All Things Considered on Classical 89.3

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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.

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Some people have stayed in their homes, and that's been difficult, too, especially in low-income neighborhoods in east Houston. NPR's Rebecca Hersher talked to people there who are struggling to get the basics, like food, water and information.

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Six days after Hurricane Harvey first crossed the Texas coast, Houston is still in rescue mode with people stranded in houses and apartments.

With the authorities overwhelmed by the scope of the flooding, private citizens have been rushing to Houston and towing their own boats to conduct rescues.

Rene Galvan has come to a makeshift boat launch on flooded Highway 90, looking for rescuers. In a soaked, blue hoodie, he sits anxiously in the bow of an aluminum boat, wondering how they're going to get to 14 members of his extended family who have been stranded by rising water.

A friend sent a photo to Jaime Botello's phone Wednesday that confirmed his fears: The house where his family has lived for 30 years is completely flooded.

"All the way to the top," he says.

And like most people in the Houston area, Botello, a welder who was at a shelter with his wife on Wednesday, doesn't have flood insurance. He says he can't afford it.

The state of Washington is calling all fishermen to catch unlimited farmed Atlantic salmon with no size or weight limits after a net pen broke last week, allowing thousands of the non-native fish to escape into the open ocean.

The pen, in the state's northwestern San Juan Islands, contained about 305,000 Atlantic salmon, and is owned by Cooke Aquaculture.

The lobby of a Silicon Valley tech company is not where you would expect to hear a soprano belting out a Puccini aria, but that was exactly what happened at the first performance of Arias in the Office.

With "Ch'il Bel Sogno," soprano Katharine Gunnink kicked off the new pop-up series at Adobe's San Jose headquarters at the beginning of August. The initiative by Opera San José aims to introduce people to the very concept of opera as something that can be fun and enjoyable.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has differed with President Trump over a number of significant foreign policy issues — North Korea, Iran and Qatar, to name a few. But when Tillerson distanced himself from the president on the question of American values — telling Fox News Sunday that the president "speaks for himself" by blaming "both sides" for violence that took place during a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Va. — questions grew over whether he would soon be out of office.

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The rain has let up in Houston, but getting in and out of the city is still a difficult task. Houston's two main airports reopened Wednesday with limited service. But many roads are flooded, and some bridges have been damaged.

Since Saturday, when both the airports shut down, thousands of flights in and out the city have been canceled. Up to now, at the George Bush Intercontinental Airport, the runways were open only for limited operations and humanitarian flights.

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We're joined now by the mayor of Houston. Sylvester Turner is on the line with us. Thank you for making the time, and welcome to the program.

SYLVESTER TURNER: Well, thank you.

As floodwaters continue to rise in parts of Houston, health workers are trying to keep people safe and well, though that challenge is escalating.

"The first and foremost thing that everybody's concerned about is just getting folks out of harm's way with the flooded waters," says Dr. Umair Shah, Executive Director of Harris County Public Health, whose own home came under mandatory evacuation Tuesday morning.

The past few years have been all over the map for Josh Homme.

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President Trump pledged to rebuild Houston and Texas bigger and better than ever. However, earlier this month, he rescinded an Obama executive order that required flood-damaged property to be rebuilt higher and stronger. Trump also has proposed eliminating federal flood mapping and the federal government's top disaster agency.

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Bill Gilmer remembers spending the night listening to the winds of Hurricane Ike tear through his suburban Houston neighborhood in September 2008. He also recalls waking up the next morning to hear something completely different.

"The first sound I heard was chainsaws, and I looked out and all my neighbors were out there clearing the streets, clearing their yards, cleaning up their yards," says Gilmer, who directs the Institute for Regional Forecasting at the University of Houston's C.T. Bauer College of Business.

On Sunday a planned rally of right-wing activists in Berkeley, Calif., mostly fizzled out, but thousands of peaceful left-wing protesters turned out, singing songs and chanting.

About 150 members of anti-facist groups — also known as antifa or black bloc protesters — also were there, marching in formation with covered faces. Then a couple of people from the right-wing did show up.

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Flooding from tropical storm Harvey has overwhelmed first responders in Texas. In many places, local groups and businesses are stepping in to help.

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Many of Tropical Storm Harvey's stranded flood victims haven't been able to get through to 911, compounding their fears. That's when Facebook, Twitter and Nextdoor stepped in.

Annie Swinford is one of the many unofficial volunteers helping fellow Houstonians via the Facebook group Hurricane Harvey 2017 - Together We Will Make It.

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And we are continuing our special coverage of the storm in Houston by talking to the mayor of Houston, Sylvester Turner. He's with us on the line now. Mr. Mayor, thank you so much for speaking with us.

SYLVESTER TURNER: Thank you for having me.

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Houston Weather Forecast Update

Aug 27, 2017

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As we said earlier, Harvey has been downgraded from hurricane to tropical storm, but the rain is still falling and causing lots of problems, as we've been hearing. Joining us now is Eric Berger. He is a meteorologist of Space City Weather. Eric, thanks so much for joining us.

Assessing Houston-Area Damage

Aug 27, 2017

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So as all this continues, a big question will be what to do with all the people who are being displaced by floodwaters. We're joined now by NPR's Debbie Elliott. She's in Beaumont, Texas, which is east of Houston. Debbie, thanks so much for joining us.

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Barbershop: Politics In The Classroom

Aug 26, 2017

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