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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Space
1:33 pm
Fri June 7, 2013

Comet Shines Light on Sun Dynamics

Transcript

IRA FLATOW, HOST:

Flora Lichtman is here with our Video Pick of the Week. Hi, Flora. What have you got for us today?

FLORA LICHTMAN, BYLINE: Ira, today we have the story of a comet that has a tale to tell.

FLATOW: Comets...

(LAUGHTER)

LICHTMAN: Get it?

FLATOW: I get it. Straight pun.

LICHTMAN: It's even better, Ira, because actually the part of - what the comet is telling us comes from its tail. OK, so let me...

FLATOW: Go for it.

(LAUGHTER)

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NPR Story
11:44 am
Fri June 7, 2013

Strengthening Buildings In Tornado Alley

Originally published on Fri June 7, 2013 1:33 pm

Transcript

IRA FLATOW, HOST:

This is SCIENCE FRIDAY, I'm Ira Flatow. Powerful storms this spring: tornadoes like the ones in Oklahoma have caused damage estimated in the billions of dollars and dozens of deaths. But does the destruction have to be so devastating? What are the engineering challenges to designing and building stronger, more tornado-resistant structures and providing better protection for the people who live there?

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NPR Story
11:44 am
Fri June 7, 2013

Whole Genome Scans Could Reveal Too Much

Originally published on Fri June 7, 2013 1:33 pm

Transcript

IRA FLATOW, HOST:

This is SCIENCE FRIDAY; I'm Ira Flatow. If you're thinking about getting married or having children or just contemplating your health care options, you or your doctor may decide to have your DNA analyzed, looking for genes that may indicate possible trouble ahead. Maybe there's a telltale mutation hiding there or a recognizable pattern of genes.

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NPR Story
11:44 am
Fri June 7, 2013

Tracing The Origins Of French Winemaking

Originally published on Fri June 7, 2013 1:33 pm

Many people associate France today with the production of great wines. But winemaking isn't native to the French. Patrick McGovern, an archaeologist of fermented beverages, has dated the beginning of viniculture in France to around 500 B.C. and contact with the Etruscans.

National Security
1:30 pm
Thu June 6, 2013

The NSA, Verizon And The Future of Domestic Spying

Originally published on Thu June 6, 2013 2:40 pm

Transcript

NEAL CONAN, HOST:

This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan in Washington. Later in the program, we'll continue our series of conversations and look ahead with NPR's Deborah Amos, who's been covering the war in Syria. But we begin today with a court order obtained by The Guardian's U.S. team, which authorizes the National Security Agency to collect information on billions of phone calls made by U.S. Verizon customers since late April.

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Middle East
1:30 pm
Thu June 6, 2013

Looking Ahead To The Future Of Syria's Crisis

Originally published on Sun June 9, 2013 8:32 am

Transcript

NEAL CONAN, HOST:

This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan. The war in and around Syria grows more horrific and more dangerous day by day: tens of thousands dead, many more injured, over a million refugees in neighboring countries and who knows how many millions displaced inside Syria itself.

It's almost hard to remember the early days of what's now grown into a civil war. More than two years ago, NPR's Deborah Amos reported on activists hopeful that Syria would be changed by the Arab spring.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RADIO BROADCAST)

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Art & Design
1:30 pm
Thu June 6, 2013

Inside The Cel: Behind The Scenes With Animators

Originally published on Thu June 6, 2013 2:51 pm

The highly anticipated animated films Monsters University, Despicable Me 2 and Turbo hit theaters this summer. From cel technology to full-length, computer-animated, celebrity-studded movies, animation has come a long way.

Movies
1:30 pm
Thu June 6, 2013

From 'RoboCop To 'Robot & Frank': Best RoboMovies Of All Time

Originally published on Thu June 6, 2013 2:50 pm

Transcript

NEAL CONAN, HOST:

Two writers can take credit or blame for the legions of metal men that marched through the movies - Karel Capek, who coined the word robot in his play "R.U.R." in 1920, and Isaac Asimov, who codified the Three Laws of Robotics and a series of stories collected in "I, Robot," and mostly ignored in the Will Smith movie of the same name.

(SOUNDBITE OF MOVIE, "I, ROBOT")

WILL SMITH: (as Detective Del Spooner) You know what they say, laws are made to be broken.

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Politics
1:24 pm
Wed June 5, 2013

A Look Ahead To The Future Of The GOP

Originally published on Wed June 5, 2013 4:06 pm

Transcript

NEAL CONAN, HOST:

This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan in Washington. Chris Christie calls a very special election in Jersey. Missouri 8th voters call for Jason Smith, and a House committee chair calls out the White House spokesman. It's Wednesday and time for a...

REPRESENTATIVE DARRELL ISSA: Paid liar...

CONAN: Edition of the Political Junkie.

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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Middle East
1:18 pm
Wed June 5, 2013

After Protests, Evaluating Turkey's Role As A Democracy

Originally published on Wed June 5, 2013 4:06 pm

Transcript

NEAL CONAN, HOST:

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NPR Story
1:16 pm
Wed June 5, 2013

In 'TransAtlantic', Author Colum McCann Returns Home

Random House

Originally published on Thu June 6, 2013 11:34 am

Irish-American author Colum McCann has spent the better part of his life inhabiting others in his novels.

To write Dancer, McCann learned how to pirouette with Russia's Kirov Ballet. He spent time in Slovakia to bring the story a young Gypsy poet to life in Zoli.

In his latest book TransAtlantic, he tells the story of his native country — covering 150 years of Irish history, through the voyages of four historic visitors.

McCann talks with NPR's Neal Conan about the emigrant experience and the decision to revisit home.

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Asia
2:34 pm
Tue June 4, 2013

Obama Meets Xi: A Chance To Make History

Transcript

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

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From Our Listeners
2:21 pm
Tue June 4, 2013

Letters: Prenatal Choices And The Power Of Apology

Transcript

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

It's Tuesday, and time to read from your comments. Last week, we spoke with Ta-Nehisi Coates, senior editor for The Atlantic, about moments of wonder: those times when you don't have all the answers, and you can't use a smartphone or Google to get them.

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NPR Story
1:46 pm
Tue June 4, 2013

A Seasonal Smell Of Smoke: Life In Wildfire Country

Originally published on Tue June 4, 2013 4:04 pm

In Southern California, a massive wildfire, called the Powerhouse fire, has consumed 50 miles of land northwest of Los Angeles. California residents face wildfire season every year. Grist staff writer Susie Cagle talks about what it's like to live in wildfire country.

NPR Story
1:46 pm
Tue June 4, 2013

What's Next For The FBI

Originally published on Tue June 25, 2013 6:06 pm

Transcript

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Ari Shapiro in Washington. Neal Conan is away. Robert Mueller has run the FBI for 12 years, through one of the most transformative times in the bureau's history. Now he's on his way out. Any day now, the White House is expected to announce that James Comey will take his place.

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NPR Story
1:46 pm
Tue June 4, 2013

Who Gets Asylum, Who Doesn't And How That May Change

Originally published on Tue June 4, 2013 2:36 pm

Every year, thousands of immigrants come to the U.S. seeking protection from persecution or violence in their countries. Many groups have a hard time qualifying, based on the legal limits of asylum. New immigration legislation could change the process.

Economy
2:38 pm
Mon June 3, 2013

Checking In On The Economy, The Good And Sluggish

The U.S. economy started showing signs of recovery in June 2009, according to the National Bureau of Economic Research. Four years later, the economy is slow to recover in some areas. The stock market and housing are showing signs of growth, while unemployment still lags behind.

Opinion
2:09 pm
Mon June 3, 2013

Op-Ed: Midnight Meals Are Key To Military Morale

Originally published on Mon June 3, 2013 4:59 pm

Transcript

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

At Camp Leatherneck in Afghanistan, midnight dinner service will end this month. It's part of the drawdown of the Afghan war. That may not sound like a big deal, but former U.S. Army paratrooper David Brown says the Marines at Leatherneck will be losing more than food. He says they'll be losing a venue for camaraderie and support. Across the military, leaders are looking for places they can save money by cutting programs and services.

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Education
2:07 pm
Mon June 3, 2013

The Students That Keep Teachers Inspired

Originally published on Mon June 3, 2013 2:45 pm

Teachers endure bored, misbehaving, or totally tuned out students, often with little recognition. In a commentary in The Chronicle of Higher Education, professor Charles Rinehimer pays tribute to the completely engaged students who gave him the strength to deal with tough cases.

NPR Story
1:59 pm
Mon June 3, 2013

'Imperfect Harmony': How Chorale Singing Changes Lives

Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill

Originally published on Tue June 4, 2013 11:32 am

When writer Stacy Horn was 26 years old, she was divorced and miserable. So she decided to audition for the Choral Society of Grace Church in New York. Horn made the cut and joined the community choir as a soprano.

She chronicles her 30 years with the group in a new memoir, Imperfect Harmony: Finding Happiness in Singing With Others. She talks with NPR's Ari Shapiro about how singing made her life more bearable.

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NPR Story
12:09 pm
Fri May 31, 2013

With Chemical Tweaks, Cement Becomes A Semiconductor

Transcript

IRA FLATOW, HOST:

This is SCIENCE FRIDAY, I'm Ira Flatow. In 2011, a group of researchers in Japan made a surprising discovery: With the right process, they could turn cement, in fact a component of the Portland cement you can find in the hardware store, they can turn that into a metal, and in its metallic state they could coax the cement to act as a semiconductor.

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NPR Story
12:09 pm
Fri May 31, 2013

Bad Diagnosis For New Psychiatry 'Bible'

Originally published on Tue June 4, 2013 7:22 pm

Transcript

IRA FLATOW, HOST:

There's ADHD, OCD, DMDD, PTSD, along with hoarding disorder, oppositional defiant disorder and dissociative identity disorder. You will find all of them in the DSM, that's the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, the so-called Bible of psychiatry. The fifth edition of the manual just came out after 14 years in the making, but instead of a round of applause, psychiatrists, psychologists, ethicists, even columnist are panning the book, saying it has outlived its usefulness.

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NPR Story
12:09 pm
Fri May 31, 2013

Teacher Feature: Ethnobotanist Tom Carlson

Transcript

IRA FLATOW, HOST:

Joining us now is Flora Lichtman with our Video Pick of the Week. Hi, Flora.

FLORA LICHTMAN, BYLINE: Hi, Ira.

FLATOW: We got something really special this week.

LICHTMAN: It is special. We're turning the spotlight on an underrepresented, under-celebrated, you might say, group: science teachers or anyway. I don't think we're in danger of over-celebrating them.

(LAUGHTER)

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Science
12:09 pm
Fri May 31, 2013

Researchers Revive A Plant Frozen In Time

Transcript

IRA FLATOW, HOST:

This is SCIENCE FRIDAY. I'm Ira Flatow. It sounds like something from the movies, but it's true: Researchers unearth an organism frozen inside a glacier, take it back to the lab and discover it's still alive. In this case it's a plant called a bryophyte, a moss that survives being frozen in a glacier in the dark for some 400 years. Wow.

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Middle East
2:29 pm
Thu May 30, 2013

As Hezbollah Vows Support, The New Calculus In Syria

Originally published on Sun June 2, 2013 8:41 am

Transcript

NEAL CONAN, HOST:

This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan, in Washington. Over more than two years, the conflict in Syria progressed from protest to civil war, opposition aims from reform to revolution, and the nature of the fighting became increasingly sectarian. Now another important turn as foreign troops openly join one side.

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Around the Nation
2:17 pm
Thu May 30, 2013

With Advances In Prenatal Testing, Difficult Choices Arise

Originally published on Thu May 30, 2013 3:08 pm

Technological developments in prenatal testing and screening methods have given women more information about the genetic status of their fetuses. Increased access to information can leave mothers and their partners with difficult choices about whether to continue or terminate a pregnancy.

Health Care
2:10 pm
Thu May 30, 2013

Hospital Reviews, Take Them With A Grain Of Salt

Transcript

NEAL CONAN, HOST:

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Dance
2:01 pm
Thu May 30, 2013

Looking Ahead To The Future Of Modern Dance With Bill T. Jones

Over three decades, Bill T. Jones created more than 140 works for the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company.
Lois Greenfield

Originally published on Thu May 30, 2013 3:58 pm

This season, dance legend Bill T. Jones celebrates the 30th anniversary of the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance company, a collaboration that became an innovative force in modern dance.

Over the years, Jones has created more than 140 works for the company and in 2010, the dance troupe merged with Dance Theater Workshop to create New York Live Arts.

As part of Talk of the Nation's "Looking Ahead" series, Jones talks with NPR's Neal Conan about his hopes for the future of modern dance.

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NPR Story
2:44 pm
Wed May 29, 2013

Cartoonist Lynda Barry Helps College Students Tap Innate Creativity

Angela Richardson

Originally published on Thu May 30, 2013 11:50 am

Like most of her work, cartoonist Lynda Barry's class at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, is unorthodox. "No artistic talent required," the course description states. The course is described as a "writing and picture-making class with focus on the basic physical structure of the brain."

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From Our Listeners
2:19 pm
Wed May 29, 2013

Letters: Blood Alcohol Content Levels, Micro-Housing

Transcript

NEAL CONAN, HOST:

It's Wednesday, and time to read from your comments. Last week, we talked LZ Granderson, who opposes a proposal to lower the blood alcohol content limit from .08 to .05.

Josiah Rousch(ph) in Clifton Park, New York, had a different idea. He wrote: Let's increase access to public transportation in areas where people are heavily reliant on driving to bars and other social areas where drinking's involved. Instead of arresting people - especially repeat offenders - let's change behavior in a more pragmatic way.

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