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.

'Star Trek' Star Leonard Nimoy Dies At 83

Feb 27, 2015

Leonard Nimoy, known around the world as Spock on “Star Trek,” died this morning at age 83. Nimoy, of course, was more than just Spock. He was a poet, a photographer and a musician. But he touched a chord as the brainy, unflappably logical, half-human half-Vulcan Spock.

On Sunday’s glamorous Academy Awards red carpet, Disney star Zendaya Coleman decided to shake things up and wear dreadlocks extensions with her Oscar gown.

The following day when the E! network’s Fashion Police aired, the show’s co-host Giuliana Rancic commented that the 18-year-old woman looked like she smelled of “patchouli oil” or “weed.”

Tonight and tomorrow, 1,200 students from across the country will perform with the National Children’s Honor Choir in Salt Lake City.

It’s one of the most prestigious junior choruses in the country. Among them will be three students from a school in southwest Denver, where more than three-quarters of the kids qualify for free or reduced lunch.

The Conservative Political Action Conference, known as CPAC, usually attracts the country’s most die-hard conservative activists. This year it’s also attracting nearly a dozen – depending on how you count – Republican presidential hopefuls for 2016.

NPR’s Don Gonyea is there and joins Here & Now’s Meghna Chakrabarti to talk about who’s at CPAC to show off their stuff, and how they might try to win hearts and minds.

‘Tis the season to speculate who’s going to run for president, who will make it through the primary, who will ultimately end up in Oval Office.

But before you slap a bumper sticker on your car, or hang a political cartoon at work, you might want to think twice. Because it turns out that either of those could get you fired. And in most states in the country, labor laws will not protect you.

While federal law bars employers from firing workers for race, religion or gender, there is no protection for freedom of political speech or action.

Cellphones are just about everywhere these days. But in remote, rural places the key ingredient – a cell network – is often missing. In the U.S., long-distance users pay a surcharge into the Universal Service Fund, which the government uses to pay network operators to provide affordable phone access in rural or low-income areas.

Senate Dems Agree To GOP Plan To Fund Homeland Department

Feb 25, 2015

Senate Democrats on Wednesday signed onto a Republican plan to fund the Homeland Security Department without the immigration provisions opposed by President Barack Obama. The announcement by Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid put the Senate on track to pass the bill as a partial agency shutdown looms Friday at midnight.

The House’s response was uncertain. Earlier Wednesday, House Republicans reacted tepidly at best to the plan from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who proposed decoupling the issue of DHS funding from immigration.

Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren is an unusual rookie politician. The freshman senator has a seat at the leadership table and a loudspeaker many veteran politicians would envy. Her fans are hoping she’ll run for president in 2016, but Warren insists she’s not. So what is Senator Warren’s emerging role in the Democratic Party? From the Here & Now Contributors Network, Asma Khalid of WBUR reports.

Refinery Strike Continues Into Fourth Week

Feb 25, 2015

A nationwide oil refinery strike continued this week and expanded to 15 plants. The United Steelworkers union organized the walkout, after the union’s contract with oil companies expired.

One of the latest refineries to be impacted is the Motiva Enterprises refinery in Port Arthur, Texas, the largest of its kind in the country. CNN’s Maggie Lake joins Here & Now’s Robin Young with details.

Uber's New Turf: Mid-Sized Cities

Feb 24, 2015

The car-for-hire service Uber has been elbowing its way into big cities across the country, sparking controversies with taxis and regulators.

Last month, the San Francisco-based company raised $1.6 billion in financing, which it is using to fund international expansion.

Closer to home, the company is setting its sights on mid-sized cities, looking to expand its market into areas where taxi service is not as much a part of the culture.

Ransom Riggs‘ novel “Hollow City” comes out in paperback today. It’s the second of his “Miss Peregrine’s Peculiar Children” series about children with supernatural powers.

Like its predecessor, “Hollow City” is based on vintage black and white photographs that Riggs finds and writes stories around.

Early this morning, 19 manatees were rescued from a drain pipe in Satellite Beach, Florida, south of Cape Canaveral. Florida has been experiencing colder than average temperatures, and the endangered animals were probably seeking warmer waters in the drainpipe.

With the aging of the U.S. population, more elderly and disabled people than ever are receiving care in their own homes.

In California, the state pays for relatives and other caregivers for low-income residents. The program has a $7 billion budget and serves nearly half a million people.

But there’s concern that there’s not enough oversight to keep people safe. Anna Gorman of Kaiser Health News has the story.

While parts of the nation saw serious failures in public transit in the last few weeks, Houston was busy approving a new transit project that would overhaul the entire METRO bus network without increasing operating costs.

The plan seeks to broaden the system, allowing riders to get to most areas of the city without relying on infrequent buses. But that comes with a trade-off: by cutting low-rider routes, some may be left without public transportation.

Today, the Obama administration is expected to show its support of a Department of Labor proposal about Americans’ retirement savings.

The measure would require brokers to act in their client’s best interest, meaning that it would be harder for them to push people towards high-fee products and funds, but industry officials say it’s unnecessary and could be bad for investors.

Jill Schlesinger of CBS News joins Here & Now’s Robin Young to discuss the proposal and its implications.

Greece And Eurozone Creditors Reach Deal, Official Says

Feb 20, 2015

Greece and its European creditors have reached a deal over the country’s request to extend its bailout.

An official close to discussions, who spoke only on condition of anonymity because he wasn’t authorized to comment publicly, says a deal was reached between the two sides at Friday’s meeting of finance ministers in Brussels.

The official said that, as part of the agreement, Greece could “present a first list of reform measures by Monday” for the country’s debt inspectors to assess.

A Mother's Battle Against Medical Errors

Feb 20, 2015

Hundreds of thousands of people in the U.S. die from medical errors every year. It is the third leading cause of death in the United States.

Carole Hemmelgarn is on a mission to help medical professionals avoid errors. She says the healthcare system failed her family and her daughter.

“I had a 9-year-old daughter, named Alyssa, and she was diagnosed with leukemia on a Monday and she died 10 days later,” said Hemmelgarn.

Home Sick? Try These Recipes

Feb 20, 2015

What do you like to eat when you’re sick? Chicken soup? The comfort foods you grew up with? Something hot and spicy? Here & Now resident chef Kathy Gunst brings in some of her ideas, including her ginger tea, Greek lemon soup and her own chicken soup recipe.

Household debt is on the rise again. Economists at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York have released a new report showing our debts – including mortgages, credit cards, car loans and student loans – have been shooting up, even though the economy has been improving.

NPR Morning Edition host Steve Inskeep is recently back from Iran, where he visited three different cities and interviewed dozens of people in a matter of days.

He arrived amid celebrations marking the anniversary of the Iranian revolution, marked with clear anti-American sentiment. But as Iran, the U.S. and other countries continue to negotiate a possible nuclear deal, Inskeep met many people there who are open to changing the strained relationship with the United States.

Think you’re too busy to be creative? How about taking a few minutes to draw your breakfast? That’s just one of the suggestions from artist and author Danny Gregory in his new book “Art Before Breakfast: A Zillion Ways to be More Creative No Matter How Busy You Are” (excerpt below).

Toymakers Face Shifting Market

Feb 18, 2015

The International Toy Fair wrapped up in New York City this week, as the industry deals with shifting demand. Children have become interested in playing games on tablets and mobile phones.

CNN’s Maggie Lake interviewed a number of CEOs about how their companies are dealing with the new landscape. She joins Here & Now’s Jeremy Hobson with details.


Sampling Chinese Cuisines With Ming Tsai

Feb 18, 2015

Chinese New Year begins tomorrow. We celebrate by revisiting our conversation last year with James Beard Award-winning chef Ming Tsai. Ming came into our studios to share some New Year’s customs and take Here & Now host Jeremy Hobson on a taste tour of four different Chinese cuisines: Mandarin, Hunan, Szechwan and Cantonese.

It’s been 13 years since the Catholic Church sexual abuse scandal broke. Now, a new investigation finds that the leaders of the Jehovah’s Witnesses have instructed elders to keep cases of child sexual abuse a secret, both from law enforcement and from their own congregations.

Memos from the religion’s parent organization, the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society of New York, show this policy dates back at least 25 years.

Ilyasah Shabazz is Malcolm X’s daughter and co-author of a new young adult novel based on her father’s teen years.

X: A Novel” focuses on when Malcolm X, then known as Malcolm Little, dropped out of school after the death of his father and started using drugs and breaking into houses.

That behavior eventually led to his imprisonment, which is where he came into contact with Islam.

Meet The New Top Dog Judge At Westminster

Feb 17, 2015

The Westminster Kennel Club 139th Annual Dog Show concludes tonight with the much-anticipated anointing of the Best in Show dog.

Taking to the ring to judge that dog will be David Merriam. Merriam is a retired judge, champion breeder of bull terriers and past chairman of board of the American Kennel Club, but this will be his first time judging the Best in Show dog at Westminster.

America is growing older, and so is its population of HIV-positive adults. This year, for the first time ever, half of Americans living with HIV are 50 years old and older.

For many of them, life presents a unique set of challenges. Among those challenges is increased social isolation.

From the Here & Now Contributors Network, Lydia Brown of WNPR reports.

Greece Rejects New Bailout Offer From Europe

Feb 16, 2015

The eurozone’s top official on Monday effectively gave Greece an ultimatum to request an extension to the country’s bailout program, a proposal Athens has so far rejected stridently.

Greece and its eurozone creditors have been at an impasse over how to lighten the country’s bailout loans.

Athens would like to scrap the existing bailout program and instead agree on a “bridging program” to support its finances. Greece’s new government blames the current bailout program for inflicting budget austerity on the country and has promised its electors it would get rid of it.

6 Tips From An Online Dating Coach

Feb 16, 2015

Online dating is now a billion-dollar business. Singles have their choice of a number of Internet services through apps and websites that range from totally free to very costly.

There are also online dating coaches, like Kimberly Koehler. She charges $200 for her online class teaching dating strategies. She also offers one-on-one dating coaching for $495.

Annie Colbert of Mashable joins Here & Now’s Robin Young to take a look at how the news is reverberating on social media, from meteorologist Jim Cantore’s celebration over “thundersnow” in Plymouth, Mass., to Saturday Night Live’s 40 year anniversary celebration.