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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4:35pm

Wed December 5, 2012
Around the Nation

Texas Twang Fixin' To Ride Off Into The Sunset

Originally published on Wed December 5, 2012 8:25 pm

Lyndon Johnson, then the vice president-elect, with a prize-winning Hereford bull on his ranch near Johnson City, Texas, in 1960. Linguists say the twang that has long been synonymous with Texans is fading.
AP

When most people think of Texas — and what makes a Texan — one of the first things that might come to mind is the way Lyndon Johnson or the late Gov. Ann Richards spoke.

But these days, "talking Texan" sounds a whole lot different than it did just a few decades ago.

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4:10pm

Wed December 5, 2012
Music Interviews

For One Day, NPR Gets A House Band: Los Straitjackets

Originally published on Wed December 5, 2012 6:00 pm

Los Straitjackets' members rehearse in NPR's Studio 4A.
Christopher Parks NPR

We call them "buttons" and "deadrolls" — and, less cryptically, "breaks" — but most NPR listeners know them as the interstitial music spots that pepper NPR's newsmagazines. They add shading, mood, energy and other nonverbal context to our stories.

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3:59pm

Wed December 5, 2012
Middle East

Israel, Christians Negotiate The Price Of Holy Water

Originally published on Fri December 14, 2012 9:13 am

Patriarch Theophilos III, the Greek Orthodox patriarch of Jerusalem (center), splashes holy water toward worshippers after the washing of the feet ceremony in front of the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem in 2009, during Easter celebrations. A crisis was narrowly averted recently when the church's $2.3 million water bill was waived.
Gali Tibbon AFP/Getty Images

One of the holiest sites in Christendom has also been one of the most contested. The Church of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem lies on the site where Jesus Christ is said to have been crucified and buried.

Multiple Christian denominations share the church uneasily, and clerics sometimes come to blows over the most minor of disputes. The Roman Catholic, Greek Orthodox, Armenian Apostolic, Coptic Orthodox, Ethiopian Orthodox and the Syriac Orthodox all have a presence in the church.

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3:31pm

Wed December 5, 2012
The Two-Way

As Two States Legalize Pot, Tommy Chong Isn't Nostalgic About The Old Days

Originally published on Wed December 5, 2012 9:11 pm

Tommy Chong.
Jason Merritt Getty Images
  • From 'All Things Considered': Tommy Chong talks with Audie Cornish

With Washington state set to legalize possession of small amounts of marijuana just after midnight tonight, and Colorado set to decriminalize pot next month, All Things Considered today turned to "stoner" comic Tommy Chong to get his perspective.

Needless to say, the half Asian half of Cheech and Chong is very happy. He's planning to move to both states, Chong joked.

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8:41am

Wed December 5, 2012
The Two-Way

Egads! Aussie DJ Pretends To Be Queen, Gets Hospital To Talk About Kate

Originally published on Wed December 5, 2012 6:00 pm

Hullo: The real Queen Elizabeth II, we swear, in 1961.
PA Photos /Landov

Oh dear:

"The hospital treating the pregnant Duchess of Cambridge ... 'deeply regrets' giving out information about her condition to hoax callers from an Australian radio station," the BBC writes.

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6:05pm

Tue December 4, 2012
Politics

Social Security's COLA At Stake In 'Fiscal Cliff' Talks?

Originally published on Wed December 5, 2012 10:34 am

The Republican plan to avert the "fiscal cliff" that the White House rejected Monday includes at least one element that's likely to produce controversy: a proposal that would, among other things, affect the cost of living adjustment for Social Security.

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5:20pm

Tue December 4, 2012
Shots - Health News

The Perilous Politics Of The Health Insurance Tax Break

Originally published on Tue December 4, 2012 6:50 pm

MIT health economist Jonathan Gruber, who explained the ins and outs of health overhaul in a comic book, says that excluding the value of health insurance from federal taxes is a terrible idea, at least from an economist's point of view.
Macmillan

There's not much in health care that economists agree on. But one of the few things that bring them together is the idea that excluding the value of health insurance from federal taxes is nuts.

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5:00pm

Tue December 4, 2012
The Two-Way

The First Book Printed In British North America And A Church's Decision To Sell It

Originally published on Wed December 5, 2012 11:34 am

Jeff Makholm holds the Bay Psalm Book.
Monica Brady-Myerov WBUR

This past Sunday, the Old South Church in Boston made a decision that cuts to the heart of not only the congregation's history, but to the very beginning of this country's founding.

With an overwhelming 271 to 34 vote, the church decided to give its board the power to sell one copy of the Bay Psalm Book, the first book ever printed in British North America.

Only 11 of the original 1,600 copies of the book printed in Cambridge in 1640 remain. And of those, the church owns two.

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4:44pm

Tue December 4, 2012
Music Reviews

Two Malian Guitar Greats, Gone But Still Wailing

Originally published on Tue December 4, 2012 6:50 pm

Malian guitarist Lobi Traore died in 2010, at just 49. His last album is called Bwati Kono.
Courtesy of the artist

Back in 1985, a young Malian named Zani Diabate became one of the first African musicians to release a successful album in Europe. He was soon crowded out by a flood of superstar African singers, but for anyone who experienced Diabate's rocking guitar tone and edgy African phrasing, the sound is unforgettable.

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4:36pm

Tue December 4, 2012
It's All Politics

For Tea Party Activists In Florida, The Health Care Battle Goes On

Originally published on Tue December 4, 2012 6:50 pm

President Obama's re-election sent a message to state capitals: The war over the president's health care overhaul is finished.

Even in Florida, where Republican leaders led the legal battle against Obamacare, there's recognition now that the state has to act fast to comply with the new law.

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4:17pm

Tue December 4, 2012
Shots - Health News

Computerized Health Records Breed Digital Discontent For Some Doctors

Originally published on Tue December 4, 2012 6:50 pm

Electronic medical records can have drawbacks, too.
iStockphoto.com

Two years and $8.4 billion into the government's effort to get doctors to take their practices digital, some unintended consequences are starting to emerge.

One is a lot of unhappy doctors. In a big survey by Medscape, an online site for doctors, 38 percent of the doctors polled said they were unhappy with their electronic medical records system.

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3:49pm

Tue December 4, 2012
Deceptive Cadence

Alisa Weilerstein Plays Elgar: Exploring Music With An Intense Past

Originally published on Wed December 5, 2012 10:26 am

Cellist Alisa Weilerstein
Jamie Jung Courtesy of the artist

British composer Edward Elgar wrote his cello concerto in 1919 — soon after the end of World War I — and it's suffused with the dark weight of that war.

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6:08pm

Mon December 3, 2012
Around the Nation

New York, Orthodox Jews Clash Over Circumcision

Originally published on Mon December 3, 2012 8:25 pm

Rabbi A. Romi Cohn, a noted mohel, prepares an infant for circumcision at Congregation Shaare Zion in Brooklyn on Sept. 4. Cohn opposes a New York City rule requiring parental consent for a type of circumcision ritual practiced by some Orthodox Jews.
Michael Nagle for The New York Times Redux

An ancient circumcision ritual is at the center of a present-day legal battle in New York.

The New York City Department of Health wants to require parental consent for a controversial circumcision practice, which it says can spread the herpes virus. But several Jewish organizations are suing to block the new rule, which they say violates their freedom of religion.

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6:08pm

Mon December 3, 2012
World

U.S. Steps Up Aid (But No Arms) To Syrian Exiles

Originally published on Mon December 3, 2012 7:12 pm

Rajiv Shah (left), the head of USAID, speaks with children during a visit at the Oncupinar Syrian refugee camp in Turkey, near the Syrian border, on Nov. 27.
Adem Altan AFP/Getty Images

The Obama administration remains wary about arming Syria's rebels. But when it comes to humanitarian aid, the U.S. contribution, over $250 million, is second only to Turkey.

Then there is non-lethal aid, an additional $50 million for communication equipment and training courses.

If you are surprised by the numbers, so are Syrian activists, who say American support is still almost invisible on the ground. Now, U.S. officials are highlighting the American aid profile.

High-Profile Visit

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6:08pm

Mon December 3, 2012
All Tech Considered

Which Tablet Is Right For You?

Originally published on Mon December 3, 2012 6:50 pm

The new Microsoft Surface tablet on display after a press conference in New York in October. The Microsoft tablet goes up against products from Apple, Amazon and Google.
Timothy A. Clary AFP/Getty Images

The holiday season is upon us. In the tech world, that means it's time to talk gadgets, specifically one of the year's most popular gadgets: the tablet.

For the first time, Apple's iPad has some competition: Google's Nexus, Amazon's Kindle Fire HD and the Microsoft Surface.

These tablets represent the marquee efforts of the biggest technology companies. They also represent the four major content universes.

Small Tablets

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