April 18, 2003

Regime Change

Sure, John Kerry got in trouble for using the phrase, but we have no fear. Because we know that regime change, like charity, begins at home. This week: Stories of regime change in everyday life—people switching jobs, people switching families, businesses dying and new ones starting in their place.


Host Ira Glass talks with This American Life producer Julie Snyder about a personal regime change that happened when she was a kid, after her parents got divorced and her stepdad came on the scene. She says that by the time her parents separated, literature on what to tell the children was everywhere, and the kids took it relatively well. But her parents were less clear on how to introduce their new partners. And trying to fit a new stepdad into the picture was actually much more traumatic to Julie than dealing with the divorce. (7 minutes)
Act One


Katie Davis tells the story of one storefront in her bustling commercial neighborhood that resists all occupation. Over the decades, many businesses have tried to operate there, none have succeeded. Katie tries to find out why. This story is part of Katie's ongoing series called Neighborhood Stories, which gets funding from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. (17 minutes)

Act Two

Or Give Me Death

The story of a band of libertarians with a plan to take over a state. They call it the Free State Project and it goes like this: They pick a state with a low population, 20,000 of them move to it, establish a voting majority, and run it according to libertarian principles. Reporter Sarah Koenig travels with the leader of the movement, Jason Sorens, to one of the states on the potential takeover list—Vermont—to see what happens when the would-be invader meets the natives for the first time. Find out more about the Free State project at www.freestateproject.org. (22 minutes)

Act Three

The Heart Is A Lonely Junta

Jeffrey Brown wrote a comic novel called Clumsy, a beautiful and intimate account of his relationship with his ex-girlfriend. He talks with Ira about the relationship and why he chose to draw cartoons about it after it ended. (7 minutes)