All Things Considered on WLRN

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.

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U.S.
5:02 pm
Sat March 23, 2013

Can Detroit Return To Its Former Glory?

The population of Detroit has dwindled, and now there aren't enough taxpayers to pick up the tab for essential city services.
Paul Sancya AP

Originally published on Sat March 23, 2013 7:07 pm

The newly appointed emergency financial manager of Detroit begins the Herculean task Monday of turning the once bustling capital of the car business back from the brink of bankruptcy.

Though Detroit still has its cultural centers, architectural gems, funky restaurants and packed sporting events downtown, the city has suffered an urban blight that has slowly eaten away at its neighborhoods.

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Technology
4:48 pm
Sat March 23, 2013

Four Robots That Are Learning To Serve You

Future Robot's FURo robot acts as a host.
Innorobo.com

Originally published on Sat March 23, 2013 6:34 pm

From Star Wars' R2-D2 to The Terminator to WALL-E, robots have pervaded popular culture and ignited our imaginations. But today, machines that can do our bidding have moved from science fiction to real life.

Think hands-free vacuum cleaners or iPhone's Siri or robotic arms performing surgery. At the Innorobo conference in Lyon, France, the latest in service robot technology was on display.

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Same-Sex Marriage And The Supreme Court
2:36 pm
Sat March 23, 2013

How Vermont's 'Civil' War Fueled The Gay Marriage Movement

Demonstrators protest outside the Statehouse in Montpelier, Vt., in April 2000, the month the nation's first law recognizing same-sex civil unions was signed by the governor.
Toby Talbot AP

Originally published on Wed March 27, 2013 9:55 pm

It wasn't so long ago that a handful of Vermont legislators in a shabby Statehouse committee room struggled over what to call their proposal to give marriage-like rights to the state's gay and lesbian residents.

Democrat Howard Dean, governor at the time, had already made clear he'd veto any legislation labeled "marriage." Suggestions like "domestic partner relationship" were too clunky; "civil accord," they decided, evoked a car model.

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Sports
2:24 pm
Sat March 23, 2013

March Madness: Good For Fans, Bad For Business

Pittsburgh fans try to distract Wichita State's Ron Baker as he shoots a free throw during a second-round game in the NCAA college basketball tournament in Salt Lake City on Thursday. The distractions of the tournament are so great that worker productivity suffers.
George Frey AP

Originally published on Sat March 23, 2013 6:34 pm

March Madness is here. Even President Obama has filled out a NCAA Division I men's college basketball tournament bracket. His pick to win it all was Indiana University.

The bracket frenzy is unbelievable, says Deborah Stroman, who teaches sports administration at the University of North Carolina.

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Same-Sex Marriage And The Supreme Court
6:20 pm
Fri March 22, 2013

As Support For Gay Marriage Grows, An Opponent Looks Ahead

Maggie Gallagher has been an outspoken opponent of gay marriage for the past decade. She debated the issue at Saddleback College this month with John Corvino (right), a gay-marriage proponent who is also a personal friend.
The Lariat Robert Cody Shoemake

Originally published on Thu March 28, 2013 7:17 pm

As the U.S. Supreme Court prepares to weigh in on gay marriage, Maggie Gallagher, one of the nation's leading voices in opposition to same-sex marriage, is also preparing for what might come next.

Gallagher, co-founder of the National Organization for Marriage, likes to call herself an "accidental activist." After graduating from Yale in 1982, she thought she'd become a writer and focus on what she called "important things," like money and war. She never fathomed she'd end up on TV almost daily, smack in the middle of the war zone over gay marriage.

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Politics
5:55 pm
Fri March 22, 2013

From Leadership Posts, Women Said To Be Changing Senate Tone

Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., speaks at a field hearing of the Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee, in Tacoma, Wash., last year.
Ted S. Warren AP

Originally published on Thu March 28, 2013 7:17 pm

A lot of fanfare followed last November's election, when the number of women in the U.S. Senate surged to 20 — more than ever before.

But quieter victories came after. Female senators now claim an unprecedented number of leadership positions, and for the first time in history, women are at the helm of both the Appropriations and Budget committees — as well as half of the Armed Services subcommittees.

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It's All Politics
5:32 pm
Fri March 22, 2013

Republicans Launch Mission To Turn Up Their Digital Game

Tweets from GOP supporters scroll along the side of a large-screen display at the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla., on Aug. 28, 2012.
Chip Somodevilla Getty Images

Originally published on Thu March 28, 2013 7:17 pm

The Republican and Democratic parties have been in a digital arms race for years. And this week, Republicans frankly admitted that they are losing.

Now, the GOP has ambitious plans to improve its game.

Monday's report from the Republican National Committee puts it bluntly: "Republicans must catch up on how we utilize technology in our campaigns. The Obama team is several years ahead of everyone else in its technological advantage."

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NPR Story
4:54 pm
Fri March 22, 2013

Letters: Reaction To Gun Series

Originally published on Thu March 28, 2013 7:17 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

Our Series this week on guns in America have sent many of you to your keyboards. And every day, a new batch of stories sparked conversation and some heated debate at our website. Some listeners complained that our coverage was pro gun control, some that it was pro National Rifle Association.

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

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NPR Story
4:54 pm
Fri March 22, 2013

State Laws Govern Gun Purchases Very Differently Across The Country

Originally published on Thu March 28, 2013 7:17 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

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Author Interviews
3:10 pm
Fri March 22, 2013

With Humor And Sorrow, 'Life After Life' Explores Death

Elderly and young person holding hands
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Thu March 28, 2013 7:17 pm

A woman who moves from Boston to be near the grave of her lover; the widow of a judge who keeps a scrapbook of murder and crime; an 85-year-old who has always seen the sunnier side of life; an old man feigning dementia. In the fictional Pine Haven retirement center, together and separately, these characters face the ends of their lives. They're the stars of Jill McCorkle's new novel, Life After Life, which balances humor and sorrow as it explores the moment of death.

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Guns In America: A Loaded Relationship
7:00 pm
Thu March 21, 2013

On Gun Ownership And Policy, 'A Country Of Chasms'

Gun enthusiast Paul Gwaltney at Blue Ridge Arsenal, in Chantilly, Va. Gwaltney, an NPR listener, agreed to host a discussion about guns with friends and colleagues.
Becky Lettenberger NPR

Originally published on Thu March 21, 2013 7:55 pm

The ideological gulf between gun owners and non-gun owners is a wide one — made all the more obvious by the ongoing debate over what, if any, gun control measures should be adopted in the U.S.

Sometimes, the debate feels like people are coming from different worlds, even for people within the same family. And while Americans are often willing to discuss their own views, it's rarer to hear conversations between people who own and love guns and those who do not.

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It's All Politics
6:32 pm
Thu March 21, 2013

NRA-Driven Gun Provisions Pass Along With Spending Bill

Customers shop for guns at Freddie Bear Sports sporting goods store in Tinley Park, Ill., in January. One of the gun provisions in the spending bill prevents the Justice Department from requiring gun dealers to conduct an inventory to see if guns are lost or stolen.
Scott Olson Getty Images

The House voted overwhelmingly Thursday to approve a temporary measure to keep the government funded through the end of September. Government shutdown averted.

But it turns out the continuing resolution didn't just address spending. It contains six measures that limit how federal agencies deal with guns.

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Middle East
5:07 pm
Thu March 21, 2013

Face-To-Face With Death In Iraq

Residents visit the tomb of a loved one at the New Kerbala cemetery in the holy city of Kerbala, Iraq, in 2007.
Mushtaq Muhammad Reuters /Landov

Originally published on Thu March 21, 2013 6:21 pm

On the 10th anniversary of the U.S. invasion of Iraq, NPR is catching up with some of the people we encountered during the war. In 2006, at the height of the violence, we brought you the story of a woman who performed the Muslim ritual of washing and preparing the dead for burial. Kelly McEvers has this update on Um Abbas, who is now living in southern Iraq.

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Law
5:01 pm
Thu March 21, 2013

At 'Stop-And-Frisk' Trial, Cops Describe Quota-Driven NYPD

Adhyl Polanco, an eight-year police veteran (shown with lawyer Jonathan Moore, right), testified that if certain quotas were not met, an officer could be denied days off and overtime, and be given a poor evaluation.
Margot Adler NPR

Originally published on Thu March 21, 2013 6:00 pm

Police officers testifying at a federal trial challenging New York City's stop-and-frisk policy say they were ordered to increase their number of arrests, summons and 250s — the code for stop, question and frisk.

Some 5 million street stops of mostly black and Latino men have taken place in the city in the last decade.

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Music Interviews
4:58 pm
Thu March 21, 2013

Baba Salah: A Malian Musician Speaks To His Nation's Displaced

Baba Salah at his home in Bamako, Mali. On his new album, Dangay, he calls attention to what he describes as human-rights violations in the north.
Ed Alcock Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Thu March 21, 2013 8:33 pm

It's Friday night in Bamako, and a club in the Malian capital has come alive. Guitarist and singer Baba Salah is on the floor.

His hometown of Gao, along the banks of the River Niger on the fringes of the Sahara Desert, made headlines as the first city in the north to be liberated by French-backed Malian forces in January. Gao was one of three regional centers in the north captured by rebels and jihadis a year ago. Islamists warned musicians that their tongues would be sliced out if they continued to sing and play. Speaking in French, Salah says artists left in a hurry.

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