October 31st: What's On Today's Halloween Show : Blog Of The Nation In the first hour of Talk of the Nation, a look at how student loan debt affects people's decisions and lives, and on the opinion page, the world population crosses the seven billion mark. In the second hour, Native American foster care, and St. Louis Cardinals manager Tony La Russa's retirement.
NPR logo October 31st: What's On Today's Halloween Show

October 31st: What's On Today's Halloween Show

Father of Nargis, a symbolic 7 billionth baby, looks at his daughter at the Community Health Center in Mall, about 28 miles from Lucknow, India's most populous state of Uttar Pradesh, India,

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Rajesh Kumar Singh/AP

Loan Debt Changes Students' Decisions
Total student loan debt in the U.S. will cross the 1 trillion dollar threshold this year, an amount that's doubled in five years and now surpasses the nation's combined credit card debt. President Obama last week enacted changes to help students and graduates, but many complain it won't help nearly enough. Faced with tens of thousands of dollars of debt, many students and graduates are altering their decisions — about whether and where to go to school, what job to take, where to live and how to pay their bills. Host Neal Conan speaks with NPR education correspondent Claudio Sanchez about the record levels of student debt and how it's affecting people's decisions and lives.

Opinion Page: Population 7,000,000,000
The planet's population today crosses the 7 billion mark, based on United Nations estimates, give or take a one percent margin of error. The growing world population has been the subject of doomsday scenarios since Thomas Malthus projected eventual human collapse in the early 19th century. But, Colum Lynch worries — not about too many people — but whether or not the U.S. and other wealthy countries will soon have too few. In a column in Foreign Policy, Lynch argues that the world population will likely decline by the end of this century. Lynch joins host Neal Conan on the Opinion Page to talk about what it means to hit seven billion people-- and what can happen if population actually begins to shrink.

Native American Foster Care
An average of 700 Native American children in South Dakota are removed from their homes and placed in foster care each year, often in violation of federal law, an NPR investigation found. Native American children make up less than 15 percent of the state's child population, but represent more than half of kids in foster care. Nearly 90 percent of the children are placed in non-native homes, despite the Indian Child Welfare Act, which requires Native American children to be placed with family or other Native Americans in most cases. Across the U.S., Native American children are overrepresented in foster care, raising major concerns about culture and identity loss. Host Neal Conan talks with NPR investigative correspondent Laura Sullivan about her series and and with Terry Cross, the director of the National Indian Child Welfare Association, about how states are working to change Native American foster care.

Tony La Russa Retires
St. Louis Cardinals manager Tony La Russa is going out on top. Days after leading his team to a 7th game win in the World Series, La Russa announced today that will retire. Tony La Russa changed the game of baseball and is among the top managers in the Major Leagues. Over his 33-year career, he won the world series three times. The 67-year old Cardinals skipper steps down with 2,728 managerial victories and is considered the third-winningest manager in Major League history. Host Neal Conan speaks with NPR's sports correspondent Mike Pesca about La Russa's career and why he decided to retire now.