The legendary SR-71 Blackbird spy plane was the world's only operational Mach 3 aircraft, built by Lockheed's famed "Skunk Works." Aviation historian James Goodall, world renowned expert on the Blackbird, the F-117 Stealth Fighter and Area 51, joined George Knapp in the first half to discuss what he has learned from his sources after more than sixty years in the military aviation and aerospace field and his personal relationship with Area 51 whistle-blower Bob Lazar. In Goodall’s opinion the A12 aircraft that was built to surpass the SR-71’s performance was "prettier" and added that Ben Rich, the designer of both aircraft, once said that "if an airplane is beautiful, more than likely it will fly beautifully." Both spy planes still hold world speed and altitude records. The A12 reached an altitude of 90,000 feet and during another test, a speed of 2391 miles per hour.
Goodall believes that the men and women who work on classified projects are "extremely good at keeping secrets" in part because their jobs (many of them which are very well-paid) depend on secrecy. He once asked Rich if believed in UFOs. He replied that both he and his successor Kelly Johnson "were firm believers" in the existence of non-human intelligences. In the late 1980s, Goodall recalled he met Bob Lazar and stands by the physicist's claims about his work at Area 51 and that he "is who he says he is.” Goodall sees himself a citizen journalist who is trying to document the history of classified aircraft because "it was paid for by the American taxpayer" and many of the details would be lost in the culture of secrecy that birthed these amazing aircraft.
After two three-year-old girls were murdered in rural Mississippi, law enforcement pursued and convicted two innocent men. Together they spent a combined thirty years in prison before finally being exonerated in 2008. Meanwhile, the real killer remained free. Investigative journalist Radley Balko and criminal defense lawyer Tucker Carrington related the story of how the criminal justice system allowed this to happen, and how two men built successful careers on the back of a structure of injustice. Carrington said that Dr. Michael West, a dentist, became a self-styled expert on bite marks and other evidence, even inventing techniques that he named after himself. The other, medical examiner Dr. Steven Hayne, became another medical expert called upon by law enforcement and prosecutors in Mississippi when they had already decided who was guilty and needed testimony to back up their case. The guests found evidence that, for years, these men were basically a rubber stamp for the authorities who wrongfully sent many innocent people to prison.
Balko said that West could even be accused of falsifying evidence because he used plaster molds of the suspects’ teeth on the girls' dead bodies to show how he came to his conclusions, but was actually creating marks that would be used as evidence later. Before he was caught and discredited, Hayne was performing approximately 1,600-1,800 autopsies a year, which is about "five to six times" what is considered allowable by the Medical Examiners Association, said Balko. Both guests emphasized their belief that the justice system, especially in Mississippi, is not institutionally racist, but that the factors that brought it into existence were, and are weighted in favor of those in power. Carrington said that their book was "generally well received" in the state, and that the facts about Hayne and West were an open secret in legal circles.