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Melissa Block and Robert Siegel

In-depth reporting and transformed the way listeners understand current events and view the world. Every weekday, hear two hours of breaking news mixed with compelling analysis, insightful commentaries, interviews, and special - sometimes quirky - features. To hear the most recent broadcast, or search the All Things Considered archives, click here.

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Law
3:53 pm
Tue October 9, 2012

Supreme Court To Take Up Affirmative Action Case

Originally published on Tue October 9, 2012 6:10 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

It's ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Audie Cornish.

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

And I'm Robert Siegel.

Tomorrow, the Supreme Court will hear arguments in a landmark case about race and college admissions. In 2008, a white student named Abigail Fisher sued the University of Texas in Austin. Ms. Fisher claimed she was denied admission to UT because of her race.

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NPR Story
3:33 pm
Tue October 9, 2012

How Does Affirmative Action Impact Colleges?

Originally published on Tue October 9, 2012 6:10 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

What happens when race is taken out of university admissions? In 1996, California voters passed Proposition 209, which bans state government institutions including the universities from considering race, sex or ethnicity in their policies. The results of Prop 209 are in dispute, and that dispute is argued in briefs filed in the Fisher case. The president and chancellors of the University of California have filed a brief in support of the University of Texas' plan.

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Around the Nation
3:27 pm
Tue October 9, 2012

Instead Of Surgery, Man Pedals Off The Pounds

Ernest Gagnon weighed 570 pounds before he decided to lose weight by taking up cyclocross racing. Forgoing surgery, Gagnon lost more than 200 pounds and recently competed in his first cyclocross race.
Courtesy of Ernest Gagnon

Originally published on Tue October 9, 2012 10:02 pm

A lot of Americans are struggling to lose a whole lot of weight, and they try all kinds of crazy things.

Ernest Gagnon — a man from Billerica, Mass. — decided to shed pounds by getting into the often intense, high-adrenaline sport of cyclocross: racing road bikes on obstacle courses.

Two years ago, Gagnon tipped the scales at 570 pounds. He was depressed and embarrassed to leave the house.

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Music Reviews
2:24 pm
Tue October 9, 2012

Shemekia Copeland Embodies The Blues On '33 1/3'

Shemekia Copeland's new album is titled 33 1/3.
Sandrine Lee Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Thu October 11, 2012 2:25 pm

Shemekia Copeland says she didn't really find her singing voice until her teen years, when her father, the late blues guitarist Johnny Copeland, began suffering from health issues. On her new album, 33 1/3, she finds a different kind of voice — one that's eager to participate in a national dialogue.

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Europe
1:58 pm
Tue October 9, 2012

German Catholics' Path To Heaven Comes With Taxes

Bavarian bishops walk in a procession to the Basilica of the Fourteen Holy Helpers near Bad Staffelstein, Germany, in May. A decree by the German bishops' conference warns that German Catholics who do not pay a state church tax will be denied sacraments.
Daniel Karmann EPA/Landov

Originally published on Tue October 9, 2012 10:02 pm

Germany's bishops have a clear message for the country's 25 million Catholics: The road to heaven requires more than faith and good intentions; it requires tax payments, too.

Last month, German bishops warned that if members of the Catholic Church don't pay the country's church tax, they'll be denied the sacraments — including baptisms, weddings and funerals.

In increasingly secular Europe, Germany is one of the few countries where the state collects a special levy from tax-registered believers and hands it over to three organized faiths.

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U.S.
1:41 pm
Tue October 9, 2012

Getting To Yes On Gay Marriage, One Voter At A Time

Rion Tucker is a canvasser for Equality Maine. The organization is working to get supporters to the polls on Election Day, to vote for a ballot initiative legalizing same-sex marriage.
Michael May for NPR

Originally published on Tue October 9, 2012 6:10 pm

Rion Tucker is covering a lot of ground in his home state of Maine these days. The 20-year-old is a canvasser for Equality Maine, and he's been knocking on lots of doors in an effort to make sure that voters in his state pass a ballot initiative in November legalizing same-sex marriage.

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13.7: Cosmos And Culture
8:28 am
Tue October 9, 2012

The City As Infestation

This nighttime photograph taken from the International Space Station shows much of the Atlantic coast of the United States. Parts of two Russian vehicles parked at the orbital outpost can also be seen in the frame.
NASA

Originally published on Tue October 9, 2012 6:10 pm

For all their variety and variation, cities are, at their root, physical systems. That means, at some fundamental level, they are also expressions of the laws of physics. In physics size matters (or "scale" as we call it). Physicists learn different things about an object by looking at it from different scales. In our first exploration of physics and cities we stayed at the street level. At that scale we saw cities as machines: cars and elevators, pipes and plumbing. Then we went up to the roof. At that scale we saw cities as engines, vast systems for turning energy into work.

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All Tech Considered
6:15 pm
Mon October 8, 2012

Baseball Autographs Get A Digital Upgrade

Sarah Wagner shows off an Egraph of Kerry Wood, her favorite Cubs player.
David Schaper NPR

Originally published on Tue October 9, 2012 10:39 am

On her 22nd birthday this summer, Sarah Wagner of suburban Wheaton, Ill., who describes herself as a huge fan of the Chicago Cubs, opened an email to find an incredible surprise — a recorded message from her favorite Cubs player:

"Hey, Sarah! Kerry Wood here! Thanks for your message and I hope you're having a great summer!"

"When I heard for the first time, I instantly smiled," says Wagner. "I think my hands probably went over like my mouth, like, 'Oh my gosh, Kerry Wood is talking to me, even though he has no idea who I am!' "

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'Another Thing': Test Your Clever Skills
4:38 pm
Mon October 8, 2012

'Another Thing': Singing The Housework Blues

iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Mon October 8, 2012 8:38 pm

Each week, All Things Considered and Lenore Skenazy, author of the book and blog Free Range Kids, bring you "Another Thing," an on-air puzzle to test your cleverness skills. We take a trend in the news and challenge you to help us satirize it with a song title, a movie name or something else wacky.

This week's challenge: A study out of Norway found that couples who split the chores equally are 50 percent more likely to divorce.

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Presidential Race
3:41 pm
Mon October 8, 2012

Romney Paints Obama As 'Weak Leader' In Middle East

Originally published on Sun October 14, 2012 7:28 am

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel. Later this month, President Obama and Mitt Romney will meet for a debate focused exclusively on foreign policy, but the Republican is not waiting until then to confront the issue. Today, in a speech at the Virginia Military Institute, Romney attacked the Obama administration's policies, especially in the Middle East.

MITT ROMNEY: It's clear that the risk of conflict in the region is higher now than when the president took office.

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