The Madeleine Brand Show for January 3, 2012

Suspect Arrested In Slew Of Los Angeles Arson Fires

Arson can be difficult crime to prove

L.A. residents are breathing a sigh of relief this morning. The big news: No more arson fires overnight. Authorities put handcuffs on the man they believe is responsible for more than 50 fires set over the long holiday weekend and identified the suspect as 24-year-old Harry Burkhart of Hollywood.
Congressional Super Committee Close To Failure On Deficit Reduction Plan

Super Pacs: A closer look

The 2012 presidential election season is here. And once again campaign finance questions are being raised, especially following the 2010 U.S. Supreme Court's ruling that struck down limits on corporate campaign spending. We look at the role and workings of the Super PACs with Jerry Mayer, associate professor of public policy at George Mason University.
Los Angeles Times columnist Steve Lopez has been writing a series of columns about death and how we as a society deal with the inevitable. He began his series in the summer with a column about his elderly father, who had fallen ill and is now in a nursing home. He wrote: "And so it goes, the slow, inexorable march to the place we all must visit. Watching, I find myself wondering why we're so ill-equipped to accommodate, accept and talk about the fate we all are guaranteed." Madeleine Brand spoke with Steve Lopez about the series and his father.

Personality dictated by situations, author says

It may have been the dream of Martin Luther King, Jr. that all of us be judged on the content of our character. But, what if the content of our character doesn't count for much? Tufts psychologist Sam Sommers contends that who we are may be less important than where we are in his new book, "Situations Matter." He finds context – not personality – governs the decisions we make, from the profession we choose to the people we fall in love with. Sam Sommers spoke to Madeleine from his home in Boston.
Trent Reznor
This week critic Drew Tewksbury reviews the epic, sonic landscapes of the Girl With The Dragon Tattoo soundtrack. The score was composed by Nine Inch Nails front-man Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross.
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