The Political Junkie
The deadline on a debt deal is less than one week away, with no compromise in sight. Many rank and file House Republicans trashed Speaker John Boehner's plan, and a competing proposal in the Senate offers less savings than promised and has little support in the House. Host Neal Conan and political junkie Ken Rudin talk with political analyst David Gergen. He advised four presidents — Republican and Democrat alike — and will speak to the mechanics of compromise this late in the game. The two will also recap the week in politics from Representative David Wu's resignation to the final ballot for the Ames Straw Poll.
Walter Reed Closing
Walter Reed Army Medical Center, the Army's flagship hospital, is set to close after more than a century of service to presidents and military personnel. The center's legacy was scarred by a scandal in 2007 that uncovered terrible living conditions for many wounded troops. But, the hospital has treated hundreds of thousands of wounded Americans since it opened in 1909. Host Neal Conan talks with Jessica Adler, at Columbia University, about the history of Walter Reed and the story of how it came to exist.
Famine In Africa
The famine in Somalia is the first official famine declared by the United Nations since 1984, when nearly a million people died in Ethiopia and neighboring Sudan. Now, over 10 million people in the Horn of Africa are desperately short on food and the international community has pledged to respond. The presence of the terrorist group al-Shabaab in Somalia limits the options for the delivery of aid. Host Neal Conan talks with NPR West Africa correspondent Ofeibea Quist-Arcton from Nairobi, Kenya, about the refugees streaming across the border. Agricultural and development economist Chris Barrett and NPR commentator Ted Koppel also join the conversation to discuss how food emergencies arise and the challenges of humanitarian missions.
Fan Fiction: it's been tarred with a reputation for the weird — just for geeks, obsessive fans, and people unable to live in the real world. Time book critic Lev Grossman says, not so. Fan fiction dates back to Homer and gives readers a chance to write the next chapter for their favorite characters, for fun not profit. As Harry Potter prepares to live forever in the minds of those who keep his character alive, Grossman gives us a history of fan fiction, and rescues it from its reputation.