Talk of the Nation

Weekdays 12:00 pm

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
6:54 am
Fri May 25, 2012

Watching Your Child Go Off To War

Originally published on Mon May 28, 2012 1:07 pm

With pride and sadness, writer David Freed watched his son go off to the war in Afghanistan. In the Los Angeles Times, Freed suggests that politicians who vote or make orders to deploy service members don't understand what it means to have a loved one serve. Originally broadcast April 4, 2012.

Health Care
11:26 am
Thu May 24, 2012

Changing Hospitals To Treat Patients Better

A recent poll found only half of people who have spent time in a hospital in the past year were very satisfied with their care. The rest complained about mistakes, poor communication and unresponsive nurses. But to better serve patients, some hospitals are changing the way they do business.

NPR Story
11:22 am
Thu May 24, 2012

Gjelten: How Things Have Changed At The CIA

Transcript

NEAL CONAN, HOST:

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

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History
11:15 am
Thu May 24, 2012

Etan Patz News Resurrects Parents' Nightmares

Originally published on Thu May 24, 2012 11:30 am

New York Police have reported a possible break in the case of Etan Patz, the 6-year-old boy who vanished 33 years ago on his way to school. No one was ever charged in his case, and the episode was a deep personal tragedy for the Patz family.

World
11:15 am
Thu May 24, 2012

What's Behind Economic Inequality Between Nations

Originally published on Thu May 24, 2012 12:39 pm

Transcript

NEAL CONAN, HOST:

This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan in Washington. What makes some nations succeed while others fail? In his Pulitzer Prize-winner, "Guns, Germs and Steel," Jared Diamond looked back over thousands of years of human history and concluded that geography allowed Eurasia to get a big head start and develop agriculture, writing, bureaucracy and the military technologies that led to dominance over much of the globe.

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Politics
11:35 am
Wed May 23, 2012

VP Contenders: Pawlenty And Martinez

Transcript

NEAL CONAN, HOST:

This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan in Washington. Pop quiz, Ken: Name the primary opponent who got 42 percent of the vote against President Obama in Kentucky yesterday.

KEN RUDIN, BYLINE: That would be Mr. Wolf.

CONAN: No, that would be uncommitted.

RUDIN: Oh, uncommitted.

CONAN: Uncommitted would be the...

RUDIN: Oh, I should be committed.

CONAN: You should be committed.

RUDIN: I'm sorry.

CONAN: In which state with Dennis Kucinich run for Congress this year?

RUDIN: None.

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Theater
11:08 am
Wed May 23, 2012

Mike Nichols Warns 'Death' May Be His Last Job

Mike Nichols' directing credits include Spamalot on Broadway, the movies Working Girl and The Birdcage, and HBO's Angels in America.
Ida Astute

Originally published on Thu May 24, 2012 8:55 am

Mike Nichols has won every major entertainment award over a decades-long career that includes theater, comedy, television and film. He performed as half of the comedy team Nichols and May, won his first Academy Award directing The Graduate, and returned to Broadway with a revival of Death of a Salesman, which picked up seven Tony nominations. Nichols warns that the production may be his last.

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Strange News
11:08 am
Wed May 23, 2012

Couch-Surfing: Global Travel On The Cheap

Couch-surfers pay for their lodgings with social interaction, not cash.
studio tdes Flickr

Originally published on Thu May 24, 2012 7:14 am

Nearly 4 million people are members of CouchSurfing.org and can find a host in every country — including North Korea — free of charge.

New Yorker staff writer Patricia Marx became a member recently and stayed with seven friendly strangers, from a graduate student in Iowa City to a couple in Bermuda in their 60s. She wrote about her experience for the magazine.

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Strange News
11:08 am
Wed May 23, 2012

Son Discovers Father's Secret Past On A Surfboard

Bobby Waters, Don Waters' father, surfing at Manhattan Beach in 1955.
Courtesy of Don Waters

Originally published on Thu May 24, 2012 8:11 am

Don Waters was 3 when his father, Robert Stanley Waters, abandoned the boy and his mother. But before Robert Waters died, he sent Don a short autobiography, hoping it would help him understand his father.

It took years before Don could bring himself to read it. When he did, he discovered an unsuspected past — and a shared passion for surfing. What he read prompted him to take a trip along the California coast, where his father played a part in establishing the surfer culture's first beachhead on the American mainland.

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Politics
1:06 pm
Tue May 22, 2012

Young Voters, Once Buoyed By Obama, Turn Away

Transcript

NEAL CONAN, HOST:

Four years ago, then-candidate Barack Obama rallied young voters to his cause with a message of hope and change. Polls show President Obama still ahead amongst the young but by considerably less. In an op-ed in The Los Angeles Times, Neal Gabler argues that the president severely disappointed many of his younger supporters and drove them away from established politics but toward new kinds of activism and public service. He calls it DIY politics.

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