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.

Genre: 
Composer ID: 
5187f3f8e1c8bdbfdc7926f2|5187f3e0e1c8212f45d325a7

Pages

NPR Story
1:00 pm
Thu December 29, 2011

Rules Would Boost Pay For In-Home Health Aides

Nearly two million home health care aides help seniors and people with disabilities to live independently. These caregivers often work long hours doing difficult work without overtime pay. The Labor Department has proposed rules to bring home care aides under federal minimum wage and overtime protections.

NPR Story
1:00 pm
Thu December 29, 2011

Learning 'Sri Lankan Home Cooking' A Family Affair

Susan Now

A child of Sri Lankan immigrants, music journalist S.H. "Skiz" Fernando, Jr. grew up eating Sri Lankan food regularly. But he didn't master the art of the cuisine until he moved to his family's homeland and enlisted the expertise of his four aunts.

For one year, Fernando spent his mornings scouring local markets for the best spices and ingredients. He then cooked for hours, using old cookbooks and family recipes. His aunts critiqued the dishes until Fernando perfected them — meaning Fernando ended up making each recipe at least 20 times.

Read more
NPR Story
1:00 pm
Thu December 29, 2011

Resisting Hitler's Rise 'In the Garden of Beasts'

Originally published on Fri December 30, 2011 11:45 am

When University of Chicago professor William Dodd assumed the post of U.S. ambassador to Germany in 1933, he hoped for an undemanding position that would allow him spare time to write a book.

At the time, few in the United States or Europe considered then-Chancellor Adolf Hitler a serious threat, and few expected him to remain in power long. Dodd was no exception, says Erik Larson, author of In the Garden of Beasts: Love, Terror, and an American Family in Hitler's Berlin.

Read more
Pop Culture
1:00 pm
Thu December 29, 2011

The Logic - Or Lack Thereof - Behind Top 10 Lists

Year's end always means a slew of top ten lists, the ubiquitous arbiter of the year's best films, books, albums and political stories. But Dallas Morning News film critic Chris Vognar has a confession: Those lists are not just subjective — they're often completely arbitrary.

Election 2012
1:00 pm
Wed December 28, 2011

GOP Candidates Jockey Ahead Of Iowa Caucuses

The Iowa caucuses will be critical for Rep. Michelle Bachmann and former Sen. Rick Santorum, or a chance for Rep. Ron Paul to steal the national spotlight from Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich.

Around the Nation
1:00 pm
Wed December 28, 2011

Proposed Child Labor Rules Could Alter Farm Life

The Department of Labor has proposed regulations that would limit the kinds of work children can do on farms. Opponents feel the rules would hurt family farms and fundamentally alter farming life, while proponents say the changes would help keep kids safe.

Law
1:00 pm
Wed December 28, 2011

HIV Status Disclosure Laws Under Scrutiny

Originally published on Wed December 28, 2011 2:07 pm

Transcript

NEAL CONAN, HOST:

In more than 30 U.S. states, it's illegal not to inform sexual partners if you're HIV-positive. Here in Iowa, it's a Class B felony that carries up to 25 years in prison, even if there's no transmission of the virus. Proponents say to knowingly expose someone to a potentially lethal virus is equivalent to attempted murder. Critics argue that these laws single out people with HIV to the exclusion of other dangerous STDs, and they hope to see legislation to change the law so it doesn't target those with HIV, many of whom are gay men.

Read more
Music
1:00 pm
Tue December 27, 2011

NPR's Long-Running 'Piano Jazz' Gets A Makeover

Originally published on Tue December 27, 2011 2:24 pm

Transcript

NEAL CONAN, HOST:

For decades, the great Marian McPartland illuminated public-radio airwaves with her duets and conversations as the host of PIANO JAZZ. Since 1979, she spoke and played with established artists like Herbie Hancock, Alice Coltrane, Carla Bley and - of course - Dr. Billy Taylor. Next week, a new kind of PIANO JAZZ launches on NPR. The show will feature young talents who shine through their energy, innovation and artistry.

Read more
NPR Story
1:00 pm
Tue December 27, 2011

John Brown: The Man Who 'Sparked' The Civil War

American abolitionist John Brown led the 1859 raid on Harpers Ferry, Va. That takeover and the man behind it are the subjects of historian Tony Horwitz's new book, Midnight Rising.
Hulton Archive Getty Images

Originally published on Thu December 29, 2011 12:25 pm

On an October night in 1859, 21 men staged a takeover of a national armory in tiny Harpers Ferry, Va. Though unsuccessful, the raid drew the nation's attention to its electrifying leader, a man named John Brown — and helped set the nation on the path to war.

Brown went on to become perhaps one of the most polarizing figures in American history. The devout Calvinist and abolitionist is remembered as a traitor and terrorist by some, and a hero by others.

Read more
Middle East
1:00 pm
Tue December 27, 2011

Can Arab League Monitors Quell Violence In Syria?

Arab League observers arrived in Syria Monday, prompting a tentative calm between anti-government protestors and security forces. But many Syrians are skeptical that the monitors can permanently quell the unrest.

Energy
1:00 pm
Tue December 27, 2011

As Nuclear Plants Age, No Easy Energy Solutions

Originally published on Tue December 27, 2011 2:13 pm

Transcript

NEAL CONAN, HOST:

This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan in Washington. No nuclear power plants have been built in this country since the accident at Three Mile Island more than 30 years ago. The old reactors continue to provide 20 percent of our electrical power, but many of them will start to come offline in the next 10 years or so.

Read more
NPR Story
2:30 pm
Mon December 26, 2011

Finish Your 2011 To-Do List? The Clock's Ticking!

Originally published on Mon December 26, 2011 2:30 pm

Remember those 2011 new year's resolutions? If you haven't contributed to your child's college savings plan or spent your use-it-or-lose-it flexible savings account funds, there are still a few days left to get it done. Chicago Tribune columnist John McCarron shares tips on taking care of business.

NPR Story
1:00 pm
Mon December 26, 2011

How Iraq, Afghanistan Have Changed The Military

U.S. forces have left Iraq and a drawdown in Afghanistan is underway, but both wars have left an indelible impact on the U.S. military. The armed forces have altered strategy and tactics, and countless lives have been changed — including those of the families of service members serving multiple deployments.

NPR Story
1:00 pm
Fri December 23, 2011

Kepler Telescope Narrows Hunt For Earth's Twin

Originally published on Fri December 23, 2011 1:33 pm

Transcript

IRA FLATOW, HOST:

This is SCIENCE FRIDAY. I'm Ira Flatow. If you're scanning the Milky Way for life, where do you look? Well, probably someplace not too different from planet Earth, right? So you want to find a planet about the same size as Earth to increase the chance it has a rocky surface, with oceans of course rather than being a giant ball of gas like Jupiter, and it should be just the right distance from its star, in what they call the Goldilocks Zone: hot enough to have liquid water but not so hot that the surface has completely scorched.

Read more
NPR Story
1:00 pm
Fri December 23, 2011

Birders Fan Out to Count Feathered Friends

The 112th Audubon Christmas Bird Count is underway. Citizen scientists armed with binoculars are recording data vital to monitoring bird health and conservation. But before you can count a Snowy Owl or a Rufous Hummingbird, you need to identify it. Birder Richard Crossley has some tips.

Television
1:00 pm
Fri December 23, 2011

The Science Behind 'Breaking Bad'

Cooking crystal meth is just "basic chemistry" for Walter White, the fictional chemistry teacher and anti-hero of the TV drama "Breaking Bad." Organic chemist Donna Nelson serves as science adviser to the show; she explains how the series' writers work to get the science right.

Environment
1:00 pm
Fri December 23, 2011

Searching For A Ghost Bird

Originally published on Fri December 23, 2011 1:42 pm

Transcript

IRA FLATOW, HOST:

This is SCIENCE FRIDAY. I'm Ira Flatow. Birding. Birding doesn't seem like a risky pastime, does it? What's the worst that could happen? Sunburn, a little rain, a little cold, lost binoculars. Well, not always. In 2010, Tim Gallagher, editor of Cornell Lab of Ornithology's Living Bird magazine, went in search of a rare woodpecker and was lucky to make it back alive.

Our multimedia editor Flora Lichtman talked to Gallagher about it and has this story.

FLORA LICHTMAN, BYLINE: The imperial woodpecker is two feet tall. That's huge.

Read more
Health
1:00 pm
Fri December 23, 2011

The War On Cancer Turns 40

Forty years ago, President Nixon signed the National Cancer Act, beginning the War on Cancer. Harold Varmus, director of the National Cancer Institute, discusses four decades of scientific progress in preventing, detecting and treating cancer--and the mysteries that still remain.

Architecture
1:00 pm
Fri December 23, 2011

Building Bridges From Plastic Shampoo Bottles

Discarded plastic shampoo and juice bottles are finding new life in unlikely places--as bridges, railroad ties and pilings. Jim Kerstein, CTO and founder of Axion International, talks about how his company transforms plastic waste into structures strong enough to support trucks, trains and tanks.

Brain Candy
2:09 pm
Thu December 22, 2011

At Year's End, Reflecting On Cycles In Modern Life

Transcript

NEAL CONAN, HOST:

Today, we mark the winter solstice, in three days, one of the major holidays of the religious calendar, followed by an entirely arbitrary start of the New Year. All of us observe cycles, patterns that regulate our lives from season to season, or Olympiad to Olympiad, or the return of the 17-year cicadas. Some, like the solstice, are dictated by celestial mechanics. Others - well, we've simply invented: spring cleaning, for example, or spring training. What's the cycle you live your life by?

Read more
Around the Nation
1:00 pm
Thu December 22, 2011

New FAA Rules For Pilots Seek To Beat Fatigue

Transcript

NEAL CONAN, HOST:

This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan in Washington. Three years after a commuter airline crash near Buffalo that killed 50, the Federal Aviation Administration announced new rules to reduce one of the key factors that contribute to accidents: pilot fatigue.

Read more
Asia
1:00 pm
Thu December 22, 2011

Team Ignites Debate Over China's Nuclear Tunnels

Transcript

NEAL CONAN, HOST:

Read more
Movies
1:00 pm
Thu December 22, 2011

Flick's Favorite Memories From 'A Christmas Story'

The lamp featured in A Christmas Story still stands in the Cleveland home used in the shooting of classic holiday movie.
Amy Sancetta AP

The holiday season means family, food, friends — and a slew of holiday films. The 1983 comedy A Christmas Story has become one of the cult favorites of the season, in heavy rotation on television screens across America each year.

The quirky film follows a boy named Ralphie and his misadventures with his parents, friends and neighborhood bullies — all while he pines for a Red Ryder BB gun for Christmas.

Read more
Politics
1:00 pm
Wed December 21, 2011

The Politics Of The Keystone XL Pipeline Debate

House members on Tuesday rejected a Senate plan for extending the payroll tax cut. To attract House conservatives, the Senate had included a controversial provision forcing President Barack Obama to decide on the fate of a planned oil pipeline within 60 days.

Economy
1:00 pm
Wed December 21, 2011

Why Your Job Search Shouldn't Take A Holiday

Many job seekers assume they won't make much progress in their search over the holidays. Not so, says Lauren Weber of The Wall Street Journal. Weber explains why job hunters may want to consider keeping their search alive through the holiday season.

Education
1:00 pm
Wed December 21, 2011

Brutal Incidents Shine Light On Band Hazing Culture

The death of Florida A&M drum major Robert Champion, Jr. continues to reverberate at schools nationwide. His death exposed a hazing culture unfamiliar to many, but band directors and school administrators have been dealing with the problem for many years.

Middle East
1:00 pm
Wed December 21, 2011

Turkish Advisor Responds To Conflict With Syria

Violence in Syria between the government and the opposition continues to mount and expectations for a peaceful resolution are low. Turkey was once closely allied with the Syrian president, but now calls for him to step down. Ibrahim Kalin, chief advisor to Turkey's prime minister, explains his country's position on Syria and its role in the Middle East.

NPR Story
1:00 pm
Tue December 20, 2011

Finding Bright Spots In A Difficult 2011

2011 has been a tough year in many ways: the economy is still struggling, Europe's dealing with a huge debt crisis and Japan is still recovering from a devastating tsunami. But from Chrysler to coconut water, there are people, products and ideas that have done well in 2011.

NPR Story
1:00 pm
Tue December 20, 2011

Revisiting The First Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy

Before the 2011 film version of John Le Carre's spy novel, British director John Irvin directed the original 1979 multi-episode series for the BBC, starring George Smiley as the master spy recalled from forced retirement to root out a traitor in the top ranks of the British intelligence service.

NPR Story
1:00 pm
Tue December 20, 2011

Letters: Video Games And The High Cost Of College

NPR's Neal Conan reads from listener comments on previous show topics, including realizing how much college actually costs, recovering from a traumatic injury and the season's big video games.

Pages