October 18th Show : Blog Of The Nation In today's first hour of Talk of the Nation, made in America, and the opinion page.  In our second hour, faith and politics, and South China Sea
NPR logo October 18th Show

October 18th Show

People gather at a rally dubbed "Restoring Honor," to show support of the US military, organized by conservative radio and television commentator Glenn Beck, one of the de facto leaders of the Tea Party movement at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC, on August 28, 2010. Nicholas Kamm/AFP hide caption

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Made In America
They are a group of young men from places like Brooklyn, Charlotte and Albuquerque—Americans who join Islamist groups and terrorist organizations, including al-Qaida. They pose an even greater threat because they understand America better than America understands them. Men like Adam Gadahn and Anwar al-Awlaki, two Americans who helped al-Qaida build its presence online and recruit around the globe. Lower-level operatives have also posed new challenges for law enforcement. Faisal Shahzad, the Pakistani-American sentenced to life in prison for planting a car bomb in Times Square, is one example. In a four-part series that aired on "Morning Edition", NPR counterterrorism correspondent Dina Temple-Raston examined the lives of young men who were raised on American soil but have now joined forces with al-Qaida. Temple-Raston talks about the many ways homegrown terrorists have changed the nature of the threat against the United States, and her series "Terror Made In America."

The Opinion Page
Fifteen years after the "Million Man March", African-American men and their families are far worse off, argues Jon Jeter  in an opinion piece for The Root. Despite electing the country's first black president, Jeter writes that "black America has never had so many of our own in jail; seen more "good" jobs disappear; been sicker; experienced a wider income gap within our community; and, most important, seen more of our material gains reversed than we have over the last 15 years." Jeter talks with Neal Conan on this week's Opinion Page.

Faith and Politics
Separation of church and state may be at the foundation of the American political system, but for many people, religion and politics are deeply, and personally, intertwined. Robert Putnam, author of American Grace: How Religion Divides and Unites Us, argues that more and more Americans are adjusting their religious views to fit their political ones — and that organized religion has shifted strongly to the right.  At the same time, recent findings from the Pew Forum for Religion and Public Life show that religion plays a significant role in the way many Americans feel about social issues like same sex-marriage and abortion — but plays little role in how they feel about other, equally politicized, issues like immigration and environmental concerns. Neal Conan talks with Putnam about the role of religion in politics.

South China Sea
China in recent months has flexed its muscle in the South China Sea, a crucial trade route. Beijing claims the area as an "exclusive economic zone," something its neighbors in Southeast Asia and the United States dispute. While recent diplomatic efforts between the U.S. and China appeared to cool tensions, no final resolution on the contested area has been reached. Neal Conan speaks with Marvin Ott, a scholar with Johns Hopkins University and the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, about China's strategy and what's at stake for the U.S. and others in the South China Sea.