March 19th: What's On Today's Show

Dharun Ravi waits for the judge to explain the law to the jury before they begin their deliberations during his trial at the Middlesex County Courthouse in New Brunswick, N.J. on Wednesday, March 14, 2012. In today's second hour we'll talk about the role of hate crimes in the U.S.

hide captionDharun Ravi waits for the judge to explain the law to the jury before they begin their deliberations during his trial at the Middlesex County Courthouse in New Brunswick, N.J. on Wednesday, March 14, 2012. In today's second hour we'll talk about the role of hate crimes in the U.S.

John O'Boyle/AP

Contraception Fight Puts Women In Political Spotlight
Women, somewhat to their surprise, find themselves again on the cutting edge of the culture wars. The debate over reproductive rights has long simmered, and from time to time grown louder, in the nearly 40 years since the Supreme Court legalized abortion. In recent months, a swarm of controversies erupted surrounding issues of women's health — from employer coverage of contraceptives, to the proposed ultrasound laws in Virginia and Texas, to the uproar over funding for Planned Parenthood. History professors Pamela Scully, of Emory University, and Catherine Rymph, of the University of Missouri, talk with host Neal Conan about what — other than partisan politics — is driving the changes.

The Shooting Death Of Trayvon Martin
The family of Trayvon Martin has asked the FBI to investigate three weeks after the 17-year-old African-American was shot and killed by a white neighborhood watch volunteer in Florida. The shooter, George Zimmerman, has been questioned by police but not arrested, and no charges have been filed. Local police say they don't have sufficient evidence to dispute Zimmerman's claim that he acted in self-defense. Critics argue that Martin was a victim of racial profiling and accuse police of protecting a vigilante. Neal Conan talks with a guest on the Opinion Page about the difficult questions raised by the shooting.

How Do You Define Hate Crime?
When a jury convicted former Rutgers student Dharun Ravi of bias intimidation, among other crimes, it reignited a national debate on hate crimes. Ravi could face ten years in prison, after using a webcam to spy on his one-time roommate as he had sex with another man. That roommate, Tyler Clementi, committed suicide three weeks after the start of their freshman year. Advocates of hate crime laws argue that they help deter attacks on vulnerable people. Others equate hate crime laws with "thought crimes" and insist there's no reliable way to prove in court what an alleged perpetrator or victim were thinking at the time of the crime. Host Neal Conan talks with guests about the role, effects, limits and debate over hate crimes.

'How To Cook Everything, The Basics'
More than a decade after Mark Bittman released his bestselling How To Cook Everything, he returns to the basics in his new cookbook. In How To Cook Everything The Basics, he answers many of the most fundamental questions about cooking, from how to boil water to how to choose the right seafood. His column, "The Minimalist," ran in The New York Times for 13 years, and is now a show on the Cooking Channel. Host Neal Conan talks to Mark Bittman about his new book and cooking in its simplest form.

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