All Things Considered for Friday, October 25, 2013

Will Spying Tank U.S.-Europe Relationship?

Another day, another round of controversy about the NSA surveillance of foreign leaders. Will the White House have a response to the outrage voiced by Europeans and others?
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 political fallout from NSA spying on European leaders, as well as the Affordable Care Act's flawed rollout, and the latest in the Virginia governor's race.
When it comes to describing problems with the Affordable Care Act website, one word has been used a lot: glitches. But does that really capture the major problems with HealthCare.gov? And where does the word come from? Ben Zimmer, executive producer of vocabulary.com and language columnist for The Wall Street Journal takes a look at the word's origins.
A proposed law in France prevents online booksellers like Amazon from pricing books at deep discounts. It's the French government's latest effort to protect the country's many independent bookshops.

Fla. Special Election Will Reflect Shutdown's Impact

The death of Florida congressman Bill Young is likely to lead to the first congressional election in a competitive district following the government shutdown and debt ceiling fight. An election date has not yet been set by Gov. Rick Scott, but could be in March.
This month's partial shutdown of the government and threat to default on U.S. obligations drove a wedge into to Republican Party and damaged the GOP's prospects for 2014 elections as polls show historic levels of voter disapproval.
Iowa Republicans hold their annual dinner Friday commemorating the life and career of Ronald Reagan, with Texas Senator Ted Cruz as the featured speaker. Cruz is widely viewed as a presidential contender in 2016.
With a new record, the band Arcade Fire is trying to top their 2011 release, which won a Grammy for Album of the Year. Critic Will Hermes says that on Reflektor, they turn to dance music to try to reinvigorate their sound.
Coachella Valley Unified, a predominantly low-income, agricultural school district in California, is giving every student an iPad. The initiative highlights the problems that districts across the country are facing as they attempt to bring personalized, digital learning to their schools.

For Obamacare To Work, It's Not Just About The Numbers

Relatively few people have enrolled in new health insurance plans since the Affordable Care Act exchanges launched this month. But some health care experts say it's early days yet — and that getting the right proportion of healthy, young new enrollees is just as important as how quickly people sign up.
After initially declining federal funding to expand Medicaid, Gov. Tom Corbett has changed course slightly. He is pursuing an approach for Pennsylvania that would make use of federal funds, but there are some caveats.
Man With Opera Hat is being raffled off to raise money for Tyre, an ancient Phoenician city in Lebanon. At $135, tickets don't come cheap, but your chances of winning are much better than the megalotteries a lot of people enter, and it's still the closest many will come to owning one of Pablo Picasso's works.

Baseball's World Series Has A TV Problem

The World Series, now tied at one games apiece, between the Boston Red Sox and St. Louis Cardinals looks to be as good as fans hoped. And TV ratings are up from last year. The only problem with that bit of good news is that last year's World Series had the lowest ratings of all time. So while 14 million viewers is good thing it's a far cry from the 44 million the World Series drew in 1978. Sportswriter Stefan Fatsis talks to Audie Cornish about Major League Baseball's TV problem.
Melissa Block remembers her Uncle Allan. He died this week at the age of 90. Allan Block was a self-taught leather worker and old-time fiddle player who owned a small sandal shop in Greenwich Village during the heyday of the folk music scene in the 1950s and 60s. Folk musicians such as Joan Baez and Bob Dylan were known to stop by. Business would stop, as Allan and other musicians would have a free-wheeling folk music jam. As the late folksinger Dave Van Ronk once told a writer: "God help you, if you wanted to buy a pair of sandals."

In Afghanistan, An Uncertain Role For U.S. After 2014

The United States is little more than a year away from ending its combat mission in Afghanistan, yet much is still uncertain about the U.S. role in that country. Next month, Afghan tribal leaders plan a vote that could define the non-combat missions of U.S. troops beyond the year 2014. Meantime, there are questions about the course of the war once U.S. troop levels drop.
In the almost three years since Egyptians rose up against autocratic rule there has been one constant: lots of people are still mired in poverty and they're getting poorer. Economic social justice was a main demand of protesters in 2011 and then again in 2013 when protesters took to the streets against Mohamed Morsi. And if Egypt's new leaders don't fix the problem they may face the same problem.

Poetry 'On Fire' Gets Author Longlisted For Book Award

Poet Tess Taylor reviews Seasonal Works with Letters on Fire. The new collection by Brenda Hillman has been longlisted for the National Book Award.

Death Becomes Whimsical On Dia De Los Muertos

The Mexican Day of the Dead holiday is a time to remember the dead and prepare for their visit. It's also a time for food and friends. With Dia de los Muertos just around the corner, learn how to make a pumpkin and ancho chile mole and the traditional dessert bread, pan de muerto.

JPMorgan Chase Agrees To Pay $5.1 Billion To Feds

JPMorgan Chase agreed pay $5.1 billion to settle litigation over mortgage assets sold during the housing bubble. The deal, announced late Friday afternoon, is to resolve claims the company misled Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac before the housing market crashed. It is part of a tentative $13 billion deal the company is trying to reach with federal and state agencies over its mortgage liabilities.
Find an archived Episode: