All Things Considered

Monday-Friday, 4pm-6:30pm on IPR News
  • Hosted by , Melissa Block and Robert Siegel

In-depth reporting and transformed the way listeners understand current events and view the world. Every weekday, hear two hours of breaking news mixed with compelling analysis, insightful commentaries, interviews, and special - sometimes quirky - features.

 

The deadly typhoon that swept through the Philippines was one of the strongest ever recorded. But storms nearly this powerful are actually common in the eastern Pacific. Typhoon Haiyan's devastation can be chalked up to a series of bad coincidences.

There's been a rare bit of good news in Eastern Congo this month. One of the rebel groups that have terrorized civilians in the mineral rich part of the the Democratic Republic of Congo agreed to end its rebellion. There's still a lot of work to do to disarm the M23 and to keep other rebel movements in check. But this small victory is a boost for U.N. peacekeepers, who are under a new, tougher mandate to protect civilians in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Some experts wonder if this could be a new model for peacekeeping.

It's taken for granted that lobbyists influence legislation. But perhaps less obvious is that they often write the actual bills — even word for word.

The botched start of HealthCare.gov is just the latest big federal tech system to fail at launch, but information technology research group Standish found that during the last decade, 94 percent of the large-scale federal IT projects have been similarly unsuccessful.

With a Swiss forensics investigation pointing to polonium-210 as a possible cause of Yasser Arafat's death, the radioactive element is back in the news.

Confirming whether the Palestinian leader died from an assassination attempt will be difficult, given polonium's short half-life and the fact that Arafat has been dead nine years, science writer Deborah Blum says.

Whatever happened to Arafat, polonium does have a deadly history.

When it comes to shipping in the United States, there's a bit of a paradox. Even as U.S. exports have grown, the U.S. share of shipping has declined dramatically.

The traffic in and out of U.S. ports increases every year, but most of those ships fly foreign flags. In fact, the number of U.S. flagged ships is barely one quarter of what it was in the 1950s. That means fewer and fewer jobs for the men and women who work on those ships: the United States Merchant Marine.

Cynthia Rylant is a renowned author who has written for all age groups and been honored with both Caldecott and Newbery prizes for her work.

Her latest book, God Got a Dog, is a collection of poems that only took her one day to write.

"One poem ... just came out of the blue, and I sat down and I wrote it. And then after I finished writing it, I got an idea for another God poem, and so I wrote that one. And so it started in the morning and then by the end of the day, I was finished writing the book," she tells All Things Considered host Arun Rath.

Joe Sacco is a cartoonist, graphic novelist and journalist; he's best-known for his dispatches from today's regions of conflict, like the Middle East and Bosnia, in cartoon form. But for his latest book, The Great War, Sacco turns his eye on history. He's recreated of one of the worst battles of World War I, the first day of the Battle of the Somme, from its hopeful beginning to its brutal end.

President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney left office on Jan. 20, 2009, ending a consequential — and controversial — administration. The Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, the U.S. invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, and Hurricane Katrina were just some of the major events that challenged the administration.

Peter Baker, Chief White House Correspondent for The New York Times, covered those events in real time. But he's now taken a second look at the administration and the relationship at its heart.

A year after Superstorm Sandy stranded many New Yorkers without power for days, a federal judge has ruled that New York City's emergency plans violate the Americans with Disabilities Act. Those shortcomings, the judge found, leave almost 900,000 residents in danger, and many say the ruling could have implications for local governments across the country.

Can I Kick It? Organ Master Lonnie Smith Can

Nov 9, 2013

The price of pecans is going up, up, up, which may mean that if you're planning a pecan pie for Thanksgiving, the time to buy them is now. The reasons behind that escalating price all come down to natural forces: supply and demand and weather.

Blockbuster was once the king of movie rental stores. At its peak, it had about 60,000 employees and more than 9,000 stores.

But after struggling for several years, the chain is breathing its last gasp. Dish Network, which bought Blockbuster in a 2011 bankruptcy auction, says it will close the remaining 300 or so company-owned stores by January.

On Twitter, it put out a call for "Blockbuster Memories."

Every week, a cluster of stories comes to define the landscape of news media. These can be stories of international scope or local intimacy, but for their own distinctive reasons, they all offer narratives defined almost in real time.

To get a better grasp on the hectic pace of current events, it's often vital to turn to another kind of narrative — our favorite kind: books. That's why each week we'll invite authors to suggest a book that somehow deepens, contextualizes or offers an entirely new angle on one of the week's major headlines.

Jake Gyllenhaal, Going After What's Real

Nov 8, 2013

In the movie Prisoners, now in theaters, a detective investigates the abduction of two young girls. Things get a little more complicated when the father of one of the girls takes matters into his own hands, kidnapping and torturing the man he thinks is responsible.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

Health care insurance is designed to pay the bills but when we're faced with a life-threatening illness, what really sustains us? Writer Nancy Slonim Aronie was loathe to turn to religion, so she was surprised by what she found next door.

There's a fight going on for the soul of France. Since 1906, Sunday has been deemed a collective day of rest in the country, and French law only allows stores to open on Sundays under very specific conditions — for example, if they're in a high tourist area. Sunday work is also tightly controlled.

But some people are questioning the sense of such a tradition in a languishing economy and 24/7 world.

Linda Stephan

Traverse City school officials were surprised Tuesday when voters shot down two bond proposals. One would have paid for the reconstruction of three elementary schools. TCAPS was not alone though. Almost half the schools in Michigan were unsuccessful at passing bond proposals this election.

Duval County Public Schools is considering a name change for Nathan Bedford Forrest High School in Jacksonville, Fla. The school is named for a Confederate hero who was the first grand wizard of the Ku Klux Klan — and after five decades of debate, there appears to be momentum for change.

The news from Kraft last week that the company is ditching two artificial dyes in some versions of its macaroni and cheese products left me with a question.

Why did we start coloring cheeses orange to begin with? Turns out there's a curious history here.

In theory, cheese should be whitish — similar to the color of milk, right?

Nov. 22 will mark the 50th anniversary of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy in Dallas, a moment that left an indelible mark on those who remember it.

It also permanently changed the agency charged with protecting the president — the U.S. Secret Service.

Looking back at the images of Kennedy, first lady Jackie Kennedy, Texas Gov. John Connally and his wife waving as they rode through the streets of Dallas in an open Lincoln, it all looks terribly innocent and naive.

The Fisk Jubilee Singers are known worldwide for their flawless voices and stellar performances of Negro spirituals. They're from Fisk University in Nashville, Tenn., but they travel around the world to perform their music. Negro spirituals were originally sung by slaves and remain tightly linked to African-American culture. Paul Kwami, the choir's musical director, said singing these spirituals was a way for slaves to lament their servitude, along with the hope of being free one day.

For six decades, in her light-filled studio on top of New York's Carnegie Hall, portrait photographer Editta Sherman photographed celebrities from Leonard Bernstein to Yul Brynner to Joe DiMaggio. She was a legend — and she'd tell you that herself. Sherman died Friday at 101.

A note on her website reads: "Editta Sherman's vibrant sparkling life faded from this earth on November 1st, All Saints Day. She is at peace now and she is clothed in her ballerina dress with her diamond shoes dancing her way home to our hearts."

Pages