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Prologue

Host Ira Glass speaks with Columbia University professor Peter Coleman, who shares some surprising details about the battle surrounding the abortion debate in Boston during the 1990s. We learn what secret meetings between the warring groups could accomplish, and what they couldn't.

Act One: Solidarity For Never

After a 2010 plane crash killed dozens of Polish dignitaries, including the president, some thought that the country would cross the political rift and come together to mourn. Reporter Amy Drozdowska-McGuire tells what happened instead.

Act One: You've Got Shale

Producer Sarah Koenig continues the story Terry Engelder and Dan Volz, their rival calculations about natural gas in Pennsylvania, and how each was treated by his university. She explains how Pennsylvania's universities, politicans and industry have united to develop natural gas.

Act Two: Ground War

Sarah takes us to Mt. Pleasant, PA, where a gas exploration company called Range Resources has leased 95% of the township's land.

Act One: Can the Government Move My Cheese?

Chana Joffe-Walt visits a governor who first became famous for promising hisstate he'd create jobs: Scott Walker of Wisconsin. (Yes, he's famous forsome other things since.) Walker promised 250,000 new jobs and 10,000 newbusiness in his state by the end of his first term.

Act Six: Thursday, Greenville SC

Thursday night was a make-or-break evening for candidate Herman Cain at the first Republican Presidential debate. Robert Smith from our Planet Money team talked to him about his strategy.

Act Two: Monday, Cairo Egypt

Nancy Updike reports from Cairo, Egypt about what people were doing there this week, namely: going to meetings to create their new democracy.

Act Three: Side Effects May Include...

In Tehran in 2004, Omid Memarian confessed to doing things he'd never done, meeting people he'd never met, following plots he'd never heard of. Why he did that, and why a lot of other people have confessed to the same things, is all in the fine print. This American Life producer Nancy Updike tells the story.

Prologue

Host Ira Glass speaks with Jim McManus, whose book Positively Fifth Street inspired Ira to start playing poker. Jim talks about holding and folding, why a poker novice is sometimes the toughest player to beat...and the Cuban Missile Crisis.

Act Two: Kings Do Not Fold

Producer Nancy Updike shares a pattern that she's noticed recently: eleven steps that Middle Eastern dictators have been taking on the path to losing power.

Prologue

Ira speaks with Middle East specialist Michelle Dunne to answer this question: Before the recent Arab uprisings, just how hard was the US pushing the government of Egypt to enact human rights reforms? (7 1/2 minutes)

Prologue

Ira Glass plays clips from a documentary film called Please Vote for Me, by Weijun Chen. It follows a third grade class in central China in the very first election they've ever had or witnessed.

Act One: Trickle Down History

Reporter Starlee Kine observes what would have happened if the U.S.-led invasion of Grenada in 1983 had been decided not by Ronald Reagan, but by a bunch of middle schoolers...and she remembers a class trip to the Nixon library, where Nixon aide HR Haldeman spoke.

Act Three: Minor Authorities

Jyllian Gunther visits The Brooklyn Free School, where there are no courses, no tests and no homework, and where the kids decide everything about how the school is run, including discipline. Jyllian is a filmmaker, working on a documentary called Growing Small.