Blog Of The Nation
4:35 pm
Tue February 21, 2012

February 21st: What's On Today's Show

Originally published on Tue February 21, 2012 9:59 am

China: A Peek Behind The Curtain
Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping visited the United States last week, a few months before he is expected to take control of China behind current president Hu Jintao. Many considered his visit a test of his diplomatic abilities, but for some, the question of Xi's diplomatic performance was trumped by questions of internal Chinese politics — from human rights to technological development — and how the country will be governed in the future. Host Neal Conan speaks with Rob Gifford, China editor for The Economist, about the internal politics in China and what it could mean for other countries.

Virginia's controversial Pre-Abortion Ultrasound Bill
Last week in Virginia, state legislators passed a bill requiring women to receive an ultrasound before having an abortion. For women in their first 12 weeks of pregnancy, it's conducted via transvaginal probe. An amendment to that bill, which would have allowed women to opt out of receiving the invasive procedure, failed in a 64-34 vote in the state legislature. In an article entitled "Virginia's Proposed Ultrasound Law Is an Abomination," Slate.com senior editor and legal affairs correspondent Dahlia Lithwick writes that "under any other set of facts" not being able to opt out of it "would constitute rape under state law." Host Neal Conan speaks with Lithwick about her opinion on the proposed law in Virginia, and the legal and social implications of similar laws in other states.

Why Don't Americans Save More?
In recent years, Americans have tended save more and spend less. But only 54 percent have more emergency savings than credit card debt, according to a study from BankRate.com. Many worry about their ability to cover unplanned expenses, like a medical emergency or a car repair. But saving can be tough, with long-term unemployment lingering, banks offering record-low interest rates for savings accounts, and conflicting advice on the right amount to save. Neal Conan talks with Richard Barrington of MoneyRates.com and Donna Freedman of MSN Money about our saving habits and tips for how to build up a rainy day fund.

'If A Tree Falls'
It appeared as though Daniel McGowan was an avid recycler who cared about the environment. Then, in 2005, while working for a non-profit organization, police arrested him for reasons that remained a mystery to his co-workers. In If A Tree Falls: A Story of the Earth Liberation Front, director Marshall Curry unearths the story that led to McGowan's imprisonment as a member of the radical group that the FBI once described as America's number one domestic terrorism threat. Host Neal Conan talks to Curry about his film, which is nominated for an Oscar for Best Documentary Feature.

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