All Things Considered

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Hank Williams' Unfinished Thoughts, Finished

Sep 30, 2011

"When Hank Williams died, he left behind a scuffed, embroidered brown leather briefcase. Like its owner, the briefcase appeared weathered beyond its years, yet it retained a dignified bearing that abuse couldn't erase."

In writer Michael Ondaatje's mind, the "cat's table" is where the undesirables sit in a boat's dining room. It's for the hecklers, the lowly ones and the ones farthest away from power. And it's also where you'll find the narrator of Ondaatje's new novel, Michael, an 11-year-old who's on a 21-day voyage from Sri Lanka to London all on his own.

He and his companions — two other boys who are travelling alone — live by only one rule: to every day do at least one thing that is forbidden.

Ben Dolnick is a writer based in Brooklyn.

Lately my neighborhood has been colonized by a species that exists only for a few weeks each fall: excited students. They're brimming with gossip about each other and opinions about subjects they hadn't heard of two months ago. They seem thrilled, even at 8 in the morning.

When I was their age, I loathed school, even in September. It was dull, and worse — it was forced upon me. I longed for escape like a prisoner crossing off days on his cell wall.

Pop art master Claes Oldenburg will officially unveil his latest sculpture outside the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts on Saturday. Oldenburg is known for taking everyday objects and blowing them up to impossible sizes. At first, his giant clothespins and spoons made him a target for ridicule. But now you can find examples of Oldenburg's work all over the world, from Cologne to Cleveland. And they've been embraced — for the most part.

Commentator Jo Carson Dies At 64

Sep 30, 2011

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

MELISSA BLOCK, host: We have learned that an old friend of this program died a little more than a week ago. Jo Carson contributed her commentaries to ALL THINGS CONSIDERED throughout the 1980s. She died of cancer in the city where she was born, Johnson City, Tennessee. She was 64.

Mates of State's members are literally mates: Kori Gardner and Jason Hammel have been a duo since 1996, married since 2001, and parents on tour since 2004. Their basic concept is two strong voices, Gardner's slightly predominant, over her keyboards and Hammel's drums. Over the years, the band has expanded its instrumental range and brought in guests for sonic color. But nothing in the pair's catalog anticipated "Palomino," the opening track from the new Mountaintops.

In Alaska's picturesque Bristol Bay region, developers are looking to build an enormous copper and gold mine. They promise the effort will be carried out in an environmentally responsible way — and provide area jobs. But fisherman, conservationists and native groups have joined efforts to thwart the mine, fearing it will pollute area fish and wildlife. Melissa Block talks about the battle for Bristol Bay with reporter Daysha Eaton of member station KDLG in Dillingham, Alaska.

Sylvia Robinson, who died Thursday morning in a New Jersey hospital, built the very first rap label. She was 75 years old and reportedly suffered congestive heart failure.

A listeria outbreak linked to cantaloupes from Colorado has infected 72 people in the United States and killed 13, U.S. health officials said on Tuesday. The food-borne outbreak is the deadliest in the United States in more than a decade, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Melissa Block talks to Irish Times reporter Ronan McGreevy about the interesting mix of candidates in this year's presidential election in Ireland. Among those in the race: a gay rights campaigner, a former IRA commander and a singer who won the Eurovision song contest back in 1970.

Amazon Debuts Its New Tablet

Sep 28, 2011

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos announced Wednesday the release of a full-color tablet device called Fire, as well as three new Kindle E-Ink models starting at $79.

How Will Amazon's Fire Impact Apple?

Sep 28, 2011

On Wednesday, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos announced the release of a tablet device called Fire. Michele Norris will talk with NPR's Laura Sydell about what this means for Amazon, Apple and consumers.

A group of activists in Saudi Arabia has launched a campaign to overturn a court ruling against a woman who defied the kingdom's ban on driving by women. The woman was sentenced to 10 lashes with a whip after she defied the ban in her home city on the Red Sea Coast. Melissa Block talks with NPR's Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson for the details.

The Sunni-led Persian Gulf kingdom of Bahrain is in the process of replacing 18 Shiite members of parliament who walked out of the 40-seat legislature to protest the crushing of street protests in March. An opposition boycott ensured dismal turnout in last Saturday's special election, and a run-off for nine seats is set for Oct. 1. The government insists it can move forward on its own with reforms that will restore Bahrain's reputation as a secure and moderate banking hub.

Texas Authorities Find Massive Shark Kill

Sep 28, 2011

This past weekend, wildlife officials in Texas came across a huge illegal fishing operation. They found about 3,000 dead sharks, tangled in miles of nets off the coast. Michele Norris talks with Sergeant James Dunks with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department who found the sharks.

Loughner Appears In Court

Sep 28, 2011

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, Host:

In Tucson, Arizona, a federal judge has sent Jared Lee Loughner back to a prison hospital for more treatment. Loughner is the 23-year-old charged with the January shooting rampage in Tucson that killed six and left 13 wounded, among them Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords. Loughner was in court today for a hearing to assess his competency to stand trial. A psychologist told the judge that Loughner's condition has improved with antipsychotic medication and that he could be made competent with more treatment.

I first came across Sultana's Dream while doing research for a novel set in Bangladesh. I had traveled to Dhaka, the capital city, and stumbled on the Liberation War museum, where my visit coincided with an exhibition on the story.

I became fascinated by the life of its author, Rokeya Sakhawat Hossain, when I learned that, like me, she had been raised by a progressive Muslim family and actively encouraged to seek an education.

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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