Karen Hahn, who works for Custer Battles at the airport, started out there screening women passengers—and learned a lot from their handbags. Unlike most people Nancy met in Iraq, Karen is not a former military person, she doesn't work with guns or big machines, and she's never been happier in her life.
Nancy finally gets Hank, the Custer Battles employee, to answer the question of whether he ever has any reservations about his mission—or the country's mission—in Iraq. (3 minutes)John Kimbrough composed original music for this week's show.
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.
Producer Alex Blumberg bought a stock on a tip in 1997. By 1998 it was worthless.
We hear three stories of how conflicts are resolved in offices. Two of those stories come from sociologist Calvin Morrill, who studied the executive suites at a number of large companies in his book The Executive Way: Conflict Management in Corporations.
This American Life producer Starlee Kine with a story of a company in turmoil. A young employee gets in a jam and discovers that in times of trouble, when all else has failed, companies in her industry turn to one woman in a suburban home in Long Island, who solves their corporate problems while the TV plays in the background.
This American Life senior producer Julie Snyder explains the office politics of street vendors on the corner of Sixth Avenue and Eighth Street in New York City. With her is sociologist Mitch Duneier, who spent years working with the vendors and writing about them for his book Sidewalk.
We hear clips from the recent press conference with Charlotte Beers, recently appointed Undersecretary of Public Diplomacy. Part of her job is, in her words, to sell the "brand America" abroad.
Host Ira Glass talks to the Arnold Abbott, the founder of "Love Thy Neighbor," a Florida charity that's being sued by "Love Your Neighbor," a Michigan ministry and business. "Love Your Neighbor" owns the trademark on the phrases "Love Your Neighbor" and "Love Thy Neighbor;" the attorney for the Michigan business Julie Greenberg, contemplates whether suing a neighbor can fall within the category of loving them as yourself.
A mortgage broker named David Philp discovers that his old punk band from the 1970s is hot in Japan. He decides to leave corporate life and revisit his teenage years by going back on tour, playing music for the first time in two decades.
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.
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.
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.
There is an entire class of consultant who does nothing but help people and companies that are under public attack. Eric Dezenhall is one of them.
Producer Julie Snyder looks at what happens in one poor Chicago neighborhood when the community begins to undergo a revitalization and a new store comes to town.
The story of a con man, one of the most successful salesmen in a long-running multimillion-dollar telemarketing scam, who finally got caught when he was conned himself. Nancy Updike talks about the case with Dale Sekovich, Federal Trade Commission investigator.
Host Ira Glass with Rory Evans, who describes the day her father fired his own mother from their family business, a machine shop called Evans Industries.
David Rakoff takes us inside the world of a Greek family-owned ice cream parlour, and what he learned about the husband and wife and son who owned it...and what he didn't figure out until later.
Sean Cole visits Chad's Trading Post in Southampton, Massachussetts. One person who works there wears a shirt that says "Chad's Brother;" other shirts say "Chad's Best Friend," "Chad's Cousin," "Chad's Father." Pictures of Chad are everywhere.
Hillary Frank explains how an invitation to a business meeting, sent through the mail in 1963, kept two sides of a family from speaking to each other for most of the second half of the 20th Century.
The story of Jug Burkett, a businessman in Dallas and a Vietnam vet, who years ago routinely started checking the bona fides of anyone in the news who claimed to have served in the Vietnam war. He says he's found hundreds of fakers, and he says that one of the tricky things about the fakers is that they often seem more like The Real Thing than real vets do.
Host Ira Glass lays out the premise of this week's show.