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Need to Know, December 3, 2010

This week on Need to Know, we examine the recent flare-up between North and South Korea and what it means for China, the U.S, and the balance of power in the region. We also revisit the question of nuclear waste storage and explore the high cost of indecision when it comes to storing the 70,000 tons of nuclear waste that have accumulated over the past 60 years. Then, we profile the young men of the “Fort Dix Five” who were sentenced to life for plotting to kill U.S. soldiers, focusing on the question of the U.S. strategy of “preemptive prosecution” in rooting out homegrown terrorist plots. Jon Meacham speaks with author Gary Shteyngart about his novel, “Super Sad True Love Story,” a witty and dystopian tale that depicts a collapsed economy and the decline of literacy in America.

Watch the individual segments:

Flare-up between North and South Korea tests U.S., Chinese power

Jon Meacham talks with Charles Armstrong, the director of the Center for Korean Research at Columbia University, about how the recent flare-up between North and South Korea is testing the relative power of the U.S. and China in the region.

Legacy of waste: The high cost of nuclear power

As nuclear energy is touted as a necessary part of U.S. energy policy, and plans are in the works to construct the first new nuclear power reactors in decades, there is still no resolution to the question: Where do we store all the waste from those power plants? The Maine Yankee power plant, closed years ago, is just the starting point of a report on the high costs of indecision. Read some of the options that are being considered in dealing with nuclear waste. (Originally aired September 24, 2010)

Before the fact: Homegrown terrorism in the post-9/11 world

In late December 2008, five men were sentenced to life for plotting to kill American soldiers at the Fort Dix Army base in New Jersey. The case became known as the “Fort Dix Five.” Using the Fort Dix story as a case study, Need to Know examines the U.S. strategy after September 11 for stopping and finding homegrown terrorists before they strike. (Originally aired September 10, 2010)

Gary Shteyngart on dachshunds, Lenin and reading Twain in Russia

Jon Meacham speaks with author Gary Shteyengart about his new book, “Super Sad True Love Story,” a dystopian take on a future in which the U.S. has become an economic supplicant to China, the country is rapidly becoming a police state, and the main character’s penchant for reading books is seriously frowned upon. Read Need to Know’s review of the book. (Originally aired August 20, 2010)

Watch more full episodes of Need to Know.



  • Anon

    As usual, the Hanley Center is a 12 Step program. I am a recovered addict/alcoholic. The only thing I found truly useful about that whole entire program were the stories in the back of the Big Book, being able to identify where I was similar. I just think it is a shame there are not more types of treatment programs. AA is just too cult-ish.

  • 768logical

    This week’s program sucks. It’s just a re-hash of past reports. I know it’s the week after Thanksgiving but you guys really need to plan ahead or something.

  • Guest

    Why don’t you talk about Northern Line of Control and that South Korean Army bombed the disputed sea area first, then NK fighted back.