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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Around the Nation
8:17 pm
Thu April 25, 2013

Controversy Brews Over Church's Hallucinogenic Tea Ritual

Ayahuasca brew used in South and Central America.
Nha Flickr

A small church in Santa Fe, N.M., has grown up around a unique sacrament. Twice a month, the congregation meets in a ritualized setting to drink Brazilian huasca tea, which has psychoactive properties said to produce a trance-like state.

The Supreme Court confirmed the UDV church's right to exist in 2006. The church doesn't seek new members and prefers to keep a low profile. It did, however, agree for the first time to open up to a journalist.

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Music Reviews
8:16 pm
Thu April 25, 2013

Jonny Fritz: A Country Jester Gets Personal

Jonny Fritz's third solo album, after two under the alias Jonny Corndawg, is called Dad Country.
Josh Hedley Courtesy of the artist

Dad Country is the ersatz debut of Jonny Fritz, but it's actually his third album: He recorded the first two under the name Jonny Corndawg. I enjoyed his 2011 album Down on the Bikini Line, but it's so much slighter, so much sillier and more risqué, that at first I didn't connect the two. From the new album's first seconds, Jonny Fritz sounds more intense and pained.

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Middle East
8:16 pm
Thu April 25, 2013

White House Undecided On Action For Syria Crossing 'Red Line'

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

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

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

And I'm Audie Cornish. Has the so-called red line been crossed in Syria? Today, the Obama administration said it believes the Syrian regime has used chemical weapons and, as President Obama has said in the past, that is a red line that would trigger serious consequences. But as NPR's Mara Liasson reports, the administration says it still has to evaluate the evidence and decide what actions to take.

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Business
6:58 pm
Thu April 25, 2013

Regulators Warn Banks On Direct-Deposit Loans

Regulators are warning some of the nation's largest banks to stop offering loans that are hard to distinguish from those given out by storefront payday lenders.
CX Matiash AP

Originally published on Thu April 25, 2013 8:16 pm

Consumer advocates call them "debt" traps. The banks that offer them call them direct-deposit advances and describe them as available funds for short-term emergencies.

But the cash advances have many of the negative characteristics of payday loans. And on Thursday, U.S. bank regulators took a step toward protecting consumers from the risks they pose. The regulators proposed standards for "deposit-advance products."

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Around the Nation
6:49 pm
Thu April 25, 2013

Thousands Attend Memorial For Plant Explosion Victims

Originally published on Thu April 25, 2013 8:16 pm

President Obama visited Waco, Texas, on Thursday day to take part in a memorial for those killed in the fertilizer plant explosion in West, Texas, last week.

Around the Nation
6:05 pm
Thu April 25, 2013

Making Room: Can Smaller Apartments Help New York City Grow?

Some housing experts say New York's zoning code has discouraged the building of affordable housing by requiring that all apartments be at least 400 square feet. The city is interested in finding ways to rewrite the rules.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Thu April 25, 2013 8:16 pm

New York City is notoriously crowded, and it's only getting more so. The city estimates it will have 1 million more people by the year 2030, many of them single. Where to place all these newcomers is a major challenge.

Mayor Mike Bloomberg has announced plans to put up an experimental building of micro-apartments that could be replicated throughout the city. And the Museum of the City of New York is looking at ways to make better use of the city's housing stock.

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It's All Politics
4:22 pm
Thu April 25, 2013

Max Baucus Says He Was Montana's 'Hired Hand' On Gun Vote

Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., is trailed by reporters Monday on Capitol Hill after announcing that he'll retire in 2014.
Mark Wilson Getty Images

Originally published on Thu April 25, 2013 8:16 pm

Longtime Democratic Sen. Max Baucus of Montana announced this week that he would not seek re-election next year, ending four decades in Congress and leaving as chairman of the powerful Senate Finance Committee.

NPR's Robert Siegel spoke with Baucus Thursday about his recent vote against expanded gun background checks, his role in negotiations over President Obama's health care legislation, efforts to remake tax policy, and the legions of his former staffers now populating lobbying shops.

Background Checks

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Pittsburgh Marathon
2:04 pm
Thu April 25, 2013

Officials Discuss New Security Measures, Cost Concerns for Pittsburgh Marathon

Runners participate in the 2012 Pittsburgh Marathon.
Credit delayedneutron / Flickr

In the wake of the Boston Marathon bombings, cities across the U.S., including Pittsburgh, are taking a hard look at security for marathons.

City officials said Thursday that the security plan for the Pittsburgh Marathon, scheduled for May 5, is ever-evolving. One certainty is that spectators and runners will see more uniformed officers patrolling.

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Found Recipes
1:46 pm
Thu April 25, 2013

Prepare To Get Hot And Heavy With This Chicken Recipe

Jay Bentley's technique for Cast Iron Roasted Half Chicken involves cooking a whole chicken between two very hot and heavy pans.
Courtesy of Lynn Donaldson

Originally published on Thu April 25, 2013 8:16 pm

If you've got a chicken, two cast iron skillets and are feeling strong, Jay Bentley has a recipe for you: Cast Iron Roasted Half Chicken. The Montana restaurateur and co-author of Open Range: Steaks, Chops and More From Big Sky Country shared it for All Things Considered's Found Recipe series.

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All Tech Considered
6:18 pm
Wed April 24, 2013

As Its Influence Grows, Twitter Becomes A Hacking Target

After high-profile accounts have been attacked — including AP's, NPR's and the BBC's — Twitter considers how to thwart hackers and protect users.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Thu April 25, 2013 4:57 pm

In recent weeks, the Associated Press, NPR and the BBC have all had their Twitter accounts hijacked. Hacks of high-profile accounts have real-world consequences, and the security at Twitter is coming under increased scrutiny.

As the social media platform has become an essential news and communication platform globally, it has also become a honey pot for hackers. It's so deliciously attractive, they can't seem to resist.

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Explosions At Boston Marathon
6:18 pm
Wed April 24, 2013

Investigators Trace Tamerlan Tsarnaev's Activities Abroad

Originally published on Thu April 25, 2013 4:57 pm

The investigation into the Boston Marathon bombing continues. Investigators have spoken with the parents of the suspects in Russia. Audie Cornish talks to Dina Temple-Raston about the latest developments.

Shots - Health News
6:01 pm
Wed April 24, 2013

Gut Bacteria's Belch May Play A Role In Heart Disease

More than just a tenant: Enterococcus faecalis thrives in the human intestine with a varied jumble of other bacteria that help us digest food.
National Institutes of Health

Originally published on Mon September 9, 2013 10:38 am

Scientists have discovered what may be an important new risk factor for heart disease. And here's the surprising twist: The troublesome substance seems to be a waste product left behind by bacteria in our guts as they help us digest lecithin — a substance plentiful in red meat, eggs, liver and certain other foods.

Doctors say the research further illustrates the complicated relationship we have with the microbes living inside us, and could lead to new ways to prevent heart attacks and strokes.

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Explosions At Boston Marathon
5:35 pm
Wed April 24, 2013

Boston Response Praised, But Intelligence-Sharing Questioned

First responders aid injured people at the finish line of the Boston Marathon after the bombing on April 15.
Charles Krupa AP

Originally published on Thu April 25, 2013 4:57 pm

In the days since the Boston Marathon bombings, local law enforcement officials have been given high marks for their response to the attack and the coordination among numerous federal, state and local agencies involved.

But at the same time, questions are being raised about the coordination among federal agencies handling intelligence they had about the suspects in the months before the attack.

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Code Switch
5:35 pm
Wed April 24, 2013

'Yo' Said What?

Originally published on Thu April 25, 2013 4:57 pm

The Code Switch team loves thinking, talking and hearing about language and linguistics — see our launch essay, "When Our Kids Own America," and "How Code-Switching Explains The World." So we wanted to share this report from NPR's Arts Desk that's about the use of "yo" as a gender-neutral pronoun.

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World
4:42 pm
Wed April 24, 2013

As Myanmar Reforms, Old Tensions Rise To The Surface

A Myanmarese girl carries away a tin roof in Meiktila, Myanmar. Violence between Buddhists and Muslims in March destroyed large areas of the town and left thousands of Muslims homeless.
Paula Bronstein Getty Images

Originally published on Thu April 25, 2013 4:57 pm

The town of Meiktila in central Myanmar presents a tranquil scene on a hot April day: A woman presses juice from sugar cane while customers loll around in the midday heat. The town is right in the center of the country, on a broad and arid plain where white cows graze among palm trees and pointy pagodas. It's a bustling trading post on the road between the capital, Naypyidaw, and the country's second-largest city, Mandalay.

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It's All Politics
4:37 pm
Wed April 24, 2013

How Obama's Response To Terrorism Has Shifted

President Obama makes a statement in the White House briefing room just a few hours after the bombings at the Boston Marathon on April 15.
Win McNamee Getty Images

Originally published on Thu April 25, 2013 4:57 pm

President Obama's time in office has not been defined by terrorism as President George W. Bush's was. Yet incidents like the one in Boston have been a regular, painful through line of his presidency.

When a new administration walks into the White House, nobody provides a handbook on how to respond to a terrorist attack. So the Obama administration has been on a steady learning curve.

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Shots - Health News
3:43 pm
Wed April 24, 2013

Philadelphia Case Exposes Deep Rift In Abortion Debate

Dr. Kermit Gosnell is an abortion provider who was charged with killing a patient and seven babies.
AP

Originally published on Fri April 26, 2013 12:15 pm

This is the sixth week of the trial of Dr. Kermit Gosnell, the physician charged with five counts of murder in the deaths of a woman and infants at the Philadelphia abortion clinic he owned and operated.

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The Two-Way
1:26 pm
Wed April 24, 2013

In the Golan Heights: Stray Bullets And Spring Cleaning

Israeli students snap photos of the Syrian landscape from Mount Bental in the Golan Heights, which is occupied by Israel. Israelis have even watched Syrian troop and rebel movements from here.
Emily Harris NPR

Originally published on Sun April 28, 2013 9:52 am

Spring in the Golan Heights is beautiful. The hills are light yellow-green. The scrawny arms of young cherry trees are covered with small blossoms almost all the way back to their thin trunks.

Apples, from last season, are ridiculously cheap and starting to soften, but if you put your nose close to a bagful and inhale you'll breathe their fragrance. The views are uncluttered by desert dust.

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Gas Prices
12:10 pm
Wed April 24, 2013

Western PA Gas Prices Falling, Expected to Continue Downward Trend

Gasoline prices have fallen about 8 cents this week compared to last.

The average price for a gallon of regular unleaded is $3.56 per gallon, while the national average is $3.52.

AAA East Central said there are several reasons for the price decline.

“One thing is they were very high coming into the winter season, and typically they’re lower during the winter,” said spokeswoman Bevi Powell. “We had a lot of refinery issues at that time that made the prices higher.”

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Law
7:01 pm
Tue April 23, 2013

Charges Dropped Against Man Accused Of Sending Ricin Letters

Originally published on Tue April 23, 2013 8:04 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

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

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

And I'm Audie Cornish.

Mysterious new developments in Mississippi today in the case of poisoned letters sent to President Obama, a U.S. Senator and a Mississippi judge. Federal authorities are dropping charges against a man arrested last week in connection with the case.

NPR's Debbie Elliott has an update for us. And, Debbie, to start, the initial suspect, Paul Kevin Curtis, is actually free tonight. What happened in this case?

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Around the Nation
6:07 pm
Tue April 23, 2013

Thousands Have Applied For 'Deferred Action' Program

Young people wait in line to enter the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles office on the first day of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program in August.
Frederic J. Brown AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed April 24, 2013 8:05 am

As Congress continues its debate over immigration reform, nearly a half-million young people who are in the U.S. illegally have already applied for deferred action.

The Obama administration started the policy, formally known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, last year for people who were brought into the U.S. illegally as children. Those who are approved gain the right to work or study and avoid deportation for two years.

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Law
5:27 pm
Tue April 23, 2013

Justices Say U.S. Improperly Deported Man Over Marijuana

Originally published on Tue April 23, 2013 8:04 pm

The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that a longtime legal resident of the United States was improperly deported for possession of a small amount of marijuana. By a 7-2 vote, the justices said that it defies common sense to treat an offense like this as an "aggravated felony" justifying mandatory deportation.

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Explosions At Boston Marathon
5:13 pm
Tue April 23, 2013

Clues Suggest Boston Suspects Took A Do-It-Yourself Approach

Investigators in protective suits examine material on Boylston Street in Boston on April 18, three days after the deadly bombings. The explosive devices were relatively simple to make and law enforcement officials come across them on a regular basis, officials say.
Elise Amendola AP

Originally published on Tue April 23, 2013 8:04 pm

As investigators look into the Boston Marathon bombings, one crucial question is whether the suspects, brothers Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, acted alone or had help. The clues might be found in the bombs used.

From what is now known, it appears the brothers assembled a whole arsenal of explosives. Watertown Police Chief Edward Deveau told CNN last weekend that the suspects had at least six bombs, including the two used in the attack and one thrown at police during a shootout.

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Business
4:42 pm
Tue April 23, 2013

Online Retailers Take Opposite Sides On Sales Tax Bill

Humberto Manzano Jr. moves a pallet of goods at an Amazon.com fulfillment center in Phoenix in 2010. Amazon has endorsed a bill making its way through the Senate that would require more online retailers to collect sales tax.
Ross D. Franklin AP

Originally published on Tue April 23, 2013 8:04 pm

More online retailers would have to collect sales tax under a bill making its way through the U.S. Senate this week. The measure won strong bipartisan backing on a procedural vote Monday, and President Obama has said he would sign it.

The political battle over the bill pits online retailers against brick-and-mortar stores — and, in some cases, against other online sellers.

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World
4:04 pm
Tue April 23, 2013

Routine On U.S. Racetracks, Horse Doping Is Banned In Europe

French jockey Olivier Peslier celebrates a win at Longchamps racecourse near Paris in 2012. While many drugs can legally be used on horses in U.S. racing, they are barred in Europe.
Fred Dufour AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue April 23, 2013 8:30 pm

At the famous Hippodrome de Longchamp just outside of Paris this month, crowds came to cheer and bet on the sleek thoroughbreds that opened horse racing season by galloping down the verdant turf course.

Horse racing in Europe is different from the sport in the U.S., from the shape and surface of the track to race distances and the season itself. Another big difference is doping.

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