The Madeleine Brand Show for December 6, 2011

Obama Visits Head Start In Pennsylvania

The cost of a presidential campaign

Election campaigns are known for getting more expensive every cycle. But the current GOP race for the White House has, so far, been the least expensive in a decade, according to a recent Washington Post article. Paul Waldman, contributing editor for the left-leaning think tank, The American Prospect, talks about the power of money and why this presidential campaign is so different.
Jerry Brown Introduces January California Budget

Governor Jerry Brown proposes tax increases

California Governor Jerry Brown is going straight to the voters to try to get taxes increased. He's proposing a two percent increase in income taxes for people earning more than two hundred and fifty thousand dollars a year, along with a half-cent sales tax. Governor Brown wants to put these and other tax plans on next year's ballot. KQED's Sacramento bureau chief, John Myers explains more.
August Foreclosures Rise To Highest Since Level Beginning Of Housing Crisis

Housing prices continue to drop

More bad news for homeowners. A survey out today by the group Core Logic finds housing prices down almost 4 percent over the past 12 months. Core Logic predicts prices will remain flat through next year. Meanwhile, debate over why the housing market bubbled up and crashed continues. Explanations include: lax lending policies by Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae, private mortgage companies too eager to write loans and greedy homeowners wanted more than they could afford. KPCC's Steve Proffitt reports.
Real Estate Brokers Lead Bus Tour Of Foreclosed Homes In Vegas Area

Cheap Las Vegas homes attract foreign investors

In October, half of the home buyers in Las Vegas paid in cash. For the most part, these are investors buying up properties. Las Vegas homes are getting attention from buyers all over the world. Prices have dropped to 1990s levels, and many homes in the area are selling for below the cost to build. Fronteras project’s Jude Joffe-Block reports.
NASA's Kepler Mission Discovers Planet

SETI returns to train its telescopes on a likely target

NASA has released news of a "Goldilocks" planet, Kepler-22b. For the first time NASA's Kepler mission has confirmed a planet to orbit in a star's habitable zone; the region around a star, where liquid water, a requirement for life on Earth, could persist. But at 600 light years away, we won't be sending exploratory missions up there any time soon.

Los Angeles artist creates tiny, evocative worlds in '420 Characters'

German Shepherd dogs cut into the shape of nimble birds, men with squid and moose heads – welcome to the world of artist Lou Beach. Now, the collagist and long-time illustrator transfers his surrealist imagery into literature. Beach's first published fiction, "420 Characters," presents a series of personal Facebook status updates, pithy shorts that follow fantastical plot lines and quirky characters.

New music: The Roots, The Black Keys, Robin Thicke

In this week's New Music Tuesday, NPR music critic Ann Powers talks about new releases from old acts, including "undun" from The Roots, a concept album about the fictional life of Redford Stephens. The Black Keys have "El Camino" - a fun progression from their gritty-blues past. And Robin Thicke's "Love After War" adds some soul.
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