Talk of the Nation

Weekdays 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.
Neal Conan

Talk of the Nation links the headlines with what's on people's minds, providing a springboard for listeners and experts to exchange ideas and pose critical questions about major events in the news and the world around them. Each day, Talk of the Nation combines the award-winning resources of NPR News with the vital participation of listeners. The result is a spirited and productive exchange of knowledge and insight that delves deeply into the news and ideas of the day.

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NPR Story
12:00 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."

Politics
12:00 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.

NPR Story
12:00 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 11:16 am

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
12:00 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
12:00 pm
Tue November 29, 2011

Relationship Sours After Airstrikes In Pakistan

Transcript

NEAL CONAN, HOST:

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From Our Listeners
12:00 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
12:00 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
12:00 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
12:00 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
12:00 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
12:00 pm
Mon November 28, 2011

Op-Ed: Islamists Can Adopt Democracy

Originally published on Mon November 28, 2011 1:13 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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NPR Story
12:00 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.

NPR Story
12:00 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.

NPR Story
12:00 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.

Science
12:00 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.

Health
12:00 pm
Fri November 25, 2011

A Tale Of Two Addicts: Freud, Halsted And Cocaine

Originally published on Fri November 25, 2011 5:20 pm

Transcript

IRA FLATOW, HOST:

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From Our Listeners
11:27 am
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
11:23 am
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
11:02 am
Thu November 24, 2011

National Day Of Listening: Thank Your Teacher

Originally published on Thu November 24, 2011 11:30 am

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Politics
12:00 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
12:00 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.

Politics
12:00 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
12:00 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.

NPR Story
12:00 pm
Tue November 22, 2011

Letters: Lost In Translation And Holiday Travel

NPR's Neal Conan reads from listener comments on previous show topics, including an example of how meaning gets lost in translation, the challenges of raising a terminally ill child, and advice on how to travel with kids this Thanksgiving.

NPR Story
12:00 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.

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