Unlike Reykjavik, some cities don't coddle citizens in their idiosyncratic beliefs about nature. We hear New York mayor Rudolph Giuliani react (with vehemence) to a man who believes New Yorkers should have the right to keep ferrets in their homes.
Host Ira Glass with former Congressman Daniel Rostenkowski. When Rostenkowski began a term in federal prison, he met for the first time people who'd been locked up under harsh drug laws that he'd voted for himself. "The whole thing's a sham," he declares.
We hear the history of why these drug laws were enacted from a firsthand witness. Eric Sterling was the lawyer in charge of drug laws for the House Judiciary Committee during the 1980s, when mandatory minimums were put in place.
Judges give their opinions of the drug sentencing laws. Terry Hatter is the Chief U.S.
Host Ira Glass with an idealistic would-be politician in California. The puzzle of American politics is that our political system is filled with idealistic people, but few of our candidates for top office seem either idealistic or capable of inspiring passion.
On the tenth anniversary of the crackdown at Tiananmen Square, we hear from Wen Huang, who was part of the student movement. He says that the students weren't fighting for democracy, at least not as it's been widely understood in the West.
More stories from Wen Huang that contradict what you think you know about the 1989 student uprising in China.
Modern-day fables of two different kinds of do-gooders during and after the 1994 genocide in the African country of Rwanda. Philip Gourevich, author of the book We Wish to Inform You That Tomorrow We Will be Killed With Our Families: Stories from Rwanda, tells first about international relief workers who served as "caterers" to some of the Hutu powers as they continued their policy of ethnic cleansing after fleeing to refugee camps.
The story of how an understanding of Bible prophecy by the FBI could have prevented the tragedy at Waco at the Branch Davidians compound.
Ira goes to the courtroom of Abraham Lincoln Marovitz, who, at 93, presides over the ceremony to make people citizens. In this setting, it's hard to talk about America as it is.
Ira reads from an editorial from a 1957 newspaper in Jackson, Mississippi. It tries to scare white southerners about the NAACP by describing a Chicago human rights campaign called "Take a Negro Boy Home Tonight." The idea behind the campaign? "Racism can be combated by intimate relationships between Negro boys and white girls." No such campaigns really existed in Chicago.
South Carolina native Jack Hitt discusses the Confederate Flag's prominent place over the statehouse.
Some stunning parallels between the political strategies of the two leaders, by John Matisonn.
The latest installment of Michael Lewis's campaign diaries.
Sex advice columnist Dan Savage tells the odd story of how he became a Republican state convention delegate even though he's a Democrat and gay.
Ira wonders what the Dole campaign is thinking.
The late Ron Brown, the former U.S. Secretary of Commerce, could have had an easy life, but chose instead to take on stressful, difficult tasks.
Host Ira Glass brings together a panel of Republicans to discuss their lack of excitement about then-presumptive Republican Presidential nominee Bob Dole.
Host Ira Glass reads a list of words that former U.S. Representative Newt Gingrich had recommended Republican candidates use when referring to their Democratic opponents.