All Things Considered for Friday, October 4, 2013

Not long ago, the government shutdown was all about the Affordable Care Act, and Republicans' attempt to defund it. But in recent days, it seems to have become more about finding some way for House Speaker John Boehner to claim some sort of victory.
Lunching at a sandwich shop hit hard by government furloughs, President Obama said he would veto any bills designed to reopen the government piecemeal.

The Week In Politics: Shutdown Edition

Melissa Block talks with regular political commentators, E.J. Dionne of The Washington Post and the Brookings Institution and David Brooks with The New York Times. They discuss the federal government shutdown, why it happened, what's happening now and what happens next.
Reading literary fiction improves people's ability to recognize other people's mental states, while popular fiction and nonfiction do not, a study says. That may be because literary fiction tends to focus on the psychology and inner lives of the characters.
The website Scribd, online for several years now as a document storehouse, is beginning an e-book subscription service that will offer unlimited e-books for a flat monthly fee. Lynn Neary reports that Scribd is working with HarperCollins, which is the first major American publisher to take part in this kind of subscription service.
The health care law is partly funded by a tax on medical devices. Republicans and some Democrats from states with medical device companies want to repeal the tax. Leading Democrats say that's not happening if it's meant to scale back Obamacare. But the device tax could be an area of compromise later in a broader budget deal.
Day four of the government shutdown brings no signs of any progress in resolving the stalemate between Republicans and Democrats. It may be some small solace to know that this is by no means the first time the government has been largely closed because of disputes between Congress and the White House. In fact, by some accounts this is the 17th time that an impasse has shuttered federal agencies.
Vo Nguyen Giap was a legendary Vietnamese general credited with defeating French forces — and French colonial rule — in the Battle of Dien Bien Phu. He was also a key architect of the 1968 Tet offensive, which convinced many Americans that the Vietnam War could not be won. General Giap died Thursday at the age of 102.

Sandra Bullock, Boxed In On The Set Of 'Gravity'

For her new film, the actress submitted to a singularly intense shooting regimen to achieve the movie's weightless visuals. She talked with NPR's Melissa Block about the filming process, which kept her alone inside a box for long stretches, listening to strange music and sounds.
The White House has cancelled President Obama's trip to Asia, where he was planning to attend some major international summits. Instead, Kerry will attend these meetings while Obama deals with the government shutdown at home.

You've Got Shutdown Questions. We've Got Answers

Earlier this week, All Things Considered asked you to submit your questions about the shutdown, then assembled a crack team of NPR reporters to answer them. Find out what the government shutdown means for food safety, military pay and more.
The latest on Miriam Carey, the Connecticut dental hygienist who was shot and killed by Capitol police Thursday after she drove into barriers near the White House and led police on a chase through Washington, D.C., streets.

When Should Police Use Deadly Force?

Questions about the appropriate use of lethal force have been raised after police fatally shot Miriam Carey Thursday near the U.S. Capitol. Carey had tried to breach a White House security checkpoint with her car before speeding toward the U.S. Capitol. Melissa Block talks with Eugene O'Donnell, a former officer with the New York Police Department and certified police trainer, about the standard protocols for using deadly force.
The U.S. has provided more than $1.5 billion to Syria since the war began more than two years ago. Virtually all of it is has been spent on humanitarian aid and social programs, though that gets much less attention than the relatively small amount that goes to the Syrian rebels.
Britain's Conservative-led government has unveiled proposals to change the social benefits system, moving ever closer to workfare. One measure under the plan requires the long-term jobless to do community work. Another plan would ax automatic housing and other benefits for unemployed Brits under 25.
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell wrote a letter Thursday to ten million of his closest friends. He wanted to let everyone know the league is doing everything it can to prevent concussions and that player safety is top priority. His letter came the day after excerpts of the book League of Denial, which details how the NFL ignored the evidence linking football to concussions and long-term brain damage, came out. Sportswriter Stefan Fatsis talks to Audie Cornish about this and other NFL news.
Pastor Jamie Coots says his Pentecostal church is really not that different from other churches. "We sing, we preach, we testify, take up offerings, pray for the sick, everything like everybody else does. Just, every once in a while, snakes are handled," he says.
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