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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
  • Leo Croletto

    I very much appreciated the “Bright Young Stars” story. I only wish the segment could have been alloted more time.

  • Robin Young

    (me too!)

    R

  • Tom Furtsch

    I agree with Mr. Croletto above. This topic definitely needs more time. We in Nashville are very pleased with our young new music director and principal conductor, Giancarlo Guerrero, I think Mr Swartz would enjoy a trip to visit the new Shermerhorn Symphony Center and the quality of the Nashville Symphony.

Robin and Jeremy

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

July 22 2 Comments

Remains Of Clovis Boy Reburied In Montana

DNA from the boy buried 12,600 years ago shows his people were ancestors of many of today's native peoples.

July 22 Comment

After Malaysia Airlines Crash, A Closer Look At Planning Flight Paths

Retired pilot John Ransom discusses how to factor in war zones, and how the decision is made to close an airspace.

July 21 Comment

Boxing Attracts More Than Would-Be Fighters

At the Ring Boxing Club, boxers range in age, are both men and women, and include an award-winning author.

July 21 Comment

Why Hot Cars Are So Deadly

An average of 38 kids die in a hot car every year in the U.S. We look at the science of why cars get so hot so fast, and why children are more vulnerable.