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All Things Considered: Since its debut in 1971, this afternoon radio news magazine has delivered in-depth reporting and transformed the way listeners understand the world. HPPR adds a High Plains perspective with regional weather and community events.

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Whittier, Alaska, is a sleepy town on the west side of Prince William Sound, tucked between picturesque mountains. But if you're picturing a small huddle of houses, think again.

Instead, on the edge of town, there stands a 14-story building called Begich Towers — a former Army barracks, resembling an aging hotel, where most of the town's 200 residents live.

The war in Syria has been raging for nearly four years and it's been challenging for diplomats to get warring sides to agree on even temporary truces.

The U.N. envoy is pressing ahead on that front, while Russia tries to play peacemaker. Russia is inviting the parties to Moscow this month, but some opposition groups won't go to a country that has been backing Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

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Almost as soon as the Oscar nominations were announced this week, many people were pointing out an uncomfortable fact. Every director nominated is a white male. All the nominees for lead and supporting actor are white.

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French Jews, often with roots in North Africa, have been immigrating to Israel since that country's founding. The community has changed with the times, and after last week's attacks in Paris, is expected to grow — and change — again.

Samuela Mass left Paris in October last year. The 28-year-old French Jew came to Israel for a better life for him and his future family — and to escape violence.

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Packers and Seahawks, Patriots and Colts. It's Championship Sunday this weekend in the NFL. The winners will head to the Super Bowl on February 1. Jane McManus, of ESPN, joins us now for a preview. Hey, Jane.

JANE MCMANUS: Hi, how are you?

Audie Cornish talks to former NPR reporter Sarah Chayes about how corruption can create the fertile ground for religious extremism. Chayes is a senior associate in the Democracy and Rule of Law Program and the South Asia Program at the Carnegie Endowment. Her new book is Thieves of State: Why Corruption Threatens Global Security.

The Silk Road was an online anonymous black market for buying and selling illegal drugs. The FBI shut it down in 2013 and now the man accused of running that billion-dollar drug market is on trial. Audie Cornish speaks with Wired reporter Andy Greenberg.

The "Lone Genius" character is hot right now in television and movies. Sometimes the genius is real (think Benedict Cumberbatch in The Imitation Game), and sometimes he's fictional (think Benedict Cumberbatch in Sherlock). But one thing is almost always certain: He's a guy.

Now one researcher says that gender stereotype in art may have a real impact on women in academia.

Dennie Wright lives in Indian Valley, a tiny alpine community at the northern end of the Sierra, close to the border with Nevada.

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

If you've traveled outside the U.S. recently, or sent your U.S.-made products abroad, you've probably noticed that the dollar is getting stronger. The stronger dollar is the sign of a healthier U.S. economy, but its strength has the potential to erode growth.

There are a number of factors behind the dollar's rise, says economist Jens Nordvig, a currency expert at Nomura Securities. The main one is the health of the U.S. economy.

Among those hoping for an Academy Award nomination on Thursday are the producers of the Fox Studios thriller Gone Girl. The film centers on marital strife, a mysterious disappearance and the murder investigation that ensues.

Last week's shootings in Paris shocked the French. Many received another jolt when they learned that some Muslim students refused to join in the minute of national silence observed across the country following the Charlie Hebdo attacks.

The newspaper Le Figaro quoted one teacher in a heavily Muslim neighborhood in the eastern city of Strasbourg as saying that 80 percent of her students did not participate.

Audie Cornish talks to Jeh Johnson, secretary of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), about what the effects would be on DHS if Congress did not vote to fund it.

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A year ago, as part of our series on the Great Plains oil rush, we brought you the story of a 36-year-old father who had recently lost his job when one of the last major timber mills in the Northwest shut down. After several years struggling to find steady work and even after going back to school, Rory Richardson decided to commute 550 miles from his home in far western Montana, to a place where jobs are plentiful - the oil fields of North Dakota. But after a little more than a year, he and his family have decided the toll is just too great.

The city of Dubuque, Iowa, is the latest city to pass a ban on sledding. It affects all but two hills in town. City Council members say they've passed the ban to protect tax payers from lawsuits and are now asking local legislators to add sledding to the list of activities that cities are protected from being sued for, like skateboarding and biking accidents.

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Earlier this month, the U.S. government gave more than 200,000 Salvadorans living here temporarily the opportunity to stay for at least another 18 months.

These immigrants are on something called Temporary Protected Status, or TPS. It's for immigrants who are already living in the United States illegally when a natural or humanitarian disaster hits their home country.

A Catholic bishop normally governs pretty much unchecked in his diocese — only the pope can dislodge a bishop. And each time Catholics celebrate Mass in Kansas City, Mo., they pray for Bishop Robert Finn, right after they pray for Pope Francis.

But some Catholics here, like David Biersmith, a Eucharistic minister, refuse to go along.

"When the priest says that, you know, you're supposed say it with him, but I just leave that out," Biersmith says. "I just don't say it. Because he's not my bishop, as far as I'm concerned."

This week, in the lead up to his State of the Union address, President Obama is talking about cybersecurity — how to ensure our safety in the digital world.

For the Detroit automakers, there's likely no bigger prize than being the No. 1 truck. Pickups represent the lion's share of profits and the industry's recent growth.

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On the face of it, the new potato varieties called "Innate" seem attractive. If you peel the brown skin off their white flesh, you won't find many unsightly black spots. And when you fry them, you'll probably get a much smaller dose of a potentially harmful chemical.

But here's the catch: Some of the biggest potato buyers in the country, such as Frito-Lay and McDonald's, seem afraid to touch these potatoes. Others don't even want to talk about them because they are genetically modified organisms, or GMOs.

Melissa Block speaks with Patrick O'Connor, political reporter for the Wall Street Journal about Mitt Romney telling donors he wants to run again for president in 2016. O'Connor says Romney and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush have the advantage of not being in office and have the ability to raise more money via superPACs before they declare their candidacy.

The Story Behind '40 Acres And A Mule'

Jan 12, 2015

As the Civil War was winding down 150 years ago, Union leaders gathered a group of black ministers in Savannah, Ga. The goal was to help the thousands of newly freed slaves.

From that meeting came Gen. William T. Sherman's Special Field Order 15. It set aside land along the Southeast coast so that "each family shall have a plot of not more than forty acres of tillable ground."

That plan later became known by a signature phrase: "40 acres and a mule."

If you've ever gone to sleep hungry and then dreamed of chocolate croissants, the idea of fasting may seem completely unappealing.

But what if the payoff for a 16-hour fast — which might involve skipping dinner, save a bowl of broth — is a boost in energy and a decreased appetite?

Life in public housing sometimes can be difficult, but it's also a lot like life anywhere — made up mostly of work, school, family and friends. Still, many who don't live in public housing have a negative image of those who do.

Two former residents are trying to change that.

Rico Washington is one of them. The 38-year-old with long dreadlocks and a neatly trimmed beard grew up in Kimberly Gardens public housing apartments in Laurel, Md. When he was younger he was embarrassed about where he lived, he says, and would have co-workers drop him off down the street.

When Lassana Bathily escaped from a Paris supermarket that was under siege, police at first thought he was the assailant. They forced him to the ground and handcuffed him.

Bathily, 24, is an immigrant from Mali, with the same skin color as the gunman for whom police were hunting. Also like the gunman, Bathily is a Muslim.

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