Here and Now with Robin Young and Jeremy Hobson
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Wednesday March 4, 2009

Feeling the Stimulus

Money from President Obama’s Stimulus package is rolling out, including $50 billion for transportation infrastructure. But what’s really shovel-ready? Our guest is Elizabeth Williamson of the Wall Street Journal.

Making Sense of the Economy

The stimulus package, bank bailouts, new opportunities for the former executives at Countrywide, and more with financial journalist, Roger Lowenstein. His latest book is, “While America Aged: How Pension Debts Ruined General Motors, Stopped the NYC Subways, Bankrupted San Diego, and Loom as the Next Financial Crisis.”

Roads to Rails

As a result of the stimulus package, a lot of money will pour into road and bridge repair. But what about improving the nation’s rail system? Philip Longman says taxpayers would get a bigger bang for their buck by investing in the freight rail system. This could move freight now carried by trucks to the rails — roads would be safer, it would relieve congestion, and be better for the environment. Longman is a senior fellow at The New America Foundation.

Monks’ Weekend

The Catholic church in Britain is attempting to lure would-be monks and nuns into the monastic life with “taster” weekends in the cloisters. The move is a bid to reverse the sharp decline in those taking up religious orders. Visitors will take meals in silence, and pray five times a day at the free weekends being hosted by a Benedictine monastery in the southern county of West Sussex. The BBC’s Yvonne Murray visited Worth Abbey and prepared a report.

Sensitive Female Chord Progression

Entertainment writer Marc Hirsh has been noticing the same chord progression in a large number of rock and pop hits over the past few years. He’s dubbed it the “Sensitive Female Chord Progression” because he first heard it in songs like Joan Osborne’s “One of Us” and Sarah McLachlan’s “Building a Mystery”. But guys can play it too. We explore the chords with Marc Hirsh.

Music From the Show

  • Calexico, “Crumble”
  • Peter Paul and Mary, “Freight Train”
  • Sarah McLachlin, “Building a Mystery”
  • Joan Osborne, “One of Us,” written by Eric Bazilian
  • Beyonce, “If I Were a Boy,” written by Toby Gad and BC Jean
  • Green Day, “Holiday.” written by Green Day
  • Nina Gordon, “Tonight and the Rest of My Life”
  • The Offspring, “Self Esteem”
  • Rob Paravonian “Pachabel Rant”
  • Rihanna (with Jay-Z), “Umbrella” written by Christopher “Tricky” Stewart, Terius “The Dream” Nash, Kuk Harrell, and Jay-Z.
Robin and Jeremy

Robin Young and Jeremy Hobson host Here & Now, a live two-hour production of NPR and WBUR Boston.

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