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Here and Now

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Here! Now! In the moment! Paddling in the middle of a fast moving stream of news and information. Here & Now is Public Radio's daily news magazine, bringing you the news that breaks after "Morning Edition" and before "All Things Considered."

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NPR Story
1:28 pm
Fri December 26, 2014

Comedian Flings Insults At Here & Now Host

[Note: This show is from a previous interview that aired on March 28, 2014.]

Comedienne Susie Essman plays the sassy Susie Greene on HBO’s acclaimed “Curb Your Enthusiasm” series, bringing to it her own brand of biting sarcasm, pointed insults and no-nonsense panache.

Essman is also a veteran of late night comedy and the world of stand-up, where she made her mark.

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NPR Story
1:28 pm
Fri December 26, 2014

Is Voicemail Becoming Obsolete? Coca-Cola Thinks So

Voicemail messages left on a workplace phone are pictured. (JAmes Kearney/Flickr Creative Commons)

Coca-Cola’s recent decision to eliminate their voicemail system at their Atlanta headquarters may be a sign of the times.

The company says this isn’t a cost-cutting measure – Coke estimates it will only save them $100,000 annually – but a move to increase worker productivity.

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NPR Story
1:28 pm
Fri December 26, 2014

American Coal Mines Stay Open Despite Millions In Safety Fines

The injuries Jack Blankenship sustained after a 300-pound rock pinned him to the ground while working in a coal mine prevent him from sitting for long periods of time or walking far. He says he's in constant pain. (Anna Boiko-Weyrauch/NPR)

[Note: This show is from a previous interview that aired on November 13, 2014.]

There are federal regulations designed to keep American mineworkers safe, but this year, an NPR investigation found that there’s a loophole in the regulation, allowing mine owners to operate unsafe mines across the country.

For years, the mine owners have failed to pay penalties even as workers continue to be injured.

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NPR Story
3:08 pm
Thu December 25, 2014

New Census Tool Allows For Searching Cities By Demographics 

Provo, Utah has been ranked the city with the highest number of young workers. (Wikipedia)

Did you know that the city with the highest concentration of young workers in the U.S. is Provo, Utah? And the city with the most minorities is McAllen, Texas?

This information is all available in a new census bureau report and interactive tool. it’s called “census explorer,” and it’s geared towards young adults between 18 and 34 years old who may be deciding where to live.

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NPR Story
3:08 pm
Thu December 25, 2014

The 1914 Christmas Truce Is Set To Music At Symphony Hall

To mark the 100th anniversary of the Christmas Truce of 1914, the Boston Pops commissioned a new narrated work that combines words and music. (Courtesy of the Boston Pops)

Audiences who come to see the Holiday Pops can usually expect jaunty chestnuts like “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” or “The Polar Express.”

But this year conductor Keith Lockhart was stirred by a bittersweet episode from history: an impromptu and unsanctioned ceasefire that took place during World War I.

“The particular thing about this story is that the uniting force, the thing that brings people together, is music,” Lockhart explained.

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NPR Story
1:08 pm
Thu December 25, 2014

'Into the Woods' Hits The Big Screen, But Never Left The Stage

Emily Blunt and James Corden star as a baker and his wife in Rob Marshall's new adaptation of Into the Woods. (Disney Enterprises)

Starting Christmas day, audiences can see a new version of Stephen Sondheim’s nearly 30-year-old musical fairy-tale mash-up, “Into the Woods” — this time, on the big screen.

And as the production moves from stage to screen, the high-budget Hollywood version comes with the requisite star power, including Johnny Depp as the iconic big bad wolf, Emily Blunt as a baker’s wife and Meryl Streep as the wicked witch who sets the whole plot in motion.

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NPR Story
1:57 pm
Wed December 24, 2014

Animated Films Become Bridge To Child With Autism

Through characters in "Aladdin, " "The Lion King" and "The Jungle Book," Owen could express himself and his feelings. (lifeanimated.net)

Originally published on Wed December 24, 2014 1:14 pm

[Note: This show is from a previous interview that aired on May 27, 2014.]

When acclaimed journalist Ron Suskind’s son Owen was just shy of three years old, he suddenly stopped communicating with his family. Owen would sleep and cry a lot and his vocabulary dwindled to the single word “juice.”

Eventually Owen was diagnosed with autism.

Ron and his family tried all sorts of ways of reaching Owen but it was the Disney films that Owen loved that would prove to be the bridge.

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NPR Story
1:57 pm
Wed December 24, 2014

Four Dead, 50 Injured In Mississippi After Severe Storms

Four people were killed and at least 50 injured in Mississippi yesterday, when severe storms — and what is believed to have been a tornado — swept through the southern part of the state.

Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant declared a state of emergency in Jones and Marion counties after the storms, which also knocked over trees, flipped cars, damaged homes and businesses and left thousands without power.

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NPR Story
1:57 pm
Wed December 24, 2014

DJ Sessions: Christmas Favorites Of Yesterday -- And Today

This year's DJ Christmas session includes holiday songs from (left) Boney M., Jimmy Buffet, Bing Crosby and Chuck Berry. (Getty Images)

For this week’s DJ session we sit down with Mike Haile, also known as “Mike in the Morning” and general manager at WHMS in Champaign-Urbana, Illinois.

Jeremy listened to Mike in the morning when he was a kid, and Mike joins us for an annual tradition where he shares his favorite Christmas songs — from oldies, to newer takes on the Christmas classics.

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NPR Story
1:13 pm
Tue December 23, 2014

A Suggestion for A Live Holiday Broadcast: Bring Back Amahl!

Originally published on Tue December 23, 2014 1:08 pm

 

NBC has been making waves with their live musical performances of “The Sound of Music” and “Peter Pan” the last couple of holiday seasons.

So Here & Now’s Robin Young’s former choir director Ron Cohen has a suggestion for next year: revive Gian Carlo Menotti’s “Amahl and the Night Visitors!”

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NPR Story
1:13 pm
Tue December 23, 2014

Do Protests Incite People With Mental Illness?

Originally published on Tue December 23, 2014 3:29 pm

New York City Police Commissioner William Bratton sparked a debate on the Today show yesterday after he said, referencing Saturday’s shooting of two police officers by a mentally ill man, that “the targeting of these two police officers was a direct spin-off of this issue of these demonstrations” about police use of force against unarmed Black men.

We hear from Jonathan Metzl, a psychiatrist who has studied the nexus of mental illness and social protest movements.

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NPR Story
1:13 pm
Tue December 23, 2014

Controversial Film 'The Interview' Will Now Air On Christmas

Conterversial film, "The Interview" will now air on Christmas day. (Christopher Polk/Getty Images)

“The people have spoken! freedom has prevailed!”

That’s a tweet from actor Seth Rogen, a star in the controversial film the “The interview,” about an assassination plot against North Korea’s leaders.

The tweet came in the wake of today’s that there will be a limited release of the film on Christmas day.

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NPR Story
1:43 pm
Mon December 22, 2014

Media Analyst John Carroll's Top Five Ads of 2014

Actor, singer Justin Timberlake is just one of dozens of celebrities who completed the Ice Bucket Challenge for ALS this year. (YouTube)

In the United States, roughly $180 billion was spend on advertising this past year.

Here & Now media analyst John Carroll, a professor of mass communications at Boston University, shares a few of his favorite ad campaigns, which encompass both television and web advertising.

John Carroll’s Favorite Ads

[Youtube]

[Youtube]

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NPR Story
1:43 pm
Mon December 22, 2014

Reporter Raises Red Flag About Pet Medications

Sesame, a golden doodle owned by the family of Nimu Sirtani of Noblesville, plays in the back yard. Sesame died in 2013 after taking Trifexis, a heartworm medicine made by Eli Lilly’s Elanco division. The Sirtani family suspects that Trifexis was to blame. (Photo provided by the Surtani Family/Courtesy of The Indianapolis Star)

Originally published on Mon December 22, 2014 1:41 pm

The The Indianapolis Star is shining a light on the booming industry of pet medications and raising some red flags about it.

In a three-part series, the newspaper finds a booming industry with higher risk of unforeseen side effects than the human drug market, veterinarians on the payroll of drug makers, and little legal protection for owners who say their pets have been killed by medications their pets were on.

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NPR Story
1:43 pm
Mon December 22, 2014

Dreamers Get To Drive In Arizona

Arizona’s Motor Vehicles Department is now open to DREAMers.

Starting today, immigrants who qualify for the Obama Administration’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals can get driver’s licenses in Arizona.

The Supreme Court on Wednesday let stand a ruling requiring the state to issue licenses to residents brought to the U.S. unlawfully as young children by their parents. The policy change follows a recent rollback of a string of strict immigration enforcement policies in Arizona.

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NPR Story
3:02 pm
Fri December 19, 2014

Special Coverage: Obama's Year-End Remarks

President Barack Obama speaks during a press conference in the briefing room of the White House December 19, 2014 in Washington, D.C. Obama addressed the press before traveling with the first family on their annual Christmas beach vacation in the president's birth state of Hawaii. (Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images)

Here & Now provided special coverage of the president’s remarks on Friday afternoon, before he and his family left for a Christmas vacation in Hawaii. The audio includes the entirety of the remarks and special coverage.

President Barack Obama praised the reopening of diplomatic relations with Cuba on Friday but said he doesn’t expect it to bring overnight change on the island, a quick end to the U.S. economic embargo or the likelihood that he will soon visit the communist nation.

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NPR Story
2:52 pm
Fri December 19, 2014

Obama: Sony Decision To Cancel Movie A 'Mistake'

President Barack Obama said Friday that Sony Pictures Entertainment “made a mistake” in shelving a satirical film about a plot to assassinate North Korea’s leader, and he vowed the United States will respond “in a place and manner and time that we choose” to a hack attack the FBI blamed on the secretive Communist regime.

Speaking of Sony executives, Obama said at a year-end news conference, “I wish they had spoken to me first. … We cannot have a society in which some dictatorship someplace can start imposing censorship.”

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NPR Story
2:52 pm
Fri December 19, 2014

Mixed Reaction As New York Bans Fracking

An opponent of the hydraulic fracturing holds a sign during a demonstration on March 20, 2014 in New York. The demonstrators say "fracking," the process used in natural gas drilling, is dangerous for water supplies and food sources. (Don Emmert/AFP/Getty Images)

This week, New York became the second state in the nation to ban hydraulic fracturing, or fracking.

Vermont’s ban, which was the first, was largely symbolic, as the state doesn’t have any real natural gas resources. New York, though, sits on the gas-rich Marcellus Shale, and the debate over whether to open it to fracking has been deeply emotional and contentious.

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NPR Story
1:53 pm
Thu December 18, 2014

Putin Vows To Fix Russian Economy

Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks during his annual press conference in Moscow on December 18, 2014. (Kirill Kudryavtsev/AFP/Getty Images)

In his annual press conference, which ran four hours, Russian President Vladimir Putin promised to ease the country’s economic woes by diversifying its heavy reliance on oil and gas. He also said he’s confident the plummeting ruble will recover.

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NPR Story
1:53 pm
Thu December 18, 2014

Are Artificial Christmas Trees Really More Environmentally Sound?

Tree farms provide the majority of Christmas trees. (jpmatth/Flickr)

Originally published on Tue December 23, 2014 9:02 am

Three million American families will buy real Christmas trees this year. Most are grown in either Oregon or North Carolina, the top two Christmas-tree-producing states in the country.

However, the real-tree industry has something in common with many other businesses: competition with China. About 79 percent of people now use artificial Christmas trees.

One reason people purchase artificial trees is because they believe they’re more environmentally sound. But is that true?

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NPR Story
1:49 pm
Thu December 18, 2014

A Short History Of U.S.-Cuba Relations

Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter (left) shakes hands with Cuban President Fidel Castro on May 12,, 2002, at the State Council in Havana, where Castro, Carter and their respective delegations met for a working meeting. Carter was on a five-day visit to Cuba, invited by Castro. (Adalberto Roque/AFP/Getty Images)

President Obama’s decision to change U.S. policy on Cuba comes after a half century of icy relations. The announcement came as a surprise to many, including Julia Sweig, director for Latin American studies at the Council on Foreign Relations.

Sweig joined Here & Now’s Jeremy Hobson to discuss the history of the struggle between the two nations and outline what the opening of diplomatic relations and easing of restrictions will mean both for Cuba and the United States.

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NPR Story
1:40 pm
Wed December 17, 2014

Inside The Lives Of Chinese Restaurant Workers

Restaurant workers relax in New York's Chinatown district on July 11, 2014 in New York City. (Spencer Platt/AFP/Getty Images)

Atticus Lish’s novel “Preparation for the Next Life” and a recent New Yorker article, “The Kitchen Network” by Lauren Hilgers, have thrown a spotlight onto the plight of the workers in Chinese restaurants.

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NPR Story
1:40 pm
Wed December 17, 2014

Atticus Lish's 'Preparation For The Next Life'

Atticus Lish is author of the book "Preparation for the Next Life." (Shelton Walsmith)

Atticus Lish‘s debut novel “Preparation for the Next Life” has already been drawing raves from critics.

It centers around an unlikely romance between Skinner, a veteran of the war in Iraq, and Zou Lei, a Uyghur from China. Lish told Here & Now‘s Robin Young that the book’s title has significance for both characters.

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NPR Story
1:40 pm
Wed December 17, 2014

School Tries To Help Students By Coaching Parents

Moms gather at a classroom in Morales Elementary for a morning charla, or chat. They watch a training video about how to support their kids’ education and share their own experiences. (Houston Public Media)

For more than a decade, federal education policies have pushed schools to get parents more involved on campus. The idea is that if parents are more involved, then their children will do better academically — especially kids who struggle.

In one Texas school district, that idea is taking a new form. From the Here & Now Contributors Network, Laura Isensee of Houston Public Media visits an elementary school to find out more.

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NPR Story
2:37 pm
Tue December 16, 2014

The Hunt For Afghan War Criminals

Documents collected by Dutch prosecutors pursuing Afghan war criminals. (BBC)

As the NATO combat mission winds down in Afghanistan, President Ashraf Ghani says his country has to overcome the past and face the future with confidence. But as Afghanistan tries to move forward, there are growing calls for the prosecution of those responsible for war crimes.

Dutch prosecutors are preparing cases against several who are believed to be living in Europe. Some of the crimes date back 30 years to the time before Russia invaded Afghanistan. The BBC’s David Loyn reports.

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NPR Story
1:33 pm
Tue December 16, 2014

'Sacred Journeys' Documents Religious Pilgrimages

Bruce Feiler is pictured in Lourdes, France for the PBS series "Sacred Journeys," which begins airing tonight. (pbs.org)

Originally published on Tue December 16, 2014 1:53 pm

Bruce Feiler is well known for his book “Walking the Bible.” In his new PBS series “Sacred Journeys with Bruce Feiler,” the best-selling author accompanies Americans on pilgrimages to six of the world’s holiest sites.

The first episode airs tonight and focuses American troops wounded in war as they travel to the French city of Lourdes, where the waters are said to have healing power.

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NPR Story
1:33 pm
Tue December 16, 2014

4 U.S. Cities Make Their Case To Host Summer Olympics

A man arrives on December 8, 2014 for the 127th International Olympic Committee (IOC) extraordinary session in Monaco. The U.S. Olympic committee meets today to decide a U.S. city for an Olympic bid.(Valery Hache/AFP/Getty Images)

Four U.S. cities are making their case to the U.S. Olympic Committee to host the 2024 Summer Olympics: San Francisco, Washington, D.C., Boston and Los Angeles.

Three of the cities have never hosted the Summer Olympics, while Los Angeles has hosted the games twice, in 1932 and 1984.

Here & Now‘s Jeremy Hobson speaks with Curt Nickisch of WBUR in Boston, who is covering the story in Redwood City, Calif.

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NPR Story
1:33 pm
Tue December 16, 2014

Questions And Mourning After Sydney Cafe Siege

A woman kneels down as she lays flowers in a makeshift memorial near the site where a gunman held hostages for 16 hours at a popular Sydney cafe, Australia, Tuesday, Dec. 16, 2014.(Steve Christo/AP)

Australians are mourning the two hostages killed in a 16-hour siege at a cafe, and asking how the attack happened.

Australia recently passed tough laws against terrorism. The attack was carried out by a man with a long history of run-ins with police. The government had information that the Islamic State sought to recruit individuals to carry out attacks in the country.

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NPR Story
2:15 pm
Mon December 15, 2014

Actor Samuel L. Jackson Asks People To Join His Singing Protest

A video of Samuel L. Jackson singing in protest of the choking death of Eric Garner by a white police officer in NYC has gone viral. (Anthony Harvey/Getty Images)

On Saturday, actor Samuel L. Jackson posted a clip on his Facebook page calling on celebrities who participated in the ice bucket challenge to support ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, to now join him in another action: singing in protest of the choking death of Eric Garner by a white police officer in New York City

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NPR Story
2:15 pm
Mon December 15, 2014

As School Fees Rise, So Do Questions Over What Constitutes A Free Education

(ginoroncaglia/Flickr)

Originally published on Tue December 16, 2014 9:40 am

Only a dozen states allow schools to charge for bus service but the number is expected to grow.

Parents in Indiana have filed a lawsuit, now before the state Supreme Court, arguing that bus fees violate the state’s constitutional guarantee to a free education. But state officials across the country say budget cuts have severely hampered their ability to continue to provide transportation and other services for free.

Indiana officials also say that caps on property taxes approved by voters in 2008 have also cut into school funds.

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