May 9, 2014

Call For Help

Stories of people coming to terms with being in serious trouble. They need help. Figuring out how to get it, that's another problem.

Charlotte and her daughter Cora in their boat. 

Correction: In the original 2014 broadcast of this episode, Act Two contained a factual error. Former Sen. Alan Simpson originally said in this story that Anita Hill and Clarence Thomas watched pornographic movies together. During the Clarence Thomas hearings, Anita Hill testified that Thomas described scenes from pornographic movies to her. They did not watch pornography together. We have cut Senator Simpson's incorrect statement from the story and removed it from the transcript.


Ira brings up a story that got a lot of attention last year, in the New York Times and also on a lot of morning news shows. A couple was sailing across the Pacific Ocean with their two small children, and after three weeks of sailing they signaled for help — which came in the form of four National Guardsmen and a navy vessel. All the coverage seemed to be asking the same question: Are these bad parents? The couple involved, Eric and Charlotte Kaufman, had been silent about what happened on their boat, until talking to Ira. (6 minutes)
Act One

When May Day Comes in April

Ira finds out more about what Eric and Charlotte Kaufman’s sailing trip was meant to be, how prepared they were for such an extensive trip, and exactly what went wrong on their sailboat that led to the dramatic rescue for which they were so roundly criticized. (14 minutes)
Act Two

Government Assistance

Reporter Anna Sale tells the story of the high profile politician who came to her with an issue that had nothing to do with politics and nothing to do with him. Instead it had everything to do with Anna and the state of her love life. A version of this story appears on Anna's podcast Death, Sex and Money, produced by WNYC. (16 minutes)

Act Three

Horse of a Different Color

Producer Chana Joffe-Walt talks to her 13 year old sister Maya about Maya’s most important friendship to date. In fact, it’s her first real friendship. Chana’s mom and partner — Maya’s parents — have always known that their daughter wasn’t your average girl. But they weren’t worried about that. They were worried that Maya should have a friend. And now that she’s found one, the only question is, for how long? (18 minutes)