Talk of the Nation

Mon. - Thurs. from 11am to 1pm (not including Science Friday)
  • Hosted by Hosted by: 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.

Monday through Thursday, host Neal Conan invites callers to discuss areas of topical interest, including politics and public service, education, religion, music, and healthcare. Talk of the Nation goes behind the headlines with decision-makers, authors, thinkers, artists, and listeners around the world, who become part of the conversation by calling 1-800-989-TALK.

Talk of the Nation won the prestigious Alfred I. duPont-Columbia Silver Baton Award in 1994-95 for "The Changing of the Guard: The Republican Revolution," as well as the 1993-94 duPont-Columbia Silver Baton for part of NPR's coverage of the South African elections. The program also won the 1993 Corporation for Public Broadcasting Silver Award.

Below, you will find articles, transcripts, and clips of many of the stories heard on Talk of the Nation.

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VP Contenders: Pawlenty And Martinez

May 23, 2012



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.

Couch-Surfing: Global Travel On The Cheap

May 23, 2012

Nearly 4 million people are members of 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.

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.

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.

The Ethics Of Compensating Organ Donors

May 22, 2012



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.

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.



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.



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.

Rebuilding Joplin, One Year After Tornadoes

May 22, 2012



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.

Spitzer's Apology Changes 'Ex-Gay' Debate

May 21, 2012

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.