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The Stimulus and the Smart Grid

The $787 billion stimulus package that President Obama will sign in Denver today sets aside $4.5 billion to upgrade the nation's electrical grid to a so-called "smart grid." The energy saving technology is being tested on a large scale in Boulder, Colorado where 45,000 homes will be hooked into the "smart grid" by summer. The Chancellor's Residence at the University of Colorado-Boulder has become the model home. We talk with the chancellor's wife, Val Peterson, about life on the "smart grid."

Also, we speak to Gargi Chakrabarty, business reporter for the Rocky Mountain News about the bill's pluses and minuses for the state.

Golden State Losing Luster

California lawmakers meet for a fourth day to try to resolve a more than $40 billion dollar hole in the state's budget, that's led Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger to issue tens of thousands of pink slips in an effort to cut costs. We get the latest from John Myers, Sacramento Bureau Chief for KQED public radio.

GM and Chrysler Face Bailout Deadline

Today is the deadline for General Motors and Chrysler to present dramatic restructuring plans to prove that they're worthy of more federal aid to stay afloat. We speak with New York Times reporter Micki Maynard about what's at stake for the US auto industry.

Overturn for Bush's Provider Conscience Rule?

A new rule put into place in the last days of the Bush administration protects people who work in the health industry from employer discrimination if they refuse to provide services they find morally objectionable. It's called the "provider conscience" rule and President Obama is considering overturning it. We speak with Wall Street Journal reporter Laura Meckler and Dr. Michele Phillips, a doctor in San Antonio, Texas, who resigned from the hospital where she worked last year rather than prescribe oral contraceptives to single women.

From Mao's Prison to Playing Willy Loman

The life of the great Chinese actor Ying Ruocheng who was imprisoned by the Communist regime. He emerged to translate Bob Hope's act in Beijing and to convince Arthur Miller to bring Death of a Salesman to China. Ying was also a spy for the Chinese government. We'll speak with Claire Conceison, who collaborated with Ying on his just released autobiography, "Voices Carry: Behind Bars and Backstage During China's Cultural Revolution and Reform." Conceison is associate professor of Drama at Tufts University and Research Associate at Harvard's Fairbanks Center.

Music from the show

  • the Lickets, "Crowd of Pimps in the Rain"
  • John Rich, "Shuttin' Down Detroit"
  • Boubacar Traore, "Kar Kar Madison"
  • Buddhist Monks on the Little Buddha soundtrack, "Heart Sutra"

This program aired on February 17, 2009.

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