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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NPR Story
1:00 pm
Thu December 1, 2011

Award-Winner Nikky Finney On Life As A Poet

Nikky Finney's Head Off & Split tells the stories of contemporary African-American life from the Civil Rights movement to Hurricane Katrina.
David Flores

Originally published on Thu December 1, 2011 2:51 pm

Nikky Finney has dreamed of being a poet since she was a teenager. She published her first book in 1985, and has taught writing for years at the university level.

Now, she's reached a pinnacle of success in the literary world: Her book, Head Off & Split received the National Book Award for poetry.

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NPR Story
1:00 pm
Thu December 1, 2011

'American Pie' Doesn't Belong To Saratoga Springs

Transcript

NEAL CONAN, HOST:

Forty years and a few days ago, an eight-and-a-half-minute song broke on to the record charts, soon drenched the radio and claimed a permanent place in the lives of millions.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "AMERICAN PIE")

DON MCLEAN: (Singing) I can't remember if I cried when I read about his widowed bride. Something touched me deep inside the day the music died. So bye, bye, Miss American Pie. Drove my Chevy to the levee but the levee was dry.

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NPR Story
1:00 pm
Wed November 30, 2011

Rep. Barney Frank Bids Congress Farewell

After three decades serving in Congress, Massachusetts Rep. Barney Frank has announced his retirement. The liberal Democrat will leave behind a legislative legacy that includes financial regulation and memorable sparring matches with both colleagues and constituents.

World
1:00 pm
Wed November 30, 2011

Tension Grows Between Iran And The West

British authorities have closed their embassy in Iran's capital city, Tehran, and recalled all diplomatic staff, a day after Iranian protesters stormed the embassy. Britain also said it was requiring Iran to close its embassy in London and recall all its staff in the next 48 hours.

Around the Nation
1:00 pm
Wed November 30, 2011

Fewer Than Half Of Americans Believe U.S. Is Best

In 2002, nearly 60% of Americans believed the U.S. was exceptional among nations. But a recent Pew Research study finds fewer than half of Americans now believe their country is superior to others. The shift has many commentators wondering what's behind a general decline in optimism among Americans.

Television
1:00 pm
Wed November 30, 2011

Ali Calls 'All-American Muslim' A Welcome Relief

TLC's new reality show, All-American Muslim follows five Muslim-American families. It aims to dispel misconceptions and stereotypes about the religion. In a recent piece in The Guardian, Wajahat Ali writes that TLC's portrayal is a "welcome relief from the usual tawdry caricatures of Muslims."

From Our Listeners
1:00 pm
Tue November 29, 2011

Letters: Thanking Teachers And Missing Faces

Transcript

NEAL CONAN, HOST:

It's Tuesday and time to read from your comments. On Thanksgiving, we talked to Dave Isay, founder of StoryCorps, about the National Day of Listening, which focused this year on teachers. Kavon Hasari(ph) wrote, I came to the United States at age 12 from Puerto Rico. The rigor and criticism of several English teachers and the French teacher in Miami made me want to become a better writer. Now I make a living writing in English and French.

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Economy
1:00 pm
Tue November 29, 2011

What Strong Holiday Retail Means For US Economy

Black Friday sales surged to their highest level since 2007, and early results from Cyber Monday's online sales are up almost 20 percent over 2010. The U.S. economy and many consumers continue to struggle, however, and some forecasters worry that the encouraging retail boost is unsustainable.

NPR Story
1:00 pm
Tue November 29, 2011

Alan Rickman: From Severus Snape To 'Seminar'

Alan Rickman has played Professor Severus Snape throughout the Harry Potter series.
Courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures

Originally published on Wed November 30, 2011 12:16 pm

Actor Alan Rickman has played a loving husband, a terrorist leader, a stern professor of the dark arts and even a caterpillar; from Sense and Sensibility to Die Hard to Harry Potter, his talents have made him recognizable to several generations of moviegoers.

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Law
1:00 pm
Tue November 29, 2011

Shifts In Police Tactics To Handle Crowds

Occupy Wall Street protests around the country have raised questions about the role of the police. Norm Stamper, Seattle's former police chief, Philadelphia police commissioner Charles Ramsey and Brooklyn College sociologist Alex Vitale talk about the evolution of crowd control tactics.

World
1:00 pm
Tue November 29, 2011

Relationship Sours After Airstrikes In Pakistan

Transcript

NEAL CONAN, HOST:

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NPR Story
1:00 pm
Mon November 28, 2011

Judy Blume: Banned Often, But Widely Beloved

Judy Blume and her son, Lawrence Blume, are working together on a movie version of her novel, Tiger Eyes.
Scott Gries Getty Images

Judy Blume has been channeling the anxieties, dreams and secret thoughts of young readers for more than four decades. With her honest treatment of topics from bullying to puberty, she has won legions of fans around the world. But she's also drawn the ire of critics, who want her frank books banned.

School libraries around the country have banned many of Blume's books over the years, including Are You There, God? It's Me, Margaret, Then Again, Maybe I Won't and Blubber, making Blume a champion for supporters of intellectual freedom for young people.

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Opinion
1:00 pm
Mon November 28, 2011

A Plea To Protect Shoppers On Black Friday

With markdowns and midnight sales every Black Friday come reports of shopping-related violence. One woman allegedly pepper-sprayed other customers over an Xbox. In years past, people have been trampled to death. Adam Cohen says it's time for stores and the government to do more to protect people.

Law
1:00 pm
Mon November 28, 2011

What Happens To The Criminally Insane, After Court

This week, John Hinckley Jr. faces a hearing to determine whether or not he can be released from a mental health facility to care for his ailing mother. The case raises questions about the role of the insanity defense and what happens to the criminally insane after they leave the courtroom.

Opinion
1:00 pm
Mon November 28, 2011

Op-Ed: Islamists Can Adopt Democracy

Originally published on Mon November 28, 2011 2:13 pm

Transcript

NEAL CONAN, HOST:

And now, The Opinion Page. Today, Egyptians began the long process of electing a new parliament. Millions turned out to vote in the first meaningful election in that country's history. There are close to 50 political parties competing, among them several Islamist parties, including the Muslim Brotherhood, which many regard as the best organized and likely to emerge as one of the big winners. Some regard Islamism as incompatible with democracy.

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Science
1:00 pm
Fri November 25, 2011

IgNobel Prizes Salute The Silly In Science

This year's 21st First Annual IgNobel Prize Ceremony featured the science of sighs, inquiries into the yawning habits of the red-footed tortoise, and songs about the chemistry of coffee. Ira Flatow and Ig master of ceremonies Marc Abrahams present some of the highlights from this year's festivities.

Technology
1:00 pm
Fri November 25, 2011

Building 'The Big Roads'

In his new book The Big Roads: The Untold Story of the Engineers, Visionaries, and Trailblazers Who Created the American Superhighways writer Earl Swift looks at the history and people behind the world's largest public works project — the U.S. interstate superhighway system.

Food
1:00 pm
Fri November 25, 2011

Giant Pumpkin, But Forget About Pie

Some pumpkins just aren't meant for the pie pan. Robert Sabin has been growing "Atlantic giant" pumpkins for ten years and says they are more like children than fruit to him. He raises his pumpkins for competition--the heavier, the better.

Health
1:00 pm
Fri November 25, 2011

A Tale Of Two Addicts: Freud, Halsted And Cocaine

Originally published on Fri November 25, 2011 6:20 pm

Transcript

IRA FLATOW, HOST:

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Science
1:00 pm
Fri November 25, 2011

Science Diction: The Origin Of 'Stethoscope'

The first stethoscope, invented by the French physician René Laennec, was simply a hollow wooden or ebony tube. Laennec named the device using the Greek roots stethos, or chest, and skopein, to look at or to observe. Medical historian Howard Markel discusses how Laennec came up with the invention. Unlike the stethoscope familiar to patients today, the original device was a simple tube.

From Our Listeners
12:27 pm
Thu November 24, 2011

Those Who Can't Be With Us On Thanksgiving

The son or daughter who can't get away. A nephew who is serving in Afghanistan. Perhaps, the favorite aunt who passed away. Guest host John Donvan talks with listeners about the people missing from their Thanksgiving table, and how they remember absent family and friends.

Food
12:23 pm
Thu November 24, 2011

Adam Gopnik: 'The Table Comes First'

What goes on the dining table has never mattered as much to our lives as what goes on around it, says Adam Gopnik, a staff writer for The New Yorker. Guest host John Donvan talks with Gopnik about his new book, The Table Comes First: Family, France, and the Meaning of Food.

StoryCorps' National Day Of Listening
12:02 pm
Thu November 24, 2011

National Day Of Listening: Thank Your Teacher

Originally published on Thu November 24, 2011 12:30 pm

In 2008, the oral history project StoryCorps started the National Day of Listening, a day when Americans are encouraged to record an interview with a loved one on the day after Thanksgiving.

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Politics
1:00 pm
Wed November 23, 2011

Countdown To Iowa And New Hampshire Primaries

The top Republican presidential candidates wrapped up another debate Tuesday night and now turn to the nation's first two primary states: Iowa and New Hampshire. With the Iowa caucus just six weeks away, guests explain how each candidate is courting voters, and how the campaign is playing out.

National Security
1:00 pm
Wed November 23, 2011

Donilon Says Iran Nukes Program Is 'Undeniable'

The U.S. and its allies announced coordinated sanctions against Iran on Monday. In a speech at the Brookings Institution Tuesday, White House national security adviser Tom Donilon argued that it is "undeniable" that Iran is developing a nuclear weapons capability, and that sanctions are working.

Politics
1:00 pm
Wed November 23, 2011

How To Talk Politics At The Dinner Table

Conventional wisdom advises against talking about politics at family gatherings, but that's often unrealistic. With the turbulent race for president and the roiling Occupy protests — not to mention the usual politics of food, football and in-laws — some discussion guidelines can be helpful.

Games & Humor
1:00 pm
Wed November 23, 2011

A Broken Record, And Other Sounds Kids Don't Know

Phones today beep and buzz. MP3s don't scratch. Noises that were once familiar, such as the clacking of manual typewriter keys or the ding of the gas station driveway bell, have all but vanished. Kara Kovalchik of MentalFloss.com shares these and other sounds your kids have probably never heard.

NPR Story
1:00 pm
Tue November 22, 2011

A Case For Cash Donations, Instead Of Cans

Every November, food donation boxes in offices, stores and schools fill with shelf-stable food. But as much as half of it may never be used, says Katherina Rosqueta of the University of Pennsylvania's Center For High Impact Philanthropy. She says it's time to can food drives and donate cash instead.

NPR Story
1:00 pm
Tue November 22, 2011

The 'Darkhorse' Battalion And Wartime Sacrifice

The Marines of the 3rd Battalion, 5th Regiment, known as the "Darkhorse" Battalion, have suffered the worst casualty rate of any Marine unit in the Afghan war. During a seven-month tour, they lost 25 men; nearly 200 were wounded. Still, the Marines in the unit agree it was worth it.

NPR Story
1:00 pm
Tue November 22, 2011

Confidential Informers Play Complex Role For FBI

Originally published on Tue November 22, 2011 2:22 pm

Transcript

NEAL CONAN, HOST:

This past weekend, New York City officials charged a man they called a lone wolf a would-be terrorist arrested in the act of manufacturing three pipe bombs. But today we read reports that the FBI declined to pursue a case against Jose Pimentel because it had questions about the role of a confidential informer. More from NPR's counterterrorism correspondent Dina Temple-Raston in just a moment. But we also want to hear from those of you who work in law enforcement.

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