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FROM THIS EPISODE

Have Americans come to prefer TV, iPods, texting and Facebook to flesh and blood friendships? Do they know their neighbors? Can they overcome increased isolation and re-engage in the business of civic life? Also, a suspected breach in the reactor at a Japanese nuclear plant. On Reporter's Notebook, today is the 100th anniversary of New York's Triangle Fire, which killed garment workers and led to regulations against unsafe conditions for workers. Tomorrow, organized labor will rally around the country on behalf of collective bargaining.

Banner image of the community of Highland, east of San Bernardino, California: David McNew/Getty Images

Peter Lovenheim'sIn The Neighborhood

P., (Author) Lovenheim

Producers:
Christian Bordal
Katie Cooper
Karen Radziner

Making News Breach in Reactor Suspected at Japanese Nuclear Plant 7 MIN, 47 SEC

Officials in Japan have increased the radius of evacuation from around the Fukushima nuclear power plant after workers' feet were burned by water with 10,000 times more radioactive contamination than normal. That could mean a breach in the containment vessel of Reactor Number 3 and a release of plutonium as well as uranium. William Tobey, former deputy administration of the National Nuclear Security Administration, is now at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government.

Guests:
William Tobey, Harvard's Kennedy School of Government

Reporter's Notebook 100 Years after the Triangle Fire, Labor Laws under Attack 7 MIN, 43 SEC

This is the hundredth anniversary of the Triangle Fire in New York's Greenwich Village. When a fire broke out at a garment factory, 146 people either burned alive or jumped to their deaths from the ninth floor of a building with exits locked from the outside. The results included government regulation and the legalization of collective bargaining. Labor leaders say there's now a "war on workers." Protests are planned tomorrow in Wisconsin, Iowa and California, where Teamsters President James Hoffa will join a march through downtown Los Angeles.

Guests:
James Hoffa, International Brotherhood of Teamsters

Main Topic America's Loss of Community 35 MIN, 30 SEC

neighborhood.jpgWhen an entire family tragically vanished from a house down the street, Peter Lovenheim realized he hadn't known them or his remaining neighbors either. To the distress of his teen-age daughter — and his own surprise  — many of them accepted when he asked to sleep over so they could get better acquainted. His book on what happened has reignited discussion about the increased fragmentation of American life and the broader issue of civic disengagement. Has real communication been replaced by communication technologies? Can a nation of people who don't know each other continue to stick together?

Guests:
Peter Lovenheim, 'In the Neighborhood'
Tom Sander, Harvard University's Saguaro Seminar
Deborah Puntenney, Northwest University
Judith Donath, Harvard University (@judithd)

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