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News

Up First: Wednesday, August 21st, 2019

The Trump Administration insists that the U.S. economy is in great shape. But the White House is exploring tax cuts - a move often used when an economy is struggling. So why these cuts and what could they look like? The U.S. has promised to continue its economic sanctions on Iran. With no end to the sanctions in sight, how are U.S. pressure tactics effecting everyday life in Iran? And Syrian opposition fighters are facing defeat in a key strategic town they've held for years. This comes after a major offensive carried out by Assad's government forces and backed by Russia. What's the humanitarian impact on civilians living there?

Story of the Day : NPR: How A Tip — And Facial Recognition Technology — Helped The FBI Catch A Killer

Even as civil libertarians warn about the increased use of facial recognition by federal authorities, the bureau is using it to track down some of its most wanted suspects.

Business Story of the Day : NPR: Trump Mulls 2 Kinds Of Tax Cuts While Browbeating Fed About Interest Rates

The Trump administration is boasting that the economy is strong. But the administration is also calling for the kind of dramatic economic stimulus one would usually only consider during a recession.

Talk and Interview

Fresh Air: Character Actor Stephen Root

After appearing in nearly 800 TV episodes and 100 films, Root received his first Emmy nomination for his role as a handler to a hitman in the HBO series 'Barry.' He also talks about his iconic roles in 'O Brother, Where Art Thou?' and 'Office Space.' <br/><br/>Also, jazz critic Kevin Whitehead reviews the album 'Begin Again' from pianist Fred Hersch, and film critic Justin Chang reviews 'Brittany Runs a Marathon,' starring Jillian Bell.

1A: YouTuber Marques Brownlee Talks Ten Years of Tech

"It's going to come down to what gives you the best user experience," Brownlee told us. "What people don't consider is that tech is a really personal purchase. You spend so much time using it."<br/><br/>Want to support <em>1A</em>? <a href="http://donate.npr.org/1A">Give to your local public radio station</a> and subscribe to this podcast. Have questions? Find us on Twitter<a href="https://twitter.com/1a"> @1A</a>.

On Point: Why Illicit Marijuana Sales Are Up — In States Where It's Legal

<p>The illicit market for pot is hot in some states where weed is legal. We look at why. Natalie Fertig, Alphonso "Tucky" Blunt and Tom Adams join Meghna Chakrabarti.</p>

On Point: On The Semicolon; Fall 2019 Books List

<p>Love or detest it, the semicolon is the most divisive punctuation mark of the modern era. Should we even care? Cecelia Watson joins Meghna Chakrabarti. Plus, our best books list for fall 2019. Leigh Haber is here.</p>

Music

All Songs Considered: New Mix: Brittany Howard, Big Thief, The Messthetics, More

Bob Boilen and I are back together again to share some of the phenomenal new music we've been hearing, starting with Brittany Howard's stirring and inspired "He Loves Me," from her upcoming solo debut Jaime. She named the album after her sister who passed away when they were both teenagers. The music is a celebration of the human spirit.Also on the show: Big Thief surprises us with the band's second album of 2019 and this one is fierce; Bob is back from the DIY Musician Conference with a couple of discoveries: a playful, idiosyncratic British artist known only as EB and the singer-songwriter Anna Larson, who has a powerful reflection on mass shootings called "Acting Alone."We've also got new cathartic sounds from The Messthetics, the Philadelphia-based band Queen of Jeans and more. — Robin Hilton

Fun and Sports