This American Life producer Sarah Koenig visits Pearlington, Mississippi, a town in danger of not starting up again after Hurricane Katrina. It's in Hancock County, the Ground Zero of the hurricane's devastation.
Marti Noxon used to work for a company that did "product placement" for the movie industry. When auditors came to check that clients were being correctly billed, the company's bosses took unusual steps.
Five stories of people doing what they think they have to, in order to make ends meet. A suburban dad makes what seems like a rational choice (to him, at the time, anyway) to start robbing laundries and banks.
We compare Fox TV talk show host Bill O'Reilly's ideas about the hurricane's aftermath with those of Ashley Nelson, an 18-year-old who lives in the Lafitte Housing projects in New Orleans, in one of the flooded neighborhoods. Among other things, she explains what it feels like to go without food and water for two days.
Ira spends hours talking to James Hackett, known to his friends, and by the end of the story, to Ira, as Gig. He's a doctor in Cincinnati and a lifelong Republican.
Host Ira Glass visits the Richard E. Byrd Community Academy, a public elementary school in Chicago in need of repair.
Ira talks with a college freshman in Michigan about her governor's new Cool Cities Initiative. (4 minutes) Then Sarah Koenig reports on how the towns of Mauch Chunk and East Mauch Chunk went in for an unusual makeover to try to save their town fifty years ago.
Nauru is a tiny island, population 12,000, a third of the size of Manhattan and far from anywhere: Yet at the center of several of the decade's biggest global events. Contributing editor Jack Hitt tells the untold story of this dot in the middle of the Pacific and its involvement in the bankrupting of the Russian economy, global terrorism, North Korean defectors, the end of the world, and the late 1980s theatrical flop of a London musical based on the life of Leonardo da Vinci called Leonardo, A Portrait of Love.
Alex Blumberg spends three days with Michigan state representative Steve Tobocman. He ran for office because he thought that would be the best way to change things for his neighborhood in Detroit.
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.
Producer Alex Blumberg bought a stock on a tip in 1997. By 1998 it was worthless.
Producer Alex Blumberg tells the story of an ex-con-turned-actor named Richie Castellano. After a bit role in the movie Analyze This, he moved to a small town and got dozens of people to invest money and time in a movie that never premiered.
A few years back Alex Kotlowitz wrote a book called There Are No Children Here, about two boys growing up in Chicago's Henry Horner public housing projects. Those projects were across the street from the site of the 1996 Democratic Convention in Chicago, and when the convention came to town, money poured in for a makeover.
Alix Spiegel reports on an entire community that's turned its back on easy money—for now. Nine years ago a native American community in Minnesota—the Mille Lacs band of Ojibwe—built a casino.
How one woman learned to stop worrying and start spending. Liz Gilbert and her husband Michael Cooper explain how their different ideas about handling money always divided them—until they stumbled into a $10,000 windfall.
Navy Pier's renovation was presented as a success in last week's show, but recent press reveals that the pier is bleeding money. WBEZ personality Aaron Freeman and his kids take Ira on a tour of the pier, looking at it from a child's perspective.
Host Ira Glass brings together a panel of Republicans to discuss their lack of excitement about then-presumptive Republican Presidential nominee Bob Dole.
Ira takes a look at the remarkably successful $156 million renovation of Chicago's Navy Pier. He talks with seven employees working at the businesses on the pier.
Temporary employment agencies' business has exploded in the last few years as corporations lay off their full-time employees, especially technical workers. This American Life "hired" two temp workers, Lee and Tito, to document their experiences as temps. Ira invites Tito and Lee into the studio to spin some music "appropriate" for temp employees.