All Things Considered

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Every afternoon, All Things Considered delivers in-depth reporting and breaking news mixed with compelling analysis, insightful interviews and special features.

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We're very accustomed to recording and hearing the sound of our own voices, but in the early 20th century, many people were experiencing that for the first time. A surprising Depression-era trend began: People started sending their voices to their family and friends.

These audio letters were small, lightweight records,made in recording booths scattered all across the world and then sent through the postal service.

It was literally voice-mail.

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As we wait to see whether lawmakers can work out a deal, we're going to examine something Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said last week as he previewed the Senate debate.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

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Ramona Morales, who turns 80 in May, technically has a criminal record. Her offense? One of her renters kept chickens.

"Beautiful chickens. Beautiful roosters they were," Morales says walking in the backyard of the modest ranch home she rents out in the Coachella Valley city of Indio, Calif.

Beautiful, but annoying to some neighbors and against the Indio's municipal code on keeping farm animals in a residential area.

And violating that code comes with a price. The price for Morales: $6,000.

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