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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4:14 pm
Tue February 21, 2012

Supreme Court Wades Into Affirmative Action Issue

Justice Sandra Day O'Connor wrote the 2003 Supreme Court opinion on affirmative action in college admissions. The newly energized conservative majority on the court could now change course.
Kevin Lamarque Reuters/Landov

The U.S. Supreme Court said Tuesday that it will revisit the divisive issue of affirmative action in higher education. The court agreed to hear arguments next fall in a case that challenges the affirmative action program at the University of Texas. By re-entering the fray after more than 30 years of settled law on the issue, the newly energized conservative court majority has signaled that it may be willing to unsettle much of that law.

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The Road Back To Work
4:01 pm
Tue February 21, 2012

Even When Employed, Health Care A Challenge

Casaundra Bronner, of Hazelwood, Mo., worked in marketing before being laid off in March 2010. She found a job again in March 2011 but is still uninsured and having trouble getting the health care she needs.
Whitney Curtis for NPR

Originally published on Tue February 21, 2012 6:24 pm

Part of an ongoing series

Zumba is a fitness craze; a high-energy dance and exercise program. You can find it in high-end gyms and even the community center in Hazelwood, Mo., where Casaundra Bronner, 40, lives.

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Music Reviews
3:28 pm
Tue February 21, 2012

A 'Giant Anthology' Of Profile Records, Rap's Early Champion

Profile Records never meant to get into the rap game, but the label launched the careers of rap groups like Run-D.M.C.
Frank Micelotta Getty Images

Originally published on Wed February 22, 2012 12:59 am

Before the rise of Def Jam as hip-hop's definitive record label, there was Profile, which helped shepherd in some of the genre's early shifts in sound and style. A new two-CD anthology, Giant Single: The Profile Records Rap Anthology, chronicles the label's 15-year history and legacy.

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Money & Politics
3:00 pm
Tue February 21, 2012

Who Bankrolls Romney? Big Donors, Not Small Ones

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney speaks at a town hall meeting at Eagle Manufacturing Corp. in Shelby Township, Mich., on Tuesday.
Gerald Herbert AP

Originally published on Tue February 21, 2012 10:48 pm

Mitt Romney had the strongest fundraising among the Republican presidential contenders last month. But a deeper look raises questions about just how strong it is in the long run.

The Romney campaign is unusually reliant on big donors — and weak on small donors.

In one sense, big donors are great. It's a lot quicker and cheaper to raise $2,500 from one person than to get $10 from 250 people. But there's a catch: $2,500 is the legal limit for donations to a candidate's campaign. Once that donor maxes out, you need to find another donor.

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Fruit Flies
2:54 pm
Tue February 21, 2012

Cheers! Fruit Flies Drink To Their Health, Literally

Fruit flies will drink alcohol from fermenting fruit to kill off wasp parasites that can grow inside of them.
Jan Polabinski

As humans, we sometimes pay a price for drinking alcohol — in hangovers, or worse. But if you happen to be a young fruit fly, it turns out that alcohol can be just what the doctor ordered.

The pesky little fruit flies often show up when apples or bananas are left sitting around for too long on the kitchen counter. Most folks find them annoying, but Todd Schlenke can't get enough of them.

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Presidential Race
2:27 pm
Tue February 21, 2012

In Michigan, Native Son Romney Plays Up Family Ties

Mitt Romney shakes hands with supporters after a town hall meeting at Eagle Manufacturing in Shelby Township, Mich., on Tuesday.
Andre J. Jackson MCT/Landov

Originally published on Tue February 21, 2012 7:04 pm

Everything about Tuesday's campaign event in southeast Michigan's Shelby Township highlighted that Mitt Romney is a local product running for president.

Songs from Motown and Bob Seger blared. A giant deep-blue Michigan state flag hung stage right. An aide passed out paczki (pronounced "punchkey"), jelly-filled Polish pastries that are a Fat Tuesday tradition in Michigan. Then came the candidate.

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You Must Read This
5:50 pm
Mon February 20, 2012

A Depressive Diarist Chronicles His Descent

Patrick deWitt is the author of The Sisters Brothers.

"Doesn't the act of noticing matter as much as what's noticed?" So asks the narrator of Harry Mathews' masterpiece of minutia, The Journalist.

On the mend from a nervous breakdown (though it's mentioned only in passing — "the steering wheel came off in my hands," he says), he's been encouraged by his doctor to keep a journal. A seemingly benign idea, and he throws himself into the task with gusto — far too much gusto, it turns out, as the journal soon eclipses his entire life.

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All Tech Considered
5:19 pm
Mon February 20, 2012

Tech Pioneer Channels Hard Lessons Into Silicon Valley Success

Nvidia Chief Executive Officer Jen-Hsun Huang co-founded the graphics chip maker in 1993.
Paul Sakuma AP

Originally published on Tue October 16, 2012 4:31 pm

Modern computer games and their fast-paced graphics require an incredible amount of computing horsepower. So much, in fact, that the kinds of chips commonly used for gaming are now being built into some of the world's fastest supercomputers.

If you're a serious gamer, if realistic, detailed graphics get your pulse racing, you should write Jen-Hsun Huang a thank-you note.

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2:58 pm
Mon February 20, 2012

Portugal Plays By The Rules, But Economy Slumps

A once-bustling vegetable market in Lisbon is now beyond the reach of many Portuguese — a sign of their country's economic problems.
Sylvia Poggioli NPR

Originally published on Tue February 21, 2012 11:25 am

The eurozone crisis has focused attention on debt-burdened Greece spiraling into decline. Meanwhile, Portugal is seen as the international creditors' poster-child for obediently slashing spending and welfare benefits.

Nevertheless, the Portuguese national debt continues to grow, and the country is mired in recession and soaring unemployment.

The Portuguese national character has long been identified with Fado music. Raquel Freire, an activist with the local Occupy movement, says the melancholy style helps explain decades of resignation.

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3:58 pm
Sun February 19, 2012

What's The Cure In The Race Against Breast Cancer?

Breast cancer survivors stand to form the shape of a pink ribbon at a Susan G. Komen Foundation charity race in Tyler, Texas, in 2004.
Tom Worner AP

Tracy Grant was just 39 when she got the diagnosis.

"They asked me to stay a little bit longer because they saw something a little weird," she remembers. "In my mind I was saying, ... 'Here we go, this doesn't look good.' "

It was breast cancer. As devastating as the news was, it wasn't a surprise. Her mother, Catherine Grant, was diagnosed at age 51.

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6:40 pm
Sat February 18, 2012

Houston Fan: 'We Got Tears Outside The Perimeters'

Fans mourn outside the funeral service for singer Whitney Houston in Newark, N.J., on Saturday. The pop superstar was found dead in a California hotel room a week ago. The cause of death has yet to be determined.
Michael Nagle Getty Images

Originally published on Sat February 18, 2012 7:20 pm

It was at the New Hope Baptist Church in Newark, N.J., where Whitney Houston first learned to sing, and it was there that friends and family gathered on Saturday to say goodbye to the pop superstar.

The star-studded service lasted more than three hours. Among those in attendance were Dionne Warwick, Kevin Costner and Alicia Keys.

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Middle East
5:35 pm
Sat February 18, 2012

'On The Table': Options For Ending The Iran Standoff

Iran's state-run Press TV showed images of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad touring Tehran's research reactor on Wednesday.
AFP/Getty Images

It was one of the more surreal photo ops this week: Iran's president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, live on Iranian TV, visiting a nuclear reactor. Ahmadinejad trumpeted his country's nuclear progress, but denied, once again, that Iran is pursuing nuclear weapons.

In Washington, officials weren't buying it.

They rushed to repeat the official U.S. line — a line President Obama himself is fond of delivering.

"Let there be no doubt: America is determined to prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon, and I will take no options off the table to achieve that goal," he said.

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Author Interviews
4:15 pm
Sat February 18, 2012

Murder, Corruption And Cover-Ups In 'Bloodland'

Originally published on Mon March 18, 2013 6:11 pm

A troubled starlet dies in a helicopter crash off the Irish coast after sending a series of mysterious text messages. Three years later, a hungry young reporter desperate for work takes an assignment to write a quickie celebrity biography of her — but finds complexity and danger.

That seemingly accidental death is the catalyst for the events in Bloodland, a new thriller by Irish author Alan Glynn.

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Strange News
11:25 am
Sat February 18, 2012

Through RecordSetter, Everyone Can Be World Champ

Dan Rollman, the co-founder of RecordSetter, holds up a microphone to Rob Lathan, who currently holds the world record for completing 81 leg kicks on stilts while singing "New York, New York," at a World Record Appreciation Society event in New York City.
Emily Wilson Courtesy of RecordSetter

What's the record for squeezing open the most ketchup packets in 30 seconds? Seven. The record for the most people simultaneously flossing with the same piece of dental floss? 428.

These records are nowhere to be found in the Guinness World Records book, but rather on the website RecordSetter, where everyone can be a world champion.

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Music Interviews
6:46 pm
Fri February 17, 2012

Gretchen Peters: Personal Pain As Universal Truth

Gretchen Peters' new album is Hello Cruel World.
Gina Binkley

Country Music Award winner Gretchen Peters had an eventful 2010: The BP oil spill washed up on her doorstep, a good friend committed suicide, and her son announced that he's transgender. The last of those in particular, she says, got her thinking about personal conflict.

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The Two-Way
6:41 pm
Fri February 17, 2012

Let Them Eat Funnel Cake: A Napoleon-Based Theme Park for France

A dark cloud passes over a statue of Napoleon in Vienna.
Joe Klamar AFP/Getty Images

No celebrity can be truly world renown unless they have their own theme park. Mickey Mouse and Disney have theirs. Now, Napoleon might get his chance too.

Christian Mantei the head of Atout France, the tourism group supporting the endeavor, once told the The Economist that "bosses at Disneyland Paris once said that only Napoleon had the stature to take on Mickey Mouse".

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Music Interviews
3:32 pm
Fri February 17, 2012

Conor Oberst, Ron Sexsmith Pay Tribute To Leonard Cohen

It's natural for Leonard Cohen to think a lot about mortality near the end of his life, but Ron Sexsmith says Cohen has never sung about "frivolous things."
Dominique Issermann

Originally published on Sun February 19, 2012 6:50 pm

Who'd have thought a 77-year-old Canadian singer-songwriter would be hovering near the top of the pop charts?

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2:54 pm
Fri February 17, 2012

For Cash, Murderer Leads Police To Victims' Remains

San Joaquin sheriff detectives sift for human remains that were excavated from an abandoned ranch near Linden, Calif., on Sunday. Authorities say Wesley Shermantine and Loren Herzog wantonly murdered an unknown number of victims before their arrest in 1999. Now, one of the convicted killers is leading investigators to burial sites that have yielded hundreds of bones.
Craig Sanders AP

Originally published on Fri February 17, 2012 6:45 pm

In California's Central Valley, authorities are excavating the gruesome remains of an unknown number of murder victims who were buried many years ago by a pair of convicted murderers and drug users.

The search began last week after one of the convicts agreed to lead authorities to the remains in exchange for cash.

But, the case raises some thorny ethical and legal issues: Should convicted criminals be able to benefit from their wrongdoing?

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1:17 pm
Fri February 17, 2012

As Ivies Boost Financial Aid, Teams Up Their Game

Harvard University forward Kyle Casey in an NCAA game against Princeton on Saturday. Casey says financial aid from Harvard makes the school more attractive to student athletes.
Mel Evans Getty Images

New York Knicks guard and Harvard University alumnus Jeremy Lin may be a sudden NBA sensation, but the men's basketball team at his alma mater is making its own mark on the national scene.

Harvard is currently on top of the Ivy League basketball standings. And with a 21-3 overall record and some impressive nonconference wins, the Crimson spent part of the season in the Top 25 in national polls for Division I.

There's a palpable buzz about the team, as well — even a late January road game against the struggling squad from Brown University was a sellout.

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5:39 pm
Thu February 16, 2012

The New Running Game Where 'Zombies' Chase You

The Zombies, Run! iPhone app is a running game and audio adventure set in a post-apocalyptic world.
Six to Start

Originally published on Sun February 19, 2012 5:39 pm

The new iPhone app called "Zombies, RUN!" is not your standard running game.

It's designed to encourage folks, such as say, video gamers, who aren't usually associated with exercise to take up running.

British writer Naomi Alderman, who is a gamer herself as well as an Orange-award winning novelist, came up with the idea for "Zombies, RUN!" while in a class for amateur runners she tells weekends on All Things Considered guest host Mary-Louise Kelly.

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The Two-Way
6:03 pm
Wed February 15, 2012

Audits Are Under Way At Apple Supplier Foxconn's Plants

A group of protesters demonstrate outside Foxconn's annual meeting in Hong Kong last year. Working conditions at the company's plants have brought criticism on Apple.
Mike Clarke AFP/Getty Images

Audits of working conditions are under way at Foxconn's manufacturing plants in China, a key link in Apple's supply chain of iPhones, iPads and other devices. The effort will include visits to at least three sites, "each with more than 100,000 workers," says Auret Van Heerden, president of the Fair Labor Association.

"So we've taken a representative sample of over 35,000 workers," Van Heerden tells All Things Considered co-host Robert Siegel, in an interview airing Wednesday.

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5:55 pm
Wed February 15, 2012

Europe Wants Assurances For Latest Greek Bailout

In Athens on Tuesday, Greek pensioners marched in protest against new austerity cuts. The eurozone insists Greece must stick to hugely unpopular austerity measures agreed to in return for a 130 billion euro debt bailout.
Louisa Gouliamaki AFP/Getty Images

The European Union says Greece has made some progress, but not enough, to merit the new bailout it desperately needs to avoid default and keep the euro as its currency.

Greeks are increasingly bitter about the austerity measures the EU is imposing on them. And Greece's EU partners are losing trust that the Greeks will implement them.

Now, talk is growing about contingency planning if Greece fails to meet the bailout conditions and defaults.

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Shots - Health Blog
5:52 pm
Wed February 15, 2012

Scientists Debate How To Conduct Bird Flu Research

H5N1 avian flu viruses (seen in gold) grow inside canine kidney cells (seen in green).
Cynthia Goldsmith CDC

Originally published on Tue February 21, 2012 5:58 pm

Scientists working with bird flu recently called a 60-day halt on some controversial experiments, and the unusual move has been compared to a famous moratorium on genetic engineering in the 1970s.

But key scientists involved in that event disagree on whether history is repeating itself.

"I see an amazing similarity," says Nobel Prize winner Paul Berg, of Stanford University.

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Middle East
4:31 pm
Wed February 15, 2012

Iran Ups The Ante With More Nuclear Moves

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (right) listens to a nuclear expert during a tour of the Tehran Research Reactor on Wednesday. Iran announced that for the first time it has produced the fuel plates that power that reactor.
Iranian Presidency AFP/Getty Images

Iran has unveiled significant developments on two important components of its nuclear program: the centrifuges used to enrich uranium and the uranium used to fuel a research reactor.

The country has made no secret of its work in these areas. But the news on Wednesday suggests that Iran may be making progress in its nuclear program.

Iran also announced that it is cutting off oil sales to several European nations, only to reverse itself hours later.

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Music Interviews
3:58 pm
Wed February 15, 2012

Three Poetic Traditions Inspire A Mideast Symphony

Mohammed Fairouz recently premiered his Symphony No. 3: Poems and Prayers, a choral symphony set to Aramaic, Hebrew and Arabic texts.
Samantha West Courtesy of the artist

For his third symphony, the 26-year-old American composer Mohammed Fairouz decided to incorporate text in three languages. Poems and Prayers, which had its debut Thursday in New York, features passages in Arabic, Hebrew and Aramaic.

The symphony was commissioned by Northeastern University, where Fairouz teaches. The idea was to write something exploring the conflicts in the Middle East, so for inspiration, Fairouz delved into the region's poetry — both ancient and modern.

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3:41 pm
Wed February 15, 2012

'Plotto': An Algebra Book For Fiction Writing

iStock Photo

It's been said that there are only seven basic plots in fiction. Pulp novelist William Wallace Cook would beg to differ.

According to Cook, there are a whopping 1,462 plots, all of which he laid out in his 1928 book, Plotto: The Master Book of All Plots.

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It's All Politics
3:33 pm
Wed February 15, 2012

Why Romney's Shaggy Dog Story Won't Die

A man holds a sign during a "Dogs Against Romney" demonstration outside the 136th Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show at New York's Madison Square Garden, on Tuesday.
Shannon Stapleton Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Thu March 27, 2014 9:49 am

It's the story that continues to, well, dog Republican presidential front-runner Mitt Romney. And, according to some experts, it could jeopardize his standing with voters who care about animals. And yes, it turns out, that is not an insignificant voting bloc.

The incident happened back in 1983, and it's been public since 2007. But it seems that only now a critical mass of voters is hearing it for the first time.

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Middle East
3:20 pm
Wed February 15, 2012

Syria's Neighbors Fear That Fighting Could Spread

The fighting in Syria was seen as a spark for clashes in the Lebanese city of Tripoli last week. Here a Lebanese woman and her daughter look out the window of their bullet-pocked home in Tripoli on Sunday, Feb. 12.
Adel Karroum EPA /Landov

Originally published on Wed February 15, 2012 7:55 pm

Now that the uprising in Syria has turned into a heavily armed conflict, many in the region are worried that the violence will spread beyond its territory.

Syria borders Iraq, Turkey, Jordan and Israel, as well as Lebanon, where clashes erupted last Friday in the northern coastal city of Tripoli.

Sunni Muslims in one Tripoli neighborhood began protesting against Syrian President Bashar Assad. They put up a huge banner on the side of a mosque that had a picture of Assad, wearing a military uniform, with a big red X across his face.

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The Salt
5:51 pm
Tue February 14, 2012

Why California Almonds Need North Dakota Flowers (And A Few Billion Bees)

Almond trees rely on bees to pollinate during their brief bloom for a few weeks in February.
Winfried Rothermel APN

Originally published on Wed February 15, 2012 12:27 pm

This is one of those stories that reminds us that everything really is connected to everything else.

Here's the web of connections: a threat to California's booming almond business; hard times for honeybees in North Dakota; and high corn prices.


OK, let's start with the almonds. They come from an old-world tree that migrated to California and prospered in the hands of farmers like James McFarlane, who lives right outside the city of Clovis.

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5:48 pm
Tue February 14, 2012

New Telescope To Make 10-Year Time Lapse Of Sky

The Large Synoptic Survey Telescope, seen in this artist's rendering, will be built on the peak of the Cerro Pachon mountain in Chile and will survey every patch of the night sky. The data the telescope will collect will allow researchers to "answer fundamentally different questions about the universe," says one astronomer.
Todd Mason LSST Corp.

Originally published on Fri January 10, 2014 5:30 pm

Every 10 years, about two dozen of this country's top astronomers and astrophysicists get together under the auspices of the National Research Council and make a wish list. The list has on it the new telescopes these astronomers would most like to see built. At the last gathering, they said, in essence, "We most want the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope."

Here's why. A synoptic survey is a comprehensive map of every square inch of the night sky. The Large Synoptic Survey — LSST — will do that multiple times.

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