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In the second hour, bicyclist Bill Strickland talks about essays featured in the November issue of Bicycling magazine, titled "The Ride of Your Life". (iStockphoto.com)

October 13th: What's On Today's Show

Oct 13, 2011

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Iran's Quds Force And The D.C. Bomb Plot
Questions are flying in Washington this week over the alleged Iranian plot to assassinate Saudi Arabia's Ambassador to the United States. Two days ago, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder announced that the two Iranian suspects behind the operation were "directed and approved by elements of the Iranian government, and specifically, senior members of the Quds Force." The Quds force is an elite unit of Iran's Revolutionary Guards Corps. Experts believe the Quds force has trained proxy groups such as Hezbollah, Hamas and Iraqi Shia insurgents. If the allegations in the D.C. bomb plot are true, this would mark the first time the Quds force has gone after a target on U.S. soil. Host Neal Conan looks at who's behind the Quds force, how they operate and why many experts say this operation falls short of their usual well-planned efforts. He'll talk with Vali Nasr, professor of international politics at Tufts University's Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy and Afshon Ostovar, a senior analyst at the Center for Naval Analyses.

What I Left Behind
Nine years after he fled his native Chile, writer Ariel Dorfman got news that many of his most prized possessions had been destroyed. His library of hundreds of books was caught in floodwaters and half of them were lost. In an essay published in last month's Chronicle of Higher Education, Dorfman reflects on having to leave his home and being separated from — and ultimately losing — many of the things he cherished most, including his vast collection of books and personal notes. Host Neal Conan speaks to Ariel Dorfman about leaving his native land and what it means to leave behind something you love.

Detroit Regains Its Footing
The city of Detroit has something to cheer about again. After years of turmoil from a flailing auto industry, dwindling population and crumbling infrastructure, Detroit's car makers are making money again, home values are on the rise, the Lions are undefeated in the NFL and the Tigers are in the Major League Baseball playoffs. While many residents and businesses feel a boost in confidence, Detroit faces a long-term struggle to reinvent itself and its industries. Host Neal Conan talks with Micheline Maynard, senior editor of public radio's Changing Gears project and Jerome Vaughn, News Director at WDET in Detroit about the so-called renaissance of Detroit.

The (Bicycle) Ride Of Your Life
Bruce Barcott fled the bullies on his school bus as a 13-year-old and rode his bike instead. Pedaling through town meant freedom and expanded his small world. Tracy Ross jumped on her mountain bike and pedaled through South America, into the Andes and away from a soured relationship. And Bill Strickland, who has biked all over the world, remembers best that one sharp curve near his home with his daughter in the rear saddle of a tandem bike. Their essays are featured in the November issue of Bicycling magazine, as part of their 50th anniversary edition. Host Neal Conan talks with Strickland, the editor-at-large of Bicycling magazine, about their collection, "The Ride of Your Life".

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