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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Middle East
4:56 pm
Tue February 14, 2012

Egyptians Harbor Suspicions About U.S. Aid Groups

An Egyptian soldier on an armored vehicle guards an exchange office in Cairo on Monday. Tensions between the U.S. and Egypt are rising over Cairo's investigation of aid workers, many of them American. An Egyptian Cabinet minister, Faiza Aboul Naga, recently accused the U.S. of directly funding pro-democracy groups in order to create chaos in Egypt.
Amr Nabil AP

Originally published on Tue February 14, 2012 6:16 pm

The Egyptian government has further escalated tensions with Washington by accusing U.S. officials of directly funding nonprofit groups to create chaos in the Arab country.

The latest comments were made by an Egyptian Cabinet member to prosecutors conducting a criminal probe into the activities of 43 aid workers, many of them American.

Such claims anger U.S. officials, who have threatened to hold back more than $1 billion in military aid if the crackdown on private, pro-democracy organizations doesn't end.

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The Salt
4:55 pm
Tue February 14, 2012

Why The Best Chocolate Is The One You Eat Last

If that Hershey's Kiss is your last, researchers say it's likely to taste better.
John Rose NPR

It's predictable, and hokey, to bring up chocolate and romance in one Valentine's Day post, but hang on — this is fascinating.

A study suggests that your preferences in chocolate may help explain how you pick out or judge potential romantic partners.

No, it's not that people who love dark chocolate are simpatico with others who love dark chocolate. That would be far too pat.

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Music Reviews
4:09 pm
Tue February 14, 2012

Dr. Dog: A Standout Among Stereotypes

Dr. Dog's sixth studio album is titled Be the Void.
Chris Crisman

Originally published on Tue February 14, 2012 6:16 pm

Sometimes I wonder: Do the members of young indie-rock bands know that they're walking stereotypes? There's the scruffy dude who's obsessed with everything vintage and analog, the Pavement-worshiping, whiny-voiced lead singer, the rhythm section that knows its way around every oddity recorded by The Kinks. That's pretty much how I pegged the Philadelphia sextet Dr.

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Europe
3:56 pm
Tue February 14, 2012

In Russia, A Debate Over How To Set The Clock

Moscow's city center at dawn. Some Russians are upset that President Dmitry Medvedev put the country on daylight saving time year-round, which means it doesn't get light until 9 a.m. or later in winter.
Alexander Zemlianichenko AP

Originally published on Tue February 14, 2012 6:16 pm

In just a few weeks, most of the United States will shift back to daylight saving time — and Americans will lose an hour of sleep but gain an extra hour of light in the evening.

That won't be happening in Russia, though, where President Dmitry Medvedev has put the country on permanent summer time.

Medvedev's decree, issued last fall, means that it doesn't get light in Moscow now until around 9 a.m. Back in January, it was dark until 10 in the morning.

This has become an issue in Russia's presidential election next month.

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Middle East
3:13 pm
Tue February 14, 2012

Iran Can Disrupt Key Waterway, But For How Long?

The USS Abraham Lincoln sailed from the Persian Gulf through the Strait of Hormuz on Tuesday. This photo was taken from the bridge of the aircraft carrier and shows U.S. aircraft parked on its flight deck. In the background, a U.S. destroyer patrols.
Hassan Ammar AP

The dispute over Iran's nuclear program has again rocked oil markets. And Iran is threatening to close the Strait of Hormuz, which is just 34 miles wide yet serves as the passageway for 20 percent of the world's oil.

This is not a new drama. In fact, it was a recurring issue in the 1980s. Still, there's been relatively little activity among Gulf oil producers to find alternative routes to get their oil to market.

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Music News
6:10 pm
Mon February 13, 2012

The Ballad Of The Tearful: Why Some Songs Make You Cry

Adele won the song of the year category at this year's Grammy Awards for her tear-jerker "Someone Like You."
Kevin Winter Getty Images

Originally published on Tue February 14, 2012 5:45 pm

Note: A number of listeners responded to this story and said the definition of appoggiatura was incorrect. Music commentator Rob Kapilow has a second opinion here.

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NPR News
4:27 pm
Mon February 13, 2012

For Komen, Walks Will Be Fundraising Test

Several thousand people participated in the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure in Tyler, Texas, in 2007. Some walkers for this year's races, including the 3-Day walk, are worried that they might have trouble raising money because of the Planned Parenthood controversy.
Scott M. Lieberman AP

Originally published on Tue February 14, 2012 12:30 pm

Over the weekend, the Susan G. Komen foundation held meetings in 15 cities around the country for people who have registered for this summer's 3-Day walks.

The annual events are key fundraisers for the breast cancer research and treatment organization. But after the recent controversy over Komen's grants to Planned Parenthood, some walkers are worried it might be harder to get donations this year.

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U.S.
4:24 pm
Mon February 13, 2012

U.S. Watches Closely As Oil Drilling Begins Off Cuba

Fishermen work near the Scarabeo-9 oil rig off the coast of Cuba. U.S. officials are concerned about the potential impact in the case of a spill.
Javier Galeano AP

There are big plans for oil exploration in the Caribbean, not far off the coast of Florida. A Spanish company recently began drilling in Cuban waters — just 55 miles from Key West.

The well is the first of several exploratory wells planned in Cuba and the Bahamas. The drilling has officials and researchers in Florida scrambling to make plans for how they'll respond in case of a spill.

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Energy
4:03 pm
Mon February 13, 2012

Natural Gas Boom Energizing The Chemical Industry

A Shell-owned ethylene cracker plant on Pulau Bukom, Singapore. Several U.S. states are competing for a similar plant the company plans to build in northern Appalachia.
Courtesy of Shell Chemicals

Originally published on Mon February 13, 2012 8:19 pm

Just outside of West Virginia's capital city, Charleston, on the banks of the Kanawha River, sits the Institute Industrial Park. Chemical plants have operated here continuously since World War II, when the local factories cranked out synthetic rubber. Today there are industrial pipes, tanks and buildings stretching in just about every direction.

Soon, there could be more.

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Law
3:00 pm
Mon February 13, 2012

Mendocino Snuffing Medical Marijuana Experiment

George Hanamoto inspects some marijuana plants he's growing as his wife, Jean, looks on at their home in Mendocino County, Calif., in 2008.
Rich Pedroncelli AP

This story is part of a collaboration between member station KQED and the Center for Investigative Reporting's California Watch.

Mendocino County in Northern California is expected Tuesday to end an unusual program that put pot growing under supervision of the local sheriff. It was the first effort of its kind in the nation and proved a success, at least in the eyes of many locals. But federal officials had a different view.

'Finally Part Of The County'

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Three Books...
1:32 pm
Mon February 13, 2012

3 Biting Books For Those Bitter On Valentine's Day

Nate iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Tue February 14, 2012 10:54 am

For those who find themselves alone this Valentine's Day, or who reject the holiday altogether, you might not want to read about star-crossed lovers pining for each other and — even worse — winding up together in the end. So here are three alternatives to comfort you this Feb 14. Each novel is just the right length to read in a single night with a box of drugstore-bought chocolates. And although these tales are indeed reflections on love, the characters they follow are skeptics.

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All Tech Considered
12:47 pm
Mon February 13, 2012

Braille Under Siege As Blind Turn To Smartphones

The National Federation of the Blind estimates that today only one in 10 blind people can read Braille. That's down dramatically from the 1900s.
Steve Mitchell AP

Originally published on Tue February 14, 2012 1:15 pm

Like a lot of smartphone users, Rolando Terrazas, 19, uses his iPhone for email, text messages and finding a decent coffee shop. But Terrazas' phone also sometimes serves as his eyes: When he waves a bill under its camera, for instance, the phone tells him how much it's worth.

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The Record
9:15 pm
Sat February 11, 2012

Whitney Houston: Her Life Played Out Like An Opera

Whitney Houston performs in 1988.
David Corio Getty Images

Originally published on Thu November 8, 2012 4:32 pm

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Presidential Race
5:00 pm
Thu February 9, 2012

The GOP Elixir: Candidates Campaign On Tax Cuts

GOP presidential candidates (from left) Rick Santorum, Newt Gingrich, Mitt Romney and Ron Paul place their hands over their hearts during the national anthem at the start of a debate in Florida last month.
Chip Somodevilla Getty Images

Cutting taxes is part of the DNA of the modern Republican Party. All four of the remaining GOP candidates for president have proposed steep cuts in business and personal taxes, and it sometimes seems like Republicans are competing to show the most enthusiasm for tax cuts.

At a debate last month, former Sen. Rick Santorum said tax cuts were needed to get the economy thriving again — even if they benefit the wealthy.

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The Salt
4:46 pm
Thu February 9, 2012

More Than Miso: Food Writer In Japan Records Struggling Region's Cuisine

Peeled persimmon is a traditional food of Tohoku.
Kyodo /Landov

If there was a Julia Child of Japanese cooking — a witty and passionate interpreter of the cuisine — Elizabeth Andoh would fit the bill nicely.

As an exchange student back in the 1960s, Andoh came to Japan from New York to pursue anthropology. She fell in love, but not just with a local businessman. She is also devoted to parsing and explaining the finer points of Japanese cuisine to the rest of the world, as a writer for Gourmet, cookbook author and culinary teacher in suburban Tokyo.

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Movie Reviews
4:30 pm
Thu February 9, 2012

'Chico And Rita' And All That Jazz

Havana Heat: The title characters meet cute and swing hard in Chico and Rita, an animated love story with an infectious Latin groove.
GKIDS

In the 11 years since the Oscars introduced an award for Best Animated Feature, the category has been dominated by children's movies, often with computer-animated pandas, penguins and ogres at their center. This year's a little different. Two of the animated films are subtitled, and one is definitely aimed at adults: the Spanish film Chico and Rita, an animated love story steeped in jazz.

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Winter Songs
4:01 pm
Thu February 9, 2012

Winter Songs: Paul Simon, The Bard Of Bad Weather

Paul Simon.
Mark Seliger

Originally published on Tue February 14, 2012 3:22 pm

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Around the Nation
3:46 pm
Thu February 9, 2012

Over Bowls Of Soup, Donors Find Recipe For Change

Jon Landau serves others at PhilaSoup, a soup group based in Philadelphia.
Linton Weeks NPR

Originally published on Thu February 9, 2012 6:15 pm

The Soup Movement in America is based on a simple recipe: Bring a bunch of people together to eat soup. Ask each person for a modest donation — say $5. Listen to a few proposals about how people might use that pool of money for a worthwhile project. Vote on the best proposal, and give all the money to the top vote-getter. Go home full and fulfilled.

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U.S.
2:19 pm
Thu February 9, 2012

Gang Signs And A Sticker: Chicago Pulls Teen's Design

Chicago teen Herbie Pulgar won the city's art contest for vehicle stickers with this design. But the city, concerned that the design depicts gang signs, has decided not to use it.
City of Chicago Clerk's Office

It's one of the few politician-sponsored activities that should be free of controversy: a high school art contest.

But an annual citywide competition to design the stickers affixed to every windshield in Chicago has suddenly become a public relations nightmare.

The sticker, designed by 15-year-old Herbie Pulgar, depicts Chicago's famous skyline inside of a heart, with a backdrop of the city's blue and white flag. Extending up from the heart are four hands, and above them, symbols representing police officers, firefighters and paramedics.

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It's All Politics
6:06 pm
Wed February 8, 2012

Buoyant Santorum Takes Campaign To Texas — And Corrals Some Perry People

Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum speaks at the Bella Donna Chapel in McKinney, Texas, on Wednesday.
Rex C. Curry Associated Press

Originally published on Wed February 8, 2012 7:09 pm

Fresh off his hat trick in Minnesota, Colorado and Missouri, former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum campaigned in Texas on Wednesday, speaking to a group of pastors at Bella Donna Chapel in the town of McKinney.

Forty miles north of Dallas, where black prairie dirt meets the fresh poured concrete of suburbia, this is Rick Santorum country.

This used to be Texas Gov. Rick Perry country.

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National Security
5:38 pm
Wed February 8, 2012

A New Weapon Against Nukes: Social Media

This satellite image provided by DigitalGlobe, taken in 2010, shows the Yongbyon nuclear complex in North Korea. The Institute for Science and International Security monitors satellite images for updates to nuclear facilities.
DigtialGlobe AP

Originally published on Wed February 8, 2012 8:07 pm

Here are two things you don't often hear mentioned in the same sentence: social media and nuclear weapons.

Rose Gottemoeller, acting undersecretary of state for arms control, quickly links those two unlikely partners in conversation. She's behind a campaign to discover how new communications tools can help rid the world of some of the dangers of nuclear weapons.

Crowdsourcing Nuclear Problems

Gottemoeller is an avid user of Twitter, and it made her wonder how Twitter and other methods of crowdsourcing a problem can help her in her work.

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Mitt Romney
4:59 pm
Wed February 8, 2012

Conservatives Worry Romney's Vision Is Cloudy

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney speaks to supporters at a rally in Denver on Tuesday.
Marc Piscotty Getty Images

Originally published on Wed February 8, 2012 8:20 pm

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney's losses on Tuesday, while not very meaningful in the race to accumulate delegates, have raised questions once again about his ability to inspire passion from his party's base and about his viability in the general election.

Rival Rick Santorum's victories in Colorado, Missouri and Minnesota dealt a setback, if not exactly a body blow, to Romney — whom Santorum routinely dismisses as a candidate with a big machine but no core.

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Around the Nation
4:22 pm
Wed February 8, 2012

Beached Dolphins Keep Cape Cod Rescuers Busy

Mother and calf common dolphins are transported to the beach by a team from the International Fund for Animal Welfare and the New England Aquarium before being released back into Cape Cod Bay on Jan. 14. So far, area rescuers have counted 147 dolphin strandings this winter alone.
Julia Cumes AP

Dolphins have been stranding themselves along the shores of Cape Cod, Mass., since the Pilgrims' times, and this winter is no different. What is different is how long the latest round of strandings has lasted — almost a month. So far, rescuers have counted 147 strandings and 38 successful rescues and releases.

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Crisis In The Housing Market
2:00 pm
Wed February 8, 2012

States Debate Foreclosure Robo-Signing Settlement

A bank-owned foreclosed home is offered for sale in Las Vegas.
Mark Ralston AFP/Getty Images

A year ago, banks admitted to abusing the foreclosure process — using fake signatures to power through foreclosure documents — a practice known as robo-signing. Now, five major banks and more than 40 state attorneys general have agreed in principle to a broad settlement that they say will help homeowners.

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NPR News
6:00 pm
Tue February 7, 2012

White House: 'Ways To Resolve' Contraception Issue

A new federal policy would require most employers, including Catholic hospitals and universities, to include birth control in their employees' health insurance.
Kevork Djansezian Getty Images

Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney has joined the chorus criticizing President Obama over a controversial policy that would require most employers, including Catholic hospitals and universities, to include birth control in their employees' health insurance.

Catholic opinion leaders have denounced the policy as an assault on their religious freedom.

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Shots - Health Blog
5:31 pm
Tue February 7, 2012

Planned Parenthood Still In Cross Hairs

Originally published on Tue February 7, 2012 6:26 pm

One of the driving forces behind the now-reversed decision to cancel funding to Planned Parenthood has stepped down from her executive position at the Susan G. Komen for the Cure foundation.

But the resignation of Karen Handel, an outspoken opponent of the reproductive health group, hasn't slowed down foes of Planned Parenthood.

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Africa
4:27 pm
Tue February 7, 2012

In Morocco, The Arab Spring's Mixed Bounty

Relatives of Abdelwahab Zaydoun, a 27-year-old Moroccan who set himself on fire to protest his unemployment and died from his burns, react to his death in Casablanca last month. A year after street protests in Morocco prompted some reforms, Moroccans remain discontent with the gap between rich and poor, and the slow strides toward democracy.
Abdeljalil Bounhar AP

Originally published on Tue February 7, 2012 6:26 pm

If you're looking for the reasons for unrest in Morocco, you can find some answers while zipping along in a golf cart at a resort in the historic town of Marrakech.

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Shots - Health Blog
4:15 pm
Tue February 7, 2012

Controversy Over Stem-Cell Research Keeps Charities On Sidelines

There's a funding tempest in a cell culture.
Andrei Tchernov iStockphoto.com

The Susan G. Komen for the Cure foundation has been in the news because of its clash with Planned Parenthood Federation of America.

But another aspect of Komen's activities hasn't received much attention: Komen's position on research using human embryonic stem cells.

Despite raising millions of dollars for breast cancer research, Komen hasn't funded any of this work, prompting questions about whether that decision is rooted in politics.

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U.S.
3:37 pm
Tue February 7, 2012

R.I. Student Draws Ire Over School Prayer Challenge

A banner hanging in the auditorium at Cranston High School West. After a federal judge ordered it removed, the school covered the banner with plywood and a school flag.
Steven Senne AP

There are not many 16-year-olds who take a police escort to school, but until recently, Jessica Ahlquist was one of them.

An atheist, Ahlquist sued the city of Cranston, R.I., over a banner hanging in the auditorium of her high school, Cranston High School West. Printed on the banner, a longtime feature at the school, is a prayer to "Our Heavenly Father."

In January, a federal judge ordered the banner removed. The school board is expected to decide Thursday whether to appeal.

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The Two-Way
2:55 pm
Tue February 7, 2012

Flipping 'The Bird' Just Isn't Obscene Anymore, Law Professor Argues

M.I.A.'s now famous finger during halftime of the Super Bowl.
Christopher Polk Getty Images
(Note: This is a post about obscenity. Proceed with caution if the subject bothers you.)

We've got one more thing to say about "the bird" and singer M.I.A.'s flipping of her middle finger on national TV during Sunday's halftime show at the Super Bowl.

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