Here and Now

Robin Young and Jeremy Hobson

Here & Now offers a distinctive mix of hard news and rich conversation featuring interesting players from across the spectrum of arts and culture, business, technology, science and politics.

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NPR Story
4:10 pm
Wed December 3, 2014

Lawyer: No Indictment For Officer In NYC Chokehold Death

A woman, who did not want to give her name, places flowers at a memorial for Eric Garner near the site of his death in the borough of Staten Island Wednesday, Dec. 3, 2014., in New York. (Seth Wenig/AP)

A lawyer says a grand jury in New York City has declined to indict a white police officer on criminal charges in the chokehold death of an unarmed black man in July.

Jonathon Moore, an attorney for the victim’s family, said Wednesday he was told there would be no indictment of Officer Daniel Pantaleo in the death of 43-year-old Eric Garner. Garner was stopped in Staten Island on suspicion of selling loose, untaxed cigarettes.

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NPR Story
4:10 pm
Wed December 3, 2014

Recess — It's Not Just For Grade Schoolers Anymore

High school senior and Youth Radio reporter Eli Arbreton makes the case that recess belongs on high schoolers’ schedules, right alongside AP chemistry and English (Stuart Herbert/Flickr)

High school senior and Youth Radio reporter Eli Arbreton sent us this story making a case for why recess belongs on high schoolers’ schedules, right alongside AP chemistry and English.

High school is crazy. I wake up at like 7 a.m., then I rush to get my stuff together and go to school. Once I’m there it seems like it goes on forever before there’s a break.

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NPR Story
4:10 pm
Wed December 3, 2014

NASA's Orion Test Flight May Be The First Step To A Human Mars Visit

NASA’s Orion spacecraft will carry astronauts farther into space than ever before. (NASA)

Tomorrow, NASA is set to launch the first in-space test of its new Orion spacecraft. The mission could mark the beginning of America’s return to human space exploration and, even, a manned journey to Mars.

The plan is to launch Orion from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station and send it twice into a 3,600-mile-high orbit of Earth before splashing down in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Mexico.

The test is predicted to take less than five hours, but researchers say the information learned will be critical to future flights, set to go farther into space.

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NPR Story
3:03 pm
Tue December 2, 2014

Idina Menzel Of 'Frozen' Has New Holiday Album

Idina Menzel performs during the CMA 2014 Country Christmas on November 7, 2014 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Rick Diamond/Getty Images)

Originally published on Wed December 3, 2014 10:10 am

Tony Award-winning singer and actress Idina Menzel became an international sensation last year when she voiced the character of Elsa in the Disney animated film “Frozen” and sang the Oscar-winning song “Let it Go.”

Now she’s released the album “Holiday Wishes.”

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NPR Story
2:49 pm
Tue December 2, 2014

NATO Foreign Ministers Consider Afghanistan Mission

From left, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg and Afghan Chief Executive Officer Abdullah Abdullah make a statement prior to a meeting at the NATO headquarters in Brussels on December 1, 2014, on the eve of a foreign ministers meeting. (John Thys/AFP/Getty Images)

Following what NATO Chief Jens Stoltenberg called a “year of aggression,” NATO foreign ministers are meeting in Brussels to plot a new course in Afghanistan, now that the combat mission is ending there.

They are also discussing Ukraine and the role Moscow has played in the fighting there between pro-Russian separatists and Ukrainian forces.

The BBC’s Jonathan Marcus discusses the meeting in Brussels with Here & Now‘s Lisa Mullins.

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NPR Story
2:49 pm
Tue December 2, 2014

Rise In Inflated Home Appraisals Worrying Regulators

A for sale sign is posted in front of a home on February 18, 2014 in San Francisco, California. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Originally published on Wed December 3, 2014 8:28 am

Inflated home appraisals appear to be on the rise, according to the Wall Street Journal, in what industry executives see as a comeback of practices that were common leading up to the financial crisis.

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NPR Story
3:11 pm
Mon December 1, 2014

Remembering Poet Mark Strand

Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Mark Strand died on Nov. 29, 2014, at age 80. (Timothy Greenfield-Sanders)

Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Mark Strand died on Saturday at his daughter’s home in Brooklyn, New York. He was 80 years old. Strand won the Pulitzer in 1999 for his a book of his poetry called “Blizzard of One.”

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NPR Story
3:11 pm
Mon December 1, 2014

Congress Faces Looming Budget Deadline

The Capitol Christmas Tree is set upright on the West Front of the U.S. Capitol November 21, 2014 in Washington, DC. (Chip Somodevilla/AFP/Getty Images)

With 10 days left in this year’s session, congressional lawmakers have a lot on their plate, before the Republican majority takes over in January. The government will shut down on December 11th unless a new funding bill is passed.

Many Republicans are angry at President Obama’s decision to delay deportations of millions of undocumented immigrants and House Speaker John Boehner is trying to figure out how to respond to his party’s anger over the immigration order and avoid a government shutdown.

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NPR Story
3:11 pm
Mon December 1, 2014

Thanksgiving Weekend Sales Fall, Surprising Analysts

Shoppers jostle for doorbusters at Macy's at Glendale Galleria shopping mall in Glendale, Calif, Friday, Nov. 28, 2014. (Damian Dovarganes/AP)

Sales from Thanksgiving through the weekend are down 11 percent compared to last year, according to preliminary numbers released Sunday by the National Retail Federation. The numbers have surprised retail analysts, who are still trying to figure out what happened.

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NPR Story
4:18 pm
Thu November 27, 2014

Poet David Roderick Explores What It Means to Be American

David Roderick's latest book of poetry is "The Americans." (Courtesy)

What does it mean to be American? That’s the question poet David Roderick explores in his new collection called “The Americans.”

“It’s a series of meditations, I think, on the big, messy, beautiful project that is our country,” Roderick told Here & Now’s Robin Young. “There’s beauty and faith and grace, and there’s also some grit and some doubt too.”

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NPR Story
4:18 pm
Thu November 27, 2014

NPR Investigation: Debtors Prisons Can Still Be Found

Tom Barrett returned to the convenience store where he stole a can of beer. He spent time in jail, not for the crime, but because he couldn't afford the fines and fees that went along with wearing an electronic monitoring device.(Joseph Shapiro/NPR)

Thirty years ago, the U.S. Supreme Court made it clear: judges can’t send someone to jail because they’re too poor to pay their court fines. That would be debtors prison, and those were outlawed in the United States back before the Civil War.

But an NPR state-by-state survey found that people are still being sent to jail for unpaid fines and fees. This is an encore presentation of a report filed by NPR’s Joseph Shapiro earlier this year.

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NPR Story
4:18 pm
Thu November 27, 2014

Budweiser Shifts Focus To Millennials, Moves Away From Clydesdales

(thomashawk/Flickr)

Amid all the Black Friday advertisements, you will not see Budweiser’s iconic Clydesdales. The company is focusing on 21 to 27-year-olds, so instead of trotting out the horses, its main holiday advertising campaign will feature hip twenty-somethings and a Twitter hashtag.

The move comes during a long-running decline for Budweiser, amid a surge for craft beers. The beer industry publication Beer Marketer’s Insights reports that in 2013, craft beers surpassed Budweiser for the first time, in terms of total barrels shipped.

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NPR Story
2:42 pm
Wed November 26, 2014

Cleveland Releases Video Of Boy Shot By Officer

Authorities in Cleveland have released surveillance video of the fatal shooting of a 12-year-old African-American boy on Saturday night, after a 9-1-1 caller said he might have a gun.

It turned out that Tamir Rice had a BB gun, but reportedly, the police officer who shot the boy did not know that.

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NPR Story
2:42 pm
Wed November 26, 2014

New Words From The American Heritage Dictionaries

The Vietnamese sandwich referred to as bánh mì is one of the latest additions to the American Heritage Dictionary. (Trevor Pritchard/Flickr)

The American Heritage Dictionaries added over 500 new words to the fifth edition of its dictionary of the English language, including food words like banh mi, halloumi and mochi, as well as terms like

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NPR Story
2:42 pm
Wed November 26, 2014

Chicago Parishioners Each Given $500 To 'Do Good'

Laura Truax is the pastor at Chicago's LaSalle Street Church. (Courtesy of Laura Truax)

Congregants at Chicago’s LaSalle Street Church were surprised on a recent Sunday by an announcement by their pastor. Each of them would be receiving $500 and the only criteria for spending it was to use it to “do good.”

Congregants at first sat in silence, unable to believe what they had just heard. And then, many burst into tears. The money was part of a surprise $1.6 million windfall that came to the small non-denominational church when property it had invested in 40 years ago was sold.

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NPR Story
2:52 pm
Tue November 25, 2014

Another Look At The Film Version Of Lois Lowry's 'The Giver'

The movie adaptation of “The Giver” is released on DVD today. The beloved young adult book by Lois Lowry is the story of a seemingly utopian society where there is no suffering, no pain and no hunger.

But there is also no love or individual freedom, no color, no emotion. Everything and everyone is the same. In this world, only one man holds all the memories and emotions of the past. The book follows a young boy named Jonas, who is chosen to become the next person to receive those memories.

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NPR Story
2:52 pm
Tue November 25, 2014

St. Louis Radio Personality Responds To Ferguson Decision

After the fatal police shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown rocked the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson, Mo., hip hop radio personality Jowcol “Boogie D” Dolby turned off the music and opened the phone lines to the people of Ferguson.

Here & Now spoke with Dolby back in August, and now, months later, host Jeremy Hobson checked back in at Dolby’s studio to ask him about how the community is reacting to news of a grand jury’s decision not indict the police officer responsible for the shooting.

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NPR Story
2:52 pm
Tue November 25, 2014

What New FDA Calorie Labeling Rules Mean For Businesses

A McDonald's restaurant sign lists calorie counts July 18, 2008 in New York City. (Chris Hondros/AFP/Getty Images)

Originally published on Wed December 3, 2014 8:40 am

The Food and Drug Administration announced new rules today that will require various businesses that sell food to post calorie counts on their menus.

The rules encompass chain restaurants, amusement parks, convenience stores and movie theaters, among other businesses, and have been lauded by public health officials.

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NPR Story
2:58 pm
Mon November 24, 2014

Colorado's Beer Boom Lacking In Local Hops

Hops on the bine at High Hops Brewery in Windsor. Breweries have far outpaced hop farms in Colorado, where only about 100 acres have been planted. (Ben Markus/CPR)

Colorado has about 230 breweries, including some of the most iconic craft beer brands in the country. Some have taken to calling Colorado’s Front Range the “Napa Valley of beer.” But unlike Napa, Colorado doesn’t grow most of the key ingredients.

From the Here & Now Contributors Network, Ben Markus of Colorado Public Radio reports that it’s been a struggle to change that.

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NPR Story
2:58 pm
Mon November 24, 2014

The Buzz: From SNL's Take On Executive Action To Beyonce's New Video

SNL cast members Keenan Thompson and Kyle Mooney perform the opening skit on November 22, 2014. (Dana Edelson/NBC)

[Youtube]

Julia Turner, editor-in-chief of Slate joins Here & Now‘s Robin Young to talk about what’s been catching attention online.

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NPR Story
2:58 pm
Mon November 24, 2014

Remembering Marion Barry

District of Columbia Mayor Marion Barry waves a fist as he arrives at U.S. District Court in Washington on Wednesday, June 28, 1990 for his trial on drug and perjury charges. (Dennis Cook/AP)

Marion Barry, the former mayor of Washington, D.C., died early yesterday morning. For more than 40 years, Barry was one of the most powerful and controversial figures in the nation’s capitol.

The four-term mayor and longtime council member was part of the generation of civil rights leaders voted onto the district’s first locally-elected government in the 1970s. From the Here & Now Contributors Network, WAMU’s Jacob Fenston has this remembrance.

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NPR Story
5:12 pm
Fri November 21, 2014

Can A Computer Compose The Music Of The Future?

Photograph of Greg Wilder (Sean Hurley/NHPR)

Yesterday on Here & Now, Derek Thompson of The Atlantic talked about how record executives make decisions about who to sign and what to play, based on data about what music people like online.

Thompson’s conclusion is that the process is making music much more bland because people like to hear music that sounds familiar.

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NPR Story
5:12 pm
Fri November 21, 2014

Rain Expected After Massive Snowfall In Buffalo

Sydney, a six year old golden retriever, makes her way through five feet of snow from a driveway on November 20, 2014 in the suburb of Lakeview, Buffalo, New York. (John Normile/Getty Images)

It has stopped snowing in the Buffalo area, but now rain in the forecast is leading to worries about possible floods and more roof collapses. Brian Meyer of WBFO in Buffalo joins Here & Now’s Jeremy Hobson with the latest.

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NPR Story
5:12 pm
Fri November 21, 2014

Country Awaits Ferguson Grand Jury Decision

Police face demonstrators protesting the shooting death of 18-year-old Michael Brown outside the police station on November 20, 2014 in Ferguson, Missouri. At least three people were arrested during the protest. Brown was killed by Darren Wilson, a Ferguson police officer, on August 9. A grand jury is expected to decide this month if Wilson should be charged in the shooting. (Scott Olson/Getty Images)

The country will soon know the fate of Darren Wilson, the Ferguson police officer who shot and killed Michael Brown, an unarmed black 18-year-old. Tensions have been high in St. Louis County since the August shooting, which sparked violent protests and unrest.

A grand jury has been examining this case for weeks and is expected to come out with a decision on whether or not to indict Officer Wilson.

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NPR Story
2:34 pm
Thu November 20, 2014

Legendary Director Mike Nichols Dies At 83

Director Mike Nichols presents the 'Lacoste Career Achievment award for Film' onstage at the 7th Annual Costume Designers Guild Awards at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on February 19, 2005 in Beverly Hills, California. (Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)

Originally published on Fri November 21, 2014 4:05 pm

Note: The audio in this story incorrectly identified the actor in a scene from “The Birdcage.” It was Luca Tommassini, not Hank Azaria. We apologize the error.

One of the most honored and successful directors in entertainment has died. Mike Nichols, director of “The Odd Couple” on Broadway, “The Graduate” on film and “Angels in America” on TV, died of a heart attack Wednesday at age 83. He once said his life as the ultimate showbiz insider came from lessons learned while growing up as an outsider.

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NPR Story
2:34 pm
Thu November 20, 2014

Anger, Protests Grow Over Mexico's 43 Missing Students

A students takes part in a protest by students of the Ayotzinapa school and parents of the 43 missing students in Acapulco on November 19, 2014. A caravan of students and relatives of the missing students, feared to have been massacred, came to Acapulco as part of its journey to the Mexican capital to end November 20. (Pedro Pardo/AFP/Getty Images)

Today is a day of protest across Mexico, and in other cities around the world, for the 43 university students missing for nearly two months.

In Mexico, the protests and the anger have been growing for days over the government’s handling of the disappearance and presumed murder of the 43 students. The protesters’ rallying cry: “Ya me canse” or “ya me canse del miedo” — I’ve had enough, I’ve had enough fear.

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NPR Story
2:34 pm
Thu November 20, 2014

NBA's First Openly Gay Player Retires

Jason Collins speaks with the media before a game between the Brooklyn Nets and Milwaukee Bucks at the Barclays Center on November 19, 2014 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Alex Goodlett/Getty Images)

Originally published on Thu November 20, 2014 3:37 pm

NBA player Jason Collins became a household name last spring when he penned an essay in Sports Illustrated announcing that he was gay. Collins not only became the first openly gay player in the NBA, but also the first openly gay man in the four major American sports.

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NPR Story
2:57 pm
Wed November 19, 2014

NBC Drops New Bill Cosby Sitcom Amid Rape Allegations

NBC has reportedly canned a sitcom project in the works with Bill Cosby. The move comes as the comedian faces accusations of sexual assault and rape, and follows Netflix’ decision to shelve a Cosby stand-up special to commemorate his 77th birthday.

Model and television host Janice Dickinson is the latest woman to publicly accuse comedian Bill Cosby of sexual assault. She is one of a number of women to spark a firestorm of reaction to decades-old rape allegations against the comedian.

Cosby’s lawyer has denied the claims as “discredited allegations.”

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NPR Story
2:57 pm
Wed November 19, 2014

West Virginia’s Rivers May Be Wild, But Fewer People Know About Them

West Virginia's white water rafting industry is heavily dependent on out-of-state tourism, but the state is spending far less on advertising than its neighbors. (ben loehrke/Flickr)

The river rafting industry in West Virginia has hit some rough water. Tour companies were at the state capital in Charleston this week, asking lawmakers to spend more on the state’s advertising budget.

A state program to fund advertising has fallen from $23 million in 2004 to less than $3 million this year — just a fraction of what nearby states are spending. The rafting industry says that means potential customers in Pennsylvania, Ohio and Florida aren’t even considering West Virginia in their vacation plans.

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NPR Story
2:57 pm
Wed November 19, 2014

ISIS Advertises For Oil Industry Managers

A view of the Kawergosk Refinery, some 12 miles east of Arbil, the capital of the autonomous Kurdish region of northern Iraq, on July 14, 2014. (Safin Hamed/AFP/Getty Images)

The Islamic State has reportedly advertised on the black market for people to manage its oil operations, for a salary of $225,000 per year.

A consultant with Dubai-based Manaar Energy confirmed the story for the Times of London, saying that ISIS is trying to recruit skilled professionals who are “ideologically suitable.”

Western intelligence officials say that, along with ransom and extortion, oil operations have made ISIS one of the wealthiest terrorist organizations in the world. But there have been recent reports of problems at ISIS oil facilities.

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