February 14th: What's On Today's Show : Blog Of The Nation In the first hour of Talk of the Nation, Catholic employers and contraception, and experimental Alzheimer's drug. In the second hour, defining "Black Cool", and an anti-racism campaign in Duluth raises eyebrows.
NPR logo February 14th: What's On Today's Show

February 14th: What's On Today's Show

In the second hour, Rebecca Walker defines the concept of "Black Cool," and the meaning of blackness in African-American culture. hide caption

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The Debate Over Catholic Employers And Birth Control
The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has rejected President Barack Obama's revised plan on contraceptive health coverage. The president announced Friday that Catholic institutions will not have to pay for contraception for its employees. That now falls to insurance companies. The issue has been a flash point for the Bishops since before the health care law even passed through Congress. Host Neal Conan speaks with Michael Gerson, a former speech writer for President George W. Bush and now an op-ed columnist with the Washington Post, about how he sees the president's initial stance as an affront to religious liberty. Sister Simone Campbell, executive director of NETWORK, will also join the conversation. Her progressive Catholic group supports the president's change of heart.

Caregivers Press For Experimental Alzheimer's Drug
A recent medical study published in Science finds that an FDA-approved drug to treat skin cancer can reduce Alzheimer's-like symptoms in mice. It is unclear if the drug, marketed as Targretin, will have the same effect on humans, but researchers would like to begin testing the drug for its efficacy in treating Alzheimer's patients. This isn't the first time Alzheimer's has been effectively cured in mice, which raises questions about whether the trails of Targretin will be effective for humans living with Alzheimer's. Host Neal Conan speaks with Dr. Jason Karlawish about what the lab results from mice may mean for humans.

How Do You Define 'Black Cool'?
"Black Cool" is an elusive cultural concept, the sort of thing people describe as "you know it when you see it." So how does one define it? Some peg "Black Cool" to a particular look or attitude. Others tie it to a material possession or a life-changing experience. In a new collection of essays edited by Rebecca Walker, she attempts to "build a periodic table of Black Cool, element by element," to explain the myriad meanings of blackness in the United States today. Neal Conan talks with Walker and Hank Thomas Willis about the new book, Black Cool: One Thousand Streams of Blackness.

The Duluth Anti-Racism Campaign
In January, a group of residents in Duluth, Minnesota, launched the Un-Fair Campaign, an anti-racism effort. They set up ads, posters, and billboards asking whites to recognize white privilege and end racial injustice. The ads have been met with some vitriol, as white residents complain that the campaign unfairly blames racism on them. Host Neal Conan speak with Duluth mayor Don Ness, who endorsed the campaign.