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Act Three: Yes, In My Backyard

The story of the government cracking down on smokestack emissions at a city factory...even though the residents LIKE the emissions. We hear from Jorge Just, who explains the one, magical, special secret about Chicago no one outside Chicago ever believes is true, from Brian Urbaszewski, Director of Environmental Health Programs for the American Lung Association in Chicago; and from Julie Armitage, Manager of Compliance and Enforcement for the Bureau of Air at the Illinois State EPA.

Prologue

Ira talks to reporters John Diedrich and Raquel Rutlidge, from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. They got a call from a landlord who said agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives had trashed his place.

Act One: WTF, ATF?

After John and Raquel published their story, the U.S. Congress got involved.

Act Two: The Border Between America and America

If you haven't spent much time in the southwest, you may not know about this, but there are these border patrol checkpoints that are just in the middle of interstate highways and other roads... not at the border. They're as far as a hundred miles away.

Act One

News kept coming all week about the National Security Agency collecting data on the phone numbers we dial. Government officials are saying there’s nothing to be alarmed about.

Act Four

At Guantanamo Bay, hearings resumed for Abd al Rahim al Nashiri, who is accused of organizing the attack on the USS Cole, in 2000. This week was the first time reporters had been back to Guantanamo since President Obama gave a speech in which he said he’d renew efforts to close the prison.

Act Two

The story of Craig Monteilh continues: What happens when you turn someone in to the FBI who, it turns out, is working for the FBI? Trevor Aaronson, whom Sam Black interviewed for this story, has a book coming out called The Terror Factory.

Prologue

Host Ira Glass plays tape from a political rally in support of a Chicago politician named Derrick Smith, who had just been arrested for accepting a bribe. His supporters likely believed that Smith had erred...but they also believed that the other candidate was even worse.

Act One: The Postcard Always Rings Twice

Producer Alex Blumberg tells the story of Jeff Smith, a former Missouri State Senator who spent last year in federal prison. The story of how Jeff ended up there includes large sins, but begins with a relatively small one.

Act One: The Hamster Wheel

Planet Money's Alex Blumberg and NPR Congressional correspondent Andrea Seabrook take a tour through the world of money and politics, discovering just how much time members of Congress spend raising money and which committee assignments yield the biggest campaign donations. They also try to figure out what all this money is actually buying.For an interactive map of Washington DC fundraiser locations, charts of the best and worst types of fundraisers, and other online extras, visit Planet Money's website.

Prologue

In the town of Nowthen, MN, residents held meetings to debate whether a police force is worth the cost. And in Springfield, IL, the state police motorcycle division has been cut, leading to an increase in highway fatalities.

Act One: The Sound of Sirens

New Jersey governor Chris Christie has led some of the most sweeping budget cuts in the country. Producer Sarah Koenig reports from Trenton, where one third of the police force has been laid off, leading to dramatically increased crime.

Act Two: Dream Come True

Perhaps the biggest proponent of smaller government in the United States is lobbyist and activist Grover Norquist, head of Americans for Tax Reform. He envisions a government reduced in size by half, and has compelled scores of conservative politicians take pledges to never raise taxes.

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 Three: Job Fairies

For a look at the nuts and bolts of government job creation, This American Life Senior Producer Julie Snyder and Planet Money correspondent Adam Davidson attend a meeting of the International Economic Developers Council in San Diego.
Serial Season Three: Hear Every Episode