The Madeleine Brand Show for September 7, 2011

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The Wire's George Pelecanos on his new novel, The Cut

George Pelecanos is well known to fans of the HBO series The Wire. He wrote many of the show's most critically acclaimed episodes, including "Hamsterdam." When he's not scripting for television, he's writing crime novels. His 17th and most recent book, The Cut, is about Spero Lucas, an Iraq war veteran living in Washington D.C. He makes a living recovering stolen property, no questions asked - his cut is 40 percent. Author George Pelecanos joins us to talk about how themes of race and the illegal drug trade play into his work.
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GOP debate in Simi Valley: Rick Perry steps into the ring

Eight Republican presidential candidates meet at the Reagan Library for a debate. It's the first match-up since Texas Governor Rick Perry joined the race less than a month ago. Perry weighed staying in Texas where wildfires are raging, but his campaign says he plans to be in place in California tonight. What are Republican voters looking for in a candidate, and who has the most to gain - and lose - tonight? We're joined by Politico reporter Molly Ball and GOP strategist Reed Galen.

Could I-bank create jobs? (No, not the new Apple product)

President Obama will unveil his new plan to tackle the nation's unemployment problem Thursday night. He's expected to call for $300 billion in tax credits, job training for unemployed workers and a renewal of the payroll tax cut. Another idea the president has talked about in the past is the creation of a national "infrastructure bank." The bank would be started up by the federal government and would leverage private money for infrastructure projects. For more details Madeleine spoke with Matt Debord, the author of "Debord Report," a KPCC blog focusing on the economy.
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Eddie Murphy Oscars: Will we get Buckwheat or Norbit?

Eddie Murphy was announced as the host of next year's Academy Awards on Tuesday. Murphy's career spans several decades, from his edgy work on Saturday Night Live, to the broad comedy of Beverly Hills Cop and more recently the more family-friendly Norbit and Daddy Daycare. The ceremony has suffered sagging ratings in recent years and whether Murphy can turn that trend around remains to be seen. For reaction Madeleine speaks with Time Magazine TV critic James Poniewozik.
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This week Brenden Francis Newnam, one half of the Dinner Party Download duo, joins us with some conversation starters. He tells us about a UCLA student who used the last of his summer break to join the rebels in Libya. Brendan takes us back to a time in Russian history when beards were taxed and he explains why other countries still think America is number one when it comes to cool.
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