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.

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It begins with a political leader or a businessman who hits on a powerful new idea, one that puts him miles ahead of everyone else. It could be a new innovation, like the financial derivative, or a new way of doing business, like Microsoft selling software. It could be something destructive, like Hitler's blitzkrieg, which ran over France in two months. No matter the specifics, it leaves everyone else flat-footed and looking foolish.

Our man (it's usually a man) is now indestructible and untouchable. With nothing in his way, he is, for a while, an irresistible force.

Mitt Romney says his experience in private equity taking over troubled companies would make him a good manager of America's economy. So we're reporting on companies that Bain Capital bought while Romney was in charge of the firm. This morning, we told the story of one that went bust. Here's the story of one that succeeded.

How A Private-Equity Firm Turns A Company Around

The U.S. Supreme Court took up the subject of lying on Wednesday.

Specifically at issue was the constitutionality of a 2006 law that makes it a crime to lie about having received a military medal. But the questions posed by the justices ranged far beyond that — from advertising puffery to dating lies.

The Supreme Court engaged in a lively debate Wednesday when it heard oral arguments in a case testing whether the 2006 Stolen Valor Act is constitutional. The law makes it a crime to lie about military honors.

Before the rise of Def Jam as hip-hop's definitive record label, there was Profile, which helped shepherd in some of the genre's early shifts in sound and style. A new two-CD anthology, Giant Single: The Profile Records Rap Anthology, chronicles the label's 15-year history and legacy.

Galactic: A Funky Day In The Life Of Mardi Gras

Feb 21, 2012

Get ready to dance, because it's Mardi Gras — a day to cut loose before Lent begins. In New Orleans, that means a day of parades, costumes and music everywhere you turn.

For the members of Galactic, Mardi Gras actually started on Monday, with an "annual gig that goes until the sun comes up at local club Tipitina's," saxophonist and harmonica player Ben Ellman says. For the long-running New Orleans funk band, it's one of the biggest gigs of the year.

A Depressive Diarist Chronicles His Descent

Feb 20, 2012

Patrick deWitt is the author of The Sisters Brothers.

"Doesn't the act of noticing matter as much as what's noticed?" So asks the narrator of Harry Mathews' masterpiece of minutia, The Journalist.

On the mend from a nervous breakdown (though it's mentioned only in passing — "the steering wheel came off in my hands," he says), he's been encouraged by his doctor to keep a journal. A seemingly benign idea, and he throws himself into the task with gusto — far too much gusto, it turns out, as the journal soon eclipses his entire life.

When Hollywood imagines the future, from Logan's Run to Avatar, it tends to picture living spaces as sterile and characterless, without any cultural clues to the person who lives there. No record library, no DVDs, no Hemingway on bookshelves ... often no bookshelves.

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AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

Screen Time: 3 Books That Should Be Movies

Feb 20, 2012

J.D. Salinger famously refused to sell the film rights to The Catcher in the Rye, saying it was "unactable." It's true the subtleties of such great novels can get lost in translation. But I thought I'd take a look at three of my favorite novels that have never made it to the multiplex in wide release. Each of these will transport you to another time and another place.

The Role Of Political Spouses: Decoding An Image

Feb 19, 2012

One of the most talked about personalities on the Republican presidential campaign trail, Callista Gingrich, rarely says a word. That hasn't kept her out of the spotlight, though. From their hair to their home life, potential first ladies get attention on the campaign trail.

The New Running Game Where 'Zombies' Chase You

Feb 19, 2012

The new iPhone app called "Zombies, RUN!" is not your standard running game.

It's designed to encourage folks, such as say, video gamers, who aren't usually associated with exercise to take up running.

British writer Naomi Alderman, who is a gamer herself as well as an Orange-award winning novelist, came up with the idea for "Zombies, RUN!" while in a class for amateur runners she tells weekends on All Things Considered guest host Mary-Louise Kelly.

Transcript

MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

It's WEEKENDS on ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Mary Louise Kelly. Today, the world lost a man who elevated a simple arcade game...

(SOUNDBITE OF PINBALL GAME)

KELLY: ...into an American obsession.

(SOUNDBITE OF PINBALL)

KELLY: Steve Kordek was Mr. Pinball. Before he came along, the game looked totally different.

DAVID SILVERMAN: The other companies had games that were six flippers per game.

KELLY: That's David Silverman, founder of the National Pinball Museum in Baltimore, Maryland.

It was at the New Hope Baptist Church in Newark, N.J., where Whitney Houston first learned to sing, and it was there that friends and family gathered on Saturday to say goodbye to the pop superstar.

The star-studded service lasted more than three hours. Among those in attendance were Dionne Warwick, Kevin Costner and Alicia Keys.

A troubled starlet dies in a helicopter crash off the Irish coast after sending a series of mysterious text messages. Three years later, a hungry young reporter desperate for work takes an assignment to write a quickie celebrity biography of her — but finds complexity and danger.

That seemingly accidental death is the catalyst for the events in Bloodland, a new thriller by Irish author Alan Glynn.

In a victory for the White House, the Republican-controlled House of Representatives passed an extension of the payroll tax cut on Friday after weeks of refusal. Host Mary Louise Kelly speaks with James Fallows of The Atlantic about the political reasoning behind the vote.

The Future Of Children's Books

Feb 18, 2012

Transcript

MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

So here's a conundrum for parents. If you have kids, you get told over and over limit their screen time. And you're also told, instead of screen time, get them reading more, which is all well and good, except that these days, many children do their reading on a screen, which raises some interesting questions about how children read today and what direction things are headed in children's book publishing.

Country Music Award winner Gretchen Peters had an eventful 2010: The BP oil spill washed up on her doorstep, a good friend committed suicide, and her son announced that he's transgender. The last of those in particular, she says, got her thinking about personal conflict.

No celebrity can be truly world renown unless they have their own theme park. Mickey Mouse and Disney have theirs. Now, Napoleon might get his chance too.

Christian Mantei the head of Atout France, the tourism group supporting the endeavor, once told the The Economist that "bosses at Disneyland Paris once said that only Napoleon had the stature to take on Mickey Mouse".

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