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 spelling mistake during an online bank heist last month helped put a stop to the theft, according to bank officials. The hackers broke into the website for Bangladesh’s central bank, and stole codes that allowed them to request financial transfers from the Bangladesh bank account at the Federal Reserve of New York.

How should cities remember the notorious figures of their past? Philadelphia is now struggling with that question as city officials figure out whether the home of a one-time mob boss should become a city landmark. Bobby Allyn of Here & Now Contributor WHYY reports.

When the Replacements got together for a long-wished-for reunion in 2013, I wrote: “The Replacements are the band that saved my life. Their songs were messy and sentimental and they came around when I was scuffling along in my life in the ’80s. As I listen to them decades later, I still feel like Paul Westerberg is wearing my heart on his flannel sleeve.”

For the first time in nearly two decades, a Canadian prime minister is in Washington for an official visit. Newly-elected Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was welcomed by President Obama, who will host a state dinner tonight. Here & Now’s Jeremy Hobson speaks with the CBC’s David Common about the significance of the visit by Canada’s new prime minister.

Kate Hamer’s acclaimed debut novel “The Girl in the Red Coat” tells the story of the abduction of a little girl from the points of view of daughter and distraught mother. Hamer talks to Here & Now’s Robin Young about tackling a subject that’s every parent’s nightmare.

Book Excerpt: ‘The Girl In The Red Coat’

By Kate Hamer

A hearing begins today that looks at whether McDonald’s is responsible when operators of its franchise stores are accused of labor violations, like firing workers who participated in strikes calling for a $15 per hour minimum wage. Here & Now’s Robin Young speaks with Al Jazeera America’s Ali Velshi about why the case is being closely watched.

The Cleveland Clinic announced this afternoon that the first woman to receive a uterus transplant in the U.S. had to have it removed, due to sudden complications.

Doctors at the clinic are still planning nine more uterus transplants, as part of a clinical trial, with the ultimate goal being to allow a woman born without a uterus to get pregnant and carry her own baby.

A Google computer program called AlphaGo has beaten a world champion of the Chinese board game “Go.” Lee Se-dol was defeated today in Seoul. The ancient Chinese game has been considered very difficult for a computer to master, because of the nearly endless possible board configurations.


Albinism, a rare genetic disorder characterized by a lack of pigment in hair, skin and eyes affects fewer than one in 200,000 Americans. But in Tanzania, where the incidence is the highest in the world, one in about 1,400 people are affected.

Despite the prevalence there, however, Tanzanians suffering from albinism are faced with discrimination and are often the targets of brutal crimes including murder and dismemberment. This is because witch doctors there have promoted the belief that their body parts and organs contain magical properties that can bring luck and health.

A Chinese official estimates the country’s growth will be between 6.5 and 7 percent this year. The estimate came from Premier Li Keqiang at the annual National People’s Congress meeting in China over the weekend, and it is a faster pace of growth than many Western economists and the IMF believe possible for China, as the country struggles with an economic slowdown.

Test tracks have always been places where car companies found out how fast a car could go or how well it took a curve. But now, there’s a test track for the cars of the future.

Here & Now’s Micki Maynard visits Mcity, which looks like a movie set but is actually where self-driving cars learn to behave on American roads.

The Netflix series “House of Cards” unveiled its fourth season on Friday. The show focuses on the machinations of South Carolina congressman-turned-president Frank Underwood, played by Kevin Spacey. Here and Now’s Jeremy Hobson speaks with Michael Kelly, who plays Doug Stamper, Underwood’s chief of staff, about the show and its cultural impact.

Interview Highlights: Michael Kelly

On the cultural impact of ‘House of Cards’

The “Choose Your Own Adventure” books have sold over 260 million copies since they first came out in the 1980s. In the books, readers shape the direction that the story takes by choosing one of several options, and turning to the particular page for that decision.

If you’ve seen the White House video of the 106-year-old dancing with President Obama and the First Lady, then you already know Virginia McLaurin.

Born in 1909 to a sharecropping family, she was married at the age of 14 and widowed with two children at 17. She’s lived through the Great Depression, segregation and the civil rights movement.

Bud Collins, famous for his love and deep knowledge of tennis, and infamous perhaps for his sartorial sense, died today at the age of 86. He was a longtime columnist for The Boston Globe, and worked as an analyst for CBS and NBC. As ESPN said today, he wrote his way into the International Tennis Hall of Fame. Bill Littlefield, host of Only A Game, joins Here & Now’s Robin Young to remember Bud Collins.

The Supreme Court will hear arguments Wednesday in a case that will put the legality of abortion back in the spotlight. The case challenges a Texas law that requires doctors performing the procedure to have admitting privileges at a local hospital and abortion clinics to meet the same standards as ambulatory surgical centers.

Hillary Clinton leads Bernie Sanders in the polls in the Democratic race in Tennessee.

She made an effort to seal the deal with a rally in Nashville on Sunday. Sanders hasn’t been here but he does have offices in Tennessee and he also has many loyal supporters.

Here & Now’s Jeremy Hobson talks with Tennessee Democrats in a state that learns Republican in presidential races, but which has pockets of Democratic support.

Oil prices have been rebounding this week from historic lows – but those lows have had a big impact on oil supplies in the U.S. There is such a glut of crude oil in the U.S. right now, that traders are running out of storage options, and they’re turning to empty railcars. Here & Now’s Robin Young talks with Jason Bellini of The Wall Street Journal about the implications.

U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack has been been tasked by President Obama with tackling heroin and opioid abuse in rural America. It turns out he has some personal experience with that problem in his family. Secretary Vilsack talks with Here & Now’s Robin Young about the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) agenda for 2016.

Note: This is the first part of a two-part conversation. Part two will air tomorrow in the 1 p.m./3 p.m. Eastern hour of the show.

It’s rare to watch television these days and not see an ad for some kind of prescription drug: Viagra, Cialis, Zoloft, Prozac, Nasonex, Spiriva, the list goes on. Always, those ads include a rattling off of potentially dangerous side effects, something drug companies are required by law to include.

If you don’t want to watch the Oscars on Sunday, there is an alternative. The All Def Movie Awards are taping Wednesday and will air on the Fusion cable network on Sunday, against the Oscars. Fusion caters to millennials, but it is owned by ABC, which is broadcasting the Oscars.

Against the backdrop of Hollywood, season two of "Togetherness" on HBO and Judd Apatow's new Netflix series "Love," tell the stories of train wreck relationships that are just realistic enough for comedy. Here & Now's Meghna Chakrabarti talks with NPR's Eric Deggans about the state of romantic comedy on TV.


U.S. Picks Olympic Marathoners

Feb 22, 2016

It was was unseasonably warm, even for Los Angeles, on February 13. The temperature soared into the 70s, certainly not ideal if you have to run 26-point-2-miles, which is what more than 350 athletes did that day.

Only the top three finishers earned spots on the U.S. team that will compete in the Olympics in Brazil this summer.

Amy Cragg won the women’s race, erasing the disappointment of her fourth-place finish in the 2012 marathon trials that were held in Houston.

Debate Over Brexit Heats Up

Feb 22, 2016

Prime Minister David Cameron told the House of Commons today that the U.K. should stay in the European Union. But London Mayor Boris Johnson, a member of Cameron’s Conservative Party, has come out against staying in the E.U.

With the battle lines being drawn, the campaign is underway ahead of a public vote on the so-called “Brexit” or Britain leaving the E.U., on June 23. The BBC’s Rob Watson joins Here & Now’s Jeremy Hobson with details.

From the “white primaries” to “dirty tricks,” South Carolina politics have a long and complicated history. Here & Now’s Jeremy Hobson speaks with historian Vernon Burton and political scientist Gibbs Knotts about how those politics have shaped the state’s presidential primaries into one of the most influential contests in the country.

L.A. Hospital Pays $17K Ransom To Hackers

Feb 18, 2016

Earlier this month, the Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center in Los Angeles was attacked by hackers, who took patient medical records and demanded ransom. This week, the hospital paid $17,000 in bitcoin to get those records back.

9/11 Shadows GOP Presidential Race

Feb 18, 2016

Donald Trump has said he blames President George W. Bush for the 9/11 attacks. He has since backed off casting blame directly but he continues to say that there were warnings about an attack that went unheeded during the Bush administration. What’s true? Here & Now’s Robin Young asks Lawrence Wright, a journalist who wrote a Pulitzer Prize-winning book, “The Looming Tower,” about the path to the September 11 attacks.

Since the early 1990s, the percentage of homeless adults who are over the age of 50 has gone from 11 percent to more than 50 percent. That aging community has numerous health problems which often go untreated. Bob Tedeschi, a senior writer at STAT, talks with Here & Now’s Lisa Mullins what he found when he dug deeper into the problems the aging homeless face.

Police Leaders Call To Curb Deadly Force

Feb 17, 2016

A consortium of police officers and researchers is promoting a plan to prevent so-called “lawful but awful” fatal shootings involving law enforcement. The Police Executive Research Forum (PERF) has 30 recommendations for curtailing excessive force in the line of duty, from not shooting at vehicles to abandoning the “21-foot rule.”

The recommendations are contentious in many police departments. Denver Police Chief Robert White, a PERF board member, talks with Here & Now’s Robin Young about the recommendations and shifting police tactics.

Most states have some kind of coverage for firefighters who get work-related cancers. Last year, Michigan created a special cancer-coverage fund for firefighters. But as Kate Wells from Here & Now contributor Michigan Radio reports, legislators never put any money in it.