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All Things Considered and Montana News

Weekdays 5:00 PM -7:00 PM

All Things Considered offers breaking news, compelling analysis, insightful commentaries, interviews, and special - sometimes quirky - features.  Montana Public Radio News Director, Eric Whitney, has Montana Headline News at 5:40, 5:32, 6:04, and 6:32 p.m.  We also drop Montana News stories into ATC as often as possible, usually at 5:45 and 6:45.

It's a gray afternoon in Columbia, Mo., and Officer Cory Dawkins is escorting a man to jail — the suspect is charged with endangering a child. Dawkins pushes a button on his body camera to start recording, then exits his patrol car and walks the suspect inside the jailhouse.

The officer signs papers, talks shop with the guards, and returns to his vehicle.

At 72, after 30 years in the U.S. Senate, Mitch McConnell has finally realized his life's ambition.

He never wanted to be president — he just wanted to be Senate majority leader. And when he ascends to that perch come January, McConnell will finally have a chance to shape the chamber he says he deeply loves. McConnell declared his first priority will be to make what's been called a paralyzed Senate function again. But the politician who became the face of obstruction over the past four years will have to persuade Democrats to cooperate.

The color blue has meant a lot of things to a lot of different people. In medieval times, the Virgin Mary's cloak was often painted a celestial, pure, sacred blue. In the early 1900s, Pablo Picasso created somber blue paintings during a period of depression. The color has been championed by everyone from jazz musician Miles Davis and singer-songwriter Joni Mitchell to the theatrical Blue Man Group.

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Our ears perk of up whenever we hear an unfamiliar weather term, and over the weekend the cold weather in the upper Midwest revealed a new one - at least new to me.

(SOUNDBITE OF UNIDENTIFIED NEWS BROADCAST)

Congress' Newest Members Come To Washington

Nov 12, 2014

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The name David Tennant may evoke two very different reactions: from some people, "Who?" and from others, "Doctor Who!" The Scottish actor starred as Doctor Who in the beloved, BBC science-fiction series. "It's a huge privilege to be involved in something that evokes such enthusiasm," Tennant tells NPR's Robert Siegel. But, he says, it's also nice to be known for other projects as well.

Now, he's making his American television debut in Gracepoint — an American adaptation of the BBC detective series Broadchurch.

It's late afternoon and the day has just ended at a Los Angeles school. Students are making their way toward the parking lot, where a dusty 2001 Ford Taurus stands out among the shiny SUVs filled with waiting parents.

Kids walk by and stare. In the back seat of the Taurus, James, a tall 14-year-old in a checkered shirt, smiles. He is familiar with the stares.

He never told anyone that he was once homeless, but they knew. It's hard to hide homelessness from other kids, he says. They want to know why you're wearing the same shirt and why you look tired.

NPR — along with seven public radio stations around the country — is chronicling the lives of America's troops where they live. We're calling the project "Back at Base," and this is the second installment of the ongoing series.

It was 2005, and Gary Walters had served a year in Iraq. Then, one day, a bomb went off near him, and he suffered severe wounds.

Jeffrey Craig Hopper is a probate attorney and Little League coach in Austin, Texas, so he knows all about following the rules. Still, accidents happen. Last June on the Little League field, an errant baseball smashed into his face.

His wife, Jennifer, remembers rushing to the field.

"His eye was swollen shut enough that we weren't sure if he could see," she says.

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The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is shutting down cod fishing, from Provincetown, Mass., up to the Canadian border, in an effort to reverse plummeting numbers of the iconic fish in the Gulf of Maine.

Starting Thursday, no fishermen — commercial or recreational — may trawl or use certain large nets that might catch cod for the next six months. Local cod fishermen, who now face an uncertain future, say the government hasn't done enough to maintain cod populations, and they challenge NOAA's cod counts.

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Microsoft Wants To Mine Data Like A Social Network

Nov 10, 2014

Microsoft — a company most associated with Word documents and Excel spreadsheets — is getting a makeover.

Under new leadership, the software developer is analyzing vast troves of data about its users to create social tools for the workplace. They've got the goods — just think of all those Office emails that bind us together — but the question is, will customers want to cozy up socially with Microsoft, on and off the job?

Old Data, New Strategy

For Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram, A Desperate Life On The Run

Nov 10, 2014

Hopes were raised when the Nigerian military announced a cease-fire last month with the militants of Boko Haram, who have been fighting for years to impose Islamic law on Nigeria.

But the Islamist extremists denied there was a truce and have intensified deadly attacks and kidnappings in recent weeks, seizing territory said to be the size of Maryland and declaring a caliphate in the zone under their control.

Josh Kronberg-Rasner was the only openly gay person in his office while he worked for a food service company in Casper, Wyo. But his sexual orientation never held him back, he says. "I had filled every position from general manager to executive chef," he says. "You name it, I'd done all of it."

That changed in the summer of 2012 when Kronberg-Rasner got a new manager, whom Kronberg-Rasner says was uncomfortable working with a gay person. A few weeks after he arrived, the manager went through Kronberg-Rasner's personal phone and found pictures of a male gymnast.

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Former Army Ranger and Procter & Gamble CEO Robert McDonald took over as secretary of veterans affairs three months ago, while the department was stained by scandal. The VA for years had falsified documents to conceal the delays veterans faced in getting medical care. One audit found that 13 percent of VA schedulers were told to cook the books.

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KAREN GRIGSBY BATES: Today, Germany marked the 25th anniversary of the collapse of the Berlin Wall. In the city center, 8,000 balloons were released into the sky as an orchestra played Beethoven's "Ode To Joy."

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In Berlin, A Beat That Bloomed From Rubble

Nov 9, 2014

Just after 10 on a Saturday morning, at a defunct power station in central Berlin, revelers reluctantly leave a club buried in its basement. One of them asks, "Hey man, you there, you know a good place to party?" as he stumbles into the sunlight.

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"I am a United States Army General, and I lost the Global War on Terrorism."

Those are the frank opening words of a new book by retired Army Lt. Gen. Daniel Bolger, Why We Lost: A General's Inside Account of the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars. Bolger continues:

"It's like Alcoholics Anonymous. Step one is admitting you have a problem. Well, I have a problem. So do my peers. And thanks to our problem, now all of America has a problem. To wit: two lost campaigns and a war gone awry."

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As part of a series called "My Big Break," All Things Considered is collecting stories of triumph, big and small. These are the moments when everything seems to click, and people leap forward into their careers.

From award-winning Broadway performances to the iconic voice that brought Darth Vader to life, James Earl Jones has an unmistakable presence on stage and on screen.

He's 83 years old and back on Broadway, where he stars in the comedy classic You Can't Take It with You.

Being overweight hurts your earnings, and being an overweight woman is particularly tough on income. Back in 2004, a landmark study found that a 65-pound increase in a woman's weight is associated with a 9-percent drop in earnings. The authors of the study noted that, in terms of wages, the "obesity penalty" basically amounted to losing three years of experience in the workplace.

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