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It’s been ten years since the Great Recession reared its ugly head, lurching the country into a state of economic crisis. 

This hour, we look back and ask: What effect did the downturn have on the American public? And how did it come to reshape perceptions of the so-called ‘American dream’?

We check in with a senior researcher at the Pew Research Center. We also sit down with experts in the fields of economics and sociology. And we want to hear from you.

Whether you’re an immigrant or a native-born citizen, what do the words American dream mean to you? Is the answer to that question more or less clear now than it was a decade ago? 

Ervins Strauhmanis / Creative Commons

Three Merrimack Valley, Massachusetts neighborhoods were marred by natural gas explosions Thursday, in an incident that left one dead and several others injured. This hour, we take an in-depth look at what happened and consider the likelihood that a similar situation could unfold here in Connecticut.

Later, we learn why some local residents and advocates are airing their grievances against Veyo, the company contracted to provide non-emergency transportation to adults and children on Medicaid. How did the California-based enterprise come to operate in Connecticut in the first place? We find out.

And finally, we wade through the known and unknown effects of e-cigarette use, and find out why the electronic tobacco devices are so fashionable among youths today. Have you owned or smoked an e-cigarette? What about your child or children? We want to hear from you. 

Netflix

In this week's Ridiculous Moments in Late-Stage Capitalism: Pizza Hut's new shoes -- because there are Pizza Hut shoes, apparently; they're, of course, called "Pie Tops" -- will pause live TV when your pizza delivery arrives. Amazon's Echo devices have started spontaneously laughing at people, which might really be scarier than it is funny. And, to celebrate International Women's Day, KFC is introducing the world to Colonel Sanders's wife, Mrs. Claudia Sanders.

And: Netflix's Seven Seconds is not, it turns out, the prequel to a Luke Perry vehicle, rodeo movie it sounds like. It is instead "the contrived, misery-riddled show" that you maybe won't be able to stop watching. And it is also maybe the coldest Netflix show.

Lore Sjoberg / flickr

If it's the clothes that make the man, then it's the costume that makes the superhero. But for as much as these brightly colored onesies reveal about their wearer, they may in fact reveal more about us as a society.

United Airlines announced that it will compensate all passengers who were on board United Express Flight 3411 Sunday night. That's the Chicago-to-Louisville flight in which a 69-year-old man was dragged off the plane because he didn't want to give up his seat.

It was about unity, Pepsi explained. But the company's new ad, set at a protest march, was quickly called out for being tone-deaf, offensive, and perhaps worst of all for the brand: not "woke."

Screenshot / PorterHouse Media

For decades, the three counties of Massachusetts along the Connecticut River — Franklin, Hampshire and Hampden — have been collectively known as the Pioneer Valley, but some boosters of the region decided the moniker is old-fashioned and confusing. 

marc thiele/flickr creative commons

Public health officials worldwide are calling on their governments to get tough on alcohol marketing. A special issue of the scientific journal Addiction, edited by a UConn professor, finds that alcohol marketing to young people has a direct link to early drinking. And social media also plays a crucial role. 

Wordpress / Flickr

  The way we listen to music has been changing for years: iPods replaced Walkmans, playlists replaced albums, and streaming services replaced shopping for music altogether. And as our listening habits have changed, so has the business of being a musician.

Mystic Aquarium

The state’s chambers of commerce say they want to be the ones to step up and oversee regional tourism promotion, now that the state of Connecticut has defunded its tourism districts. 

This year, politicians and political action committees have spent millions of dollars connecting Republican candidates to Donald Trump, and Democrats to the policies of Governor Dannel Malloy.

Your Dilapidated Barn Is Super Trendy. Just Ask HGTV

Sep 1, 2016

Larry Gerdes is having his barn taken down and disassembled in Malta Bend, Mo. It's about the size of a three-car garage but stands much taller in a clearing surrounded by 6-foot stalks of corn.

The barn's exterior is graying, part of its roof is missing, and there's a gaping hole looking out from the hayloft. It's about 100 years old, and it's not really useful.

"It's deteriorated and it would cost a lot of money to repair it," Gerdes says. "And it doesn't fit into modern farming. Unless you got two cows to let them loaf inside, nothing fits, and it's just obsolete."

Yismagazine / Flickr

In an era awash in the rollout of brand new gadgets, gizmos, fashions, and fads, it's easy to think of obsolescence as part of the natural order -- remember popped lapels, pay phones and laserdisc players? But the idea that an object should quickly fall from favor, lose functionality, and find itself in a landfill somewhere is quite new -- and it didn't come about by accident.

President Obama is expected to sign a federal GMO labeling bill into law soon. This would nullify Vermont's labeling law, as well as laws passed by Connecticut and Maine that have not been enacted yet — effective immediately.

After years of bitter debate and legislative stalemate over the labeling of genetically modified ingredients, a compromise proposal sailed through Congress in breathtaking speed over the past three weeks.

The House of Representative passed the measure on Thursday with solid support from both Democrats and Republicans. It now goes to the White House, where President Obama is expected to sign it.

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