Frequently Asked Questions about Blog of the Nation

What is Blog of the Nation?

Blog of the Nation is the blog companion to NPR's Talk of the Nation, a daily live, two-hour, call-in talk show hosted by Neal Conan.

What is Talk of the Nation?

Talk of the Nation is a live, call-in program that airs Monday through Thursday. Neal Conan is the host, and also blogs here. We talk about everything from Condi to Britney ... if it's news, and well, you know, the talk of the nation!

What is the purpose of the blog?

Blog of the Nation (BOTN) is a place for dog walkers, dogs, math teachers, poets, mechanics, babysitters, astronauts, and NPR fans to find out more about Talk of the Nation (TOTN), and to talk about the day's news stories. We'll provide a place for people who listen to our show to comment on it as it happens, and to talk to other listeners about it. We'll also let readers in on the more interesting aspects of the TOTN editorial process, and provide information we just couldn't squeeze into the program. And we'll use the blog to solicit your experiences and input on stories we're working on, but haven't quite figured out yet.

Who can comment?

Anyone — even the dogs.

Can I only comment about TOTN?

Comments should be on topic for each blog posting.

Do you have rules about what can or cannot be said in the comments?

We sure do. Please see our guidelines for comments.

What if I have a question or comment for the show that's on the air right now?

You have a variety of options — you can call us at 1-800-989-TALK (8255), comment on this blog (where we'll have a place for you to do so for each segment), or use the "Contact Us" form.

Who writes the blog?

Currently, three of Talk of the Nation's producers — Scott Cameron, Sarah Handel, and Barrie Hardymon — write the majority of posts on the blog. Host Neal Conan also posts.

Does Neal Conan write the blog?

Some of the posts are Neal's — you'll see his name in italics under the post if he's the author.

How often do you post new entries to the blog?

We post at least once a day, Monday through Thursday, but don't set your watch by it.

Can I suggest show topics on the blog?

The best way to suggest show topics is to read the article, "How to Pitch a Show to Talk of the Nation." However, we may also use the blog to stir up ideas, so don't be surprised if we ask for your suggestions. When this happens, you can just dive into the discussion and post a comment.

What if I want to email the show privately?

The best way to email the show is to use the "Contact Us" form. You can use it to give us general input, ask us questions that don't pertain to specific posts, and offer comments that you'd rather keep off the blog itself.

Will blog comments be read on the air?

It's possible — all public comments are fair game for air. If you'd like your comment to be kept private, send it to us via the Contact Us form and specify it's not for air.

Can I link to your blog?


Will you link to my blog?

Probably not, unless it's related to something we're doing on the show.

Do I need to sign up to be eligible to post comments?

Not at the moment, but that may change someday as we add new community features to the website.



Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the Community rules and terms of use, and will be moderated prior to posting. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.

Please read Rev. Peter Gomes from Harvard University, who in his book "The Good Book" in Chapter 7 debunks the idea that scripture is against gays, to see the other side of this religious arguement.

Sent by Sebastien Morel | 2:33 PM | 3-21-2007

I am a Democrat upset with the recent story of pork (i.e. peanut storage)in the military bill. What's the Democrat response? I've looked for explanations on the web to no avail. The Republican's had their spin.

Sent by Bruce Pfrommer | 2:31 PM | 4-5-2007

A much more thoughtful analysis of the abortion question than is usually heard on radio was written ten years ago by Carl Sagan and his wife Ann Druyan. I recommend it to all. It is avaiable at and perhaps elsewhere.

Originally it was printed in Parade Magazine, before the dumbing down of that pubication made serious discussions in it's pages verboten.

Sent by Dr. Douglas Duncan | 11:42 PM | 4-23-2007

When will the tech folks realize that the population is aging and can't handle all these features?

My dad has Parkinsons -- make's it hard to find small buttons -- he has poor vision -- makes it hard to read screen or buttons -- and mild dementia -- make is hard to follow complicated steps.

All he wants is a simple voice-activated phone!

Sent by Lori | 2:32 PM | 6-27-2007

After 15 years of rap, hip-hop, & teaching, I've seen the negativity rap/hip-hop lyrics have had on a whole generation. Some teenagers feel being a drug dealer, having multiple sex partners regularly, & not working are acceptable behavior. This is especially dishearting when young teenagers, who are not minorities, express lower social behavioral standards for their fellow minority teenagers. Too many rappers and hip-hop artists help perpetuate the negative stereotyping of minorities in this country. Why don't these same artists focus on the positive achievments of minorities in this country?

Sent by L. | 3:53 PM | 7-9-2007

I enjoy Forum every day, but I just learned he has a book out- I look forward to reading it.

There are many things I would like to ask Michael about him and Forum, but I am not sure what he will be talking about today.

I must say Forum is a vital "forum" to learn about EVERYTHING, from current local and international political news, to technology, money and art...
...and it is not the same when Michael is not host. He seems to know everything about the topic, and he politely and artfully facilitates discussions between people with opposing views, and all types of callers!

Perhaps he can answer a "fun" question on TotN. What is a "typical" day like for Michael?
I often wonder how he manages to be an expert on so many topics, and lead Forum, and be a professor, and lead events in the evenings, and probably much more!

Sent by Dan Kerry | 3:11 PM | 10-17-2007

Karen Armstrong 'whitewashes' the Bible, as she did Muhammad.
There is a series of texts--that scholars call 'the ban' texts--where God commands his people to do to those who are in their way, what Hitler tried to do to the Jews: Wipe them out!
Deut 20:16-18 is one. This is a key moment in the central narrative which begins with the exile. Here the people is about to move into the 'promised land' They are commanded: "dont let anything that breathes remain alive. You shall annihilate them."
Despite Joshua (e.g. end ch 10)there is good reason to believe this command was not carried out, but the insult stands, in what is the OT's "pivotal" book.
And of course compare Revelation in the NT, the prism through which many Christian conservatives/extremists see everything.
Scholars tend to shy away from this scandal, but are fully aware of it. John Collins (Yale) made it the theme of his Soc. Biblical Lit. pres. address in Toronto in 2002--in response to talk about the Quran as a source of sacred violence. But the church--and the media
--remain asleep...

Sent by Brian McCarthy | 5:56 PM | 11-13-2007

about the opening of adoption records... my niece and nephew were taken by the state from my brother and adopted out. at the time i felt that it was probably for the best as my brother had a serious alcohol problem, the mother was nowhere in the picture. My brother has since passed away and there is no way for me to get ahold of them. they are both over 18 now so I will begin the long and arduous task of looking for them. i had helped to raise them but was not considered for the adoption because of my close ties to my brother. my point is this, what about other family members and their rights, desires to be a part of an adopted child's life? i'm not condemning the state for taking the kids but one family member with a problem does not mean the whole family is so bad that there should be no contact with the children. Scott,(formerly known as B.J.) and Robin, your Aunt Wendy from Jackson,Mi is looking for you.

Sent by Wendy Osinski | 7:00 PM | 11-13-2007

Re:Tuesday's TOTN which discussed Gov. Eliot Spitzer's prostitution scandal and The Book of Vice. Frankly, the tone of the program was incredibly sophomoric, kind of like high-school boys discussing sex. If I wanted that sort of programming, I'd listen to Howard Stern. C'mon, guys, can you discuss sex like adults?

Sent by Cathy | 10:41 PM | 3-11-2008

You mention that China and India are the largest producers of rice and wheat. As this requires a lot of water, could the turmoil in Tibet be more over water rights than politics. I believe India also claims a part of Tibet

Sent by Jack - Chiuco, ca | 2:25 PM | 3-21-2008

I see flaw in logic from a listener (I guarantee a male) who objected to the FLDS compound in West Texas being taken over by the government because of allegations of child abuse. His reasoning was that if we were not descendants of generations of polygamists who married at age 13 (as they sometimes did 100 years ago), we could not criticize their customs. I suppose the same reasoning could be applied to female circumcision: WE just don't get the picture!

Sent by Caroline Nelson | 1:28 AM | 4-16-2008

How can you say we have to stay in Iraq? They don't want us there. The present government is propped up by our government. Seven years is long enough. We must let them decide their future without our falsely-promoted, totally-botched war presence!

Sent by William Lynn | 4:30 PM | 6-26-2008

After all the blathering I've heard and read by commentators, radio-show callers, and bloggers in support--even praise--of the New Yorker Obama cover, it's clear to me that they are the ones who don't "get it". The claims by those such as New Yorker editor David Remnick and today's TOTN guest, cartoonist Art Spiegelman, that the illustration was intended as a thoughtful, purposeful use of satire and irony to expose gross misconceptions and lies about the Obamas and to incite constructive discussion of these issues is disingenuous.
"Ironically", the only discussion I've heard so far is not about the important underlying issues raised by the cover's symbolic images, but rather centers on whether or not the magazine should have published it. In other words, it's not about Obama, it's about The New Yorker, whose staff knew exactly what would happen by publishing this cover: it would sell magazines. And for Remnick to try to assign further high-minded journalistic credibility to the misguided, indeed offensive, cover cartoon by mentioning that it's tied to a "serious" 15,000-word article on Obama inside the magazine is equally absurd. Just who among those who already believe the lies and distortions about Obama is going to read it? No, this was simply a cheap, lazy, obvious way to incite controversy, to score points with certain media and political insiders, and again--to sell magazines.

Sent by David Vernier | 5:53 PM | 7-15-2008

About the issue of "The Right to Refuse Medical Services"... It would be illegal discrimination to ask a physician or pharmacist about their religious views as part of an employment search or screening. A hiring firm could find themselves with an office full of practitioners who will refuse a full range of services. Here's an idea: How about changing the licensing process so that a person who wants to reserve a right to refuse services because of religious beliefs would qualify for a "limited license" as opposed to an "unlimited" or "full" license for someone who did not reserve that right to themselves. Then the employers and patients of those practitioners know up front what limits might exist in that office. And state laws could require at least one "full" or "unlimited licensee" in any fully licensed clinic, hospital or pharmacy, so that the public is guaranteed a full range of services whether in New York City or Beulah, Kansas.

Sent by Dale Schatz | 1:37 AM | 9-16-2008