All Things Considered

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  • Hosted by Robert Siegel, Audie Cornish, Ari Shapiro and Kelly McEvers

NPR's All Things Considered paints the bigger picture with reports on the day's news, analysis of world events, and thoughtful commentary.

A plea deal has been reached in the court martial case of Marine Staff Sgt. Frank Wuterich. He was the last person facing charges in the killings of 24 Iraqis at the village of Haditha in 2005. Monday, he admitted to one charge of dereliction of duty. The case became a touchstone for criticism of the Iraq war. Originally, several Marines were charged with murder in the case. But the Marines who killed the Iraqi civilians that day claimed that their actions were tragic — but legal under the official rules of engagement in a complex war fought in and among the people.

Putting On Heirs: 3 Rich And Snooty Reads

Jan 23, 2012

Surely I am not the only one who has harbored secret dreams of being an heiress — not the nouveau riche kind with a reality television crew trailing behind me, but the sort with a full staff, gobs of silver and afternoons spent on the hunt. Though I've come around to my untitled American life, I still adore reading books about drafty old houses and the privileged people who inhabit them.

Humans are complicated genetic jigsaw puzzles. Hundreds of genes are involved in determining something as basic as height.

But man's best friend is a different story. New research shows that almost every physical trait in dogs — from a dachshund's stumpy legs to a shar-pei's wrinkles — is controlled by just a few genes.



Let's turn now to the other big story we're following today, and that is, of course, the fallout from last night's primary triumph for former House Speaker Newt Gingrich. As you know by now, he crushed his opponents, taking 40 percent of the vote, 12 points above his closest rival, the man hitherto known as the front-runner, Mitt Romney.

For his directorial debut, actor Ralph Fiennes brings William Shakespeare's work to the big screen with a modern adaptation of Coriolanus. Fiennes also stars as the eponymous Roman general, a role he played on the stage 11 years ago.

The original play, Fiennes tells weekends on All Things Considered host Guy Raz, is complex.

"I had this feeling that if you were to clear away a lot of the denser passages, and shorten it and edit it, you are left actually with a very visceral, sinewy political thriller," Fiennes says.

Week In News: The Salvo Against SOPA

Jan 21, 2012




JAY CARNEY: We need to do something about online piracy by foreign websites.


REPRESENTATIVE JOHN BOEHNER: It's pretty clear to many of us that there's a lack of consensus at this point.

Super Bowl XLVI: Who Will It Be?

Jan 21, 2012



The NFL is on the cusp of determining who will be playing in Super Bowl XLVI in Indianapolis. Tomorrow on the West Coast, the San Francisco 49ers face the New York Giants, and on the East Coast, the New England Patriots host the Baltimore Ravens. NPR's Mike Pesca is here to preview the matchups. Mike, hello.






NANNY JENNER: Drugs is a monster. The killing, the stealing, those people being destroyed, it's devastating.

When the U.S. Department of Justice and the FBI shut down the web site Megaupload yesterday, there were many responses, from outrage to confusion to applause, and nearly as many questions. One that stood out was simple: If Megaupload provides a service that can be used for legal pursuits, are they legally responsible for the users who use it to illegally share copyrighted material?

The album Little Spark evokes a sound you might have heard 40 years ago, piercing through the static of your AM radio. The big string sections and angelic choruses are all there, echoing the hallmarks of classic orchestral pop. But Little Spark is the work of a modern singer-songwriter named Jessie Baylin.

If you're seriously into reading, chances are, if you're not a nerd, then you've at least got some nerdy DNA somewhere in your intellectual genome. I know I do. But as a reader I sometimes feel like I'm being asked to identify with a hero who isn't nearly geeky enough — a hero with uncorrected vision and excellent orthodontics and really good hair. Sure, he's nice, but I doubt I would have wanted to sit at his table in the cafeteria in high school.

In a presidential election that most expect will be all about the economy, South Carolina is a state where economic issues are front and center. The state's unemployment rate is 9.9 percent, well above the national rate. But even that number is deceptive. There are pockets around the state where the conditions are much more severe. In Lancaster County, for example, the rate is above 12 percent.

Audie Cornish speaks with our regular political commentators, E.J. Dionne, of the Washington Post and Brookings Institution, and David Brooks, of the New York Times.

France is suspending training operations in Afghanistan and threatening to withdraw its entire force from the country early after an Afghan soldier killed four French troops Friday. The French foreign minister described the attack as an "assassination."

In 1978, the farmers in a small Chinese village called Xiaogang gathered in a mud hut to sign a secret contract. They thought it might get them executed. Instead, it wound up transforming China's economy in ways that are still reverberating today.

The contract was so risky — and such a big deal — because it was created at the height of communism in China. Everyone worked on the village's collective farm; there was no personal property.

"Back then, even one straw belonged to the group," says Yen Jingchang, who was a farmer in Xiaogang in 1978. "No one owned anything."

Whenever the late New York Times caricaturist Al Hirschfeld sketched Carol Channing — whether picturing her as an indomitable Dolly Levi, swathed in feathers and sequins, or as carbon-crazed Lorelei Lee, eyes sparkling like the diamonds that were that splendid creature's best friends — he always made her appear a creature composed entirely of lipstick, mascara and hairspray.

For Two City Slickers, Survival Of The Savviest

Jan 19, 2012

Rhoda Janzen is the author of Mennonite in a Little Black Dress.

Recently my friend Peggy and I decided to make a jaunt from my house in Southwestern Michigan, across the state to Detroit. We took her car. At day's end we pulled into my remote driveway on Lake Allegan. It was then I realized that didn't have my keys. They were in fact, hanging in the little key box in my laundry room.

Oh no.

I had no way of getting into my home.

Remember that movie Sarah's Key? Did you miss it? It was last year's highest grossing foreign-language film, but it made less than eight million dollars. The fact is that selling foreign language films to U.S. audiences is a notorious challenge. Nevertheless, Fox, one of the world's most powerful media conglomerates, is beefing up its investment in foreign films.

Johnny Otis was many things over his career, including a bandleader, producer, radio and TV host and composer. Additionally, Otis launched the careers of many of R&B's finest singers. Otis died on Tuesday at his home near Los Angeles. He was 90 years old.

A big day in presidential politics: Texas Gov. Rick Perry dropped out of the race. Certified results from the Iowa caucuses show former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum finished ahead of former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, but party officials are calling it a tie. And Newt Gingrich's second wife sat down with ABC News for an interview about their marriage and messy divorce. All this comes on the same day the four remaining candidates gather in Charleston for a debate. Robert Siegel discusses it all with NPR's Mara Liasson in Charleston.

Kathleen Edwards is a singer-songwriter from Canada who just released her fourth album, Voyageur. There's a lot of heartache and self-doubt on the record, and that makes sense — much of it was written around the time of Edwards' divorce from her husband and musical collaborator. The song "Pink Champagne" would seem to be a case in point: It takes place at a wedding where a young bride is second-guessing her decision. But Edwards says the message of that song isn't quite so literal.

Rep. Dennis Kucinich is most in his element when he's fighting against social injustice.

Wherever he sees an outrage against the little guy, you'll find the Ohio Democrat railing against it — like at a recent public meeting about a new trash-to-energy facility Cleveland wants to install in a west side neighborhood.

Robert Siegel and Audie Cornish read letters from listeners.

Keystone Proposal Rejected On Technicality

Jan 18, 2012



This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Audie Cornish.


There are a lot of photo apps out there for the iPhone. With most of them, you take a picture, put a filter on it and maybe add some lens blur. But many of them don't have a built-in way for you to share the photo.

"When we combined those two key ingredients, we came up with something that became Instagram," says Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom, who is also one if its founders.

I found The Twin, by Gerbrand Bakker, sitting on a coffee table at a writers' colony in 2009. It carried praise from J.M. Coetzee for its "restrained tenderness and laconic humor," which seemed ample justification for using it to avoid my own writing.

I finished it, weeping, a day later, and have been puzzling over its powerful hold on me ever since. I've recommended it again and again, and while I can't say it's entirely undiscovered — it won the 2010 IMPAC Dublin Award — no one I know ever seems to have heard of it.