All Things Considered Sunday

Sunday, 6:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m.

All Things Considered is a NPR radio newsmagazine that delivers in-depth reporting and transforms the way listeners understand current events and view the world. The program presents breaking news mixed with compelling analysis, insightful commentaries, interviews, and special -- sometimes quirky -- features. Guy Raz hosts All Things Considered Sunday.

The U.S. Army's Rock 'N' Roll Past

Oct 30, 2011

The thought of army music evokes a certain tradition — say, trumpets and drums in the style of "Pershing's Own." But that tradition was set on its ear back in the late 1960s and early '70s, when the PFCs stationed overseas formed their own pop bands. And instead of breaking them up, Army brass sent them on tour.

Writer and comedian Andy Borowitz says he initially got into comedy for one simple reason: girls.

In addition to using his jokes to charm women, Borowitz has also written for The New Yorker and runs a satirical blog called The Borowitz Report. His latest project is The 50 Funniest American Writers: An Anthology of Humor from Mark Twain to The Onion.

It was almost two years ago now that Justin Timberlake, while filming The Social Network, cemented his place in the NPR collective heart by being photographed wearing our logo across his chest like a tattoo, only fabric, and temporary, and less painful. (Back then, by the way, that shirt wasn't in our shop. Now, you can have one! It's with our "best-sellers," even now.)

Why GDP Is Like GPA

Oct 28, 2011

GDP contains multitudes. Everything we manufacture. Every plumber who fixed a sink, every accountant who carried the one and divided by five — all the goods and services we produced.

It was invented by a guy named Simon Kuznets during the the Great Depression, when everybody wanted to know just how bad things were.

Now the number is put out by Steve Landefeld at the government's Bureau of Economic Analysis.

Welcome to the first installment of NPR's Backseat Book Club! We've invited all of our younger listeners to join us for conversations with authors of kids' books. We kicked off the club with The Graveyard Book, a thrilling Halloween treat from Neil Gaiman that won the Newbery Medal in 2009. Gaiman loves Halloween and all the creepy fun that goes along with it.

Amy Dickinson writes the Ask Amy advice column for the Chicago Tribune. Her column appears in 150 newspapers across the country.

I think the best advice is simply good advice.

It's helpful, useful and delivered with respect.

Ask Beth's specialty was advising young people about relationships, sexuality, and sexual behavior. This is a tricky business because kids and teens are often misinformed — or simply uninformed.

Thursday in Pittsburgh, Republican presidential candidate and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney appeared to shift his position on climate change. Speaking at the Consol Energy Center, he said, "My view is that we don't know what's causing climate change on this planet." In his book No Apology and in earlier public appearances, Romney has said that he believes climate change is occurring and that humans are a contributing factor. At a campaign appearance in New Hampshire, back in August, Romney emphasized questions about the extent of the human role.

NFL Ratings Beat New Network Shows

Oct 28, 2011

The biggest thing on broadcast TV this fall is the NFL. It's beating the shiny new network shows and, get this, 13 of the top 15 broadcasts this fall were NFL games — the other two were Two and a Half Men. The NFL is killing on cable, too. AMC's The Walking Dead shattered records for a cable drama this year, with had an audience of over 7 million viewers for its premiere. But another cable series that nearly doubles that number week in and week out is ESPN's Monday Night Football, averaging nearly 14 million viewers per game.

What if you could time-travel back to Memphis' Sun Studios in the 1950s? Behind the console would be none other than producer Sam Phillips. You might hear such classic songs as "My Happiness," "Crazy Arms" or "Walk the Line," originally recorded at Sun Studio by Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis and Johnny Cash, respectively.

Adam Frank is an astrophysicist at the University of Rochester. He is a regular contributor to the NPR blog 13.7: Cosmos and Culture.

What is going to happen when our machines wake up? What will happen when all these computers that run our lives suddenly become intelligent and self-aware? It's a question that makes sense to ask today, as the world marks the recent passage of John McCarthy.

Time for our home video feature, where NPR movie critic Bob Mondello suggests something for those who like to pop their own popcorn and pop in a video. For this Halloween week, Bob suggests sending a shiver up your spine with some classics from: Alfred Hitchcock: The Essentials Collection.

Netflix Stock Down 75 Percent From Its July Peak

Oct 26, 2011

Netflix does not seem to be able to hit "pause" on the bad news. The stock is down 75 percent from its peak in July when it announced changes to its subscription plans. Since then, the company has lost more than 800,000 subscribers.

Wednesday night's E.U. summit in Brussels was at first heralded as the venue for a comprehensive deal that would help Europe's debt crisis — then E.U. leaders started ratcheting back the expectations. Melissa Block talks to NPR's Jim Zarroli for more.

We have a preview of Melissa Block's conversation with singer Chris Isaak, which airs on Thursday's program. Isaak tells Melissa about his first experiences with the sound of Sun Studio — and about the intimidation factor of recording his own versions of rock 'n' roll classics by his musical heroes Roy Orbison, Johnny Cash and Elvis Presley.

Tom Waits: A Desperate Voice For Desperate Times

Oct 26, 2011

Tom Waits generally sings like a psychotic carnival barker or a drunken lounge crooner. And I really mean that as a compliment.

Part two of a three-part investigation

On a small crest deep in South Dakota's Black Hills, a dozen children jumped on sleds and floated across the snow. They are wards of the state, and this is their home: the western campus of the Children's Home Society.

There are rolling hills, a babbling brook — even a new school.

Children's Home Director Bill Colson says it's a place to help children who can't make it in regular foster homes.

In a hurry-up world, the garden keeps its own time. Old-fashioned plants like raspberries, asparagus and rhubarb ask us to slow down and wait for the sweet reward they offer. Commentator Julie Zickefoose revels in the waiting.

I have a friend who lives up in the mountains of North Carolina who loves to give me wonderful plants. Usually Connie gives me native prairie plants, and I plop them in the meadow, and it's no big deal. But this year she gave me raspberries. Not just any raspberries. Golden raspberries.

Occupy Wall Street's Most Unlikely Ally: The Pope

Oct 25, 2011

Thomas J. Reese is a senior fellow at the Woodstock Theological Center at Georgetown University, and a former editor of America, the national Catholic weekly magazine.

The Vatican released a document on the world economy on Monday that will cause heartburn in the Tea Party, but will be cheered by the folks occupying Wall Street.

Norton Juster is the author of The Phantom Tollbooth.

"There was once a boy named Milo who didn't know what to do with himself — not just sometimes but always. When he was in school he longed to be out, and when he was out he longed to be in ... Nothing really interested him — least of all the things that should have."

It was, of course, the doldrums — his own special version of them.

I found The Twin, by Gerbrand Bakker, sitting on a coffee table at a writers' colony in 2009. It carried praise from J.M. Coetzee for its "restrained tenderness and laconic humor," which seemed ample justification for using it to avoid my own writing.

I finished it, weeping, a day later, and have been puzzling over its powerful hold on me ever since. I've recommended it again and again, and while I can't say it's entirely undiscovered — it won the 2010 IMPAC Dublin Award — no one I know ever seems to have heard of it.

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.

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.