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FROM THIS EPISODE

It's been a week saturated with the misbehavior and the fate of Anthony Weiner. Today, we talk about the unpredictable dynamics of political scandal. Also, military action in Libya and war powers, and surprising findings about the planet Mercury.

Banner image: Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-NY) enters to announce his resignation June 16, 2011 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images

Producers:
Frances Anderton
Karen Radziner
Christian Bordal

Reporter's Notebook Orbiting Messenger Sends Back Surprising Data on Mercury 4 MIN, 50 SEC

NASA's Messenger is the first space craft to orbit the planet Mercury, where it's been circling for 88 days. Some previous theories are being confirmed but many others are ending up in the "dustbin of science." Messenger left Earth in 2004, and it's now mapping the surface of Mercury in unprecedented detail, providing much new — often puzzling — information. Pete Spotts is covering the story for the Christian Science Monitor.

Guests:
Peter Spotts, Christian Science Monitor

Main Topic The Random Nature of Political Scandal 38 MIN, 23 SEC

New York Democrat Anthony Weiner resigned without any evidence he ever committed a crime. Was it because fellow Democrats didn't back him up, even though there's no evidence he was anything more than an Internet exhibitionist. Was it because he lied about tweeting those pictures? Louisiana's Republican Senator David Vitter was re-elected, despite being well known to patronize prostitutes. Was it because he never tweeted at all? Why is one public figure run out of town while another one rides out the storm? Is the private morality of public figures subject to double standards? Should Americans, their leaders and the media be less obsessed with the sex-life of politicians or are they just being human?

Guests:
Jim Dwyer, New York Times
John Portmann, University of Virginia
Joe Conason, Investigative Fund
Robert Thompson, Syracuse University
Kate Obenshain, Republican Party of Virginia (formerly) (@kateobenshain)

A History of Sin

John Portmann

Making News Military Action in Libya and War Powers 7 MIN, 47 SEC

As NATO jets dropped more bombs on Tripoli today, Moammar Gadhafi issued an audio message denouncing defectors as cowards and claiming the Western alliance faces defeat. In Washington, meantime, Republican House Speaker John Boehner has been suggesting he might cut off funding for the US role in the operation. Aamer Madhani is national security correspondent for the National Journal.

Guests:
Aamer Madhani, USA Today (@AamerISmad)

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