You Want the Economy Explained

As under-reported and alternative as I may hope to be, I also consume lots of the mainstream as well. So when I recommend you listen to this very special episode of This American Life, I realize that blogs all over the internet are doing the same and there is no shortage of linking and praising going on. Actually I didn’t love it, but this particular episode does what it says it does… you listen for an hour and you will understand why the economy is the way it is now, specifically when it comes to the banks.

As I listened to this program twice, I kept thinking about the culture I grew up in, especially post-high school. The discussion in New Jersey was always about owning… owning house as this logical thing to do. That alone might be fine were it not for the underlying suggestion that renting was for suckers. That not owning something or having debt on a credit card and needing to make car payments, that somehow the LACK of any of those was Read more

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A Preacher Man

Normally religion doesn’t get much attention here on citizenreporter. Probably because I’m not a religious person. Nevertheless my recommendation for you today is related to faith and preachers and yes.. evangelicals.. a group I really never pay attention to.

This evening I found myself on a train, coming home from Brussels, mind wandering… and sure enough I turn on This American Life. This episode focuses on a preacher, an evangelical preacher who went from being a superstar to being a pariah among his own people. But its not the rise and fall that caught my attention. It is the man’s voice, in the interviews and in church… his voice keeps me captivated.. its magic. It doesn’t make me suddenly religious.. but it does make me think about life and friends and love and how things change. Plus its a story that just hangs there in my mind. Therefore I recommend giving it a listen.

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A Good Snapshot of Mortgage Crimes

The latest edition of the This American Life podcast has one of the best portraits and break-downs of the so-called subprime mortgage crisis.  I say it is one of the best because, as TAL is good at doing, it puts the very human face on both who lends this money and who is the recepient of these loans.

ForeclosureThere is nothing more disturbing and real then hearing the voices and feeling the emotion (or lack there of) when a mortgage broker explains that their office has 12 million accounts and therefore a piece of 12 million homes, 12 million lives.  Or when a father talks about how he expected to be able to pay the loan back in a few months and years later, found himself taking money out of what had long been preserved as his son’s college fund… that man breaks down crying.. and again there is nothing more real to me.  It is especially important to have such a program out there available for us to hear, when so often the commercial media outlets just play the numbers game or give it new titles like “the credit crunch” and shy away from the cold hard facts that lives have been destroyed, and that someone benefited from all this or even that banks allowed this to go on despite all the known consequences.

I highly recommend listening to this edition, entitled “A Pile of Money”. ( I even enjoy the fact that Ira Glass can barely speak throughout, a refreshing change of pace.)

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