It’s been nine years this weekend since two passenger jets were hijacked and flown into the World Trade Center towers. Those attacks changed this country profoundly, and they continue to have a direct and dramatic effect on the people who worked on site in the aftermath. When Brooklyn firefighter Steve Mormino arrived in lower Manhattan just after midnight on 9/11, he expected devastation. But what struck him most was the silence. For the next four months, Steve worked constantly at Ground Zero. Years later he found out that his lungs had been permanently damaged from the particles in the air. Also, contributor Krista Bremer.
Anna Bliss and Linda Lehmann both lost their jobs last year. They went to unemployment support groups but found the groups to be all about networking, not helping one another get through the anxiety and sadness of joblessness.
So started the Dung Sisters—a small group of unemployed women who meet weekly to share their highs and lows as they try to lift themselves out of unemployment. Also in the show: A couple is stuck living on a boat when their home won't sell.
In May 2008, the Sichuan quake rocked Central China - almost 70,000 people were killed, and millions were left homeless. Phil Kates had been following the news of the earthquake as the Philadelphia Orchestra made its way from Tokyo to Seoul to Beijing. He wasn’t sure what to do. He wrote in his journal - “what possible use could a violin player be to children suffering from the end of their world?”
Greg Morelli is the co-owner (with his brother) of Joey's Brickhouse, a successful restaurant in Chicago. Dick Gordon listens in as Greg and two of his managers, Lori Coleman and Johnny Ferguson, joke about the risks, wrestle with the costs, and try to figure out how they can make health insurance work at the Brickhouse.
Gay marriage is one issue both presidential candidates have been treading lightly around. But in California, voters will decide whether to accept Proposition 8 and ban gay marriage, or keep gay marriage legal. The amount of money both sides have spent on the issue has now reached record-breaking levels. The driving force behind Proposition 8 is the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Andrew Callahan was for decades a devout Mormon, and eventually became a High Priest. But he’s recently broken ranks with the church over its stand on gay marriage. Also in this episode: an unwitting politician.
Pirates are demanding $20 million ransom for a ship they've seized off the coast of Somalia. They say they're prepared to fight to the death. Max Hardberger has direct experience of high seas piracy. His job is to take back ships that have been pirated, many of them worth millions of dollars, and return them to their rightful owners. Also in this episode: coop dreams.
Henry Ehrlich knows about the soothing power of words in times of economic turmoil. He was the speechwriter for the chief American negotiator during the foreign debt crisis of the 1980s. It was a time when one wrong word could have sparked a catastrophe.Also in this episode: Mary Jane Young still has vivid memories of the 1929 crash. Her father had been a successful real estate builder in New York and had also bought stocks. He eventually lost everything.
Flor was among those picked up at the Howard Industries plant in Laurel, Miss. She's now wearing an ankle bracelet that allows Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to monitor her movement while she awaits a hearing that could lead to her deportation.
Mohamed ElBaradei, former head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, has become an important face in the crowds of millions who are protesting in Egypt. Laban Coblentz is his former speech writer, and he's helping ElBaradei write his upcoming memoir. Laban has traveled with ElBaradei, and he helped him think through his Nobel Award speech in 2005. Laban talks with Dick Gordon about his friend and former colleague.