All Things Considered

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The Salt
3:00 pm
Mon March 25, 2013

Forget Fish Fridays: In Louisiana, Gator Is On The Lenten Menu

Tastes like chicken, but it's OK for Lent: Fried alligator, as served at New Orleans' Cochon restaurant.
Chris Granger Courtesy of Cochon

Originally published on Wed March 27, 2013 3:59 pm

Is it OK to eat alligator on Fridays during Lent? That question isn't just rhetorical in Louisiana, which has large populations of both Catholics and gators.

"Alligator's such a natural for New Orleans," says Jay Nix, owner of Parkway Bakery, which serves a mean alligator sausage po boy sandwich. "Alligator gumbo, jambalaya. I mean, it's a wonder that alligator isn't our mascot, you know?"

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Same-Sex Marriage And The Supreme Court
2:18 pm
Mon March 25, 2013

How Ellen DeGeneres Helped Change The Conversation About Gays

Ellen DeGeneres during a taping of The Ellen DeGeneres Show in 2011 in Burbank, Calif.
Michael Rozman/Warner Bros. AP

Originally published on Wed March 27, 2013 3:59 pm

In 2008, during the brief window when it was legal for same-sex couples to get married in California, perhaps no couple drew more attention than Ellen DeGeneres and Portia de Rossi.

After their wedding, photos of the couple were everywhere; DeGeneres, beaming, in a white suit and holding hands with de Rossi, the very picture of the princess bride so many young girls dream of being one day. It was a cultural touchstone, and Dietram Scheufele, a communications professor at the University of Wisconsin, says it was neither the first nor the last time DeGeneres has played that role.

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Author Interviews
1:30 pm
Mon March 25, 2013

In A World That's Always On, We Are Trapped In The 'Present'

Erikona iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Wed March 27, 2013 3:59 pm

By now, you've probably heard people call themselves "slaves" to their phones or their computers. We all know what that means — but why are we allowing ourselves to be slaves to the very instruments of technology we've created?

Douglas Rushkoff, who spends his days thinking, writing and teaching about media culture, says it's time for people to stop chasing every ping and start using technology in a way that makes us feel more free. Rushkoff's latest work is called Present Shock: When Everything Happens Now. He joined NPR's Audie Cornish to talk about the book.

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Africa
12:44 pm
Mon March 25, 2013

Islamists Say They Are Filling Vacuum Left By Egyptian State

Egyptian men and boys pray at a mosque in Assiut, southern Egypt, that serves as the headquarters for Gamaa al-Islamiya, a group that once waged a bloody insurgency, attacking police and Christians in a campaign to create an Islamic state. Now the Islamist group says it's determined to ensure law and order in the area.
Nariman El-Mofty AP

Originally published on Wed March 27, 2013 3:59 pm

In the lush Nile Valley city of Assiut, the police went on strike earlier this month, along with thousands of other cops across the country. They demanded the ouster of the minister of interior, and more guns and equipment to deal with anti-government protests.

A group of hard-line Islamists then stunned the city, which is south of Cairo, by promising to handle security during the strike. The next day, the policemen were back at work.

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National Security
9:02 am
Mon March 25, 2013

As Qualified Men Dwindle, Military Looks For A Few Good Women

Army recruits perform exercises as part of a demonstration for tourists in front of the military-recruiting station in New York's Times Square.
Mark Lennihan AP

Originally published on Wed March 27, 2013 3:59 pm

When the Pentagon said earlier this year that it would open ground combat jobs to women, it was cast in terms of giving women equal opportunities in the workplace — the military workplace.

But the move has practical considerations, too. The military needs qualified people to fill its ranks, and it's increasingly harder to find them among men.

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Same-Sex Marriage And The Supreme Court
3:27 pm
Sun March 24, 2013

Millennials And Same-Sex Marriage: A Waning Divide

Marriage equality supporters take part in a march and rally ahead of U.S. Supreme Court arguments on legalizing same-sex marriage in New York on Sunday.
Emmanuel Dunand AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Sun March 24, 2013 5:07 pm

The U.S. Supreme Court hears two important cases this week on the on same-sex marriage, an issue that a new poll says young Americans support in ever larger numbers.

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Author Interviews
3:01 pm
Sun March 24, 2013

For Toms River, An Imperfect Salvation

Mel Evans AP

Originally published on Mon March 25, 2013 12:03 pm

In 1953, the Swiss chemical company Ciba came to Toms River, N.J. By all accounts, the community was delighted to have it. The chemical plant for manufacturing textile dye brought jobs and tax revenue to the small town on the Jersey shore. The company invested in the town's hospital and donated land for a golf course.

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Movies I've Seen A Million Times
3:01 pm
Sun March 24, 2013

The Movie Chris O'Dowd Has 'Seen A Million Times'

Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Grey in a scene from the 1987 movie Dirty Dancing.
Archive Photos Getty Images

Originally published on Mon March 25, 2013 7:41 am

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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Deceptive Cadence
7:27 am
Sun March 24, 2013

Merritt And Dinnerstein, A Musical Odd Couple, On Bridging Their Worlds

Classical pianist Simone Dinnerstein (left) and singer-songwriter Tift Merrit collaborate on the new album Night.
Lisa Marie Mazzucco Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Tue March 26, 2013 10:35 am

What happens when two very talented women — one, a rising alt-country star; the other, one of classical music's great new talents — meet one another? In the case of singer Tift Merritt and pianist Simone Dinnerstein, a friendship ensues.

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Buried In Grain
10:03 pm
Sat March 23, 2013

Fines Slashed In Grain Bin Entrapment Deaths

Friends and classmates of Wyatt Whitebread, Alex Pacas and Will Piper watch as rescuers work to free the boys from the bin (center) full of thousands of bushels of corn. Only Piper survived.
Alex T. Paschal AP

Originally published on Wed March 27, 2013 3:58 pm

The night before he died, Wyatt Whitebread couldn't stand the thought of going back to the grain bins on the edge of Mount Carroll, Ill.

The mischievous and popular 14-year-old had been excited about his first real job, he told Lisa Jones, the mother of some of his closest friends, as she drove him home from a night out for pizza. But nearly two weeks later he told her he was tired of being sent into massive storage bins clogged with corn.

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Author Interviews
3:04 pm
Sat March 23, 2013

Integrated Baseball, A Decade Before Jackie Robinson

Hake's Americana & Collectibles/Atlantic Monthly Press

Originally published on Wed March 27, 2013 3:05 pm

In 1947, Jackie Robinson famously broke the color line in baseball when he joined the Brooklyn Dodgers, ending racial segregation in the major leagues.

That moment was a landmark for racial integration in baseball, but there's another moment few may be aware of, and it happened more than a decade before Robinson, in Bismarck, N.D.

Tom Dunkel writes about this Bismarck team in his new book, Color Blind: The Forgotten Team That Broke Baseball's Color Line.

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U.S.
3:02 pm
Sat March 23, 2013

Can Detroit Return To Its Former Glory?

The population of Detroit has dwindled, and now there aren't enough taxpayers to pick up the tab for essential city services.
Paul Sancya AP

Originally published on Sat March 23, 2013 5:07 pm

The newly appointed emergency financial manager of Detroit begins the Herculean task Monday of turning the once bustling capital of the car business back from the brink of bankruptcy.

Though Detroit still has its cultural centers, architectural gems, funky restaurants and packed sporting events downtown, the city has suffered an urban blight that has slowly eaten away at its neighborhoods.

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Same-Sex Marriage And The Supreme Court
12:36 pm
Sat March 23, 2013

How Vermont's 'Civil' War Fueled The Gay Marriage Movement

Demonstrators protest outside the Statehouse in Montpelier, Vt., in April 2000, the month the nation's first law recognizing same-sex civil unions was signed by the governor.
Toby Talbot AP

Originally published on Wed March 27, 2013 7:55 pm

It wasn't so long ago that a handful of Vermont legislators in a shabby Statehouse committee room struggled over what to call their proposal to give marriage-like rights to the state's gay and lesbian residents.

Democrat Howard Dean, governor at the time, had already made clear he'd veto any legislation labeled "marriage." Suggestions like "domestic partner relationship" were too clunky; "civil accord," they decided, evoked a car model.

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Sports
12:24 pm
Sat March 23, 2013

March Madness: Good For Fans, Bad For Business

Pittsburgh fans try to distract Wichita State's Ron Baker as he shoots a free throw during a second-round game in the NCAA college basketball tournament in Salt Lake City on Thursday. The distractions of the tournament are so great that worker productivity suffers.
George Frey AP

Originally published on Sat March 23, 2013 4:34 pm

March Madness is here. Even President Obama has filled out a NCAA Division I men's college basketball tournament bracket. His pick to win it all was Indiana University.

The bracket frenzy is unbelievable, says Deborah Stroman, who teaches sports administration at the University of North Carolina.

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Same-Sex Marriage And The Supreme Court
4:20 pm
Fri March 22, 2013

As Support For Gay Marriage Grows, An Opponent Looks Ahead

Maggie Gallagher has been an outspoken opponent of gay marriage for the past decade. She debated the issue at Saddleback College this month with John Corvino (right), a gay-marriage proponent who is also a personal friend.
The Lariat Robert Cody Shoemake

Originally published on Thu March 28, 2013 5:17 pm

As the U.S. Supreme Court prepares to weigh in on gay marriage, Maggie Gallagher, one of the nation's leading voices in opposition to same-sex marriage, is also preparing for what might come next.

Gallagher, co-founder of the National Organization for Marriage, likes to call herself an "accidental activist." After graduating from Yale in 1982, she thought she'd become a writer and focus on what she called "important things," like money and war. She never fathomed she'd end up on TV almost daily, smack in the middle of the war zone over gay marriage.

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Politics
3:34 pm
Fri March 22, 2013

From Leadership Posts, Women Said To Be Changing Senate Tone

Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., speaks at a field hearing of the Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee, in Tacoma, Wash., last year.
Ted S. Warren AP

Originally published on Thu March 28, 2013 5:17 pm

A lot of fanfare followed last November's election, when the number of women in the U.S. Senate surged to 20 — more than ever before.

But quieter victories came after. Female senators now claim an unprecedented number of leadership positions, and for the first time in history, women are at the helm of both the Appropriations and Budget committees — as well as half of the Armed Services subcommittees.

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It's All Politics
3:32 pm
Fri March 22, 2013

Republicans Launch Mission To Turn Up Their Digital Game

Tweets from GOP supporters scroll along the side of a large-screen display at the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla., on Aug. 28, 2012.
Chip Somodevilla Getty Images

Originally published on Thu March 28, 2013 5:17 pm

The Republican and Democratic parties have been in a digital arms race for years. And this week, Republicans frankly admitted that they are losing.

Now, the GOP has ambitious plans to improve its game.

Monday's report from the Republican National Committee puts it bluntly: "Republicans must catch up on how we utilize technology in our campaigns. The Obama team is several years ahead of everyone else in its technological advantage."

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NPR Story
2:41 pm
Fri March 22, 2013

Letters: Reaction To Gun Series

Originally published on Thu March 28, 2013 5:17 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

Our Series this week on guns in America have sent many of you to your keyboards. And every day, a new batch of stories sparked conversation and some heated debate at our website. Some listeners complained that our coverage was pro gun control, some that it was pro National Rifle Association.

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

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NPR Story
2:41 pm
Fri March 22, 2013

State Laws Govern Gun Purchases Differently Across The Country

Originally published on Thu March 28, 2013 5:17 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

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Author Interviews
1:10 pm
Fri March 22, 2013

With Humor And Sorrow, 'Life After Life' Explores Death

Elderly and young person holding hands
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Thu March 28, 2013 5:17 pm

A woman who moves from Boston to be near the grave of her lover; the widow of a judge who keeps a scrapbook of murder and crime; an 85-year-old who has always seen the sunnier side of life; an old man feigning dementia. In the fictional Pine Haven retirement center, together and separately, these characters face the ends of their lives. They're the stars of Jill McCorkle's new novel, Life After Life, which balances humor and sorrow as it explores the moment of death.

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It's All Politics
4:32 pm
Thu March 21, 2013

NRA-Driven Gun Provisions Pass Along With Spending Bill

Customers shop for guns at Freddie Bear Sports sporting goods store in Tinley Park, Ill., in January. One of the gun provisions in the spending bill prevents the Justice Department from requiring gun dealers to conduct an inventory to see if guns are lost or stolen.
Scott Olson Getty Images

The House voted overwhelmingly Thursday to approve a temporary measure to keep the government funded through the end of September. Government shutdown averted.

But it turns out the continuing resolution didn't just address spending. It contains six measures that limit how federal agencies deal with guns.

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Middle East
4:21 pm
Thu March 21, 2013

Face To Face With Death In Iraq

Residents visit the tomb of a loved one at the New Kerbala cemetery in the holy city of Kerbala, Iraq, in 2007.
Mushtaq Muhammad Reuters /Landov

On the 10th anniversary of the U.S. invasion of Iraq, NPR is catching up with some of the people we encountered during the war. In 2006, at the height of the violence, we brought you the story of a woman who performed the Muslim ritual of washing and preparing the dead for burial. Kelly McEvers has this update on Um Abbas, who is now living in southern Iraq.

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Guns In America: A Loaded Relationship
4:00 pm
Thu March 21, 2013

On Gun Ownership And Policy, 'A Country Of Chasms'

Gun enthusiast Paul Gwaltney at Blue Ridge Arsenal, in Chantilly, Va. Gwaltney, an NPR listener, agreed to host a discussion about guns with friends and colleagues.
Becky Lettenberger NPR

Originally published on Thu March 21, 2013 5:55 pm

The ideological gulf between gun owners and non-gun owners is a wide one — made all the more obvious by the ongoing debate over what, if any, gun control measures should be adopted in the U.S.

Sometimes, the debate feels like people are coming from different worlds, even for people within the same family. And while Americans are often willing to discuss their own views, it's rarer to hear conversations between people who own and love guns and those who do not.

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Law
3:01 pm
Thu March 21, 2013

At 'Stop-And-Frisk' Trial, Cops Describe Quota-Driven NYPD

Adhyl Polanco, an eight-year police veteran (shown with lawyer Jonathan Moore, right), testified that if certain quotas were not met, an officer could be denied days off and overtime, and be given a poor evaluation.
Margot Adler NPR

Originally published on Thu March 21, 2013 4:00 pm

Police officers testifying at a federal trial challenging New York City's stop-and-frisk policy say they were ordered to increase their number of arrests, summons and 250s — the code for stop, question and frisk.

Some 5 million street stops of mostly black and Latino men have taken place in the city in the last decade.

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Shots - Health News
2:59 pm
Thu March 21, 2013

Colorado Doctors Treating Gunshot Victims Differ On Gun Politics

Chris Colwell, director of emergency medicine at Denver Health, has treated victims from two of the deadliest mass shootings in the U.S. He says he's deeply disturbed by how easy it is to get guns.
Barry Gutierrez for NPR

Originally published on Fri March 22, 2013 1:29 pm

In Colorado, more people die from gunshots than car crashes. And that has a profound effect on the people on the front lines who treat gunshot victims.

Chris Colwell is an emergency room doctor in Denver, and says he sees gun violence victims on a weekly basis. When those cases are fatal, they are hard for him to forget.

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It's All Politics
3:00 pm
Wed March 20, 2013

Administration Still Fighting For Assault Weapons Ban, Biden Says

Vice President Biden at a December 2012 meeting of police chiefs on gun control, held in Washington, D.C.
Carolyn Kaster AP

Originally published on Thu March 21, 2013 10:00 am

Vice President Joe Biden told All Things Considered co-host Melissa Block in an interview Wednesday that he and the Obama administration plan to continue to fight for a ban on assault weapons to be included in a larger bill in Congress.

That despite signs that such a ban doesn't have enough support, even from members of Biden's own party, to make it through the Democratic-controlled Senate.

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All Tech Considered
2:46 pm
Wed March 20, 2013

Yes, Your New Car Has A 'Black Box.' Where's The Off Switch?

Detective Dave Wells plugs his laptop into a car's event data recorder. A large portion of new cars are equipped with the device, and the government is considering making them mandatory in all vehicles. But some say there should be an "off" option.
Martin Kaste NPR

Originally published on Wed March 20, 2013 4:43 pm

If you're a vehicle owner and happen to have a car accident in the near future (we hope you don't), it's likely the crash details will be recorded. Automotive "black boxes" are now built into more than 90 percent of new cars, and the government is considering making them mandatory.

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Music Reviews
2:15 pm
Wed March 20, 2013

Kacey Musgraves: A Millennial Musician Reframes Country

Kacey Musgraves' major-label debut is titled Same Trailer Different Park.
Kelly Christine Musgraves Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Thu March 21, 2013 3:48 pm

Country singers generally romanticize small-town life. But in her hit single, "Merry Go 'Round," from her major-label debut Same Trailer Different Park, Kacey Musgraves does nothing of the sort. It's a remarkable song, but it actually pales alongside others on her great new album.

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Shots - Health News
1:19 pm
Wed March 20, 2013

How A Patient's Suicide Changed A Doctor's Approach To Guns

Dr. Frank Dumont at his clinic in Estes Park, Colo.
Barry Gutierrez for NPR

Originally published on Fri March 22, 2013 7:11 am

Dr. Frank Dumont knew one of his favorite patients was getting depressed.

When Dumont first started seeing him in his family practice, the man was in his 70s. He was active and fit; he enjoyed hiking into his 80s. But then things started to change.

"He started complaining of his memory starting to slip," Dumont says. The man would forget where he had placed objects, and he'd struggle to remember simple words and phrases.

Dumont prescribed antidepressants and saw him every eight weeks or so.

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Business
4:21 pm
Tue March 19, 2013

Odd Political Bedfellows Agree: Banks Still Too Big To Fail

Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., questions Federal Reserve Board Chairman Ben Bernanke during a Senate hearing last month. Senators from both ends of the political spectrum argue that financial reforms are insufficient to protect taxpayers from potential risks posed by large banks.
Gary Cameron Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Tue March 19, 2013 5:51 pm

Amid Washington's dysfunction, one issue has united some liberal Democrats and conservative Republicans: a common concern that "too big to fail" is alive and well.

Despite the Dodd-Frank financial reforms, these lawmakers believe the nation's largest banks still pose a threat to the economy and that the government will step in to bail them out if they get in trouble.

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