All Things Considered on Classical 89.3

Weekdays, 4pm - 6pm
Hosted By: Melissa Block, Robert Siegel, Audie Cornish

For two hours every weekday, All Things Considered hosts Robert Siegel, Melissa Block, and Audie Cornish present this NPR program's trademark mix of news, interviews, commentaries, reviews and offbeat features.

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U.S.
5:34 pm
Fri January 11, 2013

Cigarette Makers Frustrated As Product Approvals Stall

A clerk prices cigarettes at Discount Smoke Shop in Ballwin, Mo. The Food and Drug Administration, which must approve all new tobacco products or any changes to existing brands, has not cleared any products since assuming that responsibility in 2009.
Jeff Roberson AP

Originally published on Fri January 11, 2013 7:28 pm

It's been only a few years since Congress granted the federal government the power to approve how tobacco products are made and sold in the U.S.

The Food and Drug Administration's new Center for Tobacco Products, established under a 2009 law that gives the agency jurisdiction over tobacco, must review all new cigarettes or smokeless tobacco, as well as any changes to existing brands.

But the agency has yet to clear any products under the new system, and some cigarette makers are frustrated by the backlog of applications.

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Books
4:54 pm
Fri January 11, 2013

No Going Back: A Hard Look At Bipolar Disorder

istockphoto.com

Originally published on Fri January 11, 2013 6:11 pm

For years, I've taken issue with depictions of mentally ill characters in books and movies. Irrational behavior is easily explained away: They're crazy! No need to elaborate further.

So when I picked up Too Bright to Hear Too Loud to See, I was apprehensive that the main character, an untreated bipolar Hollywood studio executive who leaves his wife and child for an international adventure, might be a kooky manic cliche.

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Movie Interviews
4:45 pm
Fri January 11, 2013

In 'Barbara,' A New Look At Life Behind The Wall

Barbara shows a quiet, restrained normalcy in the former East Germany.
Adopt Films

Originally published on Mon January 14, 2013 5:21 pm

The historical drama is a staple of the film awards season, and the tortured history of modern Germany — with its echoes of the brutal Third Reich and war — has played a central role in many an award-winning film. But the new film Barbara, which was Germany's official entry to this year's Oscars, is a nuanced portrait of the more recent history of a newly reunited East and West.

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Shots - Health News
4:30 pm
Fri January 11, 2013

Businesses Sue Government Over Birth Control Mandate

The Hobby Lobby chain of arts and crafts stores has gone to court to block a provision of the administration's health law that requires employers' health plans to pay for contraceptives.
Tony Gutierrez AP

Originally published on Fri January 11, 2013 8:07 pm

When Congress passed the Affordable Care Act in 2010, few would have predicted that one of the most contentious provisions would have to do with contraception.

But today federal officials are grappling with more than 40 lawsuits claiming that the requirement for most health plans to provide contraceptive coverage to women violates their religious freedom.

And religious groups aren't the only ones going to court.

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World
2:46 pm
Fri January 11, 2013

Juarez Priest Finds 'Hand Of God In The Midst Of Mayhem'

Father Kevin Mullins' parish, the Comunidad Catolica de Corpus Christi near Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, is located at the epicenter of the country's drug cartel war. After years of violence, murders are down and the city's shuttered shops and cafes are beginning to reopen.
Christ Chavez For NPR

Originally published on Fri January 11, 2013 6:11 pm

Father Kevin Mullins steers his old Chevy pickup up a steep road to a hilltop dominated by a large statue of the virgin. She has a commanding view of this troubled corner of Christendom.

Here, the states of Texas, New Mexico and and Chihuahua, Mexico, intersect amid barren hills freckled with ocotillo plants and greasewood.

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Business
6:26 pm
Thu January 10, 2013

To Catch Worker Misconduct, Companies Hire Corporate Detectives

Companies are turning to corporate monitors to check on employees who may be misbehaving.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Thu January 10, 2013 8:32 pm

As businesses face more complex regulations and heightened scrutiny by prosecutors, companies are turning to investigative firms to help keep watch over their employees.

The idea behind the "corporate monitoring" business is to nip misconduct in the bud before law enforcement catches a whiff of it. These corporate detectives-for-hire are seeing good business these days, and finding new ways to snoop.

We all know our employers have access to tons of data about us. They can see every person we email from our company email account, every phone number we dial from our desk.

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It's All Politics
5:57 pm
Thu January 10, 2013

For Young Republican, Defying Boehner In Washington Plays Well Back Home

Republican House Speaker John Boehner administers the oath of office to Amash during a mock swearing-in ceremony on Jan. 5, 2011, at the start of Amash's first term.
Jacquelyn Martin AP

Originally published on Thu January 10, 2013 6:50 pm

When the rumored rebellion against House Speaker John Boehner's bid for a second term played out last week, the very first Republican to not vote for Boehner was Rep. Justin Amash, R-Mich., just three names into the alphabetical roll call.

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Theater
5:52 pm
Thu January 10, 2013

'Adventure Hour' Is A New Take On Old-Time Radio

Mark Gagliardi and Autumn Reeser, as aviator Amelia Earhart, perform in The Thrilling Adventure Hour. Actors dress up and read scripts onstage in front of a live nightclub audience.
Jonathan Reilly The Thrilling Adventure Hour

Originally published on Thu January 10, 2013 6:26 pm

The creators of The Thrilling Adventure Hour proudly call it "fake radio." It's less an homage to old-time radio and more of a clever update. A live monthly performance at Largo, a 200-seat, scruffy-chic Hollywood nightclub is also available as a popular podcast through Nerdist.

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Sports
4:58 pm
Thu January 10, 2013

Washington Redskins Fans Blame Coach For Quarterback's Injuries

Originally published on Thu January 10, 2013 6:26 pm

Audie Cornish talks to sportswriter Stefan Fatsis about news in the National Football League. They cover the injury of Washington Redskins' quarterback Robert Griffin III, new information about brain damage sustained by the late linebacker Junior Seau, and a preview of the weekend's playoff games.

Latin America
4:54 pm
Thu January 10, 2013

Argentine Leader's Plane Grounded By Credit Holders

Originally published on Thu January 10, 2013 6:26 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

When Argentina's President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner travels to Asia and the Middle East this month, she won't be flying on the official presidential plane. That's because Argentina fears the Boeing 757 jet known as Tango 1 will be seized when it lands by creditors, bond holders who hold sovereign debt that Argentina has defaulted on. So, instead of taking that risk, President Fernandez will be flying on a rented charter plane at the cost of $880,000.

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Latin America
4:45 pm
Thu January 10, 2013

Hugo Chavez Misses Inauguration Day, But Supporters Fill The Streets

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez remained in Cuba, where he's receiving treatment for cancer, and was not present for his planned inauguration in Caracas on Thursday. However, thousands of supporters gathered outside the presidential palace to show their backing.
Leo Ramirez AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu January 10, 2013 6:26 pm

Three Latin American presidents turned up, as did foreign diplomats. And thousands of President Hugo Chavez's supporters flooded the streets Thursday outside the presidential palace in Venezuela's capital, Caracas.

But Chavez himself didn't show — he remained in Cuba, incapacitated after his latest round of cancer surgery.

Still, the carefully choreographed show did go on, and Chavez's aides said he remains in charge.

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It's All Politics
4:28 pm
Thu January 10, 2013

Estimated Costs Drive Debate As Florida Weighs Medicaid Expansion

Florida Gov. Rick Scott speaks in Fort Lauderdale in May.
J. Pat Carter AP

Originally published on Thu January 10, 2013 6:26 pm

Florida and several other states are wrestling with a decision: whether to expand Medicaid.

When the Supreme Court upheld the Affordable Care Act last year, the court said states could opt out of that part of the law. But it's key. It would provide coverage to millions of low-income Americans who currently have no health insurance.

Florida Gov. Rick Scott says he's concerned about how much expanding Medicaid would cost. But others charge the governor is exaggerating.

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Shots - Health News
1:25 pm
Thu January 10, 2013

Wake-Up Call: FDA Pushes Drugmakers To Weaken Sleeping Pills

Tim Boyle Getty Images

Originally published on Thu January 10, 2013 6:26 pm

The Food and Drug Administration announced Thursday that it was requiring companies that make Ambien and similar sleeping pills to sharply cut the doses of the drugs.

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Afghanistan
1:23 pm
Thu January 10, 2013

Small Strike Against Corruption: Afghan Governors Chosen On Merit

Deputy provincial governors and district governors selected under a new merit-based program are sworn in Tuesday in Kabul. The development is part of an effort to address rampant corruption in Afghanistan.
Sean Carberry NPR

Originally published on Thu January 10, 2013 6:26 pm

Regularly ranked as one of the most corrupt countries in the world, Afghanistan has implemented what for it is a novel new program: selecting provincial and district officials on the basis of their skills, rather than connections.

By all accounts, Afghanistan's corruption is endemic at all levels of government. It's hoped the new effort will begin to curb graft, patronage and nepotism in the country's 34 provinces and roughly 360 districts.

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The Two-Way
8:16 am
Thu January 10, 2013

Crazy Or Canny? Talk Grows About $1 Trillion Platinum Coin

No, this isn't worth $1 trillion. It's a commemorative coin minted in the U.K. in 2008. But some have suggested the president's image should be on it if he orders up a $1 trillion coin.
Christopher Furlong Getty Images

Originally published on Fri January 11, 2013 1:15 pm

We're pretty sure this won't happen.

But ...

You practically can't visit a news site these days without seeing a story about why President Obama should or should not order the Treasury Department to strike a platinum coin "worth" $1 trillion and deposit it with the Federal Reserve.

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U.S.
5:49 pm
Wed January 9, 2013

Ohio Town Roiling As Rape Case Accusations Fly

Protesters gather at the Jefferson County Courthouse in Steubenville, Ohio, on Saturday, to demand justice for a girl allegedly raped by Steubenville High School football players last August.
Rick Senften WKSU

Originally published on Wed January 9, 2013 8:17 pm

The small river town of Steubenville, Ohio, is in turmoil over an alleged rape involving high school football players, a 16-year-old girl and accusations of a cover-up.

Steubenville is nestled in the foothills of Appalachia at the juncture of Ohio and West Virginia, less than 10 miles from the Pennsylvania border. To the west, reclaimed strip mines, woods and hills stretch far into rural Ohio. Pittsburgh lies 37 miles to the east.

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Shots - Health News
5:49 pm
Wed January 9, 2013

U.S. Ranks Below 16 Other Rich Countries In Health Report

iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Wed January 9, 2013 6:46 pm

It's no news that the U.S. has lower life expectancy and higher infant mortality than most high-income countries. But a magisterial new report says Americans are actually less healthy across their entire life spans than citizens of 16 other wealthy nations.

And the gap is steadily widening.

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Latin America
5:29 pm
Wed January 9, 2013

Buyback Program Gets Some Guns Off Mexican Streets

These weapons, in the Iztapalapa neighborhood of Mexico City, were handed over by their owners during a government program that accepts weapons in exchange for bicycles, computers, tablets or money.
Marco Ugarte AP

Originally published on Wed January 9, 2013 6:31 pm

In Mexico, a country plagued by drug cartel violence, the mayor of the capital city is offering residents cash, new bikes and computers in exchange for their guns. He says the buyback program will get dangerous weapons out of the hands of residents and make the streets safer.

But not all mayors in Mexico — where it's extremely difficult to legally buy a gun — are rushing to replicate the program. In fact, in cities overrun by drug traffickers, some say law-abiding citizens should be able to have them for protection.

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Around the Nation
5:11 pm
Wed January 9, 2013

Thanks, But No Thanks: When Post-Disaster Donations Overwhelm

Volunteers sort through piles of donated clothes for Superstorm Sandy victims at an impromptu Staten Island aid station in November. Relief groups are still trying to figure out what to do with donated clothes people sent to New York and New Jersey in Sandy's aftermath.
Seth Wenig AP

Originally published on Wed January 9, 2013 6:31 pm

Newtown, Conn., was so inundated with teddy bears and other donations after last month's school shootings that it asked people to please stop sending gifts. Relief groups in New York and New Jersey are still trying to figure out what to do with piles of clothes and other items sent there after Superstorm Sandy.

It happens in every disaster: People want to help, but they often donate things that turn out to be more of a burden. Disaster aid groups are trying to figure out a better way to channel these good intentions.

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Book Reviews
4:31 pm
Wed January 9, 2013

'A Life In Friendships' Is A Life Well Lived

She Matters cover detail

Originally published on Wed January 9, 2013 6:31 pm

You know how sometimes in life you make a friend, and at first you want to talk to her all the time, feverishly telling her details that, by their very personal nature, will bind you to this other person forever, or so you hope? But inevitably, of course, friendships shift and change and become something different from what they initially seemed.

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