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Need to Know, August 6, 2010

It’s pledge week here at PBS, so we’re featuring some of the best segments from past episodes of Need to Know. First we travel to Afghanistan, the subject of considerable controversy in recent weeks. We take a look at a tiny, embattled outpost on the Afghan-Pakistan border, where U.S. soldiers are struggling to train members of the Afghan National Army. Then we turn to Iraq, where the consequences of war remain just as raw — and, perhaps, obscured. Alison Stewart sits down with “war artist” Steve Mumford, whose work reveals a side of the war few Americans have seen.


We’re also revisiting the debate over school textbooks in Texas, where a group of Christian conservatives on the state Board of Education has been accused of inserting their personal political and religious beliefs into the curriculum. Many of the proposed changes were officially approved in May. And we visit with Heather Armstrong, founder of and one of the most influential “mommy bloggers” on the Internet. Plus, Andy Borowitz returns with a special “pledge week edition” of Next Week’s News.

Watch the individual segments:
The last outpost
The story of the extraordinary challenges faced by a U.S. military team training the Afghan National Army in a tiny, embattled outpost near the Afghan-Pakistan border.
Drawn to war
Alison Stewart sits down with Steve Mumford, who traveled throughout post-invasion Iraq as an “embedded artist,” in his studio in New York City. Mumford’s drawings and paintings of life in the war zone allow a glimpse of Iraq that most Americans never see.
Textbooks in Texas
About every 10 years, the Texas State Board of Education revises the standards for its textbooks. But this year, this elected body was dominated by Christian conservatives who have been accused of inserting their politics and religious beliefs into the curriculum.
Mommy bloggers
Need to Know visits Heather Armstrong, author of the blog, a site where she writes in detail about her adventures as a “mommy blogger.” Armstrong talks about how she was able to quit her job and support her family through her own brand.
Next week’s news: Pledge week edition
Need to Know’s resident satirist, Professor Andrew Borowitz, presents a special “pledge week edition” of Next Week’s News. This week, Andy unveils a new 10-DVD box set of “Ken Burn’s Ken Burns,” and a fun new way to enjoy episodes of Need to Know.