November 2nd: What's On Today's Show : Blog Of The Nation In the first hour of Talk of the Nation, the political junkie, and the internal divisions and dangers in Iran. In our second hour, historian Niall Ferguson on his new book Civilization: The West and the Rest, and cartoonist Pat Byrnes talks about his alter-ego, Captain Dad.
NPR logo November 2nd: What's On Today's Show

November 2nd: What's On Today's Show

In our second hour, historian Niall Ferguson explains why he credits six "killer apps" for the rise of the West. hide caption

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The Political Junkie
Voters in Ohio go to the polls Tuesday and will decide, among other issues, whether to keep or scrap the controversial law that stripped public unions of much of their collective bargaining powers. Senate Bill 5 sparked large-scale protests at the statehouse in Columbus and inspired similar bills in Wisconsin, Michigan and other states. Host Neal Conan and political junkie Ken Rudin speak with WOSU news director Mike Thompson about the political atmosphere in Ohio and what this battle might tell us about next year's elections. The two will also recap the week in politics, from sexual harassment allegations against Herman Cain to New Hampshire's new primary date and the latest polls.

Iran's Internal Divisions And Dangers
Divisions within the Iranian government are deepening. Under pressure from increasingly effective economic sanctions and a growing banking scandal, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad went before parliament this week to defend his government. His Economics Minister was nearly impeached. Hanging over all of it are recent comments from Iran's Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei that maybe Iran doesn't need a president at all and allegations that elements within Iran orchestrated a plot to assassinate the Saudi ambassador to the U.S. Host Neal Conan talks with NPR Foreign Correspondent Mike Shuster about the divisions and dangers exposed by Iran's internal power struggles.

Our Six Killer Apps
Historians have long struggled to explain how the West became the preeminent political and economic force in the modern world. And why so many people aspire to emulate the lifestyles, fashions, and popular culture of America and Western Europe. In his new book, Civilization: The West and the Rest, historian Niall Ferguson credits six "killer apps." He argues that Western countries developed a unique set of social institutions — from competition and the rule of law to modern science, a unique work ethic and a thriving consumer society — that enabled it to surpass its non-Western neighbors. But China, says Ferguson is quickly catching on — and catching up. Host Neal Conan talks with Ferguson about the rise of the West, and why he says Western countries are at risk of losing their global edge.

'Captain Dad' To The Rescue
When moms see Pat Byrnes on the playground with his daughters, he says, they often check the sex-offender registries on their cell phones. Byrnes is a stay-at-home dad who created the "manly blog of stay-at-home parenting" — it's not Mr. Mom, he explains, it's Captain Dad. On the site, he finds the humor in his many parenting adventures — from a global search for the perfect dolphin Halloween costume, to gaining acceptance from mothers on the playground, and changing the world one diaper at a time. Stay-at-home dads, he says, "don't do things the way our moms did them or our wives would do them." Host Neal Conan talks with Byrnes, a cartoonist for the New Yorker, about his adventures in parenting and the surprises of being a stay-at-home dad.