All Things Considered on Classical 89.3

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  • Hosted by Hosted By: Melissa Block, Robert Siegel, Audie Cornish
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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.

The Obama administration took another step to try to reform the country's prisons this week, banning the use of solitary confinement for juveniles and charging the Bureau of Prisons with finding alternatives to that punishment for the mentally ill.

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Oscar-winning film producer Harvey Weinstein may be best-known for producing movies like Pulp Fiction, The English Patient and Shakespeare in Love. But the indie film mogul has also been busy producing TV. His latest project is a version of War and Peace, a co-production with the BBC and Lifetime.

The miniseries — which airs simultaneously on A+E, Lifetime and History — is an updated retelling of Leo Tolstoy's classic Russian novel. And it's a passion project for Weinstein.

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Five years ago today, the Arab Spring came to Egypt. Protesters took to Cairo's streets to demand more political and economic freedoms, as demonstrator Adel al-Sharif (ph) told NPR at the time.

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On Nov. 24, the sun set in the tiny Greenlandic town of Ittoqqortoormiit. When I arrived in mid-January, it had yet to rise again.

Even for Greenland, Ittoqqortoormiit is isolated. It's considerably colder and darker than the capital, Nuuk.

"I remember my first Christmas on the west coast [of Greenland]," says Mette Barselajsen, who was born here and is raising her four kids in town. "I remember I was surprised we had the sun at Christmas. Like, too light!"

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It's something we hear in every election season. Don't obsess over polls. Go tell it to Donald Trump.

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DONALD TRUMP: So CNN came out 33 for Trump; 20 for Cruz. That's good.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Yeah.

Tracing your genealogy has become a popular hobby in the United States. More than 1 million people around the country have taken these tests. Shows like PBS's Finding Your Roots have shown the public how much information you can find out about your family tree with a simple DNA test.

The latest films in the Star Wars and Hunger Games franchises were not just box office smashes. They also shared something else in common: Both tapped into a widespread debate about casting.

On Friday, Puerto Rico suffered the latest setback in the island's ongoing debt crisis. Talks on restructuring the nearly $9 billion debt of its power company, a government-owned utility, reached an impasse. While the utility, PREPA, said Sunday that it had reached a forbearance agreement with lenders, negotiations on its debt restructuring still have not reached a resolution since the last deal expired Friday night.

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The Los Angeles Unified School District welcomed a new superintendent who represents a first for the nation's second-largest school district on Jan.11.

Michelle King is the first African-American woman chosen for the job, heading more than 900 schools in the district. She is also an insider — she has worked in the system for three decades — unlike the string of outsiders who held the job before her.

Forgive us if you've heard this (and heard it, and heard it) already: The East Coast is getting its fair share of snow this weekend.

If you have, chances are you've also heard another little anecdote. When folks get snowed in for a couple of days — the urban legend goes — the population in that area is likely to see a boost in births just nine months later. In other words: Blizzards might be prime baby-making time.

On campuses across the country, millions of students have an app called Yik Yak on their phones.

It's like an anonymous version of Twitter. But because it's anonymous, it can get ugly and be a breeding ground for hate speech.

Black student leaders across the country have held sit-ins and protests asking college officials to block the app.

Yik Yak, an Atlanta-based social media app, has a presence on more than 2,000 college campuses. Users of the app post comments anonymously, and anyone in within a radius of a few miles can see, share and rate the comment.

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The Guardian's weekend magazine has a new advice columnist answering readers' dilemmas on life and love. She just started on the job last weekend, and she joins us now from NPR West.

Would you mind introducing yourself?

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When Netflix announced its expansion to 130 countries, including Kenya, Nairobi-based IT specialist Mark Irungu says he was thrilled.

He had never failed to find ways to stream Netflix, even when it was blocked in Kenya.

But, he says, touching his heart, "that morning, when I saw that Netflix is global? I can't compare it to anything else."

If you're a chili head, you may have more in common with Hillary Clinton than you knew.

The presidential hopeful has a serious jalapeño habit. She told All Things Considered host Ari Shapiro it started back in 1992, when it was her husband, Bill Clinton, who was running for the White House.

The aptly titled Sweat is all about work — and the fear of losing it. In the new play by Pulitzer Prize-winning writer Lynn Nottage, change is coming for workers at a steel tubing plant. "They've got buttons now that can replace all of us," one character says. Sure enough, the company is about to move production to Mexico and ask longtime union workers to accept lower wages. They refuse, and end up locked out and replaced by immigrant labor.

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ARI SHAPIRO, BYLINE: Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton began her day here with a fundraiser. Tonight she's back on the campaign trail.

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As Iran prepares to pump even more oil into an already glutted market, that oversupply isn't just making gas cheaper for your car — it's also causing jet fuel prices to go down sharply. And that's now pushing airfares down, too.

In their book published this month, In a Different Key: The Story of Autism, journalists John Donvan and Caren Zucker delve into the history of the good and bad intentions, sometimes wrongheaded science and shifting definitions that can cloud our understanding of what has come to be called the autism spectrum.

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Sarah Palin is back in the presidential race. Today, she endorsed Republican frontrunner Donald Trump.

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The Chinese today reported that economic growth for 2015 was 6.9 percent. That is the slowest pace of growth in 25 years.

After years of trying and failing to push new laws through Congress, gun control advocates are targeting American firearms makers from a different angle.

"The only thing they really understand is money," says Leah Gunn Barrett, executive director of the nonprofit New Yorkers Against Gun Violence. She's also part of a coalition called the Campaign to Unload, which encourages investors large and small to divest from owning stock in companies that make guns and ammunition.

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