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Act Four: Saturday to Wednesday: CA, NY, WI, ME

Ira tells what happened this week to Shirley Everett-Dicko in Oakland on Sunday, to Gabe and Kevin in Brooklyn on Saturday, to Eric and Roz in Stevens Point, Wisconsin on Wednesday night at midnight, and (in the podcast version of the show) to Eugene Rand and Bill True, on Monday in South Portland, Maine.

Act Two: Misdeeds

An angry man in New Orleans seeks revenge against people who bought property that he formerly owned and that was seized by the city. The homeowners find themselves trapped in a morass of paperwork, court visits...and worse.

Act One: Eat My Shorts

A hedge fund named Magnetar comes up with an elaborate plan to make money. It sponsors the creation of complicated and ultimately toxic financial securities...while at the same time betting against the very securities it helped create. Planet Money's Alex Blumberg teams up with two investigative reporters from ProPublica, Jake Bernstein and Jesse Eisinger, to tell the story.

Act One: Spring 2008

We replay sections from the original "Giant Pool of Money," in which This American Life producer Alex Blumberg teams up with NPR's Adam Davidson to tell the story of how the U.S. got itself into a housing crisis. They talk to people who were actually working in the housing, banking, finance and mortgage industries, about what they thought during the boom times, and why the bust happened.

Act Two: Fall 2009

We catch back up with the people we met in 2008, to see how they've fared over the last 18 months. We talk to Clarence Nathan, who in 2008 received a half million dollar loan that he said he wouldn't have given himself; Jim Finkel, a Wall Street finance guy, who put together and managed complicated mortgage-based financial securities; Richard Campbell, the Marine who was facing foreclosure; and Glen Pizzolorusso, the mortgage company sales manager who led the life of a b-list celebrity.

Act One: The Mod Squad

Reporter Chris Arnold visits a foreclosure prevention event to find out the painful truth about the mortgage crisis: 90% of foreclosures are being enforced by servicing companies not because it helps the banks to foreclose, and not because home owners aren't interested in renegotiating their loan terms, but because there's just no system in place to handle the sheer volume of loans that need help.

Prologue

Host Ira Glass talks with an NPR business and economics correspondent about two gatherings he attended—one at the Ritz Carlton and one at a community college in Brooklyn. The first was an awards dinner for finance professionals who created the mortgage-based financial instruments that nearly brought down the global economic system.

Act One

This American Life producer Alex Blumberg teams up with NPR's Adam Davidson for the entire hour to tell the story—the surprisingly entertaining story—of how the U.S. got itself into a housing crisis. They talk to people who were actually working in the housing, banking, finance and mortgage industries, about what they thought during the boom times, and why the bust happened.

Act Two

Alex and Adam's story continues.

Act Two: The Plan

American cities have gone through a massive wave of gentrification in the last few decades. To some people, it's not a natural ebb and flow of the real estate market, but a plot, by rich, mainly white people, to take over the neighborhoods of poor, mainly black people. This American Life producer Jon Jeter reports on how, in neighborhoods all over the country, the plot has a name, "The Plan," and most people you talk to know about it.

Prologue

Yvonne has lived by herself for 12 years, ever since her last child moved out. She eats dinner by herself, takes care of the house on her own, and usually spends most holidays alone.

Act One: Plot Without A Story

Mary Ann was an elderly woman living by herself in Los Angeles County. She wasn't married, didn't have children, wasn't in touch with any of her family.

Act Two: Boy Interrupted

Growing up, Clevins Browne moved all over New York with his mother, indifferent apartments and homeless shelters. But that all changed when he was12, and they got an apartment in a public housing complex in Brooklyn.

Prologue

Host Ira Glass talks to Randall Bell, who specializes in assessing how tragedy affects real estate. He's found that the market is much quicker to forgive and forget a scandal than the neighbors are.
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