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.
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.
One of the principles of treating alcoholism is that there's hope for everyone. You never fold your cards.
In the midst of a real estate dispute, Jim O'Grady becomes the target of an unusual neighborhood watch group. He told this story onstage at the Moth.
David and Chana try to track down the actual homeowners in their toxic asset. The toxic asset is made up of 2000 mortgages all over the country.
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.
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.
House on Loon Lake
If you don't pay the rent on a self storage unit, eventually all of your stuff can go up for auction. But the people bidding aren't allowed to dig around.
When Wells Tower started to try to fix up and save his dad's house, he knew it'd be incredibly hard. Lots of people told him not to.
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.
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.
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.
Ira goes to Chicago's Rogers Park neighborhood to talk to some condo owners who are in a precarious situation—since the housing market crash, the developer who renovated and sold them their units—Haso Meseljevic—has all but disappeared. He's in foreclosure on half of their building's units.
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.
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.
Alex and Adam's story continues.
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.
Reporter Charles Siebert talks with Ira about retirement homes for Chimpanzees. Yes, retirement homes for Chimpanzees.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Joe had lived alone in his big house in Brooklyn for decades. Then one night he saw a few people—prostitutes, actually—shivering outside in the cold, and he opened up his home to them.