December 15th Show : Blog Of The Nation In our first hour Talk of the Nation: the political junkie's year in review.  In our second hour, the principles of neurotheology, and what's next for the healthcare law after a court rules it unconstitutional.
NPR logo December 15th Show

December 15th Show

U.S. President Barack Obama, surrounded by lawmakers and guests, signs the healthcare insurance reform legislation during a ceremony in the East Room of the White House in Washington on March 23, 2010. Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images hide caption

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Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images

The Political Junkie Year-in-Review
The year is winding down, and we're thinking about all the political moments that caught our attention in 2010 — with Political Junkie Ken Rudin, of course.  From Scott Brown's win in Massachusetts, to signing of health care legislation, all the way to a midterm that put Christine O'Donnell and Alvin Greene on the map — we're counting down the themes, trends, and of course, the major political gaffes that kept political junkies going in 2010, with Clarence Page, syndicated columnist at The Chicago Tribune.

Principles of Neurotheology
Doctors can now study the effects of religion on the brain.  It's a subject called Neurotheology.  Researchers have found that parts of the brain act differently when people meditate or pray.  In fact, the brains of people who regularly pray or meditate for many hours look different in scans.  Scientists hope to understand the causes and effects of those brain changes, as well as phenomenon like out of of body experiences and spiritual visions. In a new book, Principles of Neurotheology, Andrew Newberg explains this relatively new field and how it fits in among religion and science.

Healthcare Law(suit)
A federal judge ruled this week that a key part of the president's health care law — the requirement that every American buy health insurance — is unconstitutional. Some politicians and experts argue it's one more reason to repeal the law, while the White House insists the roll out remains on track. The Supreme Court will likely have the final say. NPR Legal Affairs Correspondent Nina Totenberg and NPR Health Policy Correspondent Julie Rovner join host Neal Conan to sort through what's next for the health care law, and answer listener questions.