All Things Considered

Weekdays 3:30 to 6:30 PM

Every weekday, 91.5 KRCC's All Things Considered features breaking news, stories and reports from NPR reporters and correspondents based throughout the United States and the world. 

Reports and newscasts from the 91.5 KRCC Newsroom feature stories and updates from around the Southern Colorado and Northern New Mexico region, as well as Capitol Coverage.

The legislative process on Capitol Hill is often slow and grinding. There are committee hearings, filibuster threats and hours of floor debate. But sometimes, when Congress really wants to get something done, it can move blindingly fast.

That's what happened when Congress moved to undo large parts of a popular law known as the STOCK Act last week.

One argument that some gun rights groups make against expanding background checks is that the federal government isn't doing a good enough job now of enforcing the law already on the books.

They point out that only a tiny fraction of people caught trying to buy a gun illegally are ever prosecuted.

But gun control supporters say that argument totally misses the point of background checks.

Listening to her ethereal sound, you might not guess that Rachel Zeffira was classically trained as an opera singer. But on her solo debut, The Deserters, she's not just singing: She also plays piano, synthesizers, vibraphone, cathedral organ, violin, viola, oboe and English horn.

Zeffira makes her home in London now, but she grew up in a small town in rural British Columbia and began playing music at a young age.

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And NPR's Tovia Smith joins us now, from Boston. And Tovia, let's recap the chronology just a little bit. Two explosions about 10 seconds apart, very close by at the finish line, correct?

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This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Melissa Block.

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And I'm Robert Siegel.

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An Update On The Boston Marathon Explosions

Apr 15, 2013

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Imagine for a second what it would be like if you could talk to your radio, and your radio would actually listen. To get an idea of what this might be like, I downloaded an app called Talk to Esquire, from the magazine of the same name.

When I opened it, the app asked me a question: What's your favorite type of liquor? That's a little forward, but it's Esquire so I played along and told the app that I'm more of a beer drinker.

Christopher Scott, Johnnie Lindsey and Billy Smith drive down a desolate highway toward a prison in East Texas. They've all been there before, serving hard time — 63 years among the three of them.

But this time it's different. They're driving a Hummer. They're dressed to the nines. And they're on a mission. They aim to get an inmate out — a friend of Scott's named Jimmy O'Steen, aka Big O. But this will be a slow-motion prison break. Scott, Lindsey and Smith are all exonerated prisoners.

Nick Drake: 'A Real Musician's Musician'

Apr 14, 2013

English folk musician Nick Drake died decades before the song "Pink Moon" found him a wide audience, thanks to a series of Volkswagen ads back in 1999. They sparked a resurgence of interest in Drake's work — music largely ignored in his day but now inspiring legions of young musicians.

It's widely known that the world's icecaps are melting. While most people are focused on what we're losing, some have considered what might be gained by the disappearance of all that ice.

In 2008, the U.S. Geological Survey released a report estimating that 13 percent of the world's remaining undiscovered oil and 30 percent of the remaining undiscovered natural gas could be in the Arctic.

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It's WEEKENDS on ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Jacki Lyden.

Street Artists Protest Status Quo In Haiti

Apr 14, 2013

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Thao Nguyen, of the folk-rock group Thao & the Get Down Stay Down, has been on a musical journey since she started performing in her teens in Northern Virginia. Delicate yet fierce in her vocal delivery, she writes often about her social concerns — and it was a trip to a California women's prison that inspired much of her latest album, We the Common.

Ngyuen and her band are on the road for the first time in several years; she spoke with NPR's Jacki Lyden from a tour stop in Kansas City.

Nobody actually knows what dinosaurs sound like. But if you can imagine the roar of a T. Rex or the bellow of a brachiosaurus, it's probably thanks to the 1993 blockbuster Jurassic Park, which turns 20 this summer.

That constellation of information known as Big Data can be a sight to behold.

Adam Frank of NPR's 13.7 blog explains Big Data as "the ability to understand (and control) a seemingly chaotic world on levels never before imagined."

Big Data is like gathering digital dust, says New Yorker tech blogger Gary Marcus. "It's a very valuable tool," he says, "but it's rarely the whole solution by itself."

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And now, a report from the Masters Golf Tournament in Augusta, Ga. Not about the azaleas and history that tug at our hearts. This is a story about the head.

On Sunday, voters in Venezuela will head to the polls, and in Caracas, the noise level is as high as voters' emotions. There is a background noise that accompanies everyday life in Latin America, a constant soundtrack: music blaring from food stands and cars, loud automobiles that are so run-down they defy the laws of physics, street vendors yelling product names. I've spoken to many immigrants to the U.S. who, like me, first arrived to live in the suburbs and found the absence of bochinche, or ruckus, maddening.

This week marked a new step in Michelle Obama's evolution as first lady. In her hometown of Chicago, she delivered one of the most emotional speeches of her career — about kids dying from gun violence.

"I'm not talking about something that's happening in a war zone halfway around the world," she said. "I am talking about what's happening in the city that we call home."

In the age of hundreds of cable channels, millions of 140-character bulletins and an untold number of cat videos, a fear has been growing among journalists and readers that long-form storytelling may be getting lost.

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Mike Brodie's life, when narrated by an outsider, seems a lot like free association — where one thing leads to the next, leads to the next, etc.

Before he discovered trains, Brodie was bagging groceries in Pensacola, Fla., and really into BMX. Then he met a girl. She worked at the Chinese restaurant in the same strip mall and, he says, "she was like a punk rocker."

Jonathan Winters, known to one generation for his 1960s comedy albums, frequent Tonight Show with Johnny Carson appearances and comic movie characters, and to another generation as Robin Williams' baby on Mork & Mindy, has died. The news is coming from The Associated Press, TMZ, the NPR Arts Desk and other news outlets.

Winters was 87. TMZ says he died Thursday night "of natural causes in Montecito, Calif. ... surrounded by friends and family.

Honky-tonk veteran Dale Watson has an impressive white pompadour and arms that tell his story: flag tattoos of Alabama, where he was born, and Texas, where he lives. Musical notes circle his biceps. And he has an inked portrait of his first musical inspiration — his late father, a truck driver and sometime country singer who passed on to Dale his love of traditional country, from Hank Williams to Lefty Frizzell.

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Currency traders were stunned last week by aggressive action from Japan's central bank. The Bank of Japan embarked on a bond-buying program that, by one measure, is twice the size of the extraordinary moves by Ben Bernanke and the Federal Reserve in the United States. The BOJ's move is an effort to shock the Japanese economy out of more than a decade of sluggish growth and deflation.

A strange green rock discovered in Morocco last year was hailed by the press as the first meteorite from Mercury. But scientists who've been puzzling over the stone ever since say the accumulating evidence may point in a different direction. Maybe, just maybe, they say, the 4.56-billion-year-old rock fell to Earth from the asteroid belt located between Mars and Jupiter.

Animal-rights activists are hoping for change in Pennsylvania, where they're fighting to end a tradition: live pigeon shoots. At the events, shooters compete to hit birds that are launched into the air.

Elissa Katz remembers feeling helpless at the site of a pigeon shoot, with feathers flying through the air and wounded birds falling to the ground. "They flutter up in the air as they are sprung from boxes. Shooters have shotguns, they are at fairly close range, and they blast away at the birds," she says.

The Republican National Committee is holding its spring meeting in the Democratic stronghold of Hollywood this week — part of an effort to broaden the party's appeal.

So far, there are sharp divisions among RNC delegates about the future direction of the GOP. But there's general agreement that the party isn't effectively communicating its message.

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