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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Crisis In The Housing Market
10:11 am
Tue February 28, 2012

Cash Buyers Squeezing Out Traditional Home Seekers

Dan Grohs (left) with real estate agent Pat Paulson in front of a foreclosed Minneapolis home. Grohs hopes to buy the house with cash.
Annie Baxter NPR

Originally published on Mon February 27, 2012 3:24 pm

Not everyone wants to buy a mold-infested foreclosure, but Dan Grohs does.

He and his Realtor are walking through a three-bedroom house in Minneapolis. The copper pipes have been stolen by vandals and the heat doesn't work, but Grohs recently bid on the house — and he sees potential.

"It's got a nice flow to it," Grohs says as he moves through the home. "You walk in — living room, dining room, kitchen. Good spacious rooms."

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Middle East
4:52 pm
Mon February 27, 2012

In A New Setback, Syrian Opposition Splits

A man burns a portrait of Syrian President Bashar Assad during a Sunday demonstration on the outskirts of Idlib in northern Syria.
Rodrigo Abd AP

Originally published on Mon February 27, 2012 7:59 pm

Monday was a rough day for the opposition in Syria. Senior officials in the main opposition group announced that they're forming a new organization. The development was the latest sign of the divisions within the Syrian opposition that's trying to oust the government of President Bashar Assad.

At the same time, Assad's government said that nearly 90 percent of voters endorsed constitutional reforms in a referendum a day earlier, even though the Syrian opposition and international critics called the balloting a farce.

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'Radio Diaries'
4:47 pm
Mon February 27, 2012

Straight Out Of Flint: Girl Boxer Aims For Olympics

"Before boxing, I wanted to have 10 kids by the time I was 25. Now, my goal is to get this gold medal, go pro and be a world champion," says aspiring Olympic boxer Claressa Shields, 16.
Sue Jaye Johnson

Originally published on Wed May 23, 2012 11:00 am

Sixteen-year-old Claressa Shields has a dream. She's in London, at the Olympic finals for women's boxing, when the announcer calls out, "The first woman Olympian at 165 pounds — Claressa Shields!"

Claressa, a high school student and middleweight boxer from Flint, Mich., is the youngest fighter competing for a place on the U.S. Olympic women's boxing team.

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It's All Politics
4:38 pm
Mon February 27, 2012

Casting Himself As Outsider, Santorum Benefited From D.C. 'Revolving Door'

On the campaign trail, Rick Santorum portrays himself as a Washington outsider. But the former senator has made money from inside-the-Beltway pursuits.
Jeff Kowalsky EPA/Landov

Rick Santorum is trying to shake up the Republican primary by winning the primary Tuesday in Michigan — and many polls show him neck and neck with Mitt Romney. He's a former senator from Pennsylvania best known as a culture warrior. What's less well known is what he did after losing his re-election bid in 2006.

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All Tech Considered
4:11 pm
Mon February 27, 2012

To Get Out The Vote, Evangelicals Try Data Mining

Kay Clymer spends hours each day urging fellow Christians to vote. She finds their phone numbers through a database created by the company United In Purpose.
Steve Brown WOSU

Originally published on Mon February 27, 2012 7:36 pm

When Bill Dallas first heard that 15 to 20 million Christians in the U.S. are not registered to vote, he couldn't believe it.

"Initially, it surprised me. And then I thought to myself, 'Wait a minute, I'm not registered,' Dallas says. "Why wasn't I registered? Well, because I didn't think my vote made a difference."

Identifying Christians With Data Points

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Latin America
3:52 pm
Mon February 27, 2012

Violence Exposes Crisis In Latin American Prisons

In Honduras, female relatives of inmates killed during a fire at a prison argue with soldiers as they try to enter the morgue in Tegucigalpa, the Honduran capital, on Feb. 20. The fire at Comayagua prison on Feb. 14 killed more than 300 inmates.
Esteban Felix AP

A series of fatal riots inside Mexican prisons last week and a deadly blaze at a penitentiary in Honduras are prompting calls for major penal reform in Central America.

Violence at three different penitentiaries in Mexico last week left 48 inmates dead, while the inferno in Honduras earlier this month killed 360 prisoners.

These deadly events underscore the problems of corruption, overcrowding, prison gangs and crumbling infrastructure that prisons face throughout the region.

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Planet Money
3:38 pm
Mon February 27, 2012

From Cellphones To Cigarettes: The Long Arm Of The Chinese Government

How many government-owned businesses do you see in this picture?
Ed Jones AFP/Getty Images

The streets of Beijing and Shanghai feel like an entrepreneurial free-for-all, full of mom-and-pop stores and street vendors selling snacks and cheap toys.

But when you pull back the curtain, you see a different picture: a country where the government still controls huge swaths of the economy.

When you're in China, there's a good chance you're doing business with the government every time you:

  • make a call on your cellphone (the government owns the country's biggest cellphone network)
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Architecture
3:15 pm
Mon February 27, 2012

Chinese Architect Wang Shu Wins The Pritzker Prize

Wang Shu's design for the Ningbo History Museum came to him at 3 in the morning. He realized his job was to show people what their city used to look like, and the design recalls an ancient Chinese fortress.
Lv Hengzhong

Originally published on Wed May 23, 2012 11:00 am

For the first time, the Pritzker Architecture Prize has been awarded to an architect based in China. Wang Shu, 49, is interested in preservation, working slowly and tradition — ideals that sometimes seem forgotten in today's booming China. Wang says in the 1990s he had to get away from China's architectural "system" of demolition, megastructures and get-rich-quick — so he spent the decade working with common craftspeople building simple constructions.

"I go out of system," Wang says, "Because, finally I think, this system is too strong."

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Sports
3:00 pm
Mon February 27, 2012

Swing And A Hitch: New Bats Safer, But Power Wanes

Members of the Arlington Heights High School baseball team swing their old-style aluminum bats during the 2009 season in Fort Worth, Texas. This year, high school players will use a different type of metal bat that's designed to reduce injuries.
Tom Pennington Getty Images

Originally published on Mon February 27, 2012 7:53 pm

Baseball practice has just begun at many high schools across the country, but this year, the game is different. The National Federation of State High School Associations has adopted a new standard for baseball bats that is expected to change the way the game is played.

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News
4:46 pm
Sun February 26, 2012

'Hallwalkers': The Ghosts Of The State Department

Peter Van Buren says that although the State Department approved his book, State officials retaliated against him once it was published.
Torie Partridge

Originally published on Mon February 27, 2012 7:46 am

The halls of the State Department are haunted, not by actual ghosts, but by people who might as well be ghosts: whistleblowers, people who angered someone powerful and people who for one reason or another, can't be fired.

"People like me, that the State Department no longer wants, but for some reason can't or won't fire, are assigned to what we call 'hallwalking,'" says author Peter Van Buren.

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Newt Gingrich
4:29 pm
Sun February 26, 2012

Energy Fuels Newt Gingrich's Comeback Plan

Republican candidate Newt Gingrich is counting on his promise of $2.50-per-gallon gas to return him to front-runner status.
Evan Vucci AP

When voters in Michigan go the polls Tuesday, it's unlikely many will tick the box for former House Speaker Newt Gingrich. In part, that's because Gingrich has all but written off the state, leaving his opponents to fight over it.

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U.S.
3:57 pm
Sun February 26, 2012

What Happens If The Keystone XL Pipeline Isn't Built?

A mock oil pipeline near Cushing, Okla.
Brent Baughman/NPR

Originally published on Mon February 27, 2012 7:56 am

Part two of a two-part series on the Keystone XL pipeline

Gas isn't like a rare bottle of wine that fetches a high price just because it's rare. But at the same time, no one can agree what drives gas prices. Demand for gasoline in the U.S. is at its lowest point in more than a decade; domestic oil production is at an eight-year high.

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Author Interviews
3:03 pm
Sun February 26, 2012

How Sugar Brought An End to Hawaii's Nationhood

iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Mon February 27, 2012 7:40 am

If you've seen a Hawaiian tourism commercial, a beach movie, or even a cartoon with Daffy Duck in a lei and a grass skirt, you've heard the poignant strains of "Aloha Oe."

But the tune has a history stretching far beyond cartoons and commercials: It was composed in 1878 by the woman who would become the last queen of Hawaii, Lili'uokalani.

Hawaii is the only state to have once been an independent monarchy. And when Lili'u, as she called herself, was born in 1838, it was at its height.

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Sports
11:38 am
Sun February 26, 2012

College Sports' Old Rivalries Succumb To New Money

The Kansas Jayhawks staged a dramatic comeback Saturday to defeat the Missouri Tigers 87-86. Never mind the exciting finish; this may the last time these two teams ever meet.

And it's not the only feud ending this season. College sports has now bid farewell to three of its very oldest rivalries.

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Author Interviews
5:40 pm
Sat February 25, 2012

A Theologian Has A Falling Out With God In 'Still'

HarperOne

Originally published on Mon March 4, 2013 11:46 am

Theologian Lauren Winner was 21 when she became a Christian.

Although she was raised in a Jewish household and had converted to Orthodox Judaism, she says she felt drawn to Christianity. Her surprising conversion is the subject of her first memoir, the bestseller Girl Meets God.

In Winner's new book, Still: Notes on a Mid-Faith Crisis, she writes about a spiritual crisis.

Winner, an ordained Episcopal priest who teaches Christian spirituality at Duke University, says it happened around the time her mother died and her marriage collapsed.

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Music Interviews
5:37 pm
Sat February 25, 2012

Finding Hope, With The Cranberries' Help

The Cranberries (left to right): Noel Hogan, Fergal Lawler, Dolores O'Riordan, Mike Hogan.
Jess Baumung Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Fri May 11, 2012 6:20 pm

This week, weekends on All Things Considered begins a new series called "Why Music Matters": stories from fans, in their own words, about how music has changed their lives. In this first installment, Seattle resident Nathan Hotchkiss reflects on a sheltered childhood.

"My parents were very religious," he says. "I was limited to listening only to Christian music and classical. My father would stay away a lot, and my mother would be wrapped up in her own turmoil, and it would spill over onto me."

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NPR News
5:01 pm
Sat February 25, 2012

Ranchers' Land Becomes Ground Zero In Energy Fight

Rancher Randy Thompson is fighting to keep the Keystone XL pipeline from being built in Nebraska.
Guy Raz NPR

Originally published on Mon February 27, 2012 7:38 am

Part one of a two-part series on the Keystone XL pipeline

Gas prices are spiking once again; the cost of a gallon of regular unleaded is about 12 percent higher than it was a year ago. But winter typically isn't the time for a rise in gas prices. Demand for gasoline is at a 14-year low and domestic oil production is at an eight-year high.

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Music Interviews
7:46 pm
Fri February 24, 2012

Robert Glasper: A Unified Field Theory For Black Music

Robert Glasper leads his band through experiments in jazz, hip-hop, R&B and rock on his new album, Black Radio.
Mike Schreiber

Originally published on Sat February 25, 2012 6:31 pm

When some of the biggest names in R&B and hip-hop are clamoring to be on a jazz record, you know you're dealing with a special kind of jazz musician.

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The Two-Way
6:08 pm
Thu February 23, 2012

Syrian Activist: 'I Could Be Killed At Any Moment'

A handout picture released by Local coordination Committees in Syria (LCC Syria) on Feb. 22 shows fire on the roof of a building in the Baba Amr neighborhood of the flashpoint city of Homs.
AFP/Getty Images

The situation in Syria is one of desperation, death and constant danger, a Syrian activist told All Things Considered's Melissa Block.

The activist, who goes by Abo Bakr, said he was in the house where journalists Marie Colvin and Remi Ochlik were killed.

"We were hearing so many explosions around us, but then the sounds got closer until one rocket hit the backyard of the house," Bakr said. "Then rockets started hitting the roof, and that resulted in the roof falling down completely."

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Dance
6:08 pm
Thu February 23, 2012

A Homecoming For Alvin Ailey's Artistic Director

Yannick Lebrun performs choreography from Robert Battle's Takademe. "Takademe is near and dear to me as one of my first creations," says Battle, artistic director of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. "It's a work I made in the tiny living room of my old apartment in Queens."
Andrew Eccles Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater

The renowned Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater is currently on a national tour, and the company has brought Robert Battle, its new artistic director, back to where he started — a public school in one of the poorest neighborhoods in Miami.

When Battle attended Northwestern Senior High in the mid-'80s, he'd walk 16 blocks to school through some of Liberty City's roughest neighborhoods. The riot-scarred area was still wracked by drugs, crime and desolation. So the former boy soprano carried some protection under his dance tights and ballet slippers.

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Afghanistan
5:51 pm
Thu February 23, 2012

U.S. Apology Over Qurans Fails To Stop Afghan Riots

Afghan demonstrators burn an effigy of President Obama and shout anti-U.S. slogans in the eastern city of Jalalabad on Wednesday, Feb. 22. Afghans have been rioting for three days after word that several Qurans were desecrated at a NATO base. The U.S. says the burning of the Qurans was accidental.
Noorullah Shirzada AFP/Getty Images

President Obama apologized in a letter and Afghan President Hamid Karzai appealed for calm.

But that was not enough to keep Afghans from protesting violently for a third day following word that several copies of the Muslim holy book, the Quran, were burned at a large NATO base outside Kabul.

The latest incident resembled other cases in recent years, where rumors that a Quran was desecrated — even thousands of miles away in Florida or Guantanamo Bay — ignited deadly riots in Afghanistan.

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Middle East
5:13 pm
Thu February 23, 2012

Syrian Forces Tightening Grip On Parts Of Homs

Flames rise from a house, the result of Syrian government shelling, in the Baba Amr neighborhood of Homs, Syria, on Wednesday, in this image provided by citizen journalists to the Local Coordination Committees.
Local Coordination Committees in Syria AP

Originally published on Thu February 23, 2012 7:10 pm

The Syrian army has cut off all escape routes from a rebel-held neighborhood in Homs, the city that has seen the most intense fighting in recent days, according to opposition activists.

Syrian tanks were seen moving closer to the Baba Amr neighborhood Thursday, as efforts continued to negotiate a cease-fire to evacuate the wounded, including two Western journalists.

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Technology
4:38 pm
Thu February 23, 2012

A California Civil War Over Internet Piracy

Supporters of the website The Pirate Bay, one of the world's top illegal file-sharing websites, demonstrate in Stockholm, Sweden, in 2009.
Fredrik Persson AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu February 23, 2012 7:10 pm

There's a civil war going on in California. It's the north vs. the south — Hollywood vs. Silicon Valley. And much like that other American Civil War, there are two different economic worldviews at stake. One of the highest-profile battles was fought last month, when large Internet sites like Wikipedia staged an online blackout to protest anti-piracy bills in Congress.

The north won that battle, and for now, the legislation is on hold. But the war between Hollywood and Silicon Valley over how to deal with intellectual property is far from over.

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The Salt
4:00 pm
Thu February 23, 2012

Why Astronauts Crave Tabasco Sauce

Astronauts may have a particular affinity for Tabasco sauce in space because their sense of smell and taste is distorted.
John Rose NPR

If you think astronauts just want dehydrated dinners and freeze-dried ice cream, think again. After a few days in space, they start reaching for the hot sauce.

In fact, they may start craving foods they didn't necessarily like on Earth.

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Planet Money
3:42 pm
Thu February 23, 2012

How Mitt Romney's Firm Transformed A Struggling Company, In 5 Steps

iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Mon May 7, 2012 12:19 pm

Mitt Romney says his experience in private equity taking over troubled companies would make him a good manager of America's economy. So we're reporting on companies that Bain Capital bought while Romney was in charge of the firm. This morning, we told the story of one that went bust. Here's the story of one that succeeded.

How A Private-Equity Firm Turns A Company Around

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U.S.
3:17 pm
Thu February 23, 2012

Virginia Governor Backs Down From Ultrasound Bill

An abortion rights activist speaks before the Virginia Senate Education and Health Committee on Thursday. Following a protest outside the state capitol and criticism from moderates in his own party, Republican Gov. Bob McDonnell asked for revisions to a bill requiring an invasive ultrasound before an abortion.
Steve Helber AP

Originally published on Fri February 24, 2012 10:29 am

Several states are considering laws that would mandate an ultrasound before a woman has an abortion. Critics say the laws are unnecessary and intrusive, and the debate reached a fever pitch recently over a Virginia bill that would have required an invasive ultrasound procedure.

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Science
5:01 pm
Wed February 22, 2012

Climate Scientist Admits To Lying, Leaking Documents

Originally published on Wed February 22, 2012 10:30 pm

Peter Gleick is not just any scientist. He got his doctorate at the University of California, Berkeley and won a MacArthur "genius" award. He is also an outspoken proponent of scientific evidence that humans are responsible for climate change.

And earlier this week, he confessed that he had lied to obtain internal documents from the Heartland Institute, a group that questions to what extent climate change is caused by humans.

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Shots - Health Blog
4:53 pm
Wed February 22, 2012

Diet Drug Qnexa Gets Thumbs-Up From FDA Panel

A new weight-loss pill could be coming to the menu.
Luis Pedrosa iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Wed February 22, 2012 7:29 pm

A key federal panel Wednesday recommended the Food and Drug Administration approve the first new weight-loss drug in more than a decade.

At the conclusion of a day-long hearing, the FDA's Endocrinologic and Metabolic Drugs Advisory Committee voted 20-2 to endorse a request from Vivus to approve the drug Qnexa. The same panel gave a thumbs-down to Qnexa in 2010.

Qnexa is a combination of two generic drugs that are already on the market:

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Reporter's Notebook
3:59 pm
Wed February 22, 2012

'We Crush The Cars': Inside The Monster Truck Arena

The Grave Digger team of monster trucks, considered to be one of the most influential monster trucks of all time, is currently celebrating its 30th anniversary and racing in the United States Hot Rod Association (USHRA) Monster Jam series.
Doriane Raiman NPR

Originally published on Wed May 23, 2012 11:01 am

It's that time of year again — the time when the sports world starts to zone in on basketball's March Madness, hockey's playoff push, baseball's spring training ... and monster trucks. That's right, it's prime time for four-wheeled contraptions that specialize in crushing each other.

While it may be hard to get past the deafening radio ads, a funny thing can happen on the way to a Monster Jam show. It turns out that young fans' giddiness over the awesome destruction they're about to witness can be pretty contagious.

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The Salt
3:46 pm
Wed February 22, 2012

Panda Express Takes Sweet And Sour Beyond The Food Court

An employee packs a customer's takeout order at a Panda Express restaurant in Los Angeles.
Fred Prouser Reuters /Landov

Originally published on Wed February 22, 2012 7:29 pm

Not all that long ago, many Americans thought of Chinese food as fried rice, chow mein and orange chicken. And one reliable place to find it was at the mall, at places like Panda Express.

But food court mainstay Panda Express is now in the midst of a major transformation. That means moving from mall basements to stand-alone restaurants and keeping pace with an increasingly sophisticated American palate.

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