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.

A video released online Tuesday purportedly shows a Jordanian pilot captured by the Islamic State extremist group in Syria last month being burned to death by his captors following a weeklong hostage drama.

The Associated Press was not immediately able to confirm the authenticity of the video, which was released on militant websites and bore the logo of the extremist group’s al-Furqan media service. The 20-minute-long video featured the slick production and graphics used in previous videos released by the group.

Kathy Gunst Goes Californian!

Feb 3, 2015

Here & Now resident chef Kathy Gunst makes her home in Maine, but she’s been spending the early part of the winter in San Francisco.

Her new location has inspired new recipe ideas: avocado toast, filet of sole with Meyer lemons, artichoke soup and orange and ricotta salad. Kathy also sent host Jeremy Hobson a care package including fresh oranges and avocados for him to sample.

She shares these four recipes:

Low Oil Prices Hit Industry Giants Hard

Feb 3, 2015

Two oil giants this week released reports showing how their earnings have been impacted by the recent steep fall in oil prices.

BP on Tuesday reported a quarterly loss of $4.4 billion dollars in the fourth quarter of 2014, which the company attributes in part to falling oil prices.

On a similar note, Exxon Mobil on Monday reported a steep drop in revenue and profit, with both down 21 percent in the fourth quarter, over the previous year.

Reports that California experienced its second driest January for a second year in a row have many predicting that the drought will continue in 2015.

While cities like San Francisco have seen no measurable rain this year, the snowpacks in the hinterlands of California are also seeing less of the fluffy white stuff.

What Some Malls Are Doing To Survive

Feb 2, 2015

According to the mall tracking group Green Street Advisors, more than two dozen shopping malls have closed since 2010, and dozens more are on the brink of failing.

Robin Lewis, co-author of “The New Rules of Retail: Competing in the World’s Toughest Marketplace,” says that some malls are doing interesting things to stay operating.

President Obama releases a $4 trillion budget today that calls for middle class tax cuts and major investment in infrastructure. The plan would rely on taxing rich Americans by closing tax loopholes on capital gains and trust funds.

Republicans are not on board. Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin said Obama was exploiting “envy economics.” The president’s proposal included a child care tax credit, a $500 credit for “second-earners” in a household and more money for a preschool development program.

Rod McKuen, the husky-voiced “King of Kitsch” whose avalanche of music, verse and spoken-word recordings in the 1960s and ’70s overwhelmed critical mockery and made him an Oscar-nominated songwriter and one of the best-selling poets in history, has died. He was 81.

McKuen died Thursday morning at a rehabilitation center in Beverly Hills, California, where he had been treated for pneumonia and had been ill for several weeks and was unable to digest food, his half-brother Edward McKuen Habib said.

Cowboy Poets Gather At Annual Celebration

Jan 30, 2015

The 31st National Cowboy Poetry Gathering is underway in Elko, Nevada. Last year, Here & Now’s Jeremy Hobson spoke with an attendee named Gaul Steiger, a cattle rancher who comes from a long line of cowboy poets. We revisit that conversation.

The economy has slowly been bouncing back since the recession ended in 2009, but predictions for 2014 fell short of expectations in the final quarter.

The economy grew at a 2.6 percent annual rate in the October to December period. The growth for the year was a moderate 2.4 percent.

Early 2015 predictions by economists say things are looking up. Mike Regan, editor for Bloomberg News speaks with Here & Now’s Lisa Mullins about last year’s GDP and the year ahead.

DJ Sessions: Go Deadhead

Jan 29, 2015

The Grateful Dead celebrates 50 years since the band’s start this year. For this week’s installment of DJ Sessions, we sit down with a DJ who devotes his entire radio show to the band.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is blaming Iran for the violent flare ups along the Lebanese and Syrian border areas in the country’s north. Yesterday’s shelling by the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah was the deadliest escalation in that region since 2006, resulting in the deaths of two Israeli soldiers and seven wounded.

Iran has long backed Hezbollah, which declared its attack an act of retaliation for an Israeli airstrike in Syria earlier this month. That attack killed six Hezbollah fighters and an Iranian general.

A Sierra Nevada red fox has been captured on a motion-sensitive camera placed by wildlife biologists in a remote part of Yosemite National Park in California.

It’s the first time in nearly 100 years that the state-protected mammal has been seen in the park. Fewer than 50 are known to exist in North America.

For the first time since 1987, one of the nation’s governors is in a wheelchair. Texas Governor Greg Abbott won the race by promising to fight the federal government with his literal “spine of steel,” but disability advocates are saying that he hasn’t fought for them.

This Sunday is the Super Bowl, which means the biggest and most expensive advertising night of the year. Several of this year’s ads are already available online, in part or in full.

Television is far from the only way to advertise during the game these days, so at $4.5 million for 30 seconds, is it still worth it?

Here & Now’s media analyst John Carroll joins host Lisa Mullins to discuss that question and some of this year’s ads.

Drought conditions are forcing ranchers to thin their cattle herds, and that means there’s a shortage of brisket, the front-end cut of beef that’s emblematic of Texas barbecue.

Texas Monthly barbecue editor Daniel Vaughn tells Here & Now’s Jeremy Hobson that higher commodity prices have even forced one best-in-state barbecue restaurant to close down recently.

The Obama Administration today is proposing opening up parts of the Eastern seaboard to offshore drilling, while at the same time proposing a ban on drilling along some parts of Alaska’s Arctic coast.

Here & Now’s Jeremy Hobson talks with Phil Flynn, an energy market analyst with Price Futures Group, and Bob Deans of the Natural Resources Defense Council, about the proposal — a win and a loss each for environmentalists and the oil industry

A report released by the Children’s Advocacy Institute today shows that all 50 states have failed to meet minimum federal requirements for the care of abused and neglected kids.

The institute’s executive director Robert Fellmeth tells Here & Now’s Lisa Mullins that even when the federal government finds that a state is not meeting its requirements, not much changes.

Why Aren't There More Latinos On TV?

Jan 27, 2015

The big four television networks have made progress in diversifying their casts, but only among African-American actors. That’s according to recent numbers compiled by the Associated Press.

Latinos represent about 17 percent of the American population, but on network T.V., that group represents less than 10 percent of characters.

Snowy Owls 'Irrupting' In Northern States

Jan 26, 2015

For a second year in a row, a mass migration of snowy owls from Canada is occurring, and that’s highly unusual. It’s called an irruption and it’s thought to be related to boom and bust cycles of arctic lemmings, the small rodents that snowy owls love to eat.

Author and naturalist Scott Weidensaul is co-founder of Project SNOWstorm, which since last year has been using cellphone technology to track these mysterious and majestic birds.

Each year half of the fresh fruit in the United States – and a quarter of the fresh vegetables – are imported from another country. One of the motivations for the local food movement in the U.S.

Across the Northeast, people are gearing up for what forecasters say is likely to be a severe and “potentially historic” blizzard, in which snowfall could be measured in feet.

Here & Now’s Jeremy Hobson talks to Peter Judge of the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency, about what the state is doing to prepare. Boston officials have already said public transportation will be closed on Tuesday

This Friday we go on stage, the ultimate stage perhaps, Broadway. January and February are usually considered the “zombie months” on Broadway, says New York Times theater critic Ben Brantley. However, this season is a “surprisingly good one,” he tells Here & Now’s Robin Young. Even better, tickets are still available for some of Brantley’s favorite shows this winter. He shares his four top picks.

Ben Brantley’s 4 Broadway Picks

1. Constellations

Greeks will elect a new government on Sunday, and the new prime minister could be a charismatic leftist named Alexis Tsipras, a boyish engineer-turned-protester.

He’s promised to end painful austerity measures while stimulating the country’s ravaged economy, but he may be on a collision course with the Europeans who have lent Greece billions in bailout loans. Joanna Kakissis reports from Athens.

The number of new Ebola cases in Guinea is dropping steadily. According to the World Health Organization, there were a total of 20 confirmed cases this week, down from 45 last week, the lowest number since August of last year.

The government is shooting for zero Ebola cases by mid-March, and schools are back in session for the first time since July of last year.

Yemeni officials say the president has resigned under pressure from Shiite rebels who seized the capital in September and have confined the embattled leader to his home for the past two days.

Presidential officials said Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi resigned after being pressured to make concessions to the rebels, known as Houthis. He had earlier pledged political concessions in return for the rebels withdrawing from his house and the nearby presidential palace, but Houthi fighters remained deployed around both buildings throughout the day.

Playwright Christopher Durang‘s Tony Award-winning comedy “Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike” is currently being performed in 27 regional theaters across the U.S.

Here & Now’s Robin Young sat down with Durang in front of an audience at Boston’s Huntington Theater, after a performance of the show.

The FBI today arrested one of the most powerful men in New York, longtime State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, on federal corruption charges.

Chief among the charges: that he used the power of his office to solicit millions of dollars in bribes and kickbacks. Just yesterday, even with the news of his imminent arrest swirling, Silver had a prominent seat on the stage at New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s State of the State address.

President Obama in his State of the Union talked a lot about income inequality. But what happens when that income inequality occurs within one’s own family: one sibling is significantly richer or poorer? How does that affect family dynamics?

In his State Of The Union address, President Obama outlined a program to boost the middle class, in part by raising taxes on the wealthy.

Republican Senator John Thune blasted the president’s plan, calling it an “agenda of top-down policies of the past to tax, spend and regulate.”

He joins Here & Now’s Jeremy Hobson with more reaction to the speech.

Wal-Mart will offer cash tax refunds to taxpayers this year at all of its stores. And the big box retailer won’t charge customers to pick up their refunds.

Wal-Mart is touting the “Direct2Cash” program as more convenient than cashing a check, but of course it also conveniently puts customers in Wal-Mart with cash in hand.

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