Anthony Pico was a foster kid for most of his life. His mother was a crack addict who abandoned him, and he bounced around from house to house, relative to relative.
Host Ira Glass talks to Tim Jaccard, who used to be a police medic. The calls he hated most were all the same: "Baby not breathing." So in 1998, he helped write the first "safe haven" law, which allows mothers to safely abandon their babies without getting into trouble.
Ira tells the story of two friends of his who were like superheroes. They had this incredible power to save someone.
Todd Bachmann tells about the time he offered to help out a Catholic charity and ended up getting bamboozled by a nun.
Marian Fontana's husband was a Brooklyn firefighter who was killed on September 11, 2001. Afterwards, she started an organization, fighting to keep her husband's fire station open, and to help victims' families.
Host Ira Glass talks to Stephen Dubner, co-author of Freakonomics, about one of the men in his book, a guy named Stetson Kennedy. In the 1940s, Kennedy, a Southerner, infiltrated the Ku Klux Klan.
This American Life producer Lisa Pollak goes canvassing with her friend Andy in Ohio. He's a first time door-knocker for MoveOn.
The FCC says it just wants a little civility on the nation's airwaves. And by tightening the rules on what swear words are allowed, government officials say they're protecting kids.
The true story of a young activist, Charles Monroe-Kane (now a producer at WPR's To 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.
We hear the story of someone trying to help all sorts of people who absolutely do not want his help. Nancy Updike reports on Dror Etkes, who has taken it as his personal mission to document the spread of Israeli settlements in the West Bank: Every shack, mobile home, housing cluster, bypass road and town.
Scott Carrier tells the story of how the environmentalist that ranchers hated the most—whom they tried to run out of town and hanged in effigy—came to take the ranchers' side of things. Some funding for this story comes from Hearingvoices.com and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.
Two women in a small town find themselves on opposite sides of a protest. One is for the war in Iraq, one is against it, but despite this, they cross enemy lines and become friends.
The story of a band of libertarians with a plan to take over a state. They call it the Free State Project and it goes like this: They pick a state with a low population, 20,000 of them move to it, establish a voting majority, and run it according to libertarian principles.
For months Bill and Liz have gone around New York City with a sign that says "Talk To Me." It works. In subways and bars, on the street or in office lobbies, people come up and talk to them about any old thing.
We got a new President, but after the recount mess in Florida in the fall of 2001 and the Supreme Court decision that ended the election, some people were having a hard time moving on. Why? Why couldn't they just let it go? Host Ira Glass talks with people at the inauguration.
What happens when seventh graders become an angry mob? Karen Bernstein reports on her own seventh grade class from small-town Connecticut. In 1973, a teacher turned them into an angry mob, an event they all remember decades later.
What happens when a crowd converges over something they strongly believe in, for weeks, and months, in front of television cameras that never go away? To what degree does that change the character of being in a crowd? A few days before Elian Gonzalez was seized by Federal authorities, reporter Alix Spiegel went to the lawn of his home, where activists camped out 24 hours a day.
Keith Gessen, a young Russian emigre, revisits the heroes of his youth: the brave Soviet dissidents who risked their lives at the height of the Cold War. Many of them resettled into comfortable suburban lives in America.
On the tenth anniversary of the crackdown at Tiananmen Square, we hear from Wen Huang, who was part of the student movement. He says that the students weren't fighting for democracy, at least not as it's been widely understood in the West.
More stories from Wen Huang that contradict what you think you know about the 1989 student uprising in China.
The most innocent possible student uprising imaginable...documented by an actual student, Hillary Frank, using the crude tools of a telephone answering machine and a shiny red boom box.
Wisconsin Public Radio wanted to do something simple: start running Car Talk, the most popular single hour on public radio. But to do this, they had to move their local car show, About Cars, from the morning to the afternoon.
Radical right wing Mexican-American activist Daniel D.
Sherman Alexie's story "Because My Father was the Only Indian Who Saw Jimi Hendrix Play the Star Spangled Banner at Woodstock." (15 minutes)