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The architecture firms consider themselves real businesses. They’re making political contributions to try to get these contracts. They're out there schmoozing. They're listening to the meetings to find out when an opportunity might arise in a way that citizens are really not tuned in.

Amanda Abrams on her story at The Intercept, "The Little-Known Reason Counties Keep Building Bigger Jails: Architecture Firms." "The Moment of Truth" with Jeff Dorchen follows the interview.

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Posted by Alexander Jerri

Here is what Chuck is reading to prepare for Saturday's show:

Nation on the Take: How Big Money Corrupts Our Democracy and What We Can Do About It - Wendell Potter and Nick Penniman [Bloomsbury]

We’re Rethinking Prisons. Is It Time to Rethink Sex Offender Registries? - Erica Meiners [In These Times]

FBI Director Admits Apple Case Could Be a Game Changer - Jenna McLaughlin [The Intercept]

The Future We Want: Radical Ideas for the New Century - Edited by Sarah Leonard and Bhaskar Sunkara [Metropolitan Books]

Coming to Our Senses: Affect and an Order of Things for Global Culture - Dierdra Reber [Columbia University Press]

Episode 888

Dead Air

Feb 20 2016
Posted by Alexander Jerri

On this day in 1810 -- (206 years ago) – Andreas Hofer, an Austrian innkeeper and leader of a rebellion against French and Bavarian armies loyal to Napoleon, was executed by firing squad. For more than a year, Hofer had traveled through mountain villages in the Austrian and Italian Tyrol, urging insurrection and organizing armed resistance. After several months of fighting, he and his troops had briefly taken the Tyrolean capital of Innsbruck, only to be routed by French and Bavarian forces after the Austrian emperor backed off his promise of protection. Abandoned by his men, Hofer went into hiding, but a neighbor revealed his location to Napoleon’s troops in order to collect a cash reward. Facing the firing squad, Hofer refused to kneel or wear a blindfold, and insisted on giving the order to fire himself.

On this day in 1933 – (83 years ago) – three weeks after taking office as the new German chancellor, Adolf Hitler convened a secret meeting with about two dozen of Germany’s top business leaders to seek funding for the Nazi Party’s political campaign in the upcoming national elections. Hitler’s guests included xecutives and board members from Siemens, Allianz, Opel, and other important companies. In an atmosphere of national political turmoil, some of these industrialists had already helped persuade Germany’s president, Paul von Hindenburg, to make Hitler the head of a fragile coalition government. Upon taking office, Hitler had immediately pushed for elections, and now he was anxious for his Nazi Party to win enough parliamentary seats to pass the Enabling Act and make him Germany’s de facto dictator. At this meeting he told his guests that to silence democracy and crush communism, his party would need a total of three million German marks. Before leaving, the businessmen signed commitments to provide him with more than two million.  

On this day in 2003 -- (13 years ago) -- the rock band Great White was in the middle of their set at the Station nightclub in West Warwick, Rhode Island, when a pyrotechnic display onstage behind the band caused flammable foam insulation on the ceiling and walls to catch on fire. Within minutes, the entire nightclub was engulfed in flames. One hundred people died and another 230 were injured.

Rotten History is written by Renaldo Migaldi

Posted by Alexander Jerri

Listen live from 9AM - 12:45PM Central on WNUR 89.3FM or stream at


9:10 - Writer Janet Biehl reports back from an attempt to speak with imprisoned PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan.

Janet was part of a delegation to Turkey attempting to speak with Öcalan. She also spoke with ROAR Magazine for the piece Thoughts on Rojava: an interview with Janet Biehl.


10:05 - Municipal finance analyst Saqib Bhatti explores the origins of Illinois's toxic debt crisis.

Saqib studied the state's interest rate swap disaster in the ReFund America report Turned Around.


10:35 - Lawpagandist Brian Foley cross-examines Scalia's suddenly glowing posthumous reputation.

Thankfully This is Hell! correspondents are immune for whatever causes establishment media types to forgive evil once a person has died.


11:05 - Veteran Joseph Hickman investigates the poisoning of soldiers and civilians in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Joseph is author of the new book The Burn Pits: The Poisoning of America's Soldiers from Skyhorse Publishing.


12:00 - Investigative journalist Chuck Lewis explains how our next president has already been bought and sold.

Chuck wrote the Cairo Review of Global Affairs commentary The Buying of the President.


12:30 - In a Moment of Truth, Jeff Dorchen ponders the faith of a dead Supreme Court justice.

Jeff tried to act like this isn't going to be about Scalia, like he has material about Wiley Blount Rutledge just ready to go.

Posted by Alexander Jerri

Here is what Chuck is reading to prepare for Saturday's show:

Thoughts on Rojava: an interview with Janet Biehl - Zanyar Omrani [ROAR Magazine]

Turned Around: How the Swaps that Were Supposed to Save Illinois Millions Became Toxic - Saqib Bhatti + Carrie Sloan [ReFund America]

The Burn Pits: The Poisoning of America's Soldiers - Joseph Hickman [Skyhorse Publishing]

Commentary: What it takes to buy the president - Chuck Lewis [Center for Pubic Integrity]


Episode 887

Zeit Heist

Feb 13 2016
Posted by Alexander Jerri

Listen live from 9AM - 1PM Central on WNUR 89.3FM or stream at


9:10 - Pension expert Nancy Altman explains why the problem with Social Security isn't Social Security.

Nancy is author of Social Security Works! Why Social Security Isn’t Going Broke and How Expanding It Will Help Us All from the New Press.


10:05 - Our Man in London, David Skalinder views the alien US election from his spot on Mars.

David counts the focus on inequality as a victory for the left "though it remains to be seen how far that victory will take us..."


10:35 - Live from Sao Paulo, Brian Mier reports on the sudden intersection of abortion rights and the Zika virus.

Brian just returned from Recife where he covered the story with a major European TV network we can't name yet. NDA!


11:05 - Writer Tom Slee explores the harsh new frontiers on the edges of the sharing economy.

Tom wrote the book What's Mine is Yours: Against the Sharing Economy from OR Books.


12:05 - Historian Lily Geismer explains how the upper-middle class seized control of the Democratic Party.

Lily is author of the article Atari Democrats in the newest Jacobin.


12:45 - In a Moment of Truth, Jeff Dorchen's head can't figure out why we need figureheads.

One week after sort of endorsing Bernie Sanders too!

Posted by Alexander Jerri

Here is what Chuck is reading to prepare for Saturday's show:

Social Security Works! Why Social Security Isn’t Going Broke and How Expanding It Will Help Us All - Nancy Altman [New Press]

What's Mine is Yours: Against the Sharing Economy - Tom Slee [OR Books]

Atari Democrats - Lily Geismer [Jacobin]

Episode 886


Feb 6 2016
Posted by Alexander Jerri

On this day in 1934 – (82 years ago) – several French right-wing anti-parliamentary political groups staged demonstrations in Paris to demand the resignation of France’s left-leaning coalition government. When the groups converged on the Place de la Concorde, the assembly turned violent, quickly escalating from rock-throwing to bullets as rioters and police exchanged fire. In the end, sixteen people were killed, some two thousand were injured, and the French government resigned — soon to be replaced by a so-called national union government composed mainly of conservatives, including Marshal Phillipe Pétain, a French World War I hero who would later become leader of France’s Vichy regime, which collaborated with Nazi Germany during World War II.

On this day in 1951 – (65 years ago) – during a rainstorm near Woodbridge Township, New Jersey, an overcrowded nine-car train carrying more than a thousand evening commuters derailed as it crossed a temporary wooden trestle in a construction area without heeding warnings to slow down from fifty miles an hour to twenty-five. The train’s weight and speed caused several cars to jump the track, tumble down an embankment, and crash onto the street twenty feet below. Other cars were left hanging off the tracks, partly suspended in the air — and many of those passengers jumped to their deaths, wrongly assuming that the shiny, rain-washed pavement below them was a river. Eighty-five people died and five hundred were injured in what was the third most deadly train wreck in American history.

On this day in 1971 – (45 years ago) – during his live-televised walk on the moon as commander of Apollo 14, NASA astronaut Alan Shepard got out a six-iron club and two golf balls he had smuggled aboard the spacecraft, and used them to take sand trap shots on the lunar surface — thus providing the world with an unforgettable illustration of white American privilege, and a memorable emblem of fun and frivolity to go with the Apollo program’s price tag, which in 1973 was reckoned as some twenty-five billion dollars, or well over one hundred billion in today’s money.

On this day in 1998 – (18 years ago) – President Bill Clinton signed legislation renaming Washington National Airport after former president Ronald Reagan. The bill had been hurriedly passed by the Republican-controlled Congress to... read more