All Things Considered on HPPR

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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.

It's late afternoon and the day has just ended at a Los Angeles school. Students are making their way toward the parking lot, where a dusty 2001 Ford Taurus stands out among the shiny SUVs filled with waiting parents.

Kids walk by and stare. In the back seat of the Taurus, James, a tall 14-year-old in a checkered shirt, smiles. He is familiar with the stares.

He never told anyone that he was once homeless, but they knew. It's hard to hide homelessness from other kids, he says. They want to know why you're wearing the same shirt and why you look tired.

NPR — along with seven public radio stations around the country — is chronicling the lives of America's troops where they live. We're calling the project "Back at Base," and this is the second installment of the ongoing series.

It was 2005, and Gary Walters had served a year in Iraq. Then, one day, a bomb went off near him, and he suffered severe wounds.

The name David Tennant may evoke two very different reactions: from some people, "Who?" and from others, "Doctor Who!" The Scottish actor starred as Doctor Who in the beloved, BBC science-fiction series. "It's a huge privilege to be involved in something that evokes such enthusiasm," Tennant tells NPR's Robert Siegel. But, he says, it's also nice to be known for other projects as well.

Now, he's making his American television debut in Gracepoint — an American adaptation of the BBC detective series Broadchurch.

Jeffrey Craig Hopper is a probate attorney and Little League coach in Austin, Texas, so he knows all about following the rules. Still, accidents happen. Last June on the Little League field, an errant baseball smashed into his face.

His wife, Jennifer, remembers rushing to the field.

"His eye was swollen shut enough that we weren't sure if he could see," she says.

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The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is shutting down cod fishing, from Provincetown, Mass., up to the Canadian border, in an effort to reverse plummeting numbers of the iconic fish in the Gulf of Maine.

Starting Thursday, no fishermen — commercial or recreational — may trawl or use certain large nets that might catch cod for the next six months. Local cod fishermen, who now face an uncertain future, say the government hasn't done enough to maintain cod populations, and they challenge NOAA's cod counts.

Microsoft — a company most associated with Word documents and Excel spreadsheets — is getting a makeover.

Under new leadership, the software developer is analyzing vast troves of data about its users to create social tools for the workplace. They've got the goods — just think of all those Office emails that bind us together — but the question is, will customers want to cozy up socially with Microsoft, on and off the job?

Old Data, New Strategy

Hopes were raised when the Nigerian military announced a cease-fire last month with the militants of Boko Haram, who have been fighting for years to impose Islamic law on Nigeria.

But the Islamist extremists denied there was a truce and have intensified deadly attacks and kidnappings in recent weeks, seizing territory said to be the size of Maryland and declaring a caliphate in the zone under their control.

Josh Kronberg-Rasner was the only openly gay person in his office while he worked for a food service company in Casper, Wyo. But his sexual orientation never held him back, he says. "I had filled every position from general manager to executive chef," he says. "You name it, I'd done all of it."

That changed in the summer of 2012 when Kronberg-Rasner got a new manager, whom Kronberg-Rasner says was uncomfortable working with a gay person. A few weeks after he arrived, the manager went through Kronberg-Rasner's personal phone and found pictures of a male gymnast.

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Former Army Ranger and Procter & Gamble CEO Robert McDonald took over as secretary of veterans affairs three months ago, while the department was stained by scandal. The VA for years had falsified documents to conceal the delays veterans faced in getting medical care. One audit found that 13 percent of VA schedulers were told to cook the books.

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit


Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit


KAREN GRIGSBY BATES: Today, Germany marked the 25th anniversary of the collapse of the Berlin Wall. In the city center, 8,000 balloons were released into the sky as an orchestra played Beethoven's "Ode To Joy."


"I am a United States Army General, and I lost the Global War on Terrorism."

Those are the frank opening words of a new book by retired Army Lt. Gen. Daniel Bolger, Why We Lost: A General's Inside Account of the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars. Bolger continues:

"It's like Alcoholics Anonymous. Step one is admitting you have a problem. Well, I have a problem. So do my peers. And thanks to our problem, now all of America has a problem. To wit: two lost campaigns and a war gone awry."

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As part of a series called "My Big Break," All Things Considered is collecting stories of triumph, big and small. These are the moments when everything seems to click, and people leap forward into their careers.

From award-winning Broadway performances to the iconic voice that brought Darth Vader to life, James Earl Jones has an unmistakable presence on stage and on screen.

He's 83 years old and back on Broadway, where he stars in the comedy classic You Can't Take It with You.

In Berlin, A Beat That Bloomed From Rubble

Nov 9, 2014

Just after 10 on a Saturday morning, at a defunct power station in central Berlin, revelers reluctantly leave a club buried in its basement. One of them asks, "Hey man, you there, you know a good place to party?" as he stumbles into the sunlight.

Being overweight hurts your earnings, and being an overweight woman is particularly tough on income. Back in 2004, a landmark study found that a 65-pound increase in a woman's weight is associated with a 9-percent drop in earnings. The authors of the study noted that, in terms of wages, the "obesity penalty" basically amounted to losing three years of experience in the workplace.

Who Won Over Women In The Midterms?

Nov 8, 2014
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Both Democrats and Republicans relied on women to turn out and vote in this week's midterm election. And there were quite a few female candidates running, as well. NPR national political correspondent Mara Liasson is here with all the highlights. Hi, Mara.

As I watched coverage of this week's midterm elections, I couldn't help but think about Donald Antrim's surreal novel, Elect Mr. Robinson for a Better World.

The book, a brilliant and wickedly funny satire on our broken politics, unfolds in an unnamed American seaside town. As the story begins, our narrator, a former third-grade teacher named Pete Robinson, sits mysteriously in his padlocked attic, observing the wreckage of his community.

Amid all the shakeout from this week's midterm elections, many are trying to assess the impact on abortion.

Two abortion-related ballot measures were soundly defeated. A third passed easily. And those favoring restrictions on abortion will have a much bigger voice in the new Congress.

In North Dakota and Colorado, voters rejected 2-to-1 so-called personhood measures, which would give legal rights to fetuses.

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Director Christopher Nolan inverted time in his reverse chronology thriller Memento; he burrowed deep into layers of the subconscious in Inception; and he reinvented Batman with his "Dark Knight" trilogy. Now Nolan is venturing to galaxies far, far away. His new film, Interstellar, is set in a near future where planet Earth is close to running out of food and the human race is hurtling to extinction. So a team of explorers time-travels through space to try to find a new home.

In a rare and unexpected move, the U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to hear a new challenge to the Obama health care overhaul, dealing the White House yet another blow this week. Health care experts say an adverse ruling would be catastrophic for the health insurance program that the president has fought to enact and preserve.

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10 years ago today, American troops were encircling the city of Fallujah some 40 miles west of Baghdad. Here's how NPR's Anne Garrels described their preparations for battle.


Six months ago, we brought you the story of the Edna Karr High School marching band in New Orleans. Two members of the band in particular, snare drummer Charles Williams and tuba player Nicholas Nooks, or Big Nick as his friends call him, earned scholarships to Jackson State University in Mississippi — their dream.

The marching band at Jackson State is known as the Sonic Boom of the South. Band camp began in August with 164 freshmen. But after weeks of late nights and early mornings, musical training and also push-ups, 24 had quit.

A glitzy new production facility in Manhattan is a far cry from the bedrooms where many YouTube creators used to shoot their videos. Every inch of YouTube Space New York, which opened Thursday, can be used as a potential set.

The space contains three production studios and an area called Brand Lab, designed to bring Madison Avenue to YouTube's door.

Adam Relis, head of the facility, points to a portion of the floor covered with Lucite. More than 300,000 linear feet of cable are running beneath his feet. "That's 187 times the Empire State Building," he notes.

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit



Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit