Here & Now

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  • Hosted by Robin Young

A live production from NPR and WBUR Boston, in collaboration with public radio stations across the country, Here & Now reflects the fluid world of news as it’s happening, with timely, smart and in-depth news and conversation.

Here & Now has a successful track record: it began at WBUR in 1997 and is carried today by over 180 stations nationwide. Here & Now will expand from one to two hours on July 1 in collaboration with NPR. The expanded program will serve as a bridge in midday, between NPR’s signature news magazines, Morning Edition and All Things Considered. This marks the first time NPR has collaborated with a member station on a daily news program.

Here & Now has been hosted by Robin Young for more than a decade. A Peabody Award-winning journalist, she has reported for NBC, CBS and ABC television, and was substitute host and correspondent for The Today Show. Starting July 1, Young will be joined by co-host Jeremy Hobson, most recently host of Marketplace Morning Report. Hobson has broad producing, reporting and hosting experience at the station, program and network level. Additionally, Meghna Chakrabarti, co-host of WBUR’s Radio Boston, has been named as the program’s primary back-up host.

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Ways to Connect

Irish poet Seamus Heaney won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1995 and penned 13 collections of poetry, two plays and four books on the process of writing poetry.

He was widely considered the country’s greatest poet since William Butler Yeats.

Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny said, “There are no words to describe adequately our nation’s and poetry’s grief.”

Heaney’s early work surrounded the rural experience, but later writings took on the political and cultural struggles in Ireland.

A new documentary opening next week promises to shed light on the late J.D. Salinger, one of America’s most famous and mysterious authors.

One of the people who agreed to speak about the reclusive author is Joyce Maynard, who dropped out of Yale after her freshman year to live with Salinger in New Hampshire.

She received a lot of criticism for writing about that relationship in her 1998 memoir “At Home in the World.”

Along the Jersey Shore, many people are elevating their Sandy-damaged homes to lift them out of reach from future storms.

But lifting homes presents unique problems for elderly or disabled residents who call the Shore home.

From the Here & Now Contributors Network, Tracey Samuelson of WHYY explains.

If you’ve ever dreamed of being self-sufficient — living off the grid, in a home you built yourself — meet Lloyd Kahn.

Russia, Syria’s most powerful ally, is sending a large anti-submarine ship and a missile cruiser into the Eastern Mediterranean, as the U.S. moves toward a military response in Syria.

Russian president Vladimir Putin says the naval deployment is required for protecting Russian national security interests and not a threat to any nation.

Defense experts say the warships could give the Syrian regime early warning of missile launches, an possibly jam radars and navigational systems.

The NFL and more than 4,500 former players want to resolve concussion-related lawsuits with a $765 million settlement that would fund medical exams, concussion-related compensation and medical research, a federal judge said Thursday.

The plaintiffs include at least 10 members of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, including former Dallas Cowboys running back Tony Dorsett. They also include Super Bowl-winning quarterback Jim McMahon and the family of Pro Bowl linebacker Junior Seau, who committed suicide last year.

Many of the people attending today’s commemoration of the March on Washington played roles big and small in the civil rights movement, from registering black voters in the South to helping to end school segregation.

Fifty years ago today, Martin Luther King Jr. unleashed a powerful and poetic torrent upon the nation — a passionate plea for racial equality and economic justice for African Americans.

Fifty years later, the “I Have a Dream” speech still resonates with a group of teenagers at William Smith High School in Aurora, a racially and ethnically diverse city east of Denver.

They recently sat down with Colorado Public Radio education reporter Jenny Brundin to watch the speech, talk about it and share their own dreams.

Syria Fallout: Expect Volatile Gas Prices

Aug 28, 2013

The U.S. stock market has seen the biggest sell-off since May last year, and overnight the wholesale price of gas jumped up 10 cents, a cost that may or may not be passed on to consumers at the pump.

Markets watcher Phil Flynn says the crisis in Syria is “not a positive” on the global economy.

U.S. Faces October Deadline On Debt Ceiling

Aug 27, 2013

Not being able to pay your bills is never a good thing — especially when you’re the United States government.

Treasury Secretary Jack Lew has announced that the U.S. will hit its $16.7 trillion borrowing limit in mid-October.

In 2011, the White House and congressional Republicans feuded over raising the debt ceiling, spending weeks trying to come to an agreement. Those talks failed and the financial markets roiled in reaction.

Saudi Prince's Goal: Topple Assad

Aug 27, 2013

As the U.S. weighs its options on Syria, there’s an effort underway by Saudi Prince Bandar bin Sultan al-Saud, a longtime power player with a Washington scandal in his past, to topple the Assad regime by training Syrian rebels in Jordan.

There are now four United States Navy destroyers positioned in the Eastern Mediterranean Sea — each equipped to fire cruise missiles at targets up to 1,500 miles away.

In a speech yesterday, Secretary of State John Kerry called the use of chemical weapons on Syrian civilians “a moral obscenity,” signaling a toughening stance by the Obama administration on the Assad regime.

Thousands of people streamed onto the National Mall in Washington this past weekend, as part of the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington.

On Wednesday, the actual anniversary of the event, thousands will gather at the Lincoln Memorial for what organizers are calling a “commemoration and call to action.”

So what has and hasn’t been achieved between 1963 and now, particularly for black Americans?

NPR’s Gene Demby has been thinking about this. He writes about race, ethnicity and culture as part of the network’s Code Switch team.

This week, NPR Music writer and editor Stephen Thompson introduces us to the band Minor Alps.

The band is made up of singer-songwriter Juliana Hatfield and Matthew Caws, the lead singer of the power-pop band Nada Surf.

Retiring To The Farm Anything But Quiet

Aug 26, 2013

It’s not just lifelong farmers who feel the pull of the land as they get older. For some Americans, retirement is an opportunity to begin the farming dream.

“I wanted to be able to be active and have a pastime that ensured physical activity,” said beginning farmer Tom Thomas, who at 65 still has the physical fitness to wrestle and brand steers at his son’s ranch in Oklahoma.

Thomas retired two years ago after teaching exercise physiology for 35 years and he knew what he wanted to do next.

Fans Relish The Replacements Reunion

Aug 23, 2013

The Replacements were an unruly rock band that emerged from Minneapolis in the ’80s. They broke up in 1991 but are still much-beloved. This weekend they are playing their first show in more than 20 years. Here & Now producer Alex Ashlock is one of those devoted fans and he helps us understand why “Mats” fans are so excited about this.

The Future Of Women's Rights In Afghanistan

Aug 23, 2013

As U.S. and NATO troops look to wind down operations in Afghanistan, some of the gains made in women’s rights there appear to be under increasing threat.

Two female parliamentarians and a female senator were attacked this month alone. And in July, a female police officer was shot dead in the southern province of Helmand.

ESPN Drops TV Project On NFL Brain Injuries

Aug 23, 2013

ESPN is dropping its collaboration on a TV project about football league head injuries.

According to a New York Times report, the network is said to have received pressure from the NFL to withdraw from the Frontline documentary called “League of Denial: The NFL’s Concussion Crisis,” about the risks of football injuries on the brain.

New Orleans is often called the birthplace of jazz, famous for musicians from Louis Armstrong to Jelly Roll Morton.

The Big Easy is still central to the jazz music scene, and Sondra Bibb, host of “Jazz from the French Market with Sandra Bibb” on WWOZ, says that a number of new young artists are blending the hip hop and rock rhythms they grew with into their jazz.

Teaching is the hardest job I’ve ever had.

In the midst of all the talk about schools and education policy, ultimately the classroom doors close and we, the teachers, are the ones in there with the children. We are the ones who think every day about those kids for the whole school year, and for years after.

At the State University of New York’s Buffalo campus today, President Barack Obama outlined a plan to make colleges more affordable and more accountable.

His proposal includes a new system for rating colleges based on a series of factors, including affordability, graduation rate and the average earnings of graduates.

Today is the latest leg of the president’s economy tour — this time by bus — and the speech today is the first in a series about education.

The world’s most ambitious attempt to harness fusion as a source of nuclear power is taking shape in the south of France.

Fusion is the process that drives the sun — atoms are forced together to release energy. Repeating it here on Earth could, in theory, offer an almost endless supply of electricity.

The BBC’s David Shukman reports.

Concussions are a hot topic across all levels of sports, as more coaches and players start to recognize the long-term debilitating effects of repeated head trauma.

Despite the lawsuits against both the NFL and the NCAA, there’s not much data on what kinds of head impacts are dangerous.

One Connecticut school is testing a new head sensor this season that aims to change that.

From the Here & Now Contributors Network, Harriet Jones of WNPR reports.

Should We Get Paid For Our Online Data?

Aug 22, 2013

In the digital economy, data is the most valuable form of currency.

Companies mine it to learn about consumers and sell their products more effectively.

But what about the tension between ownership and the ubiquity of data?

Computer scientist and author Jaron Lanier says fortunes are made from the data that companies access about us.

His proposal to fix the digital economy: we should all own our own data, and companies — whether it’s Google or Citibank — should pay us every time any bit of our data is used.

When you hear “tree house,” you may picture kids perched in a tall oak, inside a patchwork fort of crudely nailed together construction scraps — maybe a rope ladder dangling from the trap door.

Well, a new cottage industry has emerged, putting a grown-up spin on this childhood refuge.

From Here & Now Contributors Network, Brian Bull of WCPN has the story.

Is It Time To End The 'Diet Debates'?

Aug 21, 2013

Comparing diets is something of a national pastime in America: pitting the Atkins Diet against the Paleo Diet against the South Beach Diet. It also extends into medical research.

But a provocative new paper in the Journal of the American Medical Association says researchers should stop comparing diets altogether.

Instead, it suggests researchers shift their focus to how to change behavior — forever.

Syrian activists allege that Syrian President Bashar al Assad’s regime used chemical weapons against rebels today, killing hundreds of civilians.

The allegations come just after United Nations chemical weapons experts arrived in the country to investigate earlier alleged uses of these weapons.

Amy Smithson of the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies, explains what the UN team will be looking for and the challenges they face in determining chemical weapons use.

National Helium Reserve Faces Shutdown

Aug 20, 2013

The National Helium Reserve is facing shutdown. The giant well of crude helium provides more than one-third of the world’s crude helium.

“It’s not a cave, it’s layers of rock, and the helium is stored in one layer of the rock,” Sam Burton, assistant field manager of helium operations at the Bureau of Land Management, told Here & Now.

The reserve isn’t just for nationally important party balloons. Helium is used in MRIs, computer chips and fiber-optic cable.

On his first day back from vacation, President Barack Obama met with federal regulators at the White House.

The topic? The Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act — most of which hasn’t even been written yet.

John Zumbrun of Bloomberg News joins Here & Now to explain.

Renee Graham On The New, Blue-Eyed R&B

Aug 20, 2013

Here & Now pop culture critic Renee Graham has noted a trend recently: for the most part, the biggest acts in mainstream R&B music are white men.