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Music Interviews
8:12 am
Sat March 24, 2012

Melanie Fiona: A Grammy Winner Gets Personal

Melanie Fiona's new album is titled The MF Life.
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Sun March 25, 2012 11:43 am

The MF Life is the second album by R&B singer Melanie Fiona, released this past week. The two-time Grammy winner says the title has sparked a lot of discussion.

"It gets people talking to each other," Fiona says. "I wanted it to be a collection of music and songs that make people think about the things that we actually go through and feel, and to acknowledge that β€” to know that there's someone out there singing their story, as well."

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Planet Money
4:08 pm
Fri March 23, 2012

Trying To Save A Broke City

David Unkovic makes his case.
Christine Baker The Patriot-News

This is the second of two stories we're doing today about Harrisburg. Read the first story here.

Harrisburg is broke.

The Pennsylvania city is deep in debt. It's still spending more than it takes in. And, as David Unkovic described it to me last week, there's a cash-flow problem.

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Monkey See
3:00 pm
Fri March 23, 2012

Niecy Nash Puts Her Blended Family In The Reality Spotlight

Niecy Nash is the star of the new family "docu-sitcom," Leave It To Niecy, on TLC.
Robert Ector TLC

If you know the actress and comedian Niecy Nash, you're probably either excited about her new reality show, Leave It To Niecy, or you're cringing just thinking about it. Nash does not do things halfway. Her new show starts Sunday, and it's intended to be something like a real-life Modern Family.

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Law
6:03 pm
Thu March 22, 2012

Canadian Asked For Death, But Now Wants Life

Ronald Allen Smith is the only Canadian on death row in the United States. Since Canada has abolished the death penalty, Canadians have been advocating for clemency for Smith.
Courtesy of Montana State Prison

The only Canadian on death row in the United States is in the Montana State Prison, about an hour and a half southeast of Missoula. After almost three decades, he is asking the governor of Montana for mercy. The request for clemency is the last chance Alberta native Ronald Allen Smith has of avoiding execution.

"I've been here for 29 years," says Smith, who has spent more of his life inside the state's maximum security block than he has spent outside of it. He has tried to think about his crime as little as possible.

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Shots - Health Blog
5:56 pm
Thu March 22, 2012

Answers To Your Questions About The Health Care Overhaul Law

iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Thu March 22, 2012 6:05 pm

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act β€” the health care overhaul law that President Obama championed and Republicans rejected β€” turns two on Friday.

The law is headed to the Supreme Court on Monday, where the Justices begin hearing three days of arguments about the constitutionality of the law. Ahead of the big day, we asked for questions from our audiences online and on air. Here's a sampling of questions, edited for clarity and length, and the answers.

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Movie Reviews
5:30 pm
Thu March 22, 2012

'Hunger Games': Mortal Combat As Appointment TV

Are You Not Entertained? TV host Caesar Flickerman (Stanley Tucci) takes the celebrity interview to new lows when chatting up the young combatants in the to-the-death Hunger Games β€” including Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence).
Lionsgate

Hungry for a good dystopia? Well, as you may be gathering from reports of the millions of tickets sold before prints were even shipped to theaters, author Suzanne Collins has a feast for you in the first movie installment of her young-adult trilogy The Hunger Games.

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Politics
3:00 pm
Thu March 22, 2012

After House, Senate Pushes JOBS Act Through

Originally published on Thu March 22, 2012 6:05 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

There was a bipartisan spirit on Capitol Hill today. The U.S. Senate voted to approve two major bills and a number of judges. One of those bills was the JOBS Act. The bill seeks to streamline regulations and make it easier for smaller companies to raise money and go public. The idea being that it will encourage job growth. The bill passed by an overwhelming majority.

But as NPR's Sonari Glinton reports, bipartisanship isn't always pretty.

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Digital Life
3:00 pm
Thu March 22, 2012

'Pinterest' Wades In Murky Copyright Waters

Originally published on Thu March 22, 2012 6:05 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

These days, a darling of the tech and business world is Pinterest. It's a virtual scrapbooking site that allows users to organize photos, recipes, images they like and pin them to an online bulletin board. Nearly 18 million users logged in to the site last month alone. So when Kirsten Kowalski wrote a blog post wondering whether Pinterest users risk violating copyright laws, it went viral. Kowalski is a lawyer and photographer and Pinterest user herself.

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Europe
7:57 pm
Wed March 21, 2012

French Police Fight For Presumed Killer's Surrender

Originally published on Thu March 22, 2012 8:37 am

French police have been trying to get a suspected gunman to surrender, after he apparently changed his mind about turning himself in. The 24-year-old has confessed to killing the Jewish children and the paratrooper in Toulouse. Explosions have been reported near the apartment. NPR's Eleanor Beardsley tells host Robert Siegel the latest developments.

Law
5:02 pm
Wed March 21, 2012

High Court Throws Out 'Bad Lawyer' Convictions

Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy, shown on Capitol Hill in April 2011, wrote the court's ruling Wednesday that for the most part, plea bargaining determines "who goes to jail and for how long. It is not some adjunct to the criminal justice system. It is the criminal justice system."
Evan Vucci AP

For the first time, the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that defendants have a constitutional right to effective assistance of counsel in plea bargains. In a 5-4 decision Wednesday, the court went further, declaring that when a lawyer acts unethically or gives clearly wrong advice, the defendant may be entitled to a second chance at accepting a plea offer.

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The Record
4:00 pm
Wed March 21, 2012

Reggae In The U.K.: A Steady Force

Music For 'Disenfranchised Working-Class Youth': The British reggae band Steel Pulse formed in Birmingham in 1975. Mykaell Riley is third from the left.
Echoes/Redfern Getty Images

Originally published on Wed March 21, 2012 8:44 pm

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Book Reviews
3:00 pm
Wed March 21, 2012

Review: 'Hope: A Tragedy'

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel.

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

And I'm Audie Cornish. Now, a review of the latest book by Shalom Auslander. It's a novel that incorporates a bizarre representation of one of history's most tragic heroines. Our reviewer, Alan Cheuse, says the book is surprising and infuriating.

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Law
6:14 pm
Tue March 20, 2012

Supreme Court Considers Life Sentences For Juveniles

The U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments on Tuesday in two cases that ask whether it is constitutional to sentence juveniles to life in prison without parole.
Paul J. Richards AFP/Getty Images

The U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments Tuesday in two murder cases testing whether it is unconstitutionally cruel and unusual punishment to sentence a 14-year-old to life in prison without the possibility of parole. There are currently 79 people serving such life terms for crimes committed when they were 14 or younger.

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Author Interviews
5:16 pm
Tue March 20, 2012

'Shoah' Director Details Memoirs In 'Patagonian Hare'

Claude Lanzmann published his memoir, Le Lièvre de Patagonie, in France in 2009. The Patagonian Hare has now been translated into English.
Helie Gallimar Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Seventy years ago, in the middle of World War II, a couple of hundred miles north of Toulouse, Claude Lanzmann was a high school student β€” and an assimilated French Jew. Every day he faced the risk of arrest.

When Lanzmann was a teenager, both he and his father independently joined the Communist Resistance. He writes about that in his newly translated memoir, The Patagonian Hare.

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Opinion
5:06 pm
Tue March 20, 2012

Trayvon Martin: The Lingering Memory Of Dead Boys

Attorney Benjamin Crump speaks to the medial, holding cellphone records and a police report. He represents the family of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin, who was was killed by neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman on Feb. 26 in Sanford, Fla.
Joe Raedle Getty Images

Originally published on Tue March 20, 2012 7:05 pm

Tayari Jones has written for McSweeney's, The New York Times and The Believer. Her most recent book is Silver Sparrow.

Like many Americans, I have been glued to the television eager for details about the tragic murder of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin. I am not sure what I hoped to discover, as each new piece of evidence is more disturbing than the last.

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Music Reviews
4:37 pm
Tue March 20, 2012

'The Medium Is The Massage': A Kitchen Sink Of Sound

Artwork for The Medium Is the Massage.
Courtesy of the artist

Few 20th century thinkers predicted the 21st century era of social media and the Internet better than Marshall McLuhan. Beginning in the 1960s, the Toronto-based philosopher and scholar began to theorize about how television and radio were changing society, creating what he termed the "global village."

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Election 2012
5:18 pm
Mon March 19, 2012

In Illinois, Candidates Make A Final Delegate Dash

Standing in front of a statue of Ronald Reagan on horseback, Rick Santorum speaks at a campaign rally Monday in Dixon, Ill.
Seth Perlman AP

Originally published on Tue March 20, 2012 12:04 am

It's another furious dash to the finish line as delegate-rich Illinois holds its Republican presidential primary Tuesday.

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney is looking to increase his delegate lead. And he's still searching for that decisive win over his main rival, former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum.

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Author Interviews
5:17 pm
Mon March 19, 2012

'How Creativity Works': It's All In Your Imagination

iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Wed March 21, 2012 11:22 am

What makes people creative? What gives some of us the ability to create work that captivates the eyes, minds and hearts of others? Jonah Lehrer, a writer specializing in neuroscience, addresses that question in his new book, Imagine: How Creativity Works.

Lehrer defines creativity broadly, considering everything from the invention of masking tape to breakthroughs in mathematics; from memorable ad campaigns to Shakespearean tragedies. He finds that the conditions that favor creativity β€” our brains, our times, our buildings, our cities β€” are equally broad.

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Music Reviews
2:37 pm
Mon March 19, 2012

Zieti: Music As An Act Of Resistance

Zieti member Tiende Djos Laurent with drum.
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Wed March 21, 2012 11:24 am

From its start in the late '90s, Zieti faced tough odds. Arranging gigs in Abidjan, Ivory Coast was a high-risk, do-it-yourself affair for the band. And that was before the country underwent a military coup, a rigged election and a brush with civil war. Zemelewa was recorded by 15 musicians in four studios on two continents. For all that, you can sense the band's solidarity, as if merely making this record was an act of resistance.

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Theater
4:54 pm
Sun March 18, 2012

'A Salesman' Lives On In Philip Seymour Hoffman

Bridgette Lacombe

When Philip Seymour Hoffman took the stage on March 15 in the new revival of Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman, he became the fifth actor in 63 years to walk the boards of Broadway in the shoes of the blustery, beleaguered salesman, Willy Loman. In the last six decades, each incarnation of the play has resonated with a new generation of theatergoers.

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Movie Reviews
4:48 pm
Sat March 17, 2012

Betting On Two Pairs Of Filmmaking Brothers

Two pairs of filmmaking brothers are both releasing movies this weekend. In Jeff, Who Lives at Home, by the Duplass brothers Jay and Mark, Pat (Ed Helms) and Jeff (Jason Segel) encounter each other in a day fraught with fateful events. Also opening is The Kid with a Bike, a Belgian slice-of-life drama from the Dardenne brothers, Jean-Pierre and Luc..
Paramount Vantage

Originally published on Sat March 17, 2012 6:42 pm

Call it an accident of the calendar: two pairs of filmmaking brothers both opening movies on the same weekend, both films about the awkwardness of growing up. Jeff, Who Lives at Home is a post-mumblecore slacker comedy from the Duplass brothers, Mark and Jay. The Kid with a Bike is a Belgian slice-of-life drama from the Dardenne brothers, Jean-Pierre and Luc.

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Three-Minute Fiction
4:44 pm
Sat March 17, 2012

Minor Details: Three-Minute Fiction's Age Rules

Kahlo Smith, 11, wanted to enter Three-Minute Fiction but found out she was ineligible because of her age. She contacted NPR to find out why.
Courtesy Brian Smith

This week, along with the nearly 1,000 stories that were submitted to weekends on All Things Considered's writing contest, Three-Minute Fiction, there was a letter from 11-year-old Kahlo Smith of Felton, Calif.

Dear Mr. Raz,

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Music Interviews
3:50 pm
Sat March 17, 2012

On 'Port Of Morrow,' The Shins Sail Back To The 1970s

James Mercer has been the singer and songwriter behind The Shins since 1997.
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Mon March 19, 2012 8:06 am

James Mercer's distinctive voice and earnest songwriting have always been at the heart of The Shins, but these days they are the band's only constant. Port of Morrow, the group's new album and its first in five years, finds Mercer leading a completely new set of musicians.

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U.S.
10:38 pm
Fri March 16, 2012

Soldier Suspected In Afghan Shootings Identified

Originally published on Fri March 16, 2012 11:03 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED, from NPR News. I'm Melissa Block. We now know the name of the American soldier who's in custody for killing 16 Afghan civilians last weekend. NPR has confirmed he is Army Staff Sergeant Robert Bales, based out of Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Washington State. And for more, we're joined by NPR's Pentagon correspondent Tom Bowman. Tom, the name has been withheld now for nearly a week since that shooting happened. Why is it out now?

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Election 2012
5:55 pm
Fri March 16, 2012

Incumbents Face Off In Illinois After Redistricting

Rep. Don Manzullo, a 10-term veteran, campaigns in Belvidere, Ill., on March 5.
M. Spencer Green AP

Originally published on Fri March 16, 2012 11:20 pm

Redistricting is forcing a handful of congressional incumbents of the same party to run against each other in primaries. On March 6, Rep. Marcy Kaptur defeated fellow liberal Democrat Rep. Dennis Kucinich in Ohio.

And next Tuesday, two conservative Republicans square off in Illinois.

The scene is the newly drawn 16th Congressional District, which covers mostly rural territory in the northern part of the state, curving around the suburbs and exurbs of Chicago, from the Wisconsin border north of Rockford to the Indiana border east of Kankakee.

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Three Books...
4:05 pm
Fri March 16, 2012

Pioneers Of The Sky: 3 Books That Take Flight

AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Sat March 17, 2012 6:44 am

Today, flying is like riding a bus. But it wasn't always that way. Vaulted from the sands of Kitty Hawk and freed from military exigencies by the end of World War I, aviation soared into the 1920s and '30s on a direct course to tomorrow. Here are three flyers who not only helped open the skies, but also brought literary gems back from the cutting edge of progress, from a time when flying was the most exciting thing in the world.

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NPR Story
3:00 pm
Fri March 16, 2012

Soldier Accused Of Killing 16 Afghans Headed To U.S.

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

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NPR Story
3:00 pm
Fri March 16, 2012

Ex-Rutgers Student Charged For Spying On Roommate

Originally published on Fri March 16, 2012 11:03 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

A former Rutgers University student was found guilty today on 15 counts, including a hate crime. Dharun Ravi face charges related to spying via computer while his roommate had an intimate encounter with a man. The roommate, named Tyler Clementi, committed suicide soon afterward. The court case centered on tweets and a digital cache of texts and instant messages. Nancy Solomon of New Jersey Public Radio tells us about the verdict.

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Planet Money
1:06 pm
Fri March 16, 2012

Why Are Some Countries Rich And Others Poor?

Haiti's brown landscape contrasts sharply with the rich forests of its neighbor Haiti-Dominican Republic Border, South Of Dajabon, Dominican Republic.
National Geographic/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon March 19, 2012 5:37 pm

Why are some nations rich and others poor? In a new book called Why Nations Fail, a pair of economists argue that a lot comes down to politics.

To research the book, the authors scoured the world for populations and geographic areas that are identical in all respects save one: they're on different sides of a border.

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Opinion
12:35 pm
Fri March 16, 2012

The Wisdom Of Faith: What Religion Can Teach Us

These stained glass church windows decorate the walls of the Cologne Cathedral in Germany.
Patrick Stollarz AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri March 16, 2012 11:03 pm

Alain de Botton is the author of Religion for Atheists.

A survey published in the U.K. in January predicted that within 20 years, the majority of the British population will define themselves as having no religion. In the British isles, religion has become something of a sideshow, even a joke. Remember that this is the land that gave us The Life of Brian. Even the BBC has caught on with a satirical series called Rev., about a hapless comedic clergyman who has no faith but has a strong inclination to be good.

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