• Hot times during the Cold War: Close calls revealed in new book on U.S. nuclear arsenal

    Power Players

    There have been a handful of instances over the years in which nuclear weapons have come close to detonating in America. Such "broken arrow" events have never leveled entire towns or led to nuclear fallout, but a new book by the author of “Fast Food Nation” says they could have.

    “There’s been a sort of complacency because there is so little public awareness,” Eric Schlosser told “Power Players. “The accidental detonation of a nuclear weapon would be a catastrophe on a scale that we haven't seen since the Second World War.”

    Schlosser’s new book, “Command and Control,” looks at the United States' nuclear weapons and the command-and-control systems put in place to prevent an accidental launch or explosion.

    One close call occurred in Damascus, Ark., in 1980, when a repairman doing routine maintenance work on a Titan II missile had a socket fall off his wrench, a widely reported mishap that Schlosser says nearly detonated the United States' largest intercontinental ballistic

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  • Obama’s community organizer roots pay off

    Politics Confidential

    Former White House Director of Digital Strategy Macon Phillips sees potential for the White House to communicate effectively in even the darkest corners of the Internet. He says the infamous “Death Star” petition to the White House resulted in more than just a clever official White House response.

    “We put into our answer all the things that, in fact, we were investing in,” Phillips said. “There's a program that NASA puts out called Spot the Station, that if you sign up, when the U.S. space station is above you, you get a text message.

    “That's a program that got 10,000 click-throughs through our petition response,” he said.

    Phillips first joined the Obama campaign in 2008 and has since led digital innovations in the White House such as Twitter Town Halls, Reddit “Ask Me Anythings” and Google Hangouts.

    Under Phillips, the White House launched “We the People,” a site where citizens can create online petitions directly to the White House. If a petition gets enough

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  • Capitol Hill’s 40 under 40: Will youth invasion change Washington?

    Top Line

    Can youth and relative inexperience be virtues? Illinois Republican Aaron Schock and Hawaii Democrat Tulsi Gabbard are making the case that they can be – at least when it comes to getting things done on Capitol Hill.

    The two members of Congress, both in their thirties, are recruiting Congress’ 40 members under the age of 40 to join their newly launched “Congressional Future Caucus.”

    “It’s bringing together the freshest faces in Washington, DC and the Congress,” Schock told “Top Line” of the new caucus in a joint interview with Gabbard on the steps of the Capitol.

    “When most of America looks at Washington, DC, they look at a much older, much grayer Congress, and we’re excited that there are now 40 members under the age of 40 and we can hopefully get some things done,” Schock said.

    Gabbard says she’s observed that that younger, newer members of Congress tend to have a different mindset than some of their older colleagues who’ve been in Congress for a longer period of time.

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