Here & Now

Monday through Friday, Noon - 2 p.m.
  • Hosted by Robin Young and Jeremy Hobson

NPR, WBUR, KCUR and public radio stations across the country joined forces to bring listeners news and analysis in midday with Here & Now.

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.

You can read and listen to Here & Now stories below, or on their website.

For nearly a year, The Washington Post’s Tehran bureau chief Jason Rezaian has been held in custody. He goes on trial next week, and the trial may not be open to the public or his family.

Rezaian’s lawyer says Iran accuses him of spying, but his editor at The Washington Post defends Rezaian and says he was merely doing his job as a journalist.

Douglas Jehl, foreign editor of The Washington Post, joins Here & Now’s Robin Young with details.

Kwangsook Kim was always interested in food and cooking, first in her native South Korea, then later in Canada and the United States.

In 2007, her son suggested she take up a new hobby: posting videos on YouTube of her making Korean dishes. She did, adopting the name “Maangchi” that she used in her other hobby, online gaming.

The Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration has eliminated the parallel parking requirement on its driving test. A spokesman says it’s about redundancy. The test still requires a “reverse two-point turnabout.”

But driving instructors in Maryland say that too many people were failing the test, and the right of passage in driving is still an important skill to learn. Georgena Ewing, owner of Perry Hall Driving School in Nottingham, MD., shares her view with Here & Now’s Robin Young.

What motivates someone to become a police officer these days? And what is it like to be a recruit as images of police protests dominate the news? Amy Radil of Here & Now contributor station KUOW met some of Washington state’s newest recruits.

'Finding The Good' Through Obituary Writing

May 20, 2015

Journalist Heather Lende lives in the small town of Haines, Alaska, where the population is about 2,000. She’s written obituaries for almost 20 years at the Chilkat Valley News.

In doing so, she’s learned to “find the good,” as she says, not only in the lives of people she writes about, but also in her own life. Lende told Here & Now’s Robin Young that a portrait of the town she lives in also comes through her work.

JPMorgan Chase, Barclays, Royal Bank of Scotland Group, Citigroup and UBS have agreed to plead guilty to criminal charges and pay more than $5 billion in total penalties relating to a U.S. investigation into whether the banks manipulated foreign currency rates.

The fines are on top of more than $4 billion in penalties that many of the same banks paid in November over similar charges. Matt Klein of the Financial Times joins Here & Now’s Jeremy Hobson with details.

Can Boston Lose Its 2024 Olympic Bid?

May 19, 2015

Many U.S. cities tried out for the 2024 Summer Olympic bid, but in January the U.S. Olympic Committee selected Boston.

There has been tough opposition from citizens in the city who don’t agree with the local committee’s plans, but Monday at a Boston City Council meeting Angela Ruggiero, a USOC and IOC member said, “There’s no guarantee that Boston will be the city in September.”

KCRW’s Tom Schnabel joins Here & Now’s Jeremy Hobson to share some of the music he’s listening to from around the world, including Brazilian guitarist Fabiano do Nascimento, the New York artist collective “Brooklyn Gypsies” and a 12-year-old pianist named Joey Alexander.

The Supreme Court ruling on Monday is expected to better protect people from high fees in their 401(k) retirement plan investments.

By a unanimous vote, the court said that companies managing 401(k) retirement plans have to monitor investments and “remove imprudent investments.”

Here & Now’s Jeremy Hobson speaks with Jason Bellini of The Wall Street Journal about the ruling’s implications.

How does free college sound?

Democratic presidential candidate Senator Bernie Sanders will propose legislation on Tuesday that would make tuition at four-year public colleges free – much like it is in many European Countries.

Here & Now’s Robin Young talks to Scott Jaschik, editor of Inside Higher Ed, about how various European countries offer free college tuition, and how well such a model might work in the United States.

There’s a new term that is unfortunately now a part of our lexicon: selfie-stick.

You’ve seen them. The idiotic plastic or metal arms that tourists all over the world are using to take medium-distance selfies with their phones.

I was in Europe last week and I saw it for myself: In front of the Rosetta Stone at the British Museum in London, underneath the Eiffel Tower in Paris, even on a train a couple decided to take a photograph of themselves from above.

Gender Pronouns And The History Of 'They'

May 18, 2015

The use of the word “they” as a gender-neutral singular pronoun is gaining wider acceptance, even among copy editors. But linguist and Wall Street Journal columnist Ben Zimmer says the use of the universal pronoun ‘they’ is nothing new.

Zimmer tells Here & Now’s Jeremy Hobson that writers including Chaucer and Shakespeare have used “they” instead of he or she. But will modern-day English speakers adapt their style to incorporate “they”?

Boston Marathon Bomber Sentenced To Death

May 15, 2015

A jury sentenced Dzhokhar Tsarnaev to death Friday for the Boston Marathon bombing, sweeping aside pleas that he was just a “kid” who fell under the influence of his fanatical older brother.

Tsarnaev, 21, stood with his hands folded upon learning his fate, decided after 14 hours of deliberations over three days in the nation’s most closely watched terrorism trial since the Oklahoma City bombing case two decades ago.

NATO has been carrying out its largest ever anti-submarine warfare exercise in the North Sea.

It’s seen as a response to increasing activity by Russian submarines. There have been recent reports of Russian submarines operating off the coast of Scotland, as well as Sweden and Finland.

The exercise has also highlighted a gaping hole in Britain’s own maritime defenses. The BBC’s Jonathan Beale reports.

The City of Austin recently welcomed its first majority female city council, but what’s grabbing headlines is a recent workshop to train city staff on how to deal with the shift to a female-centered environment.

One of the speakers, Jonathan K. Allen – who has since been fired from his role as city manager of Lauderdale Lakes, Fla. for unrelated reasons – warned the group to expect more questions, and that women aren’t as interested in financial arguments.

If you’ve ever been prescribed an expensive new medication, you may be familiar with step therapy.

Rather than pay for a costly new drug, many insurance companies now require patients to try cheaper alternatives first.

As drug prices have skyrocketed in recent years, step therapy has become increasingly common, but now many states legislatures are pushing back.

From the Here & Now Contributors Network, Alex Smith reports.

In the new film “Good Kill,” Ethan Hawke plays Tom Egan, a former Air Force pilot who’s now a drone operator in Las Vegas. Egan longs to go back into combat, but instead is relegated to firing at suspected terrorist targets from thousands of miles away.

Writer-director Andrew Niccol told Here & Now’s Meghna Chakrabarti that he was drawn to make the film because he found drone operators to be an entirely new kind of solider.

The open hiring policy at Greyston Bakery in Yonkers, N.Y., invites local residents to apply for jobs, regardless of their immigration status, whether they have criminal or drug records, or even prior work experience.

It’s all part of the company’s social justice business model, based on the Buddhist philosophy of Bernie Glassman, who founded the industrial food facility in 1982.

“Black Lives Matter” has become a rallying cry across the U.S. among people upset about cases of police brutality against black men. In Milwaukee, another movement is afoot. It aims to let people know that black love also matters. LaToya Dennis from Here & Now contributor Milwaukee Public Radio reports.

What’s New Is Old At The TV Upfronts

May 13, 2015

NPR TV Critic Eric Deggans is in New York this week at the TV Upfronts and joins Here & Now’s Meghna Chakrabarti to talk about how next season, the hot thing seems to be reviving old shows.

NBC is bringing back “Coach” and “Heroes.” Meanwhile, Fox is doing a television version of “Minority Report” and “The X-Files.” Eric Deggans, though, is most excited about ABC bringing the Muppets to network television for the first time in nearly 20 years.

If you use a smartphone for directions, you know how annoying it can be when the tracking device gets your location wrong. A team of researchers at the University of Texas’ Cockrell School of Engineering say they may have fixed that problem.

There’s a new series making waves on the web. “Halal in the Family” centers around the Qu’osbys, an all-American family who also happen to be Muslim.

It’s no coincidence that the family name sounds a lot like “Cosby.” Co-creator Miles Kahn tells Here & Now’s Robin Young that the idea first came from a comment that journalist Katie Couric made, that maybe what American Muslims needed to combat stereotypes was their own “Cosby Show.”

A new nuclear power plant is nearing completion in Spring City, Tennessee, and it’s expected to be up and running by late summer.

It has taken about 40 years to complete the project.

Associated Press reporter Ray Henry tells Here & Now’s Meghna Chakrabarti that the Watts Bar plant serves as a cautionary tale for America’s nuclear power industry.

At Village Park in Wellington, Florida, there’s a group of retirees who get together every week to relive their youth.

A dozen men are lined up in three rows in a parking lot. On one end, a 3-foot fence marks the end of the outfield. About 200 feet in the opposite direction, a square drawn in chalk marks home plate.

Every few seconds, a yellow rubber ball is launched up into the air, and the men laugh and joke as they call out for it. This is the Palm Beach Senior Stickball League.

The Democratic presidential primary season is officially underway in New Hampshire.

Hillary Clinton is now facing a challenge from U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, the self-described socialist from Vermont.

And, although he’s a familiar face in New Hampshire, Sanders is a long-shot in this election. But, he is a long-shot with the potential to shake up the race.

From the Here & Now Contributors Network, Asma Khalid reports.

This weekend, First lady Michelle Obama addressed the graduating class at Tuskegee University in Alabama – a historically black academic institution.

She recalled to the students how the media covered her during the early days of the Obama presidency.  She was described as “Obama’s baby mama” and one of her husband’s “cronies of color.”

Today saw the final day of testimony from witnesses called on behalf of convicted Boston Marathon bomber Dzhozhar Tsarnaev.

His lawyers are trying to spare him from the death penalty and before wrapping up, the defense called to the stand Sister Helen Prejean.

She’s best known as the central character in the book and movie “Dead Man Walking” and for her long and impassioned opposition to the death penalty.

It’s 1967 in Los Angeles in NBC’s new show “Aquarius.” The crime drama, set in an era of free love, cheap drugs and “unparalleled music,” sets up a promising plot, which viewers will be able to watch in one long binge on NBC’s website or mobile app starting on May 29, 2015.

It is NBC’s first “binge-watching” show, which was popularized by media companies like Hulu, HBO and Netflix.

In his free time, NPR correspondent Frank Langfitt likes to drive around Shanghai as a sort of free taxi cab, offering rides to strangers, to get to know the real lives of ordinary Chinese.

He sometimes records their stories, for his ongoing series Streets of Shanghai.

Here & Now’s Jeremy Hobson talks to Langfitt about what he’s been learning, and what it’s like driving in China.

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