Talk of the Nation on KUER 1

Mon - Thu, Noon - 2pm
  • Hosted by Mike Anderson, Neal Conan, Monday - Thursday. Ira Flatow, Friday
  • Local Host Mike Anderson

When Americans want to be a part of the national conversation, they turn to Talk of the Nation, NPR's midday news-talk show. Journalist Neal Conan leads a productive exchange of ideas and opinions on the issues that dominate the news landscape. From politics and public service to education, religion, music and healthcare, Talk of the Nation offers call-in listeners the opportunity to join enlightening discussions with decision-makers, authors, academicians, and artists from around the world.

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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NEAL CONAN, HOST:

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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NEAL CONAN, HOST:

And so it's time to say goodbye. As you probably know, this, after 21 years, is the final broadcast of TALK OF THE NATION, and after 36 years, my last day at NPR.

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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From small country churches to the stages of the civil rights movement to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Mavis Staples' career has spanned more than 60 years.

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This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan, in Washington. It's Markey in Massachusetts, the court nixes DOMA and Prop 8, and the president bows to the summer heat and discards his jacket to take on climate change. It's Wednesday, and time for a...

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: It's not that sexy.

CONAN: Edition of the Political Junkie.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDINGS)

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?

In a 5-4 decision in U.S. v. Windsor, the Supreme Court ruled the federal Defense Of Marriage Act unconstitutional. The court rules that supporters of California's Proposition 8 case did not have standing to bring the case to court, which means same-sex marriages in California may resume.

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NEAL CONAN, HOST:

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This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan in Washington. Of the many programs we've aired over the years on medicine, none has been more interesting than the series of conversations with Sherwin Nuland and Atul Gawande, both surgeons and teachers. Both have also gone public as writers on their profession both to inform the public about what they do and why and how it's changing and to speak with their colleagues about what works and what doesn't.

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This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan in Washington. This morning in a much anticipated decision, the Supreme Court struck down a key provision of the 1965 Voting Rights Act. Writing for a five-four majority, Chief Justice John Roberts ruled that Congress' action to protect minority voting rights in nine states was based on outdated data, and the formula used to determine which areas were subject to federal oversight was thus unconstitutional.

On May 13, 1985, after a long standoff, Philadelphia municipal authorities dropped a bomb on a residential row house. The Osage Avenue home was the headquarters of the African-American radical group MOVE, which had confronted police on many occasions since the group's founding in 1972.

The resulting fire killed 11 people — including five children and the group's leader, John Africa — destroyed 61 homes, and tore apart a community.

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And now, time for the Opinion Page. There's a new kind of labor movement in the United States led by those who are not in unions, primarily retail and fast-food workers. These workers are protesting before they unionize. And in a column for the Chicago Tribune, columnist Clarence Page compares this new labor movement to Occupy Wall Street.

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This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan in Washington. When you looked in the closet this morning, what did you pick out, and why? The power suit, the blouse that fits just right, the jeans and the boots? Even if you wear a uniform or overalls, we all make decisions about what we look like and why. Hair says a lot. So do accessories. But any message is also open to misinterpretation. What we hope to say doesn't always come across that way.

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This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan. After the war in Vietnam, the U.S. military changed in profound ways. A conscript force became all volunteer. Congress changed the rules to force much more extensive use of the National Guard in any future conflict. Training and equipment emphasized fighting at night. And technology made blunt instruments like aerial bombing far more precise.

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E.O. Wilson's Advice for Future Scientists

Jun 21, 2013

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This is SCIENCE FRIDAY. I'm Ira Flatow. In his long career studying ants, nature and ecology, E.O. Wilson has been no stranger to controversy. In the 1970s he was doused with water at a science meeting for presenting his theory on sociobiology. Another new evolutionary theory he introduced a few years ago on kin selection continues to be hotly debated.

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Every six months, one of my next guests ranks the 500 fastest computers in the world, the supercomputers, and back in November 2010, China took number one for the first time with a supercomputer called Milky Way 1. President Obama acknowledged China's feat in his State of the Union address a few months later and said we were facing a Sputnik moment.

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This is SCIENCE FRIDAY, I'm Ira Flatow. If you have a smartphone, you might take the Internet for granted, right? It's always there. But around the world, some four and a half billion people still are not connected. Google, being in the Internet business, has a plan to expand its reach, bring Internet to all these people, but it's not by spooling out fiber-optic cable or building cell towers. It's using a technology that, well, sort of sounds like it belongs in another century: free-floating balloons. They call it Project Loon.

Goodnight Moon, Goodnight Math

Jun 21, 2013

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OK. Maybe E. O. Wilson's comments in his new book, "Letters to a Young Scientist", essentially says you don't want to have to be great at math to have a career in science, but it can't hurt, right? And to be great at math, it pays to start young, and my next guest is a - has a plan for you. Laura Overdeck is the founder of Bedtime Math. Her mission: to make math friendlier in a way by introducing kids to math problems at an early age.

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This is SCIENCE FRIDAY. I'm Ira Flatow. This week, researchers reported that they think they've spotted the tell-tale signs of a previously undiscovered, subatomic particle. This one was unusual because it appeared to be made of four quarks bound together, an arrangement they have never seen before. And they're not sure exactly how that arrangement might work.

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Coffee's Natural Creamer

Jun 21, 2013

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Flora Lichtman is here with our Video Pick of the Week. And it is more coffee.

FLORA LICHTMAN, BYLINE: Our fabulous coffee series by the great Jenny Woodward continues on SCIENCE FRIDAY. Drink up, everybody. This week we're diving into a tiny glass of espresso.

FLATOW: Ooh. Ooh. So small dive.

LICHTMAN: You need to be very careful. Keep your limbs in.

FLATOW: And why - what's so fascinating about espresso?

In a speech in Germany Wednesday, President Barack Obama said it's time to take "bold action" on climate change. Many believe that major changes to policies on carbon emissions lie ahead, which would mean a host of new regulations for businesses.

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Over the past several weeks, we checked in with our colleagues and friends in a series of conversations called "Looking Ahead," today, poet Nikky Finney. Two years ago, she riveted the audience as she accepted a National Book Award for her poetry collection "Head Off & Split."

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In the 1500s, Italy is bursting with some of the most influential and vivid figures in history. Many — like Leonardo da Vinci, who balanced art and the sciences; Galileo Galilei, who turned his telescope to the heavens; and Niccolo Machiavelli, who calculated the ruthless politics of the day — are still remembered even now for their major contributions.

Author Sarah Dunant has drilled down into the Italian Renaissance for over a decade — reconstructing a time of artistic innovation, political corruption and war into captivating, and highly accurate, fiction.

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

Yesterday, seven people were killed and 24 wounded in bomb attacks in Iraq as a surge of violence there continues, 2,000 dead since April; numbers that haven't been seen since the worst days of 2006 and 2007. Then as now, the fighting is largely between Sunnis and Shiites, but this time, inflamed by the civil war raging next door in Syria.

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It's Wednesday, and time to read from your comments. James in Laurel Hill, Fla., emailed during our conversation about research into rare diseases. "I would like to affirm the comment made by your guest about rare disease research leading to help for more common diseases," he wrote. "My nephew has brittle bone disease. Some aspects of his treatment have been used to help mend broken bones in accident victims, so research into rare disorders can definitely lead to treatment for others."

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This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan in Washington. With school out, many college - and even some high school students - will spend the summer working as interns. It's a chance to beef up their resumes, gain on-the-job experience and make valuable contacts. Last week, a federal district court judge in New York issued a ruling that could change the system.

If there's one thing kids are scared of, it's the dark. In his latest children's book, The Dark, Daniel Handler — who writes under the pen name Lemony Snicket — takes on darkness itself, with the story of a young boy who confronts his biggest fear. Handler is known for his dry wit and matter-of-fact take on the mysterious and macabre.

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This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan in Washington. The speaker clamps the Hastert Rule on immigration reform. Three Republican senators now support gay marriage. And the Bay State Senate race goes into its last week. It's Wednesday and time for a penultimate edition of the political junkie.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDINGS)

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?

A Look Ahead To The Future Of Afghanistan

Jun 18, 2013

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JOHN DONVAN, HOST:

This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm John Donvan in Washington. Neal Conan is away. Of course somebody needed to mark the occasion today by setting off a bomb. It was Afghanistan, where what is hoped will be a turning point was reached today when a ceremony was held in which the Afghan government officially took control of the nation's security, meaning that the U.S., which still has nearly 70,000 troops there, swaps into what is called a support role. Same for some of the 30,000 troops from other NATO nations.

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