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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It's All Politics
5:09 pm
Sat November 10, 2012

In Tied Race, Candidate's Wife Didn't Vote

A tied city council race in Kentucky could be decided by a coin flip — after one candidate's wife didn't vote on Election Day.
istockphoto

Originally published on Sat November 10, 2012 8:23 pm

Here's a lighter story to round-out this election week.

On Tuesday, 27-year-old Bobby McDonald ran for one of six city council seats in the town of Walton, Ky., population 3,724.

"The night of Election Day, I was watching the results come in," he told NPR's Guy Raz. "And I ended up in a tie with the other candidate."

McDonald was tied 669-669 with his opponent, Olivia Ballou.

"There're many ways you can tie," McDonald said. "But in my situation, I let my wife sleep in and not go vote that day. And she's mad at me cause I did not wake her up."

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Author Interviews
4:27 pm
Sat November 10, 2012

A Tale Of Fate: From Astrology To Astronomy

Originally published on Mon November 12, 2012 12:44 pm

When Katherine Marsh was a young girl, she was mesmerized by the dwarfs of Diego Velazquez's paintings. Years later, that obsession inspired Jepp, Who Defied the Stars, her latest novel for young adults.

Marsh joins NPR's Guy Raz to discuss her book, which is rooted in history, yet speckled with fantasy. It carries her readers to the Spanish Netherlands in the late 16th century to tell the coming-of-age story of Jepp of Astraveld.


Interview Highlights

On Jepp's story

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Movies
4:23 pm
Sat November 10, 2012

Hearing History In The Sounds Of 'Lincoln'

Lincoln follows the president in the last few months of his life.
DreamWorks

Originally published on Sat November 10, 2012 8:23 pm

In the new movie Lincoln, actor Daniel Day-Lewis is getting a lot of attention for his spot-on portrayal of the 16th president. But Ben Burtt, the sound designer, also deserves credit for the film's authenticity. You may not know his name, but you surely know his work.

Burtt is something of a legend in the movie sound world. He has won numerous Oscars, including for his work on Star Wars.

Burtt invented that iconic swoosh of the light saber, using the hum of an old projector and the buzz of a television set.

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It's All Politics
5:53 pm
Fri November 9, 2012

The Upside To Plunging Off The Fiscal Cliff

With Congress on the edge of a fiscal cliff, set to occur Jan. 1, some say a fiscal plunge is exactly what's needed to break the political logjam.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Fri November 16, 2012 12:17 pm

Now that the election is over, Washington is transfixed by the fiscal cliff, the automatic tax increases and spending cuts due to take effect Jan. 1 if nothing is done.

The sudden shock could seriously damage the economy.

But some Democrats and policy analysts are suggesting that going over the fiscal cliff could help break the political logjam.

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Movie Interviews
4:57 pm
Fri November 9, 2012

Daniel Day-Lewis On Creating A Voice From The Past

Day-Lewis used firsthand accounts of Abraham Lincoln's speeches, along with his personal letters, to develop a voice and a style for Steven Spielberg's biographical drama.
David James DreamWorks

Originally published on Wed February 20, 2013 3:29 pm

Daniel Day-Lewis has won two Academy Awards for fully immersing himself in his characters in There Will Be Blood and My Left Foot.

Now the British actor is taking on one of America's most iconic figures in Steven Spielberg's Lincoln, playing the 16th president during the final months of his life. Day-Lewis tells NPR's Melissa Block that it was a daunting prospect — but that ultimately Lincoln was a surprisingly accessible figure.


Interview Highlights

On playing such an iconic figure

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Music Interviews
4:46 pm
Fri November 9, 2012

Squeezebox Brutality: Murder Ballads From Finland

Two legendary 19th century Finnish murderers grace the cover to Kimmo Pohjonen's Murhaballadeja.
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Fri November 16, 2012 12:17 pm

Murhaballadeja features a striking photo on the cover: Two beefy, big-jawed men with cruel eyes are in prison garb, shackled with heavy chains at the neck, wrists, knees and feet. Turns out they're legendary 19th century murderers from Finland. These are the kinds of characters you'll find in a collection of murder ballads from Kimmo Pohjonen.

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World
3:29 pm
Fri November 9, 2012

To Combat Sanctions, Iran Buys Up Gold

Iranian women look at a jewelry shop display in Tehran, Iran, in 2010. Iran now appears to be stockpiling gold in an attempt to stabilize its economy, which has been hit hard by Western sanctions.
Atta Lenare AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri November 16, 2012 12:17 pm

Iran is stockpiling gold. That's the way David Cohen sees it. He's undersecretary of the Treasury, and the Treasury's point man for the banking sanctions the U.S. has imposed on Iran.

"Iran is attempting to hoard gold, both by acquiring it and by preventing the export of gold from Iran, in a somewhat desperate attempt to try and defend the value of its currency," Cohen says.

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The Picture Show
3:28 pm
Fri November 9, 2012

The Art Of Chinese Propaganda

"Beloved Chairman Mao, we are loyal to you forever." 1967
Courtesy of the Shanghai Propaganda Poster Art Center

Originally published on Fri November 16, 2012 12:17 pm

The Shanghai Propaganda Poster Art Center lies buried in an unmarked apartment building off the tree-lined streets of the city's former French Concession. There are no signs. You have to wend your way through apartment blocks, down a staircase and into a basement to discover one of Shanghai's most obscure and remarkable museums.

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Author Interviews
6:02 pm
Thu November 8, 2012

What Happens When Kids Fall 'Far From The Tree'

iStockphoto.com

As the old saying goes, the apple doesn't fall far from the tree. In other words, the child takes after the parent; the son is a chip off the old block.

Of course, that's often not the case. Straight parents have gay children and vice versa; autistic children are born to parents who don't have autism; and transgender kids are born to parents who are perfectly comfortable with their gender.

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Movie Reviews
5:45 pm
Thu November 8, 2012

Bond Is Back And Living Up To His Reputation

Daniel Craig returns for a third outing as James Bond in Skyfall, the 23rd installment in the spy movie franchise, and its 50th-anniversary release.
Francois Duhamel Sony Pictures

Originally published on Thu November 8, 2012 6:02 pm

Istanbul: Somebody's stolen a hard drive with info sensitive enough that ... oh, who cares? Bond is giving chase, and that's all that matters — cars careening through bazaars, motorcycles flying across rooftops until Daniel Craig's 007 lands atop a speeding train.

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Book Reviews
5:17 pm
Thu November 8, 2012

Giving Wing To A Story Of Climate Change

Barbara Kingsolver's previous books include The Poisonwood Bible and The Lacuna.
David Wood

Originally published on Fri May 31, 2013 9:43 am

The mercury hit 100 for ten consecutive days in some places last summer, and the drought of 2012 may be a preview of what climate change will bring: amber waves of extremely short corn.

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Economy
4:54 pm
Thu November 8, 2012

Corn Belt Farmland: The Newest Real Estate Bubble?

This field is part of a 160-acre tract in Saline County, Mo., that sold for $10,700 per acre in February — double what it would have gone for five years ago.
Abby Fentress Swanson Harvest Public Media

Originally published on Thu November 8, 2012 6:02 pm

Howard Audsley has been driving through Missouri for the past 30 years to assess the value of farmland. Barreling down the flat roads of Saline County on a recent day, he stopped his truck at a 160-acre tract of newly tilled black land. The land sold in February for $10,700 per acre, double what it would have gone for five years ago.

Heading out into the field, Audsley picked up a clod of the dirt that makes this pocket of land some of the priciest in the state.

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The Salt
4:41 pm
Thu November 8, 2012

You Can Thank A Whey Refinery For That Protein Smoothie

Tim Opper, of Cabot Cheese, inspects equipment that separates whey protein from sugar in the company's whey processing plant.
Dan Charles NPR

Originally published on Fri November 9, 2012 9:52 am

If you've ever checked the ingredient list on a PowerBar or a high-protein smoothie, you probably have stumbled across these words: "Whey protein concentrate." You'll find it in a growing number of prepared foods.

This mysterious ingredient is derived from one of the oldest of human foods — milk. But capturing it requires huge factories that look more like oil refineries than farms.

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World
4:32 pm
Thu November 8, 2012

Elated Kenyans Revel In Obama Win

Kenyans dance at a watch party for the U.S. presidential election in Kogelo village, home to President Obama's step-grandmother. Kenyans were elated by the president's re-election.
Ben Curtis AP

Originally published on Thu November 8, 2012 6:02 pm

As the news spread that the son of the late Barack Obama Sr. — a Kenyan government economist — had held on to the most powerful presidency in the world, the elation across this East African nation was contagious.

One Nairobi radio DJ could scarcely contain himself on Wednesday. "How are your feelings this morning, this Obama Day morning? Talk to me and share your feelings with me," he said.

High Hopes For A Long-Expected Visit

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Law
4:21 pm
Thu November 8, 2012

Pot Legalization Could Cut Deeply Into Cartel Profits

Originally published on Thu November 8, 2012 6:02 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

As Barb mentioned, this week, Colorado and Washington State passed measures legalizing the recreational use of marijuana. We're going to hear reaction now from the country where much of America's pot is grown, Mexico. The sale, growth, and use of marijuana there remains illegal. And Mexico's incoming government fears these new laws will force them to rethink how they fight cross-border pot smuggling. But others think the measures could help fight narco-trafficking and cut into the cartels' power.

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