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Act Four: The Fifteen Trillion Dollar Dismal Science Project

Our crack economics duo, Producer Alex Blumberg and NPR International Economics Correspondent Adam Davidson, on how a dead, slutty, elitist British man, John Maynard Keynes, is about to take over the American economy. President Obama's new stimulus plan relies on Keynes'; theory, which says that government can spend its way out of a downward economic spiral.

Act Six: Vox Obamali

We asked reporters all over the country to go out and talk to people about what they're thinking as Barack Obama gets ready to take office. We got dozens of hours of interviews.

Act One: All Your Base Are Belong To Him

The newspaper Military Times did a survey of 2000 active duty servicemen and women, asking them about the new president. Presented with the statement, "As president, Barack Obama will have my best interests at heart," 36 percent agreed...43 percent disagreed.

Act Four: The Not-for-profit Motive

To deal with the financial crisis, our own government has also had to reinvent itself, with questionable consequences. This American Life producer Alex Blumberg and NPR's financial reporter Adam Davidson talk to Brad Setser, an economist at the Council on Foreign Relations who used to work at the U.S. Treasury.

Act One

This American Life producer Alex Blumberg teams up with NPR's Adam Davidson for the entire hour to tell the story—the surprisingly entertaining story—of how the U.S. got itself into a housing crisis. They talk to people who were actually working in the housing, banking, finance and mortgage industries, about what they thought during the boom times, and why the bust happened.

Act Two

Alex and Adam's story continues.

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 Two: This American Wife

This American Life contributor Jack Hitt uncovers a strange practice within the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service.

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.

Act Three: Impeachment Day

Joe Lockhart was press secretary for President Bill Clinton. He recently told stories from his time on the job—live onstage at a performance space in New York City called The Moth, where regular people share stories about their lives—in front of a boisterous crowd.

Act Two: Am Not. Are Too. Am Not. Are Too.

What lessons are civilians taking from the War? One journalist has said that Americans seem condemned "to relive the prewar debates over and over because they were never thrashed out in the sunlight." In Salt Lake City on May 4, the prewar arguments—and some other arguments as well—were re-argued, on stage, by Salt Lake's liberal mayor Rocky Anderson and conservative radio and TV host Sean Hannity. Scott Carrier attended the event.

Act Three: The Lessons Of Tomorrow, Today

For all the discussion in Congress about withdrawing troops, there seems to be very little serious discussion about why, about what'll happen to Iraq once we leave, about responsible ways to withdraw. To understand better these and other rarely-discussed questions about the war, we turned to Washington Post reporter Thomas Ricks in Baghdad.

Act One: Cassandra

This American Life producer Nancy Updike tells the story of Conrad Crane, the head of the U.S. Army Military History Institute.

Act Three: Yes, In My Backyard

The story of the government cracking down on smokestack emissions at a city factory...even though the residents LIKE the emissions. We hear from Jorge Just, who explains the one, magical, special secret about Chicago no one outside Chicago ever believes is true, from Brian Urbaszewski, Director of Environmental Health Programs for the American Lung Association in Chicago; and from Julie Armitage, Manager of Compliance and Enforcement for the Bureau of Air at the Illinois State EPA.

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.

Act One

Hemant Lakhani, an Indian-born British citizen, had been a salesman all his life. Clothing, rice, oil...it didn't matter to him what the product was, as long as he could spin a deal.