January 16th: What's On Today's Show : Blog Of The Nation In the first hour of Talk of the Nation, how super PACs are changing presidential campaigns, and on the Opinion Page, Thomas Pickering explains why the U.S. should engage in more diplomacy in Iran. In the second hour, what we are learning about alcohol use, and the 'I Have a Dream' speech.
NPR logo January 16th: What's On Today's Show

January 16th: What's On Today's Show

In our second hour, two leading researchers decipher recent reports on alcohol use. /iStockphoto.com hide caption

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Super PACS
The presidential campaign season looks a little different this year, now that super PACs — political action committees — have entered the scene. The Supreme Court's Citizen's United ruling in 2010 loosened restrictions on campaign financing laws, so that corporations are now allowed to spend unlimited amounts of money on elections. As a result, super PACs can solicit huge, corporate contributions and produce a plethora of attack ad campaigns. Though super PACs are barred from coordinating their ads with candidates they support, some some worry that the lines between the candidates and super PACs will get blurred, making for an unusually ugly campaign season. Host Neal Conan talks with NPR commentator Ted Koppel and campaign finance lawyer Cleta Mitchell about how super PACs are changing presidential campaigns.

Opinion Page
With ever-tightening economic sanctions and Iran's threats to close the strategic Strait of Hormuz, tensions between the United States and Iran are mounting. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has said that the United States "will respond" if Iran blocks the Strait of Hormuz. Former Ambassador and trustee of the National Committee on American Foreign Policy Thomas Pickering argues that military action isn't the solution in Iran. Host Neal Conan speaks with Pickering about why he thinks the U.S. should engage in more diplomacy in Iran.

What We Are Learning About Alcohol
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently released findings from a study on binge drinking. The problem, usually associated with young people, seems to be an issue as well among adults, including seniors. And the University of Connecticut recently found Dr. Dipak Das, who did studies on resveratrol, an ingredient in red wine, had falsified data on its benefits. Host Neal Conan talks to two leading researchers to decipher recent reports on alcohol use.

'I Have A Dream' Speech
Today the nation celebrates the birthday of Martin Luther King Jr. As millions of Americans honor his legacy with a national day of service, we take a moment to reflect on his legacy, in his own words. Host Neal Conan replays King's celebrated "I Have a Dream" speech, delivered on August 28, 1963, on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial.