All Things Considered

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Now, to the potential political implications of the strike and how it might shake up the presidential race. Here's NPR's Brian Naylor.

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

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For many years — perhaps even decades — Detroit has been the poster child for economic malaise. Adjusting for inflation, per capita income in metro Detroit dropped more than 20 percent between 1999 and 2010.

Some analysts say regional cooperation might have helped keep Detroit above water when the car industry sank, but that entrenched divisions that pit the city against its suburbs, and blacks against whites, have hindered that.

A Deeply Entrenched Regional Divide

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Here are some descriptions of a foul smell that has stunk its way across a huge stretch of Southern California.

PAT STEVENS: Rotting fish, sewage, you know.

JOYCE THATCHER: It smells exactly like somebody's septic system overflowed.

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From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish.

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Today, in Reno, Nevada, Mitt Romney previewed the pitch he'll make at that foreign policy debate. National security and foreign policy were the topics of a speech he delivered at the annual National Guard convention.

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The man likely to be China's next leader has vanished, at least from the public eye. He hasn't made an appearance for 10 days and his conspicuous absence has unleashed a wave of rumor and speculation.

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If you're a horror fan, you're probably familiar with the trope of the demon child — you know, the sweet little kid who undergoes a horrible transformation and terrorizes everyone in his or her path (or is just born evil, like Rosemary's titular baby).

In the rarefied air of China's leadership circle, anything that strays from strict protocol becomes grist for the rumor mill.

So it is with the mysterious and sudden disappearance of Xi Jinping, the presumptive heir to President Hu Jintao.

Xi, 59, has inexplicably missed a series of important meetings with foreign dignitaries in the past week, including one with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in Beijing. The last time anyone saw him in public was Sept. 1.

Jennifer Norris was a devoted member of the Maine National Guard.

"I was ecstatic. I absolutely loved serving in the military," she says.

Norris still wanted a career in the Guard even after she was sexually assaulted by other members of the military. After she was raped, she says she got psychological counseling.

But then it came time to renew the security clearance she needed for her job as a satellite communications technician. One question on the form — Question 21 — asked whether she'd sought help from a mental health professional over the past seven years.

It may be more important than we thought to tackle obesity in childhood. A new study published in Pediatrics finds that overweight teenagers eat fewer calories than their healthy weight peers.

That's right — they eat less.

The U.S. Army has been ramping up instruction in the languages of Afghanistan, even as troop levels in the country decrease in preparation for the U.S. troop withdrawal in 2014.

This year, key installations have added several hundred speakers of Pashto and Dari to their ranks, more than doubling the number of soldiers trained in the Afghan languages.

But it's not just the country's languages that are foreign to U.S. soldiers — it's the culture, as well.

Mitt Romney seemed to make health care news in a Sunday interview on NBC's Meet the Press.

He said he might not want to repeal all of the Affordable Care Act.

A lot of thought goes into giving your smartphone a distinctive look and feel, from the shape of the speaker — square, round or oval — to where to put the buttons — side, front or back.

But industrial designers like Robert Brunner say he doesn't have a lot of room to be creative.

"Because you're really being so heavily driven on maintaining a minimal physical size," he says. "So you really get into this very fine envelope of a few millimeters that you have to work with."

It has become a staple of U.S. presidential campaigns: Candidates talk about getting tough with China, only to adopt much more moderate positions once they are in office.

When Ronald Reagan ran against President Jimmy Carter in 1980, the challenger often blasted the incumbent for, in his words, "abandoning" Taiwan to establish diplomatic relations with China.

"There will be no more abandonment of friends and allies by the United States of America and I want very much to send that message," Reagan said.

Dreamworks' animated movie Puss in Boots was a big deal. It won an Oscar, and its swashbuckling, sloe-eyed kitty was voiced by Antonio Banderas.

The meticulous computer-generated animation took four years and something like $130 million to make. But another cartoon, Puss In Boots: A Furry Tail, was hand-drawn in six months for less than $1 million. It went straight to DVD — one of the many low-budget productions riding the coattails of Hollywood blockbusters.

Test Your Clever Side With 'Another Thing'

Sep 10, 2012

Each week, All Things Considered and Lenore Skenazy, author of the book and blog Free-Range Kids, bring you "Another Thing," an on-air puzzle to test your cleverness skills. We take a trend in the news and challenge you to help us satirize it with a song title, a movie name or something else wacky.

This week's challenge: A handful of private companies are taking reservations for space flights. That means that there may soon be a lot of tourists floating around — which, in turn, means a lot of mouths to feed.

Eight weeks before the presidential election, new laws passed by Republican legislatures that concern who can vote and when remain in the hands of federal and state judges.

Among the cases: The Pennsylvania Supreme Court this week will hear an appeal to overturn that state's new voter ID law. An appeal is expected in a case involving early voting in Ohio. And a federal court is still considering whether South Carolina can go ahead with its new voter ID law.

The Franciscan University of Steubenville in Ohio faces questions about its accreditation because of a course description that links homosexuality with crimes like murder, rape and robbery.

The university's social work program offers the course, called SWK 314 Deviant Behavior. The course description reads: "The behaviors that are primarily examined are murder, rape, robbery, prostitution, homosexuality, mental illness and drug use."

The current poster child for global warming is a polar bear, sitting on a melting iceberg. Some health officials argue the symbol should, instead, be a child.

That's because emerging science shows that people respond more favorably to warnings about climate change when it's portrayed as a health issue rather than as an environmental problem.

On a recent day in the northern Syrian town of Azaz, there's an edgy energy when a pickup truck armed with a heavy machine gun screeches to a halt.

Wild-eyed and high-flving, the young rebels in the truck are happy to be alive after they hit a government helicopter landing at an air base 8 miles outside Azaz.

This rebel-held town is under nightly attack. This lightly armed rebel crew races out to the air base every day to target regime aircraft from hidden sites in the olive groves.

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And if you're just joining us, this is WEEKENDS on ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Guy Raz. There was a time when the Senate would, every once in a while, use a special tool to protect the rights of the minority party.

There's a new stimulus plan underway in America: $5.8 billion is being injected into the U.S. economy, particularly in states like Ohio, Virginia, Colorado and Florida.

We're talking of course about campaign spending, and this year's elections will be the most expensive in history. In fact, by the time we all head to the voting booth on Election Day, nearly $6 billion will have been spent on campaigns — big and small — all across America.

Much of that money will come from superPACs and other outside groups free to spend as much as they want, mostly on Obama and Romney ads.

It's The Perfect Music For A Funeral

Sep 9, 2012

Musician David Young is a new-age artist who records the sort of atmospheric music you'd hear in spas or doctor's offices.

For 25 years, he's made a decent living at it. Young says he's sold over a million CDs.

And while you might hear his music getting a massage or in your doctor's waiting room, there's one place you might not expect to hear it. Young tells this story:

"So there was this lady, who, for like six months, was calling my office," he says. "And she only wanted to talk to me."

But the woman would call on weekends, and Young was often on the road.

Parsing The 2012 Party Platforms

Sep 9, 2012

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Paul Ryan has a reputation as a deficit hawk. Mitt Romney's running mate has proposed budgets that cut non-defense spending significantly, and advocated controlling Medicare costs by making it a voucher program. But critics argue there's a lot in the Wisconsin congressman's record that undermines his deficit-hawk reputation.

When Ryan gave the GOP response to President Obama's State of the Union address last year, he restated his commitment to debt and deficit reduction.

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