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Prologue

Host Ira Glass talks to This American Life contributing editor Jack Hitt about the time he hacked into his employer's computer and found out what he didn't want to know.

Act Three: Mystery Shoppers

They are ordinary people who go undercover in coffee shops and chain stores, spying for The Man. This American Life producer Lisa Pollak reports.

Act Four: Stop Bugging Me

What do you do when you think your apartment is being bugged? You call the apartment de-buggers. It's a weird job; still, someone's got to do it. This American Life producer Jane Feltes goes on a counterespionage mission.

Prologue

When Ira heard that Cathy La Luz, the best public school teacher he'd met during all his years of education reporting, was considering leaving her job, he went to see her in her classroom.

Act Two: 2004

We continue with the story of Irving Elementary, and hear what's happened to make Cathy La Luz think about quitting. In just nine months, the reforms that had made the school a model began to unravel.

Act One: 1994

Washington Irving Elementary School became a model of school reform in Chicago a decade ago. The school did it without adding a ton more money.

Prologue

It seems apples for the teacher is a bygone tradition. Host Ira Glass talks to Mindy, a first-grade teacher, about the rather racy gifts her students give these days at Christmas.

Act Two: Hank

A former military man, Hank was hired by Custer Battles to clean up one of its other Iraq operations, guarding businessmen. He has a very clear idea of who he wants working for him: "flat-bellied, steely-eyed professionals." Instead, he's trying to tighten up a outfit whose workers once engaged in an extended firefight at a Baghdad hotel—against each other.

Act Five: Karen

Karen Hahn, who works for Custer Battles at the airport, started out there screening women passengers—and learned a lot from their handbags. Unlike most people Nancy met in Iraq, Karen is not a former military person, she doesn't work with guns or big machines, and she's never been happier in her life.

Act Six: Cops

Hundred of Iraqi police officers have been killed since the United States invaded Iraq. One Boston cop, Jerry Burke, is trying to keep them on the job, and train them in Western police practices.

Act Seven: Hank Redux

Nancy finally gets Hank, the Custer Battles employee, to answer the question of whether he ever has any reservations about his mission—or the country's mission—in Iraq. (3 minutes)John Kimbrough composed original music for this week's show.