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Need to Know, January 28, 2011: Aging in the car-happy suburbs, Congo, a new New Deal?

This week, Need to Know correspondent Maria Hinojosa reports on the difficulties faced by older Americans living in car-dependent suburbs. Also, on the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Patrice Lumumba, the Congo’s first democratically elected leader, our co-host Alison Stewart interviews author Adam Hochschild on the troubled history of the nation.

Is another “New Deal” possible in today’s political environment? Jon Meacham sits down with historian Alan Brinkley to discuss.

And: Editorial cartoonist Steve Brodner returns with an illustrated piece on various power players’ visions for Afghanistan’s future, and in his “In Perspective” essay, Jon Meacham considers the big ideas from President Obama’s State of the Union address.

The roots of the financial crisis

The bipartisan federal commission created by Congress to get to the roots of the 2008 financial crisis issues its final report this week.  Stacy-Marie Ishmael, an editor with the Financial Times, and Joe Nocera, a business columnist for the New York Times and co-author of the new book “All the Devils are Here: The Hidden History of the Financial Crisis,” speak with Alison Stewart about why it was so hard for the commission to determine who was to blame.

Alan Brinkley: A new New Deal?

Jon Meacham talks with historian Alan Brinkley about President Obama’s ambitious government programs and whether a second New Deal is possible or practical in today’s world of political partisanship.

Graying in the suburbs

For Blueprint America, correspondent Maria Hinojosa reports on the huge number of older Americans living in car-dependent suburbs and asks what happens when it’s time to take their collective car keys away.

‘Blood on our hands’ in Congo

Alison Stewart interviews author Adam Hochschild on the troubled history of the Congo and on the 50th anniversary of the assassination of its first democratically elected prime minister, Patrice Lumumba, by Belgian and, it is speculated, American operatives.

Steve Brodner: A home in Afghanistan, but whose?

Editorial cartoonist Steve Brodner looks at Afghanistan’s future through the eyes of all the power players envisioning a favorable outcome — for themselves.

Jon Meacham: A tale of two countries

Host Jon Meacham assesses the president’s State of the Union address, and discusses the difficulties Obama will have in turning big ideas into big accomplishments in our current political environment.

Watch more full episodes of Need to Know.



  • 46bluewhite

    I will be watching for the 1st time tonight! Living in the suburbs is a real problem in my life because I’m 65 and don’t drive. The nearest BUS STOP is a mile away from the house. Getting there is OK, but by the time I get where I’m going and have to come back, I’m not looking forward to walking another MILE! I will be moving from the San Antonio “Burbs” (Converse, TX) back to a small town in Oregon later this year because I have become ALMOST “housebound!”

  • Lariveter

    Good luck, darlin’! Make the most of that Oregon transportation.

  • Lariveter

    I’m watching this show as I type this. I wish you could turn this into a long form show and present it as you did Mr. Brancaccio’s program about green jobs. Smart transit should be a priority for every community with an aging population, but it should also serve as an warning to people: We don’t live forever, but we should be able to live for as long as we are here. Great piece.

    By the way, this was my first time watching NTK (the piece on the financial crisis pulled me in, I’m obsessed with that entire disastrous affair). What can I say, I have missed Bill Moyers and it was hard to be without him. But I may tune in again!

  • Dzyoungo

    I am a “senior” resident of Roseville, Minnesota and watched last night’s episode on living as a senior in Roseville. I felt it was rather disappointing and did not show a full picture of life here. We live in a senior cooperative and I know a producer of your show was here, but there was nothing about life here. There are many “junior seniors”, as we call ourselves, living in Roseville who live very active, independent lives. From where we live we can walk, if we have to – we also live on a bus line – to grocery shopping, drugstore, restaurants, Dairy Queen, etc., etc. There are many different housing options in Roseville which were not explored, and many other ways in which the community has adapted to its aging population. Maybe a follow-up program?

  • Guest 5

    I am 67 and fed up and been driving for 50 years. WHY?
    1) My government is now threatening me and planning a law that says I must take the driving test again if I am over 70. Unless I have become Blind, deaf,( cant hear police or emergency vehicle sirens) or totally non compos mentis driving to rules is like walking or speaking. re-actions a little slower granted but I drive slower, it just happens not necessarily a conscious decision.
    2) Insurance companies are part of the problem we all know under 25 we are all labelled as speedy Gonzales and have expensive rather than necessarily more accidents. I never made a car insurance claim between 17 to 25 and Only two between 25 to 67.
    But now I’m being told that my insurance premium abilty to drive even will go up by 10 %, 25-70 year olds by 3% and 20-25 year olds as yet unspecified but could be as high as 15% or more.
    Hello, this is discrimination for profit management purposes and nothing to do with my personal skill irrespective of age as over 70 They will also eliminate no claims bonus premium reductions.
    Not fair or reasonable on an actuarial basis.
    Guest 5.

  • sorochan

    Your piece on The Roots of the Financial Crisis was weak—-especially the comments of Ms Ishmael. We are inundated with views such as those she expressed and we need deeper analysis.

  • Debra Parry

    HI — This is an issue that we’ll all be facing, but I found the report lacking in that it didn’t really point out that there are options – they exist today. While we as individuals may not like the options, we also have the opportunity to educate ourselves about what resources do exist that our tax payer dollars already pay for!!! For example, many of those transportation options can be accessed through Area Agencies on Aging that is a national network in every state. Your federal tax dollars via the Older Americans Act go toward supporting that. So, rather than instantly bemoaning about our individual constraints, take a look at what is available and give serious consideration to you’ve been supporting through your federal income taxes all these years. Talk to your legislators about this being a priority in terms of the federal budget…spending cuts are around the corner, but if we don’t speak up that there are a needed set of services — Meals on Wheels, transportation, help with figuring out the right options for Medicare beneifts, supports for caregivers, how to plan for aging in place… they might get caught in the budget crossfire. I thought the report presented was okay as far as it went…but it didn’t go far enough to engage the viewer as to what can we do about it? As part of the boomer generation, we will be THE voice…so let’s get more educated on what we already have in place – Area Agency on Aging network in all 50 states and the Administration on Aging at the National level – your tax dollars already support this. Social security and Medicare/Medicaid, while very important, are not the only resources available to us all. Volunteerism right now is probably the simplest thing a baby boomer in good health can do… but we all can vote and speak up to our legislators as this is a truly non-partisan issue!

  • Jdsm

    I am glad to see that you NOW news program has featured Maria Hinojosa’s reporting recently.
    The Aging in the Suburbs story on 1-28-11 and the news story on disabled young adults in Indiana on 1-21-11 were both excellent stories because they identified trends and developments that we need to pay attention as citizens. Please continue to feature Maria Hinojosa’s work. I missed the quality of the NOW news show and Bill Moyers Journal. Bill Moyers deserves to step away and move on to other things.
    The good news is Maria Hinojosa is an independent journalist that we can all benefit from and follow in Bill Moyer’s footsteps.
    I recommend that you continue to feature her on the NOW news show.

  • dlips2wo

    I really did appreciate the recognition of Patrice Lumumba and Alan Brinkley’s opinion of Obama. However, the young lady in the financial crisis story needs to know that poor people did not force the banks to give them loans they couldn’t afford and bring the world to its knees – did she not see the transcript form the guys in Enron – did poor people do that as well? what about the fact that Citibank came clean that they have been pocketing over payments to credit cards for years and not applying the over payment to the balance of the card? 1 or 2 people may have falsified their income but there was no mass conspiracy by poor people to falsify income to banks. That is the most preposterous thing I’ve ever heard! How much is she getting paid to say that? What does she have to say about the senior citizens who were enticed in taking out equity on their house that they have had for 40+ years only to sign a 20 page document that the most experienced lawyer couldn’t understand about adjusting mortgage rates? These poor people are now homeless – these people brought the financial system to its knees? Where was she when george bush said he wanted to relax the financial system in order for more banks to lend people money to buy houses. Where was she? She should not be an expert analyst in any way; she does not know what she is talking about! Shame on her for blaming poor people – poor people don’t comtrol wall street, nor do we have a lobbyist that help to make the rules on wallstreet – why is it the victim always gets victimized again and again?

  • Guest

    I was very disappointed on the piece about Roseville and seniors aging. First, the titles changed depending on whether you watched it online from Graying of America, to Housewives of Roseville, to taking away the keys. Why not help educate people and show them different options they have available to them as they approach their senior years? You showed a couple of assisted living places but never described or defined the benefits – only that they’re expensive which isn’t necessarily true when you compare to home health costs. I came away from the program feeling that it was fractured and the editors uneducated about what they were supposed to be reporting about. There were shots of the Roseville oval ice arena but no comments as to why, and a lot of time spent on the dear little couple who are trying to make it on their own in their home (but it is not home health care in case you’re wondering). How wonderful if would have been for you to take that couple and show them home health care options, along with assisted living and even nursing home and compare the differences. Preparing communities for baby boomers is about much more than building more sidewalks. I expected more from PBS.

  • Danny

    I have watched every single episode and love it. I will continue to watch until they cancel it, at which time I will be THRILLED to see Alison Stewart take over for Keith Olbermann on MSNBC! Alison, you are wonderful!