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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Book Reviews
4:38 pm
Sat July 20, 2013

You'll Want To Hang Up On These 'Secret Conversations'

Originally published on Sat July 20, 2013 5:34 pm

A country girl from Grabtown, N.C., Ava Gardner arrived in Hollywood in 1941 knowing she couldn't act but, gorgeous as she was, she never had to let that slow her down. Her beauty — which reportedly intimidated Elizabeth Taylor — won her not just film roles and studio-paid acting lessons, but the attentions of all-American boy Mickey Rooney, whom she married and divorced before she turned 21. She had a similarly brief union with bandleader Artie Shaw — she called those two her "starter husbands" — before a tempestuous, headline-making marriage to Frank Sinatra.

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The Record
12:03 pm
Sat July 20, 2013

Thundercat On Making Music Outside The Lines

Stephen "Thundercat" Bruner
B+ Courtesy of Motormouth Media

Originally published on Mon February 24, 2014 7:41 pm

Session musician Stephen Bruner has played bass in other people's bands for more than a decade. He can play metal, R&B, hip-hop, jazz. And he's been folding all that into his own music, which he puts out under the name Thundercat.

Now, with his second album, he's stepping to the front of the stage.

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Shots - Health News
6:44 am
Sat July 20, 2013

Polio Eradication Suffers A Setback As Somali Outbreak Worsens

A Yemeni child receives a polio vaccine in the capital city of Sanaa. The Yemen government launched an immunization campaign last month in response to the polio outbreak in neighboring Somalia.
Mohammed Huwais AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon July 22, 2013 9:02 pm

Somalia hadn't had a case of polio for nearly six years. But in the past few months, the virus has come back. Now the East African country has the worst polio outbreak anywhere in the world.

Twenty new cases of polio were reported this week in Somalia by the Global Polio Eradication Initiative. That brings the total number of cases in the Horn of Africa to 73. The rest of the world combined has tallied only 59 cases so far this year.

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Law
6:40 pm
Fri July 19, 2013

Florida Governor Stands Firm On 'Stand Your Ground' Law

Florida Gov. Rick Scott speaks to protesters Thursday in the Capitol in Tallahassee. Scott told the protesters that he won't ask lawmakers to revamp the state's controversial self-defense law.
Phil Sears AP

Originally published on Fri July 19, 2013 8:30 pm

In the days after a Florida jury acquitted George Zimmerman in the killing of teenager Trayvon Martin, protesters camped out at Gov. Rick Scott's office in Tallahassee, calling for a meeting.

When Scott met with protesters on Thursday, one of the group's leaders, Philip Agnew, asked the governor to convene a special session of the Legislature to look at repealing the state's stand your ground law.

"It is the time for leadership," Agnew said. "The world is watching. Most definitely, the nation is watching. And you have the opportunity to stand tall above the rest."

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The Two-Way
5:14 pm
Fri July 19, 2013

How President Obama 'Showed His Brother Card'

President Obama during his appearance at the White House on Friday.
Saul Loeb AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri July 19, 2013 8:25 pm

(Click here for updates we added after this post was published.)

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Business
4:58 pm
Fri July 19, 2013

New Smartphone Upgrade Plans Can Be Costly In The Long Run

Nearly 60 percent of Americans have smartphones, up from just 8 percent five years ago.
Justin Sullivan Getty Images

Originally published on Fri July 19, 2013 6:12 pm

Three of the four major wireless companies are out with new plans for those who want the latest smartphone sooner. The plans, with names like Verizon Edge and AT&T Next, essentially let you rent a phone for six months or a year and then trade it in for a new one — but there's a catch.

"You're paying essentially twice," says Avi Greengart, who is research director for consumer devices at Current Analysis and does some consulting for the industry.

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Movie Interviews
4:56 pm
Fri July 19, 2013

Kristen Wiig: That Loud, Strange Lady Isn't Me

Kristen Wiig (with Darren Criss) stars in Girl Most Likely as a hard-luck case who learns how to reboot her disastrous life after she's forced to move back in with her mom.
Nicole Rivelli Roadside Attractions

Originally published on Fri July 19, 2013 6:12 pm

For seven seasons on Saturday Night Live, actress Kristen Wiig made us laugh — laugh hard — with her off-the-wall, over-the-top characters, from Sue, the woman who loved surprises a little too much, to the unnervingly exuberant Target Lady.

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Music News
4:14 pm
Fri July 19, 2013

A Secret Folk Music Holds Firm In China's Badlands

Zhang Junmin (second from right) and his band perform the Lao Qiang music special in northwest China's Shaanxi province. The character behind the stage means "drama"; Lao Qiang music used to accompany puppet plays and includes a strong storytelling component.
Courtesy of Wang Kuanren

Originally published on Fri July 19, 2013 6:12 pm

When Guns N' Roses released the album Chinese Democracy five years ago, a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman commented that, questions of politics aside, the GNR sound just wasn't most Chinese folks' cup of tea.

"According to my knowledge," he said, "a lot of people don't like this kind of music because it's too noisy and too loud."

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Around the Nation
4:14 pm
Fri July 19, 2013

Hot In The City: Manhattan Neighborhood Takes To Streets

Originally published on Tue January 21, 2014 11:30 am

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

If you looked at a weather map today, you saw a whole lot of red. Temperatures are in the upper 90s across the country and states in New England and the mid-Atlantic are sweltering in record-high temperatures. In New York City, parks are keeping public fountains running a little longer and gates opened a little later. Sarah Gonzales of member station WNYC spent an evening in the Inwood neighborhood on the northern tip of Manhattan to see how residents are coping.

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Arts & Life
4:14 pm
Fri July 19, 2013

What 'Edward Snowden' The Movie Would Look Like

Originally published on Fri July 19, 2013 6:12 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

Of course, there is another American who worked for this country's intelligence gathering apparatus who's in legal limbo. The case of Edward Snowden, the former government contractor who leaked classified information to the media, is being followed internationally. Currently, Snowden is holed up in a Moscow airport while he tries to get temporary asylum, as he figures out a way to get to one of several countries that have offered him shelter from U.S. charges of espionage.

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Parallels
3:06 pm
Fri July 19, 2013

Brazil's Highflying VIPs Face Backlash Over Air Travel

A helicopter carries VIPs to the Brazilian Grand Prix in Sao Paulo in 2010. Politicians taking expensive helicopters and government planes have generated controversy in Brazil.
Jefferson Bernardes AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri July 19, 2013 7:57 pm

Unlike New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who often takes the subway to work, some prominent politicians in Brazil have a far more impressive way of getting around: private helicopters and government planes.

Perhaps the most over-the-top example of the trend is that of Rio de Janeiro state Gov. Sergio Cabral. A recent magazine expose showed that his commute to work is only about 6 miles.

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Arts & Life
6:37 pm
Thu July 18, 2013

Civil War's First African-American Infantry Remembered In Bronze

Boston's Shaw Memorial sits at the corner of Beacon and Park Streets.
Andrea Shea WBUR

The Shaw Memorial, by American sculptor Augustus Saint-Gaudens, stands 11 feet by 14 feet, like a giant bronze diorama, on the corner of Boston Common. In it, 40 or so black soldiers march to war alongside their white colonel, Robert Gould Shaw, on horseback.

The statue memorializes the first African-American volunteer infantry unit of the Civil War, the 54th Massachusetts Regiment, which was crushed 150 years ago Thursday in a battle at Fort Wagner in South Carolina.

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The Two-Way
5:07 pm
Thu July 18, 2013

Detroit Files For Bankruptcy

Bill Pugliano Getty Images

Originally published on Fri July 19, 2013 4:32 am

(This story last updated at 6:45 p.m. ET)

The city of Detroit has filed the largest municipal bankruptcy in U.S. history, seeking Chapter 9 protection from creditors and unions owed some $18.5 billion in debt and liabilities.

In a news conference on Thursday, Detroit Mayor Dave Bing said he didn't want to go into bankruptcy, but the city will now "have to make the best of it."

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Around the Nation
5:07 pm
Thu July 18, 2013

South Boston Transformed In Whitey Bulger's Absence

Four decades after James "Whitey" Bulger first rose to power, "Southie" is not what it used to be. The once blue-collar, Irish-Catholic neighborhood is now an ethnic melting pot that has been invaded by young urban professionals who have gentrified the area and smoothed out its once-rough edges.
Michael Dwyer AP

Originally published on Thu July 18, 2013 6:31 pm

When the FBI brought reputed mob boss James "Whitey" Bulger back to his old stomping ground of South Boston to be tried in federal court after 16 years on the lam, he must have done a double take. The neighborhood that Bulger is accused of terrorizing with murders and extortion is booming.

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Environment
5:07 pm
Thu July 18, 2013

Wildfires Will Worsen, And Further Strain The Forest Service

An aircraft lays down a line of fire retardant between a wildfire and homes in the dry, densely wooded Black Forest area northeast of Colorado Springs, Colo., on June 13.
John Wark AP

Originally published on Thu July 18, 2013 11:13 pm

The deaths of 19 firefighters near Yarnell, Ariz., this summer have focused a lot of attention on just how bad wildfire has become in the West. And research predicts the situation is going to get worse.

Over the past decade, the region has seen some of the worst fire seasons on record. In addition to lives lost, the fires have cost billions in terms of lost property and in taxpayer money spent fighting the blazes.

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NPR Story
4:12 pm
Thu July 18, 2013

Furloughs Cut Into Classtime At U.S. Military Bases

Originally published on Thu July 18, 2013 6:31 pm

Civilian furloughs have begun at U.S. military installations worldwide. The mandatory days off without pay, prompted by the current round of budget cuts known as sequestration, are looming over Defense Department-run schools that serve the children of military families. For teachers at the nation's most populous Army base, Fort Bragg, cuts mean no new textbooks and a loss of school days.

NPR Story
4:12 pm
Thu July 18, 2013

Carbon Tax Gaining Popularity, But Not With Lawmakers

Originally published on Thu July 18, 2013 6:31 pm

The idea of taxing carbon emissions to curb climate change has been gaining surprisingly diverse and bipartisan support over the past year. Everywhere, that is, except Congress.

Shots - Health News
3:37 pm
Thu July 18, 2013

World's Biggest Virus May Have Ancient Roots

Pandoraviruses were discovered lurking in the mud of Chile and Australia, half a world apart.
courtesy of Chantal Abergel and Jean-Michel Claverie

Originally published on Sat July 20, 2013 6:14 am

Researchers have discovered the largest virus ever, and they've given it a terrifying name: Pandoravirus.

In mythology, opening Pandora's Box released evil into the world. But there's no need to panic. This new family of virus lives underwater and doesn't pose a major threat to human health.

"This is not going to cause any kind of widespread and acute illness or epidemic or anything," says Eugene Koonin, an evolutionary biologist at the National Institutes of Health who specializes in viruses.

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The Two-Way
3:03 pm
Thu July 18, 2013

Man Who Hoped To Testify Against Whitey Bulger Is Found Dead

Stephen Rakes as he arrived at the U.S. Federal Courthouse in Boston on June 12 for the first day of the "Whitey" Bulger's trial.
Brian Snyder Reuters /Landov

Originally published on Thu July 18, 2013 6:31 pm

Stephen "Stippo" Rakes, who claimed that notorious Boston gangster James "Whitey" Bulger forced him — at gunpoint — to sell a liquor store in 1984, was found dead Wednesday in Lincoln, Mass.

According to the Middlesex (Mass.) District Attorney's office, "there were no obvious signs of trauma. The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner is conducting an autopsy to determine the cause and manner of death."

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The Two-Way
6:24 pm
Wed July 17, 2013

EPA Building Named For Bill Clinton; He Says That's Fitting

Former President Bill Clinton hugs House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of California as another Democrat, Sen. Barbara Boxer of California, looks on at Wednesday's ceremony naming the Environmental Protection Agency headquarters for him.
Pablo Martinez Monsivais AP

Originally published on Wed July 17, 2013 7:11 pm

The environment may not come to mind when most people think about former President Bill Clinton, but on Wednesday he defended his legacy as the Environmental Protection Agency's headquarters in Washington, D.C., was renamed in his honor.

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Arts & Life
5:53 pm
Wed July 17, 2013

For Actress Ruby Keeler, Another Opening, Another Show

Broadway performer Ruby Keeler was a source of optimism for many during the Depression era, and nostalgia hit audiences hard when she returned to the stage decades later.
General Photographic Agency Getty Images

Originally published on Wed July 17, 2013 7:11 pm

Ruby Keeler was an unknown actress when she starred in the 1933 production of Busby Berkeley's 42nd Street.

But the movie was so popular she was able to land two more splashy musicals that same year — and seven more by the end of the decade. There was nothing extraordinary about her talents as a vocalist or as an actress, but audiences of the Depression era really bought into Keeler's "innocent" onstage persona. In fact, they craved it.

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Politics
5:22 pm
Wed July 17, 2013

Congress Debates Taking A Step Back From The Mortgage Market

The government took over mortgage giants Fannie Mae (seen in 2010) and Freddie Mac in 2008, during the worst of the housing crisis.
Win McNamee Getty Images

Originally published on Wed July 17, 2013 7:11 pm

The mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac got hit so hard by the housing crisis that they required a massive federal rescue. Now lawmakers are looking to scale back the two entities' role — and the government's — in the mortgage market.

The Senate Banking Committee is expected to vote Thursday on President Obama's nominee to head the agency that oversees Fannie and Freddie.

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Planet Money
4:55 pm
Wed July 17, 2013

The 'Ask Your Uncle' Approach To Economics

The Federal Reserve, home of the Beige Book.
Karen Bleier AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed July 17, 2013 7:11 pm

The Beige Book is weird. It's an economic report released by the Federal Reserve every few months, but it doesn't have many numbers in it. Mostly, it's a bunch of stories gathered by talking to businesses around the country. A Fed economist once described it as the "Ask Your Uncle" approach to figuring out what's going on in the economy.

In the Beige Book released today, for example, we learned that:

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The Two-Way
4:36 pm
Wed July 17, 2013

'We're Here To Stay' Says Newly Confirmed Consumer Watchdog

Richard Cordray, director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
Ron Sachs/pool Getty Images

Originally published on Wed July 17, 2013 7:11 pm

One day after his two years in limbo ended and he was confirmed by the Senate as head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Richard Cordray told NPR that though political bickering held up his nomination he now believes he has bipartisan support for the bureau's work.

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Economy
4:09 pm
Wed July 17, 2013

Bernanke Gives Economic Road Map With Uncertain Timeline

Originally published on Wed July 17, 2013 7:11 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

You're listening to ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News.

One month ago, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke introduced the idea of winding down the Fed's massive stimulus programs. On that announcement, the markets tanked. Today, Bernanke said pretty much the same thing. But this time, the markets yawned.

As NPR's John Ydstie explains, the Fed chairman appears to have finally found the formula to ease Wall Street's concerns.

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