For a few days after the attacks on September 11th, it seemed like we were just on the verge of bombing and retaliation. But two weeks went by, and no military action had begun.
Ira talks with Chicago Public Radio reporter Shirley Jahad about white Chicagoans and Arab-American Chicagoans facing off, each side waving American flags and shouting "U.S.A."...and how each means very different things when they do it.
We hear from Father Jim Kastigar, who got on the wrong side of Town Hall and suffered the kinds of consequences people in Cicero suffer. His parish was denied a permit to hold an outdoor religious ceremony they'd held peacefully for seven years, the youth group's tamale fundraiser was shut down by city inspectors and the parking lot near the church was deemed unfit for Sunday parking.
To understand how Cicero reacted when Hispanics started flooding into town, you have to understand how it dealt with conflict in the past. For a period the town was run by Al Capone, and the mob was connected to Town Hall for most of the twentieth century.
In the 1970s and 1980s, a wave of non-white migration into Cicero begins, this one primarily Mexican-American. The head of the political machine is named Betty Loren-Maltese, whose husband, now deceased, was convicted for mob-related activity.
Despite the town's resistance, Hispanics now make up three quarters of the population. And yet the incumbent Town President, Betty Loren-Maltese, seems likely to win the next election.
Two stories about daily life in Cicero. First the tale of Dave Boyle, who stumbled into Cicero politics accidentally in the 1980s, suffered the bruises, and left town.
Kelly McEvers with the story of Zora, a self-made superhero. From the time she was five, Zora had recurring dreams in which she was a 6'5" warrior queen who could fly and shoot lightning from her hands.
We got a new President, but after the recount mess in Florida in the fall of 2001 and the Supreme Court decision that ended the election, some people were having a hard time moving on. Why? Why couldn't they just let it go? Host Ira Glass talks with people at the inauguration.
Jonathan Chait of The New Republic and David Horowitz of Slate magazine each tell the story of the Florida recount. There is astonishingly little overlap in their accounts.
Writer David Brock gives us the inside story of how we got to this point of bitterness. It is not a pretty story.
We return to the Supreme Court case of Bush vs. Gore to try to better understand why the majority ruled the way it did...and whether the decision was in fact as outrageous as many critics said it was.
Host Ira Glass talks with Bennett Miller and Matt Futterman about a campaign for student government that changed the way student elections were done in Mamaroneck High School back in 1985. Futterman, in the waning days of his campaign, tried a radical tactic: A TV ad.
A Michigan millionaire tries to swing his swing state, using only his voice, his millions, and major market radio ad time. A report on Jeffrey Fieger, who helped swing his state to McCain during the primaries with several irreverant attack ads against Bush.
The 2000 election season was strange in that many of the issues that the candidates debated most heatedly were ones that most of us have no handle on—prescription drug policy, social security solvency...and educational accountability. Producer Alex Blumberg travels to North Carolina, a state where many of the promises both candidates make regarding education are already in place.
Host Ira Glass goes to jail in Bristol County, Massachussetts, where there's a large Portuguese community, and where even a law-and-order sheriff named Tom Hodgson opposes this particular immigration law. He also talks with inmate Jorge Aruda, who's being deported for a crime he already served his sentence for.
Immigration and Naturalization Service spokesman Bill Strassberger explains why INS opposes parts of the 1996 immigration law, even while it enforces it. Congressman Barney Frank—whose district includes Bristol County—argues that most of his colleagues in Congress had no idea what they were voting for when they voted for key portions of the law.
Host Ira Glass speaks with two people who believe they've uncovered behind-the-scenes conspiracies but can't be sure. Attorney Andy Hail has sued the two biggest supermarkets in Chicago (Dominick's and Jewel) because they charge a dollar more for milk than stores around the country, and because their prices seem to change simultaneously, as if orchestrated.
We hear the first part of our story about Archer Daniels Midland and FBI informant Mark Whitacre. In this half, Whitacre inadvertently ends up a cooperating witness—and turns himself into one of the best cooperating witnesses in the history of U.S. law enforcement, gathering evidence with an adeptness few have matched.
Our story about ADM and Mark Whitacre continues. The FBI finds out that their star cooperating witness Mark Whitacre has been lying to them for three years about some rather serious matters.
Sarah Vowell visits four Presidential libraries on a fact-finding tour for...President Clinton. Not that he asked her.
A small-town mayor tries to keep a developer from building in his town...and it results in the kind of snowballing fiasco by the end of which the town literally doesn't exist anymore. Alix Spiegel tells that story, which she produced with funding from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.
Host Ira Glass talks with Jack E. Robinson, Republican candidate for Senate in Massachusetts.
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.