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.

Bounce Houses: The Dangers Lurking Within

May 26, 2015

If you thought bouncy houses were completely safe, think again. Here & Now has reported on the children’s play houses taking flight before, and on Monday three children in Florida were injured when a waterspout came ashore and lifted the inflatable house they were in.

Simon Rich's 'Spoiled Brats'

May 26, 2015

If you’re looking for light fun read for an upcoming vacation, Simon Rich‘s collection of short stories “Spoiled Brats” is out in paperback today.

Rich is a former writer for Saturday Night Live, and he’s also the creator of the FXX series “Man Seeking Woman,” which has been renewed for a second season. Though he’s had a lot of success in television, he still enjoys writing short stories.

The Inuit people of Greenland are trying to get a ban on the sale of seal products overturned.

The European Union imposed that ban five years ago, and the Inuit say it has destroyed their livelihoods because it has wiped out the export of seal fur.

The BBC’s Malcolm Brabant reports.

Not Your Mother's Pot Brownie

May 25, 2015

Twenty-three states now allow marijuana for medical use and several others are considering doing the same. Two states including Colorado now allow recreational use of the drug as well.

For people who are sick and use pot to relieve symptoms related to pain, seizures or depression, smoking is often not an option.

The so-called edible market is becoming big business in Colorado, where patients can buy cannabis-infused brownies, truffles and ice cream at their neighborhood dispensary.

Amazon is no longer routing its European sales through the low-tax country of Luxembourg, in an effort to cut costs. Instead the American company will pay taxes in individual European countries.

The move comes amid numerous EU investigations into how companies, including Amazon, pay their taxes on the continent.

As Al Jazeera’s Ali Velshi tells Here & Now’s Lisa Mullins, it could significantly increase Amazon’s tax bill.

ISIS Gains Ground In Iraq And Syria

May 25, 2015

ISIS is expanding its control of territory in Iraq and Syria. The militants have now seized the last Syrian-controlled border crossing between Syria and Iraq.

There are also reports that ISIS has overrun another town in Iraq’s western Anbar province, less than a week after taking control of Ramadi, the provincial capital.

Concerns are mounting about the famous archaeological site at Palmyra in Syria, which ISIS seized a couple of days ago.

Memorial Day weekend is upon us, which for many people marks the first real beach weekend of the year. Just in time, a new list of the top 10 public beaches in the U.S. is out, ranked by a man who goes by the name “Dr. Beach.” Taking this year’s top honor: Waimanalo Beach in Oahu, Hawaii.

As the national debate on whether to raise the minimum wage continues, some adults in Oregon with developmental disabilities are still paid as little as 25 cents an hour.

Now, a group of Oregon lawmakers is trying to change that. From the Here & Now Contributors Network, Chris Lehman reports.

For nearly a year, The Washington Post’s Tehran bureau chief Jason Rezaian has been held in custody. He goes on trial next week, and the trial may not be open to the public or his family.

Rezaian’s lawyer says Iran accuses him of spying, but his editor at The Washington Post defends Rezaian and says he was merely doing his job as a journalist.

Douglas Jehl, foreign editor of The Washington Post, joins Here & Now’s Robin Young with details.

Kwangsook Kim was always interested in food and cooking, first in her native South Korea, then later in Canada and the United States.

In 2007, her son suggested she take up a new hobby: posting videos on YouTube of her making Korean dishes. She did, adopting the name “Maangchi” that she used in her other hobby, online gaming.

The Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration has eliminated the parallel parking requirement on its driving test. A spokesman says it’s about redundancy. The test still requires a “reverse two-point turnabout.”

But driving instructors in Maryland say that too many people were failing the test, and the right of passage in driving is still an important skill to learn. Georgena Ewing, owner of Perry Hall Driving School in Nottingham, MD., shares her view with Here & Now’s Robin Young.

What motivates someone to become a police officer these days? And what is it like to be a recruit as images of police protests dominate the news? Amy Radil of Here & Now contributor station KUOW met some of Washington state’s newest recruits.

'Finding The Good' Through Obituary Writing

May 20, 2015

Journalist Heather Lende lives in the small town of Haines, Alaska, where the population is about 2,000. She’s written obituaries for almost 20 years at the Chilkat Valley News.

In doing so, she’s learned to “find the good,” as she says, not only in the lives of people she writes about, but also in her own life. Lende told Here & Now’s Robin Young that a portrait of the town she lives in also comes through her work.

JPMorgan Chase, Barclays, Royal Bank of Scotland Group, Citigroup and UBS have agreed to plead guilty to criminal charges and pay more than $5 billion in total penalties relating to a U.S. investigation into whether the banks manipulated foreign currency rates.

The fines are on top of more than $4 billion in penalties that many of the same banks paid in November over similar charges. Matt Klein of the Financial Times joins Here & Now’s Jeremy Hobson with details.

Can Boston Lose Its 2024 Olympic Bid?

May 19, 2015

Many U.S. cities tried out for the 2024 Summer Olympic bid, but in January the U.S. Olympic Committee selected Boston.

There has been tough opposition from citizens in the city who don’t agree with the local committee’s plans, but Monday at a Boston City Council meeting Angela Ruggiero, a USOC and IOC member said, “There’s no guarantee that Boston will be the city in September.”

KCRW’s Tom Schnabel joins Here & Now’s Jeremy Hobson to share some of the music he’s listening to from around the world, including Brazilian guitarist Fabiano do Nascimento, the New York artist collective “Brooklyn Gypsies” and a 12-year-old pianist named Joey Alexander.

The Supreme Court ruling on Monday is expected to better protect people from high fees in their 401(k) retirement plan investments.

By a unanimous vote, the court said that companies managing 401(k) retirement plans have to monitor investments and “remove imprudent investments.”

Here & Now’s Jeremy Hobson speaks with Jason Bellini of The Wall Street Journal about the ruling’s implications.

How does free college sound?

Democratic presidential candidate Senator Bernie Sanders will propose legislation on Tuesday that would make tuition at four-year public colleges free – much like it is in many European Countries.

Here & Now’s Robin Young talks to Scott Jaschik, editor of Inside Higher Ed, about how various European countries offer free college tuition, and how well such a model might work in the United States.

There’s a new term that is unfortunately now a part of our lexicon: selfie-stick.

You’ve seen them. The idiotic plastic or metal arms that tourists all over the world are using to take medium-distance selfies with their phones.

I was in Europe last week and I saw it for myself: In front of the Rosetta Stone at the British Museum in London, underneath the Eiffel Tower in Paris, even on a train a couple decided to take a photograph of themselves from above.

Gender Pronouns And The History Of 'They'

May 18, 2015

The use of the word “they” as a gender-neutral singular pronoun is gaining wider acceptance, even among copy editors. But linguist and Wall Street Journal columnist Ben Zimmer says the use of the universal pronoun ‘they’ is nothing new.

Zimmer tells Here & Now’s Jeremy Hobson that writers including Chaucer and Shakespeare have used “they” instead of he or she. But will modern-day English speakers adapt their style to incorporate “they”?

Boston Marathon Bomber Sentenced To Death

May 15, 2015

A jury sentenced Dzhokhar Tsarnaev to death Friday for the Boston Marathon bombing, sweeping aside pleas that he was just a “kid” who fell under the influence of his fanatical older brother.

Tsarnaev, 21, stood with his hands folded upon learning his fate, decided after 14 hours of deliberations over three days in the nation’s most closely watched terrorism trial since the Oklahoma City bombing case two decades ago.

The City of Austin recently welcomed its first majority female city council, but what’s grabbing headlines is a recent workshop to train city staff on how to deal with the shift to a female-centered environment.

One of the speakers, Jonathan K. Allen – who has since been fired from his role as city manager of Lauderdale Lakes, Fla. for unrelated reasons – warned the group to expect more questions, and that women aren’t as interested in financial arguments.

If you’ve ever been prescribed an expensive new medication, you may be familiar with step therapy.

Rather than pay for a costly new drug, many insurance companies now require patients to try cheaper alternatives first.

As drug prices have skyrocketed in recent years, step therapy has become increasingly common, but now many states legislatures are pushing back.

From the Here & Now Contributors Network, Alex Smith reports.

NATO has been carrying out its largest ever anti-submarine warfare exercise in the North Sea.

It’s seen as a response to increasing activity by Russian submarines. There have been recent reports of Russian submarines operating off the coast of Scotland, as well as Sweden and Finland.

The exercise has also highlighted a gaping hole in Britain’s own maritime defenses. The BBC’s Jonathan Beale reports.

In the new film “Good Kill,” Ethan Hawke plays Tom Egan, a former Air Force pilot who’s now a drone operator in Las Vegas. Egan longs to go back into combat, but instead is relegated to firing at suspected terrorist targets from thousands of miles away.

Writer-director Andrew Niccol told Here & Now’s Meghna Chakrabarti that he was drawn to make the film because he found drone operators to be an entirely new kind of solider.

The open hiring policy at Greyston Bakery in Yonkers, N.Y., invites local residents to apply for jobs, regardless of their immigration status, whether they have criminal or drug records, or even prior work experience.

It’s all part of the company’s social justice business model, based on the Buddhist philosophy of Bernie Glassman, who founded the industrial food facility in 1982.

“Black Lives Matter” has become a rallying cry across the U.S. among people upset about cases of police brutality against black men. In Milwaukee, another movement is afoot. It aims to let people know that black love also matters. LaToya Dennis from Here & Now contributor Milwaukee Public Radio reports.

What’s New Is Old At The TV Upfronts

May 13, 2015

NPR TV Critic Eric Deggans is in New York this week at the TV Upfronts and joins Here & Now’s Meghna Chakrabarti to talk about how next season, the hot thing seems to be reviving old shows.

NBC is bringing back “Coach” and “Heroes.” Meanwhile, Fox is doing a television version of “Minority Report” and “The X-Files.” Eric Deggans, though, is most excited about ABC bringing the Muppets to network television for the first time in nearly 20 years.

If you use a smartphone for directions, you know how annoying it can be when the tracking device gets your location wrong. A team of researchers at the University of Texas’ Cockrell School of Engineering say they may have fixed that problem.

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