All Things Considered

HD 1: Weekday from 3PM-7PM

Each show consists of the biggest stories of the day, thoughtful commentaries, insightful features on the quirky and the mainstream in arts and life, music and entertainment, all brought alive through sound. Every weekday the two-hour show is hosted by Robert Siegel, Michele Norris and Melissa Block. There is also a one-hour show on Saturdays and Sundays.

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As a candidate and as president, Barack Obama has disparaged the role of big money in politics. At his 2010 State of the Union address, he even called out the Supreme Court for a ruling that opened the door to unlimited personal and business contributions. But, faced with a Republican opposition that's raising millions from a handful of sources, President Obama let his fundraisers loose to play the game too.

Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney has joined the chorus criticizing President Obama over a controversial policy that would require most employers, including Catholic hospitals and universities, to include birth control in their employees' health insurance.

Catholic opinion leaders have denounced the policy as an assault on their religious freedom.

Cabaret Wanes As The Oak Room Is Felled

Feb 7, 2012

One of New York City's most famous cabaret clubs, the Oak Room at the Algonquin Hotel, is closing. At least one person will feel the loss — Murray Horwitz, the author of two Broadway musicals and numerous cabaret acts.

Welsh composer Paul Mealor, who scored the music for Prince William and Kate Middleton's royal wedding, has a new composition in the works. For it, he's seeking a rich and low singing voice — one capable of reaching the "low E" note. And as he's learning, reaching the low E is no easy feat. To find a singer up to the task, Mealor has had to embark on an international search. Robert Siegel catches up with Mealor to hear how his search is going.

Robert Siegel speaks with Classics professor Philip Freeman about his translation of the book, "How to Win an Election: An Ancient Guide for Modern Politicians." This book was written by the brother of Marcus Cicero, for when Marcus ran for office in Rome in 64 B.C. But the ancient Roman guide for campaigning still holds lessons for today's elections.

Roger Boisjoly was a booster rocket engineer at NASA contractor Morton Thiokol in Utah in January, 1986, when he and four colleagues became embroiled in the fatal decision to launch the Space Shuttle Challenger.

Boisjoly was also one of two confidential sources quoted by NPR three weeks later in the first detailed report about the Challenger launch decision, and the stiff resistance by Boisjoly and other Thiokol engineers.

According to the libertarian social scientist Charles Murray, America is "coming apart at the seams." Class strain has cleaved society into two groups, he argues in his new book Coming Apart: The State of White America, 1960-2010: an upper class, defined by educational attainment, and a new lower class, characterized by the lack of it. Murray also posits that the new "lower class" is less industrious, less likely to marry and raise children in a two-parent household, and more politically and socially disengaged

Great Central US Shakeout

An earthquake can happen just about any time in the southern Illinois region…

Singer-songwriter Jill Sobule is probably best known for her 1995 hit single, "I Kissed a Girl." These days, she's taking on a new musical project: the gender-bending play by Isaac Bashevis Singer, Yentl.

Barbra Streisand turned Singer's play into her 1984 hit movie musical of the same name. Although Sobule's version features music, it's a little more Singer and a little less Streisand.

"She changed the ending and made it kind of Funny Girl coming to America. ... We keep to the word," Sobule tells weekends on All Things Considered host Guy Raz.

When Whitey Bulger was captured last year, he'd spent close to 20 years on the run — and on the FBI's Most Wanted list.

Bulger was the head of an Irish gang terrorizing the streets of South Boston. The Massachusetts State Police wanted him gone, but curiously couldn't touch him.

Why? Bulger was a confidential FBI informant, and the bureau shielded him for years.

Robert Fitzpatrick, the author of Betrayal: Whitey Bulger and the FBI Agent Who Fought to Bring Him Down, says Bulger was widely known to be an unsavory character.

Last semester, Brown senior Malcolm Burnley took a narrative writing course. One of the assignments was to write a fictional story based on something true — and that true event had to be found inside the university archives.

"So I went to the archives and started flipping through dusty compilations of student newspapers, and there was this old black-and-white photo of when Malcolm X came to speak," Burnley says. "There was one short article that corresponded to it, and very little else."

Transcript

GUY RAZ, HOST:

Turning now to Russia. In Moscow, tens of thousands of people took to the streets today in dueling demonstrations for and against the government of Prime Minister Vladimir Putin. Putin is seeking to return to the presidency in next month's elections.

NPR's Corey Flintoff reports from the Russian capital.

Boxing champion Sugar Ray Leonard remembers the trainer who stood in his corner through some of his greatest fights ever. Along with Leonard, Angelo Dundee trained a long list of boxing champions including George Foreman and the great boxing legend Muhammad Ali. The renowned trainer and cornerman died this week at age 90 at his home in Tampa, Fla.

The U.N. Security Council failed again Saturday to take decisive action to stop the escalating violence in Syria as Russia and China vetoed a resolution backing an Arab League plan that calls for President Bashar Assad to step down. NPR's Michele Kelemen reports the veto drew intense criticism from the U.S.

In Nev., Solid Showing Expected For Romney

Feb 4, 2012

Transcript

GUY RAZ, HOST:

It's WEEKENDS on ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Guy Raz.

Republican voters in Nevada have begun caucusing. It's the first state in the West to weigh in on the presidential nominating contest. And as we mentioned earlier, Mitt Romney is the overwhelming favorite to win. Newt Gingrich and Ron Paul have also been campaigning in the state. Rick Santorum is looking ahead to contests in the Midwest next week.

Transcript

GUY RAZ, HOST:

NPR's Kelly McEvers has been following events in Syria from neighboring Lebanon, and she joins me now from Beirut. Kelly, as we just heard, the UN Security Council has failed to agree on a resolution condemning Bashar Assad. Any reaction from Syria?

Just three days after announcing it would no longer fund cancer screenings at Planned Parenthood, the pink-ribboned breast cancer charity Susan G. Komen for the Cure abruptly reversed course today. But the Komen foundation's actions still leave many questions unanswered — not to mention a public relations challenge.

Who Killed Lard?

Feb 3, 2012

Ron Silver, the owner of Bubby's restaurant in Brooklyn, recently put a word on his menu you don't often see anymore: lard. The white, creamy, processed fat from a pig. And he didn't use the word just once.

For a one-night-only "Lard Exoneration Dinner", Silver served up lard fried potatoes. And root vegetables, baked in lard. Fried chicken, fried in lard. Roasted fennel glazed with lard sugar and sea salt. Pies, with lard inside and out. All from lard he made himself in the kitchen.

When he was 30 years old, David Finch's wife, Kristen, sat him down and asked him a series of odd questions:

"Do you notice patterns in things all the time?"

"Do people comment on your unusual mannerisms and habits?

"Do you feel tortured by clothes tags, clothes that are too tight or made in the 'wrong material'?"

"Do you sometimes have an urge to jump over things?"

David's answers to all of these questions — and more than 100 others — was an emphatic yes.

Sharon Van Etten: Learning How To Rock

Feb 3, 2012

Sharon Van Etten was once an aspiring songwriter in Tennessee, but she had no idea how the music industry worked. So she moved to New York City and took an unpaid internship working for a record label.

"I started doing mail orders and then learned my way around the music blogs," Van Etten says in an interview with Weekend All Things Considered host Guy Raz. "I didn't know what a music blog was at the time."

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Audie Cornish.

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

I'm Melissa Block. And we begin this hour with fresh evidence that the U.S. economy is on the mend. The unemployment rate fell unexpectedly last month to 8.3 percent. And according to the Labor Department, U.S. employers added nearly a quarter million workers to their payrolls. As NPR's Scott Horsley reports, it's not only good news for the economy and the nation, it's also good news for President Obama and his re-election campaign.

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

January's weather looked like spring in much of the country, and today's monthly employment report suggests it's spring in the job market, too. As NPR's John Ydstie reports, the economy added 243,000 jobs in January, and the unemployment rate dropped for the fifth straight month.

JOHN YDSTIE, BYLINE: Nobody expected that job creation in January would be this strong, or that the unemployment rate would fall again to 8.3 percent – nobody including John Silvia, chief economist at Wells Fargo.

Audie Cornish talks to our regular political commentators — E.J. Dionne of The Washington Post and Brookings Institution, and David Brooks of the New York Times — about the new unemployment figures and the presidential primary race.

The Southern Illinoisan

Richard "Pete" Peterson yearns for the warm, summer days as he looks back at the baseball greats who passed away in 2011 for this edition of Reading Baseball.

Leaders of the breast-cancer charity Susan G. Komen for the Cure tried in vain Thursday to contain the controversy stemming from its decision to end its grants to Planned Parenthood.

The Mona Lisa's Twin Painting Discovered

Feb 2, 2012

The Mona Lisa is one of the most enigmatic and iconic pieces of Western art. It has inspired countless copies, but one replica at the Madrid's Museo del Prado is generating its own buzz: conservators say that it was painted at the same time as the original — and possibly by one of the master's pupils, perhaps even a lover.

Losing a loved one in any circumstance can be a painful experience, but for some families in Chicago, that pain is being compounded by what's been happening at the Cook County morgue in recent weeks. In the words of one observer, it's "a moral travesty."

S'il-Vous-Plait: Raising Your 'Bebe' The French Way

Feb 1, 2012

When her first child was born, Pamela Druckerman expected to spend the next several years frantically meeting her daughter's demands. In the U.S., after all, mealtimes, living rooms and sleep schedules typically turn to chaos as soon as a baby arrives. That's the reason one friend of mine used to refer to his child as a "destroying angel."

A radical Islamist group in northern Nigeria has claimed responsibility for a series of deadly bombing attacks last week that left more than 200 people dead. Boko Haram's campaign of violence has left minority Christians on edge in the city of Kano.

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