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Weekend America on News & Politics


  • Good News, Bad News, No News

    President elect Barack Obama

    Time for our weekly parlor game to keep track of the news of the week. We are joined by Yale University professor of literature Amy Hungerford' John Ridley, author and founding editor of thatminoritything.com; and Reihan Salam, associate editor at the Atlantic.

  • The Brutal Poetry of the Iraq War

    Brian Turner

    There's a whole group of Americans who won't be home for the holidays this year. Over 140,000 US troops are in Iraq right now. And holidays at war can be strange times. Poet Brian Turner served as an infantry team leader in Iraq in 2003. To get through the holidays, he put home out of his mind. But on his last night in Iraq, with home in sight, Brian wrote a poem called "Cole's Guitar."

  • First Weekend Home: Laid Off

    Rosanna Leisure driving a forklift

    For 544,000 people in the US, the line that divides the week and the weekend got a little more murky last month. The unemployment rate now stands at 6.7 percent, the highest it's been in 15 years. For reporter Jonathan Menjivar in Philadelphia, all these statistics recently became a reality. Not for himself, but for his mother, Rosanna Leisure.

  • Economy Down, Environment Up

    Lester Brown

    President-Elect Obama announced his picks for the Secretary of Energy and Environmental Protection Agency administration this week. He has also been touting a plan that will jump start the economy through green jobs. We spoke about one of the recessions' few bright spots with the president and founder of the Earth Policy Institute, Lester Brown.

  • Skull Scanning

    A skull from the Mutter Museum

    For years, anthropologists have wanted to do research inside the heads of human skeletons to answer questions about the evolution of the human brain. Problem is, getting inside a skull is tricky without cracking it open. This weekend, researchers in Philadelphia are finally getting their chance to CAT scan 19th-century skulls.

  • The Weekend Shift: Cleaning Houses

    Luz, Vice President of We Can Do It

    The last thing most people want to do on a weekend is housework. But a group of immigrant women in New York are proud to spend their weekends dusting and mopping. "We Can Do It" is a Brooklyn business run by cleaning ladies, many of them without working papers or education beyond elementary school.

  • To Shop or Not to Shop?

    Robert Reich

    The recession is starting to get you all fired up for some last minute Christmas shopping, right? Because don't forget, every time you reach for your wallet, not only do you hold the fate of your own economic health in your hands, you also hold the fate of the nation's. This is a big and completely confusing responsibility. So what do you do? That's what Weekend America's Krissy Clark wanted to know.

  • Inside Blackness: Black Santa

    Jay Hollowell with Santa

    This weekend, you might be headed to the mall to see Santa. Some kids can't wait to get on Santa's knee. Others go to Santa kicking and screaming. For some people of color, the local mall's Santa can bring on a crisis of a different sort. As part of the series Inside Blackness, we hear about the complicated relationship some black families have with the traditional Santa Claus.

  • Conversations with America: Annette Gordon-Reed

    Annette Gordon-Reed

    It's never easy being president, and these days the transition to that job is fraught as well. We're continuing our series Conversations with America, asking writers and thinkers to talk about transitions of their own, and what should be on the incoming president's mind. Annette Gordon-Reed is a historian who's written extensively about President Thomas Jefferson's relationship with his slave Sally Hemings.

  • Kosher Meets Capitalism

    Shabbat Dinner

    With the weekend comes Shabbat, or Shabbos: the Jewish day of rest. On Shabbat, Jewish law forbids certain, very specific kinds of "work." That means even very simple things day to day actions are forbidden - even turning the lights on and off. But in recent years, an industry has emerged which manages to merge modern convenience and this sacred time.

  • Blagojevich, Auto Bailouts and Leno

    Jay Leno

    Our panel of non-experts weigh in on this week's news events in a parlor game to gauge what kind of week America had. Joining us on this week's panel are: Nancy French, author of "A Red State of Mind"; comedian and writer Dana Gould; and Yale literature professor Amy Hungerford.

  • America Forecloses, Japan Watches

    A sign outside a foreclosed home in Denver.

    Foreclosure tours are popping up in American cities as a way to showcase the inventory stacking up on the real estate market. There's one underway in Denver this weekend, and it's attracted some unusual interest. A Japanese television crew from NHK (Japan Broadcasting Corporation) is on board. They're filming what will be a New Year's special in Japan.

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