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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The Salt
5:30 pm
Fri November 8, 2013

The Enigmatic Pecan: Why So Pricey, And How To Pronounce It?

Where In the U.S. do people say pee-kahn over pi-kahn? Joshua Katz answered your burning question by mapping Bert Vaux's dialect survey on regional variations in the continental United States.
Courtesy of Joshua Katz

Originally published on Sat November 9, 2013 3:08 pm

The price of pecans is going up, up, up, which may mean that if you're planning a pecan pie for Thanksgiving, the time to buy them is now. The reasons behind that escalating price all come down to natural forces: supply and demand and weather.

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The Two-Way
5:30 pm
Fri November 8, 2013

Blockbuster Fades Out, But Some Zombie Stores Will Live On

This Blockbuster store in Mission, Texas, is franchised by Border Entertainment. The company has 26 stores across Texas and Alaska that will live on after the last 300 or so company-owned stores are closed by early January 2014.
Courtesy of Alan Payne

Originally published on Fri November 8, 2013 8:08 pm

Blockbuster was once the king of movie rental stores. At its peak, it had about 60,000 employees and more than 9,000 stores.

But after struggling for several years, the chain is breathing its last gasp. Dish Network, which bought Blockbuster in a 2011 bankruptcy auction, says it will close the remaining 300 or so company-owned stores by January.

On Twitter, it put out a call for "Blockbuster Memories."

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Books
5:30 pm
Fri November 8, 2013

In Art Lost And Found, The Echoes Of A Century's Upheaval

Originally published on Fri November 8, 2013 8:08 pm

Every week, a cluster of stories comes to define the landscape of news media. These can be stories of international scope or local intimacy, but for their own distinctive reasons, they all offer narratives defined almost in real time.

To get a better grasp on the hectic pace of current events, it's often vital to turn to another kind of narrative — our favorite kind: books. That's why each week we'll invite authors to suggest a book that somehow deepens, contextualizes or offers an entirely new angle on one of the week's major headlines.

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Movie Interviews
4:39 pm
Fri November 8, 2013

Jake Gyllenhaal, Going After What's Real

Jake Gyllenhaal plays the stoic Detective Loki in Prisoners, trying to track down two missing girls.
Wilson Webb Warner Bros.

Originally published on Fri November 8, 2013 8:08 pm

In the movie Prisoners, now in theaters, a detective investigates the abduction of two young girls. Things get a little more complicated when the father of one of the girls takes matters into his own hands, kidnapping and torturing the man he thinks is responsible.

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NPR Story
4:39 pm
Fri November 8, 2013

Sitting At Her Son's Bedside, A Mother Re-Defines Religious Nut

Originally published on Fri November 8, 2013 8:08 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

Health care insurance is designed to pay the bills but when we're faced with a life-threatening illness, what really sustains us? Writer Nancy Slonim Aronie was loathe to turn to religion, so she was surprised by what she found next door.

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Parallels
4:36 pm
Fri November 8, 2013

France Rethinks The Sanctity Of Its Day Of Rest

A woman walks amid both open and closed shops during a Sunday morning stroll at the Butte Montmartre in Paris, in July. Under France's Byzantine rules on Sunday trading, shops at the top of the hill are in a designated tourist area and so can open, but those at the bottom cannot.
Christian Hartmann Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Fri November 8, 2013 8:34 pm

There's a fight going on for the soul of France. Since 1906, Sunday has been deemed a collective day of rest in the country, and French law only allows stores to open on Sundays under very specific conditions — for example, if they're in a high tourist area. Sunday work is also tightly controlled.

But some people are questioning the sense of such a tradition in a languishing economy and 24/7 world.

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Politics
6:50 pm
Thu November 7, 2013

How Kennedy's Assassination Changed The Secret Service

The limousine carrying President John F. Kennedy races toward the hospital after he was shot in Dallas on Nov. 22, 1963, with Secret Service agent Clint Hill riding on the back.
Justin Newman AP

Originally published on Fri November 8, 2013 10:45 am

Nov. 22 will mark the 50th anniversary of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy in Dallas, a moment that left an indelible mark on those who remember it.

It also permanently changed the agency charged with protecting the president — the U.S. Secret Service.

Looking back at the images of Kennedy, first lady Jackie Kennedy, Texas Gov. John Connally and his wife waving as they rode through the streets of Dallas in an open Lincoln, it all looks terribly innocent and naive.

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Around the Nation
6:48 pm
Thu November 7, 2013

School Named For Former KKK Leader Reconsiders Its Legacy

Nathan Bedford Forrest served as the first grand wizard of the Ku Klux Klan. The high school that bears his name, now majority African-American, has been at the center of controversy for decades.
Mike Wintroath AP

Originally published on Thu November 7, 2013 8:41 pm

Duval County Public Schools is considering a name change for Nathan Bedford Forrest High School in Jacksonville, Fla. The school is named for a Confederate hero who was the first grand wizard of the Ku Klux Klan — and after five decades of debate, there appears to be momentum for change.

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The Salt
6:46 pm
Thu November 7, 2013

How 17th Century Fraud Gave Rise To Bright Orange Cheese

Shelburne Farms' clothbound cheddar has a bright yellow color because it's made from the milk of cows that graze on grasses high in beta-carotene.
Courtesy of A. Blake Gardner

Originally published on Fri November 8, 2013 9:46 am

The news from Kraft last week that the company is ditching two artificial dyes in some versions of its macaroni and cheese products left me with a question.

Why did we start coloring cheeses orange to begin with? Turns out there's a curious history here.

In theory, cheese should be whitish — similar to the color of milk, right?

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Book Reviews
5:50 pm
Thu November 7, 2013

Inspired By History, A Novelist Writes Of Jewish South Africa

iStockphoto

Originally published on Thu November 7, 2013 6:51 pm

Roughly three-quarters of South Africa's Jewish population are descendants of Lithuanian immigrants. Of these peasants, townspeople, tradesmen, shopkeepers and intellectuals who fled centuries of persecution and embarked on a passage to Africa, many dreamed of a new land and the promise of new beginnings. Kenneth Bonert's ancestors were part of this diaspora. In his debut novel, written in language as dense and varied as the South African landscape he describes, Bonert delivers a taut, visceral account of a young Jewish boy's African life.

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Photography
5:50 pm
Thu November 7, 2013

Photographer Editta Sherman, 'Duchess Of Carnegie Hall,' Dies At 101

Sherman poses for a photo in New York in July 2012.
Verena Dobnik AP

Originally published on Thu November 7, 2013 8:16 pm

For six decades, in her light-filled studio on top of New York's Carnegie Hall, portrait photographer Editta Sherman photographed celebrities from Leonard Bernstein to Yul Brynner to Joe DiMaggio. She was a legend — and she'd tell you that herself. Sherman died Friday at 101.

A note on her website reads: "Editta Sherman's vibrant sparkling life faded from this earth on November 1st, All Saints Day. She is at peace now and she is clothed in her ballerina dress with her diamond shoes dancing her way home to our hearts."

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Around the Nation
5:49 pm
Thu November 7, 2013

Trim Recess? Some Schools Hold On To Child's Play

Students play tag at Ruby Bridges Elementary in Alameda, Calif. The school has expanded recess time with help from the nonprofit group Playworks.
Eric Westervelt NPR

Originally published on Thu November 7, 2013 6:51 pm

It's recess time at Ruby Bridges Elementary School and a third-grader is pummeling a plastic tetherball with focused intensity. He's playing at one of more than a half-dozen recess play stations on the school's sprawling cement playground — there's also wall ball, basketball, capture the flag, sharks and minnows, a jungle gym and tag.

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Parallels
1:30 pm
Thu November 7, 2013

Who Owns The Archives Of A Vanishing Iraqi Jewish World?

This colorfully illustrated French and Hebrew Passover Haggadah was published in Vienna in 1930. Caption on the image: "Eating Matzah." This restored document is part of an exhibit at the National Archives in Washington, D.C., that opens Nov. 8.
National Archives

Originally published on Sun November 10, 2013 12:22 pm

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Parallels
12:10 pm
Thu November 7, 2013

In Libya, The Militias Rule While Government Founders

Militias from towns throughout the country's west parade through Tripoli, Libya, in 2012. Analysts say the country is awash with heavy weapons in the hands of militias divided by tribe, ideology and region. The central government has little power over the gunmen.
Abdel Magid Al Fergany AP

Originally published on Thu November 7, 2013 6:51 pm

Zintan, a mountain town in northwestern Libya, is a place of gray and brown buildings, with little infrastructure, about 50,000 people and no central government control.

The Libyan government doesn't provide basic services, not even water. People use wells to provide for themselves. The local council runs all of Zintan's affairs out of a building in the center of town.

At the local militia base on the outskirts of town, we meet the keeper of Saif el-Islam Gadhafi, the son and one-time heir apparent of Moammar Gadhafi.

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Education
5:18 pm
Wed November 6, 2013

Michigan Works To Match Dropouts With Degrees Already Earned

At Lansing Community College in Michigan, students who've moved on to four-year schools can come back and claim their credits, and maybe even a degree.
David Shane/Flickr

Originally published on Mon November 11, 2013 11:15 am

There's a nationwide search underway to find former students who don't know they've already done all or most of the work needed to earn a credential that might help them land a better-paying job.

In Michigan, several hundred community college dropouts were recently surprised to learn they had enough credits to qualify for an associate degree. There are also ex-students who apparently didn't know they're just a few credits shy of a two-year degree.

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