All Things Considered

Weekdays at 4pm
Robert Siegel, Michele Norris, and Melissa Block

This program presents a trademark mix of news, interviews, commentaries, reviews, and offbeat features. It rings with the disparate voices of its commentators, from veteran analyst Daniel Schorr and storyteller Kevin Kling to poet Andrei Codrescu. It hums with the distinctive music that threads between reports -- music collected in the online program All Songs Considered. And by the time All Things Considered marked its 30th anniversary on the air, the program had earned many of journalism's highest honors, including the Peabody, DuPont and Overseas Press Club awards.

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3:42pm

Mon April 1, 2013
It's All Politics

Opposition Research Boot Camp: Learning To Dig For Political Dirt

Originally published on Mon April 22, 2013 8:29 pm

Opposition research is becoming a given in politics, sometimes even at the local level.
iStockphoto.com

Opposition research exists mostly in the political shadows. So perhaps it's fitting that this boot camp is in an generic conference room in a generic airport hotel outside of Washington, D.C.

It's run by private investigator Larry Zilliox, who specializes in opposition research. He allowed me to attend a session, but not to take pictures.

Zilliox is cagey about his clients: "As a general rule, it suits me best not to comment on who I've worked for. Everybody is better off that way."

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3:41pm

Mon April 1, 2013
Shots - Health News

Mining Books To Map Emotions Through A Century

Originally published on Tue April 2, 2013 10:18 am

When anthropologists tallied the use of emotional words through a century of literature, they included many books without clear emotional content β€” technical manuals, for example, and automotive repair guides.
Steve Debenport iStockphotography

Were people happier in the 1950s than they are today? Or were they more frustrated, repressed and sad?

To find out, you'd have to compare the emotions of one generation to another. British anthropologists think they may have found the answer β€” embedded in literature.

Several years ago, more or less on a lark, a group of researchers from England used a computer program to analyze the emotional content of books from every year of the 20th century β€” close to a billion words in millions of books.

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5:22pm

Sun March 31, 2013
Science

Somewhere Over The Brainbow: The Journey To Map the Human Brain

Originally published on Sun March 31, 2013 9:55 pm

More than 100 years ago, Golgi staining on nerve cells opened the gates to modern neuroscience. Scientists recently developed the Technicolor version of Golgi staining, Brainbow, allowing more detailed reconstructions of brain circuits.
AFP/Getty Images

During the State of the Union, President Obama said the nation is about to embark on an ambitious project: to examine the human brain and create a road map to the trillions of connections that make it work.

"Every dollar we invested to map the human genome returned $140 to our economy β€” every dollar," the president said. "Today, our scientists are mapping the human brain to unlock the answers to Alzheimer's."

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4:53pm

Sun March 31, 2013
History

Living Memories From The Last Days Of Alcatraz

Originally published on Sun March 31, 2013 6:28 pm

Alcatraz, the infamous prison, still captures the imagination 50 years after it closed. Those who did time there, however, don't have to wonder.
Leigh Wiener Courtesy Devik Wiener

Fifty years ago, the notorious Alcatraz prison shut its gate behind guard Jim Albright as he escorted the last inmate off the island on March 21, 1963.

"As we're going out, I know, when I come back from this trip, I don't have a job, I don't have a home anymore," Albright remembers. "I didn't want the island to close, I didn't want to leave. I liked it there."

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4:45pm

Sun March 31, 2013
Author Interviews

An Unlikely Explorer Stumbles Into Controversy

Originally published on Mon December 2, 2013 1:03 pm

The mostly forgotten explorer Paul du Chaillu introduced the world to gorillas. His methods were attacked and his work discredited during his lifetime, but he also experienced fame and redemption.

Author Monte Reel illuminates the little-known tale of the 19th century explorer in his new book Between Man and Beast: An Unlikely Explorer, the Evolution Debates, and the African Adventure That Took the Victorian World by Storm.

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4:40pm

Sun March 31, 2013
Music Interviews

Chic Gamine: The Girl-Group Sound, Stripped To Its Bones

Originally published on Tue April 2, 2013 9:53 am

Chic Gamine's latest album is called Closer.
Courtesy of the artist

Chic Gamine is a Canadian band giving a new spin to the classic '60s girl group sound: Its roster is four vocalists, a drummer ... and that's it. Chic Gamine's leader Andrina Turenne spoke with NPR's Laura Sullivan about the group's latest album, Closer. Click the audio link on this page to hear their conversation.

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10:03am

Sun March 31, 2013
Movie Interviews

Cristian Mungiu: Metaphor Or Not, 'Hills' Has Eyes For Romania's Past

Originally published on Sun March 31, 2013 6:28 pm

Director Cristian Mungiu on the set of his new film, Beyond the Hills. As in his earlier 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days, the filmmaker focuses on two young women adrift in the post-Soviet wilderness of Romania.
Sundance Selects

Cristian Mungiu became the poster boy for the Romanian New Wave when his film 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days took the top prize at the Cannes International Film Festival in 2007. Like that film, Mungiu's latest turns an unblinking camera on two troubled young women in a dysfunctional society. Beyond the Hills is now opening in theaters across the U.S.

Like its predecessor, Beyond the Hills was a prizewinner at Cannes: Its two young stars shared the best actress prize last year, and Mungiu won best screenplay.

The story he tells is disturbing.

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5:40pm

Sat March 30, 2013
Health Care

Three Years On, States Still Struggle With Health Care Law Messaging

Originally published on Sat March 30, 2013 6:25 pm

Joy Reynolds of San Diego looks at the newspapers on display at the Newseum in Washington, D.C., on June 29, 2012, following the Supreme Court ruling on President Obama's health care law.
David Goldman AP

It is hard to imagine that after three years of acrimony and debate we could still be so confused about President Obama's Affordable Care Act.

Is it actually possible Americans know less about Obamacare now than they did three years ago? Apparently that is the case, and the news comes just as the most sweeping effects of the law are about to kick in.

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5:40pm

Sat March 30, 2013
Around the Nation

For One Military Family, DOMA Decision Will Hit Close To Home

Originally published on Sat March 30, 2013 6:25 pm

Same-sex couples in the military will be watching closely now that the U.S. Supreme Court is considering the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act. Anxiously awaiting a decision are Army lieutenant colonel Heather Mack and her wife, Ashley Broadway, who've been together for 15 years and have two children. They say repealing DOMA would help many enlisted same-sex military couples, who don't receive funds to move non-military spouses from one base to the next.

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5:40pm

Sat March 30, 2013
Business

How Samsung Became An Industry Giant

Originally published on Sat March 30, 2013 6:25 pm

Transcript

LAURA SULLIVAN, HOST:

If you're just joining us, you're listening to WEEKENDS on ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Laura Sullivan.

Quick trivia question: Name a global superpower technology company, that is the world's biggest seller of smartphones headed by a charismatic CEO surrounded by a cult of personality. I'm guessing most of you just said Apple, right? You would be wrong. The answer is Samsung.

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5:16pm

Fri March 29, 2013
Movie Reviews

A Film So Sumptuous, 'Renoir' Himself Might Have Helped Out

Originally published on Fri March 29, 2013 7:55 pm

Jean (Vincent Rottiers) assists his ailing father, the artist Pierre-Auguste Renoir (Michel Bouquet), in his studio on the French Riviera.
Samuel Goldwyn Films

The year is 1915. A beautiful young woman bicycling through sun-dappled woods passes under an effigy of a German soldier and seems entirely unfazed. World War I is raging elsewhere in Europe, but here on the French Riviera life is serene.

The cyclist, Andree, is on her way to pose for an elderly Impressionist painter, Pierre-Auguste Renoir (Michel Bouquet), whom she somewhat startles by claiming to be an artist herself.

"An artist," wonders the great man.

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4:46pm

Fri March 29, 2013
Economy

As Housing Industry Builds Up, Other Sectors Follow

Originally published on Fri March 29, 2013 11:31 pm

Home Depot is hiring 80,000 employees for its spring season. As the housing market picks up, other industry sectors β€” like gardening, construction and furniture β€” move upward, too.
Jewel Samad AFP/Getty Images

When fortunes rise in the housing industry β€” as they currently are β€” it tends to lift sales for other businesses, too. Home construction, sales and prices are all improving. And according to many analysts, the market is gaining steam.

For nearly two decades, Scott Gillis has owned his own moving company, Great Scott Moving in Hyattsville, Md. Moving high season is just around the corner, which means Gillis is hiring.

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4:46pm

Fri March 29, 2013
Africa

Western Money, African Boots: A Formula For Africa's Conflicts

Originally published on Fri March 29, 2013 7:55 pm

Ugandan soldiers serving with the African Union Mission in Somalia prepare to advance on the central Somali town of Buur-Hakba.
Stuart Price AFP/Getty Images

For the past six years in Somalia, Western countries have been putting up the cash and African nations have been supplying the soldiers, a formula that has pushed back al-Qaida-linked militants and allowed Somalia to elect it's first democratic government in 20 years.

"We can fix our problems in Africa," says Brig. Michael Ondoga, a contingent commander with the African Union Mission in Somalia or AMISOM. "All we need is your support."

It's not at all hard to see why this plan is so agreeable to the American government.

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4:46pm

Fri March 29, 2013
Architecture

Self-Taught Architect Behind Brooklyn's 'Broken Angel' Faces Eviction

Originally published on Fri March 29, 2013 7:55 pm

Over the past three decades, Arthur and Cynthia Wood turned their four-story home into a work of art. They purchased the brick tenement at the intersection of Downing and Quincy streets in 1979 for $2,100 in cash.
Courtesy of Chris Wood

A New York landmark of sorts is in danger of being wiped off the map. The building now known as Broken Angel was an ordinary 19th-century brick structure until self-taught artist and sculptor Arthur Wood started building on top of it in the late 1970s. Now Wood faces eviction from his own masterpiece β€” a towering structure that looks like a cathedral built out of salvaged junk.

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5:33pm

Thu March 28, 2013
Business

Farm Bill's Sugar Subsidy More Taxing Than Sweet, Critics Say

Originally published on Thu March 28, 2013 11:55 pm

While many people enjoy sweet treats β€” like these chocolate bunnies β€” the price of a key ingredient has some people bitter. A government subsidy program is criticized for keeping sugar prices too high. But as prices fall, the government may buy sugar to help processors.
Toby Talbot AP

While you indulge in some Easter Peeps and chocolates this weekend, you might want to think about all that sugar. No, this isn't a calorie warning. In the U.S., raw sugar can cost twice the world average.

Critics say U.S. sugar policy artificially inflates sugar prices to benefit an exclusive group of processors β€” even though it leads to higher food prices. But this year, prices fell anyway. Now, the government could be poised to use taxpayer dollars to buy up the excess sugar.

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