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FROM THIS EPISODE

When the great recession got under way, credit card companies began changing their rules, making it harder for struggling consumers to pay their bills. Congress enacted reform in May, but gave the industry nine months to clean up its act. What we told you in March, when this discussion originally aired, will still be valid until after this Christmas. Also, retailers are facing a weak holiday system, and two and a half million Muslim pilgrims descend on Mecca.

Producers:
Gary Scott
Karen Radziner

Reporter's Notebook 2.5 Million Pilgrims Descend on Mecca for the Hajj 7 MIN, 56 SEC

At least once in the lifetime of every able-bodied believer, Islam requires a pilgrimage to Mecca. Between the seventh and thirteenth days of the twelfth month of the Islamic calendar, millions of people unite in religious solidarity. This year's observance is already under way. Radwan Masmoudi, who performed his "Hajj" in December of 2007, is founder and president of the Center for the Study of Islam and Democracy, a think-tank in Washington, DC.

Guests:
Radwan Masmoudi, Founding President, Center for the Study of Islam and Democracy

Making News Retailers Face Another Year of Weak Holiday Sales 7 MIN, 47 SEC

Economists tell us the recession is over, but that's not necessarily good news for the retail season that begins today. For the second year in a row, "Black Friday" may not be the day that they start making profits. Kevin G. Hall writes about economics for the McClatchy Newspapers.

Guests:
Kevin Hall, McClatchy Newspapers (@KevinGHall)

Credit Card Nation

Robert Manning

Main Topic The Credit Card Economy Comes Home to Roost 35 MIN, 16 SEC

Credit card companies offered high limits and low interest rates to millions of US consumers. Then came the Great Recession. When we first broadcast this program in March, companies were reducing credit lines, jacking up rates and closing accounts — and they're still at it. Credit card reform was passed and signed into law, but Congress gave the industry nine months to end most of the outlawed practices. So what you  hear today will be valid through this year's Christmas season. We can still ask, who's looking out for consumers?

Guests:
Kelli Grant, Senior Consumer Reporter, SmartMoney.com
Robert Manning, Rochester Institute of Technology
Gail Hillebrand, Manager, Consumers Union's Financial Services Advocacy Campaign
Dan Ariely, Professor of Behavioral Economics, Duke University

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