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Need to Know, August 20, 2010

This week on Need to Know: Jon Meacham travels to lower Manhattan to explore the history of religious freedom there, in light of the recent controversy over a proposed mosque near Ground Zero. (See our online coverage of President Obama’s remarks on the proposed Cordoba House here.) Then: After seven years in Iraq, the U.S. mission there has changed dramatically, from “shock and awe” to “advise and assist.” We talk to Middle East scholar Juan Cole about whether peace is possible in Iraq.

TRANSCRIPT

Writer Gary Shteyngart, author of the best-seller “Super Sad True Love Story,” discusses what he sees as the impending collapse of America, and reveals how often he updates his Facebook page. (You can read Need to Know’s review of “Super Sad True Love Story,” including an online interview with Shteyngart, here.) Need to Know medical correspondent Dr. Emily Senay examines the risks of blood transfusions (including two First Look videos here and here). And resident satirist Andy Borowitz asks this question: Is a college education really worth it?

Watch the individual segments:
Changing the U.S. mission in Iraq

Seven years after the start of the war in Iraq, the U.S. mission there has changed dramatically. Middle East scholar Juan Cole discusses the new phase, and whether peace is possible in Iraq.
Blood Test: What you don’t know about blood
Since World War ll, blood has been considered “the gift of life.” But today a growing number of experts are questioning whether blood transfusions should be so widely used. For more about transfusions, watch these First Look videos on the Centers for Disease Control’s new “hemovigilance” program, and the more than 100 blood management initiatives at hospitals across the country.
Gary Shteyngart on dachshunds, Lenin and Twain

Best-selling author Gary Shteyngart’s new book is about a future society where technology rules. So how often does he update his own Facebook page? Jon Meacham finds out in this hard-hitting interview. Read Need to Know’s review of “Super Sad True Love Story,” including an online interview with Shteyngart, from July.
The religious history of lower Manhattan

Jon Meacham travels to lower Manhattan to explore the history of religious freedom there, in light of the controversy over a proposed Muslim cultural center near Ground Zero. For more on the controversy, read Need to Know’s previous online coverage of President Obama’s remarks on the mosque project.
Five things you need to know about Gulf Seafood
Having second thoughts about that shrimp kebab or grouper sandwich? Alison Stewart tells you what you need to know about eating seafood from the Gulf.
Next week’s news: College edition

A lot of people have been asking themselves lately whether a college education is really worth it. So this week, Andy turns to two PBS pals for answers: Elmo and Ken Burns.