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.

Saturday marks the public opening of the 2015 North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Michigan.

Following a particularly good year for automakers and the continued drop in gas prices, the mood is optimistic for automakers like Ford, GM, Chrysler and foreign brands across the board. Innovation, both on fuel economy and in tech are also making a splash.

Is The World Ignoring Nigeria?

Jan 16, 2015

Many people have been asking: Why has there been so much coverage of Paris, and so little coverage of Nigeria, where maybe many hundreds died in attacks over the last couple of weeks?

There has been some coverage of new satellite images showing the aftermath of the assault on the town of Baga by Islamic militants from Boko Haram, as well as some coverage of suicide attacks carried out by young girls in the same region.

The U.S. Supreme Court will soon decide whether to hear cases from Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio and Tennessee challenging bans on same-sex marriages. Earlier this week, the court declined to take a same-sex marriage case from Louisiana because an appeals court has not yet ruled on that case.

The chief of staff at a Wisconsin VA hospital has been temporarily reassigned while the facility is investigated for the overmedication of veterans.

This comes after the Center For Investigative Reporting published a story about the overprescribing of narcotic painkillers at the Tomah Veterans Affairs Medical Center.

The facility has gained the reputation of “Candy Land” because of its generous dispensation of drugs. The man in charge of the hospital, Dr. David Houlihan, is called the “Candy Man” by veterans and staff.

NASA's Pluto Probe Begins Observations

Jan 15, 2015

NASA’s spacecraft New Horizons officially began its six-month approach to Pluto on Thursday, which is expected to be the first close flyby of the dwarf planet.

After a 3-billion-mile journey that began in 2006, New Horizons is finally collecting scientific data that may shed light on Pluto, its five known moons and the solar system’s “third zone,” known as the Kuiper Belt. The closest approach is expected in July.

Almost one in 10 Americans has diabetes. That’s a startling statistic, but not as alarming as the forecast: if present trends continue, one in three Americans will have diabetes by 2050. But it’s not inevitable.

There’s a new national program to slow down the epidemic by rolling out hundreds of support groups across the country. From the Here & Now Contributors Network, Carrie Feibel of Houston Public Media reports.

In 2004, a team of high school students from Carl Hayden Community High School in Phoenix, Arizona, defeated college teams, including MIT, in an underwater robotic competition.

Orangutan Speaks? Google Translates!

Jan 14, 2015

[Youtube]

There’s news this week about an orangutan that’s doing something very unusual: she is making noises that sound like human noises. Human speech patterns have been heard in monkeys before, but not in the so-called great apes, such as gorillas and orangutans, which typically grunt.

Officials at Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle are in the process of looking for a new home for their two Asian elephants.

In November, they announced they would close their exhibit and send their elephants to another facility to allow them to be part of a larger social herd.

But there is still an active debate in Seattle about where the elephants should go next. Deborah Wang from Here & Now contributor station KUOW in Seattle reports.

For this edition of the Here & Now DJ Sessions, Steve Staruch, a host at Classical Minnesota Public Radio, joins Jeremy Hobson to survey a range of choral music.

Staruch takes us through older classics — including one from the late Swiss composer Frank Martin — to the virtual choir created by Eric Whitacre.

Health officials in California are saying seven more people have come down with measles, part of an outbreak that originated at Disneyland last month.

That brings the total up to 26 people diagnosed with measles, most of them in California, at least two in Utah, and one in both Colorado and Washington State. These diagnoses come after public health officials announced the elimination of measles fifteen years ago.

In a setback for U.S. poultry producers, China has joined the list of more than thirty countries that have banned all imports of American poultry, poultry products and eggs.

The action comes after discoveries of the highly pathogenic H5N8 avian flu in the Pacific Northwest. The same strain killed thousands of birds on two farms in British Columbia.

Now, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and state officials are testing flocks near the latest outbreaks in southeast Washington state.

Last night, the Foreign Press Association awarded the 72nd annual Golden Globe Awards. The evening began with the highly anticipated opening monologue from comedy duo Tina Fey and Amy Poehler. It was the pair’s third and reportedly final time hosting the awards, and no star was safe from Fey and Poehler’s biting humor.

From affectionately labeling the star-studded audience as “despicable, spoiled, minimally talented brats” to reviving national headlines such as North Korea and the Bill Cosby scandal, laughs and gasps rose from the crowd.

A North Carolina man has made it his mission to offer free roadside assistance to broken-down drivers all over the state.

With a trunk full of tools, reflective vests and air compressors, Walt Brinker is not only a good Samaritan, but he also teaches drivers how to change their tires and jump their cars so they won’t have to call AAA.

With over 2,000 free roadside assists under his belt, he has amassed decades of experience in quick solutions to get people back on the road.

Republicans begin their second week in control of Congress with the Senate tonight kicking off debate on approving the Keystone XL pipeline, even though the GOP lacks the votes right now to override a presidential veto.

Also this week, the House will take up a measure to fund the Department of Homeland Security through September, debating whether to add amendments to the funding bill that would block President Obama’s most recent executive actions deferring deportations for some immigrants.

Twelve people were murdered in Paris on Wednesday at the offices of the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, apparently over offensive cartoons depicting the Prophet Muhammad.

In the days since, media outlets around the country and the world have struggled with whether or not to display the publication’s cartoons in their own pages, websites and television broadcasts.

Boston Celebrates Its Olympic Bid

Jan 9, 2015

Last night, the U.S. Olympic Committee tabbed Boston as the American city that will bid for the 2024 Summer Olympics. City officials and representatives from Boston2024, the organization that backed the bid, discussed next steps during a press conference this morning.

Athletic shoe companies are clamoring to become the first official training shoe of the U.S. military.

In the 1940s, a law was created requiring that all components of the U.S. military uniform be made domestically, but there was a catch. Training shoes were not included in the requirement because, at the time, they were not produced domestically. But now, companies like Saucony, New Balance and Adidas are vying for the spot.

Today, the U.S. Olympic Committee is expected to name the city that will bid to host the 2024 Summer Olympics. Boston, Washington, San Francisco and Los Angeles are competing to win that competition. The U.S. hasn’t hosted the summer games since Atlanta in 1996.

Rio won the bid to host the 2016 Summer Olympics and Tokyo got the nod for the 2020 games. London hosted the summer games in 2012, so we thought we’d check in there to see what the legacy is two years later. Did the games live up their promise as a boost for the city?

California is the nation’s number one dairy state. It’s branded as the state with happy cows, but not necessarily happy dairy owners. For many of them, drought, feed costs and development pressure mean it’s getting tougher to make a living.

That’s why some are some selling their cattle and heading to the Midwest.

From the Here & Now Contributors Network, Grant Gerlock of Harvest Public Media reports.

The recent start of the college football playoffs drew the largest audience in the history of cable television, with 28.2 million TV viewers watching Oregon beat Florida State. And NFL games continue to dominate primetime TV.

This comes as football is under increased scrutiny for the injuries sustained by many players, and amid controversies over how the NFL handles players accused of domestic abuse.

A number of military veterans are among the new members of Congress set to swear in Tuesday. Many will have served in the recent wars of Iraq and Afghanistan. Notably, however, the 114th Congress will be without a World War II veteran for the first time since 1944.

Veterans In Congress

Rising Rents In 2014 Led By Small Cities

Jan 6, 2015

Average rents increased across the country by 3.6 percent in 2014, according to new data from the real estate research firm Reis, Inc. The average monthly lease rate is now $1,124.38, the highest number since Reis started collecting data in 1980.

It’s the fifth year in a row that rents have been on the rise, but this year rent increases affected residents in smaller and midsize cities, and not just the largest cities in the U.S.

Fans binge-watching the newly-released, high definition episodes of HBO’s classic cop show “The Wire” might feel like the decade-old show’s storylines are ripped from today’s headlines.

American composers, singers and other musicians have produced some great music, from country-western to jazz and hip-hop. In a new Here & Now series, host Robin Young asks people to share a playlist of songs they view as quintessentially American music. Up first is Here & Now pop culture critic Renee Graham, who shares the playlist below.

Judge Approves Early Start To Florida's Gay Weddings

Jan 5, 2015

A Florida judge said Miami-Dade County can immediately start issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples, meaning Florida’s first gay weddings may begin shortly.

Circuit Judge Sarah Zabel on Monday lifted a stay on her July ruling that Florida’s same-sex marriage ban violates equal protections under the U.S. Constitution.

Miami-Dade County Clerk Harvey Ruvin says he will begin issuing licenses immediately, so the first gay and lesbian weddings could take place Monday afternoon. A gay rights group already lined up two couples to be the first.

Keeping up with road repair — and finding funds to pay for it — is a struggle for many states, particularly in places where winter weather takes a toll on highways and streets. Wisconsin’s transportation department faces a deficit and is looking for ways to raise $750 million over the next two years.

Documenting The Evolution Of Hip Hop

Jan 2, 2015

If you love a piece of music, chances are you want to know more about the musician. What event prompted them to write a particular song, or what happened in the studio during the recording — the good, the bad, and, of course, the ugly. At minimum, maybe you want to know who produced an album and who it’s dedicated to.

You can usually find this kind of thing on liner notes — the printed little pamphlets slipped inside a CD or vinyl cover.

Yesterday on our program we talked to a restaurant in Kentucky that has a no-tipping policy — doing away with tipping and instead adding a service charge is one of new food trends that is starting to take off.

On the first day of trading in 2015, we look at what’s expected in the stock market this year — after a strong year in 2014.

Mike Regan of Bloomberg News joins Here & Now’s Peter O’Dowd to share his outlook.

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