All Things Considered

Weekdays, 4:00PM-7:00PM

WEMU's All Things Considered local host is Lisa Barry who anchors all local news segments during the program.

NPR's All Things Considered paints the bigger picture with reports on the day's news, analysis of world events, and thoughtful commentary.

How Franz Liszt Became The World's First Rock Star

Oct 22, 2011

When you think of rock n' roll, Franz Liszt might not be the first name that comes to mind. But the classical pianist, born 200 years ago today, was in many was the first rock star of all time.

On Friday, News Corp. held its first shareholder meeting since a phone-hacking scandal in the U.K. led the company to close a major tabloid. Outside the meeting at Fox Studios in Los Angeles, about 100 demonstrators assembled to condemn the Murdochs and News Corp.'s leadership.

But the complaints that followed inside were far more specific. There was a vote to approve the board of directors, but it was largely a formality because the Murdoch family and its allies control so many voting shares.

Rupert Murdoch wasted little time in reminding investors of his track record.

The French never let a crisis spoil a weekend — as you can tell. As the working week draws to a close in a cafe off the Champs-Elysee in Paris, there's a mood of keen anticipation. The wine's flowing with extra velocity. The French are preparing for two days of sports, food and family fun. They seem unperturbed by, or perhaps unaware of, the fact that their fate depends on what happens this weekend and the days that follow. If things go wrong, life won't be much fun any more.

Why Has Gadhafi's Burial Been Delayed?

Oct 21, 2011

Libyan leaders debate what to do with the body of former dictator Moammar Gadhafi — amid calls from a U.N. commission for an investigation into the circumstances of his death Thursday. Melissa Block talks to NPR's Grant Clark for more.

How do Iraqis feel about the U.S. decision to withdraw all its remaining troops by the end of this year? The issue of a residual American force to train the Iraqi military was hotly debated in Baghdad.

New Camera Focuses Shot After It's Taken

Oct 21, 2011

Autofocus cameras hit the stores back in the 1970s, making it dramatically simpler for the average consumer to get a good shot. Later the digital camera made it possible for just about anyone to process their own pictures at home on a computer. Now comes a camera that could represent another kind of photography revolution: the light field camera. Take the picture, but focus it afterwards. Robert Siegel speaks with Lytro founder Ren Ng about the new light field camera that his company is producing.

In the space of a few weeks, Hollywood will give us four serious dramas about mentally unstable characters. It's a minitrend at best, and most likely coincidental. But it got me thinking about how filmmakers use narrative form to shake up audiences and put them in the same frame of mind as the characters they're watching.

Goodbye, Gadhafi: A Dream Made Into Reality

Oct 20, 2011

Sarah Burshan is a student at the University of Illinois, Chicago.

Thursday, Oct. 20 is a day I will never forget.

My brother woke me up at 5 a.m. He kept repeating, "They got him, they caught Gadhafi!" I was so dazed, I didn't believe it. A world without Moammar Gadhafi? It seemed too good to be true.

Gadhafi ruled Libya for more than four decades with an iron fist. Gadhafi was a complex, often brutal leader with a grand vision of himself — one he displayed up until the final moments of his leadership.

With NBC's Grimm, the ABC series Once Upon A Time makes two new fairy tale-based shows premiering on network television within a week. That, plus a movie release schedule peppered with fairy tale remakes, raises a question: What's put them in the zeitgeist?

Planet Money has obtained a secret government report outlining what once looked like a potential crisis: The possibility that the U.S. government might pay off its entire debt.

It sounds ridiculous today. But not so long ago, the prospect of a debt-free U.S. was seen as a real possibility with the potential to upset the global financial system.

We recently obtained the report through a Freedom of Information Act Request. You can read the whole thing here. (It's a PDF.)

On the night of Oct. 4, Myron and Arlene Miller were asleep in their home in Mechanicstown, Ohio, when they heard a knock on the door. According to their friend Bob Comer, when Myron came downstairs, he found five men standing on his doorstep.

"They pulled him out in the front yard, and they have scissors and a battery-powered shaver and everything," Comer says. "They're trying to hold him down and cut his beard off and cut his hair off."

Miller yelled at his wife to call 911. Then the men let him go and ran back to the trailer and had the driver take off, Comer says.


MELISSA BLOCK, host: An icon of radio has died. Norman Corwin wrote and directed some of the most renowned dramas from radio's Golden Age. He was 101 years old.

Independent producer Mary Beth Kirchner worked with Corwin for the last 20 years of his life, when he found a new audience on public radio. She has this tribute.

Union workers at Ford have ratified a new contract that does not include wage increases for most workers — but does obligate Ford to create 5,750 new jobs in the U.S.

UAW President Discusses Ford Contract

Oct 19, 2011

Robert Siegel speaks with United Auto Workers president Bob King about the contract ratified by Ford workers Tuesday night — and the future of the auto business in the U.S. King says although he's used to seeing higher margins of support from the rank and file, he's satisfied that 62 percent of the Ford workers who voted approved of the contract.



Peace Activist Spurred Prisoner Swap

Oct 19, 2011


ROBERT SIEGEL, host: The agreement between Israel and Hamas, to exchange over a thousand Palestinian prisoners for the captured soldier Gilad Shalit, was brought about thanks to a couple of intermediaries. The Egyptians were involved, so were the Germans. But the agreement also depended on some back channel communications between Israelis and Palestinians in Hamas.

Middle East correspondent Patrick Martin of the Canadian newspaper the Globe and Mail has written about those communications, and he joins us now from Jerusalem. Welcome to the program.

Fact Checking The GOP Debate

Oct 19, 2011


MELISSA BLOCK, host: Now to the last night's Republican presidential debate. Voters might have questions about some of the claims the candidates made, so we've invited Bill Adair back to the program. He's the editor of the nonpartisan fact-checking website, Bill, welcome back.

BILL ADAIR: Thanks for having me.


ROBERT SIEGEL, host: Turkish troops are in what Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan is calling hot pursuit. They're chasing Kurdish rebels who ambushed and killed Turkish soldiers earlier today along Turkey's border with Iraq. Turkish and Iraqi media are reporting that these troops have crossed into Iraq to retaliate against the militants.

NPR's Kelly McEvers has the story from Baghdad.


MELISSA BLOCK, host: This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Melissa Block.

ROBERT SIEGEL, host: And I'm Robert Siegel. Hundreds of thousands of Greeks marched in Athens today and there were some clashes between police and protesters wearing masks. It was the first day of a 48 hour general strike and it brought the entire country to a standstill. Protesters objected to yet more austerity measures demanded by Greece's international creditors.

NPR's Sylvia Poggioli has the story from Athens.


South Carolina is one of several states that passed laws this year requiring voters to show a government-issued photo ID at the polls. The South Carolina measure still needs approval from the U.S. Justice Department to ensure that it doesn't discriminate against certain voters.

Voting rights advocates say the requirement will be a big burden for some, especially the elderly and the poor, who can have a difficult time getting a photo ID — even in this day and age.

The Bureaucratic Maze

In 1985, my friend Johnny suffered a tragic loss in a crime that went unsolved until this year. While reporters tell us that justice has finally brought closure, the story endures, and it raises an unsettling question: What compels us toward tales about violence, about murder?

Perhaps the answer lies in the fact that all artful stories humanize us as surely as they humanize their characters. They allow us to transcend crime-scene voyeurism and courtroom media hype, to bear witness to those who survive, after the book is slid back onto the shelf.

A task force is evaluating the risk posed by a sunken oil tanker, the SS Montebello. It went to the bottom after being attacked by a Japanese submarine during World War II. State and federal officials want to know if the ship is still carrying its cargo of oil, and if that oil could escape.

At stake is a coastline known for its stunning scenery and wildlife sanctuaries. The task force was put together a couple of years ago at the urging of state Sen. Sam Blakeslee.

Legendary songwriter Bob Dylan is once again at the center of a controversy about plagiarism, but this time it's not about his words or his music — it's about his painting.

The Asia Series, Dylan's current one-man show at the Gagosian Gallery in New York, was initially billed as the musician's visual response to his travels through Asia. But as it turns out, many of the pictures are direct copies from historical photographs.

Have plans for this Friday? Harold Camping does.