Archive for The Radio Program

It’s called “Debt Relief?” I call it a Scam!


Here’s a story we broadcast on today’s radio program, Because It Matters.  The Segment had a subtitle of, “Take a Closer Look.”

The story will frustrate and anger you.  Particularly when you learn that most of the “customers” helped by these “Debt Relief Companies” are elderly and vulnerable to half-truths and high-pressure sales tactics.

And “helped” means the “Debt Relief Company” helped themselves to every dime they could glom onto. As you’ll hear, a “Debt Relief Company” kept for themselves about 78 cents out of ever dollar they finagled out of their unsuspecting victims.

It’s easy to get in over your head in credit card debt.  And few things are rougher than trying to slog your way out of it. Fortunately, most consumer credit counselors do try to do the right thing.  They’ll give you the tools and show you the way out.  But, at the end of the day, it’s up to you to kick the plastic habit.  The best medicine, I think, is showing your credit cards the business side of a sharp pair of scissors.

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Is a College Degree Worth What It Costs?

College Costs

Listen to StitcherNewly-minted high school graduates are looking at their newly-awarded diplomas and most of them are asking, “What comes next?”  And the usual answer they get is, “Go to college. Get a degree.”

Paying for a College Degree

But how to pay for this college education?  “Sticker shock” changes a lot of minds in a hurry when they think about repaying thousands of dollars of student loans for a dozen or more years.

How did college get so expensive so quickly?  A couple of generations ago, graduates emerged with a diploma, a good job and no debt.  And is the best college always the most expensive one?

Tough Questions and Answers about College

Give a listen as noted social commentator Malcolm Gladwell and two-time Harvard prx-logo-B (2)president, Derek Bok, take on these tough questions.

The opportunity to hear Malcolm Gladwell has been made available from the generosity of WYNC and the Brian Lehrer Program.  Thank you very much. Here’s a direct link that you may also want to enjoy:


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A Tribute to B. B. King

BB King

Listen to StitcherHe bought his first guitar and started playing it when he was 12 years old.  And he never stopped for the next 77 years.

Riley B. King, known later as “Blues Boy” and finally as “B. B. King,” lived a life on the road, touring endlessly, playing the blues as only he could.  His last concert was just six months before he died when he was 89 years old.

Here’s a tribute to the “King of the Blues” curated by Paul Ingles and made available to usPublic Radio Exchange through the Public Radio Exchange (PRX).  It features some of King’s finest work and, best of all, tells the story of why all of his guitars were named “Lucille.”  It’s a story with two lessons that served King well and may explain his longevity and laid-back style – never go inside a burning building and don’t fight over a woman!

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Memorial Day – Remembering D-Day and Port Chicago

Memorial Day

Listen to StitcherMemorial Day is the national holiday that honors the men and women who have served, and are serving, in the country’s armed forces.  It especially commemorates those who made the ultimate sacrifice in their service to the country.

Memorial Day is always the last Monday in May.  But it wasn’t always that way.  Before 1967, the holiday was known as “Decoration Day.”

Examining a pair of events – one well-known and the other not so well-known – adds to the meaning of Memorial Day. Soon after Memorial Day – June 6, to be exact – is one of the most important dates of our modern history. It’s D-Day, when the allied armies crossed the English Channel, landed on the beaches at Normandy, liberated France and began the assault that would lead to the eventual defeat of Nazi Germany.

“Operation Overload,” as it was called, was the largest amphibious military operation in history.  And had it failed, our modern history wouldn’t be what it is. A featured part of our radio program and podcast are some first-hand remembrances from some of the service men who were there. Don’t miss hearing their stories.  Special thanks go to the Public Radio Exchange (PRX) for distributing this piece so we make it available to you.

No less important for understanding the reason for Memorial Day is knowing what happened at Port Chicago in San Francisco Bay at 10:18 PM on July 17, 1944.  It’s aPRX-Logo story full of twists and turns.  And you can hear it from five members of what became known as the “Port Chicago 50.”  320 Navy seamen lost their lives serving their country on that fateful night.  But they weren’t part of a heroic battle on a foreign shore.  Don’t miss this story.


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What Do You Do When It’s All Gray?


Listen to StitcherHow do you decide something when there’s no bright line to tell you whether it’s the right thing to do?

The Constitution’s 8th Amendment is supposed to protect Americans from their government subjecting them to “cruel and unusual punishment.”  But what makes a punishment be cruel or unusual?  And to be protected, the punishment must be both cruel and unusual.

One way to know is to weigh the punishment against the crime.  Make the punishment proportional to the crime.  It would be unusual and certainly cruel to sentence a shoplifter to life in prison, for example.

But before trying to balance a punishment to its crime, shouldn’t we first know whether the criminal knew what they were doing.  Did they intend to do what they did or was it an accident?

Most punishments for serious crimes aren’t allowed unless the prosecutor can prove the defendant planned in advance or wanted to do what they did.  And that’s something a severely mentally handicapped person shouldn’t be able to do.

That’s the reasoning behind the US Supreme Court’s ruling that the death penalty can’t be imposed for criminals who suffer from severe mental disabilities. But what about cases where it’s not clear whether those disabilities are severe?  What’s the right or best punishment when there’s no easy test for getting the answer?  Give our podcast a listen to dig deeper into this question.

You’ll also want to stay tuned for a lively discussion about how the internet’s greatest virtue – free, open and unregulated access – can also be its worst vice.  Should it be a prx-logo-B (2)crime to track down private information and publish it on the internet in order to embarrass or discredit someone?  What if the information is an “intimate image” that gets posted without the person’s consent or knowledge, doing what’s called “revenge porn.”  You’ll want to listen up and weigh in as Oregon’s legislature wrestles with this technological nightmare.


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