The Madeleine Brand Show for December 30, 2011

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A plea for clemency in shaken baby syndrome case

Governor Jerry Brown has - on his desk - a request for clemency. It was made by the lawyer for a woman named Shirley Ree Smith. She was convicted in 1997 of shaking her baby grandson so hard that he died. Smith spent 10 years in prison until a federal appeals court found no support for the prosecution's theory. But several months ago the US Supreme Court reinstated the conviction and now Smith could be sent back to prison. We discuss the case and the growing doubts about shaken baby syndrome.
The GOP race for the White House picks up the pace next week with the Iowa caucuses, the first vote in the presidential race. For this reason, the Iowa vote gets lots of media attention. The Hawkeye State has a population of just 3 million; Republicans are hoping to have a caucus turnout of around 100,000 people. So why do we give so much credence to Iowa?
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Best of the mediocre

Steve Proffitt ends the year by bringing Madeleine the first annual Mediocre Awards - his celebration of all things that were just OK. He selected nominees from 2011 that weren't bad or awful, but definitely undistinguished and not great. Among his list: the Honda Civic, the Miami Dolphins and Rebecca Black.
Anna Goeser and some hens

A day in the life of a chicken sitter

If you are headed out of town this weekend, you might have to call up the dog or the cat sitter. But what if you keep chickens in your backyard?
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Lew Schneider's New Year's resolutions...for other people

Made your resolutions for 2012 yet? If not, our resident curmudgeon, Emmy Award winning comedy writer Lew Schneider, has a list of suggestions based on one of his top pet peeves: parents who brag about their children. Guilty? Listen on....

Weekend Alibi: 2011 Round Up

From government shutdowns to Carmageddon, Meghan McCarty reminds us to be thankful in a year of narrow escapes...
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