Talk of the Nation

Neil Conan

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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Africa
2:13 pm
Thu December 13, 2012

Options For Intervention In Mali's Growing Crisis

Transcript

NEAL CONAN, HOST:

This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan in Washington. Many of us may not be able to point to Mali on a map, but this landlocked nation in West Africa has emerged as a crisis. Here's a quick synopsis: A government once hailed as a model of democracy collapses in a coup last March. Three northern provinces, an area the size of Texas, break away and declare themselves independent.

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Health Care
2:08 pm
Wed December 12, 2012

Flu Season 2012: What You Should Know this Year

Originally published on Wed December 12, 2012 2:56 pm

Transcript

NEAL CONAN, HOST:

This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan in Washington. This year's flu season started early. Eight states already report widespread flu activity, and doctors say it's a nasty strain this year, too. The good news is this year's vaccine is a good match. But even so, the flu will kill thousands more, probably tens of thousands of Americans, before it runs its course. Why? And what more can we do to reduce that number?

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Politics
2:03 pm
Wed December 12, 2012

Obama's Cabinet Reshuffle, What's Next For Hillary?

Originally published on Wed December 12, 2012 4:01 pm

President Barack Obama is expected to make some key changes to his second-term cabinet. As Hillary Clinton prepares to step down as Secretary of State, many wonder whether she will run for president in 2016.

NPR Story
1:58 pm
Wed December 12, 2012

Sitar Player Remembers The Legendary Ravi Shankar

Originally published on Wed December 12, 2012 4:04 pm

Transcript

NEAL CONAN, HOST:

As you probably heard by now, the great sitar player Ravi Shankar died yesterday at the age of 92. His music arrived in most American ears thanks to George Harrison and the Beatles, whose interest triggered something of a sitar craze back in the late '60s. Harrison played the exotic instrument on a couple of tracks. The Rolling Stones followed suit on "Paint It Black." The electric sitar soon followed. But Ravi Shankar remained the unchallenged master. But what do I know? He's the only Indian-born sitar player I ever heard.

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Books
2:18 pm
Tue December 11, 2012

Tracing Military Failures, Holding 'The Generals' Accountable

Thomas Ricks argues that the failures of today's military can be traced back to the Vietnam War.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Tue December 11, 2012 4:26 pm

In The Generals, Thomas Ricks argues that the failures in America's recent wars can be directly traced to failures of those in command.

Ricks examines U.S. military leadership from World War Two to the present day, and concludes that the mistakes in Iraq and Afghanistan can be traced to the Army's inability to come to terms with all the lessons of Vietnam.

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Law
2:07 pm
Tue December 11, 2012

What Changes In Right-To-Work States?

Originally published on Tue December 11, 2012 4:26 pm

Transcript

NEAL CONAN, HOST:

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

(SOUNDBITE OF PROTEST)

CONAN: That was the scene this morning outside the Michigan statehouse in Lansing as activists protested the legislature's work on two bills to rewrite the state's labor laws and make Michigan the 24th state in the country to become a right to work state. Rick Pluta, the managing editor and statehouse bureau chief for Michigan Public Radio Network, joins us now by phone from the statehouse. Nice to have you on the program today.

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Law
2:02 pm
Tue December 11, 2012

Is It Too Soon For A Gay Marriage Court Battle?

Originally published on Tue December 11, 2012 4:26 pm

Transcript

NEAL CONAN, HOST:

Last week, the Supreme Court decided to take up two cases that focus on same-sex marriage, but some gay rights advocates worry that now may not be the best time. Rulings to uphold California's Proposition 8 and the federal Defense of Marriage Act would be a major setback. Even if they're struck down, the rulings could well leave same-sex marriage bans in effect in 30 states. Supporters of gay marriage, given these cases and given this court: is now the right time?

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NPR Story
2:36 pm
Mon December 10, 2012

K'Naan On Cheapening His Music For The Money

Somali-Canadian rapper K'Naan released his first album in 2005.
Alberto E. Rodriguez Getty Images

Originally published on Thu December 13, 2012 2:30 pm

Somali-born rapper and musician K'naan became a success based, at least in part, on gritty stories from his childhood in war-torn Mogadishu. But on his most recent album, Country, God, Or the Girl, the edginess of past songs has been replaced with a polished pop sound and lyrics directed to a young American audience.

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Opinion
2:22 pm
Mon December 10, 2012

Op-Ed: Taboo Words Serve An Important Purpose

Originally published on Thu December 13, 2012 2:31 pm

Transcript

NEAL CONAN, HOST:

And now, The Opinion Page. Many reporters and editors turn to the "AP Stylebook" to answer questions on grammar, punctuation and usage, so it's news when words are purged. Last month, The Associated Press announced the elimination of Islamophobia, homophobia and ethnic cleansing from next year's stylebook, a decision Chicago Tribune syndicated columnist Clarence Page calls a linguistic blow for blandness. Now, there are a few words so offensive that they're beyond the pale: the N word, the F word.

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Africa
2:08 pm
Mon December 10, 2012

The U.S. Role In Egypt's Battle For Democracy

Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi authorized the military to secure the country ahead of a controversial referendum on a draft constitution — a move that some compared to martial law. The opposition is split over what to do — vote down the constitution or boycott the vote altogether.

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