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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.

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Hotshot political consultant Matt Mackowiak is a rising star in the very lucrative world of political consulting. His firm, the Potomac Strategy Group, helps Republicans win elections, but he's not working with Gov. Mitt Romney's campaign this election year. People who are part of Mackowiak's tribe — the strategists, the opposition researchers, the pollsters — are discovering that they can have a much bigger impact working for outside groups that can raise unlimited amounts of money,...

Washington, D.C., Mayor Vincent Gray was elected to office on a platform of anti-corruption. But just two years into his term, a federal investigation has left two former aides pleading guilty to misdeeds during the 2010 election. Gray has denied any wrongdoing. Host Guy Raz talks about D.C. politics with Washington Post reporter Nikita Stewart.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5exPIHtmsmI http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_-id_7qs00g Jake Foushee had a cold. He was 13 at the time, at his home outside Chapel Hill, N.C. "I woke up the next day and my voice went from way up here" — he pitches his voice high — "to how it is right now," he tells weekends on All Things Considered host Guy Raz. Jake's voice had sunk into a bass that somehow seemed familiar. By 14, he realized he had a knack for impersonating the voice-over artist Don LaFontaine...

The Lumineers: Chasing Big Dreams Out West

May 26, 2012

The Denver folk group The Lumineers was founded in 2002 by Wesley Schultz and Jeremiah Fraites, who grew up together in the New Jersey suburb of Ramsey. In its early days, the band had its sights on nearby New York as the gateway to success. "I remember one of our friends and musical acquaintances on the East Coast said the first rule of being a band is, you make the nearest, largest city your mecca," Fraites tells weekends on All Things Considered host Guy Raz. "We took that as gospel: 'Let...

When parents deploy to a war zone overseas, their absence can have ripple effects that are felt long after they return. Parents and their children often struggle to figure out how to be a family again after leading separate lives for months or years. Now, there's an effort to make the transition from combat life to home life less rocky. A small but groundbreaking University of Minnesota study is attracting attention from military leaders and Congress for its potential to help troops and their...

Big K.R.I.T. will turn 26 in August and seems halfway to stardom. His Def Jam debut, Live from the Underground , will feature a B.B. King cameo and is scheduled for a June 5 release. It should hit the charts high. Although he's never had an official album, he's been releasing free mixtapes regularly since 2005. His 2010 K.R.I.T. Wuz Here won him a contract with Def Jam. 2011's Return of 4Eva made many top 10 lists. And a few months ago, 4Eva N a Day went up gratis after sampling issues held...

From now until November, President Obama and GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney will emphasize their differences. But the two men's lives actually coincide in a striking number of ways. In this installment of NPR's "Parallel Lives" series, a look at one of those similarities: They both signed health care overhaul laws based on an individual mandate . Health care has become one of the starkest contrasts between President Obama and Republican rival Mitt Romney in the 2012 campaign. And that...

This is the tale of a single tweet and its far-reaching consequences in China. In April 2011, retired forestry official Fang Hong posted a scatological tweet, mocking a powerful Chinese politician, Bo Xilai, the Chongqing party secretary. Fang had been critical of Bo in the past. But last year, he was fired up by what he considered the injustice of a court case taken against lawyer Li Zhuang, who'd been defending an alleged gangster during Bo's clampdown against the mafia. In the heat of his...

When you've seen a lot of movies where Toronto plays the part of New York, you come to appreciate location shooting. And on today's All Things Considered , you'll hear from the star of one of television's more ambitious series when it comes to location shooting: Route 66 , which followed two guys around the country in a cool Corvette as they looked for a place to settle. The show, which ran on CBS from 1959 to 1963, has just been released in its entirety as a DVD box set, which presents the...

Five years in prison. Then five years of probation and wearing an electronic monitoring device. The shame of being a registered sex offender. Not being able to get a job. His dream of playing in the NFL destroyed, possibly forever. Brian Banks, now 26, has gone through all that. Then Thursday, the California man's rape conviction was dismissed. His accuser, who last year sent Banks a message on Facebook suggesting that they "let bygones be bygones," had been videotaped saying she lied about...

Transcript ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST: From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel. AUDIE CORNISH, HOST: And I'm Audie Cornish. In New York City, a decades old missing child case may have been solved. In 1979, a 6-year-old boy named Etan Patz disappeared as he was walking to school. Thirty-three years later, almost to the day, police say they have a suspect under arrest and his confession. That suspect is Pedro Hernandez, now 51 years old. RAY KELLY: In the years following Etan's...

English teacher Eleanor Terry started a Facebook page last fall for the High School for Telecommunication Arts and Technology in Brooklyn. She uses it for the school's college office to remind seniors about things like application deadlines. The seniors use it to stay in touch with each other. "There was a student who got into the University of Chicago," she says, "and the way we found out about it was that they scanned their acceptance letter and then tagged us in it." Most of the school's...

The Democratic Party will hold its national convention in Charlotte this September. The choice of venue was a signal that North Carolina would be a key part of President Obama's re-election strategy. But the state's Democrats have suffered a few blows lately. There's the high profile trial of former Democratic Sen. John Edwards. Even more troubling to North Carolina Democrats are the passage of a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage and a sex-scandal in the state party organization....

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney was talking about education policy Thursday in Philadelphia. Pennsylvania, with its 20 electoral votes, is a frequent stop for presidential candidates. But, amid a campaign likely to focus on a handful of battleground states, some are starting to wonder if Pennsylvania is still a swing state. At the Universal Bluford Charter School in a largely African-American neighborhood in West Philadelphia, Romney toured a computer lab, helped students with...

To physician Larry Shore of My Health Medical Group in San Francisco, it's no surprise that patients give doctors low marks for time and attention. "There's some data to suggest that the average patient gets to speak for between 12 and 15 seconds before the physician interrupts them," Shore says. "And that makes you feel like the person is not listening." A doctor's impatience, though, is often driven more by economics than ego. Reimbursement rates for a primary care visit are notoriously low...

In 2004, singer-songwriter Regina Spektor was a staple of the so-called anti-folk scene when she sat down for one of her first public-radio interviews with the now-defunct WNYC program The Next Big Thing . In the interview, she joked that she stayed up until 3:30 a.m. writing a song, trying not to wake the neighbors, but never wrote anything down. She still doesn't. "I try to be better now, at least about recording little things, because sometimes I still have things just disappear," Spektor...

In the city of Bekasi, Indonesia, outside Jakarta, a handful of Christians head to Sunday worship. But before they can reach their destination, they are stopped and surrounded by a large crowd of local Muslims who jeer at them and demand that they leave. This is the Filadelfia congregation, a Lutheran group. They are ethnic Bataks from the neighboring island of Sumatra who have migrated to Bekasi, and they have been blocked from holding services on several occasions. Recently, a journalist...

Shares of Facebook on Wednesday made up a little of the ground they've lost since the company's troubled stock offering last week. But the company and its lead underwriter, Morgan Stanley, still face a lot of legal problems. Some of the investors who bought shares of the company filed a lawsuit alleging that the two companies concealed information about Facebook's expected performance. This was one of the most eagerly anticipated IPOs in a long time, and Morgan Stanley fought hard to be named...

No one likes to go to the hospital. But some hospitals around the nation are trying to make their patients' stays a little less unpleasant. They're members of an organization called Planetree , which was founded by a patient named Angelica Thieriot, who had a not-so-good hospital experience back in the 1970s. "She herself became very ill and was hospitalized," says Planetree President Susan Frampton. "And while she felt she got good clinical quality care, she was really horrified by the human...

A storm is brewing in Washington that could darken political debate for months to come. It's about the debt, the deficit, taxes and spending — all hot topics lawmakers have been fighting about for years now. This time, though, there's a deadline, and the consequences of inaction would be immediate. That has many in Washington saying: Here we go again. In the past week, President Obama and House Speaker John Boehner have begun a new round of sparring over the U.S. debt ceiling. That's the...

Several U.S. lawmakers and prominent economists on Monday said Congress and the White House should end a financial conflict of interest at the taxpayer-owned mortgage company Freddie Mac.

Freddie Mac, which has a public mission to help make home ownership affordable, also has placed multibillion-dollar bets against American homeowners being able to refinance to cheaper mortgages. NPR, in partnership with ProPublica, an independent, nonprofit newsroom, first revealed Freddie's...

Transcript MELISSA BLOCK, HOST: Freddie Mac is a gatekeeper in the mortgage market. In many cases, the taxpayer-owned mortgage company controls who qualifies to refinance a mortgage and who doesn't. Well, NPR has learned that Freddie Mac has been making financial wagers, betting against American homeowners being able to refinance. And now some lawmakers want to put a stop to it. NPR's Chris Arnold has been reporting this story in partnership with ProPublica.org. He has this report. CHRIS...

Sen. Jon Tester Discusses Campaign Finance

Jan 30, 2012

Melissa Block talks with Sen. Jon Tester, a Montana Democrat, about his views on campaign finance laws — and, in particular, what's wrong with the Supreme Court's Citizens United decision.

A radical Islamist group in northern Nigeria has claimed responsibility for a series of deadly bombing attacks last week that left more than 200 people dead. Boko Haram's campaign of violence has left minority Christians on edge in the city of Kano.

Transcript GUY RAZ, HOST: Just a little more than a day left before voters in Florida have their say in the GOP primary. The latest polls by the Miami Herald and the Tampa Bay Times show Mitt Romney with an 11-point lead over Newt Gingrich, with Rick Santorum and Ron Paul trailing far behind. Newt Gingrich, who's had trouble getting support from establishment Republicans, picked up a nod from a decidedly non-establishment figure - one of his former rivals, Herman Cain. HERMAN CAIN: I hereby...

In 1902, director Georges Melies released his magnum opus: Le Voyage Dans La Lune ( A Trip To the Moon ), often considered the first science-fiction movie ever. Even if you've never heard of Melies, you've probably seen the film's most famous shot: a moon with a human face, wincing at the spaceship that has just crashed into its eye. What almost no one has seen since the film's original release is its true color palette. Modern audiences know Le Voyage as a black-and-white movie, but in fact,...

Today marks the start of an exciting project at All Things Considered called NewsPoet . Each month we'll be bringing in a poet to spend time in the newsroom — and at the end, to compose a poem reflecting on the day's news. The first poet to participate is Tracy K. Smith. She has received degrees in English and creative writing from Harvard College, Columbia University, and was a Wallace Stegner Fellow in Poetry at Stanford University. Her latest book of poems is titled Life on Mars . Smith...

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