All Things Considered

Weekdays at 4 pm
Melissa Block, Michele Norris, Robert Siegel and
Brady Carlson

Every weekday, local host, Brady Carlson, and national hosts Melissa Block, Michele Norris, and Robert Siegel present two hours of breaking news mixed with compelling analysis, insightful commentaries, interviews, and special -- sometimes quirky -- features from NHPR and NPR.

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Law
5:58 pm
Sun July 21, 2013

The Voting Rights Act: Hard-Won Gains, An Uncertain Future

People wait in line outside the Supreme Court in Washington on Feb. 27, 2013, to listen to oral arguments in the Shelby County, Ala., v. Holder voting rights case. In June, the court struck down a key provision of the law that established a formula to identify states that may require extra scrutiny by the Justice Department regarding voting procedures.
Evan Vucci AP

Originally published on Sun July 21, 2013 6:21 pm

Access to the polls has not always been assured for all Americans, and before the Voting Rights Act of 1965, many were subjected to so-called literacy tests and poll tax.

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Health
4:59 pm
Sun July 21, 2013

Studies Show Evidence Of Falling Dementia Rates Abroad

Originally published on Sun July 21, 2013 5:58 pm

As NPR reported in May, the number of Americans with Alzheimer's disease is expected to triple by 2050. But studies published in the last two weeks based in European countries show signs of declining dementia.

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Music Interviews
4:59 pm
Sun July 21, 2013

Hüsker Dü's Timekeeper Finds A Lost Paradise

Grant Hart has had an enigmatic career since his days drumming with the influential punk trio Hüsker Dü.
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Sun July 21, 2013 5:58 pm

In the 1980's, few bands bridged the gap between hardcore punk and what would become alternative rock quite like Minnesota's Hüsker Dü.

The personalities in the trio, however, were not as harmonious, and their partnership dissolved before the decade's end. Guitarist Bob Mould went on to a successful recording career. Bassist Greg Norton dropped out of music and became a chef. And that leaves ... drummer Grant Hart.

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News
4:59 pm
Sun July 21, 2013

Military Sexual Assault Bill Would Reassign Authority

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand speaks to reporters Tuesday. With her Sens. Rand Paul, R-Ky., Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., Ted Cruz, R-Texas, Barbara Boxer, D-Calif. and Mazie Hirono, D-Hawaii, all of whom have endorsed her bill on military sexual assault.
Charles Dharapak AP

Originally published on Sun July 21, 2013 5:58 pm

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., is fighting for her bill to curb sexual assaults in the military. Her measure would give independent military prosecutors, rather than commanders, the power to decide which cases should be tried in military court.

Military leaders fiercely oppose moving that authority outside the chain of command, arguing that commanders are responsible for the health and welfare of their soldiers. Removing their authority would undermine their ability to lead, they say.

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Author Interviews
5:34 pm
Sat July 20, 2013

'No Regrets': A Murder Mystery, Tangled In Life's Troubles

iStockphoto.com

South Florida has been irresistible for crime writers, among them Carl Hiaasen, Edna Buchanan and Harry Crews. Now John Dufresne, most famously the author of the novel Louisiana Power and Light, has joined that list with his first mystery novel.

No Regrets, Coyote is Dufresne's eighth novel, and it begins with the killing of an entire family in the fictional South Florida town of Eden. When the police get to the scene of the crime, they find a typed note, which they insist is a suicide letter.

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Space
5:34 pm
Sat July 20, 2013

One Small Step For Man, One Giant Lunar Park For The U.S.?

The moon, seen from the International Space Station, on July 31.
NASA

Originally published on Sat July 20, 2013 6:50 pm

Can astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin's "giant leap for mankind" be permanently preserved? Two House Democrats want to do just that: They proposed a bill to create a national historic park for the Apollo 11 mission — on the moon. The legislation would designate a park on the moon to honor that first mission, as well as preserve artifacts from other lunar missions

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NPR Story
5:34 pm
Sat July 20, 2013

Remembering The North's First Black Civil War Unit

Originally published on Mon July 22, 2013 5:13 pm

Transcript

JACKI LYDEN, HOST:

If you're just joining us, this is WEEKENDS on ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Jacki Lyden.

One hundred and fifty years ago, the 54th Regiment Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry fought a historic battle in the Civil War. The unit was almost entirely African-American. They would have been called colored back then. The first such unit from the North to fight for the union. You might have seen their story depicted in the movie "Glory" with Denzel Washington.

(SOUNDBITE OF MOVIE, "GLORY")

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Book Reviews
4:38 pm
Sat July 20, 2013

You'll Want To Hang Up On These 'Secret Conversations'

Originally published on Sat July 20, 2013 5:34 pm

A country girl from Grabtown, N.C., Ava Gardner arrived in Hollywood in 1941 knowing she couldn't act but, gorgeous as she was, she never had to let that slow her down. Her beauty — which reportedly intimidated Elizabeth Taylor — won her not just film roles and studio-paid acting lessons, but the attentions of all-American boy Mickey Rooney, whom she married and divorced before she turned 21. She had a similarly brief union with bandleader Artie Shaw — she called those two her "starter husbands" — before a tempestuous, headline-making marriage to Frank Sinatra.

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The Record
12:03 pm
Sat July 20, 2013

Thundercat On Making Music Outside The Lines

Stephen "Thundercat" Bruner
B+ Courtesy of Motormouth Media

Originally published on Mon February 24, 2014 7:41 pm

Session musician Stephen Bruner has played bass in other people's bands for more than a decade. He can play metal, R&B, hip-hop, jazz. And he's been folding all that into his own music, which he puts out under the name Thundercat.

Now, with his second album, he's stepping to the front of the stage.

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Shots - Health News
6:44 am
Sat July 20, 2013

Polio Eradication Suffers A Setback As Somali Outbreak Worsens

A Yemeni child receives a polio vaccine in the capital city of Sanaa. The Yemen government launched an immunization campaign last month in response to the polio outbreak in neighboring Somalia.
Mohammed Huwais AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon July 22, 2013 9:02 pm

Somalia hadn't had a case of polio for nearly six years. But in the past few months, the virus has come back. Now the East African country has the worst polio outbreak anywhere in the world.

Twenty new cases of polio were reported this week in Somalia by the Global Polio Eradication Initiative. That brings the total number of cases in the Horn of Africa to 73. The rest of the world combined has tallied only 59 cases so far this year.

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Law
6:32 pm
Fri July 19, 2013

Florida Governor Stands Firm On 'Stand Your Ground' Law

Florida Gov. Rick Scott speaks to protesters Thursday in the Capitol in Tallahassee. Scott told the protesters that he won't ask lawmakers to revamp the state's controversial self-defense law.
Phil Sears AP

Originally published on Fri July 19, 2013 8:30 pm

In the days after a Florida jury acquitted George Zimmerman in the killing of teenager Trayvon Martin, protesters camped out at Gov. Rick Scott's office in Tallahassee, calling for a meeting.

When Scott met with protesters on Thursday, one of the group's leaders, Philip Agnew, asked the governor to convene a special session of the Legislature to look at repealing the state's stand your ground law.

"It is the time for leadership," Agnew said. "The world is watching. Most definitely, the nation is watching. And you have the opportunity to stand tall above the rest."

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The Two-Way
5:14 pm
Fri July 19, 2013

How President Obama 'Showed His Brother Card'

President Obama during his appearance at the White House on Friday.
Saul Loeb AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri July 19, 2013 8:25 pm

(Click here for updates we added after this post was published.)

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Movie Interviews
4:56 pm
Fri July 19, 2013

Kristen Wiig: That Loud, Strange Lady Isn't Me

Kristen Wiig (with Darren Criss) stars in Girl Most Likely as a hard-luck case who learns how to reboot her disastrous life after she's forced to move back in with her mom.
Nicole Rivelli Roadside Attractions

Originally published on Fri July 19, 2013 6:12 pm

For seven seasons on Saturday Night Live, actress Kristen Wiig made us laugh — laugh hard — with her off-the-wall, over-the-top characters, from Sue, the woman who loved surprises a little too much, to the unnervingly exuberant Target Lady.

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Business
4:51 pm
Fri July 19, 2013

New Smartphone Upgrade Plans Can Be Costly In The Long Run

Nearly 60 percent of Americans have smartphones, up from just 8 percent five years ago.
Justin Sullivan Getty Images

Originally published on Fri July 19, 2013 6:12 pm

Three of the four major wireless companies are out with new plans for those who want the latest smartphone sooner. The plans, with names like Verizon Edge and AT&T Next, essentially let you rent a phone for six months or a year and then trade it in for a new one — but there's a catch.

"You're paying essentially twice," says Avi Greengart, who is research director for consumer devices at Current Analysis and does some consulting for the industry.

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Music News
4:51 pm
Fri July 19, 2013

A Secret Folk Music Holds Firm In China's Badlands

Zhang Junmin (second from right) and his band perform the Lao Qiang music special in northwest China's Shaanxi province. The character behind the stage means "drama"; Lao Qiang music used to accompany puppet plays and includes a strong storytelling component.
Courtesy of Wang Kuanren

Originally published on Fri July 19, 2013 6:12 pm

When Guns N' Roses released the album Chinese Democracy five years ago, a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman commented that, questions of politics aside, the GNR sound just wasn't most Chinese folks' cup of tea.

"According to my knowledge," he said, "a lot of people don't like this kind of music because it's too noisy and too loud."

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