All Things Considered

Monday-Friday 3-5PM

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National Transportation Safety Board investigators are looking into whether the engineer of the Amtrak train that derailed south of Seattle Monday morning may have been distracted by a second Amtrak employee in the cab of the locomotive.

Investigators also are trying to determine why no brakes were activated by the engineer. The emergency brake activated automatically only as part of the train began to go off the rails.

The chart on the screen looks like something out of a TV crime drama: an elaborate web of emails and phone numbers, some names and photos, all connected by a mesh of thin lines.

The man standing in front of the maze is an investigator. But if you met him at a bar, he'd probably tell you he's a software engineer. That's because his work is sensitive — but also, because he works for a tech company in Silicon Valley.

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3 Books That Capture America In Poetry

Dec 18, 2017

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Our poetry reviewer, Tess Taylor, is sharing some books that she says capture different voices from American life right now. One's by a poet from West Virginia, another an immigrant and a third an African-American woman. Hi, Tess.

TESS TAYLOR, BYLINE: Hi, Ari, how are you?

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Merely Torres-Garcia has been living in a hotel room in Hartford, Conn., with her husband and two kids after losing part of her house in Puerto Rico to Hurricane Maria. She said spending the Christmas season in the northeastern cold has been hard for her family. But on Saturday night, in the noisy atrium of Hartford City Hall, it felt a little bit like Christmas on the island.

"My kids are happy. We feel like home in here right now," she said.

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Let's take a moment to remember the Chicago Jazz pianist Willie Pickens, who died last week at age 86.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

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This evening, Republican lawmakers released the final version of tax legislation that's been making its way through Congress for the past several weeks.

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Can an algorithm tell if you're a terrorist? Can it predict if you'll be a productive member of society?

U.S. immigration officials are trying to answer those questions. They hope to build an automated computer system to help determine who gets to visit or immigrate to the United States.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE, wants to use techniques from the world of big data to screen visa applicants. The project would scour all publicly available data, including social media.

But the idea has some critics — including many tech experts — worried.

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Outside Puerto Rico's capital, a three-story-high mountain of debris and waste sits smack in the middle of what was a suburban soccer field before Hurricane Maria devastated the island.

Blue bleachers peek out from the edge of the trash pile, as a line of trucks rolls in to dump even more tree branches and moldy furniture. Workmen wearing yellow hard hats operate diggers to add the new waste to the growing pile in the center of the field.

Nearly 9 in 10 Americans believe that "a zero-tolerance policy for sexual harassment is essential to bringing about change in our society."

At a time when partisan opinions are so polarized on a range of issues, Republicans and Democrats are relatively similar in believing that society should crack down hard on sexual harassment, a new poll from Ipsos and NPR suggests.

Maine Sen. Susan Collins voted for the Senate GOP tax plan despite its repeal of the individual mandate because GOP leadership promised her a vote on her reinsurance bill, and a vote on legislation to restore some payments to insurers. But it's doubtful getting those provisions enacted would mitigate the damage to exchanges from the mandate repeal.

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Now we are going to remember the filmmaker who first showed us what it is like to set off in search of the perfect wave.

(SOUNDBITE OF DOCUMENTARY, "THE ENDLESS SUMMER")

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I grew up in San Luis Obispo, a small town about 20 miles inland from the Pacific Ocean in central California. I was raised primarily by my grandmother, Anna Herrera. She was a very affectionate woman who liked to tell jokes and stories and take walks along the river behind her small house.

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