All Things Considered

Hosted by Robert Siegel, Michele Norris, Melissa Block
Pat Blank

Weekdays at 4 p.m. on IPR News and News/Studio One
 

Every weekday, "All Things Considered" hosts Robert Siegel, Michele Norris and Melissa Block present the program's trademark mix of news, interviews, commentaries, reviews and offbeat features.

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Theater
4:42 pm
Wed October 3, 2012

Racial Issues, Far From 'Invisible' On D.C. Stage

Teagle F. Bougere plays the titular Invisible Man in The Studio Theatre's adaptation of Ralph Ellison's novel.
Astrid Riecken The Studio Theatre

Originally published on Wed October 3, 2012 5:40 pm

On a farm in Waitsfield, Vt., in 1945, a Merchant Marine cook named Ralph Ellison was resting after his tour of duty.

"One morning scribbling, I wrote the first sentence of what later became The Invisible Man: 'I am an invisible man,' " Ellison recalled in an interview for National Educational Television.

He wrote that his protagonist — a Negro, as Ellison always put it — was young, powerless and ambitious for the role of leadership, a role at which he was doomed to fail.

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All Tech Considered
4:40 pm
Wed October 3, 2012

Some Schools Actually Want Students To Play With Their Smartphones In Class

In Durham, N.H., Oyster River Middle School seventh-graders Patrick Beary and Morgan Bernier play with StoryKit, a free app that helps middle-schoolers put together simple presentations, and elementary students make storybooks.
Sam Evans-Brown New Hampshire Public Radio

Originally published on Wed October 3, 2012 5:40 pm

If there is one thing that the mobile-computing era has made clear, it's that kids love touch screens. Because those touch screens — smartphones, iPads, Kindles and the like — are an inevitable added distraction to the classroom, schools across the country are struggling to deal with the growing prevalence of the technology.

But a growing number of schools are embracing these hand-held, Internet-ready devices by creating policies that put them to use in the classroom.

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Music Reviews
4:21 pm
Wed October 3, 2012

A Ska And Jazz Innovator Bridges Continents And Decades

The collaborative album Avila is the latest release from pioneering guitarist Ernest Ranglin.
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Wed October 3, 2012 8:19 pm

Guitarist Ernest Ranglin is an elder statesman of Jamaican music. A self-styled composer and improviser, he has traveled and collaborated widely during his 80 years. In California last year, he teamed up with three much younger musicians from South Africa, the U.S. and Israel. The four musicians bonded and quickly recorded an album, named for the San Francisco street where they rehearsed: Avila.

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Music Interviews
3:48 pm
Wed October 3, 2012

Delta Rae: Modern Folklore Music

Delta Rae puts a new spin on loss throughout Carry The Fire.
Smallz and Raskind Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Thu October 4, 2012 3:14 pm

Love songs are like the meat and potatoes of most rock and pop music, but sometimes you need something different. For the band Delta Rae from Durham, N.C., inspiration for new material comes from stuff like graveyards and being stuck in the wrong job.

Delta Rae is a six-piece band that includes three siblings: Ian, Eric and Brittany Holljes. Their music is like a kind of modern folklore.

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Around the Nation
3:39 pm
Wed October 3, 2012

Did Man Who Armed Black Panthers Lead Two Lives?

Richard Aoki was known as the "minister of education" for the Berkeley, Calif., chapter of the Black Panther Party.
Nikki Arai Courtesy of Nancy Park

Originally published on Fri October 5, 2012 10:39 am

In the mid-1960s, the Black Panthers came to symbolize black militant power. They rejected the nonviolence of earlier civil rights campaigners and promoted a radical socialist agenda.

Styled in uniforms of black leather jackets, dark sunglasses and black berets, the Panthers were never shy about brandishing guns, a sign that they were ready for a fight.

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The Two-Way
2:15 pm
Wed October 3, 2012

Teddy Wins! Washington Nationals' Mascot Snaps 525-Game Losing Streak

Teddy broke the tape first today — after 525 losses over seven seasons.
Greg Fiume Getty Images

Originally published on Thu October 4, 2012 10:15 am

As monumental as the Washington Nationals' first trip to Major League Baseball's playoffs has been, this news may come close in importance for some fans in the nation's capital:

Teddy, one of the team's four presidential mascots, finally won a "race" today.

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Shots - Health Blog
12:24 pm
Wed October 3, 2012

In Nigerian Gold Rush, Lead Poisons Thousands Of Children

Women and their children wait for medication and instructions on how to use it at the clinic in Dareta, Nigeria. Treating children with high levels of lead is a painstaking process that works only if their environment at home is free from lead.
David Gilkey NPR

Originally published on Fri October 5, 2012 2:26 pm

Across a swath of northern Nigeria, a humanitarian catastrophe is unfolding, as lead from illegal gold mines sickens thousands of children.

More than 400 kids have died, and many more have been mentally stunted for life.

Doctors Without Borders, which has set up clinics to treat the children, is calling it one of the worst cases of environmental lead poisoning in recent history.

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NPR Cities: Urban Life In The 21st Century
5:33 pm
Tue October 2, 2012

'Million-Dollar Blocks' Map Incarceration's Costs

Bernard Goutier, 25, has served time in prison twice. He's now learning construction skills with Emerge Connecticut, which offers paid on-the-job training, literacy classes and support groups to ex-offenders.
Uma Ramiah for NPR

Originally published on Tue October 2, 2012 7:16 pm

In many neighborhoods, hard truths about day-to-day life — like violent streets or crumbling schools — are readily apparent to residents, but less obvious to city and state officials.

Hard data can sometimes bridge that gap, helping policymakers better visualize which communities are doing well, and which may need additional help or resources.

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The Message Machine
4:24 pm
Tue October 2, 2012

Campaigns Targeting Hispanics, But With Tight Focus

A volunteer hands out buttons before first lady Michelle Obama speaks at a Hispanic caucus on Sept. 5 in Charlotte, N.C.
David Goldman AP

Originally published on Tue October 2, 2012 5:17 pm

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Europe
4:20 pm
Tue October 2, 2012

Opposition Victory Signals New Direction For Georgia

Georgian billionaire and opposition leader Bidzina Ivanishvili (left) reacts with supporters at his office on Monday. Ivanishvili defeated Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili in the election, clearing the way for a new government.
Uncredited AP

Originally published on Tue October 2, 2012 5:14 pm

Parliamentary elections in Georgia, the former Soviet republic, delivered a resounding defeat for the ruling party of President Mikheil Saakashvili on Monday. Preliminary election results showed the opposition winning 57 percent of the vote.

A day later, the president conceded defeat. In a televised address, Saakashvili said he respected the decision of the voters, and that he would clear the way for the opposition Georgian Dream party to form a new government, a move that would install opposition leader Bidzina Ivanishvili as prime minister.

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NPR Cities: Urban Life In The 21st Century
4:20 pm
Tue October 2, 2012

Turning Data Into Action With 'Million-Dollar Blocks'

Certain truths about life in a neighborhood are readily apparent to people who live there, but less obvious to city and state officials. The Justice Mapping Center uses data to help bridge that gap with information about the prison system. By mapping the residential addresses of every inmate in various prison systems, Eric Cadora and his colleagues have made vividly clear a concept they call "Million-Dollar Blocks." In some places more than a million dollars are being spent every year to incarcerate the residents of a single Census block. Audie Cornish talks with Eric Cadora.

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Author Interviews
4:20 pm
Tue October 2, 2012

In 'House,' Erdrich Sets Revenge On A Reservation

iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Tue October 2, 2012 5:14 pm

In 1988, 13-year-old Joe Coutts is thrust into adulthood after his mother, Geraldine Coutts, is sexually assaulted. His story is at the center of Louise Erdrich's latest novel, The Round House.

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Middle East
3:47 pm
Tue October 2, 2012

Panic Rises In Iran As Currency Plunges To New Lows

An Iranian man checks the rates of foreign currencies at a currency exchange bureau in central Tehran on Sept. 29. The Iranian currency lost nearly one-third of its value in a day over the weekend.
Maryam Rahmanian UPI/Landov

Originally published on Tue October 2, 2012 5:14 pm

Large crowds of anxious Iranians gathered in Tehran on Sunday and Monday at foreign exchange offices — some of which had shuttered their doors — as Iran's currency continues its free fall.

From Sunday to Monday, the rial lost nearly one-third of its value against the dollar — and the decline appears to have continued Tuesday.

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Movies
3:36 pm
Tue October 2, 2012

Sept. 11 Documentarian Wins MacArthur Genius Grant

Originally published on Tue October 2, 2012 5:14 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

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Music News
2:40 pm
Tue October 2, 2012

Waylon Jennings: The 'Last Recordings' Of A Dreamer

Goin' Down Rockin': The Last Recordings is a new album of songs by Waylon Jennings, who died in 2002.
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Tue October 2, 2012 5:14 pm

Known for his gritty baritone, Waylon Jennings embodied the outlaw side of country music. He was 64 when he died of complications from diabetes, leaving behind a collection of vocal tracks that remained unfinished until now.

"It was almost shocking when I first heard it," says the singer Jessi Colter, who was married to Jennings for more than 30 years. "It took me several times to be able to listen to it. It sounded like he was there, that he's opening his heart to you, and he's telling you how he feels."

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Shots - Health Blog
2:28 pm
Tue October 2, 2012

Democrats And Republicans Differ On Medicaid Fix

Isabelle "Simone" Svikhart, 3, has spent 13 months in the hospital for treatment of a range of health conditions. The Children's Hospital Association distributed a trading card with her picture and details of her case to lobby against Medicaid cuts.
Children's Hospital Association

Originally published on Tue October 2, 2012 5:14 pm

Medicaid is already the nation's largest health insurance program in terms of number of people covered: It serves nearly 1 in 5 Americans. Yet at the same time it's putting increasing strain on the budgets of states, which pay about 40 percent of its costs.

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The Two-Way
12:40 pm
Tue October 2, 2012

Pope's Butler's Pleads Innocent, But Says He Betrayed Pontiff

Pope Benedict XVI and his former butler, Paolo Gabriele (center), are shown at the Vatican in this file photo. The pope's private secretary, Georg Gaenswein, is on the left.
Andrew Medichini AP

Originally published on Tue October 2, 2012 5:14 pm

Pope Benedict XVI's former butler took the stand at his trial Tuesday and offered a somewhat contradictory message: He declared himself innocent of stealing papal documents, but acknowledged betraying the trust of Pope Benedict XVI.

As NPR's Sylvia Poggioli reports, Paolo Gabriele, 46, is charged with stealing documents pointing to corruption and power struggles with the church. Prosecutors say Gabriele has confessed to giving the material to an Italian journalist, and that his motive was to expose "evil and corruption" in the church.

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Middle East
4:56 pm
Mon October 1, 2012

Turkey Pushes Syrians Into Limbo Across Border

Syrian refugees gather amid olive trees in an area controlled by the rebel Free Syrian Army, in northern Syria near the Turkish border, on Sept. 25. The area has become a way station for Syrian refugees pushed out of neighboring Turkey.
Michel Moutot AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue October 2, 2012 4:34 am

Long before the Syrian uprising, Antakya, Turkey, was a storied place. Once known as Antioch, the city was home to Greeks, some of the earliest Christians, Jews and Armenians. It once was a major stop on the Silk Road.

Most recently, the Turkish city became a hub for the Syrian rebellion. For many months, Turkish authorities tolerated Antakya's status, and even encouraged it. Turkey built refugee camps for tens of thousands of Syrians, and even one for officers who defected from the Syrian army to join the rebel cause.

That support, however, is starting to fade.

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Asia
4:22 pm
Mon October 1, 2012

Cambodian Court Case Stokes Fear Of Crackdown

Supporters of Cambodian journalist Mam Sonando protest outside a Phnom Penh courthouse on Monday, when judges sentenced him to 20 years in jail for leading an alleged secession movement. Critics say the pro-democracy activist's case was politically motivated.
Anthony Kuhn NPR

Originally published on Mon October 1, 2012 5:20 pm

A court in Cambodia has convicted a prominent journalist and pro-democracy activist on charges of convincing villagers in eastern Cambodia to rise up and declare independence from the country. Civic groups say the case is part of a worrying trend of government efforts to stifle freedom of expression, and attempts to take land away from farmers.

Hundreds of supporters vented their fury outside the courthouse Monday as judges sentenced Mam Sonando to 20 years in jail. Speaking before the verdict, his wife, Dinn Phanara, says the case was politically motivated.

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Author Interviews
4:11 pm
Mon October 1, 2012

Housekeeping Tips From One Mercurial 'Mommy'

Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Originally published on Mon October 1, 2012 5:20 pm

The cursing mommy likes her scotch. She also likes a martini — or four — and a full bottle of Kahlua consumed in the afternoon while soaking in a steaming bathtub and ignoring the knocks of her children locked outside. Along with her dubious parenting skills, the cursing mommy has no shame, and she swears an extremely blue streak.

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It's All Politics
4:08 pm
Mon October 1, 2012

Montana Democrat Faces An Uphill Battle To Keep His Senate Seat

Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont., (center) campaigns at a parade Saturday in Belgrade, Mont.
Martin Kaste NPR

Originally published on Mon October 1, 2012 5:23 pm

Republicans are still within reach of a big political goal this year: retaking control of the Senate. They lost the majority in 2006, in part because of the razor-close victory of Democratic challenger Jon Tester in Montana.

Now, Tester is the incumbent facing a tough challenge of his own. And if he's going to win re-election, he has to turn out a lot of younger voters, the way he did in 2006. And on that front, he does have some allies.

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Presidential Race
3:54 pm
Mon October 1, 2012

Stakes High For Romney At First Presidential Debate

Originally published on Mon October 1, 2012 5:20 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Melissa Block.

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

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Solve This
3:47 pm
Mon October 1, 2012

Obama, Romney On Taxes: Similar Plans, Few Details

Both President Obama and rival Mitt Romney say the tax code is too complicated. But they haven't been specific about which tax breaks they want to eliminate.
Tim Boyle Getty Images

Originally published on Mon October 1, 2012 5:20 pm

Here's something President Obama and Mitt Romney agree on: America's tax system is too complicated. Both men have outlined changes that are broadly similar, but with some important differences.

The Problem:

Today's tax code is like a department store, where the price tags are high, but there are lots of coupons, sales and weekend specials. That creates some inequities. Just as shoppers can pay different prices depending on which day they buy, taxpayers with the same income can pay very different rates depending on which deductions they qualify for.

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Politics
3:18 pm
Mon October 1, 2012

Presidential Campaigns Rock The Gamer Vote

An ad for President Obama's re-election campaign appears in Madden NFL 13.
EA Games

Originally published on Mon October 1, 2012 5:27 pm

Let's say you're pushing 115 mph on the highway, racing neck and neck with a Chevy Camaro — in an online video game, of course.

Right as you're pulling into the lead, you notice a billboard pop up on your TV screen. Early voting has begun? Voteforchange.com? Whoa, keep your eyes on the road!

This is Need for Speed: Carbon, one of 18 games that the Obama campaign advertised in during the 2008 campaign. This year, President Obama is back at it, running ads in Madden NFL 13, on the free online game site Pogo.com, and in mobile games like Tetris.

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All Tech Considered
1:49 pm
Mon October 1, 2012

Cloud Computing Saves Health Care Industry Time And Money

Researchers are increasingly using cloud computing to discover new drugs and medical treatments. Cloud computing is often cheaper and quicker than in-house computing.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Tue October 16, 2012 3:36 pm

The cloud's vast computing power is making it easier and less expensive for companies and clinicians to discover new drugs and medical treatments. Analyzing data that used to take years and tens of millions of dollars can now be done for a fraction of that amount.

Most of us know Amazon as the world's largest online retailer. But its cloud computing business is booming too.

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Books
6:11 pm
Sun September 30, 2012

Three-Minute Fiction Round 9 Stories: 'The Interview'

iStockphoto.com

The judging process for Round 9 of Three-Minute Fiction is now under way. NPR's Bob Mondello reads an excerpt from one standout story, The Interview, written by Georgia Mierswa. You can read the story in its entirety below, and read more stories at www.npr.org/threeminutefiction.

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Education
5:04 pm
Sun September 30, 2012

Online Education Grows Up, And For Now, It's Free

Coursera founders Andrew Ng and Daphne Koller are computer science professors at Stanford University.
Jeff Chiu AP

Originally published on Mon October 1, 2012 4:26 pm

Online education isn't particularly new. It has been around in some form since the 1990s, but what is new is the speed and scale in which online learning is growing.

In barely a year, many of the most prestigious research universities in the world – including Stanford, Caltech, Oxford and Princeton — have started to jump onto the online bandwagon.

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Science
4:07 pm
Sun September 30, 2012

A Tiny Ocean World With A Mighty Important Future

Plankton make up 98 percent of the biomass of ocean life and provide half of the oxygen on the planet. Scientists are working to figure out how climate change may be affecting these important microorganisms.
M. Ormestad Tara Oceans

Originally published on Sun September 30, 2012 6:11 pm

As you take in your next breath of air, you can thank a form of microscopic marine life known as plankton.

They are so small as to be invisible, but taken together, actually dwarf massive creatures like whales. Plankton make up 98 percent of the biomass of ocean life.

"This invisible forest generates half of the oxygen generated on the planet," Chris Bowler, a marine biologist, tells Guy Raz, host of weekends on All Things Considered.

And, as climate change alters the temperature and acidity of our waters, this mysterious ocean world may be in jeopardy.

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Music
4:03 pm
Sun September 30, 2012

Son Jarocho, The Sound Of Veracruz

Las Cafeteras, from Los Angeles, have made their own version of the classic son jarocho song "La Bamba."
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Sun September 30, 2012 9:56 pm

Betto Arcos is the host of Global Village, a world music show on KPFK in Los Angeles, and a native of Xalapa, capital city of the Mexican state of Veracruz. He recently spoke with Guy Raz, host of weekends on All Things Considered, about son jarocho — a style of music played mostly in the south of his home state. He says the music is so vibrant because it comes from the Caribbean side of Mexico and has all the influences of that region: African, indigenous and Spanish.

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Interviews
3:40 pm
Sun September 30, 2012

The Man Who Jump-Started Modern Presidential Debate

Vice President Richard Nixon listens as Sen. John F. Kennedy talks during their televised presidential race debate. This photo was made from a television screen in New York, Oct. 21, 1960.
AP

Originally published on Sun September 30, 2012 6:11 pm

President Obama and his Republican challenger, Mitt Romney, are prepping for Wednesday's presidential debate. It's a well-worn tradition now, but it wasn't always that way.

The 1960 Kennedy-Nixon face-off wasn't just the first televised presidential debate, it was also the first presidential debate in more than a century.

Four years earlier, a young German emigre named Fred Kahn, a student at the University of Maryland, wanted to see whether the nominees — Dwight Eisenhower and Adlai Stevenson — might want to engage with students.

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