Talk of the Nation on AM 870 NewsTalk

Mon - Thurs 2pm - 4pm

When Americans want to be a part of the national conversation, they turn to Talk of the Nation, NPR's live, midday news-talk program. Host Neal Conan leads a productive exchange of ideas and opinions on the issues that dominate the news landscape.

From breaking news, science, and education to religion and the arts, Talk of the Nation offers listeners the opportunity to join enlightening discussions with decision-makers, authors, academicians, and artists from around the world.

For two hours each Monday through Thursday, Talk of the Nation listeners weigh-in, share their thoughts and ask questions by calling, emailing, messaging through social media.

On Fridays the conversation turns to the topics of science, with Talk of the Nation: Science Friday with Ira Flatow, focusing on news and issues about the world of science and technology.

A long-time NPR journalist, Conan has been a reporter, editor, and anchor for NPR live events coverage. Conan played a major role in anchoring continuous live coverage of developments during the terrorist attacks and aftermath of September 11, 2001. His broadcasts are marked by their clarity, accuracy and eloquence.

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Remembrances
2:33 pm
Thu June 27, 2013

After 11 Years Behind The Host Mic, Neal Conan Signs Off

Originally published on Thu June 27, 2013 4:37 pm

Transcript

NEAL CONAN, HOST:

And so it's time to say goodbye. As you probably know, this, after 21 years, is the final broadcast of TALK OF THE NATION, and after 36 years, my last day at NPR.

Before I go, there are some people to thank. First, my predecessors in this chair: John Hockenberry, Ray Suarez, Juan Williams and the many substitutes who allowed us time off.

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Around the Nation
2:33 pm
Thu June 27, 2013

Hopes And Fears For The Future Of The World, With Ted Koppel

Originally published on Fri June 28, 2013 10:49 am

Transcript

NEAL CONAN, HOST:

This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan, in Washington. As some of you may know, this program began in the crisis that led up to what we now call the first Gulf War, in 1991, as Daniel Schorr and I anchored live coverage of briefings from the White House and the Pentagon and congressional hearings.

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Arts & Life
2:33 pm
Thu June 27, 2013

So Hard To Say Goodbye: Advice For Farewell Notes

Originally published on Thu June 27, 2013 4:37 pm

Transcript

NEAL CONAN, HOST:

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Music Interviews
4:50 pm
Wed June 26, 2013

Gospel Legend Mavis Staples Comes 'Full Circle'

Mavis Staples has been performing for more than six decades. One True Vine is her second album-length collaboration with Wilco frontman Jeff Tweedy.
Zoran Orlic Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Wed June 26, 2013 7:14 pm

From small country churches to the stages of the civil rights movement to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Mavis Staples' career has spanned more than 60 years.

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Politics
2:11 pm
Wed June 26, 2013

A Look Ahead And A Farewell To The Political Junkie

Transcript

NEAL CONAN, HOST:

This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan, in Washington. It's Markey in Massachusetts, the court nixes DOMA and Prop 8, and the president bows to the summer heat and discards his jacket to take on climate change. It's Wednesday, and time for a...

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: It's not that sexy.

CONAN: Edition of the Political Junkie.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDINGS)

PRESIDENT RONALD REAGAN: There you go again.

VICE PRESIDENT WALTER MONDALE: When I hear your new ideas, I'm reminded of that ad: Where's the beef?

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NPR Story
2:07 pm
Wed June 26, 2013

What Changes After Supreme Court Rulings On Prop 8 And DOMA

In a 5-4 decision in U.S. v. Windsor, the Supreme Court ruled the federal Defense Of Marriage Act unconstitutional. The court rules that supporters of California's Proposition 8 case did not have standing to bring the case to court, which means same-sex marriages in California may resume.

NPR Story
3:37 pm
Tue June 25, 2013

'Let The Fire Burn': A Philadelphia Community Forever Changed

Throughout the '70s and '80s, the radical African-American MOVE organization had several dramatic encounters with police.
Courtesy of Amigo Media

Originally published on Wed June 26, 2013 2:05 pm

On May 13, 1985, after a long standoff, Philadelphia municipal authorities dropped a bomb on a residential row house. The Osage Avenue home was the headquarters of the African-American radical group MOVE, which had confronted police on many occasions since the group's founding in 1972.

The resulting fire killed 11 people — including five children and the group's leader, John Africa — destroyed 61 homes, and tore apart a community.

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Medical Treatments
2:56 pm
Tue June 25, 2013

Surgeons Nuland And Gawande Look To The Future Of Medicine

Transcript

NEAL CONAN, HOST:

This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan in Washington. Of the many programs we've aired over the years on medicine, none has been more interesting than the series of conversations with Sherwin Nuland and Atul Gawande, both surgeons and teachers. Both have also gone public as writers on their profession both to inform the public about what they do and why and how it's changing and to speak with their colleagues about what works and what doesn't.

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Law
2:56 pm
Tue June 25, 2013

What Changes After Supreme Court Ruling On Voting Rights Act

Originally published on Tue June 25, 2013 5:19 pm

Transcript

NEAL CONAN, HOST:

This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan in Washington. This morning in a much anticipated decision, the Supreme Court struck down a key provision of the 1965 Voting Rights Act. Writing for a five-four majority, Chief Justice John Roberts ruled that Congress' action to protect minority voting rights in nine states was based on outdated data, and the formula used to determine which areas were subject to federal oversight was thus unconstitutional.

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Middle East
2:56 pm
Tue June 25, 2013

Saudi Arabia Solidifies Support Of Syrian Opposition

Transcript

NEAL CONAN, HOST:

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Economy
3:57 pm
Mon June 24, 2013

Op-Ed: Emerging Labor Movement Is A Presidential Opportunity

Transcript

NEAL CONAN, HOST:

And now, time for the Opinion Page. There's a new kind of labor movement in the United States led by those who are not in unions, primarily retail and fast-food workers. These workers are protesting before they unionize. And in a column for the Chicago Tribune, columnist Clarence Page compares this new labor movement to Occupy Wall Street.

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Law
3:57 pm
Mon June 24, 2013

After Supreme Court Ruling On Affirmative Action, What's Next?

Transcript

NEAL CONAN, HOST:

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The Impact of War
3:57 pm
Mon June 24, 2013

What's Changed In The Military, And What's Next

Transcript

NEAL CONAN, HOST:

This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan. After the war in Vietnam, the U.S. military changed in profound ways. A conscript force became all volunteer. Congress changed the rules to force much more extensive use of the National Guard in any future conflict. Training and equipment emphasized fighting at night. And technology made blunt instruments like aerial bombing far more precise.

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Art & Design
3:57 pm
Mon June 24, 2013

'The Will To Adorn': What We Wear And What It Says About Us

Transcript

NEAL CONAN, HOST:

This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan in Washington. When you looked in the closet this morning, what did you pick out, and why? The power suit, the blouse that fits just right, the jeans and the boots? Even if you wear a uniform or overalls, we all make decisions about what we look like and why. Hair says a lot. So do accessories. But any message is also open to misinterpretation. What we hope to say doesn't always come across that way.

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NPR Story
11:17 am
Fri June 21, 2013

A Calculating Win for China's New Supercomputer

Transcript

IRA FLATOW, HOST:

Every six months, one of my next guests ranks the 500 fastest computers in the world, the supercomputers, and back in November 2010, China took number one for the first time with a supercomputer called Milky Way 1. President Obama acknowledged China's feat in his State of the Union address a few months later and said we were facing a Sputnik moment.

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NPR Story
11:17 am
Fri June 21, 2013

Vegetables Respond to a Daily Clock, Even After Harvest

Transcript

IRA FLATOW, HOST:

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NPR Story
11:17 am
Fri June 21, 2013

Coffee's Natural Creamer

Originally published on Fri August 23, 2013 10:41 am

Transcript

IRA FLATOW, HOST:

Flora Lichtman is here with our Video Pick of the Week. And it is more coffee.

FLORA LICHTMAN, BYLINE: Our fabulous coffee series by the great Jenny Woodward continues on SCIENCE FRIDAY. Drink up, everybody. This week we're diving into a tiny glass of espresso.

FLATOW: Ooh. Ooh. So small dive.

LICHTMAN: You need to be very careful. Keep your limbs in.

FLATOW: And why - what's so fascinating about espresso?

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Digital Life
11:17 am
Fri June 21, 2013

Beaming Internet to the Boondocks, Via Balloon

Transcript

IRA FLATOW, HOST:

This is SCIENCE FRIDAY, I'm Ira Flatow. If you have a smartphone, you might take the Internet for granted, right? It's always there. But around the world, some four and a half billion people still are not connected. Google, being in the Internet business, has a plan to expand its reach, bring Internet to all these people, but it's not by spooling out fiber-optic cable or building cell towers. It's using a technology that, well, sort of sounds like it belongs in another century: free-floating balloons. They call it Project Loon.

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Author Interviews
11:17 am
Fri June 21, 2013

E.O. Wilson's Advice for Future Scientists

Transcript

IRA FLATOW, HOST:

This is SCIENCE FRIDAY. I'm Ira Flatow. In his long career studying ants, nature and ecology, E.O. Wilson has been no stranger to controversy. In the 1970s he was doused with water at a science meeting for presenting his theory on sociobiology. Another new evolutionary theory he introduced a few years ago on kin selection continues to be hotly debated.

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Education
11:17 am
Fri June 21, 2013

Goodnight Moon, Goodnight Math

Transcript

IRA FLATOW, HOST:

OK. Maybe E. O. Wilson's comments in his new book, "Letters to a Young Scientist", essentially says you don't want to have to be great at math to have a career in science, but it can't hurt, right? And to be great at math, it pays to start young, and my next guest is a - has a plan for you. Laura Overdeck is the founder of Bedtime Math. Her mission: to make math friendlier in a way by introducing kids to math problems at an early age.

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Science
11:17 am
Fri June 21, 2013

Physicists Find New Particle, Look for Answers

Originally published on Fri August 23, 2013 10:42 am

Transcript

IRA FLATOW, HOST:

This is SCIENCE FRIDAY. I'm Ira Flatow. This week, researchers reported that they think they've spotted the tell-tale signs of a previously undiscovered, subatomic particle. This one was unusual because it appeared to be made of four quarks bound together, an arrangement they have never seen before. And they're not sure exactly how that arrangement might work.

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Environment
2:35 pm
Thu June 20, 2013

The Business And Politics Of Air Quality Regulation

In a speech in Germany Wednesday, President Barack Obama said it's time to take "bold action" on climate change. Many believe that major changes to policies on carbon emissions lie ahead, which would mean a host of new regulations for businesses.

Arts & Life
2:25 pm
Thu June 20, 2013

Nikky Finney Ponders Possibilities Of The Poetry Profession

Transcript

NEAL CONAN, HOST:

Over the past several weeks, we checked in with our colleagues and friends in a series of conversations called "Looking Ahead," today, poet Nikky Finney. Two years ago, she riveted the audience as she accepted a National Book Award for her poetry collection "Head Off & Split."

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED SPEECH)

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NPR Story
2:14 pm
Thu June 20, 2013

'Blood & Beauty' Breathes New Life Into The Borgias

Sarah Dunant is also author of the novels The Birth of Venus and Sacred Hearts.
Charlie Hopkinson

Originally published on Fri June 21, 2013 12:48 pm

In the 1500s, Italy is bursting with some of the most influential and vivid figures in history. Many — like Leonardo da Vinci, who balanced art and the sciences; Galileo Galilei, who turned his telescope to the heavens; and Niccolo Machiavelli, who calculated the ruthless politics of the day — are still remembered even now for their major contributions.

Author Sarah Dunant has drilled down into the Italian Renaissance for over a decade — reconstructing a time of artistic innovation, political corruption and war into captivating, and highly accurate, fiction.

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Iraq
2:10 pm
Thu June 20, 2013

After A Surge Of Violence, The Threat Of A New Civil War In Iraq

Transcript

NEAL CONAN, HOST:

This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan.

Yesterday, seven people were killed and 24 wounded in bomb attacks in Iraq as a surge of violence there continues, 2,000 dead since April; numbers that haven't been seen since the worst days of 2006 and 2007. Then as now, the fighting is largely between Sunnis and Shiites, but this time, inflamed by the civil war raging next door in Syria.

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NPR Story
2:24 pm
Wed June 19, 2013

Deadpan Humor And Childhood Fears Collide In 'The Dark'

In The Dark, a boy name Laszlo is visited one night by his biggest fear.
Courtesy of Little, Brown and Company

Originally published on Thu June 20, 2013 2:26 pm

If there's one thing kids are scared of, it's the dark. In his latest children's book, The Dark, Daniel Handler — who writes under the pen name Lemony Snicket — takes on darkness itself, with the story of a young boy who confronts his biggest fear. Handler is known for his dry wit and matter-of-fact take on the mysterious and macabre.

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From Our Listeners
2:04 pm
Wed June 19, 2013

Letters: Researching Rare Diseases, Only Children

Originally published on Thu June 20, 2013 11:20 am

Transcript

NEAL CONAN, HOST:

It's Wednesday, and time to read from your comments. James in Laurel Hill, Fla., emailed during our conversation about research into rare diseases. "I would like to affirm the comment made by your guest about rare disease research leading to help for more common diseases," he wrote. "My nephew has brittle bone disease. Some aspects of his treatment have been used to help mend broken bones in accident victims, so research into rare disorders can definitely lead to treatment for others."

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Business
2:00 pm
Wed June 19, 2013

Will Work For Free? The Future Of The Unpaid Internship

Originally published on Thu June 20, 2013 11:20 am

Transcript

NEAL CONAN, HOST:

This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan in Washington. With school out, many college - and even some high school students - will spend the summer working as interns. It's a chance to beef up their resumes, gain on-the-job experience and make valuable contacts. Last week, a federal district court judge in New York issued a ruling that could change the system.

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Politics
1:56 pm
Wed June 19, 2013

The Penultimate Edition Of The Political Junkie

Originally published on Thu June 20, 2013 11:20 am

Transcript

NEAL CONAN, HOST:

This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan in Washington. The speaker clamps the Hastert Rule on immigration reform. Three Republican senators now support gay marriage. And the Bay State Senate race goes into its last week. It's Wednesday and time for a penultimate edition of the political junkie.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDINGS)

PRESIDENT RONALD REAGAN: There you go again.

VICE PRESIDENT WALTER MONDALE: When I hear your new ideas, I'm reminded of that ad: Where's the beef?

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Media
2:05 pm
Tue June 18, 2013

Breaking Bad News To Kids: How Media Has Tweaked The Process

Parents have always had to break hard news to kids, from family hardships to national tragedies. Now there are more ways for children to learn about news faster — through 24 hour news and social media. So, what's changed in how parents broach these subjects? How can media help, or hurt?

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