David Sedaris tells true stories of photographers who try to take pictures of him which will make him seem more "wacky" than in fact he is, interlaced with a fictional depiction of what one of these photographers is like.
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David Rakoff tells the story of a contract between a son and his visiting mother. David Rakoff is the author of several books including Half Empty.
Planet Money correspondent David Kestenbaum investigates the growing popularity of pet insurance, and what it reveals about insurance for people.
David and Chana buy a toxic asset, from a guy named Wit Solberg, who used to work on Wall Street and now helps small banks who've been saddled with toxic assets. Turns out...it's hard to buy a toxic asset.
David Rakoff takes us inside the world of a Greek family-owned ice cream parlour, and what he learned about the husband and wife and son who owned it...and what he didn't figure out until later.
In the 1970s, Dave Kestenbaum's cousin Dan Weiss got promoted from stocker to gift shop manager at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington DC. It was a good job... except for the fact that the place was bleeding cash because of apparent embezzlement.
A mortgage broker named David Philp discovers that his old punk band from the 1970s is hot in Japan. He decides to leave corporate life and revisit his teenage years by going back on tour, playing music for the first time in two decades.
We hear what the New York Fed and Goldman Sachs say about all this. We hear a New York Fed supervisor tell Carmen Segarra how an examiner should talk and act to be successful at the Fed.
Alex Blumberg and NPR correspondent (and "Planet Money" reporter) Dave Kestenbaum examine what went wrong with the credit ratings agencies. When all these financial instruments that brought down our economy—the mortgage backed securities, the derivatives—were originally issued, the rating agencies (Standard and Poors, Moody's and Fitch) gave many of these things their top rating of triple-A.
Alex Melamid and Vitaly Komar hired a polling firm to investigate what people want to see in paintings. Then, using the data, they painted what people want.
Ira introduces Carmen Segarra, a bank examiner for the Federal Reserve in New York who, in 2012, started secretly recording as she and her colleagues went about regulating one of the most powerful financial institutions in the country. This was during a time when the New York Fed was trying to become a stronger regulator, so that it wouldn't fail to miss another financial crisis like it did with the meltdown in 2008.
To get a sense of what really is true of Apple's working conditions in China, Ira talks to New York Times reporter Charles Duhigg. Duhigg, along with Times reporter David Barboza, wrote the newspaper's front-page investigative series in early 2012 about this subject.