Republican leaders in Wisconsin have passed a bill that strips public employees' unions of some collective bargaining rights. Late Wednesday night Republican senators in Wisconsin found a way to get around the absence of their Democratic peers and voted on the legislation without them. For nearly three weeks, protesters, both for and against union rights and benefits, have flooded the state's capitol. Host Neal Conan checks in with Jason Stein, capitol reporter for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel in Madison, Wisconsin and New York Times correspondent Steven Greenhouse to fact check some of the oft-repeated contentions about public workers.
NASCAR Reporter Fired
When Trevor Bayne crossed the finish line at last month's Daytona 500, he became the youngest driver ever to win that event. It was a close, emotional win after a wild race and the crowd erupted in applause. So did a number of journalists in the press box. One of them, Tom Bowles, argues the "no cheering in the press box" rule is outdated. The now-former freelance writer for SI.com complained that he was fired for publicly defending his actions. He joins host Neal Conan to talk about whether or not journalists of any kind should cheer for the people they're covering.
When poet Rachel Hadas' husband George began showing signs of early-onset dementia, she turned to literature for support. In her new memoir Strange Relation, she writes that though life did not turn out as expected, "I am still in charge of what I write." Poetry became her life line, not to soothe or console, but to make her sit up, and pay attention. Host Neal Conan talks with Hadas about her new book and the cultural artifacts that offer insight and support in life's challenging times.
Comic Maz Jobrani
Iranian-American comedian Maz Jobrani can't stand it when his friends assume he knows why gas prices are expensive because he's from the Middle East. Today host Neal Conan speaks with Axis of Evil Comedy Tour co-founder Maz Jobrani about being the face of Middle Eastern humor in America today: How does he approach identity politics? Is it okay to poke fun at the tumult in North Africa and the Middle East today?