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All Things Considered

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Hear KUOW and NPR award-winning hosts and reporters from around the globe present some of the nation's best reporting  of the day's events, interviews, analysis and reviews on All Things Considered.

How much extra would you pay for local food? It's a familiar question. We face it practically every time we shop for groceries, either at the store or at the farmers market. But what about food that can save the lives of severely malnourished children?

If there is one thing that the mobile-computing era has made clear, it's that kids love touch screens. Because those touch screens — smartphones, iPads, Kindles and the like — are an inevitable added distraction to the classroom, schools across the country are struggling to deal with the growing prevalence of the technology.

But a growing number of schools are embracing these hand-held, Internet-ready devices by creating policies that put them to use in the classroom.

Guitarist Ernest Ranglin is an elder statesman of Jamaican music. A self-styled composer and improviser, he has traveled and collaborated widely during his 80 years. In California last year, he teamed up with three much younger musicians from South Africa, the U.S. and Israel. The four musicians bonded and quickly recorded an album, named for the San Francisco street where they rehearsed: Avila.

Love songs are like the meat and potatoes of most rock and pop music, but sometimes you need something different. For the band Delta Rae from Durham, N.C., inspiration for new material comes from stuff like graveyards and being stuck in the wrong job.

Delta Rae is a six-piece band that includes three siblings: Ian, Eric and Brittany Holljes. Their music is like a kind of modern folklore.

On a farm in Waitsfield, Vt., in 1945, a Merchant Marine cook named Ralph Ellison was resting after his tour of duty.

"One morning scribbling, I wrote the first sentence of what later became The Invisible Man: 'I am an invisible man,' " Ellison recalled in an interview for National Educational Television.

He wrote that his protagonist — a Negro, as Ellison always put it — was young, powerless and ambitious for the role of leadership, a role at which he was doomed to fail.

In the mid-1960s, the Black Panthers came to symbolize black militant power. They rejected the nonviolence of earlier civil rights campaigners and promoted a radical socialist agenda.

Styled in uniforms of black leather jackets, dark sunglasses and black berets, the Panthers were never shy about brandishing guns, a sign that they were ready for a fight.

As monumental as the Washington Nationals' first trip to Major League Baseball's playoffs has been, this news may come close in importance for some fans in the nation's capital:

Teddy, one of the team's four presidential mascots, finally won a "race" today.

Across a swath of northern Nigeria, a humanitarian catastrophe is unfolding, as lead from illegal gold mines sickens thousands of children.

More than 400 kids have died, and many more have been mentally stunted for life.

Doctors Without Borders, which has set up clinics to treat the children, is calling it one of the worst cases of environmental lead poisoning in recent history.

In many neighborhoods, hard truths about day-to-day life — like violent streets or crumbling schools — are readily apparent to residents, but less obvious to city and state officials.

Hard data can sometimes bridge that gap, helping policymakers better visualize which communities are doing well, and which may need additional help or resources.

Certain truths about life in a neighborhood are readily apparent to people who live there, but less obvious to city and state officials. The Justice Mapping Center uses data to help bridge that gap with information about the prison system. By mapping the residential addresses of every inmate in various prison systems, Eric Cadora and his colleagues have made vividly clear a concept they call "Million-Dollar Blocks." In some places more than a million dollars are being spent every year to incarcerate the residents of a single Census block. Audie Cornish talks with Eric Cadora.

Parliamentary elections in Georgia, the former Soviet republic, delivered a resounding defeat for the ruling party of President Mikheil Saakashvili on Monday. Preliminary election results showed the opposition winning 57 percent of the vote.

A day later, the president conceded defeat. In a televised address, Saakashvili said he respected the decision of the voters, and that he would clear the way for the opposition Georgian Dream party to form a new government, a move that would install opposition leader Bidzina Ivanishvili as prime minister.

In 1988, 13-year-old Joe Coutts is thrust into adulthood after his mother, Geraldine Coutts, is sexually assaulted. His story is at the center of Louise Erdrich's latest novel, The Round House.

Large crowds of anxious Iranians gathered in Tehran on Sunday and Monday at foreign exchange offices — some of which had shuttered their doors — as Iran's currency continues its free fall.

From Sunday to Monday, the rial lost nearly one-third of its value against the dollar — and the decline appears to have continued Tuesday.

Known for his gritty baritone, Waylon Jennings embodied the outlaw side of country music. He was 64 when he died of complications from diabetes, leaving behind a collection of vocal tracks that remained unfinished until now.

"It was almost shocking when I first heard it," says the singer Jessi Colter, who was married to Jennings for more than 30 years. "It took me several times to be able to listen to it. It sounded like he was there, that he's opening his heart to you, and he's telling you how he feels."

Medicaid is already the nation's largest health insurance program in terms of number of people covered: It serves nearly 1 in 5 Americans. Yet at the same time it's putting increasing strain on the budgets of states, which pay about 40 percent of its costs.

Pope Benedict XVI's former butler took the stand at his trial Tuesday and offered a somewhat contradictory message: He declared himself innocent of stealing papal documents, but acknowledged betraying the trust of Pope Benedict XVI.

As NPR's Sylvia Poggioli reports, Paolo Gabriele, 46, is charged with stealing documents pointing to corruption and power struggles with the church. Prosecutors say Gabriele has confessed to giving the material to an Italian journalist, and that his motive was to expose "evil and corruption" in the church.

Long before the Syrian uprising, Antakya, Turkey, was a storied place. Once known as Antioch, the city was home to Greeks, some of the earliest Christians, Jews and Armenians. It once was a major stop on the Silk Road.

Most recently, the Turkish city became a hub for the Syrian rebellion. For many months, Turkish authorities tolerated Antakya's status, and even encouraged it. Turkey built refugee camps for tens of thousands of Syrians, and even one for officers who defected from the Syrian army to join the rebel cause.

That support, however, is starting to fade.

Republicans are still within reach of a big political goal this year: retaking control of the Senate. They lost the majority in 2006, in part because of the razor-close victory of Democratic challenger Jon Tester in Montana.

Now, Tester is the incumbent facing a tough challenge of his own. And if he's going to win re-election, he has to turn out a lot of younger voters, the way he did in 2006. And on that front, he does have some allies.

A court in Cambodia has convicted a prominent journalist and pro-democracy activist on charges of convincing villagers in eastern Cambodia to rise up and declare independence from the country. Civic groups say the case is part of a worrying trend of government efforts to stifle freedom of expression, and attempts to take land away from farmers.

Hundreds of supporters vented their fury outside the courthouse Monday as judges sentenced Mam Sonando to 20 years in jail. Speaking before the verdict, his wife, Dinn Phanara, says the case was politically motivated.

The cursing mommy likes her scotch. She also likes a martini — or four — and a full bottle of Kahlua consumed in the afternoon while soaking in a steaming bathtub and ignoring the knocks of her children locked outside. Along with her dubious parenting skills, the cursing mommy has no shame, and she swears an extremely blue streak.

Mateo Solares came to Argentina from Bolivia a few years ago. The 25-year-old was born, and grew up as, Moyra Veronica. Biologically female, Solares says he always felt like a guy.

The main reason Solares moved to Argentina is because it seemed like an easier place to transition into a life as a young man. He says having an ID card that reflects how he sees himself is huge.

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Melissa Block.

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

Here's something President Obama and Mitt Romney agree on: America's tax system is too complicated. Both men have outlined changes that are broadly similar, but with some important differences.

The Problem:

Today's tax code is like a department store, where the price tags are high, but there are lots of coupons, sales and weekend specials. That creates some inequities. Just as shoppers can pay different prices depending on which day they buy, taxpayers with the same income can pay very different rates depending on which deductions they qualify for.

Presidential Campaigns Rock The Gamer Vote

Oct 1, 2012

Let's say you're pushing 115 mph on the highway, racing neck and neck with a Chevy Camaro — in an online video game, of course.

Right as you're pulling into the lead, you notice a billboard pop up on your TV screen. Early voting has begun? Voteforchange.com? Whoa, keep your eyes on the road!

This is Need for Speed: Carbon, one of 18 games that the Obama campaign advertised in during the 2008 campaign. This year, President Obama is back at it, running ads in Madden NFL 13, on the free online game site Pogo.com, and in mobile games like Tetris.

The cloud's vast computing power is making it easier and less expensive for companies and clinicians to discover new drugs and medical treatments. Analyzing data that used to take years and tens of millions of dollars can now be done for a fraction of that amount.

Most of us know Amazon as the world's largest online retailer. But its cloud computing business is booming too.

The judging process for Round 9 of Three-Minute Fiction is now under way. NPR's Bob Mondello reads an excerpt from one standout story, The Interview, written by Georgia Mierswa. You can read the story in its entirety below, and read more stories at www.npr.org/threeminutefiction.

As you take in your next breath of air, you can thank a form of microscopic marine life known as plankton.

They are so small as to be invisible, but taken together, actually dwarf massive creatures like whales. Plankton make up 98 percent of the biomass of ocean life.

"This invisible forest generates half of the oxygen generated on the planet," Chris Bowler, a marine biologist, tells Guy Raz, host of weekends on All Things Considered.

And, as climate change alters the temperature and acidity of our waters, this mysterious ocean world may be in jeopardy.

Online education isn't particularly new. It has been around in some form since the 1990s, but what is new is the speed and scale in which online learning is growing.

In barely a year, many of the most prestigious research universities in the world – including Stanford, Caltech, Oxford and Princeton — have started to jump onto the online bandwagon.

Son Jarocho, The Sound Of Veracruz

Sep 30, 2012

Betto Arcos is the host of Global Village, a world music show on KPFK in Los Angeles, and a native of Xalapa, capital city of the Mexican state of Veracruz. He recently spoke with Guy Raz, host of weekends on All Things Considered, about son jarocho — a style of music played mostly in the south of his home state. He says the music is so vibrant because it comes from the Caribbean side of Mexico and has all the influences of that region: African, indigenous and Spanish.

President Obama and his Republican challenger, Mitt Romney, are prepping for Wednesday's presidential debate. It's a well-worn tradition now, but it wasn't always that way.

The 1960 Kennedy-Nixon face-off wasn't just the first televised presidential debate, it was also the first presidential debate in more than a century.

Four years earlier, a young German emigre named Fred Kahn, a student at the University of Maryland, wanted to see whether the nominees — Dwight Eisenhower and Adlai Stevenson — might want to engage with students.

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