All Things Considered

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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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As Summer Winds Down, Wistful Dreams Of A 'Lost Estate'

Aug 22, 2014

The summer before I went to college my grandfather died. I spent that season clearing out the shelves in his bedroom. And since he was a compulsive rereader, I kept the books that looked the most tattered. I thought he must have loved those the most.

One of them was The Lost Estate (Le Grand Meaulnes), by Henri Alain-Fournier. I couldn't have known when I picked it up that it would be such an appropriate last book for someone just days away from becoming a college student. In the late August heat I sat on my grandmother's balcony and read it in two days.

The deaths of two unarmed black men at the hands of police have shocked the country this summer: Eric Garner, who died after being placed in a chokehold by police in Staten Island, N.Y., and Michael Brown, the 18-year-old who was shot by police in Ferguson, Mo.

Thousands of protesters will march in New York on Saturday to demand justice for Garner, and organizers say Brown's parents will speak at the rally. But while the two cases have some things in common, there are also key differences, including the way police in the local communities reacted.

Ferguson, Mo., has seen nearly two weeks of protests after an unarmed 18-year-old African-American man was shot and killed by Darren Wilson, a white police officer. This week, a black leader stepped in to help defuse tensions. But it wasn't a civil rights spokesman or the first African-American president. It was Attorney General Eric Holder.

Some political observers are asking why Obama can't seem to speak for himself on race. Many observers argue that Holder often talks frankly about race when the president can't or won't.

President Obama returns to Washington this weekend after a two-week family vacation.

It wasn't exactly restful. The break was interrupted several times by events in Iraq and in Ferguson, Mo.

On Wednesday, Obama raised eyebrows by hitting the golf course, minutes after delivering a tough statement on the murder of an American journalist by militants from the Islamic State.

You know it's bad is when even the French are criticizing you for taking too much time off.

In the shadows of West Africa's Ebola outbreak, food shortages are starting to develop.

This time of year is traditionally the lean season in West Africa, when last year's harvest of rice or groundnuts is mostly exhausted. Until recently, people were quite hopeful about the approaching harvest this year.

"The rainfall situation was very good," says Shukri Ahmed, a senior economist with the U.N.'s Food and Agriculture Organization in Rome. "We were actually developing an optimistic forecast for crop production this year."

In the suburbs of Chicago, a stark reminder of the toll of heroin and prescription-pill addiction is making the rounds as a lawn exhibit. One hundred fake tombstones and banners are set up at a new location every week as a precursor to International Overdose Awareness Day.

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And now a story about a spiritual matchup - one that wasn't quite the right fit.

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From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED - I'm Audie Cornish.

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There was nobody at the QuikTrip on Thursday — that's the gas station and convenience store that burned down on the first night of violent protests in Ferguson, Mo. It was once a focal point for protesters.

On Thursday, Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon ordered his state's National Guard to start withdrawing, a sign of the calm that has finally descended on the city racked by protests ever since police shot and killed an unarmed 18-year-old African-American man named Michael Brown.

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British authorities are trying to identify the masked man who executed American photojournalist James Foley in a video that has caused massive global reaction.

The man — who appears wearing all black, holding a knife, and wearing a gun holster — speaks in an accent that linguists say sounds like someone from East or South London. The video yields other clues to the man's identity, such as his height and the fact that he's left-handed.

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North Carolina is one of the half-dozen states that could cost the Democrats their majority in the Senate this November, and both contenders in the race are hoping to capitalize on a backlash.

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Military service once defined the lives of many men in the United States, particularly before the end of the draft in 1973. But today, many younger adults have no direct family ties to the military at all.

For the men in Mark and Jeremy Pierce's family, however, military service is a tradition dating back to the Civil War.

I s#&% you not: The world's most expensive coffee is now being produced in Thailand's Golden Triangle, a region better known for another high-priced, if illegal, export: opium.

A father takes his three sons to a hypnotist's show. Called onto the stage, the father's cool self-possession and confidence seem to prevail, and he walks away, claiming no effect. They leave the show, he drops his sons off and drives away. We learn later that he has taken his passport and emptied the family bank account. The boys will not see him again until they are adults.

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A recent fundraising challenge has gone viral on social media, calling attention to research into Lou Gehrig's disease. Audie Cornish talks with Forbes contributor Dan Diamond about the state of that research and where it goes from here after the fundraising success.

President Obama said Wednesday that the Islamic State is a cancer that threatens all governments in the Middle East. But that raises the question of what the U.S. could or should do.

Two former U.S. ambassadors to Syria, Robert Ford and Ryan Crocker, have advocated different approaches to a conflict where there are many different options. But none is appealing and there's no guarantee, or even a likelihood that U.S. action would ultimately determine the outcome.

EPA Wades Into Water Fight With Farmers

Aug 20, 2014
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With the continuous uptick in the number of cases and deaths in the current Ebola outbreak, the few agencies that are on ground are stretched thin.

That includes Doctors Without Borders, also known as MSF. It's one of the main health care providers in West Africa, where there are more than 2,000 cases of Ebola and 1,200 deaths. Even with roughly 1,000 volunteers spread among the three Ebola-stricken countries, the agency says that still isn't enough.

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Most mornings, Sotiris Lymperopoulos walks the craggy shoreline of the western Peloponnese, foraging for salty wild greens.

In his straw hat and shorts, snipping wild chicory, garlic and sea asparagus with a kitchen knife, he hardly looks like a poster boy for Greece's nascent startup culture. But the 35-year-old Athenian, who trained as an economist, found a viable niche in the country's post-crisis economy.

Rachel Swinehart has commandeered her family's living room in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. It's filled with large plastic tubs containing stuff like pink bedding and a coffee maker.

Rachel, 18, is about to head off to Shenandoah College, a small arts school in Virginia, where she'll study harp performance. In many ways, organizing her stuff is the easy part. Talking about the risks of college life — that's a bit harder.

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