Talk of the Nation

Talk of the Nation linked 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 combined the award-winning resources of NPR News with the vital participation of listeners. The result was a spirited and productive exchange of knowledge and insight that delves deeply into the news and ideas of the day.

Talk of the Nation ended its 17-year run on June 27, 2013.

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NPR Story
2:22 pm
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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Strange News
2:49 pm
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 11:11 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
2:08 pm
Wed May 23, 2012

VP Contenders: Pawlenty And Martinez

Originally published on Wed May 23, 2012 2:35 pm

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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Strange News
2:08 pm
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 10:14 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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Theater
2:08 pm
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 11:55 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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Politics
3:57 pm
Tue May 22, 2012

Young Voters, Once Buoyed By Obama, Turn Away

Originally published on Tue May 22, 2012 4:06 pm

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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Health Care
2:19 pm
Tue May 22, 2012

The Ethics Of Compensating Organ Donors

Originally published on Tue May 22, 2012 4:06 pm

Transcript

NEAL CONAN, HOST:

This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan, in Washington. Each year, too many people die waiting for a transplant. Just about everybody agrees that the current system to distribute organs is both ethical and fair, but it simply doesn't provide enough, and some argue it's time to change.

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NPR Story
1:59 pm
Tue May 22, 2012

The Definition Of Success For Talks With Iran

Originally published on Sun May 27, 2012 8:33 am

Transcript

NEAL CONAN, HOST:

This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan in Washington. Talks that President Obama calls the last chance for negotiations reconvene tomorrow in Baghdad. The U.S. and five other great powers will meet with Iranian officials to discuss that country's nuclear ambitions.

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NPR Story
1:59 pm
Tue May 22, 2012

Rebuilding Joplin, One Year After Tornadoes

Originally published on Tue May 22, 2012 4:06 pm

Transcript

NEAL CONAN, HOST:

As the sun rose in Joplin, Missouri, today, a sunrise service was held to commemorate emergency workers, hospital staff, survivors and the 161 killed in a monster tornado a year ago. Yesterday, President Obama delivered the commencement address at Joplin High School and praised the town for its spirit of perseverance and resilience. While much of the rubble has been cleared out and new houses and stores sprout up, scars remain, not all of them visible.

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NPR Story
1:59 pm
Tue May 22, 2012

Letters: Cancer In Your 20s And 'Ex-Gay' Therapy

Originally published on Tue May 22, 2012 4:06 pm

NPR's Neal Conan reads from listener comments about previous show topics including the challenges of facing cancer in your 20s, and the controversial treatment known as reparative therapy that some argue can reverse homosexuality.

NPR Story
2:43 pm
Mon May 21, 2012

Spitzer's Apology Changes 'Ex-Gay' Debate

Originally published on Tue May 22, 2012 2:40 pm

Dr. Robert Spitzer's research was widely cited by those who conduct conversion therapy as proof that it worked. Dr. Spitzer says his findings were misinterpreted, and apologized. The American Psychological Association has said there is no evidence that it's possible to change sexual orientation.

After our show, NPR reached out to Exodus International for a statement. The full text of that response follows.

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Education
2:14 pm
Mon May 21, 2012

Students Find It's Tough To Graduate In Four Years

Originally published on Mon May 21, 2012 3:35 pm

Transcript

NEAL CONAN, HOST:

This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan, in Washington. Only a little over half of fulltime students graduate with a bachelor's degree within six years of starting college. Educators blame the low rate on students who decide to adjust their course loads, take time off or drop out of school altogether.

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Television
2:14 pm
Mon May 21, 2012

Networks Must Adapt To Decline In TV Viewers

Originally published on Mon May 21, 2012 2:39 pm

Transcript

NEAL CONAN, HOST:

Advertising executives gathered in New York City last week to get their first look at the fall primetime television lineup. The four big networks announced decisions to cancel some shows, including stalwarts like "CSI: Miami" and "Desperate Housewives." And they also welcomed newcomers, including lots and lots of new comedies. But this is all happening against the backdrop of a dwindling audience. It used to be that the network's losses were cable televisions gain, but cable ratings are also down.

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Space
1:36 pm
Fri May 18, 2012

Planning For A Solar Sky Show

On May 20th, skywatchers in the western third of the United States will be treated to an annular solar eclipse, a sight not seen here in 18 years. Dean Regas of the Cincinnati Observatory shares tips for viewing the eclipse, and tells how solar observers can safely get a peek at the elusive 'ring of fire.'

NPR Story
1:25 pm
Fri May 18, 2012

On Eve Of Launch, SpaceX Head Talks About Mission

Transcript

IRA FLATOW, HOST:

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