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.

At a writing conference in Boston on Saturday, renowned journalist Gay Talese said women writers of his generation seldom took on tough subjects, because they did not like to talk to strangers.

The remarks were in response to a question about female writers who inspired him (“Nora Ephron … Mary McCarthy … none”) and set off a social media firestorm.

The 84-year-old writer told The Associated Press on Sunday that he misunderstood the question.

Joseph Medicine Crow, a World War II veteran, recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom and revered elder of the Crow Nation, died Sunday at the age of 102.

Born in a log home near Lodge Grass, Montana, Crow became the first member of the Crow Nation to earn a graduate degree.

He was a Crow War Chief, having completed the required four war deeds while fighting for the 103rd Infantry in Germany during World War II.

The first boats of refugees and migrants have arrived back in Turkey from Greece, as part of a new — and controversial — deal between Turkey and the European Union that takes effect today. It is aimed at stopping the flood of people seeking asylum in Europe.

Under the deal, every migrant who reaches Greece illegally from Turkey after March 20 will be returned to Turkey, unless they qualify for asylum. However, for every Syrian turned back, a Syrian refugee who has been vetted is to be resettled from Turkey in an EU country.

U.S. banks are closing thousands of accounts that appear to be suspicious in an effort to thwart terrorism, but many legitimate businesses are caught in that wide net. And some experts worry that by kicking suspicious individuals out of the financial system, it will be harder to track them.

Here & Now’s Meghna Chakrabarti speaks with Ali Velshi, host of Ali Velshi on Target on Al Jazeera America, about the consequences.

In the wake of the terrorist attack in Brussels this month, many people are wondering if these kinds of attacks are something we can stop, or whether they are just going to be a part of life now in many more parts of the world.

Here & Now’s Jeremy Hobson talks with Cas Mudde, associate professor at the School of Public and International Affairs at the University of Georgia, and researcher at the Center for Research on Extremism at the University of Oslo, about how the answers to those questions should affect our approach to terrorism.

Alaska Volcano Mellows After Wreaking Havoc

Mar 31, 2016

Alaska’s Pavlof Volcano has calmed down after days of dramatic activity. Early this week, the volcano, which is in the southwest part of the state, threw a thick brown and gray cloud 37,000 feet into the sky.

The blast inconvenienced travelers across Alaska and spewed ash over Nelson Lagoon, a village 55 miles northeast of the volcano, where residents stayed indoors and watched porches and roofs darken.

Indiana will soon have some of the most sweeping abortion restrictions in the country. A new law that was passed last week makes it illegal for women to get an abortion because of a baby’s physical or mental disability, or because of race or gender. The law takes effect in July.

Here & Now’s Meghna Chakrabarti talks with Leah Samuel, a reporter with STAT, about Indiana’s new law and how anti-abortion groups like Americans United For Life are now pushing other states to consider similar bans.

Beatrix von Storch is a member of the European Parliament, and a member of Germany’s anti-immigration party, Alternative für Deutschland (AfD), which translates to Alternative for Germany.

Earlier this month, AfD picked up seats for the first time in the German parliament in three regions of the country. One of the party’s leaders, Frauke Petry, has suggested that police should be able to shoot migrants attempting to enter Germany illegally.

Von Storch discusses that controversial stance with Here & Now’s Meghna Chakrabarti.

Boeing Layoffs Coming In Washington State

Mar 30, 2016

Boeing has announced that it expects to eliminate thousands of jobs in Washington state. The Seattle Times reports that as many as 8,000 jobs may be cut – a 10 percent overall cut.

But the timing seems odd because airplane orders are booming. Here & Now‘s Jeremy Hobson looks at what’s behind the layoffs and what they say about manufacturing, with Rana Foroohar of Time magazine.

Oscar-Winning Actress Patty Duke Dies At 69

Mar 29, 2016

Patty Duke, who won an Oscar as a teen for “The Miracle Worker” and maintained a long and successful career throughout her life, has died at the age of 69.

Duke’s agent, Mitchell Stubbs, says the actress died early Tuesday morning of sepsis from a ruptured intestine. She died in Coeur D’Alene, Idaho, according to Teri Weigel, the publicist for her son, actor Sean Astin.

After 50 years of conflict, Colombian officials say they’re close to reaching a peace settlement with the the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC.

What does that mean for rebels who have spent most of their adult lives fighting? The New York Times’ Nicholas Casey recently spent four days in a FARC camp in the mountains of Colombia.

The Supreme Court split 4-4 today, in a case with big implications for public employee unions in about half the states in the U.S. The tie means that public sector unions in those states can continue to collect mandatory fees from workers who do not join the unions.

Here & Now‘s Jeremy Hobson speaks with Jason Bellini of the Wall Street Journal about the Supreme Court’s deadlock and the implications. The court will continue to operate with only eight justices until a Supreme Court nominee is approved by the Senate.

Iraqi Forces Try To Retake Mosul From ISIS

Mar 28, 2016

ISIS has held Mosul for nearly two years, but the Iraqi military has launched an offensive to retake the city, which is in northern Iraq. The U.S. is supporting the mission with airstrikes and about 200 Marines, who are stationed at an outpost about 40 miles south of Mosul.

Here & Now’s Meghna Chakrabarti checks in with NPR’s Pentagon correspondent Tom Bowman about the role the U.S. military is playing right now in Iraq.

Inside The Beanie Baby Boom And Bust

Mar 28, 2016

How did Beanie Babies go from $5 plush toys to collectibles valued at thousands and then worthless dust catchers? And how does the Beanie Baby story relate to other bubble markets? Here & Now’s Jeremy Hobson spoke with Zac Bissonnette, author of “The Great Beanie Baby Bubble” in March, 2015. Today we revisit that conversation as the book comes out in paperback.

Mother Mary Angelica of the Annunciation, a Catholic nun and media entrepreneur, died Sunday at the age of 92.

She was watched by many Catholics on the Eternal Word Television Network (EWTN), the media organization that she founded in a monastery garage in Irondale, Alabama, in 1981.

Throughout the ’80s and ’90s, she would stand out as a guiding figure, known for her mixture of humor and staunch beliefs against what she saw as a growing trend of liberalism in the Catholic church.

This week, the Library of Congress selected 25 new audio recordings to be inducted into the National Recording Registry. They range from songs and speeches to sports broadcasts. The new additions include “Piano Man” by Billy Joel, “I Will Survive” by Gloria Gaynor and Metallica’s album “Master of Puppets.” Also added is George C. Marshall’s “Marshall Plan” speech from 1947 and a 1962 radio broadcast of the fourth quarter of the historic basketball game in which Wilt Chamberlain scored 100 points, shattering the NBA record.

A new joint investigation finds that more than 80 percent of federal inmates in so-called solitary confinement are actually forced to share a cell with another, often violent, inmate. Marshall Project reporter Christie Thompson and NPR’s Joe Shapiro speak to Here & Now’s Peter O’Dowd about the conditions and the sometimes lethal repercussions.

There is a lot going on in connection to the Brussels attacks and fight against ISIS, which claimed responsibility for the bombings at the airport and subway station on Tuesday.

Friday morning, Defense Secretary Ash Carter announced that U.S. Special Forces on the ground in Syria have killed the number two ISIS commander. In Brussels, a major police operation was conducted in the same neighborhood where a taxi driver on Tuesday picked up the three men who bombed the Brussels airport.

The Science Of Changing Your Mind

Mar 24, 2016

NPR international correspondent Emily Harris, who is based in the Middle East, compiled a series on people who have changed their mind. She focused on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Harris speaks with Here & Now’s Meghna Chakrabarti about the social science behind decision-making and a unique experiment she’s crowdsourcing.

“Born to Be Blue” a new biopic about jazz great Chet Baker opens in theaters tomorrow. The film will bring new attention to Baker, whose musicianship was often overshadowed by his drug addiction. In 2002, James Gavin published the biography “Deep in a Dream: The Long Night of Chet Baker.” Here & Now’s Robin Young spoke with him then about the book. We revisit that conversation.

The Rockefeller Family Fund has announced that it’s divesting from investments in fossil fuels and eliminating its holdings of Exxon Mobil Corp.

A statement on the Rockefeller Family Fund website cites “morally reprehensible” conduct on the part of Exxon Mobil:

When Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump said there might be riots if he’s denied the nomination at this summer’s GOP Convention, many people thought of the last time there actually were riots at a political convention.

It was 1968, and the Democratic Convention in Chicago was marred by violence between anti-Vietnam War protestors and the police. And it was all televised.

Brussels Attacks Heighten Airline Security

Mar 23, 2016

Airlines and airports are on heightened alert following yesterday’s terrorist attack at the airport in Brussels.

While security has gotten increasingly tight for airline passengers over the past 15 years, the attacks occurred in the publicly accessible departure hall, well before security checkpoints.

Here & Now’s Robin Young speaks with CNN’s Maggie Lake about what yesterday’s attacks means for the airline industry and for travelers.

People waiting for kidney transplants may soon have a new option: getting a kidney from a donor who had Hepatitis C.

This spring, doctors at the University of Pennsylvania and Johns Hopkins University will try transplanting kidneys from Hep C-infected donors into uninfected patients. If these transplants are successful, they could open the door for hundreds more people a year to receive transplants, some of whom might otherwise die waiting.

Georgia Teen Honors Negro League Players

Mar 22, 2016

In Macon, Georgia, a teen is honoring players from the Negro League, which operated primarily from the 1920s through the 1950s. Leah Fleming from Here & Now contributor Georgia Public Broadcasting has the story of Gordon Smith, a 15-year-old Eagle Scout and JV baseball player who discovered Negro League players from his hometown and secured their place in history.

President Barack Obama leaves Cuba and flies to Argentina today. The trip has been billed as an opportunity to expand economic and political relations between the two countries, but it also coincides with the 40th anniversary of the military coup that set off what’s known as Argentina’s Dirty War.

Obama’s schedule in Buenos Aires includes a visit to the memorial for victims of the Dirty War. He is also set to announce the declassification of documents that will shed light on the United States’ role during that period.

The attack this morning at Brussels’ Maelbeek subway station was the deadliest of the three blasts that hit the city today. More than 20 people were killed and over 100 injured.

Evan Lamos works for near the European Union headquarters. He was on the subway behind the one that was attacked, and was evacuated through a smoky tunnel.

The discussion about child migrants from Central America usually focuses on the poverty and gang violence they’re escaping back in their homelands, as well as the horrors they confront on their journey to the U.S.

But what happens once they arrive in places like South Florida and are reunited with family? Often the hardest part is building new lives with parents they don’t know. Tim Padgett from Here & Now contributor WLRN in Miami reports.

Donald Trump’s victories in Florida, Illinois and North Carolina put him over the halfway mark in the delegate count he needs to win the Republican nomination. But John Kasich’s big win in Ohio keeps open the possibility of a contested convention.

Here & Now’s Robin Young talks with NPR’s Ron Elving about the nuts and bolts of what could happen on the Republican side, and whether Bernie Sanders still has a chance on the Democratic side.

Hundreds of thousands of commuters in the Washington D.C. area had to rely on alternative transportation today after the closure of the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority.

WMATA officials decided to close the system for the day to conduct an emergency inspection of electrical cables, following recent fires.

Here & Now’s Jeremy Hobson speaks with Martin Di Caro, transportation reporter for Here & Now contributor station WAMU, about the closure of Metro.