In today's second hour, we're discussing whether citizens still believe in the idea of American exceptionalism.
After three decades serving in Congress, Massachusetts Rep. Barney Frank announced his retirement this week. The 71-year-old liberal Democrat will leave behind a legislative legacy that includes financial regulation and memorable sparring matches with both colleagues and constituents. Congressman Frank joins host Neal Conan and guest Political Junkie Mara Liasson to talk about his decision to retire. Neal and Mara also cover the latest political news.
Britain, Others Close Embassies After Attack
British authorities announced today they had closed their embassy in Iran's capital city, Tehran, and recalled all diplomatic staff, a day after Iranian protesters stormed the embassy. Britain also said it was requiring Iran to close its embassy in London and recall all its staff in the next 48 hours. Other European countries have announced plans to close their embassies in Iran. NPR commentator Ted Koppel joins host Neal Conan to talk about this latest diplomatic incident between Iran and the West.
Is America Still #1?
A recent Pew Research study finds that fewer than half of Americans now believe the United States is superior to other countries. In 2002, nearly 60% of Americans believed the U.S. was exceptional among nations. The shift has many commentators wondering about what's driving a general decline in optimism among Americans, many of whom believe that the country is experiencing a long-term decline. Host Neal Conan speaks with New York Times columnist Charles Blow and Matthew Franck, regular contributor for the National Review Online, about what the numbers reveal about people's attitudes towards their country and whether or not Americans still believe their country is exceptional among nations.
TLC's new reality show All-American Muslim follows the daily lives of five Muslim-American families in Dearborn, Mi., which has one of the largest concentration of Muslims in the U.S. The show aims to dispel misconceptions and stereotypes about the religion. In a recent piece in The Guardian, Wajahat Ali, a Muslim-American of Pakistani descent, writes that this portrayal is a "welcome relief from the usual tawdry caricatures of Muslims as terrorists, extremists and taxi cab drivers," but adds that "the five families on All-American Muslim should not be asked to represent all Muslims, Arabs or Americans." Host Neal Conan talks with Ali about the reality of the new show and talks with Muslim listeners about their reactions the program.