All Things Considered for Friday, November 1, 2013

Reduced Foodstamps Payouts Could Hurt The Economy

Food stamp recipients will see a cut in their benefits starting Friday. For the hungry and unemployed, more cuts may be coming. That's a challenge for the affected families, but it could also be a drain on the broader economy.

Week In Politics: A Month Of HealthCare.gov

Robert Siegel turns to regular political commentators E.J. Dionne of The Washington Post and the Brookings Institution and David Brooks with The New York Times to discuss the week in politics. At the top of the list of subjects: problems with HealthCare.gov, the federal health insurance online marketplace.

The NSA Doesn't Think Your Joke Mug Is Funny

The latest twist in the unfolding National Security Agency surveillance story comes in the form of a coffee mug. The NSA filed a cease-and-desist order over a parody of their logo and now the affected artist is fighting back with a lawsuit.

Matthew McConaughey, Fiercely Committed To This 'Club'

Dallas Buyers Club tells the true story of Ron Woodroof (Matthew McConaughey), a Texas man whose '80s AIDS diagnosis drives him to fight for access to the drugs he believes can save him. Jennifer Garner and Jared Leto also star. (Recommended)

The Dallas Cowboy Behind The Real 'Buyers Club'

The film Dallas Buyers Club tells the story of Ron Woodroof, a man with AIDS in the 1980s who smuggled in experimental treatments to fight his disease. NPR's Elizabeth Blair reports that the real Ron Woodroof was just as colorful as the Hollywood version.

How One Kenyan Tribe Produces The World's Best Runners

The Kalenjin people dominate the world of long-distance running, and it seems there's no one secret. Their body structure, their training regimen and traditions that teach them to stoically withstand pain all appear to contribute to their incredible success.
In his later years, Norman Rockwell lived in the kind of small town you'd expect to see in his paintings. But he didn't move there for its tranquil pastures; he moved for the psychiatric institute where he and his wife sought treatment. In American Mirror, Deborah Solomon looks at the artist's relationship with his psychoanalyst.

Gunman Opens Fire At Los Angeles International Airport

A lone gunman opened fire Friday at Los Angeles International Airport, police say. Police fired on the alleged shooter, who is now in police custody. The attack left one TSA officer dead and at least seven people needing medical treatment (including the shooter), officials said. The shooting forced the evacuation of a terminal and more than 45 flights into and out of LAX have been cancelled.
The leader of the Pakistani Taliban is reported to have been killed by a U.S. drone strike. Hakimullah Mehsud's group is believed responsible for attacks across Pakistan. He is also implicated in the attack that killed seven CIA employees at a CIA base in Afghanistan in late 2009. Mehsud has been reported to have been killed before, but sources are confident this time.
Friday marked one month since the health care exchange marketplace opened. It's unclear how many people have actually enrolled in insurance, how much more the contractors who bungled the software will get paid and whether consumers will be satisfied with the plans they get.

Iraqi Foreign Minister: We Need American Help

Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maliki will meet with President Obama Friday, and is expected to ask for more and stronger military aid. Iraq is suffering increased sectarian fighting, and a resurgent Al-Qaida presence. Robert Siegel talks with Iraq's Foreign Minister, Hoshyar Zebari, about what the leadership in Baghdad is asking for, and whether they're doing enough to merit assistance.
Seven months into his papacy, Pope Francis is shaking up the Catholic world, with outspoken interviews and cold calls to ordinary people. But some Catholic conservatives are deeply uncomfortable and worried that the Vatican has lost control of the papal message.

Why The Dearth Of Black Commediennes In 'SNL' Cast?

Scandal star Kerry Washington's turn hosting NBC's Saturday Night Live this Saturday has revived criticism of the show's lack of black female cast members. The issue was raised earlier this year when SNL announced five new cast members — four male, all white. The show's lack of black women — only three have ever been cast in 38 years — forces the show's black males to dress as black women, which echoes historic, demeaning issues for black male comics. It also keeps SNL from featuring black female characters and keeps black women from entering the farm team of America's comedy elite who launch their careers there.
After the Supreme Court struck down the Defense of Marriage Act, the Pentagon said it would offer military IDs and extend the benefits that come with them to same-sex partners. But some states that don't recognize gay marriages have refused to issue the IDs to same-sex spouses of National Guard members.

An East L.A. Football Rivalry, Unchanged For 79 Years

An East Los Angeles rivalry has become the largest high school football game west of the Mississippi. The football teams of Garfield High School and Roosevelt High School will meet on the gridiron Friday night for the 79th year. The game is expected to draw 20,000 fans.

Rather Than Bet On Your Favorite NFL Player, Invest

Sports marketing and management firm Fantex has reached a deal with San Francisco 49ers tight end Vernon Davis for an initial public stock offering. Fantex is paying Davis $4 million for the rights to 10 percent of his earnings, and the company is also creating a tracking stock linked specifically to the football player's economic performance. Davis is the second player to try this arrangement with Fantex. Sportswriter Fatsis joins Robert Siegel to explain how this is all supposed to work — and why he's dubious.
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