In this episode: We dive into the U.S. Coast Guard’s accident problem; arsenic in your water; the secrecy surrounding lethal injection drugs; and the high cost of a GI Bill degree.
The Coast Guard’s deadly accidents
The U.S. Coast Guard – the fifth branch of the military – has suffered a string of potentially avoidable and sometimes deadly accidents, along with hundreds of millions of dollars in equipment damage, lawsuits from civilians and internal investigations that have questioned safety procedures.
G.W. Schulz examines the safety record of the Coast Guard dating back to 2000 and finds lapses in judgment and missed opportunities to strengthen safety standards to protect crew members and civilians.
Our investigation introduces us to a Coast Guard pilot whose helicopter ran into transmission wires that weren’t properly marked. We also talk with the family of a Coast Guard member who died as a result of a risky boating maneuver. And we speak to the former commandant of the Coast Guard about the service’s safety record.
- Read the full story here.
The politics of poison
Arsenic is nearly synonymous with poison. But most people don’t realize that they consume small amounts of it in the food they eat and the water they drink.
Recent research suggests even small levels of arsenic may be harmful. In fact, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has been prepared to say since 2008 that arsenic is 17 times more toxic as a carcinogen than the agency now reports.
Women are especially vulnerable. EPA scientists have concluded that if 100,000 women consumed the legal limit of arsenic each day, 730 of them eventually would get lung or bladder cancer.
The EPA, however, hasn’t been able to make its findings official, an action that could trigger stricter drinking water standards. The roadblock: a single paragraph inserted into a committee report by a member of Congress, an investigation by David Heath from The Center for Public Integrity found. The paragraph essentially ordered the EPA to halt its evaluation of arsenic and hand over its work to the National Academy of Sciences.
- Read the full investigation here.
Secrecy behind Missouri’s execution drugs
Missouri is one of several states that are buying their drugs for executions in secret.
Last year, St. Louis Public Radio reporters Chris McDaniel and Véronique LaCapra uncovered the identity of the state’s then-supplier, a pharmacy in Tulsa, Oklahoma, that wasn’t licensed to sell drugs in Missouri. They also found that a top corrections official paid the pharmacy in cash – $11,000 per execution.
Since the initial investigation, the state has become even more secretive. McDaniel has sued the state for withholding records.
- Learn more on St. Louis Public Radio’s website.
Profiting off the GI Bill
The post-World War II GI Bill of 1944 was a hugely successful government program that helped millions of returning veterans get a college education.
Under the expanded GI Bill passed in 2008, veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars have their college tuition paid for, up to $19,000 a year. But instead of giving veterans a launching pad to a civilian career, for-profit schools are making billions in GI Bill money and leaving veterans with worthless degrees and few job prospects, according to an investigation by Aaron Glantz.
- Read the full story here.
Host: Al Letson
Executive Producers: Ben Adair, Susanne Reber
Senior Producer: Mia Zuckerkandel
Editors: Jim Morris, Amy Pyle, Robert Salladay, Mark Katches
Producers: Ben Adair, Michael Montgomery, Adithya Sambamurthy, Mia Zuckerkandel
Reporters: Aaron Glantz, David Heath, Véronique LaCapra, Chris McDaniel, G.W. Schulz, Rebecca Williams
Production Assistance: Allegra Bandy
Mix Engineer: Jim Briggs
RevealRadio.org: Jaena Rae Cabrera, Nikki Frick, Sheela Kamath, Christine Lee, Sam Ward
Senior Management for PRX: Jake Shapiro, John Barth, Kerri Hoffman
Senior Management for CIR: Robert J. Rosenthal, Mark Katches, Joaquin Alvarado, Susanne Reber, Christa Scharfenberg
Promo Narration: Peter Coyote
Director of Distribution and Engagement: Meghann Farnsworth
Distribution and Engagement Manager: Cole Goins
News Engagement Specialist: Kelly Chen
Communications Manager: Julia B. Chan