All Things Considered

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Catch up on events of the day with this drive-time mix of news, reviews, and offbeat features.

Official Website: http://www.npr.org/programs/all-things-considered/

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

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

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

Transcript

KELLY MCEVERS, HOST:

When Charles Nuñez was 17 years old, he was arrested in New York for carrying a handgun that he says he was trying to sell in Harlem. As state law requires, he was prosecuted as an adult and sent to Rikers Island, New York City's notorious prison, where he says he was quickly targeted by older men who wanted to steal his boots and his commissary money.

"One night, when we were locking in to go to sleep, some dude just hit me while I was walking toward my cell," Nuñez says. "He basically ... knocked me out, because I, like, blacked out."

Not many people walk here in Los Angeles, but if you do, you see a lot of graffiti. But it's possible that if you came back to that same place the next day, that graffiti would be gone.

The City of Los Angeles has an office of community beautification that targets graffiti — not the artistic graffiti or wall murals, but gang tags.

Nina MacLaughlin always knew she wanted to be a writer. She studied English and classics in college, and after graduation, she landed a great job with Boston's weekly alternative newspaper, the Boston Phoenix.

But after a few years of editing the newspaper's website, the drudgery began to hit her. It involved so much clicking, she says, and so many empty hours scrolling through the Internet. It didn't feel like how she wanted to spend her life.

And then came the low point: web producing a "listicle" of the world's "100 Unsexiest Men."

The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion's new album, Freedom Tower: No Wave Dance Party 2015, is all about New York City. As leader Jon Spencer explains, it was time to pay homage to the city the band has called home for almost 25 years, even though his love for the place is complicated.

Lamya Kaddor, a German-Syrian religious studies teacher and expert on Islam, was horrified to learn in 2013 that five of her former students had departed Germany to join jihadist groups in Syria.

'I Don't Want Death To Be Such A Downer'

Mar 21, 2015

"I don't want death to be such a downer" — that's what Paul Bennett, chief creative officer at the IDEO design firm, told California Sunday writer Jon Mooallem. NPR's Kelly McEvers speaks with Mooallem about Bennett's work "redesigning" death.

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

Transcript

KELLY MCEVERS, HOST:

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.

When Ethel Payne stood to ask President Dwight Eisenhower a question at a White House press conference in July 1954, women and African-Americans were rarities in the press corps. Payne was both, and wrote for The Chicago Defender, the legendary black newspaper that in the 40s and 50s, was read in black American households the way The New York Times was in white ones.

There are more than two dozen pens at the Marine Mammal Care Center in San Pedro, Calif., and no vacancy. They're filled with more than a hundred sea lion pups, grouped by health condition.

The pups in the first row of pens are swimming in small pools and sliding across the wet concrete.

"These guys on this half of the facility are actually doing pretty well," says Lauren Palmer, the chief biologist at the center. "They're eating on their own. They're playing. They're porpoising."

A new technology called CRISPR could allow scientists to alter the human genetic code for generations. That's causing some leading biologists and bioethicists to sound an alarm.

March Madness 2015: Winners And Losers

Mar 20, 2015
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Transcript

DON GONYEA, HOST:

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

Transcript

DON GONYEA, HOST:

Fourth-Graders Get Rough Lesson In Politics

Mar 20, 2015
Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

"The essence of the Bob Wills sound, and the reason he picked and did what he did, is that it was dance music — period."

Lawmakers in New Jersey heard testimony today about one of the biggest environmental cases in that state's history.

ExxonMobil recently agreed to pay $225 million in damages for contamination at two oil refineries. Gov. Chris Christie called it a "good deal." But environmentalists complain the state is getting pennies on the dollar compared to the billions it was seeking in court.

The proposed settlement still requires approval by a state judge, and the public will have a chance to comment once the details are released — probably in the next few weeks.

The graying city mayor agrees to meet a few hours before he heads to the battlefront. He is haggard after living in exile since June, when the Islamic State, also known as ISIS, swept into his city — al-Sharqat, Iraq, a hour's drive north of Tikrit.

Ali Dodah al-Jabouri has a reason to fight: Islamic State militants killed his brother and 18 other relatives. But as part of a prominent Sunni Arab tribe, he is joining an unusual alliance with Iraqi Shiite militias backed and armed by Iran.

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