February 28th Show : Blog Of The Nation In the first hour of Talk of the Nation, Afghanistan, and the role of Islam in economies in the Arab world on the opinion page. In the second hour, defining what it means to be a man, and teachers and politics.
NPR logo February 28th Show

February 28th Show

Kay Hymowitz argues that young men today are living in a stage of extended adolescence and putting off adult responsibilities. But as society changes, so do expectations and understandings of what it means to be a "good man." iStockphoto.com hide caption

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The fighting picks up when the snow melts in Afghanistan. Many military leaders and analysts have pointed to improvements, though, and say it's possible the U.S. will begin reducing its troop contingent in July and end its combat role by the end of 2014. Some credit President Barack Obama's troop surge with the success, while others say the increased troop presence led to higher civilian deaths. In this hour, guest host Mary Louise Kelly revisits Afghanistan with John Nagl, a retired Lt. Col. who says the U.S. is right on track for withdrawal, and Bing West, a former Assistant Secretary of Defense, who says the counterinsurgency model isn't working there.

The Opinion Page
As nations in the Arab world work to rebuild their countries after a revolution, some scholars blame the lack of economic growth on Islam. Religion plays a central role in economic development; so some believe social customs and religious rules dating back to the earliest days of Islam have kept the economies of the Arab world lagging behind the West. In a piece for The New Yorker, staff writer John Cassidy argues, "the most immediate explanation involves not Islam but predatory governance and colonialism." Guest host Mary Louise Kelly talks with Cassidy on this week's Opinion Page.

Manning Up
Where have all the good men gone? This is the main question posed by author Kay Hymowitz in her book, Manning Up. She argues that too many men in their 20s are living in a stage of extended adolescence and putting off responsibilities for another round of video games, when they should be thinking about marriage. But as society changes, what does it really mean to be a "good man?" Guest host Mary Louise Kelly talks with Hymowitz about her argument, and with sociologist and author Michael Kimmel about the history of manhood in America.

Teachers And Politics
Teachers are playing a large role in the protests in Wisconsin that were sparked by Governor Rick Scott's proposed legislation to restrict the power and bargaining rights of public employee unions. Author and historian of education at New York University Diane Ravitch talks to guest host Mary Louise Kelly about why teachers in particular are growing more angry and politically active.

Blog Of The Nation