Here and Now

Weekdays at Noon
Robin Young & Jeremy Hobson

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Public Radio's daily news magazine bringing up-to-date midday news between Morning Edition and All Things Considered.

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NPR Story
3:00 pm
Wed February 4, 2015

Will Harper Lee's New Novel Overshadow Her First Book?

Pulitzer Prize winner and "To Kill A Mockingbird" author Harper Lee smiles before receiving the 2007 Presidential Medal of Freedom. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Originally published on Fri February 6, 2015 9:09 am

Its been half a century since the release of the literary masterpiece “To Kill a Mockingbird.”

Yesterday when news hit the web you could hear squeals of delight around the world about her highly anticipated new novel, “Go Set a Watchman,” due out in July.

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NPR Story
3:00 pm
Wed February 4, 2015

New FCC Proposal May Ban Internet Fast-Lanes

Federal Communication Commission (FCC) Chairman Tom Wheeler waits for a hearing at the FCC December 11, 2014 in Washington, DC. (Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images)

The chairman of the Federal Communications Commission Tom Wheeler on Wednesday proposed new rules that would treat the Internet like a public utility.

The new rules aim to prohibit access to so-called Internet fast-lanes for companies and websites willing to pay for faster delivery of their content.

The commission will vote on the rules later this month. And they could have a widespread impact on how we all use the Internet and the status of what’s known as “net neutrality.”

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NPR Story
3:00 pm
Wed February 4, 2015

Automotive Rally Continues With Strong Sales

General Motors recorded a 91 percent jump in profit in the fourth quarter. (Bill Pugliano/Getty Images)

U.S. automakers reported strong sales in January, a time of year that’s normally slow for the industry.

General Motors also recorded a 91 percent jump in profit in the fourth quarter. The company says it will issue $9,000 profit-sharing checks to 48,000 of its employees.

The auto industry is in the midst of a rebound after the recession brought many of the large automakers to the brink of collapse several years ago.

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NPR Story
2:17 pm
Tue February 3, 2015

Purported ISIS Video Shows Jordan Pilot Burned To Death

Anwar al-Tarawneh, center, the wife of Jordanian pilot, Lt. Muath al-Kaseasbeh, who is held by Islamic State group militants, holds a posters of him with Arabic that reads, "we are all Muath," during a protest in Amman, Jordan, Tuesday, Feb. 3, 2015. Al-Kaseasbeh was seized after his F-16 jet crashed near the Islamic State group's de facto capital, Raqqa, Syria, in December last year. (Raad Adayleh/AP)

A video released online Tuesday purportedly shows a Jordanian pilot captured by the Islamic State extremist group in Syria last month being burned to death by his captors following a weeklong hostage drama.

The Associated Press was not immediately able to confirm the authenticity of the video, which was released on militant websites and bore the logo of the extremist group’s al-Furqan media service. The 20-minute-long video featured the slick production and graphics used in previous videos released by the group.

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NPR Story
2:17 pm
Tue February 3, 2015

Kathy Gunst Goes Californian!

Kathy Gunst sent us some fresh produce from California. (Rachel Rohr)

Originally published on Wed February 4, 2015 1:03 pm

Here & Now resident chef Kathy Gunst makes her home in Maine, but she’s been spending the early part of the winter in San Francisco.

Her new location has inspired new recipe ideas: avocado toast, filet of sole with Meyer lemons, artichoke soup and orange and ricotta salad. Kathy also sent host Jeremy Hobson a care package including fresh oranges and avocados for him to sample.

She shares these four recipes:

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NPR Story
2:17 pm
Tue February 3, 2015

Low Oil Prices Hit Industry Giants Hard

Regular gas cash price is displayed for $1.79 a gallon at a Mobil station January 6, 2015 in Livonia, Michigan. BP and Exxon Mobil attribute their loss in earnings to the steep fall in oil prices. (Joshua Lott/Getty Images)

Two oil giants this week released reports showing how their earnings have been impacted by the recent steep fall in oil prices.

BP on Tuesday reported a quarterly loss of $4.4 billion dollars in the fourth quarter of 2014, which the company attributes in part to falling oil prices.

On a similar note, Exxon Mobil on Monday reported a steep drop in revenue and profit, with both down 21 percent in the fourth quarter, over the previous year.

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NPR Story
3:13 pm
Mon February 2, 2015

Obama Floats $4 Trillion Budget To Congress

President Barack Obama speaks at the Department of Homeland Security about the administration's fiscal year 2016 budget request released earlier today February 2, 2015 in Washington, D.C. (Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images)

Originally published on Mon February 2, 2015 3:09 pm

President Obama releases a $4 trillion budget today that calls for middle class tax cuts and major investment in infrastructure. The plan would rely on taxing rich Americans by closing tax loopholes on capital gains and trust funds.

Republicans are not on board. Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin said Obama was exploiting “envy economics.” The president’s proposal included a child care tax credit, a $500 credit for “second-earners” in a household and more money for a preschool development program.

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NPR Story
3:13 pm
Mon February 2, 2015

California Snowpack Not Showing Any Promise For Ending Drought

Frank Gehrke, chief of California Cooperative Snow Surveys Program for the Department of Water Resources, walks past some weeds emerging from the snow pack as he conducts the second snow survey of the season at Echo Summit, Calif., Thursday, Jan. 29, 2015. The survey showed the snow pack to to be 7.1 inches deep with a water content of 2.3 inches, which is 12 percent of normal for this site at this time of year. In a normal year this location is usually covered in several feet of snow. (Rich Pedroncelli/AP)

Reports that California experienced its second driest January for a second year in a row have many predicting that the drought will continue in 2015.

While cities like San Francisco have seen no measurable rain this year, the snowpacks in the hinterlands of California are also seeing less of the fluffy white stuff.

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NPR Story
3:13 pm
Mon February 2, 2015

What Some Malls Are Doing To Survive

Robin Lewis says the South Coast Plaza mall in Costa Mesa, California, is popular for its wide range of restaurants and activities. (Coolcaesar/Wikimedia Commons)

According to the mall tracking group Green Street Advisors, more than two dozen shopping malls have closed since 2010, and dozens more are on the brink of failing.

Robin Lewis, co-author of “The New Rules of Retail: Competing in the World’s Toughest Marketplace,” says that some malls are doing interesting things to stay operating.

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NPR Story
2:44 pm
Fri January 30, 2015

Rod McKuen, Mega-Selling Poet And Performer, Dies At 81

Rod McKuen performs on November 12, 2005, in Los Angeles, California. (David Livingston/Getty Images)

Rod McKuen, the husky-voiced “King of Kitsch” whose avalanche of music, verse and spoken-word recordings in the 1960s and ’70s overwhelmed critical mockery and made him an Oscar-nominated songwriter and one of the best-selling poets in history, has died. He was 81.

McKuen died Thursday morning at a rehabilitation center in Beverly Hills, California, where he had been treated for pneumonia and had been ill for several weeks and was unable to digest food, his half-brother Edward McKuen Habib said.

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NPR Story
2:44 pm
Fri January 30, 2015

Cowboy Poets Gather At Annual Celebration

The 31st National Cowboy Poetry Gathering is underway in Elko, Nevada. Last year, Here & Now’s Jeremy Hobson spoke with an attendee named Gaul Steiger, a cattle rancher who comes from a long line of cowboy poets. We revisit that conversation.

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NPR Story
2:44 pm
Fri January 30, 2015

U.S. Economic Growth Falls Short In Fourth Quarter

The economy has slowly been bouncing back since the recession ended in 2009, but predictions for 2014 fell short of expectations in the final quarter.

The economy grew at a 2.6 percent annual rate in the October to December period. The growth for the year was a moderate 2.4 percent.

Early 2015 predictions by economists say things are looking up. Mike Regan, editor for Bloomberg News speaks with Here & Now’s Lisa Mullins about last year’s GDP and the year ahead.

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NPR Story
3:16 pm
Thu January 29, 2015

DJ Sessions: Go Deadhead

Fans attend a Grateful Dead concert at Red Rocks, Colorado, 1987. (Mark L. Knowles/Wikimedia Commons)

Originally published on Fri January 30, 2015 10:13 am

The Grateful Dead celebrates 50 years since the band’s start this year. For this week’s installment of DJ Sessions, we sit down with a DJ who devotes his entire radio show to the band.

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NPR Story
3:15 pm
Thu January 29, 2015

Tensions Escalating On Israel's Northern Borders

Israeli military vehicles are seen burning in the Shebaa farms an occupied area along the Israeli-Lebanese border near Ghajar village, on January 28, 2015, following a Hezbollah missile attack. A missile attack killed two Israeli soldiers and Israel responded with air and ground strikes on southern Lebanon, where a UN peacekeeper was killed. (Maruf Khatib/AFP/Getty Images)

Originally published on Thu January 29, 2015 3:18 pm

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is blaming Iran for the violent flare ups along the Lebanese and Syrian border areas in the country’s north. Yesterday’s shelling by the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah was the deadliest escalation in that region since 2006, resulting in the deaths of two Israeli soldiers and seven wounded.

Iran has long backed Hezbollah, which declared its attack an act of retaliation for an Israeli airstrike in Syria earlier this month. That attack killed six Hezbollah fighters and an Iranian general.

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NPR Story
3:15 pm
Thu January 29, 2015

Red Fox Sighting In Yosemite Is First In Nearly 100 Years

This red fox, photographed in 2002, was part of a study in Lassen Volcanic National Park. Note the white round plastic tag in the animal’s right ear. (Keith Slausen/USFS/PSW)

Originally published on Thu January 29, 2015 3:18 pm

A Sierra Nevada red fox has been captured on a motion-sensitive camera placed by wildlife biologists in a remote part of Yosemite National Park in California.

It’s the first time in nearly 100 years that the state-protected mammal has been seen in the park. Fewer than 50 are known to exist in North America.

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NPR Story
2:29 pm
Wed January 28, 2015

Disability Advocates Fight Disabled Governor

Texas Governor-Elect Greg Abbott listens to questions from the press after a meeting at the White House December 5, 2014 in Washington, D.C. (Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images)

Originally published on Thu January 29, 2015 8:57 am

For the first time since 1987, one of the nation’s governors is in a wheelchair. Texas Governor Greg Abbott won the race by promising to fight the federal government with his literal “spine of steel,” but disability advocates are saying that he hasn’t fought for them.

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NPR Story
2:29 pm
Wed January 28, 2015

$4.5 Million, 30 Seconds, 1 Super Bowl Ad: Priceless?

The Super Bowl ad from the glue maker Loctite involves people dancing with fanny packs. (YouTube)

Originally published on Fri January 30, 2015 10:30 am

This Sunday is the Super Bowl, which means the biggest and most expensive advertising night of the year. Several of this year’s ads are already available online, in part or in full.

Television is far from the only way to advertise during the game these days, so at $4.5 million for 30 seconds, is it still worth it?

Here & Now’s media analyst John Carroll joins host Lisa Mullins to discuss that question and some of this year’s ads.

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NPR Story
2:29 pm
Wed January 28, 2015

Brisket Shortage Has BBQ Lovers Gnashing Their Teeth

Drought conditions are forcing ranchers to thin their cattle herds, and that means there’s a shortage of brisket, the front-end cut of beef that’s emblematic of Texas barbecue.

Texas Monthly barbecue editor Daniel Vaughn tells Here & Now’s Jeremy Hobson that higher commodity prices have even forced one best-in-state barbecue restaurant to close down recently.

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NPR Story
3:19 pm
Tue January 27, 2015

Proposal Could Open Parts Of Atlantic, Close Parts Of Arctic To Drilling

This 2007 photo provided by Shell Exploration & Production Company shows the Frontier Discoverer drilling rig as it sits in Dutch Harbor, Alaska. (Shell Exploration & Production via AP)

Originally published on Tue January 27, 2015 4:26 pm

The Obama Administration today is proposing opening up parts of the Eastern seaboard to offshore drilling, while at the same time proposing a ban on drilling along some parts of Alaska’s Arctic coast.

Here & Now’s Jeremy Hobson talks with Phil Flynn, an energy market analyst with Price Futures Group, and Bob Deans of the Natural Resources Defense Council, about the proposal — a win and a loss each for environmentalists and the oil industry

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NPR Story
3:19 pm
Tue January 27, 2015

Report: All 50 States Failing To Help Abused And Neglected Kids

Originally published on Tue January 27, 2015 4:26 pm

A report released by the Children’s Advocacy Institute today shows that all 50 states have failed to meet minimum federal requirements for the care of abused and neglected kids.

The institute’s executive director Robert Fellmeth tells Here & Now’s Lisa Mullins that even when the federal government finds that a state is not meeting its requirements, not much changes.

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NPR Story
3:19 pm
Tue January 27, 2015

Why Aren't There More Latinos On TV?

Cristela Alonzo stars in the ABC sitcom "Cristela." She also created and writes for the show. (Adam Taylor/ABC)

Originally published on Tue January 27, 2015 4:26 pm

The big four television networks have made progress in diversifying their casts, but only among African-American actors. That’s according to recent numbers compiled by the Associated Press.

Latinos represent about 17 percent of the American population, but on network T.V., that group represents less than 10 percent of characters.

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NPR Story
3:58 pm
Mon January 26, 2015

'Potentially Historic' Blizzard To Hit Northeast

The snow covered MBTA Griggs St/Long Ave subway stop sits empty on February 9, 2013 in Boston, Massachusetts. Boston officials have already said the subway will be closed on Tuesday in anticipation of a "potentially historic" storm. ( Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)

Across the Northeast, people are gearing up for what forecasters say is likely to be a severe and “potentially historic” blizzard, in which snowfall could be measured in feet.

Here & Now’s Jeremy Hobson talks to Peter Judge of the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency, about what the state is doing to prepare. Boston officials have already said public transportation will be closed on Tuesday

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NPR Story
3:58 pm
Mon January 26, 2015

Limitations Of Winter Freeze Inspire Maine Chef

Executive Chef David Levi prepares turnips for dinner at Vinland in downtown Portland, Maine. (Peter O'Dowd)

Each year half of the fresh fruit in the United States – and a quarter of the fresh vegetables – are imported from another country. One of the motivations for the local food movement in the U.S.

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NPR Story
3:58 pm
Mon January 26, 2015

Snowy Owls 'Irrupting' In Northern States

A snowy owl is tagged with a transmitter. (Alan Richard)

For a second year in a row, a mass migration of snowy owls from Canada is occurring, and that’s highly unusual. It’s called an irruption and it’s thought to be related to boom and bust cycles of arctic lemmings, the small rodents that snowy owls love to eat.

Author and naturalist Scott Weidensaul is co-founder of Project SNOWstorm, which since last year has been using cellphone technology to track these mysterious and majestic birds.

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NPR Story
2:20 pm
Fri January 23, 2015

On Stage: Broadway Shows From Vampires To Vegas

Actors Jake Gyllenhaal and Ruth Wilson star in "Constellations" at Samuel J. Friedman Theatre on January 13, 2015 in New York City. (Andrew H. Walker/Getty Images)

This Friday we go on stage, the ultimate stage perhaps, Broadway. January and February are usually considered the “zombie months” on Broadway, says New York Times theater critic Ben Brantley. However, this season is a “surprisingly good one,” he tells Here & Now’s Robin Young. Even better, tickets are still available for some of Brantley’s favorite shows this winter. He shares his four top picks.

Ben Brantley’s 4 Broadway Picks

1. Constellations

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NPR Story
2:20 pm
Fri January 23, 2015

Boyish Engineer-Turned-Protester Could Be Next Greek Prime Minister

Opposition leader and head of radical leftist Syriza party Alexis Tsipras leaves a news conference in Athens January 23, 2015. (MIlos Bicanski/Getty Images)

Greeks will elect a new government on Sunday, and the new prime minister could be a charismatic leftist named Alexis Tsipras, a boyish engineer-turned-protester.

He’s promised to end painful austerity measures while stimulating the country’s ravaged economy, but he may be on a collision course with the Europeans who have lent Greece billions in bailout loans. Joanna Kakissis reports from Athens.

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NPR Story
2:20 pm
Fri January 23, 2015

Ebola Denial Still A 'Huge Problem,' Despite Few New Cases In Guinea

A Guinean student gets his temperature checked on January 19, 2015 as he enters at the Oumou Diaby school in the Ratoma area of Conakry as students head back to school after nearly four months of school recess due to the Ebola outbreak. (Cellou Binani/AFP/Getty Images)

Originally published on Fri January 23, 2015 2:15 pm

The number of new Ebola cases in Guinea is dropping steadily. According to the World Health Organization, there were a total of 20 confirmed cases this week, down from 45 last week, the lowest number since August of last year.

The government is shooting for zero Ebola cases by mid-March, and schools are back in session for the first time since July of last year.

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NPR Story
2:37 pm
Thu January 22, 2015

The Playwright Behind 'Vanya And Sonia And Masha And Spike'

Marcia DeBonia, Martin Moran, Candy Buckley, and Tyler Lansing Weaks in Christopher Durang’s smash-hit Broadway comedy Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike, directed by Jessica Stone, based on the Broadway direction of Nicholas Martin, playing January 2 – February 1, 2015 at the BU Theatre / Avenue of the Arts. Photo: Jim Cox

Originally published on Thu January 22, 2015 4:23 pm

Playwright Christopher Durang‘s Tony Award-winning comedy “Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike” is currently being performed in 27 regional theaters across the U.S.

Here & Now’s Robin Young sat down with Durang in front of an audience at Boston’s Huntington Theater, after a performance of the show.

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NPR Story
2:37 pm
Thu January 22, 2015

Longtime New York Assembly Speaker Arrested On Corruption Charges

New York Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver is transported by federal agents to federal court, Thursday, Jan. 22, 2015 in New York. Silver, who has been one of the most powerful men in Albany for more than two decades, was arrested Thursday on public corruption charges. (Mark Lennihan/AP)

The FBI today arrested one of the most powerful men in New York, longtime State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, on federal corruption charges.

Chief among the charges: that he used the power of his office to solicit millions of dollars in bribes and kickbacks. Just yesterday, even with the news of his imminent arrest swirling, Silver had a prominent seat on the stage at New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s State of the State address.

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NPR Story
2:37 pm
Thu January 22, 2015

Yemen President Resigns Under Pressure From Rebels

Yemeni President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi is pictured on Jan, 21. 2014, in Sanaa, Yemen. Hadi submited his resignation Thursday, Jan. 22, 2015, over a standoff with Shiite rebels who control the capital. (Yemen's Defense Ministry via AP)

Yemeni officials say the president has resigned under pressure from Shiite rebels who seized the capital in September and have confined the embattled leader to his home for the past two days.

Presidential officials said Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi resigned after being pressured to make concessions to the rebels, known as Houthis. He had earlier pledged political concessions in return for the rebels withdrawing from his house and the nearby presidential palace, but Houthi fighters remained deployed around both buildings throughout the day.

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