November 29th: What's On Today's Show

Shoppers browse through items on sale at a Target store in Rosemead, east of Los Angeles on November 25, 2011. Numbers indicate a strong Black Friday despite the weak economy. We'll recap the start to the shopping season in today's first hour. AFP PHOTO / Frederic J. BROWN

hide captionShoppers browse through items on sale at a Target store in Rosemead, east of Los Angeles on November 25, 2011. Numbers indicate a strong Black Friday despite the weak economy. We'll recap the start to the shopping season in today's first hour. AFP PHOTO / Frederic J. BROWN

FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP/Getty Images

Are You Shopping More?
Black Friday sales surged to their highest level since 2007, and early results from Cyber Monday's online sales are up almost 20 percent over last year as brick and mortar stores and online retailers offered steep discounts, free shipping and extended hours to lure in shoppers. The U.S. economy and many consumers continue to struggle, however, and some forecasters worry the encouraging retail boost is unsustainable. Neal Conan talks with NPR senior business editor Marilyn Geewax and Chris Christopher, senior economist at IHS Global Insight, about what people are buying, how they're paying for it and what the latest retail numbers may mean for the U.S. economy. Personal finance columnist Michelle Singletary also joins the conversation with advice on how to spend smart amid the holiday retail push.

Alan Rickman Goes From Severus Snape To Broadway
Actor Alan Rickman has played a loving husband, leader to a group of terrorist henchmen, a stern professor of the dark arts and even a caterpillar. From Shakespeare to Hogwarts, Rickman's talents have made him recognizable to several generations of moviegoers. Now, Rickman is hoping to continue that trend on stage in the new play "Seminar," which opened last week on Broadway. Host Neal Conan speaks with Alan Rickman about his multi-faceted film career and his new role on Broadway.

Police Adapt Tactics To Protests
The Occupy Wall Street protests around the country have raised questions about the role and responsibilities of the police. Police tactics for crowd control have undergone several waves of change in recent decades. One of the most significant shifts in tactics came after the 1999 protests of the World Trade Organization conference in Seattle, when an overwhelmed police force turned to a more confrontational, military approach. Host Neal Conan talks with Norm Stamper, Seattle's former police chief, about the lessons from the "Battle in Seattle," with Philadelphia police commissioner Charles Ramsey about police strategy regarding Occupy Philadelphia, and with sociologist Alex Vitale about the continued evolution of police crowd control tactics.

Tensions Rise Between Pakistan And US
Pakistan says it will boycott an upcoming meeting on the future of Afghanistan, it's cut off a supply route to NATO troops in Afghanistan and demanded that the U.S. abandon an air base in Pakistan in retaliation for what Islamabad says was an unprovoked attack on two of its army bases over the weekend. The details of that attack remain in question and under investigation, but the incident has further strained relations between Washington and Islamabad. While there's general agreement that at least 24 Pakistani soldiers died, Afghan officials claim NATO and Afghan forces were responding to gunfire when NATO helicopters and fighter jets fired on the Pakistani Army bases. Thousands of people protested outside the U.S. consulate in Karachi, and Pakistani military officials say they are rethinking their level of cooperation with NATO in Afghanistan. Host Neal Conan talks with a guest about how the air strike may affect relations between the U.S. and Pakistan.

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