including when New York City nearly went bankrupt in 1975. What's changed, to make it so much harder for him to solve the state's current financial crisis? Host Ira Glass reports.

Act Four: Now What?

Host Ira Glass talks with Susan Dentzer, editor of the journal Health Affairs, about what current health reform proposals do to fix the rising costs of healthcare...And points at a surprising, kind of heartening phenomenon happening within the current debate.

Act Three: Restrictions May Apply

Ira goes to one of the nation's great manufacturers of fine print: The U.S.Congress. He reports on a recent House subcommittee hearing on a practice in the health insurance industry—buried in that industry's own fine print—called rescission.

Prologue

Ira talks with reporter My Thuan Tran of The Los Angeles Times about how San Jose City Councilwoman Madison Nguyen went from being the "golden child" of the Vietnamese community to someone who faced weekly protests and a hunger striker. Turns out red-baiting is alive and well in the Vietnamese-American community.

Prologue

Host Ira Glass talks about the way most political apologies go, and chats with a man named Derek Jones about similar sorts of apologies among preteen girls and King David, in the Old Testament.

Prologue

Host Ira Glass talks with Yale law professor Jack Balkin about what he calls the Bush Administration's "lawyering style," a tendency to fight as hard as it can, on all fronts, to get what it wants. Ira also plays tape from a news conference with New York Senator Charles Schumer, in which he takes the Justice Department to task for refusing to pay death benefits to the families of two auxiliary policemen who were killed in the line of duty, even though federal law grants those benefits.

Act One: The Prez Vs. The Commish.

Ira Glass tells the story of a little-known treaty dispute with far-reaching ramifications for our understanding of executive power. The dispute is between the President and one of his appointees...to the International Boundary Commission with Canada.

Act Three: 44

Ira Glass interviews Charlie Savage, a Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter for the Boston Globe, who's written a book called Takeover: The Return of the Imperial Presidency and the Subversion of American Democracy about the ways the Bush Administration claims executive powers that other presidents haven't claimed. Charlie talks with Ira about the current candidates for President and their views on the scope of executive power.

Prologue

Host Ira Glass talks about something he read that seemed to put an end to all debate over one of the key issues swirling around right now. He checks with William Nichelson, author of the books Emergency Response and Emergency Management Law and Homeland Security Law and Policy, to see if he's correctly understanding the issue.

Prologue

We try to figure out the paradox of the current economy, where more and more Americans are simultaneously both losing jobs and buying new homes and cars. Host Ira Glass talks to Ernest Istook, Republican Congressman from Oklahoma, who supports both a balanced budget amendment and President Bush's proposed budgets, which will create record deficits.

Prologue

In January 2002-- not long after the Taliban were driven from power in Afghanistan-- he came to the United States, partly to be on hand for the State of the Union address last year. And while he was here, he spoke with an audience that was mostly Afghan-Americans at Georgetown University.