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.

It’s kosher (a non wool-linen mix). It’s blue, white, red and gold. You can buy it as a prayer shawl. Or a skull cap. And of course…as a kilt. That’s right, a kilt. It’s the world’s first and only officially registered authentic Jewish tartan, now available online.

It’s perfect, according to the Jewish Tartan website, for weddings, Bar Mitzvahs, Bat Mitzvahs, Scotch Whiskey events, Scottish & Burns nights, and more.

What Happened To The Dinosaurs?

Apr 7, 2016

The extinction of the dinosaurs remains one of the world’s enduring mysteries, but a project getting underway off the coast of Mexico may provide some answers.

A team of researchers from the US and the UK will be drilling into the Chicxulub Crater, which was created when an asteroid hit the earth more than 60 million years ago.

Last month, the NFL admitted for the first time that football collisions are linked to brain damage. It’s something researchers have documented for years.

Now, new research shows a surprising way to possibly reduce the brain-damaging effects of head trauma: an ingredient in fish oil.

From the Here & Now contributor network, Texas Standard’s Lauren Silverman reports.

Country Icon Merle Haggard Dead At 79

Apr 6, 2016

Country giant Merle Haggard, who celebrated outlaws, underdogs and an abiding sense of national pride in such hits as “Okie From Muskogee” and “Sing Me Back Home,” died Wednesday at 79, on his birthday.

Haggard’s manager, Frank Mull, said the country icon died in Palo Cedro, California, of pneumonia.

A masterful guitarist, fiddler and songwriter as well as singer, the Country Music Hall of Famer recorded for more than 40 years, releasing dozens of albums and No. 1 hits.

When a listener of Here & Now contributing station WAMU posed the question: ‘Why does Washington D.C. have so many sirens?’, reporter Matt Schwartz decided to tackle the question.

Schwartz spoke to sound and acoustic scientists, as well as architecture experts, and ultimately came up with this verdict: D.C. does not have as many sirens as some other cities but its design – and physics – makes it seem so.

Medical schools at Yale, Harvard, Johns Hopkins and other elite institutions teach some of the most cutting-edge specialties, but some students and staff are complaining that a critical focus is missing: family medicine.

Melissa Bailey of STAT joins Here & Now’s Jeremy Hobson to discuss the omission.

“The People v. OJ Simpson” wraps up tonight. It was the first production of the new FX network anthology series, “American Crime Story.”

The drama has had viewers riveted, even though the case is over 20 years old and everyone knows the outcome. Here & Nows Jeremy Hobson speaks to NPR’s Eric Deggans about the show he calls “some of the best TV of the year.”

With the presidential campaign attracting so much attention, it’s easy to lose sight of another major political race taking shape: the campaign for the U.S. Senate.

Democrats are hoping they can win control of the Senate, where Republicans hold a four-seat majority. Among the key races is New Hampshire, where Republican Senator Kelly Ayotte faces a challenge from the state’s Democratic Governor, Maggie Hassan.

From the Here & Now contributor network, WBUR’s Anthony Brooks reports.

The massive data leak known as the Panama Papers has shown the role the shadow economy plays in Miami.

According to the documents, a number of foreign nationals linked to bribery, tax evasion or corruption bought up luxury real estate in the city, using shell companies to hide their identities.

The Miami Herald was among the news organizations that obtained the trove of documents from inside the Panamanian law firm, Mossack Fonseca.

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.

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.

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.

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: