September 27th: What's On Today's Show : Blog Of The Nation In the first hour of Talk of the Nation, what has happened to political mobilization on the left, and an update on Somalia. In the second hour, preventing prescription drug overdoses, and why everyone needs a coach.
NPR logo September 27th: What's On Today's Show

September 27th: What's On Today's Show

Protestors opposed to the Keystone XL pipeline hold signs outside the office of Rep. Lee Terry, R-Neb., in Omaha, Neb., Tuesday, July 26, 2011. Nati Harnik/ASSOCIATED PRESS hide caption

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Protestors opposed to the Keystone XL pipeline hold signs outside the office of Rep. Lee Terry, R-Neb., in Omaha, Neb., Tuesday, July 26, 2011.


What Happened To The Left?
Unemployment hovers above 9 percent, the housing market remains depressed and the income gap continues to widen over the long term. Many Americans say they're frustrated with the economy and the federal government. On the right, the Tea Party and other groups give voice to that frustration, but that level of national mobilization is all but unseen on the left. In a recent piece in the New York Times, history professor Michael Kazin addressed the question, "How do we account for the relative silence of the left?" Host Neal Conan talks with Kazin and Katrina vanden Heuvel, editor and publisher of The Nation, about the history of progressive political movements and what's changed in recent years.

Somalia Update
The United Nations estimates that tens of thousands have died already in the drought plaguing East Africa, the worst the region has experienced in decades. Somalia has been hardest hit by famine, and the UN warns that 750,000 people could soon starve to death, especially young children — who have made up about half of the deaths to date. Host Neal Conan speaks with Jeffrey Gettleman of the New York Times about the latest developments in the region. the dire warnings and calls for help and what is being done to assist those most affected by the famine.

Drug Deaths
Deaths from drug overdoses now outnumber fatalities from traffic accidents in the United States. The Los Angeles Times recently analyzed preliminary data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and reported that while traffic deaths have dropped dramatically, drug overdoses continue to kill more than 37,000 people a year — and prescription narcotics make up a significant portion of those deaths. Safety advances like seatbelts, airbags, safer cars and stricter traffic regulations helped bring down the number of traffic deaths. Now, some wonder, where's the equivalent of a seatbelt to stop preventable prescription overdoses? Los Angeles Times reporter Lisa Girion joins host Neal Conan to talk about why so many are overdosing and with Dr. Roger Chou, Associate Professor of Medicine at Oregon Health & Science University, about the changes physicians are considering to better protect their patients.

Everyone Needs A Coach
Coaches regularly pace the sidelines of football fields and assist in music studios as voice instructors. Should doctors, teachers, judges and other professionals have coaches too? In a recent article in the New Yorker, journalist and surgeon Atul Gawande argued that coaches are important in all fields and at all levels of experience to help push people to achieve their best performance — even those who are experts in a particular field. Host Neal Conan speaks with Gawande, a New Yorker staff writer and Harvard Medical School professor, about the article and why he believes more people could benefit from coaches.