#643 : April 13, 2018

Damned If You Do…

It’s one thing to weigh pros and cons. But sometimes all you have is con and con. This week, stories of people having to make a choice, when no good options exist. The group Ira mentions at the end of Act One is the UN World Food Programme; their donation page is here.

#642 : April 6, 2018

The Impossible Dream

Before he leaves the Senate for good, Republican Jeff Flake is trying to get a bill passed. He has his work cut out for him, with a Senate that barely brings anything to the floor, a party he feels estranged from, and a president who seems to hate his guts. Producer Zoe Chace hung out with him for four months.

#641 : March 16, 2018

The Walls

Stories from border walls around the world, where one place ends and another begins. And the strange ecosystems that arise.

#640 : March 2, 2018

Five Women

A different kind of #MeToo story, about several women who worked for the same man. They tell us not only about their troubling encounters with him, but also about their lives beforehand. Who were they when they entered the workplace, and how did their personal histories shape the way they dealt with his harassment?

#639 : February 23, 2018

In Dog We Trust

Stories of dogs and cats and other animals that live in our homes. Exactly how much are they caught up in everyday family dynamics? We answer this question and others.

#638 : February 9, 2018

Rom-Com

The one thing you know for sure when you're watching a romantic comedy is that it's going to turn out okay in the end. When you're living one? Not so much. This week for Valentine's Day, stories that unfold like rom-coms.

#637 : February 2, 2018

Words You Can't Say

In this politically charged climate, it feels like you have to be super careful with your language, no matter who you are or what side you're on. Stories about people who say the “wrong” thing and suffer the consequences, including a very conservative Republican from Louisiana who's lambasted for being too liberal.

#636 : January 19, 2018

I Thought It Would Be Easier

A year into Trump’s presidency, stories chronicling the sometimes hard, often bad, decisions politicians from both parties are making.

#635 : January 12, 2018

Chip in My Brain

A boy who can’t dribble gets a coach, a new best friend, and something to believe in.

#634 : December 22, 2017

Human Error in Volatile Situations

Even the best laid plans can go catastrophically wrong when humans get involved. This week, people bungle simple operations on some of the most dangerous weapons in the world.

#633 : December 15, 2017

Our Town - Part Two

So many people in Albertville, AL wondered what it cost them in taxes when thousands of undocumented immigrants moved to their town. One woman drove our host Ira Glass to the grocery store to watch a random Latina mom buy some milk with government assistance, to try to prove her point. So what’d all the newcomers really cost? And what was their effect on crime, schools, and politics?

#632 : December 8, 2017

Our Town

The man whose views on immigration are a cornerstone of Trump administration policy—Attorney General Jeff Sessions—apparently came to his opinions on the issue from seeing what happened in the poultry plants of Alabama. He believes undocumented workers showed up in those plants, stole American jobs, and drove down wages. Was he right? We have an economist crunch the numbers, and visit to see for ourselves.

#631 : November 10, 2017

So a Monkey and a Horse Walk Into a Bar

This week, blurring the line between animal and human.

#630 : October 27, 2017

Things I Mean to Know

There are so many facts about the world that we take for granted—without ever questioning how we know them. Of course the earth revolves around the sun. Of course my dog loves me. But how exactly do we know things like that are true? This week, stories of people trying to unspool some of life’s certainties, and what they find.

#629 : October 20, 2017

Expect Delays

We all love to travel to different places, but not many of us like the stressful, banal process of the journey. This week, stories about delays—including a town known entirely for its speed trap, and a woman who comes up against bureaucratic nightmares every time she wants to go just a few blocks away.

#628 : October 13, 2017

In the Shadow of the City 2017

Stories that take place on the edge of civilization, just out of sight.

#627 : October 6, 2017

Suitable for Children

This week we ask: who thought that would be good for a kid? Neil Drumming looks back at a toy he loved that, in retrospect, probably wouldn’t love him back. And we go to a museum that educates children but also scares the hell out of them.

#626 : September 22, 2017

White Haze

Right-wing groups like the Proud Boys say they have no tolerance for racism or white supremacist groups. Their leader Gavin McInnes disavowed the white nationalist rally in Charlottesville. But the Proud Boys believe “the West is the best,” which, one of them points out, is not such a big jump from “whites are best.” And one of the Proud Boys organized the Charlottesville rally. (The group now claims he was a spy.) What should we make of groups like this?

#625 : September 8, 2017

Essay B

In 1967, the first two black students were enrolled at an all-white private boarding school in Virginia. The main reason they were there? To benefit the white kids. This week: stories about being enlisted to benefit another person’s educational experience. A version of this story appears in The New York Times Magazine.

#624 : September 1, 2017

Private Geography

Everyone walks around on their own private map of the world. The places we’re from and how they made us, whether we like it or not.

#623 : August 18, 2017

We Are in the Future

One of our producers, Neil Drumming, has recently become fascinated with Afrofuturism. It's more than sci-fi. It’s a way of looking at black culture that’s fantastic, creative, and oddly hopeful—which feels especially urgent during a time without a lot of optimism. Featuring the new song "The Deep" by clppng. Original artwork by Paul Davey. Click to enlarge.

#622 : August 4, 2017

Who You Gonna Call?

When everything goes wrong, one of the first things we think is, "Who do I call?" This week, stories of lucky people who have found the exact right person to ring up for help.

#621 : July 21, 2017

Fear and Loathing in Homer and Rockville

Two towns where people got really upset about undocumented immigrants, even though in both places, that did not seem to be the most important thing happening at all. One of the towns, a small town in Alaska, has no undocumented immigrants at all, but the possibility of them arriving put the whole town at each other’s throats.

#620 : July 14, 2017

To Be Real

Most of the time, we show the world a pretty superficial version of ourselves. "How about that weather?" But this week—people who try to go deeper, to get to something real, in some unexpected places: war, magic and porn.

#619 : June 30, 2017

The Magic Show

Just a few years before he got the internship at NPR that started him in radio, our host Ira Glass had another career. He performed magic at children's birthday parties. A powerful sense of embarrassment has prevented him from ever doing an episode on the subject, but when he learned that producer David Kestenbaum was also a kid conjurer, they decided to dive in together. Photo: David P. Abbott demonstrates his floating ball routine.

#618 : June 9, 2017

Mr. Lie Detector

A polygraph operator and his strange journey. And other stories.

#617 : May 19, 2017

Fermi’s Paradox

Three people grapple with the question, “Are we alone?”

#616 : May 5, 2017

I Am Not A Pirate

To be, or not to be a pirate? This week, that is the question. Hold fast, mateys! We have stories about both historical and modern-day swashbucklers who loot, pillage, and question their choices.

#615 : April 28, 2017

The Beginning of Now

Before Donald Trump started his presidential campaign in 2015, there was a congressional race that redefined what was possible in American politics. Steve Bannon and Breitbart News got involved in that race early, just like they later got deeply involved in Donald Trump's race. On this week’s show: What happened in that campaign, what it made it work, and how we got to now.

#614 : April 14, 2017

The Other Mr. President

Since Russia meddled in our election, there's been concern that the fake news and disinformation that's so prevalent there could be taking hold in this country. But is that hyperbole? This week we look at what it's actually like to live in the confusing information landscape that is Putin's Russia.

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