All Things Considered

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Humans
2:30 pm
Tue July 3, 2012

Common Parasite May Influence Human Behavior

Originally published on Tue July 3, 2012 5:06 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

Scientists say a parasite carried by cats appears to influence the behavior of humans, in this case, women infected with the parasite were slightly more likely to attempt suicide.

NPR's Jon Hamilton reports this is just the latest study suggesting that parasites can cause subtle changes in our brains.

JON HAMIILTON, BYLINE: This parasite is called Toxoplasma and its primary home is in the intestine of a cat. People can get infected when they eat under-cooked meats or sometimes when they change the litter in a cat box.

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Health
2:04 pm
Tue July 3, 2012

Treating HIV: From Impossible To Halfway There

Francois St. Ker, 55, was on the brink of dying from AIDS in the spring of 2001. Today, he's a successful farmer and is in good health, thanks to treatment for his HIV.
John Poole NPR

Originally published on Fri July 6, 2012 12:20 pm

This story begins 11 years ago. It was a time when many, if not most, experts said it was unthinkable to treat people with AIDS in developing countries using the triple-drug regimens that were routinely saving the lives of patients in wealthier countries.

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Music Reviews
1:49 pm
Tue July 3, 2012

Serbia's Markovic Orkestar Breaks Boundaries With Brass

Boban and Marko Markovic are the father and son behind Serbia's Markovic Orkestar.
Michael Mann Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Tue July 3, 2012 5:06 pm

If you're planning a wedding, and looking for music that's fresh, irresistible and completely unexpected, you might want to consider The Boban i Marko Markovic Orkestar, a cutting-edge Gypsy brass band from southern Serbia. A new best-of compilation called Golden Horns puts the group's wild, genre-bending flair on full display.

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U.S.
1:00 pm
Tue July 3, 2012

Illinois Services Threatened As Pension Hole Grows

Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn says the pension system is putting a grip on the state's budget. As a result, other services may lose funding.
Seth Perlman AP

Originally published on Thu July 5, 2012 12:16 pm

Fallout from the recession continues to hobble state finances, particularly in states crippled by pensions they can't afford to pay.

Chief among them is Illinois, which has racked up the largest unfunded liability in the nation. Politicians there pledge to fix it.

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NPR Cities: Urban Life In The 21st Century
12:55 pm
Tue July 3, 2012

Oakland Turns A Corner As Calif. Faces Budget Woes

Ryan Curtis leans in for a kiss from Love Kovtun on Telegraph Avenue in Oakland's Uptown neighborhood in April. New businesses and investment have helped revitalize the city's downtown over the past decade.
Laura Morton for NPR

Originally published on Thu July 5, 2012 12:17 pm

The city of Oakland, Calif. has long been associated with crime, poverty, urban decay and, more recently, violent protests tied to the Occupy movement.

So it may have been a surprise to New York Times readers when the newspaper listed Oakland as No. 5 among its top "places to go" in 2012.

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Remembrances
11:12 am
Tue July 3, 2012

Andy Griffith: A TV Icon From Mayberry To 'Matlock'

In the drama Matlock, Kene Holliday (top left), Nancy Stafford, Julie Sommars, Griffith and Kari Lizer played a criminal defense team that often came out on top.
NBCU Photo Bank

Originally published on Tue July 3, 2012 5:06 pm

In a career that spanned half a century, actor and comedian Andy Griffith starred in five different television series, made more than 30 movies and even recorded a Grammy Award-winning gospel album. He died Tuesday morning in North Carolina at the age of 86.

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Movie Reviews
10:07 am
Tue July 3, 2012

A Lanky Teenager On The Path To (Super) Power

Andrew Garfield stars in The Amazing Spider-Man, in which the nerdy, web-slinging superhero gets an overhauled origin story.
Jaimie Trueblood Sony Pictures

Originally published on Tue July 3, 2012 5:06 pm

I know you're skeptical. Tobey Maguire's Spider-Man was last slinging webs just five years ago. Broadway's Spider-Man started singing about webs less than two years ago. Now here comes another Spider-dude: This Andrew Garfield guy. So he'd better be really something, right? Well, as it happens, he is.

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Planet Money
3:51 pm
Mon July 2, 2012

Scandal That Cost Barclays Chairman His Job Threatens To Spread

London-based Barclays Bank agreed to pay a $453 million fine over charges it manipulated the London Interbank Offered Rate β€” LIBOR β€” a key global interest rate.
Oli Scarff Getty Images

Originally published on Tue July 3, 2012 10:24 am

Every day at 11 a.m., a few big banks tell the British Bankers' Association what it costs them to borrow. Out of that comes LIBOR β€” the London Interbank Offered Rate, a dull but vital interest rate that underpins trillions of dollars of transactions globally, from home mortgages and personal credit cards to major corporate lending.

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Election 2012
3:29 pm
Mon July 2, 2012

Obama's 'Clean Coal' Fighting Words To W.Va. Dems

A sign outside the Tug Valley Chamber of Commerce in Williamson, W.Va., welcomes visitors to "Hatfield McCoy Country," referring to a legendary family feud that played out in the Appalachians.
Noah Adams NPR

Originally published on Tue July 3, 2012 9:34 am

Mingo County, deep in the southwest corner of West Virginia, has sent a "protest vote" to the attention of President Obama. In the May 8 Democratic primary, voters chose a man named Keith Judd to run for president. He got 61 percent of the vote.

Judd won't be available. He's serving a 17-year sentence for extortion. From prison in Texas, he managed to file the papers, pay the fee and get on the West Virginia ballot.

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Economy
3:00 pm
Mon July 2, 2012

Factories Scaling Back Amid Economic Slide

Originally published on Mon July 2, 2012 4:35 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

In what could be a troubling sign for the U.S. economy, manufacturing activity started contracting last month. U.S. manufacturing has been a much-needed bright spot, with companies adding jobs and selling more products.

But today, as NPR's Chris Arnold tells us, we got evidence that things might be changing.

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NPR Cities: Urban Life In The 21st Century
2:25 pm
Mon July 2, 2012

Filling In New Orleans' Future, One Blank At A Time

Candy Chang, co-founder of the website Neighborland, writes on an art installation in New Orleans in April. As part of a public street art project that later became Neighborland, Chang put nametag-like stickers on empty New Orleans storefronts for residents to write ideas for improving the city.
Katie Hayes Luke for NPR

Originally published on Mon July 2, 2012 7:19 pm

New Orleans became a blank slate after Hurricane Katrina struck in 2005. And ever since, entrepreneurs have rushed in to experiment with new ideas for building and running a city.

Among them is a startup called Neighborland.com, a social media tool for sharing ideas to make your neighborhood better. After signing in to Neighborland, you can find your neighborhood and post your idea. The posts all start with "I want," and you fill in the rest.

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NPR Story
2:25 pm
Mon July 2, 2012

Tech Week Ahead: Another Nail In Kodak's Coffin

Originally published on Mon July 2, 2012 4:35 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel.

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

And I'm Melissa Block and it's time now for All Tech Considered.

(SOUNDBITE OF THEME MUSIC)

BLOCK: In this week's Look Ahead with NPR's Laura Sydell, another nail in the coffin for Kodak.

LAURA SYDELL, BYLINE: You know, I feel like you should bring on the violins for that one.

BLOCK: Cue the sad music.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

SYDELL: Today begins this very sad process. It's really the end of an era.

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Afghanistan
1:12 pm
Mon July 2, 2012

Lack Of Electricity Dims Afghan Economic Prospects

Afghanistan produces about half the power it currently uses and imports the other half from neighboring countries. But that total still doesn't meet the country's demands. This photo shows Kabul at night in January.
Jawad Jalali EPA/Landov

Originally published on Thu July 5, 2012 3:38 pm

Afghanistan desperately needs to jump-start its economy if it hopes to stand on its own after NATO's drawdown in 2014. But there's a major constraint for a country trying to build a modern economy: electricity shortages.

Afghanistan ranks among the countries with the lowest electricity production per capita in the world. Despite billions of dollars in projects over the past decade, at best one-third of the population has access to regular power.

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The Two-Way
7:37 am
Mon July 2, 2012

Word Of The Day: 'Derecho'

Where you're most likely to be in the path of a derecho, and how often.
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

Originally published on Mon July 2, 2012 4:35 pm

We learned a new word on Saturday, thanks to Korva's post about the devastating storm that has left millions without power from Ohio east through the mid-Atlantic states:

Derecho.

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Why Music Matters
3:05 pm
Sun July 1, 2012

Breaking Records To A Velvet Underground Beat

Christian Niccum and Dan Joye at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Whistler, Canada.
Shaun Botterill Getty Images

Weekends on All Things Considered continues its "Why Music Matters" series with Olympic luger Christian Niccum. Niccum says music was the key to one of his first accomplishments in the sport.

"I was 15 years old, in Berchtesgaden in Germany," he says. "It's the oldest artificial luge track in the world, and it's also the most difficult."

Daunted by the course's many sharp turns, Niccum turned to something borrowed for inspiration.

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Business
3:05 pm
Sun July 1, 2012

An Abbey's Run-In With Law On Who Can Sell Caskets

Deacon Mark Coudrain, bottom left, Rev. Charles Benoit, top left, Abbot Justin Brown, top right, and attorney Evans Schmidt carry a casket built by Benedictine monks down the steps of the U.S. federal district courthouse on Aug. 12, 2010.
Patrick Semansky AP

Originally published on Sun July 1, 2012 3:53 pm

Monks set up St. Joseph Abbey in Louisiana more than 100 years ago. They've been there so long, they have 1,100 acres and their own town, St. Benedict.

For all those years, when one of the brothers died, the monks would painstakingly craft a flawless pine casket in their woodwork shop.

Over the years, many clergy members and high-ranking church officials would request the the beautiful caskets. Soon, members of the public wanted see if they might be able to buy one.

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NPR Story
3:00 pm
Sun July 1, 2012

A New Reality For Rural Post Offices

Originally published on Sun July 1, 2012 3:05 pm

Residents of Sugar Hill, N.H., are adjusting to a big change in postal services. Their local post office is now open only half an hour a day, and it only sells stamps. It's one of thousands of rural post offices reducing its hours because of the U.S. Postal Service's financial struggles.

Music Interviews
2:30 pm
Sun July 1, 2012

Bobby Womack: 'God Must Still Have A Purpose For Me'

Bobby Womack's latest album, The Bravest Man in the Universe, came out June 12.
Jamie-James Medina Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Sun July 1, 2012 3:05 pm

"We had two shows that night," says Bobby Womack, recounting a recent concert in Houston. "It was a small theater, about 5- or 6,000 people. The second show, I was just out of it; they had to take me to the hospital."

It was a serious scare for the 68-year-old singer-songwriter β€” who has also lived through drug addiction and the deaths of two sons β€” and it didn't end that night.

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Author Interviews
2:03 pm
Sun July 1, 2012

The Complex 'Tapestry' of Michelle Obama's Ancestry

Fraser and Marian Shields Robinson raised their children, Craig and Michelle, in Chicago, but their family's ancestry can be traced back to pre-abolition Georgia.
Barack Obama Campaign

Originally published on Mon July 2, 2012 8:17 am

When Michelle Obama's great-great-great grandmother was 8 years old, her life underwent a dramatic change.

Melvinia Shields was a slave who grew up at a South Carolina estate with a relatively large community of slaves she knew well. But then she was moved to a small farm in northern Georgia where she was one of only three slaves; most white people in the area didn't own any.

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Pop Culture
12:08 pm
Sun July 1, 2012

Fans Restore Luke Skywalker's Boyhood Home

Construction Begins at the Lars Homestead
Mark Dermul

Originally published on Mon July 2, 2012 9:28 am

Mark Dermul is a serious Star Wars fan. He was just 7 years old in 1977 when the original movie hit the theaters. As soon as the huge Star Destroyer flew across the opening scene, he was hooked.

"It hasn't left me," he says. At 42, Dermul now guides tours throughout North Africa, visiting sites that were featured in the blockbuster films.

On one 2010 trip back to planet Tatooine β€” OK, Tunisia β€” he and his tour group noticed that Luke Skywalker's boyhood home was decaying. They jumped into hyperspace β€” OK, the Internet β€” to save it.

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Movies I've Seen A Million Times
10:47 am
Sun July 1, 2012

The Movie Elizabeth Banks Has 'Seen A Million Times'

John Travolta and Samuel Jackson in Quentin Tarantino's Pulp Fiction [THE KOBAL COLLECTION/MIRAMAX/BUENA VISTA].
The Kobal Collection

Originally published on Sun July 1, 2012 3:05 pm

The weekends on All Things Considered series Movies I've Seen a Million Times features filmmakers, actors, writers and directors talking about the movies that they never get tired of watching.

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Environment
3:56 pm
Sat June 30, 2012

The Trickiness Of Tracking Severe Weather

Weekends on All Things Considered guest host Laura Sullivan talks with Heidi Cullen, chief climatologist at Climate Central, a non-profit science journalism organization in Princeton, New Jersey. They discuss wildfires and extreme heat in the Midwest this week and how these climate conditions are tracked by Earth-observing satellites.

Sports
3:56 pm
Sat June 30, 2012

For Italy's Balotelli, Racism On And Off The Field

Transcript

LAURA SULLIVAN, HOST:

This past week, a star was born.

(SOUNDBITE OF CHEERING)

UNIDENTIFIED MAN #1: Oh, Balotelli. Mario's moment to shine.

SULLIVAN: That was the call on ESPN of the heroics of 21-year-old Mario Balotelli. He scored both of Italy's goals in their win over Germany in the Euro 2012 soccer tournament. The Italians now advance to the final tomorrow.

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Author Interviews
3:14 pm
Sat June 30, 2012

'Billy Lynn' A Full-Bore Tale Of Wartime Iraq

Ben Fountain sets his new novel in Texas Stadium, home of the Dallas Cowboys from 1971 to 2008.
Al Messerschmidt Getty Images

Originally published on Mon July 2, 2012 8:19 am

Billy Lynn is a 19-year-old college dropout living in the small Texas town where he grew up. After he's arrested for trashing the car of his sister's ex, he's given two choices: face jail time or enlist in the Army.

He chooses the Army. And Iraq.

Author Ben Fountain's debut novel, Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk, is the story of what happens to Lynn after he joins Bravo Company in the early years of the Iraq war.

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Around the Nation
3:13 pm
Sat June 30, 2012

Synthetic 'Bath Salts' An Evolving Problem For DEA

Use of synthetic "bath salts," compounds sold legally but used as a controlled substance, has been on the rise since 2010.
Brian Peterson Minneapolis Star Tribune

Originally published on Mon July 2, 2012 5:22 am

One night a little more than two years ago, a 24-year-old man was rushed into the emergency room at Tulane University Medical Center in Louisiana. He was extremely agitated and hallucinating.

Dr. Corey Hebert figured the man was on drugs, probably PCP or a stimulant. But a few minutes later, the man became paranoid.

"He started doing some self-mutilating actions [and] was pulling out his eyebrows and eyelashes," Hebert tells weekends on All Things Considered host Laura Sullivan.

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Analysis
3:13 pm
Sat June 30, 2012

Week In News: Rounding Up The Health Care Ruling

Originally published on Sat June 30, 2012 3:56 pm

Weekends on All Things Considered guest host Laura Sullivan talks with James Fallows, national correspondent for The Atlantic Monthly. They discuss the decision of the Supreme Court to uphold the Affordable Health Care act, Chief Justice John Roberts' role on the court and what the decision means in this election year.

Music Interviews
10:03 am
Sat June 30, 2012

Metric: A Rock Band Declares Independence

Metric's new album, its second on the band's own label, is titled Synthetica. Left to right: Joshua Winstead, Emily Haines, James Shaw, Joules Scott-Key.
Brantley Gutierrez

Originally published on Sat June 30, 2012 3:56 pm

Metric has long been identified as an indie-rock band, but it recently embraced the "indie" part of that descriptor in a big way.

For their last album together, the band's members formed their own company β€” Metric Music International β€” to distribute the record, organize a tour and handle promotion without a label's support. The result was the biggest album of Metric's career: Fantasies sold half a million copies worldwide.

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Shots - Health Blog
4:28 pm
Fri June 29, 2012

The Day After A Health Care Crescendo, Each Side Plays A Familiar Refrain

Joy Reynolds of San Diego, Calif., looks over Friday's front pages on display at the Newseum in Washington, the day after the Supreme Court ruling on President Barack Obama's health care law.
David Goldman AP

Originally published on Fri June 29, 2012 8:26 pm

On the day after the Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of President Obama's health care law, Washington returned to business as usual.

In other words, supporters of the law were busy praising its virtues, and opponents calling for its demise.

Over at Georgetown University Law Center, several health law experts got together to dissect the court's ruling and what it might mean down the line.

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Judging The Health Care Law
3:53 pm
Fri June 29, 2012

Court's Recent Rulings Shake Up Partisan Narrative

The U.S. Supreme Court justices β€” (first row, from left) Clarence Thomas, Antonin Scalia, Chief Justice John Roberts, Anthony Kennedy, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, (back row) Sonia Sotomayor, Stephen Breyer, Samuel Alito and Elena Kagan β€” pose at the Supreme Court in 2010.
Chip Somodevilla Getty Images

Originally published on Fri June 29, 2012 8:26 pm

It's a bit less likely now than a week ago that you'll hear people accuse the Supreme Court of being politicized.

That's because this week, the court ended its session with two controversial decisions β€” neither one of which was decided on the usual and predictable split between the five justices appointed by Republican presidents and the four appointed by Democrats.

But that doesn't make the court any less of a political animal.

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Politics
3:29 pm
Fri June 29, 2012

Tea Party Sees Ruling As New Rallying Cry

The Supreme Court is reflected in the sunglasses of Susan Clark on Thursday as she demonstrates against President Obama's health care law.
David Goldman AP

Originally published on Fri June 29, 2012 8:26 pm

Some of the earliest and most vocal opponents of President Obama's health care law were members of the Tea Party. In fact, health care quickly became the issue fueling the rise of the movement.

Anger over the Affordable Care Act drove the Tea Party and Republicans to big gains in the 2010 elections, but since then the movement has seen its prominence and influence wane.

Now, Tea Party activists say the Supreme Court's decision to uphold the law will reignite that original passion in time for this fall's election.

Call For Repeal Continues

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