Host Ira Glass speaks with Columbia University professor Peter Coleman, who shares some surprising details about the battle surrounding the abortion debate in Boston during the 1990s. We learn what secret meetings between the warring groups could accomplish, and what they couldn't.
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After a 2010 plane crash killed dozens of Polish dignitaries, including the president, some thought that the country would cross the political rift and come together to mourn. Reporter Amy Drozdowska-McGuire tells what happened instead.
Marian Fontana, whose husband was a firefighter who died on 9/11, originally appeared on our show in 2005. Ira talks with Marian today, about what has changed for her over the last 10 years.
"Thug" is a very imprecise word. And as producer Nancy Updike explains, the subjectivity of its meaning has been particularly apparent during the recent revolution in Egypt.
Host Ira Glass tells the stories of two professors, each making a calculation that no one had made before. One gets acclaim.
Producer Sarah Koenig continues the story Terry Engelder and Dan Volz, their rival calculations about natural gas in Pennsylvania, and how each was treated by his university. She explains how Pennsylvania's universities, politicans and industry have united to develop natural gas.
Sarah takes us to Mt. Pleasant, PA, where a gas exploration company called Range Resources has leased 95% of the township's land.
Producer Ben Calhoun heads to his home state of Wisconsin, a place currently turned against itself in the form of Senate recall elections. Ben found that the old way of doing politics in Wisconsin has been flipped completely upside down.
In this act: judge wannabes working with the old boys network.
Host Ira Glass talks to Governor Jay Nixon of Missouri on a press conference he held to announce the creation of just one job.
Chana Joffe-Walt visits a governor who first became famous for promising hisstate he'd create jobs: Scott Walker of Wisconsin. (Yes, he's famous forsome other things since.) Walker promised 250,000 new jobs and 10,000 newbusiness in his state by the end of his first term.
Nancy Updike reports from Cairo, Egypt about what people were doing there this week, namely: going to meetings to create their new democracy.
Ira plays a recorded example of American-style democracy, a school board meeting in Tucson, recorded by a high school teacher, Sarah Bromer.
Thursday night was a make-or-break evening for candidate Herman Cain at the first Republican Presidential debate. Robert Smith from our Planet Money team talked to him about his strategy.
In Tehran in 2004, Omid Memarian confessed to doing things he'd never done, meeting people he'd never met, following plots he'd never heard of. Why he did that, and why a lot of other people have confessed to the same things, is all in the fine print. This American Life producer Nancy Updike tells the story.
Host Ira Glass speaks with Jim McManus, whose book Positively Fifth Street inspired Ira to start playing poker. Jim talks about holding and folding, why a poker novice is sometimes the toughest player to beat...and the Cuban Missile Crisis.
Producer Nancy Updike shares a pattern that she's noticed recently: eleven steps that Middle Eastern dictators have been taking on the path to losing power.
Ira speaks with Middle East specialist Michelle Dunne to answer this question: Before the recent Arab uprisings, just how hard was the US pushing the government of Egypt to enact human rights reforms? (7 1/2 minutes)
Ira Glass plays clips from a documentary film called Please Vote for Me, by Weijun Chen. It follows a third grade class in central China in the very first election they've ever had or witnessed.
Reporter Starlee Kine observes what would have happened if the U.S.-led invasion of Grenada in 1983 had been decided not by Ronald Reagan, but by a bunch of middle schoolers...and she remembers a class trip to the Nixon library, where Nixon aide HR Haldeman spoke.
Jyllian Gunther visits The Brooklyn Free School, where there are no courses, no tests and no homework, and where the kids decide everything about how the school is run, including discipline. Jyllian is a filmmaker, working on a documentary called Growing Small.