The Madeleine Brand Show for August 23, 2011

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Boyle Heights was once known as the Ellis Island of the west. In the 1930s, '40s and '50s it was a neighborhood where Jewish and Mexican cultures mixed. One store at the heart of this cultural crossroads was the Phillips Music Store, a musical meeting ground that helped spawn wonderfully original sounds. This weekend a free concert celebrates the legacy of the store.
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Will Libyan rebel gains inspire dissidents in Syria?

Rebels in Tripoli are continuing their battle with Gadhafi loyalists. The Libyan leader's whereabouts are still unknown but his regime appears to be on its last legs. If Gadhafi is ousted, he would become the third dictator to go since the start of the so called Arab Spring. The big question - will Syrian President Bashar al Assad be next? Here with analysis is Wayne White. He's a former State Department official and an adjunct scholar at the Middle East Institute.

Living in the age of low interest rates

The Commerce Department says the number of people who bought new homes fell for the fourth straight month in July. Meanwhile, mortgage interest rates are at a 40 year low. Heidi Moore, the Wall Street correspondent for American Public Media's Marketplace talks about why that's not doing much to stimulate the housing market, and offers some general tips for living in the age of low interest rates.
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Kevin Mitnick's life as the world's most-wanted hacker

Hacking scandals have been everywhere this summer, from The News of the World to the hacktivist group Anonymous. But in the 1990s, before high-speed internet and smart phones, Kevin Mitnick was the world's most notorious hacker. He succesfully cracked the security systems of some of the biggest phone and computer companies, stealing software codes from Sun Microsystems and breaking into local cell phone networks to siphon free minutes and tap the phones of the federal agents who were chasing him. Mitnick led authorities on a 20-year cat and mouse chase until he was finally caught in 1995. He served five years in prison, some of it in solitary confinement, and was even prohibited from using a computer for eight years. Mitnick tells his story in a new memoir, Ghost in the Wires.
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Pelican Bay isolation units could be reformed

Sacramento lawmakers were set to hold a hearing Tuesday to examine the state's controversial use of isolation units at Pelican Bay State Prison and three other facilities. The hearing was called following a three-week hunger strike by inmates complaining they had been unfairly held in extreme isolation indefinitely. The California Report's Michael Montgomery brings us the stories of two very different inmates whose paths led them to the Pelican Bay Special Housing Units.
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Drew Tewksbury reviews new music, including Jeff Bridges' new self titled country album and a re-release of some vintage psychedelic rock from Iranian musician Kourosh Yaghami.
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