Blog Of The Nation
11:57 am
Thu October 20, 2011

October 20th: What's On Today's Show

Originally published on Thu October 20, 2011 11:04 am

Libya's Gadhafi Dead — What Now?
After more than forty years in power, Libya's Moammar Gadhafi died today, as his last stronghold crumbled. Early this morning, forces aligned with the Transitional National Council finally gained control of the city of Sirte, Gadhafi's hometown, which held out for almost two months after the fall of Tripoli. The last battle centered on a fortified area about seven hundred yards square, as anti-Gadhafi troops overran the last defenses. A convoy of vehicles tried to escape. Exactly what happened next remains unclear, but the convoy did not get far, and television networks soon showed gruesome pictures of what appeared to be Gadhafi's body. Over the past eight months, a cycle of protest and crack-down lead to rebellion; The Arab League condemned civilian deaths; The United Nations Security Council approved aerial intervention; And then, as Gadhafi forces appeared ready to crush the rebel city of Benghazi, President Obama ordered American jets to open the way for a NATO air campaign that destroyed much of Libya's military hardware, and gave the rebels time to organize. Host Neal Conan talks with guests about the death of Moammar Gadhafi, the way ahead in Libya, and lessons learned for NATO and the U.S.

Kenya's Military Storms Into Somalia
Hundreds of Kenyan troops crossed into Somalia last weekend with helicopters and tanks to clear out the Shabab militant group. Kenyan officials blame the insurgent group, which allied itself with Al-Qaida, for a recent spate of kidnappings in Kenya. The government in Nairobi suggested that troops might pursue targets up to 100 miles inside Somalia. Shabab promised on Monday to attack Kenya's capital city in retaliation. Neal Conan talks with Jeffrey Gettleman of The New York Times about the latest African country to send troops into Somalia and why a significant battle may be shaping up.

A Remembrance Of Piri Thomas
Poet and writer Piri Thomas, who gave voice to generations of Latino Americans across the United States, died Monday at the age of 83. His acclaimed 1967 autobiography, Down These Mean Streets, chronicled his life growing up in New York's Spanish Harlem — and the poverty and racism that he and his community experienced there. Thomas went on to write several novels, plays, and many poems. Host Neal Conan remembers Thomas and plays a portion of a 2004 NPR interview.

Bankrupt Cities
Pennsylvania's capital city, Harrisburg, filed for Chapter 9 municipal bankruptcy last week, though the filing is being contested in court. It's the sixth city to file for protection this year, and raises questions about whether Harrisburg can afford to provide the same level of services to residents. Dozens of cities across the country face serious financial trouble, but rarely do they go so far as to file bankruptcy. Host Neal Conan talks with Michael Corkery, who covers municipal finance for the Wall Street Journal about what happens to city services and government after filing. Bankruptcy lawyer Marc Levinson and Phil Batchelor, the city manager for Vallejo, Ca., which filed for bankruptcy in 2008, also join the program to talk about what drives a city to Chapter 9 and the lasting effects of bankruptcy.

Evangelicals' 'Parallel Cultures'
A recent opinion piece in the New York Times argued that evangelical Christianity has become a "showcase of anti-intellectualism," as evidenced by those who deny human's role in climate change. Karl W. Giberson and Randall Stephens, themselves evangelical Christians, say that some evangelicals see a public assault on their beliefs: the rise in gay marriage, the increasing legitmacy of abortion, the removal of nativity scenes from public spaces. In response, Giberson and Stephens argue, those evangelicals are developing a "parallel culture" of church, Sunday school, entertainment and colleges. Karl Giberson joins Neal Conan to talk about why he believes these ideas are "dangerous" and must be challenged even if it means speaking out against fellow Christians.

Copyright 2011 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.