Here and Now

  • Hosted by 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.

You might wonder how cardboard boxes, duct tape and a swimming pool can solve a problem that has stumped researchers for years. That problem is how to get more women working in science, technology, engineering and math, or STEM for short.

Some think the answer lies in giving girls hands-on projects that spark their curiosity and prepare them for not only advanced science courses in school, but also a STEM career. That's where the tape, cardboard and pool come in.

Canadian Election Campaign Is In Full Swing

Aug 18, 2015

The candidates in this fall’s election in Canada are running hard as the vote approaches in October. Prime Minister Stephen Harper leads the Conservative Party, but he has been hurt by a Canadian economy suffering from low global commodity prices.

Here & Now’s Jeremy Hobson talks with David Common, network host for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, about the campaigning in Canada and the upcoming vote.

[Youtube]

Remember the “death panels”? That’s what Sarah Palin called them when the Affordable Care Act first proposed paying doctors for end-of-life counseling with patients. The uproar killed that plan, but recently Medicare announced that beginning next year, it will pay doctors to have these discussions. Ruby de Luna from Here & Now contributor KUOW reports.

The Obama administration today directed $13.4 million to regional drug control agencies known as High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas (HIDTA), including $2.5 million for what the White House is calling “an unprecedented partnership” between five regional HIDTA programs in the Northeast.

That smaller pot of money would be used to hire new police officers, as well as public health officials who would work together across state lines to identify targets and see where heroin is coming from.

Correction: The audio above inaccurately describes the accusations against Planned Parenthood. Planned Parenthood’s critics say the video shows staff discussing the sale of fetal tissue, but Planned Parenthood says the tissue has been donated, not sold, and that only the organization’s costs have been covered. We regret the error.

An explosion today at a popular shrine in central Bangkok has reportedly killed more than a dozen people. The blast was detonated at a busy downtown intersection where political demonstrations have taken place in recent years. The Erawan Shrine, a tourist landmark that is also popular with Bangkok’s residents, sits at that intersection, as does a five-star hotel.

Mangoes For The Masses

Aug 14, 2015

Mango season is just about over in South Florida, where one group has been spreading the “king of fruits'” wealth. Mangoes to Share has donated more than 700 pounds of mangoes this summer to homeless shelters.

From the Here & Now Contributors Network, WLRN’s Alexander Gonzalez reports.

One Man's Story Of Texting While Driving

Aug 14, 2015

MTV is featuring the story of Reggie Shaw, who was 19 years old when he driving his truck and sent a text to his girlfriend. His truck crossed the road’s center line, hitting an oncoming car. The two men inside were killed.

This week, McDonald’s announced that it’s planning to close more restaurants that it’s opening in the United States this year. It’s the first time in 40 years that the fast-food chain has scaled back like this.

McDonald’s has been struggling to lift itself from its worst sales slump in more than a decade. Here & Now’s Jeremy Hobson talks to Michael Regan of Bloomberg News about the announcement.

Guest

Life Beyond Cecil The Lion In Zimbabwe

Aug 13, 2015

The killing of Cecil the lion in Zimbabwe caught the world’s attention and raised questions about wildlife conservation there. But there are other problems affecting the people of Zimbabwe.

The economy is severely struggling, its agricultural industry has collapsed, and the government has committed human rights violations. Many wonder how much longer Robert Mugabe, who is 91 and has been in power since 1980, will be the president, and who might succeed him.

'Sesame Street' Strikes New Deal With HBO

Aug 13, 2015

Elmo and friends have a new home.

Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit group responsible for “Sesame Street,” has made a deal to bring the next five seasons of the show to HBO starting this fall. The deal, which has “Sesame Street” exclusively on HBO for nine months before being made available through PBS again, is a big boost to the show’s funding, allowing the show to expand from an 18-episode season to a 35-episode season.

Arian Foster Is The Anti-Tim Tebow

Aug 13, 2015

The Houston Texas running back says in a magazine article that he doesn’t believe in God, becoming the NFL’s only spokesman for atheism.

His brother Abdul called him “the anti-Tim Tebow,” a comparison to the quarterback who became famous for his outspoken religious views, often kneeling in prayer on the field.

Here & Now’s Jeremy Hobson asks our sports analyst, Mike Pesca, why this matters and how it’s reverberating in the NFL.

Despite intense lobbying by human rights groups, Amnesty International has voted to support the decriminalization of the sex trade.

The group says the policy is based on the idea that sex between consenting adults should not be subject to state interference. They believe it is the best way to protect sex workers and will help make their lives safer.

We sit down with Jim McGuinn, host of the show “Teenage Kicks” on Minnesota Public Radio’s music station The Current. He brings us some sounds from the 1970s, 80s and 90s.

Music From The Segment

The Undertones, “Teenage Kicks”

[Youtube]

Gas prices are low, but are they low enough?

Oil is down to a six-year low of $43 per barrel, so why aren’t gas prices dirt cheap? And how will these prices translate to the airline industry?

Marilyn Geewax, NPR’s senior business editor, speaks with Here & Now’s Jeremy Hobson about where gas prices are going.

The War Comes Home For Baby Boomer Veterans

Aug 11, 2015

The Vietnam War ended decades ago. Veterans from that conflict are now in their 60’s, and starting to retire. And with retirement, for some, there’s a troubling realization that they have deep wounds from the war that have never healed because they’ve never been dealt with.

Phoenix, Arizona, has been called the world’s least sustainable city. But the city is on a mission to change that in at least one area: garbage.

City leaders have set a goal of reducing the amount of trash sent to city landfills by 40 percent over the next five years. And they also hope to become leaders in waste innovation.

Phoenix city manager Ed Zuercher talks with Here & Now’s Robin Young about changing the ways of waste.

China devalued its currency on Tuesday, surprising global investors and worrying economists. The move was the most significant devaluation to the yuan since 1994 and the Chinese currency proceeded to drop nearly two percent in trading against the U.S. dollar.

Gregory Maguire is known for re-imagining classic tales, for example in his “Wicked Years” books he put his spin on L. Frank Baum’s “The Wizard of Oz.” For “Egg and Spoon” he explores pre-revolutionary Russia, incorporating magical figures from tales he read in his childhood.

Utilities and residents along Colorado’s Animas River and New Mexico’s San Juan River are scrambling to find alternative water sources following an accidental mine spill over the weekend.

A cleanup crew supervised by the Environmental Protection Agency last week inadvertently leaked 3 million gallons of orange-colored toxic wastewater into the Animas, which runs into the San Juan. The crew was trying to treat water inside an abandoned gold mine when the accident occurred.

What's Showing In Iowa And New Hampshire?

Aug 10, 2015

With six months left until the Iowa caucuses, urgency is starting to creep up on candidates for both parties to gain ground. In today’s political world, that means a flurry of political ads.

Here & Now’s media analyst John Carroll talks with Robin Young about the ads the candidates have released for the early primary states, and what they show about their respective strategies going forward.

[Youtube]

'The Blob' Takes Over The West Coast

Aug 7, 2015

Since 2013, a patch of unusually warm water known as “the blob” has been spreading across the Pacific Ocean right off the U.S. coast, causing problems both at sea and on land.

The increased temperatures in typically temperate climates like Puget Sound and the Gulf of Alaska have made it hard for cold-water species to thrive, leading to an increase in toxic algal blooms – unwelcome changes that have made Washington shut down multiple fishing industries.

About 120 people a day are dying from unintentional drug overdoses, according the Federal Drug Enforcement Administration.

An increase in prescriptions for painkillers, like Oxycontin, is one reason. Another is that when opioids aren’t available, people often turn to heroin because it is cheaper, stronger any easier to obtain these days.

The problem appears worse in some communities, but it’s not often clear why.

U.S. Employers Add 215,000 Jobs In July

Aug 7, 2015

Today’s jobs report from the Department of Labor showed the American economy added 215,000 jobs in July. The unemployment rate held steady at 5.3 percent. Here & Now’s Peter O’Dowd looks at the details of the report with Mike Regan of Bloomberg News.

The top 10 Republican presidential candidates will meet on one stage tonight for the first debate of the primary season. But those are not all of the candidates – just the ones who ranked highest in political polls.

But in the age of mobile phones and no more robocalls on landlines, is polling as consistent as it once was? Andrew Smith, director of the University of New Hampshire’s Survey Center, speaks with Here & Now‘s Jeremy Hobson about the changing political polling.

On August 6, 1965, President Lyndon Johnson signed the Voting Rights Act, which made restrictions on access to the ballot box illegal. Those restrictions, such as literacy tests and poll taxes, had been in place since the end of the Civil War.

The new law led to more African-Americans voting and being elected, but some say its legacy is jeopardized today.

Actress and businesswoman Jessica Alba is defending the sunscreen made by her company, after months of complaints from customers on social media, who said it did not protect them from sunburns.

In a letter on The Honest Company’s website, Alba and her co-founder write that they use the sunscreen on their own children, and that it has gone through extensive testing. They also write that they will “do what it takes to make it right,” inviting people to call their customer service number.

A new Arizona law went into effect in July that allows people to get blood tests at the lab without a doctor’s orders.

Critics say it will lead to excessive testing, and leave the customers confused trying to interpret results. But labs that offer a new menu of tests say it puts healthcare firmly in the hands of the individual.

When J. Ryan Stradal was growing up in Hastings, Minnesota, the cuisine in his house wasn’t very challenging. But when he was in high school, he began to explore the ethnic restaurants of Minneapolis and Saint Paul.

Now, Stradal brings his memories of the kitchens he grew up in, as well as his own culinary adventures, to his debut novel, “Kitchens of the Great Midwest.”

SEC To Approve Dodd-Frank Pay Gap Rules

Aug 5, 2015

It will soon be easier for millions of Americans to compare their paycheck to the CEO’s.

The Securities and Exchange Commission is slated to finalize a rule to make companies disclose the pay gap between CEOs and regular employees. It’s part of the Dodd-Frank financial reform law and it comes after years of debate on the topic.

Ali Velshi of Al Jazeera America joins Here & Now‘s Peter O’Dowd to discuss the rule, how it will work and why it took so long to finalize.

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