Rundown 5/29

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A worker assembles an Opel Corsa car at the Opel car factory, owned by General Motors Corp., in Eisenach, Germany, on Monday, May 4, 2009. Fiat Group SpA's chief executive was expected in Berlin for discussions Monday with the German government on the company's hopes of taking over General Motors Corp.'s Opel unit _ a prospect that has prompted skepticism among employee representatives.  (AP)
A worker assembles an Opel Corsa car at the Opel car factory, owned by General Motors Corp., in Eisenach, Germany, on Monday, May 4, 2009. (AP)

General Motors Europe

It's crunch time for what was once the world's biggest car manufacturer. General Motors is on the edge of bankruptcy. That's of huge concern in Europe where GM employs more than 50,000 people. GM is trying to sell it's European brands - Opel and Vauxhall - and there are reports that the Canadian-Austrian car parts maker Magna has reached an agreement to rescue GM Europe.  We hear more from the BBC's Business Correspondent Mark Gregory.

'The Grapes of Wrath' Revisited

As people try to make sense of the current economic crisis, many are turning to the story of Tom Joad and his family's journey from dust-bowl-plagued Oklahoma to the fertile farm fields of California in search of work and a new start. Written 70 years ago, John Steibeck's Depression era classic, "The Grapes of Wrath" still holds lessons for us today, as we'll hear from our guest Susan Shillinglaw, Professor of English at San Jose State University and scholar-in-residence at The National Steinbeck Center in Salinas, California. We also talk with Marcia Young, from the Jackson District Library in Jackson, Michigan who organized education and outreach events around community readings of "The Grapes of Wrath" " to help people in her hometown cope with increased foreclosures and poverty.

President Obama Announces 'Cyber Czar' Position

The Obama administration is responding to the threat of cyber attacks by creating the post of "cyber czar" and a new military command for cyberspace. But how big a threat is cyberwarfare? We speak with Sami Saydjari, a cybersecurity expert with the consulting group the Cyber Defense Agency.

More Countries Use Internet Censorship

We've heard about countries like China, Iran and North Korea censoring websites. But our guest, John Palfrey of Harvard's Berman Center for Internet and Society says the practice is becoming more widespread---more than three dozen countries do extensive censoring, even France, Australia and the U.S. engage in some type of censorship.

Listener Letters

We hear comments on our Memorial Day segment on the mental health problems of World War II veterans, our conversation about a forthcoming book that contains only words that begin with the lettter "A," and our segment advising young people on their finances.


A musical family called The Gregory Brothers makes newscasters and politicians sing the news. The group uses a program called Auto-Tune to remix speeches and alter the pitch of famous voices. We speak with the youngest of the brothers, Michael Gregory.

Music from the show

  • Bruce Springsteen, "The Ghost of Tom Jode"
  • "Red River Valley" From the soundtrack of the 1940 version of 'The Grapes of Wrath'
  • The Mermen, "With No Definite Future and No Purpose"
  • The Album Leaf, "Thule"

This program aired on May 29, 2009.


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