All Things Considered on APR

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Around the Nation
2:30 pm
Mon January 21, 2013

Gun Background Checks Need Fixes, Experts Say

Experts say universal background checks need to be updated and changed to actually work.
Pat Sullivan AP

Originally published on Mon January 21, 2013 4:13 pm

One of President Obama's gun control proposals appears to have widespread support — universal background checks for gun purchases. Some experts on mental health and gun violence find problems with the current laws, and they say the system doesn't do a very good job of predicting and preventing gun crime.

When you enter Kerley's Hunting and Outfitting in Cupertino, Calif., you're greeted by a taxidermy lion roaring and leaping. There are rows of rifles on the walls, but the owner, Harry Dwyer III, doesn't appear to be as fierce as his mascot.

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The Two-Way
12:05 pm
Mon January 21, 2013

WATCH: 'One Today,' An Inaugural Poem

Poet Richard Blanco is the author of City of a Hundred Fires, Directions to the Beach of the Dead and Looking for the Gulf Motel.
Nico Tucci Courtesy Richard Blanco

Originally published on Mon January 21, 2013 4:13 pm

Today, Richard Blanco became the fifth poet to read at the inauguration of a United States president.

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Author Interviews
4:29 pm
Sun January 20, 2013

George Saunders On Absurdism And Ventriloquism In 'Tenth Of December'

iStockphoto.com

George Saunders has been writing short stories for decades.

Saunders, a professor at Syracuse University, was once a geological engineer who traveled the world; he now crafts stories that combine the absurd and fantastic with the mundane realities of everyday life. One story about a professional caveman inspired those Geico commercials.

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Politics
4:08 pm
Sun January 20, 2013

Will The Grass Be Greener In Obama's Second Term?

A grizzly bear roams near Beaver Lake in Yellowstone National Park, Wyo. Some environmentalists hope President Obama lives up to campaign promises regarding climate change in his second term.
Jim Urquhart AP

Originally published on Sun January 20, 2013 7:02 pm

One of the chief expectations of those who voted for President Obama is that he moves assertively to pass climate change legislation, whatever the political climate in Washington.

"We have a bipartisan common interest in moving away from fossil fuels towards clean energy," says Michael Brune, the executive director of the Sierra Club. "The sooner that members of both parties in Congress realize that and develop solutions, the better off we'll all be."

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Environment
4:01 pm
Sun January 20, 2013

Former Anti-GMO Activist Says Science Changed His Mind

Harvest wheat from a field near Wright, Kan. May 10, 2004.
ORLIN WAGNER ASSOCIATED PRESS

Originally published on Sun January 20, 2013 4:29 pm

For years, British environmental activist Mark Lynas destroyed genetically modified food (GMO) crops in what he calls a successful campaign to force the business of agriculture to be more holistic and ecological in its practices.

His targets were companies like Monsanto and Syngenta — leaders in developing genetically modified crops.

Earlier this month he went in front of the world to reverse his position on GMOs.

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Author Interviews
3:12 pm
Sun January 20, 2013

Connecting With Nature To Reclaim Our Natural 'Birthright'

Stephen Kellert is a professor emeritus and senior research scholar at Yale University.
John Mueller Yale University Press

Originally published on Sun January 20, 2013 4:29 pm

"Contact with nature is not some magical elixir but the natural world is the substrate on which we must build our existence," writes Stephen Kellert in his new book Birthright: People and Nature in the Modern World.

In it, he tells stories of the environment's effect on us, and ours on it. His writing builds on the traditions of Thoreau, John Muir and Rachel Carson. Modern society, he argues, has become adversarial in its relationship to nature, having greatly undervalued the natural world beyond its narrow utility.

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Food
2:53 pm
Sun January 20, 2013

Distilling Presidential History Into 44 Cocktails

Washington, D.C., bartender Jim Hewes distills presidential history into cocktails.
Liz Baker NPR

Originally published on Tue January 22, 2013 4:04 pm

As Washington, D.C., gears up for the 57th presidential inauguration, political parties are in full swing. We're not talking about run-of-the-mill partisan bickering. We're talking about inaugural celebrations: balls, galas and cocktail parties. Emphasis on the cocktail.

The Round Robin Bar in the Willard Hotel is just a stone's throw from the White House. Bartender Jim Hewes has been serving up drinks there for nearly 30 years.

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Inauguration 2013
2:25 pm
Sun January 20, 2013

An Inaugural Memory: President Lincoln's Food Fight

Menu for Lincoln's 2nd inaugural ball, March 6, 1865
Smithsonian Institution

Originally published on Tue January 22, 2013 11:27 am

A recently-published menu for Abraham Lincoln's lavish second inaugural ball in 1865 provides an interesting look at how different the nation celebrated its new president just seven score and eight years ago.

Smoked tongue en geleé and blancmange (a firm custard) shared room on the buffet table with roast turkey and burnt almond ice cream.

As Yale food historian Paul Freedman told Smithsonian Magazine writer Megan Gambino, the cuisine could best be described as "French via England, with some American ingredients."

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Music Interviews
1:58 pm
Sun January 20, 2013

For Sean Lennon, Music Is Not A Solo Act

Sean Lennon in the studio, during production of the Alter Egos soundtrack.
Jordan Galland Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Sun January 20, 2013 4:29 pm

Sean Lennon, son of John and Yoko, is drawn to musical collaboration and repelled by hydraulic fracturing.

The 37-year-old just released two albums: the improvisational project Mystical Weapons and the score to the independent film Alter Egos.

Writing For Film

Lennon only appears in Alter Egos for a few seconds; the majority of his efforts went into writing the music, which he had to do twice. He describes the film as a "kitsch comedy about superheroes," and his first attempt at the music took a similar vibe.

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It's All Politics
5:47 pm
Sat January 19, 2013

On His Campaign Promises Report Card, Obama Did 'Pretty Well'

Originally published on Sat January 19, 2013 6:25 pm

PolitiFact has been keeping a list — a very long list — on the president's first term.

The Pulitzer Prize-winning political watchdog assesses the veracity of political claims, and this week, it released a report card on the promises Obama made during his first presidential campaign.

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Education
4:40 pm
Sat January 19, 2013

New Reading Standards Aim To Prep Kids For College — But At What Cost?

New education standards place more emphasis on nonfiction reading and writing over fiction works. Some say this could lead students away from a passionate engagement with literature.
Chris Sadowski iStockphoto

Originally published on Sat January 19, 2013 8:17 pm

Once upon a time, in the long ago world of high school reading, Holden Caulfield was perhaps the epitome of angst: a young man suddenly an outcast in the world he thought he knew. The antihero of J.D. Salinger's The Catcher in the Rye was about to enter a perilous journey of self-discovery.

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Movie Interviews
4:09 pm
Sat January 19, 2013

The Movie Anthony Mackie's 'Seen A Million Times'

Originally published on Sat January 19, 2013 6:25 pm

Transcript

JACKI LYDEN, HOST:

From time to time on this show, we ask actors and filmmakers this question: What's the one movie you watch again and again? This week, we're revisiting one of the most enthusiastic responses.

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Analysis
4:02 pm
Sat January 19, 2013

Week In News: Speculating On Obama's Second Term

Originally published on Sat January 19, 2013 6:25 pm

Transcript

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

(SOUNDBITE OF PRESIDENT OBAMA'S 2009 INAUGURAL ADDRESS)

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: My fellow citizens, I stand here today humbled by the task before us.

JACKI LYDEN, HOST:

The newly minted President Obama from his 2009 inaugural address. Another speech is surely coming together right now for Monday's inauguration. James Fallows of The Atlantic joins us, as he does most Saturdays. Hello there, Jim.

JAMES FALLOWS: Hello, Jacki.

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Music
4:02 pm
Sat January 19, 2013

Janis Joplin: The Queen Of Rock

Originally published on Sat January 19, 2013 6:25 pm

Transcript

JACKI LYDEN, HOST:

If you're just tuning in, this is WEEKENDS on ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Jacki Lyden. And it's time now for music. Today, a major musical birthday.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "PIECE OF MY HEART")

JANIS JOPLIN: (Singing) I want you to come on, come on...

LYDEN: Janis Joplin would have turned 70 years old on this day.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "PIECE OF MY HEART")

JOPLIN: (Singing) And take it, take another little piece of my heart now, baby.

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World
4:02 pm
Sat January 19, 2013

Standoff Over Hostages Continues In Algeria

Originally published on Sat January 19, 2013 6:25 pm

Transcript

JACKI LYDEN, HOST:

It's WEEKENDS on ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Jacki Lyden. An international hostage drama has come to an end in Algeria. After four days, the Algerian army ended the bloody siege of a remote oil and gas facility where Islamist militants were holding dozens of Western hostages. The brutal assault was launched Thursday morning. Many people are dead, up to 23 captives and at least 30 Islamists, according to the Algerian state media.

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