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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Environment
5:01 pm
Sun January 20, 2013

Former Anti-GMO Activist Says Science Changed His Mind

Harvest wheat from a field near Wright, Kan. May 10, 2004.
ORLIN WAGNER ASSOCIATED PRESS

Originally published on Sun January 20, 2013 5:29 pm

For years, British environmental activist Mark Lynas destroyed genetically modified food (GMO) crops in what he calls a successful campaign to force the business of agriculture to be more holistic and ecological in its practices.

His targets were companies like Monsanto and Syngenta — leaders in developing genetically modified crops.

Earlier this month he went in front of the world to reverse his position on GMOs.

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Author Interviews
4:12 pm
Sun January 20, 2013

Connecting With Nature To Reclaim Our Natural 'Birthright'

Stephen Kellert is a professor emeritus and senior research scholar at Yale University.
John Mueller Yale University Press

Originally published on Sun January 20, 2013 5:29 pm

"Contact with nature is not some magical elixir but the natural world is the substrate on which we must build our existence," writes Stephen Kellert in his new book Birthright: People and Nature in the Modern World.

In it, he tells stories of the environment's effect on us, and ours on it. His writing builds on the traditions of Thoreau, John Muir and Rachel Carson. Modern society, he argues, has become adversarial in its relationship to nature, having greatly undervalued the natural world beyond its narrow utility.

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Food
3:49 pm
Sun January 20, 2013

Distilling Presidential History Into 44 Cocktails

Washington, D.C., bartender Jim Hewes distills presidential history into cocktails.
Liz Baker NPR

Originally published on Tue January 22, 2013 5:04 pm

As Washington, D.C., gears up for the 57th presidential inauguration, political parties are in full swing. We're not talking about run-of-the-mill partisan bickering. We're talking about inaugural celebrations: balls, galas and cocktail parties. Emphasis on the cocktail.

The Round Robin Bar in the Willard Hotel is just a stone's throw from the White House. Bartender Jim Hewes has been serving up drinks there for nearly 30 years.

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Inauguration 2013
3:15 pm
Sun January 20, 2013

An Inaugural Memory: President Lincoln's Food Fight

Menu for Lincoln's 2nd inaugural ball, March 6, 1865
Smithsonian Institution

Originally published on Tue January 22, 2013 12:27 pm

A recently-published menu for Abraham Lincoln's lavish second inaugural ball in 1865 provides an interesting look at how different the nation celebrated its new president just seven score and eight years ago.

Smoked tongue en geleé and blancmange (a firm custard) shared room on the buffet table with roast turkey and burnt almond ice cream.

As Yale food historian Paul Freedman told Smithsonian Magazine writer Megan Gambino, the cuisine could best be described as "French via England, with some American ingredients."

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Music Interviews
2:58 pm
Sun January 20, 2013

For Sean Lennon, Music Is Not A Solo Act

Sean Lennon in the studio, during production of the Alter Egos soundtrack.
Jordan Galland Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Sun January 20, 2013 5:29 pm

Sean Lennon, son of John and Yoko, is drawn to musical collaboration and repelled by hydraulic fracturing.

The 37-year-old just released two albums: the improvisational project Mystical Weapons and the score to the independent film Alter Egos.

Writing For Film

Lennon only appears in Alter Egos for a few seconds; the majority of his efforts went into writing the music, which he had to do twice. He describes the film as a "kitsch comedy about superheroes," and his first attempt at the music took a similar vibe.

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It's All Politics
6:47 pm
Sat January 19, 2013

On His Campaign Promises Report Card, Obama Did 'Pretty Well'

Originally published on Sat January 19, 2013 7:25 pm

PolitiFact has been keeping a list — a very long list — on the president's first term.

The Pulitzer Prize-winning political watchdog assesses the veracity of political claims, and this week, it released a report card on the promises Obama made during his first presidential campaign.

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Education
5:28 pm
Sat January 19, 2013

New Reading Standards Aim To Prep Kids For College — But At What Cost?

New education standards place more emphasis on nonfiction reading and writing over fiction works. Some say this could lead students away from a passionate engagement with literature.
Chris Sadowski iStockphoto

Originally published on Sat January 19, 2013 9:17 pm

Once upon a time, in the long ago world of high school reading, Holden Caulfield was perhaps the epitome of angst: a young man suddenly an outcast in the world he thought he knew. The antihero of J.D. Salinger's The Catcher in the Rye was about to enter a perilous journey of self-discovery.

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World
5:02 pm
Sat January 19, 2013

Standoff Over Hostages Continues In Algeria

Originally published on Sat January 19, 2013 7:25 pm

Transcript

JACKI LYDEN, HOST:

It's WEEKENDS on ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Jacki Lyden. An international hostage drama has come to an end in Algeria. After four days, the Algerian army ended the bloody siege of a remote oil and gas facility where Islamist militants were holding dozens of Western hostages. The brutal assault was launched Thursday morning. Many people are dead, up to 23 captives and at least 30 Islamists, according to the Algerian state media.

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Analysis
5:02 pm
Sat January 19, 2013

Week In News: Speculating On Obama's Second Term

Originally published on Sat January 19, 2013 7:25 pm

Transcript

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

(SOUNDBITE OF PRESIDENT OBAMA'S 2009 INAUGURAL ADDRESS)

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: My fellow citizens, I stand here today humbled by the task before us.

JACKI LYDEN, HOST:

The newly minted President Obama from his 2009 inaugural address. Another speech is surely coming together right now for Monday's inauguration. James Fallows of The Atlantic joins us, as he does most Saturdays. Hello there, Jim.

JAMES FALLOWS: Hello, Jacki.

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Music
5:02 pm
Sat January 19, 2013

Janis Joplin: The Queen Of Rock

Originally published on Sat January 19, 2013 7:25 pm

Transcript

JACKI LYDEN, HOST:

If you're just tuning in, this is WEEKENDS on ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Jacki Lyden. And it's time now for music. Today, a major musical birthday.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "PIECE OF MY HEART")

JANIS JOPLIN: (Singing) I want you to come on, come on...

LYDEN: Janis Joplin would have turned 70 years old on this day.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "PIECE OF MY HEART")

JOPLIN: (Singing) And take it, take another little piece of my heart now, baby.

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Around the Nation
5:09 pm
Fri January 18, 2013

Stink Bug's Resurfacing May Squash Farmers' Hopes For A Strong 2013

The stink bug population is six times larger this year than last.
Matt Rourke AP

Originally published on Fri January 18, 2013 5:14 pm

If you live along the East Coast, there's a pretty good chance that stink bugs may be lurking in your attic or even behind your curtains. The invasive insects from Asia, which exude a rubber-like stench when you crush them, are a nuisance for you, but a serious pest for farmers.

Crop producers received a reprieve from the bugs in 2012, but the insects may be coming back and with a greater spread of attack.

Bob Black says he was not in a good place in 2010.

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U.S.
5:09 pm
Fri January 18, 2013

N.Y. Governor Flexes Political Muscle To Pass Tough Gun Law

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed a new gun control law in Albany on Tuesday. It's the nation's first gun law enacted since the December school shooting in Newtown, Conn.
Mike Groll AP

On Tuesday, New York became the first state in the nation to pass a tough new gun control law. Gov. Andrew Cuomo convinced his state's Legislature to act, even before President Obama took executive action to limit access to guns.

The governor's legislative victory followed his impassioned State of the State address earlier this month, delivered the first day of the 2013 legislative session.

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It's All Politics
5:09 pm
Fri January 18, 2013

For Cartoonists Who Cover Obama: Four More Ears

For editorial cartoonists, Obama's ears are his signature. In some depictions, they've grown throughout the years, but Matt Wuerker says cartoonists have gotten lazy. "We did the same thing to George W. Bush. By the end of his administration he was just Dumbo."
Courtesy of Matt Wuerker/Politico

Four years ago, when the nation's first African-American president was inaugurated, even conservative editorial cartoonists marked the moment with reverence.

As Scott Stantis, now of the Chicago Tribune, tells All Things Considered host Audie Cornish: "There are times in our history where we can just take half a step back from our partisanship and revel in the history and wonder of something."

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Middle East
5:09 pm
Fri January 18, 2013

U.S., Iran Running Low On Options Over Nuclear Program

With time running out on efforts to monitor Iran's nuclear program, 2013 could well be the year when the United States must decide whether to take military action to block Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon.

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Shots - Health News
6:26 pm
Thu January 17, 2013

It's Legal For Some Insurers To Discriminate Based On Genes

Slides containing DNA sit in a bay waiting to be analyzed by a genome sequencing machine.
David Paul Morris Bloomberg via Getty Images

Originally published on Fri January 18, 2013 10:48 am

Getting the results of a genetic test can be a bit like opening Pandora's box. You might learn something useful or interesting, or you might learn that you're likely to develop an incurable disease later on in life.

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