All Things Considered on NPR News

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  • Hosted by Thom Kokenge, Hosted by: Melissa Block, Audie Cornish, Robert Siegel &

NPR's afternoon radio newsmagazine brings you breaking news and compelling analysis, insightful commentaries, interviews, and special - sometimes quirky - features. Thom Kokenge also updates you on regional news, and weather forecasts on your drive home.

Below, you will find articles, transcripts, and clips of many of the stories heard on All Things Considered.

Visit All Things Considered on NPR.org

The Justice Department has blocked a new South Carolina voting law, saying it violates the 1965 Voting Rights Act. The state law requires voters to present a photo ID in order to vote. The Justice Department says the law disenfranchises minorities, but the state says it protects against voter fraud. For more, Robert Siegel talks to NPR's Pam Fessler.

It's almost here. And by "it," we mean the new season of Downton Abbey, the UK-produced drama about the Crawley family and their servants that PBS imported for Masterpiece Classic with great success. Series two has already run in the UK, but if you've been good and patient and resisted the urge to obtain it by illicit means, your wait is nearly over: the new season begins on PBS on January 8th.

Letters: Glogg, Callin' Oates

Dec 23, 2011

Lynn Neary and Robert Siegel read emails from listeners.

Bittersweet Anticipation: Expecting The Expected

Dec 23, 2011

Ben Dolnick is a writer based in Brooklyn.

Lately, just in time for Christmas, I've discovered that I've been acting in a play. A kind of holiday pageant, really. Working title: Things Are Always Better Before You Have Them.

Act One: I learn about the existence of something I want. Say, a book. (Ooh, a book of letters between William Maxwell and Eudora Welty!)

Act Two: I add the book to my Amazon wish list, which I proceed to circulate shamelessly to my family.

The fact-checking movement has been gaining momentum and gaining fans. Journalistic fact checkers serve as referees by calling foul — and fair — on various assertions by politicians, public figures and pundits with heavily documented analyses. But a slow-burn backlash flared into the open this past week.

Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich's campaign has been down and then up this year.

His top staffers resigned en masse in June, leading many to wonder whether he was out of the race. Then came debates in which the former speaker of the House shined.

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel.

LYNN NEARY, HOST:

In this age of bland romantic comedy leads, when the feminine ideal seems to mix two parts sweetly smiling Jennifer Aniston with three parts saucer-eyed Rapunzel, nothing can bring more satisfaction than the antiheroine.

Historical fiction invites us to experience the exotic and the unknown while confirming our common humanity. I do not believe that human nature has changed much over the centuries, and it is possible to identify with the emotions, passions, and fears of men and women long dead.

2011 was a good year to be a reader of science fiction and fantasy, although lately every year has been a good year: Not only are the books getting more popular — thank you, Game of Thrones — they're getting more interesting, evolving and morphing in weird, fascinating ways.

They're also interbreeding with other genres to produce wild new hybrid forms, like historical science fiction romances and hard-boiled fantasy detective novels. They're commenting on current events and swapping DNA with literary novels.

When I was a kid, I assumed that in the future things would get better and better until we were all driving flying cars and playing badminton with space aliens on top of 500-story buildings. Frankly, I kind of counted on this happening. But now I don't assume that we'll just keep going up anymore.

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