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FROM THIS EPISODE

Despite mass shootings, including the slaughter of children in Newtown, Connecticut, Congress has refused President Obama's demands for new gun control. This week's executive actions guarantee the issue will be part of a presidential campaign — for the first time since the year 2000.

Later on the program, panic about terrorism is "at least as frightening as the violence itself." We talk to a scientist about thinking rationally.

Producers:
Andrea Brody
Paul von Zielbauer
Sarah Sweeney

North Korean Nuclear Threat Resurfaces 6 MIN, 30 SEC

North Korea claimed today it has tested a thermonuclear weapon, also known as a "hydrogen bomb." That claim is being questioned, but the test alone was enough to generate an emergency session of the UN Security Council. Robert Litwak, who was director of nonproliferation on President Clinton's National Security Council, is now at the Wilson Center in Washington.

Guests:
Robert Litwak, Wilson Center (@TheWilsonCenter)

More:
UN on North Korea's 'deeply troubling' bomb test

Gun Control and the Race to the White House 34 MIN, 3 SEC

For the first time since Al Gore lost to George W. Bush, Democrats are pushing for gun control in a presidential campaign. Three years ago, the US Senate refused to enact new gun control legislation.  Now President Obama is using his bully pulpit to explain admittedly "modest" executive actions guaranteed to get the political pot boiling.

Sure enough, Hillary Clinton's embracing them, while Republicans are predictably outraged. With California enacting new restrictions while Texas goes for open carry, which party is taking the greatest risk in the national campaign?

Guests:
Mark Follman, Mother Jones magazine (@markfollman)
Sandy Phillips, parent of Jessica Ghawi (@MamaRedfield)
Ron Means, Austin Cab Company (@austincab1)
James Jacobs, New York University (@jamesjacobsnyu)
Ron Brownstein, Atlantic Media / National Journal Group (@RonBrownstein)

More:
Follman on Obama's attempt to shake up the gun debate in his final year in office
Jacob's 'Can Gun Control Work?'
Atlantic magazine on the split between the states over guns

The Second Civil War

Ronald Brownstein

How Should We Think Rationally about Fear? 9 MIN, 16 SEC

Crimes identified as "terror" attacks inspire panic. Does that distract our attention from thinking rationally about what's really dangerous and what's not?


Photo by fotologic

Immediately after 14 people were shot to death at a Christmas party last month in San Bernardino, attention focused on gun control. When the religious extremism of the killers was revealed, "the anxiety level skyrocketed [even though]…nothing had changed about the substance of the crime." That's according to Lawrence M. Krauss, in the New Yorker magazine. Krauss read about the crime and the changing reaction while he was on a cruise to the Antarctic. He's a physicist and director of the Origins Project at Arizona State University.

Guests:
Lawrence Krauss, Arizona State University (@LKrauss1)

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