April 8, 1998

All Things Considered
(entire program)
Requires the RealAudio Player

An index of the day's stories:

Tobacco -- The chief executive officer of R.J. Reynolds said today that the planned national tobacco settlement is dead. Steven Goldstone said he still supports the agreement worked out with state attorneys general last year, but his company will not work with Congress on a bill because he believes the tobacco industry has been excluded from the legislative process. The bill the Senate will vote on next month calls for much higher payments by the tobacco companies, and much less protection from lawsuits. NPR's Brian Naylor reports. (4:00)

Side Airbags -- NPR's Don Gonyea reports that Ford Motor Company announced today that it will make side impact air bags an option on all its cars and minivans over the next three years. Safety advocates have been pressing for the new airbags, claiming they reduce injuries in certain kinds of crashes by as much as 50%. (3:30)

Northern Ireland -- NPR's Michael Goldfarb reports on the final stretch of negotiations for a political settlement in Northern Ireland. With less than 24 hours to go before the deadline for agreement, the prime ministers of Britain and the Irish Republic are engaged in a frantic round of talks with Republicans and Unionists. Their efforts have succeeded in easing tensions created yesterday, when the main Unionist party announced it had rejected the compromise presented by talks chairman George Mitchell. (4:00)

Dead Drunk Driver -- All Things Considered host Robert Siegel talks with Jennifer Ordonez, the reporter who covers Fauquier County, Virginia for the Washington Post. Ordonez talks about Peter C. Gentry, a man who had beaten driving-while-under-the-influence charges twice by tricking authorities into thinking he had died. He was finally caught and now faces a possible sentence of ten years for fraud. (4:30)

Gourment Trade Show -- Ancel Martinez from member station KQED reports on what's hot in the kitchen. He'll talk about the latest products on display at the Gourmet Products show in San Francisco, which wraps up today. Trends include appliances in bright colors, lots of chrome, and cooking devices designed for one dish. (3:30)

D.C. Schools -- Washington D.C., like a variety of other school districts around the country, is trying to "get tough" with students on academic standards. The school system is about to give all the city's students a standardized test. Those that don't score high enough will not be promoted. The city says the policy will end social promotions, but some parents say it's the wrong way to run the system. Lisa Nurnberger reports. (6:15)

Pacific Storm -- KUSP reporter Rachel Anne Goodman flies aboard the government's Hurricane Hunter research aircraft into the teeth of a Pacific storm. Scientists on board are trying to find out how much moisture from the Pacific is picked up by low-level, high-speed winds to help them predict rainfall and flooding in California. (6:00)

Dreaming Out Loud -- All Things Considered host Noah Adams talks with author Bruce Feiler about Feiler's latest book, Dreaming Out Loud: Garth Brooks, Wynonna Judd, Wade Hayes and the Changing Faces of Nashville. He chronicles the contemporary country music scene through the rise, fall, and career rebirth of the three artists mentioned in the title, and explores issues of how country music is made and promoted. (Note: Dreaming Out Loud: Garth Brooks, Wynonna Judd, Wade Hayes and the Changing Faces of Nashville is published by Avon Books.) (8:00) This item is unavailable due to copyright issues.

Endangered Plants -- One in eight plant species is in danger of extinction, according to a first-of-its-kind survey by conservation and botanical groups. It's not just the world's rainforests where extinction is threatened, either -- almost thirty percent of plants in the U.S. are on the list. Many of these plants could have commercial or medical value. NPR's John Nielsen reports on the new findings. (4:30)

TWA -- NPR's Melissa Block reports on some of the consequences of yesterday's recommendations by the National Transportation Safety Board that hundreds of aircraft be inspected for faulty wiring. Those recommendations could bolster the lawsuits filed by the families of those killed in the crash of TWA flight 800. Lawyers for the plaintiffs say the NTSB's findings support what they've been saying all along: that this was a defective aircraft. (3:30)

Starr Update -- NPR's Nina Totenberg talks with Robert about where Independent Counsel Kenneth's Starr investigation of President Clinton stands. Starr has to decide whether to send a report to the House of Representatives for consideration. In addition to the Monica Lewinsky aspect of the investigation, the Whitewater land deal, "Travelgate" and "Filegate" are being probed. (4:00)

Hawaii Gay Marriage -- NPR's Ina Jaffe reports that the Hawaii Supreme Court is about to issue a ruling on whether same-sex marriage is allowed under the state's constitution. But regardless of what the court rules, a ballot measure that would change the constitution to ban the practice could make any judicial decision moot. (7:45)

Dioxin -- The Environmental Protection Agency's program to relocate 350 families from the Mt. Dioxin superfund site in Pensacola -- the third largest after Love Canal and Times Beach -- isn't going so well. The families say offers for their homes are too low, the relocation process has been slow and cumbersome, and some of the cleanup efforts are putting them in danger. NPR's Debbie Elliott reports. (4:00)

Linux OS -- Windows is the dominant operating system that makes computers do what they do when you tell them to. But there's another operating system that's free -- the creation of a Finnish programmer who put it out on the world wide web and invited any and all to improve it. The resulting "committee-written" system is finding favor with more and more computer-savvy users worldwide. And it's free. NPR's Dan Charles reports on Linux's founder and how his creation is faring. (8:15)

Tara Turns Pro -- NPR's Tom Goldman reports that figure skater Tara Lipinski, the youngest individual figure skater to win a gold medal at the Winter Olympics, has decided to turn pro. One reason, Lipinski says, is to reunite her family, which had split up to enable her to pursue her skating career. (1:30)

Sportswear -- NPR's Susan Stamberg visits the Costume Institute at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. The Institute is displaying women's sportswear -- a category of comfortable clothing invented by American designers in the 1930s. She discovers that several factors at the time merged to contribute to the development of this kind of clothing, including the increased affordability of different kinds of fabrics, the emergence of more women designers, and the arrival of World War II. (6:30)

Some stories do not link to audio files because of Internet rights issues.