Here and Now

Weekdays at Noon
  • Hosted by 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.

Since 2013, a patch of unusually warm water known as “the blob” has been spreading across the Pacific Ocean right off the U.S. coast, causing problems both at sea and on land.

The increased temperatures in typically temperate climates like Puget Sound and the Gulf of Alaska have made it hard for cold-water species to thrive, leading to an increase in toxic algal blooms – unwelcome changes that have made Washington shut down multiple fishing industries.

About 120 people a day are dying from unintentional drug overdoses, according the Federal Drug Enforcement Administration.

An increase in prescriptions for painkillers, like Oxycontin, is one reason. Another is that when opioids aren’t available, people often turn to heroin because it is cheaper, stronger any easier to obtain these days.

The problem appears worse in some communities, but it’s not often clear why.

Today’s jobs report from the Department of Labor showed the American economy added 215,000 jobs in July. The unemployment rate held steady at 5.3 percent. Here & Now’s Peter O’Dowd looks at the details of the report with Mike Regan of Bloomberg News.

The top 10 Republican presidential candidates will meet on one stage tonight for the first debate of the primary season. But those are not all of the candidates – just the ones who ranked highest in political polls.

But in the age of mobile phones and no more robocalls on landlines, is polling as consistent as it once was? Andrew Smith, director of the University of New Hampshire’s Survey Center, speaks with Here & Now‘s Jeremy Hobson about the changing political polling.

Actress and businesswoman Jessica Alba is defending the sunscreen made by her company, after months of complaints from customers on social media, who said it did not protect them from sunburns.

In a letter on The Honest Company’s website, Alba and her co-founder write that they use the sunscreen on their own children, and that it has gone through extensive testing. They also write that they will “do what it takes to make it right,” inviting people to call their customer service number.

On August 6, 1965, President Lyndon Johnson signed the Voting Rights Act, which made restrictions on access to the ballot box illegal. Those restrictions, such as literacy tests and poll taxes, had been in place since the end of the Civil War.

The new law led to more African-Americans voting and being elected, but some say its legacy is jeopardized today.

When J. Ryan Stradal was growing up in Hastings, Minnesota, the cuisine in his house wasn’t very challenging. But when he was in high school, he began to explore the ethnic restaurants of Minneapolis and Saint Paul.

Now, Stradal brings his memories of the kitchens he grew up in, as well as his own culinary adventures, to his debut novel, “Kitchens of the Great Midwest.”

It will soon be easier for millions of Americans to compare their paycheck to the CEO’s.

The Securities and Exchange Commission is slated to finalize a rule to make companies disclose the pay gap between CEOs and regular employees. It’s part of the Dodd-Frank financial reform law and it comes after years of debate on the topic.

Ali Velshi of Al Jazeera America joins Here & Now‘s Peter O’Dowd to discuss the rule, how it will work and why it took so long to finalize.

A new Arizona law went into effect in July that allows people to get blood tests at the lab without a doctor’s orders.

Critics say it will lead to excessive testing, and leave the customers confused trying to interpret results. But labs that offer a new menu of tests say it puts healthcare firmly in the hands of the individual.

President Obama’s Clean Power Plan, announced yesterday, requires the country to cut power-plant carbon dioxide emissions by about a third by 2030. The plan also requires the country to get more than a quarter of its electricity from renewable resources like solar and wind by 2030, up from 13 percent last year.

Four sitting governors are among the candidates currently running for president.

While they’re out on the campaign trail stumping and fundraising, they also have their own states to run.

Here & Now‘s Jeremy Hobson talks with former Virginia Gov. Douglas Wilder about the challenges of doing both things well. Gov. Wilder briefly sought the Democratic presidential nomination in 1991, while he was governor.

American Airlines is the latest to ban the transportation of big-game trophies on its flights. The industry is responding to outrage over the killing of Cecil, the popular African lion killed by an American hunter, in Zimbabwe. Delta Airlines announced its ban Monday, while Air France, KLM and Quantas issued bans last week.

Jason Bellini, from The Wall Street Journal, joins Here & Now‘s Jeremy Hobson to discuss.

A new automotive survey from the research organization IHS says that the the average car on the road is 11.5 years old. But automotive sales numbers for July are higher than estimates and some car makers are beating their sales from last year.

Is the auto industry contradicting itself?

Here & Now’s Peter O’Dowd speaks with Paul Eisenstein, publisher of The Detroit Bureau, an online automotive publication to talk about the aging U.S. automobile.

LOWER LAKE, Calif — Firefighters aided by lower temperatures and higher humidity have made progress corralling a wildfire threatening thousands of homes in Northern California.

California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection Capt. Don Camp says containment of the fire in the Lower Lake area north of San Francisco was at 12 percent Monday morning after being stuck at 5 percent for days.

The fire — the largest in California — grew extensively over the weekend and measured 93 square miles by early Monday.

This fall, some high school seniors will have it easier in the college application process. George Washington University, one of the nation’s top private schools, is the latest school to make the SATs and ACTs optional for admission.

NPR’s Claudio Sanchez talks with Here & Now‘s Robin Young and explains that the school hopes the move will help recruit and enroll more high-achieving students who don’t do well on tests.

When wildfires break out and hundreds of responding firefighters need to be equipped and fed, their bosses order from a special warehouse.

There are 16 regional wildfire supply storehouses operated by the U.S. Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management and partner states.

Tom Banse of Here & Now contributor Northwest News Network got a tour of what you might call the Amazon.com for wildfire fighting in Boise, Idaho.

Here & Now resident chef Kathy Gunst gets much of the fresh produce she enjoys in the summer from her garden in southern Maine.

As she told host Jeremy Hobson, keeping a garden “is hours and hours” of work that she and her husband put in year-round. But “for me to come out in the morning and pick raspberries off my vine and pull together a lettuce for my lunch and know exactly what was in the soil, that it’s completely organic, that no one has sprayed it – the food just tastes so good.”

Microsoft is launching Windows 10 today without the usual midnight sales parties and marketing campaigns.

The company is hoping that users are happier with Windows 10, after Windows 8 was widely criticized when it was released in 2012. Here & Now‘s Jeremy Hobson takes a look at what Windows 10 means for Microsoft with CNN’s Maggie Lake.

Australia’s decision to kill 2 million feral cats is the latest event in a battle among cat lovers, bird lovers and even celebrities over cats and their impact on wildlife. Feral cats roam in solitude, but issues surrounding the treatment of homeless cats is tangled in both pet owner and non-pet owners’ lives.

Since 1875, the town of Superior, Arizona, has relied on copper mining to drive its economy. That reliance has come at a cost though, as many of Superior’s residents have lived through several cycles of mines opening and closing. But town officials are now hoping to put an end to that cycle. Carrie Jung from Here & Now contributor KJZZ reports.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and Vice President Joe Biden unveiled a $4 billion plan yesterday to completely rebuild LaGuardia Airport.

Here & Now’s Jeremy Hobson speaks with Mitchell Moss about the role airports play in a region’s economy, and why it matters to have a state-of-the-art airport in a city. Moss is director of the Rudin Center for Transportation and Policy Management at NYU.

Historical movements, wars and disasters around the globe have created signature sounds in music. Think freedom songs like “We Shall Overcome” or even Prince’s “Baltimore.” California is in its fourth year of drought and songs about a drying state are now emerging. From Here & Now’s contributing station Valley Public Radio, Ezra David Romero reports.

According to psychiatry professor and author John Ratey, something as simple as a walk can improve both physical and mental well being. Ratey is co-author of the book “Go Wild: Free Your Mind from the Afflictions of Civilization.” Last year, he and Here & Now’s Jeremy Hobson went for a walk near the Charles River in Boston. Today we revisit that conversation.

Stocks in China slid dramatically today and yesterday, with the Shanghai Composite Index ending down 8.5 percent. The drops come after huge gains in the markets earlier this summer, and amid fears that the government is going to stop taking certain actions to prop up the market. Jill Schlesinger of CBS News joins Here & Now’s Jeremy Hobson with details.

As the United States and Cuba slowly resume diplomatic relations, one of the biggest question marks has been what effect these changes will have on the people of Cuba.

The reopening of the barriers between the two countries offers new opportunities for improvement in the quality of life for Cubans, promising major growth in Cuban tourism and more freedom for the transfer of remittances – money sent from the U.S. that goes directly to people in Cuba.

On July 5, Americans around the country rejoiced when the women’s World Cup team brought home the gold medal, beating out 23 teams for soccer’s greatest prize.

At the same time, in Chiang Mai, Thailand, another American team was competing for victory. But instead of taking on 23 teams, this team took on participants from 103 other countries. And they won.

Chefs working with the Food Innovation Center at Oregon State University have been experimenting with a patented, fast-growing new form of a seaweed called dulse, which has for centuries been harvested in the wild and used in northern European cuisine.

Researchers say their dulse, when fried, tastes like bacon. Vegans everywhere are rejoicing. Michael Morrisey, the center’s director, joins Here & Now host Jeremy Hobson to talk about the results.

NOAA’s National Climate Data Center reported this week that temperatures across the globe for the first six months of 2015 are the warmest on record.

While that is great for beachgoers, it also endangers millions of lives, as heat is the No. 1 weather-related killer in the United States.

One city that’s feeling the heat is Tulsa, Oklahoma, which has 100-degree temperatures forecast for the weekend.

One of the nation’s most recognizable coffee chains, Dunkin’ Donuts, is expanding in the United States and abroad.

Dunkin’ Brands announced today that it opened 80 new Dunkin’ Donuts stores in the U.S. and 154 worldwide in the second quarter. The company is making a push into the coveted West Coast market, where the competition is brutal.

A wildfire sweeping through Glacier National Park in Montana is prompting more evacuations. Officials are clearing the small community of St. Mary, at the park’s eastern entrance. The fire has burned through more than six square miles.

Another wildfire has charred six square miles in Northern California, prompting evacuations about 30 miles north of Napa. And about a thousand firefighters are continuing to battle a blaze 10 miles east of Walla Walla, Washington. It’s only about 5 percent contained.

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