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FROM THIS EPISODE

America's nuclear arsenal has been subject to a terrifying number of accidents, miscalculations and inexplicable blunders, without a devastating catastrophe — so far. We talk with investigative reporter Eric Schlosser about how close we've come, how little the public's been told, and whether we're safer now than we used to be. Also, the Washington stalemate and how it happened, and the latest hot-button issues heading to the US Supreme Court in its new term.

Banner image: Various nuclear missiles. Photo: tommytex2001

Command and Control

Eric Schlosser

Producers:
Evan George
Christian Bordal
Katie Cooper

Main Topic US Nuclear Weapons, Past and Future 32 MIN, 20 SEC

During the Cold War, atomic bombs fell out of the sky over North Carolina. A missile tipped with a hydrogen bomb blew up in Arkansas. Most Americans never knew about 700 "significant" incidents that could have produced historic catastrophes — here in the US. We talk with investigative reporter Eric Schlosser, who spent five years searching declassified documents to discover how often dumb luck made the difference.

Two men involved in the Damascus incident were interviewed for The Missileers, an episode of UnFictional, a program produced and broadcast here at KCRW radio in Santa Monica. The first voice is that of Greg Devlin, a Titan II liquid fuel systems maintenance specialist. The next is Ronald Gray, who was in charge of quality control at McConnell Air Force base and asked to investigate two days after the Damascus explosion.

Listen to the full story of The Missileers.

Guests:
Eric Schlosser, investigative reporter and author (@FoodChainsFilm)
Steven Pifer, Brookings Institution (@steven_pifer)

Making News Social Issues Central in Supreme Court’s New Term 7 MIN, 49 SEC

The US Supreme Court opened its new term today, having accepted a group of cases that could produce new precedents on a series of hot-button issues. Jess Bravin covers the court for the Wall Street Journal.

Guests:
Jess Bravin, Wall Street Journal (@JessBravin)

Today's Talking Point The Shutdown was Months in the Making 11 MIN, 7 SEC

The government shutdown may have taken most Americans by surprise. But the New York Times reports it’s the consequences of long-term planning by more than three dozen conservative groups.

Molly Ball covers politics for the Atlantic. Sheryl Gay Stolberg covers the personalities, ideas and culture of Washington for the New York Times.

Guests:
Molly Ball, The Atlantic (@mollyesque)
Sheryl Gay Stolberg, New York Times (@sherylstolberg)

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