Here & Now

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Robin Young & Jeremy Hobson

Here! Now! In the moment! Paddling in the middle of a fast moving stream of news and information. Here & Now is a daily midday news magazine, bringing you the news that breaks after "Morning Edition" and before "All Things Considered."  Hosted by Robin Young and central Illinois native Jeremy Hobson.

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NPR Story
1:30 pm
Thu January 15, 2015

Wisconsin VA Hospital Investigated For Overprescribing Narcotics

Adam Glantz of the Center for Investigative Reporting writes that some veterans and staff call Dr. David Houlihan (pictured) the "Candy Man" because of how freely he prescribes narcotic painkillers. (Facebook photo via Center for Investigative Reporting)

Originally published on Fri January 16, 2015 1:46 pm

The chief of staff at a Wisconsin VA hospital has been temporarily reassigned while the facility is investigated for the overmedication of veterans.

This comes after the Center For Investigative Reporting published a story about the overprescribing of narcotic painkillers at the Tomah Veterans Affairs Medical Center.

The facility has gained the reputation of “Candy Land” because of its generous dispensation of drugs. The man in charge of the hospital, Dr. David Houlihan, is called the “Candy Man” by veterans and staff.

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NPR Story
1:30 pm
Thu January 15, 2015

NASA's Pluto Probe Begins Observations

An artist's concept of the New Horizons spacecraft as it approaches Pluto and its three moons in summer 2015. The craft's miniature cameras, radio science experiment, ultraviolet and infrared spectrometers and space plasma experiments would characterize the global geology and geomorphology of Pluto and large moon Charon, map their surface compositions and temperatures, and examine Pluto's atmosphere in detail. The spacecraft's most prominent design feature is a nearly 7-foot (2.1-meter) dish antenna, through which it will communicate with Earth from as far as 4.7 billion miles (7.5 billion kilometers) away. (Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Southwest Research Institute)

NASA’s spacecraft New Horizons officially began its six-month approach to Pluto on Thursday, which is expected to be the first close flyby of the dwarf planet.

After a 3-billion-mile journey that began in 2006, New Horizons is finally collecting scientific data that may shed light on Pluto, its five known moons and the solar system’s “third zone,” known as the Kuiper Belt. The closest approach is expected in July.

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NPR Story
1:30 pm
Thu January 15, 2015

Pre-Diabetes Support Groups Aim To Stem The Epidemic

Myriam Coenegrachts, left, listens as group coach Susan Walden talks about the negative metabolic effects of skipping meals. (Carrie Feibel/Houston Public Media)

Almost one in 10 Americans has diabetes. That’s a startling statistic, but not as alarming as the forecast: if present trends continue, one in three Americans will have diabetes by 2050. But it’s not inevitable.

There’s a new national program to slow down the epidemic by rolling out hundreds of support groups across the country. From the Here & Now Contributors Network, Carrie Feibel of Houston Public Media reports.

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NPR Story
2:13 pm
Wed January 14, 2015

The Real People Who Inspired The Film 'Spare Parts'

Fredi Lajvardi (left) and Cristian Arcega are pictured at the Los Angeles Premiere of Pantelion Films' "Spare Parts" at Arclight Cinemas on Thursday, January 8, 2015, in Los Angeles. (Todd Williamson/Invision for Pantelion FIlms via AP)

Originally published on Wed January 14, 2015 5:51 pm

In 2004, a team of high school students from Carl Hayden Community High School in Phoenix, Arizona, defeated college teams, including MIT, in an underwater robotic competition.

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NPR Story
2:01 pm
Wed January 14, 2015

Orangutan Speaks? Google Translates!

[Youtube]

There’s news this week about an orangutan that’s doing something very unusual: she is making noises that sound like human noises. Human speech patterns have been heard in monkeys before, but not in the so-called great apes, such as gorillas and orangutans, which typically grunt.

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NPR Story
2:01 pm
Wed January 14, 2015

Seattle Zoo Ponders Where To Send Its Elephants

Chai, the Woodland Park Zoo's 35-year-old Asian elephant, browses for treats thrown by her keeper in the zoo's elephant enclosure. The zoo is looking for a new home for Chai and other remaining elephant, Bamboo. (Deborah Wang/KUOW)

Officials at Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle are in the process of looking for a new home for their two Asian elephants.

In November, they announced they would close their exhibit and send their elephants to another facility to allow them to be part of a larger social herd.

But there is still an active debate in Seattle about where the elephants should go next. Deborah Wang from Here & Now contributor station KUOW in Seattle reports.

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NPR Story
3:16 pm
Tue January 13, 2015

DJ Sessions: From Traditional To Virtual Choirs

Eric Whitacre's Virtual Choir ‘Lux Aurumque’ was launched in March 2010 and featured online performances by 185 singers. (Screenshot via Eric Whitacre's Virtual Choir)

For this edition of the Here & Now DJ Sessions, Steve Staruch, a host at Classical Minnesota Public Radio, joins Jeremy Hobson to survey a range of choral music.

Staruch takes us through older classics — including one from the late Swiss composer Frank Martin — to the virtual choir created by Eric Whitacre.

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NPR Story
3:16 pm
Tue January 13, 2015

26 Measles Cases Tied To Disneyland Outbreak

Health officials say 26 people have been diagnosed with measles, part of an outbreak that originated at Disneyland last month. (Hector Mata/AFP/GettyImages)

Health officials in California are saying seven more people have come down with measles, part of an outbreak that originated at Disneyland last month.

That brings the total up to 26 people diagnosed with measles, most of them in California, at least two in Utah, and one in both Colorado and Washington State. These diagnoses come after public health officials announced the elimination of measles fifteen years ago.

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NPR Story
3:16 pm
Tue January 13, 2015

USDA Hunts For Avian Flu In Pacific Northwest

Randy Wilson, with the USDA, holds a duck just after testing it for avian flu at a press event in Kennewick, Washington. (Anna King/Northwest News Network)

Originally published on Wed January 14, 2015 7:58 am

In a setback for U.S. poultry producers, China has joined the list of more than thirty countries that have banned all imports of American poultry, poultry products and eggs.

The action comes after discoveries of the highly pathogenic H5N8 avian flu in the Pacific Northwest. The same strain killed thousands of birds on two farms in British Columbia.

Now, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and state officials are testing flocks near the latest outbreaks in southeast Washington state.

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NPR Story
1:46 pm
Mon January 12, 2015

Hilarious And Unforgiving: Fey and Poehler At The Golden Globes

Tina Fey and Amy Poehler hosted their third and final Golden Globes Awards January 11, 2015.(Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)

Last night, the Foreign Press Association awarded the 72nd annual Golden Globe Awards. The evening began with the highly anticipated opening monologue from comedy duo Tina Fey and Amy Poehler. It was the pair’s third and reportedly final time hosting the awards, and no star was safe from Fey and Poehler’s biting humor.

From affectionately labeling the star-studded audience as “despicable, spoiled, minimally talented brats” to reviving national headlines such as North Korea and the Bill Cosby scandal, laughs and gasps rose from the crowd.

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NPR Story
1:46 pm
Mon January 12, 2015

Good Samaritan Provides Free Roadside Assistance

Walt Brinker provides roadside assistance on a horse trailer tire. (Roadside Survival)

A North Carolina man has made it his mission to offer free roadside assistance to broken-down drivers all over the state.

With a trunk full of tools, reflective vests and air compressors, Walt Brinker is not only a good Samaritan, but he also teaches drivers how to change their tires and jump their cars so they won’t have to call AAA.

With over 2,000 free roadside assists under his belt, he has amassed decades of experience in quick solutions to get people back on the road.

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NPR Story
1:46 pm
Mon January 12, 2015

Congress Focuses On Homeland Security Amendments And Keystone

Originally published on Mon January 12, 2015 1:01 pm

Republicans begin their second week in control of Congress with the Senate tonight kicking off debate on approving the Keystone XL pipeline, even though the GOP lacks the votes right now to override a presidential veto.

Also this week, the House will take up a measure to fund the Department of Homeland Security through September, debating whether to add amendments to the funding bill that would block President Obama’s most recent executive actions deferring deportations for some immigrants.

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NPR Story
2:05 pm
Fri January 9, 2015

To Publish Or Not To Publish? Media Wrestles With Charlie Hebdo Covers

A person reads the latest issue of the French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo in Paris on January 7, 2015, after gunmen armed with Kalashnikovs and a rocket-launcher opened fire in the offices of the weekly in Paris, killing 12. (Bertrand Guay/AFP/Getty Images)

Originally published on Fri January 9, 2015 2:29 pm

Twelve people were murdered in Paris on Wednesday at the offices of the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, apparently over offensive cartoons depicting the Prophet Muhammad.

In the days since, media outlets around the country and the world have struggled with whether or not to display the publication’s cartoons in their own pages, websites and television broadcasts.

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NPR Story
2:05 pm
Fri January 9, 2015

Boston Celebrates Its Olympic Bid

Governor of Massachusetts Charlie Baker addresses the media as Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh, right, looks on, during a press conference to announce Boston as the U.S. applicant city to host the 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center on January 9 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

Originally published on Mon January 12, 2015 6:54 am

Last night, the U.S. Olympic Committee tabbed Boston as the American city that will bid for the 2024 Summer Olympics. City officials and representatives from Boston2024, the organization that backed the bid, discussed next steps during a press conference this morning.

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NPR Story
2:05 pm
Fri January 9, 2015

Made In The USA: Military Looking For Domestically-Made Athletic Shoes

U.S. Army soldiers run down Ardennes Street during pre-dawn physical training November 14, 2002 in Ft. Bragg, North Carolina. Ardennes Street has probably seen the footfall of millions of soldiers over the past decades, as the main area for the mandatory PT every morning on Ft. Bragg. Soon, soldiers could be running in military-issued domestically made sneakers rather than purchasing theirs through a stipend, as they do now. (Chris Hondros/Getty Images)

Athletic shoe companies are clamoring to become the first official training shoe of the U.S. military.

In the 1940s, a law was created requiring that all components of the U.S. military uniform be made domestically, but there was a catch. Training shoes were not included in the requirement because, at the time, they were not produced domestically. But now, companies like Saucony, New Balance and Adidas are vying for the spot.

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NPR Story
2:05 pm
Thu January 8, 2015

Assessing The Legacy Of The London Olympics

Cyclists ride the BMX track at the Lee Valley Velopark, formerly the cycling venue for the London 2012 Olympic Games, on March 12 in London, England. The Lee Valley Velopark opened to the general public on March 31, 2014 and offers all four Olympic cycling disciplines of track, BMX, road and mountain biking. (Oli Scarff/Getty Images)

Today, the U.S. Olympic Committee is expected to name the city that will bid to host the 2024 Summer Olympics. Boston, Washington, San Francisco and Los Angeles are competing to win that competition. The U.S. hasn’t hosted the summer games since Atlanta in 1996.

Rio won the bid to host the 2016 Summer Olympics and Tokyo got the nod for the 2020 games. London hosted the summer games in 2012, so we thought we’d check in there to see what the legacy is two years later. Did the games live up their promise as a boost for the city?

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NPR Story
2:05 pm
Thu January 8, 2015

California Dairy Owners Find Greener Pastures In Midwest

Dairy farmer Brian Azevedo plans to sell his dairy in Merced, Calif., and move to South Dakota. (Ezra David Romero/Harvest Public Media)

California is the nation’s number one dairy state. It’s branded as the state with happy cows, but not necessarily happy dairy owners. For many of them, drought, feed costs and development pressure mean it’s getting tougher to make a living.

That’s why some are some selling their cattle and heading to the Midwest.

From the Here & Now Contributors Network, Grant Gerlock of Harvest Public Media reports.

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NPR Story
2:05 pm
Thu January 8, 2015

Football May Be More Popular — And Shameful — Than Ever

Ray Rice #27 of the Baltimore Ravens sits on the bench against the Dallas Cowboys in the first half of their preseason game at AT&T Stadium on August 16, 2014 in Arlington, Texas. Rice was let go from the Baltimore Ravens after a video surfaced from TMZ showing Rice knocking his then-fiance unconscious in a casino elevator. (Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

The recent start of the college football playoffs drew the largest audience in the history of cable television, with 28.2 million TV viewers watching Oregon beat Florida State. And NFL games continue to dominate primetime TV.

This comes as football is under increased scrutiny for the injuries sustained by many players, and amid controversies over how the NFL handles players accused of domestic abuse.

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NPR Story
2:12 pm
Tue January 6, 2015

HBO’s 'The Wire' Now Looks As Modern As It Feels

"The Wire" premiered on HBO in 2002. It was remastered and released on Monday, January 5, for digital HD purchase. (HBO)

Fans binge-watching the newly-released, high definition episodes of HBO’s classic cop show “The Wire” might feel like the decade-old show’s storylines are ripped from today’s headlines.

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NPR Story
2:12 pm
Tue January 6, 2015

New Congress Includes Veterans, But None From WWII

Originally published on Fri January 9, 2015 2:22 pm

A number of military veterans are among the new members of Congress set to swear in Tuesday. Many will have served in the recent wars of Iraq and Afghanistan. Notably, however, the 114th Congress will be without a World War II veteran for the first time since 1944.

Veterans In Congress

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NPR Story
2:12 pm
Tue January 6, 2015

Rising Rents In 2014 Led By Small Cities

According to the Wall Street Journal, rents in Denver, Colo. rose 7.9% in 2014, second only to San Jose, Calif at 9.2%. The average rate rose 3.6% last year. (seanmugs/Flickr)

Average rents increased across the country by 3.6 percent in 2014, according to new data from the real estate research firm Reis, Inc. The average monthly lease rate is now $1,124.38, the highest number since Reis started collecting data in 1980.

It’s the fifth year in a row that rents have been on the rise, but this year rent increases affected residents in smaller and midsize cities, and not just the largest cities in the U.S.

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NPR Story
1:20 pm
Mon January 5, 2015

Renee Graham's Picks For Quintessentially American Music

Blues Legend B.B. King performs his 10,000th concert at B.B. KIng Blues Club & Grill in Times Square on April 18, 2006 in New York City. (Astrid Stawiarz/AFP/Getty Images)

Originally published on Tue January 6, 2015 2:49 pm

American composers, singers and other musicians have produced some great music, from country-western to jazz and hip-hop. In a new Here & Now series, host Robin Young asks people to share a playlist of songs they view as quintessentially American music. Up first is Here & Now pop culture critic Renee Graham, who shares the playlist below.

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NPR Story
1:20 pm
Mon January 5, 2015

Judge Approves Early Start To Florida's Gay Weddings

Same-sex couples and their attorneys who had previously challenged the wedding ban celebrate on court steps after Circuit Court Judge Sarah Zabel lifted the stay, allowing same-sex couples to marry January 5, 2015 in Miami, Florida. Miami-Dade County became the first place in Florida to allow same-sex couples to marry joining 36 other states and Washington D.C. (Emily Michot/The Miami Herald/Getty Images)

A Florida judge said Miami-Dade County can immediately start issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples, meaning Florida’s first gay weddings may begin shortly.

Circuit Judge Sarah Zabel on Monday lifted a stay on her July ruling that Florida’s same-sex marriage ban violates equal protections under the U.S. Constitution.

Miami-Dade County Clerk Harvey Ruvin says he will begin issuing licenses immediately, so the first gay and lesbian weddings could take place Monday afternoon. A gay rights group already lined up two couples to be the first.

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NPR Story
1:20 pm
Mon January 5, 2015

Wisconsin Is Latest State To Consider Fees On Electric, Hybrid Vehicles

Chris and Ellie Eichman purchased a Nissan Leaf electric car in 2012 -- the first sold in Wisconsin. Chris says a fee for his Leaf is reasonable, but he's irked by the fee he'd pay for his second car, a Prius, given that he already pays a gas tax when he fills up. (Susan Bence/WUWM)

Keeping up with road repair — and finding funds to pay for it — is a struggle for many states, particularly in places where winter weather takes a toll on highways and streets. Wisconsin’s transportation department faces a deficit and is looking for ways to raise $750 million over the next two years.

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NPR Story
2:37 pm
Fri January 2, 2015

Documenting The Evolution Of Hip Hop

Graffiti in the Bronx -- where DJs laid the foundations for hip hop in the 1970s. Brian Coleman has written what he calls the "invisible liner notes" of hip hop. Most hip hop wasn't heavily documented, like other musical genres -- leading to lapses in surveying the genre's evolution. (AquaLungBX/Flickr)

If you love a piece of music, chances are you want to know more about the musician. What event prompted them to write a particular song, or what happened in the studio during the recording — the good, the bad, and, of course, the ugly. At minimum, maybe you want to know who produced an album and who it’s dedicated to.

You can usually find this kind of thing on liner notes — the printed little pamphlets slipped inside a CD or vinyl cover.

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NPR Story
2:37 pm
Fri January 2, 2015

Is The Supermarket The Next Big Food Trend?

To get to the Time Warner Center Whole Foods Market, customers must descend via escalator through a food court. More supermarkets are adding a seating area to their floor plans. (michaelnyc/Flickr)

Yesterday on our program we talked to a restaurant in Kentucky that has a no-tipping policy — doing away with tipping and instead adding a service charge is one of new food trends that is starting to take off.

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NPR Story
2:37 pm
Fri January 2, 2015

What To Expect For The Stock Market In 2015

Broker distributor buyer at Quattro M. Securities Inc. Peter Touchman trades during the closing bell at New York Stock Exchange on December 31, 2014 in New York City. (Brad Barket/Getty Images)

On the first day of trading in 2015, we look at what’s expected in the stock market this year — after a strong year in 2014.

Mike Regan of Bloomberg News joins Here & Now’s Peter O’Dowd to share his outlook.

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NPR Story
3:09 pm
Thu January 1, 2015

2015 Brings Freezing Temperatures Around The U.S.

This photo from Jan. 17, 2007 shows icicles created by drip irrigation hanging from an orange tree in Orange Cove, California. California citrus growers are facing another cold snap this year, but it is not expected to be anywhere as dramatic as the one in 2007, which resulted in the governor declaring a state of emergency. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Today is the beginning of a new year, and it is cold. Around the country temperatures are dropping below freezing putting citrus crops at risk in California and freezing fire hoses in Wyoming.

Here & Now’s Peter O’Dowd speaks with Joel Nelsen, president of California Citrus Mutual about how growers are dealing with the low temperatures.

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NPR Story
3:09 pm
Thu January 1, 2015

What Factors Influence The Gender Pay Gap?

Waitress Sheila Abramson at Langer's Delicatessen serves customers on February 26, 2013 in Los Angeles, California. In his report for the Atlantic, Derek Thompson showed that the gender wage gap is almost nonexistent for food service jobs (Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images).

The pay gap between men and women is at the lowest level for the Millennial generation, according to a new study by the salary information service PayScale and “personal branding agency” Millennial Branding.

Derek Thompson, senior editor at the Atlantic, tells Here & Now’s Lisa Mullins that some jobs have almost no pay gap, a phenomenon economists explain using the “sticky floor theory” of the wage gap.

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NPR Story
3:09 pm
Thu January 1, 2015

TV In 2015: The Brits Are Back

American television loves nothing better than a spot of tea, singing medieval knights, frightfully polite heirs and heiresses, and those delightful accents.

NPR’s TV critic Eric Deggans joins Here & Now’s Lisa Mullins about a few of the British-themed shows we’ll be seeing on television in 2015.

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