This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan in Columbus, Ohio. While numbers are down in some places, the prison population across the United States remains enormous and enormously expensive. Eventually, of course, almost all those men and women will be released. Ohio is among several states that have decided to put scarce resources into programs designed to reduce the chances that those ex-convicts will commit new crimes and go back behind bars.
NPR's Political Junkie Ken Rudin previews Thursday's vice presidential debate. WOSU news director Mike Thompson talks Ohio politics. And former Virginia governor Tim Kaine and former congressman Tom Davis talk about Kaine's U.S. Senate race against another former Virginia governor, George Allen.
Two very different views from two different witnesses today as the House House Oversight and Government Reform Committee opened its probe into the Sept. 11 attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, in which ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans were killed.
Originally published on Wed October 10, 2012 1:56 pm
No one has a crystal ball, but Nate Silver has perfected the art of prediction. In 2008, he accurately predicted the presidential winner of 49 of the 50 states, and the winners of all 35 Senate races. Before he focused on elections, Silver developed a sophisticated system for analyzing baseball players' potential and became a skilled poker player — which is how he made his living for a while.
Originally published on Wed October 10, 2012 3:10 pm
Look at this map, and notice that deep, deep in the Republican South, there's a thin blue band stretching from the Carolinas through Georgia, Alabama and Mississippi. These are the counties that went for Obama in the last election. A blue crescent in a sea of red.
Originally published on Wed October 10, 2012 3:21 pm
Doctors use liquid nitrogen — a substance registering a wickedly cold 321 degrees below zero Fahrenheit — to freeze warts so they dry up and fall off. Yes, folks, this stuff kills tissue. So imagine what it might do to your stomach if you drink some.
"Politics is the art of choosing between the disastrous and the unpalatable," economist John Kenneth Galbraith once said. In the aftermath of the Arab Spring, dictators have been toppled and new leaders have begun to emerge. Islamists, once marginalized, have been voted into power. Which leadership scenario is better?
The argument for dictators is that a number have been reliable allies for the United States. But under their rule, dictators use repressive means to squash opposition and stay in power.
Our next guest spent years allied with key conservatives on education reform. Diane Ravitch is the former assistant secretary of education under George H.W. Bush. During her time in that administration and afterwards, she advocated standardized testing and expanding school choice through charter schools. Those would later become key elements of No Child Left Behind under President George W. Bush, but she eventually became a critic of these approaches.