In this election year, one question is rarely asked in a very direct way: Is the Bush Administration competent at conducting the war on terror? Every few weeks it seems like there's more news about how badly it's going: Senior Administration officials like Colin Powell now admit the insurgency in Iraq is growing; terror suspects like Yasir Hamdi (who supposedly were so dangerous that having a lawyer talk to them about their case would compromise national security) are released without trial because the evidence against them is so flimsy; there was the Abu Ghraib prison scandal; and just this week, the former head of the U.S. operation in Iraq, Paul Bremer, declared the problem from the start was that there were not enough troops there. Host Ira Glass discusses whether the Bush Administration is simply not very skilled at fighting terror with Richard Perle and James Fallows.
When a 24-year-old runs for city council in Washington, D.C., he has to answer one question over and over: What's a 24-year-old doing running for city council? Sam Brooks is the candidate. At one point his campaign looks so hopeless, even he doesn't believe he's the better man for the job.
Writer Thomas Frank went on the radio show On Point to talk about his book What's the Matter With Kansas? The book is about how people in his home state keep voting for Republicans even though Republican policies aren't helping them economically. But the people who called in to the radio show didn't exactly see it his way.
One of the most civil conversations you'll ever hear between GOP members on opposite sides of the party's culture war. Log Cabin Republican Patrick Howell from Act One sits down to talk with Christian Republican Steven King from Act Two, to hash out their differences.
Adam Felber explains how legalized gay marriage are ruining his marriage with his wife. (His comments first appeared on his blog felbers.net.) And Ira talks about legal strategies with Matt Staver, the head of the group defending traditional marriage in the California lawsuits; and with David Cruz, a law professor at the University of Southern California.
This American Life producer Alex Blumberg tells the true story of Jerry Springer's life before he was a talk show host. It's the story of an idealistic and serious Jerry Springer, a progressive politician, and the most popular mayor ever of a certain American city.
The true story of a young activist, Charles Monroe-Kane (now a producer at WPR'sTo the Best of Our Knowledge), who, in his very first political action, heckled the leader of the free world...and failed horribly...leaving him mulling it over late at night, for years.