June 4, 1998

All Things Considered
(entire program)
Requires the RealAudio Player

An index of the day's stories:

Supreme Court Says No -- The Supreme Court today refused to rule before next term on a White House claim of attorney-client privilege and on whether Secret Service personnel must testify before a grand jury. The refusals mean Independent Counsel Kenneth Starr must take his case through the appeals court process, and make it extremely unlikely that he will be able to finish his investigation this summer. NPR's Nina Totenberg reports. (4:00)

Religion on Capitol Hill -- The House is considering a constitutional amendment that would make it easier to express religious beliefs in public places. The debate has focused on prayer in public schools. Proponents say the country's morals would benefit from prayer in schools. Opponents say children whose faith is different from the one being expressed in school would be pressured into participating. NPR's Brian Naylor reports. (5:00)

Nichols Sentencing -- NPR's Mark Roberts reports from Denver on today's sentencing of Oklahoma City bombing conspirator Terry Nichols. Nichols was found guilty of manslaughter and conspiracy for the blast three years ago that destroyed the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building, killing 168 people. The jury that convicted Nichols spared him the death penalty, but could not agree on a punishment. Today, a federal judge could sentence Nichols to life in prison. (3:00)

Botanist Profile -- NPR's John Nielsen goes exploring for some of the lost plants of America with botanical sleuth Larry Morris. Morris was one of the scientists behind the recent "red" list of endangered and extinct plants, the result of a 20-year effort that revealed how fast North America's flora is disappearing. (6:20)

Mulch -- A truckload of mulch came to commentator Dick George's home, and for him it meant more than the delivery of gardening supplies -- it meant the end of his youth. (1:30)

Syriac Christians -- Chris Morris reports from the village of Midyakt in Southeastern Turkey on a dying community of Syriac Christians. They're an ancient people who still speak Aramaic. The region's grinding poverty -- and the ongoing battles between the Turkish army and Kurdish insurgents -- have sent most of the Syriac Christians fleeing to Europe and the United States. Still, some are determined to preserve the Syriacs' ancient language and church ritual. (4:20)

Aramaic Language -- All Things Considered host Robert Seigel talks with Edward Odisho, a professor at Northeastern Illinois University. Odisho is a native speaker of Aramaic and an expert in its modern usage. They discuss the history of Aramaic, and how the ancient language is used today -- by whom, and where. (5:10)

Museums and WWII Loot -- Today at its annual meeting, the Association of Art Museum Directors announced the recommendations of a task force looking into art looted by the Nazis during World War II that may now be in U.S. museums. The report "recommends" that museums handle claims by survivors and their heirs quickly and "urges" museums to be diligent in researching the provenance of any potential acquisition. But it does little beyond putting in writing the sort of guidelines that museums should already be following. It's suspected that the art museum directors, by taking this formal step, hope to avert further Congressional scrutiny -- a group of directors appeared before Congress in February -- or worse: legislation regulating how museums handle claims and acquire works. David D'Arcy reports from member station WICN in Worcester, Massachussetts. (3:00)

Drawing and Talking -- A study published in this month's Journal of Experimental Psychology says that drawing facilitates the ability of young children to talk about their past experiences. NPR's Michelle Trudeau reports that children who were given the opportunity to draw while they talked about an emotional event reported between two and three times more detailed information than when asked to only talk (and not draw) about their experience. The researchers also found that this increase in the amount of information did not occur at the expense of accuracy. (4:30)

Love and Sex -- Commentator Bailey White examines the differences in the words love and sex -- everything from phonics, to letters, to the meaning. (3:15)

Internet Privacy -- The Federal Trade Commission today released a report that found the nation's on-line businesses are doing very little to protect the privacy of the information they gather from consumers. The survey showed that Internet businesses routinely fail to follow government guidelines about privacy notification, and sites designed to attract children are some of the worst offenders. NPR's Larry Abramson reports. (4:30)

Genveva Meeting -- Claire Doole reports from Geneva where foreign ministers of the five official nuclear powers are meeting to address the crisis sparked by nuclear tests in India and Pakistan. They are expected to call on New Delhi and Islamabad to refrain for further tests and work to ease tensions on the South Asian sub-continent. (2:30)

U.S. and Nigeria -- NPR's Ted Clark reports on the Clinton administration's attempts to nudge Nigeria's military regime towards democracy. The U.S. has threatened to pursue additional economic sanctions if Nigeria's August 1 presidential election is not free and fair. But critics say the threat is an empty one, because Washington has so far ruled out an embargo against Nigeria's lucrative oil industry. The critics also say the administration's policy seems to be ad hoc, arguing that it has not paid Nigeria the attention it deserves, given its status as Africa's most populous nation. (5:00)

Competency Tests -- About 10 percent of North Carolina's high school seniors will not be graduating because they failed to pass 8th grade competency exams. A disproportionate number of these students are African-American and now there's a complaint against some districts filed with the U.S. Department of Education. The surprising thing is that the poorest black and white districts have the highest pass rates. Leda Hartman of member station WUNC reports. (6:00)

Letters -- Robert reads from listeners' comments. To contact All Things Considered, write to All Things Considered Letters, 635 Massachusetts Avenue, NW, Washington, D.C. 20001. To contact us via the Internet, the address is atc@npr.org. (2:45)

Giuliani's New York -- NPR's Margot Adler reports on Mayor Rudolph Giuliani's ongoing efforts to bring, in his words, "civility" to New York City. His targets have moved from squeegee men, to jay walkers, to sex shops in Times Square, to taxi drivers -- and now to food vendors. Some New Yorkers think the mayor is targeting immigrant groups out of national political ambitions -- others say it's about time New York had a strong mayor who's unafraid to take charge. (8:30)

Obesity Ratings -- Robert talks with Dr. Al Levine, a professor of psychiatry at the University of Minnesota and the director of the Obesity Center at the Veterans' Administration Medical Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota. They discuss the new guidelines issued to doctors and other health care professionals which are redefining how obesity is judged. In short, many more people should be considered obese -- and therefore at a much higher risk of developing other health problems -- than previously thought. Levine talks about the next step in treating patients once they've been characterized as obese. (Note: For more information on the new obesity guidelines, check the website at the following address: http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/nhlbi/cardio/obes/gp/obesgp.htm (4:00)

Bernstein Century -- As a composer and conductor Leonard Bernstein was an American music icon in the 20th century. His work with the New York Philharmonic orchestra since the late 50's produced a wide range of great classical music. Now Sony Classics has begun an ongoing project to remaster and reissue the works of Leonard Bernstein. Tom Manoff takes a listen to the first group of reissues. (7:00) This item is unavailable due to copyright issues.

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