August 24th Show : Blog Of The Nation In our first hour, 20th anniversary of Gulf War I, and fading nest egg.  In our second hour, non-traditional college students, and "The Passage".
NPR logo August 24th Show

August 24th Show

In our second hour, guests explain why there is no such thing as a "typical" college student anymore. hide caption

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20th Anniversary of Gulf War I
Twenty years ago this month, Saddam Hussein's army marched into neighboring Kuwait.  President George H.W. Bush responded with a huge buildup of American forces in the Gulf, followed by the launch of Operation Desert Storm to liberate Kuwait.  American and coalition forces crushed the Iraqi military and drove Hussein's troops back into Iraq, but the U.S. stopped short of taking Baghdad.  Two decades later, with U.S. troops continuing to serve on Iraqi soil, some critics argue that the decision to not topple Saddam Hussein was a strategic mistake that set the stage for the current war in Iraq. Today, host Neal Conan looks back at Operation Desert Storm and the legacy of the first Gulf War with two veterans who served.

Fading Nest Egg
For decades many homeowners used their houses as piggy banks, taking advantage of the equity to pay for college, home improvements and retirement.  Those days may be over, according to some real estate experts.  One reason: new figures released today show that existing home sales plunged roughly 27 percent in July, the largest monthly drop in history. The median sales price also dropped slightly from June to July.  Economists believe that some neighborhoods and regions will bounce back relatively quickly. But many predict housing values are unlikely to ever return to the days of dramatic increases in value.  The market, they say, will perform roughly in line with inflation.  Neal Conan talks about the state of the housing market, and whether the era of buying a home as a nest egg is over.

Non-Traditional College Student
There's no such thing as a 'typical' college student anymore.  While dorm rooms at four-year colleges and universities start filling-up with eager new students fresh out of high school, statistics show those freshman are now the exception.  Nearly 75% of college students do not follow the traditional track — students just out of high school who graduate in four years.  Instead, more students hold down jobs, have a family, are enrolled part-time or some combination of all three.  And campuses are learning to adapt to appeal to these students.  Neal Conan talks with some "non-traditional" students about their experiences and with an expert on higher education about life on - and off- campus in 2010.

"The Passage"
Justin Cronin wrote literary novels and achieved a respectable level of success.  Then, he penned the great American vampire story, and The Passage became a phenomenon.  Picture the U.S. in 2016: the government cordons off New Orleans, after a hurricane leaves the city little more than flooded and polluted wetlands; 300 Americans are massacred at The Mall of America by Iranian jihadists and in Colorado, the U.S. Army is developing a special weapons program: death row inmates are infected with a virus that will turn them into super soldiers. But, like so many science-fiction thrillers, something goes horribly wrong. Instead of soldiers, the inmates become vampire-like creatures. So begins the rise of a new world — of life after "virals" — when the U.S. collapses and in the span of a century, few humans remain in America.  Justin Cronin talks with Neal Conan about The Passage and the incredible success of his new book.