The Madeleine Brand Show for August 17, 2012

Army suicides hit a record high in July. A former Vice Chief of Staff of the U.S. Army talks about why the suicide rate is increasing now. We also have the second part of our story on the rise of heroin abuse in California. Pussy Riot, the punk rock girl band, has been sentenced to two years in prison for staging a protest in a famous Russian Orthodox Church. And if you're looking for something to do this weekend, Meghan McCarty has you covered with her Weekend Alibi. She'll tell you where to go to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the publication of the first Tarzan story published by Edgar Rice Burroughs. Finally, Madeleine has some news for listeners about some changes to the show.
Supporters stand near the street holding

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San Diego Fireworks Fail

The Madeleine Brand Show for July 5, 2012

Not every 4th of July celebration went off smoothly last night. In San Diego, abound 18 minutes worth of fireworks exploded in ten seconds. We'll talk to someone who saw the 'premature ignition' in person. And in honor of one failure, KPCC's Sanden Totten brings us his favorite legendary fails in recent history. Plus, John Moe brings us the latest in the tech world. Ever wonder why Olympic athletes are running and swimming faster? The answer might not all be in actual performance improvements, according to Steve Haake. And the Sklars are back to round up the latest highlights in sports.

Opening Of New U.S. Embassy

The Madeleine Brand Show for July 4, 2012

On our Independence Day program, we reprise some stories appropriate for the holiday. Writer Jack Hitt joins Madeleine to talk about his new book, "Bunch of Amateurs." Hitt profiles a number of tinkerers, improvisors and do-it-yourselfers, and finds out that amateurism is a key ingredient in the American character. And, imagine never being able to forget everything. That’s the case for actress Marilu Henner. She can vividly recall virtually everything that’s ever happened to her in excruciating detail, and tells Madeleine what that’s like. Planning on celebrating with a nice bottle of wine on this holiday? Beware. Wine fraud is on the rise, and we hear about a spectacular case of a California man accused of selling millions and millions of dollars worth of counterfeit vino. And, anything that can go wrong, will. KPCC's Steve Proffitt shares some adages, principals and old saws. They’re known as eponymous laws, since they usually bear the name of the person who coined them. Rules to live by, or at least laugh at.

Production crew workers Faith Schexnayder (L) and

The Madeleine Brand Show for July 3, 2012

"We've seen the future, and it's Texas," writes New York Times columnist Gail Collins in her latest book, "As Texas Goes: How the Lone Star State Hijacked the American Agenda." Collins looks at the political influence the state has had on American politics. Television Icon Andy Griffith passed away this morning at the age of 86. We remember his life and impact on entertainment. And, getting contact lenses is pretty simple, but what if you are more than 10 feet tall and weigh around 12,000 pounds? An elephant in the North Carolina Zoo is getting his eyes checked. And NPR music critic Ann Powers is back for New Music Tuesday.

The Madeleine Brand Show for July 2, 2012

Today an unusual foreclosure-prevention measure is one step away from final passage. California's Homeowner Bill of Rights has been promoted as a way to protect homeowners by banning complicated practices and ending red tape. And the Romney and Obama campaigns use sophisticated consumer research tools to track likely voters on-line. This has led to some interesting results, for instance, martial arts fans aren't likely to vote for Romney, but people who share recipes are. And it's been one very long, very good dream for Katy Perry. Her 2010 album Teenage Dream led to eight single releases and her new movie "Part of Me" is due out July 5. Two years later, we wondered how exactly the pop princess is able to continue recycling content to such success. Sasha Frere-Jones, staff writer and pop music critic for the New Yorker, joins the show to discuss Perry's staying power and the changing pop music industry.

The Justices of the US Supreme Court sit

The Madeleine Brand Show for June 29, 2012

Former Mexico Foreign Minister Jorge Castaneda explains why the possibility of the PRI party ruling Mexico again shouldn't be a cause for alarm in Sunday's election. Yesterday the Supreme Court, led by Chief Justice John G. Roberts, upheld the heart of President Obama's healthcare law. New York Times correspondent Jodi Kantor will join the show to discuss the connections between the two men. And on Sunday, one of the largest cities in Nevada will enter a state of emergency. But it's not what you think. There are no windstorms or fires in North Las Vegas -- no "acts of God." The city simply can't pay its bills. And what were you doing when you were 11 years old? Probably nothing like skate boarder Jagger Eaton. He's the youngest person ever to compete in the X Games. We'll talk to him about competing in what's known as the Big Air Event.

Supreme Court Upholds Obama's Affordable Care Act

The Madeleine Brand Show for June 28, 2012

The Supreme Court upholds the health care law. President Obama is scheduled to make a statement this hour, and we'll bring it to you live. Chief Justice John Roberts was the key swing vote, saying the individual mandate is constitutional, because it's a tax. The court also upheld the expansion of Medicaid. What does that mean for Californians? And what does it mean for the upcoming election season? Track and field athletes are in Oregon this week, trying out for the U.S. Olympic team. We visit an athlete trying to make the U.S. squad. And the Sklar brothers are back with the week in sports.