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Friday April 23, 2010

Senators Put Credit Ratings Agencies In Hot Seat

Top current and former executives from the country’s two largest credit ratings agencies, Moody’s and Standard & Poor’s, testify today before the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations. Internal emails released yesterday by a federal commission investigating the financial crisis show that credit rating agency employees may have deliberately rated some mortgage-backed securities for Goldman Sachs higher than they should have. Jesse Eisinger, senior reporter for ProPublica is our guest.

Teachers Nationwide Face Layoffs, And A Way To Tackle The Racial Achievement Gap

California schools chief Jack O'Connell gestures to a sign last month indicating that nearly 22,000 teachers could potentially be receiving layoff notices due to budgets cuts. (AP)

Hundreds of thousands of teachers are facing layoffs this June as states and localities take drastic money-saving measures. We get an overview from Tamar Lewin, national correspondent for the New York Times. We also speak with Princeton sociologist Thomas Espenshade, who has crunched the numbers on what it takes to get into select colleges. He says we spend a lot of time arguing about things like affirmative action, but what we really need is a new Manhattan Project to tackle the persistent racial gaps in academic performance. Espenshade is co-author of  “No Longer Separate, Not Yet Equal: Race and Class in Elite College Admission and Campus Life.”

Deadline Approaches On Arizona Immigration Law

Hundreds of protesters rally at the Arizona Capitol to protest the possible signing of immigration bill SB1070 by Gov. Jan Brewer Friday, April 23, 2010, in Phoenix. (AP)

Arizona Governor Jan Brewer faces a Saturday deadline to act on the nation’s toughest legislation against illegal immigration. The sweeping measure would make it a crime under state law to be in the country illegally. It would also require local police officers to question people about their immigration status if there is reason to suspect they are illegal. Mark Brodie, who covers politics for KJZZ joins us from Phoenix with the latest.

Listener Letters

We hear from you about some of our recent stories, including a discussion about carrying guns in public and a conversation with author Steve Almond about his love for rock and roll music.

Looking Back On A Telescoping Hoax

On the 20th anniversary of Hubble telescope, Nate DiMeo of the Memory Palace podcast, brings us the story of the “unbelievable” discoveries of a British Astronomer in the 1800’s that were reported in the New York Sun newspaper. “Unbelievable” because they turned out to be a hoax.

The Bright Young Stars Of The Classical World

The prolonged absence of musical director James Levine from the podium at the Boston Symphony Orchestra due to health problems started us to thinking about the void his absence leaves in the musical world. We ask music critic Lloyd Schwartz who are some of the hot musical directors to watch. (See music titles from this story below.)

Music From the Show

  • Peter Dixon, “Nagog Woods”
  • Art Blakey, “C.O.R.E.”
  • Funk Brothers, “Keep Me Hangin’ On”
  • Ahmad Jamal, “Patterns”
  • Stevie Wonder, “Easy Goin’ Evening (My Mama’s Call),” from Songs in the Key of Life
  • Dan Deacon, “Snookered”
  • Christian McBride, “Brother Mister”

From “Bright Young Stars” story:

  • Maurice Ravel, “Daphnis and Chloe,” performed by James Levine and the Boston Symphony Orchestra
  • Ludwig van Beethoven, “Symphony Number 5 in C Minor,” Op. 67 III. Allegro, performed by Gustavo Dudamel & Simon Bolivar Youth Orchestra of Venezuela
  • Gustav Mahler, “Symphony Number 8 in E-Flat Major: Part I-III Infunde Amorem Cordibus,” performed by Michael Tilson Thomas and The San Francisco Symphony
  • Johannes Brahms, “Symphony Number 2: Hungarian Dances: No. 1 in G. Minor,” performed by Marin Alsop and the London Philharmonic Orchestra
  • George Bizet, “Carmen Entr’acte to Act 4,” performed by Yannick Nezet Seguin and the Metropolitan Opera Company Orchestra
Robin and Jeremy

Robin Young and Jeremy Hobson host Here & Now, a live two-hour production of NPR and WBUR Boston.

October 22 13 Comments

Colorado Backs Away From Pot Edibles Ban

Critics say a ban would violate the state's voter-approved legalization of recreational marijuana, which took effect in January.

October 22 4 Comments

Modest Raise For Social Security Recipients

Economist Diane Swonk says the 1.7 percent cost-of-living increase falls short of the inflation older Americans actually see.

October 21 Comment

Jim Gaffigan’s Love Affair With Food

The stand-up comic gives his particular gastronomic take on the world in his new memoir "Food: A Love Story."

October 21 Comment

Jill Abramson Announces Plans For News Startup

The former New York Times executive editor said her goal is to create a news outlet that favors quality over quantity.