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.

In an unexpected announcement Thursday, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy dropped out of the race to succeed John Boehner as House speaker.

Although the Republican representative from California was expected to win, his support was undermined Wednesday night when the Freedom Caucus, a 40-member conservative splinter group, endorsed Republican Rep. Daniel Webster of Florida instead.

Here & Now’s Robin Young speaks with Rep. Mo Brooks of Alabama, a member of the Freedom Caucus, for his reaction.

Fifty years before Rosa Parks helped spark the modern civil rights movement by refusing to give up her seat in the colored section of a city bus to a white passenger, the African-American community in Nashville, Tennessee, took a bold stand – with a dash of entrepreneurial spirit – against Jim Crow laws on their streetcars. Nina Cardona from Here & Now contributor WPLN has the story.

Dealing With Alcoholism In The Family

Oct 8, 2015

A memoir called “A Common Struggle,” released Tuesday by former Rhode Island Congressman Patrick Kennedy, bares all about his family’s health and alleged addictions.

The portrait of his father, the late U.S. Senator Ted Kennedy, and his mother Joan, breaks what he calls a “conspiracy of silence” about how alcoholism poisoned the family. Others are disputing the account, including his older brother, Ted Kennedy Jr., a Connecticut state senator.

The gym chain Planet Fitness has found itself in the middle of a national debate over how to accommodate transgender people in single-sex spaces like bathrooms and locker rooms.

Earlier this year, Yvette Cormier complained to her gym in Midland, Michigan, after seeing a transgender woman in the women’s locker room. Cormier took it upon herself to “warn” other customers of the transgender-friendly policy. The gym canceled her membership, and now she’s suing.

New York Attorney General Eric Schneidermann is launching an inquiry into two major companies: New York-based FanDuel and Boston-based DraftKings are the top dogs in the daily fantasy sports industry. That’s where people create virtual teams of actual pro sports players, and try to outscore other people’s virtual teams. And they do it for money, weekly or even daily.

The latest Steve Jobs biopic may be named after the late Apple CEO, but critics are already standing by, worried that it may not do justice in how it portrays him. The film, from veteran screenwriter Aaron Sorkin and director Danny Boyle, opens in select theaters Friday.

It fronts an all-star cast with Michael Fassbender playing the lead in a three-act dramatization of some of the most pivotal product launches in Jobs’ career (curiously, the iPhone launch of 2007 is not one of them).

The introduction of infant formula led many women to stop breastfeeding in the 1950s and ’60s. It has taken decades, but the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say breastfeeding rates are on the rise.

Although it’s the most natural way to feed babies, and there is a scientific consensus on the benefits of breastfeeding, it can be extremely difficult for some mothers.

The trio known as Algiers fuses gospel and punk music to confront racism, cultural assimilation and other issues specific to the American experience.

The band members are from Georgia, and there is a distinct Southern sound to much of their music.

Franklin James Fisher, Algiers’ lead singer and songwriter, talks to Here & Now’s Meghna Chakrabarti about the band’s mission.

Two major, rival fantasy sports companies—FanDuel and DraftKings—are barring their employees from betting on fantasy games, amid allegations of insider trading.

This comes after an employee at DraftKings admitted to accidentally releasing valuable data, such as what players the majority of participants were betting on, ahead of the third week of N.F.L games. That employee won $350,000 at rival site, FanDuel, the same week.

Chvrches started out humble enough. A few singles hitting the Internet, some online buzz and a debut album recorded in a basement.

Less than four years later, however, and the band is massive – headlining summer festival stops the past two years across the country, while playing more than 350 shows.

Earlier this year Planet Fitness canceled a woman’s membership after she complained that a transgender woman’s presence in the locker room made her feel unsafe. She’s now suing the gym chain. Planet Fitness says it was not her complaint that led to the decision, but her showing up three days in a row to warn other customers about “a man in the locker room.”

Another Hat In The Ring For House Speaker

Oct 5, 2015

Utah Rep. Jason Chaffetz declared on Fox News Sunday his candidacy for speaker of the House of Representatives. He is now the third Republican to vie for the seat, along with Majority Leader Kevin O. McCarthy of California and Rep. Daniel Webster of Florida.

Chaffetz’s announcement comes one week after Speaker John Boehner announced he was stepping down at the end of October. NPR’s lead political editor Domenico Montanaro joins Here & Now’s Jeremy Hobson to talk about the process of selecting a new speaker of the House.

A collection of stringed instruments, largely silent for seven decades, is giving voice to the horrors of the Holocaust. The “Violins of Hope” were once owned by the inmates of Nazi concentration camps and are now part of a three-month exhibit that opens today in Cleveland. David C. Barnett from Here & Now contributor WCPN has the story behind the violins.

Cancer was once referred to as “The Big C.” Then along came another C. A miracle, really, for so many: chemotherapy. It attacked cancers, prevented them from spreading, and helped so many people into remission. But, of course, it also has debilitating side effects.

Now, a landmark study, sponsored by the National Cancer Institute and published in the New England Journal of Medicine, finds that many women with early stage breast cancer can skip chemotherapy and do just fine.

Computer models are now showing a shrinking likelihood that Joaquin will make landfall in the U.S., even as the hurricane batters the Bahamas with heavy winds, rain and coastal flooding. The National Hurricane Center says the Category 4 storm is “extremely dangerous.”

Official: At Least 7 Dead, 20 Hurt In Oregon Shooting

Oct 1, 2015

A gunman opened fire at an Oregon community college Thursday, killing at least seven people and wounding 20, authorities said.

The shooting happened at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, about 180 miles south of Portland. The local fire district advised people via Twitter to stay away from the school. It later tweeted that there were “multiple casualties” but did not elaborate.

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.