Here and Now

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

Fans of baseball’s Pittsburgh Pirates have endured 20 straight losing seasons, the longest stretch of futility among the four professional sports teams.

But as they head into the All-Star break, the Pirates have one of the best records of all the Major League Baseball teams. And the case can be made they did it by smart investing.

Tyson Gay, a former Olympic champion, and Asafa Powell, a world record holder in the 100 meters, confirmed on Sunday they have tested positive for banned substances.

There were also reports that Powell was among five Olympic gold medalists from Jamaica who tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs at that country’s national championships last month.

These revelations cast a shadow over next month’s world championships in Moscow.

The campy movie “Sharknado” about killer sharks caught in a tornado and dumped in Southern California, premiered yesterday on SyFy and unleashed a storm on Twitter.

At its peak, it produced 84 tweets per second. So what is the secret to this low budget film’s rabid success?

The new CBS show “Under the Dome,” about a small town that is suddenly and mysteriously enclosed by a barrier, has been a hit with 13.5 million viewers on its first night.

In the age of streaming TV and Netflix, Linda Holmes of NPR’s Monkey See blog explains why these new “event series” are becoming a summer trend.

As debate over the immigration bill continues in the House, NPR’s Mara Liasson explains the political calculations House Republicans are making as they delay a full immigration overhaul.

Today we read and listen to several comments about our interviews with Congressman Mo Brooks and Illinois Governor Pat Quinn, and our stories about Bangladesh factory safety and Australian bands.

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There are estimated to be well over 17,000 museums in the United States. Philadelphia has the Mutter Museum of Medical History, there's a Spam museum in Austin, Minnesota, and La Crosse, Kansas, has a museum devoted to barbed wire — to name a few.

After almost 50 years, law enforcement officials say they have new evidence proving who killed the last victim in the infamous Boston Strangler case, a string of murders in the 1960s.

But questions are being asked about the new evidence and the way it was obtained.

WBUR’s Bruce Gellerman reports on the latest developments in this cold case.

KCRW, the public radio station in Santa Monica, California, is well known for setting tastes in music and discovering unknown talent.

Travis Holcombe, who DJs there, has been hearing a lot of interesting music out of Australia — from the group Jagwar Ma to Tame Impala.

New Jersey is the center of the next battle for gay marriage. The state is one of seven that offers same-sex couples civil unions or domestic partnerships.

Buoyed by the U.S. Supreme Court ruling striking down key provisions of the Defense of Marriage act, advocates will argue that the current law denies couples equal protection under the law.

Meanwhile, Democrats in the Garden State legislature are pushing for an override of Governor Christie’s veto of gay marriage legislation last year.

Sliced bread turns 85 years old this month. The Chillicothe Baking Company sold the first wrapped package of sliced bread in history on July 7, 1928.

So what can sliced bread teach us about business?

John Singer Sargent painted “The Daughters of Edward Darley Boit” more than 130 years ago, but his depiction of four little girls in white pinafores is still a favorite attraction at the Museum of Fine Arts Boston.

Erica Hirshler, senior curator at the MFA says the youngest daughter holds a particular pull.

Yasiel Puig, a rookie baseball player for the Los Angeles Dodgers, has generated buzz and controversy as fans vote for the last players to be named to the MLB All-Star teams. The game is next Tuesday.

Puig, 22-year-old Cuban defector, has only played in the major leagues for a little over a month and has impressed people with his stats and athleticism.

However, some people think his short tenure with the Dodgers makes him undeserving of being an All-Star. The only way he can make the All-Star team is if baseball fans vote him in, and voting ends today at 4 p.m.

Miami may be closer to Cuba and home to more people of Cuban ancestry, but Tampa is ready to capitalize on economic and diplomatic ties to to the island nation once the longstanding trade embargo is lifted.

Tampa business owners are talking about how to expand into Cuba, and politicians are making trips there.

“In Tampa, they supported the revolution that freed Cuba from Spain. They supported the Castro revolution. They consider themselves a lifeline to Cuba,” Eric Barton of the Florida Center for Investigative Reporting told Here & Now.

Australian rocker Mia Dyson got the break of her career when she was taken on by former Eurythmics star Dave Stewart’s production company.

But after he started to market her as a bi-gender musician named “Boy,” she rebelled and went out on her own.

Mia Dyson has now released a new album “The Moment.” Here & Now producer Emiko Tamagawa caught up with Mia on tour.

“This record is the result of that three year period of moving here, struggling, then going with Dave Stewart, then it all falling apart,” Dyson said.

There are more than 2,300 breweries operating in the United States, according to The Brewers Association. That’s the highest number since the 1880s.

You probably know these small brewers by the interesting names they have for their suds: Smooth Hoperator, Polygamy Porter and Donkey Punch come to mind.

More and more Americans are consuming artificial sweeteners as an alternative to sugar, but whether this translates into better health has been heavily debated.

NPR’s Allison Aubrey explains a new study in the journal “Trends in Endocrinology and Metabolism” that looks at the brain science behind drinking diet soda.

According to a recent report by the United Nations, more than 45 million people worldwide were forced to flee their homes in 2012 — the highest number of refugees in nearly two decades.

People leave their homes for many reasons, including war and violence, environmental disaster and persecution. More than half of the refugees worldwide came from five countries, according to the UN: Afghanistan, Somalia, Iraq, Sudan and Syria.

The economic crisis in Spain, where the unemployment rate is a record 27 percent, is forcing people to leave the country to look for work.

The BBC’s Tom Burridge reports the birthrate in Spain is also falling, because couples believe they can’t afford to have children under the economic circumstances.

What if William Shakespeare had written Star Wars? Well now we know!

Ian Doescher, author of “William Shakespeare’s Star Wars: Verily, A New Hope” pulls back curtain on the eternal question: what does a wookie sound like in Elizabethan English?

Book Excerpt: ‘William Shakespeare’s Star Wars’

By: Ian Doescher

BIGGS: Make haste, O Luke. Methinks they do approach

It may seem counterintuitive, but there's a body of evidence to suggest that the millions of Americans with a diet soda habit may not be doing their waistlines — or their blood sugar — any favors.

As the consumption of diet drinks made with artificial sweeteners continues to rise, researchers are beginning to make some uncomfortable associations with weight gain and other diseases.

Margo Howard is the only child of the beloved advice columnist Ann Landers. Her mother’s twin sister, Pauline Phillips, was Dear Abby.

Within the local food movement, the community-supported agriculture (CSA) model is highly valued. You buy a share of a farmer’s produce up-front as a shareholder, then if all goes well, you reap the rewards at harvest time.

But running a CSA can bring with it some tricky business decisions.

From the Here & Now Contributors Network, Harvest Public Media’s Luke Runyon reports.

Barnes & Noble CEO William Lynch Jr. has resigned. The company has faced poor earnings reports and recently announced that it would stop manufacturing its own e-reader, the Nook.

What do these changes mean for Barnes & Noble, and booksellers?

In the best selling books “Little Brother” and “Homeland,” Cory Doctorow uses his hero, teenage hacktivist Marcus Yallow, to get young people to think about privacy, civil liberties and the duties of the citizen in the age of the Internet.

Fidaa al-Baali was a trusted source for international journalists.  He used his video camera to document the Syrian war and anti-government protests. Baali died last Friday.

We talk about his contributions, and have an update of the continuing upheaval in his country.


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Republican Mitch McConnell first won election to the Senate nearly 30 years ago, in 1984. This year he faces a Democrat who was born just a few years before McConnell took office, 34-year-old Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes.

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