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.

What It's Like To Be A UN Interpreter

Oct 1, 2015

Among the most heard and least recognized players at the United Nations General Assembly session these last two weeks were the interpreters.

A Radio Free Europe journalist once referred to the annual event as the World Cup of professional interpretation, and it’s easy to see why. It can be grueling. One interpreter famously collapsed during a long speech by the late Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi. He had made it through 75 of the speech’s 95 minutes.

In addition to mulling a move of its corporate headquarters out of Connecticut, General Electric has announced it will close a gas engine plant in Waukesha, Wisconsin, and move the 350 jobs to Canada.

Last year, President Obama touted the plant as a proud example of American manufacturing. GE says its closing the Waukesha plant due to Congress’s failure to reauthorize the Export-Import Bank.

“Protected intersections,” designed to prevent car-bicycle collisions, have long existed in the Netherlands, but they are just catching on in the U.S.

After a former video game maker in Oregon created a video (below) explaining the design, one was recently built in Davis, California, and another in Salt Lake City, Utah, and plans are being discussed in cities across the country.

Amazon Takes A Page From Uber's Playbook

Sep 30, 2015

If you have a smartphone and a car, you could soon be working for Amazon. The e-commerce giant launched a new program in Seattle this week that pays part-time drivers, who have also passed a background check, to deliver packages.

The move is aimed at cutting down on delivery times, but it could also cause some legal headaches for Amazon. Samuel Burke of CNN joins Here & Now’s Jeremy Hobson with details.


Juan Salgado is president and CEO of the Instituto del Progreso Latino in Chicago, and today he was among the 24 winners of this year’s MacArthur Foundation “genius grants” who will each receive $625,000 over five years, no strings attached. Salgado’s organization has become a national model for helping immigrants learn English and improve their work skills.

DJ Session: Soundtrack For A Recovery

Sep 29, 2015

For this week’s edition of the Here & Now DJ Sessions, host Jeremy Hobson sits down with KCRW DJ Anne Litt. Anne has been off the air waves for a while following a ski accident last winter. She shares some music that caught her ear during her recovery.

“These are really the artists that kept me going and have me most excited about being back on the air,” she said.

Turbulence In Markets And Commodities

Sep 29, 2015

Shares in the commodities trader Glencore were doing better today after falling nearly 30 percent Monday as the company struggles with commodity prices that have hit record lows. Here & Now’s Jeremy Hobson looks at the markets and how commodity companies are grappling with low prices with Jason Bellini of The Wall Street Journal.

Planetary scientists have announced that there is evidence that liquid salt water flows on present-day Mars. The discovery was made by looking at images captured by NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. Jim Green, director of the Planetary Science Division at NASA, discusses the findings with Here & Now’s Jeremy Hobson.


Panyia Vang, a 22-year-old woman originally from Laos, is seeking $450,000 from the Hmong man from Minnesota who she says traveled to her country and enticed her with promises of movie stardom when she was 14.

Instead, Vang says the man raped her, resulting in a pregnancy. Allegedly, he threatened to deny her visitation rights to their child if she didn’t continue to have sex with him.

On August 1, 1966, a man named Charles Whitman climbed to the top of the University of Texas clock tower and started shooting. When the carnage ended, 16 people were dead and 32 were left wounded. The dead included Whitman, who had already killed his wife and mother prior to opening fire on campus.

House Speaker John Boehner’s surprise resignation announcement has House Republicans scrambling today. Boehner announced that he will resign from leadership and from Congress at the end of October. The announcement came one day after Boehner, a devout Catholic greeted Pope Francis in a historic joint meeting of Congress.

Here & Now‘s Peter O’Dowd discusses Boehner’s resignation with ABC News’ Rick Klein.

House Speaker John Boehner will resign from leadership and from Congress at the end of October. His announcement came a day after he shed tears standing next to Pope Francis in Washington and nearly five years after he took the lead of a divided Republican caucus in the House.

Here & Now‘s Peter O’Dowd speaks with NPR’s Domenico Montanaro about what fueled Boehner’s resignation.

If you order oysters at a restaurant, how do you know they’re fresh? And can you only eat them during months that have an “r” in them, as the saying goes?

Here & Now‘s Peter O’Dowd gets a primer on oysters from Matt Louis, chef and owner of The Franklin Oyster House in Portsmouth, New Hampshire.

3 Pearls of Oyster Wisdom from Matt Louis

1. Geography affects taste.

When you think “casserole,” do you think noodles and canned soup?

Well, Here & Now resident chef Kathy Gunst says that there are so many more options. Kathy has been experimenting with a White Bean and Sausage Casserole, adding Swiss chard and sausage to Macaroni and Cheese, and turning Eggplant Parmesan into Roasted Eggplant and Tomato Casserole.

She brings in a couple of her dishes for Peter and Robin and taps some of their memories of their favorite casseroles.

Sir David Willcocks died at his home in Cambridge, England on Sept. 17 at the age of 95. A conductor, organist, composer and arranger, Sir David was the music director of music at King’s College, Cambridge, for 17 years and spent 38 years as head of the Bach Choir.

He also worked with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir as well and the Rolling Stones. Sir David won a Grammy Award and was knighted by Queen Elizabeth for his contributions to the world of music.

The head of China, President Xi Jinping, will continue his U.S. visit this week with a trip to the White House.

On Thusday, Xi will be having a private dinner with President Obama. On Friday, there will be an official summit, a 21-gun salute and a formal state dinner, complete with brass bands.

NPR’s Marilyn Geewax joins Here & Now‘s Peter O’Dowd to discuss some of the economic and technology issues coming up between the two countries.

At 4:21 a.m. eastern time, autumn began in the Northern Hemisphere. However, the opposite is true at the South Pole, where spring is on the horizon.

For six months, the sun has been below the horizon at the South Pole, making it the coldest, darkest spot on the planet. The cold, dry weather is perfect for Samuel Harrison, a scientist there. He operates a microwave telescope — called the BICEP3 Telescope.

China’s President Xi Jinping started his seven-day tour of the U.S. with a speech to American technology firms and analysts, pledging to fight cybercrime and to disallow the Chinese government from overseas commercial theft and state hacking.

China has long been suspected by U.S. officials of stealing government information and intellectual property, and many openly worry about the possibility of more serious cyber violence. But, aiming to quell fears on both sides, the U.S. and China are negotiating what could be the first cyberspace arms accord in the world.

Chinese President Xi Jinping is in Seattle today to meet with tech and business leaders. It’s a crowd that already knows a lot about doing business in China: the risks, as well as the opportunities.

Carolyn Adolph, from Here & Now contributor KUOW in Seattle, reports.

Brian Williams Gets A Second Chance

Sep 22, 2015

The former NBC Nightly News anchor, Brian Williams, returns to the air on Tuesday for the first time since he was suspended six months ago for fabricating aspects of his reporting.

Now an MSNBC breaking news reporter, Williams will be leading the network’s coverage of Pope Francis’s visit to the U.S.

NPR media correspondent David Folkenflik joins Here & Now‘s Robin Young to discuss why Williams, unlike previous disgraced journalists, is being given a second chance.

Researchers at the University of Chicago have found that when you’re lonely, your brain may actually operate differently.

The researchers found that when lonely people are exposed to negative social cues of some kind, the electrical activity in their brains is more extreme. Meaning lonely people are subconsciously guarding against social threats, which could lead them to be even more isolated — and more lonely.

It’s a dilemma many American families confront: when to ask mom or pop if they’re ready to move into an old folks’ home.

For newer Americans, the very idea often clashes with cultural expectations. A for-profit senior housing chain and a Seattle nonprofit are separately investing millions of dollars to expand senior living options specifically geared for Chinese elders. The demand for this housing reflects changing attitudes among Asian immigrant families about how to give and receive care in old age.

The Glass Ceiling On The Ballet Floor

Sep 18, 2015

When Misty Copeland was promoted to principal dancer of American Ballet Theater this summer, she made headlines as the first female African-American principal in the 75-year history of that company.

But as companies prepare for a new season, ballets’ artistic leadership and choreographers are almost exclusively white and male. And, as Here & Now contributor Sharon Basco reports, that’s not likely to change anytime soon.

Balkan States Struggle To Keep Migrants Out

Sep 18, 2015

To migrants fleeing war and poverty, there were two starkly conflicting messages from Croatia this week: On Wednesday, it was “Welcome.” Today, it’s don’t stay.

What changed is that more than 14,000 migrants have entered the country in just the last two days. Croatia’s Prime Minister Zoran Milanović says his country is simply not equipped to bear the burden. Other European leaders insist the country is still obliged to take the migrants — many of them refugees — under European Union rules.

This Sunday is Jon Hamm's last chance to be officially recognized for playing "Mad Men" star Don Draper. The show, which ended earlier this spring, has been praised as one of the best TV dramas of all time.

Additionally, eyes are on the “Best Actress in a Drama” category, where two black actresses have been nominated for the first time in Emmy history.

NPR’s TV critic Eric Deggans joined Here & Now‘s Peter O’Dowd to gives his predictions for this year’s Emmy Awards.


The Federal Reserve is keeping U.S. interest rates at record lows in the face of threats from a weak global economy, persistently low inflation and unstable financial markets.

Wrapping up a closely watched meeting, Fed officials say that while the U.S. job market is solid, recent global developments may “restrain economic activity” and further drag down already low inflation.

Signs of a sharp slowdown in China have intensified fear among investors about the U.S. and global economy. And low oil prices and a high-priced dollar have kept inflation undesirably muted.

The Many Schools Of GOP Tax Reform

Sep 17, 2015

Wednesday night’s Republican presidential debate revealed several different visions for the future of American tax policy. There were calls for a flat tax, former Florida Governor Jeb Bush pushed his own multi-faceted plan, and billionaire Donald Trump left the typical GOP reservation altogether with his proposal for a progressive income tax.

Jim Tankersley of The Washington Post joins Here & Now’s Meghna Chakrabarti to talk about the ways Republican candidates are hoping to shake up tax policy, and what it could mean for American taxpayers.

Imagine this: eye pain so severe that suicide seems a reasonable option. And now, imagine that in addition to that pain, doctors don’t take you seriously – because they don’t see a thing wrong.

That’s the situation faced by people around the world who are afflicted with an unusual, little understood and inexplicably painful eye condition that may somehow be related to dry eye, but is severe enough to force sufferers to retreat from every aspect of daily life.

Milwaukee Program Transforms Vacant Lots

Sep 16, 2015

Milwaukee is rolling out a new pilot program called the Vacant Lot Challenge to encourage residents to come up with ways to transform local eyesores. Susan Bence from Here & Now contributor WUWM takes us to a spot where one vacant lot has been transformed into a small park.