October 20th Show : Blog Of The Nation In today's first hour of Talk of the Nation, the political junkie and NATO's escort for the Taliban.  In our second hour, a return of "the culture of poverty," and revisiting the Valerie Plame CIA leak scandal in 'Fair Game.'
NPR logo October 20th Show

October 20th Show

Republican Senate hopeful Christine O'Donnell (R) waves to the crowd as Democratic Senate hopeful Chris Coons (L) shakes hands with moderator Wolf Blitzer (C) after a U.S. Senate debate at the University of Delaware on October 13, 2010 in Newark, Delaware. Mark Wilson/Getty Images North America hide caption

toggle caption
Mark Wilson/Getty Images North America

The Political Junkie
As we get closer and closer to the 2010 midterm election, Political Junkie Ken Rudin takes a tour of some of the hottest races: in Pennsylvania, Alaska, and Nevada. Plus, debates in Illinois and Florida, missteps from Sharron Angle and Christine O'Donnell, and John McCain has some words for Barbara Boxer.

Culture of Poverty
Why are poor people poor?  Forty years ago, many scholars blamed it on a culture of poverty — the idea that behavior and attitudes played a key role.  In 1965, the Johnson administration used the phrase to describe the black urban poor.  The concept was blasted as blaming the victim, and almost universally shunned. But, "culture of poverty" has evolved and reemerged. In an article in The New York Times, Patricia Cohen writes that scholars now generally agree that poverty and culture are enmeshed, but still differ on exactly how.  Many are speaking up on what was once a politically incorrect conversation. Today, host Neal Conan revisits the "culture of poverty" and why it's making a comeback.

"Fair Game"
Seven years after Valerie Plame Wilson was exposed as a CIA operative, the political scandal hits the big screen in a new film, "Fair Game."  Plame's covert identity was revealed after her husband, former ambassador Joseph Wilson, criticized the Bush administration's claims that Iraq sought nuclear weapons material from Niger. Vice President Cheney's chief of staff, "Scooter" Libby, was later convicted for lying about his role in the leak. Today, Neal Conan talks with Valerie Plame Wilson and Ambassador Joseph Wilson about the story behind the story, and the new film "Fair Game."