All Things Considered

Weekdays from 4pm to 6:30pm
Robert Siegel, Melissa Block and Audie Cornish

NPR's afternoon news magazine, featuring a mix of interviews, commentaries, reviews, and offbeat features from around the world, and in and around Pittsburgh, hosted locally by Larkin Page Jacobs.

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Author Interviews
3:43 pm
Sun May 5, 2013

A Tale From The Delta, Born Of The Blues

Originally published on Sun May 5, 2013 7:20 pm

Bill Cheng's new novel, Southern Cross the Dog, is deeply rooted in the Mississippi Delta. It follows the story of one boy after he survives the Great Mississippi Flood of 1927 and spends the next few decades as a refugee, an abandoned orphan and then an itinerant laborer.

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Middle East
5:18 pm
Sat May 4, 2013

Syrian Rebel Leader: We Won't Share U.S. Arms With Extremists

Free Syrian Army fighters sit behind an anti-aircraft weapon in Aleppo, Syria, in February. The rebels say U.S.-provided weapons would help in their fight against Bashar Assad's regime.
Abdullah al-Yassin AP

Originally published on Sun May 5, 2013 11:01 am

The Obama administration says it's considering providing arms to rebels fighting to bring down Syrian President Bashar Assad if the U.S. can confirm his forces did in fact use the debilitating nerve gas sarin in recent attacks. Coupled with news that Israel reportedly launched an airstrike at a target in Syria to prevent a shipment of missiles from reaching Hezbollah, these events could represent a game changer in the conflict-ravaged nation.

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The Record
5:17 pm
Sat May 4, 2013

Big Songs, Big Hype (Oh Yeah, They're Women)

Lauren Mayberry of Chvrches performs at the South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, in March.
Adam Kissick for NPR

Originally published on Thu May 16, 2013 1:19 pm

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Around the Nation
4:52 pm
Sat May 4, 2013

Schools On Military Bases Also Fall Victim To Sequester Cuts

Originally published on Sat May 4, 2013 5:28 pm

Transcript

KELLY MCEVERS, HOST:

It's been two months since the across-the-board budget cuts known as sequestration officially went into effect. The decision on that was made here in Washington, but the effects are being felt all over the country. Take, for example, a chunk of money called impact aid.

JACK BOOGAARD: There's three different kids that can receive this type of money called impact aid.

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Sports
12:07 pm
Sat May 4, 2013

A 'Decadent And Depraved' Derby With Hunter S. Thompson

When illustrator Ralph Steadman accepted an assignment with writer Hunter S. Thompson at the Kentucky Derby, he never imagined the weekend that would ensue. Here, Steadman depicts the race's winner, a colt named Dust Commander.
Ralph Steadman

Originally published on Sat May 4, 2013 6:27 pm

In the spring of 1970, a British illustrator named Ralph Steadman had just moved to America, hoping to find some work. His first call came from a small literary journal called Scanlan's. It was looking for a cartoonist to send to the Kentucky Derby. Steadman had heard of neither the race nor the writer he was to accompany, a fellow named Hunter S. Thompson.

Steadman hadn't read any of Thompson's work, and he certainly didn't know that the writer had a bit of a drinking tendency, but he agreed to go.

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Government & Politics
6:53 am
Sat May 4, 2013

Aliquippa Officials call on State Lawmakers to Support Stricter Background Checks for Guns

The Beaver County Borough of Aliquippa of has grappled with violence for decades, though its mayor says things are getting better. In an effort to further reduce violence, Mayor Dwan Walker along with community and faith leaders called on state lawmakers Friday to support stronger background checks for gun sales.

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Three-Minute Fiction
12:13 am
Sat May 4, 2013

Three-Minute Fiction Round 11: Finders Keepers

Karen Russell's debut novel, Swamplandia! was a Pulitzer Prize finalist in 2012. Her most recent work is a collection of short stories, Vampires in the Lemon Grove.
Michael Lionstar

Originally published on Sat May 18, 2013 6:30 am

Round 11 of our Three-Minute Fiction contest begins now!

Here's how it works: We ask you to write an original short story that can be read in about three minutes, so no more than 600 words. Each round, we invite an author to throw out a challenge and help us judge the contest.

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Author Interviews
5:27 pm
Fri May 3, 2013

Advice For New Dads From A Veteran Father Of Four

Little, Brown & Company

Originally published on Fri May 3, 2013 8:28 pm

Clyde Edgerton is the author of 10 novels, but his latest book is nonfiction — a guide for dads. Papadaddy's Book for New Fathers: Advice to Dads of All Ages opens with a summary of Edgerton's own family situation:

I have a daughter, Catherine, aged 30. I have a 9-year-old son, Nathaniel, a 7-year-old son, Ridley, and a 6-year-old daughter, Truma. I'm 68. The age gap between the younger kids and me is not something I think about much, because I feel physically about like I did when I was 40 — or at least, I think I do. I think I ...

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Shots - Health News
5:18 pm
Fri May 3, 2013

From Battlefield To Boston: Marine Comforts Bombing Survivors

Marine Sgt. Maj. Damion Jacobs (left) and Marine Capt. Cam West visit with Boston emergency workers who responded to the bombings at the Boston Marathon.
Oren Dorell for USA Today

Originally published on Mon May 6, 2013 1:17 pm

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Movie Interviews
4:49 pm
Fri May 3, 2013

Riz Ahmed: Shifting Across Identities And Roles

In the new film The Reluctant Fundamentalist, the Pakistani-British actor Riz Ahmed plays Changez, a self-described "lover of America" who moves back to Pakistan to educate activists.
IFC Films

Originally published on Tue May 7, 2013 3:32 pm

The Reluctant Fundamentalist is the story of one man's struggle with identity and loyalty after 9/11.

The film's title character, Changez, is an ambitious twenty-something who seems to have it all: A Princeton degree, a Wall Street career and a beautiful girlfriend (played by Kate Hudson). But after 9/11, Changez becomes conflicted about where he belongs.

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It's All Politics
2:37 pm
Fri May 3, 2013

Democrats Have High Hopes Of Defeating Sanford In S.C.

Democrat Elizabeth Colbert Busch looks over at former Republican Gov. Mark Sanford during a debate Monday in Charleston, S.C., in the 1st Congressional District race.
Randall Hill Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Fri May 3, 2013 8:28 pm

Democrats have their best chance in more than three decades to win a South Carolina congressional seat in a special election Tuesday.

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Arts & Life
12:21 pm
Fri May 3, 2013

Hey Teenagers! We Want To Hear Your Stories

Are you the next Radio Diaries teen diarist?
M Mujdat Uzel iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Fri May 10, 2013 8:49 pm

Are you a teenager with a story to tell? NPR and Radio Diaries want to hear it. Write it down, photograph it (and record it if you want) and then submit it to the storytelling site Cowbird.

Beginning in 1996, Radio Diaries gave tape recorders to five teenagers to create audio diaries about their lives. Starting on May 6, All Things Considered will revisit these original diarists, now in their 30s, to document their lives for NPR listeners.

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Economy
5:24 pm
Thu May 2, 2013

Housing Recovery Lifts Other Sectors, Too

Chevy trucks line the lot of a dealer in Murrysville, Pa. Sales were up by double digits at Chrysler, General Motors and Ford last month.
Gene J. Puskar AP

Originally published on Thu May 2, 2013 6:00 pm

The government's employment report for April comes out Friday. It's an important measure of the economy's health and the advance signals have been mixed. One report this week showed layoffs falling to a five-year low, but another suggests disappointing jobs creation.

At least one sector is providing some positive news for the job market: housing.

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Shots - Health News
5:14 pm
Thu May 2, 2013

Women's Health Groups Angered By Morning-After Pill Moves

Soon after President Obama spoke at Planned Parenthood's national conference in Washington, D.C., last Friday, the administration alienated some women's health groups.
Nicholas Kamm AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu May 2, 2013 5:27 pm

The administration's actions this week on emergency contraception have left many women's health groups sputtering with anger.

But what really has some of the President Obama's usual allies irritated is the fact that the moves are in direct contrast to speeches he made in just the past week.

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Business
5:03 pm
Thu May 2, 2013

State Treasurer Calls for More Diversity on Corporate Boards

A recent report from global research firm GMI Ratings found the percentage of female directors in S&P 500 companies rose only one-half of a percentage point since December 2011.

Smaller companies have even lower representation on boards by women, despite reports that a diverse board is good for business.

“We have very strong data showing a correlation to having women on boards improving investment performance,” said Pennsylvania Treasurer Rob McCord. “For large-cap companies it appears to improve investment performance by more than 25 percent.”

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Movies
4:55 pm
Thu May 2, 2013

In 'Iron Man 3,' A Metalhead Gets The Blues

Window Dressing: Tony Stark's ongoing Iron Man research involves more than one suit of self-assembling armor.
Marvel

Originally published on Thu May 2, 2013 6:07 pm

Y'know, I think this bummed-out superhero thing is catching. Depressed Bat-guy, brooding Spider-dude, even the Man of Steel seems existentially troubled in previews of his most recent incarnation.

And smart-alecky Iron Man? He'd appeared inoculated by Tony Stark's reflexive snark from succumbing to a similar ailment — but even he's having anxiety attacks these days. Ever since that Avengers dust-up with those unpleasant aliens last summer, he's evidently been having trouble sleeping.

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Music Interviews
4:46 pm
Thu May 2, 2013

Natalie Maines On Motherhood, Eddie Vedder And Leaving Country Music

Mother is the solo debut of Natalie Maines, former Dixie Chicks frontwoman.
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Thu May 2, 2013 6:22 pm

Natalie Maines is a small woman with a really big voice. Flanked by Emily Robison on banjo and Martie McGuire on fiddle, Maines powered the Dixie Chicks to some 30 million records sold. And then came the collapse — after what the band calls "the incident."

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U.S.
4:35 pm
Thu May 2, 2013

Bill Would Put Immigration Verification System To The Test

Employers using the E-Verify program are required to post an E-Verify Participation Poster, shown here in a handout photo. A Senate bill would make participation in the system, used to check employees' immigration status, mandatory for all employers.
U.S. Department of Homeland Security Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Thu May 2, 2013 5:27 pm

Some employers around the nation have been using E-Verify to check the immigration status of employees for years. Operated by the Department of Homeland Security, the online system is designed to make it harder to hire unauthorized workers — and harder for those workers to find jobs.

While participation in the program has been voluntary since 1996, the immigration bill now in the Senate would make E-Verify mandatory.

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Shots - Health News
4:25 pm
Thu May 2, 2013

Colorado Weighs Reopening Psychiatric Hospital For Homeless

Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper, center, exits the Fort Lyon Correctional Facility in Las Animas, Colo., on Wednesday after touring the facility. Hickenlooper has proposed closing the facility due to budget concerns.
Andy Cross Denver Post via Getty Images

Originally published on Fri May 3, 2013 4:22 pm

Last summer's mass shooting at a movie theater in Aurora, Colo., led Gov. John Hickenlooper to call for stricter gun control and big new investments in mental health care.

Several significant gun bills passed, and a package of mental health reforms is moving forward. But there may not be enough support to win funding for 300 new inpatient psychiatric beds.

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Research News
4:22 pm
Thu May 2, 2013

Of Flybots And Bug Eyes: Insects Inspire Inventors

These robotic flies, which were built in a Harvard lab, can flap their wings independently of each other and fly around while tethered to a power and control wire.
Kevin Ma, Pakpong Chirarattananon AAAS/Science

Originally published on Thu May 2, 2013 5:49 pm

A smartphone can tell you where to get a cup of coffee, but it can't go get the coffee for you. Engineers would like to build little machines that can do stuff. They would be useful for a lot more than coffee, if we could figure out how to make them work.

But the rules of mechanics change at small scales. Friction becomes dominant; turbulence can upend a small airplane.

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Middle East
4:22 pm
Thu May 2, 2013

Sea Of Syrian Refugees Threatens To Overload Jordan

There are more than 100,000 Syrian refugees at the Zaatari refugee camp in Mafraq, Jordan, near the Syrian border.
Mohammad Hannon AP

Originally published on Thu May 2, 2013 9:23 pm

Jordan's fastest-growing city lies in the middle of the desert, where the sand is so white that from a distance it looks like snow. There's little running water and not much electricity.

The name of this place? The Zaatari refugee camp, home to more than 100,000 Syrian refugees.

"This is a city — not one that anybody would want to create if they had a choice," says Caroline Gluck of Oxfam, one of the aid agencies working in the Zaatari camp. "It's certainly not urban planning at its best."

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Found Recipes
3:32 pm
Thu May 2, 2013

This Little Piggy Cookie Is A Sweet Mexican Find

A few years ago, Pati Jinich had never heard of Piggy Cookies. But after numerous recipe requests and a chance encounter with the treats in her home country, they've become a family favorite.
Courtesy of Penny De Los Santos

Originally published on Thu May 2, 2013 6:22 pm

Mexican Piggy Cookies are known by many names — cerditos, cochinitos, marranitos or puerquitos. Sweetened with unprocessed cane sugar and honey, and spiced with cinnamon, the cutout cookies puff when you bake them.

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Allegheny County
2:49 pm
Thu May 2, 2013

Debt a Major Issue in Allegheny County, Controller Says

Allegheny County Controller Chelsa Wagner outlines findings of the 2012 Comprehensive Financial Report for the county.
Credit Deanna Garcia / 90.5/WESA

Allegheny County Controller Chelsa Wagner said Thursday one of the most concerning issues facing the county is the amount of money going toward debt services.

In 2012, the county’s debt load increased $90 million, according to the Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR). Total annual debt service payments have increased to $62.6 million.

“Of this $62.6 million, we are now paying more on the interest than on the principal,” Wagner said.

The debt service for the county poses a challenge to providing services and investments for communities.

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Africa
2:09 pm
Thu May 2, 2013

With Robocalls, Eritrean Exiles Organize Passive Resistance

Eritrea's President Isaias Afwerki, shown on a visit to Libya in 2010, has been widely criticized by human rights groups. Eritrean exiles have organized passive protests, calling on people to stay home Friday.
Geert Vanden Wijngaert AP

Originally published on Thu May 2, 2013 5:27 pm

Tucked in the northeast corner of Africa, Eritrea is one of the most closed societies in the world, so much so that it's sometimes dubbed the "North Korea of Africa."

President Isaias Afwerki does not tolerate any independent media. The Internet is restricted. Reporters without Borders recently named it 179th out of 179 countries for freedom of expression.

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The Salt
6:40 pm
Wed May 1, 2013

Bones Tell Tale Of Desperation Among The Starving At Jamestown

The four cuts at the top of this skull "are clear chops to the forehead," says Smithsonian forensic anthropologist Douglas Owsley. Based on forensic evidence, researchers think the blows were made after the person died.
Donald E. Hurlbert Smithsonian

Originally published on Wed May 1, 2013 7:48 pm

"First they ate their horses, and then fed upon their dogs and cats, as well as rats, mice and snakes."

So says James Horn of the historical group Colonial Williamsburg, paraphrasing an account by colony leader George Percy of what conditions were like for the hundreds of men and women stranded in Jamestown, Va., with little food in the dead of winter in 1609.

They even ate their shoes. And, apparently, at least one person.

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