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
2:51 pm
Fri October 18, 2013

Four Years Later, Army Hero Honored

President Barack Obama awards the Medal of Honor to retired Army Captain William D. Swenson on Wednesday. (AP/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

Originally published on Fri October 18, 2013 2:47 pm

This week, retired Army Capt. William Swenson was awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions during an intense firefight in Afghanistan in 2009.

His team was conducting meetings with village elders in the village of Ganjar, in Kunar Province, when they were ambushed.

Swenson was honored for risking his life several times to rescue fellow troops and recover bodies during the seven-hour battle.

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NPR Story
2:51 pm
Fri October 18, 2013

Former Republican Congressman: Dysfunction In Washington Is 'Systemic'

A view of the U.S. Capitol building on Tuesday, Oct. 15, 2013 in Washington. (AP/ Evan Vucci)

Mickey Edwards represented Oklahoma’s 5th district for 16 years in Congress. Edwards says the dysfunction in Washington is a “systemic problem,” and can’t be cured until the power of political parties diminishes.

Edwards told Here & Nows Jeremy Hobson that the last impasse in Washington is a result of how the political parties, both the Democrats and the Republicans, operate.

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NPR Story
2:51 pm
Fri October 18, 2013

Puerto Rico Struggles With Debt Crisis

Puerto Rico Gov. Alejandro Garcia Padilla speaks during a state of the commonwealth address at the Capitol building in San Juan, Puerto Rico in April, 2013. (AP/Ricardo Arduengo)

Puerto Rico has about $87 billion of debt — that’s about $23,000 for every resident.

The island nation is a U.S. territory, but it can’t declare bankruptcy.

Puerto Rican politicians are looking to raise taxes and cut pension obligations. 

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NPR Story
3:52 pm
Thu October 17, 2013

DJ Sessions: Louisville, KY-- A Sonic Mashup

Cabin (Photo Courtesy of cabinwebsite.com)

Originally published on Thu October 17, 2013 3:59 pm

Kyle Meredith, music director at WFPK public radio in Louisville, Kentucky, says that Louisville’s music scene, like the city, has always had an identity crisis — because Louisville is “not really the South, the East, the West or the North.”

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NPR Story
3:52 pm
Thu October 17, 2013

Fla. Sheriff Speaks Out About Bullying Suicide Investigation

Pallbearers wearing anti-bullying t-shirts carry the casket of Rebecca Sedwick,12, to a waiting hearse as they exit the Whidden-McLean Funeral Home Monday, Sept. 16, 2013, in Bartow, Fla. (AP/Brian Blanco)

Originally published on Fri October 18, 2013 8:15 am

The Sheriff of Polk County, Fla. has arrested two middle school girls for bullying another girl, Rebecca Sedwick, until her suicide earlier this month.

Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd said Facebook comments were the last straw after a month long investigation into Sedwick’s death. Two girls were arrested on felony aggravated stalking charges.

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NPR Story
3:52 pm
Thu October 17, 2013

Most Fast Food Workers Rely On Public Assistance

Protesters demonstrate outside a fast food restaurant on Thursday, Aug. 29, 2013, in Los Angeles. (Nick Ut/AP)

Originally published on Thu January 23, 2014 1:55 pm

A new report by researchers at the University of California Berkeley finds that despite working and taking home a pay-check, more than half of fast-food workers rely on public assistance programs such as food stamps or Medicaid to cover their basic needs.

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NPR Story
3:39 pm
Wed October 16, 2013

Rep. Charlie Dent: "Confident And Optimistic" Senate Deal Will Pass In House

Rep. Charlie Dent, (R-PA). (Wikipedia)

The Senate is proposing a bipartisan plan that would avoid a default and reopen the federal government, but it remains to be seen whether the Senate plan will pass in the House.

“I am confident and optimistic that the bipartisan, bicameral agreement will be adopted by the House,” Rep. Charlie Dent (R-PA) told Here & Now‘s Jeremy Hobson.

He says that there will probably remain stalwarts in his party who will vote against the plan, but remains confident that it will have bipartisan support in the House.

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NPR Story
3:39 pm
Wed October 16, 2013

Esther's Follies Take On Washington

Members of Esther's Follies, a political sketch comedy group from Austin, Texas. (Esther's Follies)

What’s happening in Washington can seem like a joke these days, and Esther’s Follies, the campy political sketch comedy troop from Austin, Texas, is raking in the material.

Interview Highlights: Shannon Sedwick and Ted Meredith

Sedwick on how their comedy show works in Austin:

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NPR Story
3:39 pm
Wed October 16, 2013

Picking The Gridiron Contenders

Bowl Championship Series (PlayoffPAC/Flickr)

Next season, there will be a new playoff system for big time college football.

A committee, which includes former Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice, will select the four teams that will play in the semifinals ahead of the championship game.

That system will replace the Bowl Championship Series which has, until now, determined which college teams play for the national championship.

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NPR Story
3:43 pm
Tue October 15, 2013

Amazon Partners With Proctor & Gamble

Toilet paper roll (Jane Waterbury/Flickr)

Originally published on Wed October 16, 2013 9:00 am

If you haven’t heard of Ali-Baba, you will soon.

China’s largest e-commerce company recently announced it is going public in 2014, which means it will be the internet’s third largest company, and Amazon’s newest competitor.

Ali Baba’s edge is pricing — it’s able to keep prices super low because it has direct access to seller’s supply chains, which is exactly what Amazon is trying to do, by partnering with the giant like Proctor & Gamble.

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NPR Story
3:43 pm
Tue October 15, 2013

Some Thoughts Six Months After The Marathon Bombs

Originally published on Tue October 15, 2013 3:30 pm

In the days after the Boston marathon bombings in April — we turned to Here & Now’s Alex Ashlock for reporting and more.

Six months later, he shares his thoughts.

Alex Ashlock is a producer and the director of Here & Now.

NPR Story
3:43 pm
Tue October 15, 2013

Soldier Receives Medal Of Honor Today

William Swenson stands with a group of World War II veterans during a 10th Mountain Division ceremony at the WWII Memorial Sunday, Oct. 13, 2013 in Washington. On Tuesday, October 15. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

Originally published on Tue October 15, 2013 3:30 pm

Army Captain William Swenson will be presented with the nation’s highest military honor at the White House today.

When President Obama hangs the medal around his neck it will be the end of a rocky road.

Swenson is credited with risking his life to save fellow troops and recover bodies during a battle in Afghanistan in 2009.

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NPR Story
4:08 pm
Mon October 14, 2013

Electronic Music Pioneer Turns 80

Morton Subotnick performing (stretta/Flickr)

To call Morton Subotnick a pioneer of electronic music has become commonplace.

What is not so well known about Subotnick, who celebrated his 80th birthday this year, is that he had a role in fathering electronic dance music.

His innovations involving new technologies and musical accessibility continue today.

His most recent project is an app for young children to use, with which they can compose essentially by fingerpainting on an iPad.

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NPR Story
4:08 pm
Mon October 14, 2013

Smooth Sounds From The Twin Cities

Channy Leaneagh, the singer for Polica. (facebook.com/thisispolica)

As he does every Monday, NPR Music writer and editor Stephen Thompson is here to freshen our playlists and recommend a new song for us.

This week, Thompson bring us a band from the Twin Cities called Poliça.

Thompson describes Poliça’s sound as “very cool, sleek, kinda slinky music.”

He singles out Poliça’s vocalist, Channy Leaneagh.

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NPR Story
4:08 pm
Mon October 14, 2013

Supreme Court To Hear Michigan Affirmative Action Case

After the Supreme Court ruled a decade ago that race could be a factor in college admissions in a Michigan case, affirmative action opponents persuaded the state’s voters to outlaw any consideration of race.

Now, the high court is weighing whether that change to Michigan’s constitution is itself discriminatory.

It is a proposition that even the lawyer for civil rights groups in favor of affirmative action acknowledges a tough sell, at first glance.

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NPR Story
3:24 pm
Fri October 11, 2013

'Glee' Tribute To Cory Monteith Is Silent On Specifics Of Character's Death

Originally published on Fri October 11, 2013 4:38 pm

There was a scarcely a dry eye when the hit show “Glee” paid tribute last night to one of its stars, Cory Monteith, who portrayed football player-turned-singer Finn Hudson.

Monteith died of a drug overdose in July. He was 31.

There had been a lot of speculation about how the show would explain his character’s death, but the program made no mention of how Finn died.

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NPR Story
3:24 pm
Fri October 11, 2013

Elizabeth Graver's Novel Longlisted for National Book Award

Originally published on Thu October 31, 2013 9:00 am

The finalists for the National Book Award for fiction will be announced next week.

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NPR Story
3:24 pm
Fri October 11, 2013

China's Growing Influence In Former Soviet Republics

Originally published on Fri October 11, 2013 4:38 pm

With China’s rapid rise as a global economic power, it’s become increasingly fashionable to talk about reviving the Old Silk Road: the interlocking series of routes — dating back to pre-Christian times — along which merchants, pilgrims and soldiers travelled from East to West.

The latest person to talk romantically that period is Chinese President Xi Jinping, during his first visit of neighboring Central Asian states in September.

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NPR Story
3:43 pm
Thu October 10, 2013

Alice Munro Wins Nobel Prize In Literature

Alice Munro has won the 2013 Nobel Prize in Literature. (Derek Shapton)

This morning, Canadian author Alice Munro won the 2013 Nobel Prize in Literature.

Known for her short stories, her 14th collection “Dear Life” was published almost a year ago.

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NPR Story
3:43 pm
Thu October 10, 2013

Arizona Activist Won't Give Up On Immigration Reform

Otoniel "Tony" Navarette, an immigration activist with Promise Arizona. (Jeremy Hobson/Here & Now)

Here & Now’s Jeremy Hobson visits 27-year-old Otoniel “Tony” Navarrete, who was born in poverty in Phoenix to a single mother who was an undocumented immigrant.

Navarrete credits local church social workers for inspiring him to attend college and become an advocate for the poor.

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NPR Story
3:43 pm
Thu October 10, 2013

Judge: Unpaid Intern Not Protected Under NYC Sexual Harassment Law

A New York judge has ruled that an unpaid intern is not an employee and, therefore, is not able to bring suit under provisions of the New York City Human Rights Law.

Lihuan Wang, 26, filed a lawsuit against Phoenix Satellite Television U.S., alleging her former supervisor, Liu Zhengzhu, sexually harassed her.

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NPR Story
3:16 pm
Wed October 9, 2013

Ann Leary On Alcoholism And Keeping A Marriage Together

Ann Leary, author of "The Good House" and New York Times "Modern Love" columnist. (Jesse Costa/Here & Now)

Author Ann Leary isn’t shy about mining her life for her writing.

In a New York Times column, she wrote about how her marriage to actor Denis Leary came to the brink of divorce, but that admitting their need to separate actually kept them together.

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NPR Story
3:16 pm
Wed October 9, 2013

DA's Office Asks For DNA In Exchange For Dropped Charges

DNA Self-Collection Kit (Pelle Sten/flickr)

Prosecutors in Orange County, Calif., have taken the rare if not unique step of creating their own DNA database.

They’re asking for voluntary DNA swabs from people arrested for minor crimes such as shoplifting, in exchange for dropping charges.

The argument is that it could help authorities solve cold cases.

Experts and other district attorneys are taking note.

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NPR Story
3:16 pm
Wed October 9, 2013

Mercury Treaty Puts Spotlight On Japan's Minamata Chemical Disaster

Visitors viewing photographs of deceased Minamata disease victims displayed at the Minamata Tokyo Exhibition in 1996 (Timothy S. George)

Representatives from 140 countries gather in Minamata, Japan, this week to sign a global agreement to reduce mercury in the environment.

This comes nearly 80 years after a chemical plant in Minamata began releasing methyl mercury into the ocean.

The resulting mercury poisoning affected some 60,000 people and was officially recognized as Minamata disease in 1956.

The chemical poisoning is described as one of the world’s worse environmental disasters.

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NPR Story
3:45 pm
Tue October 8, 2013

DJ Sessions: Dark And Soulful In Los Angeles

The Los Angeles-based musician, Kauf. (facebook.com/kaufaudio)

Originally published on Tue October 8, 2013 4:37 pm

Los Angeles boasts artists from Charles Mingus to The Byrds.

KCRW DJ Travis Holcombe gives Here & Nows Jeremy Hobson a sonic tour of L.A., including new songs by Beck, funk duo The Internet, singer-songwriter Banks and electronic producer Kauf.

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NPR Story
3:45 pm
Tue October 8, 2013

Legal Questions Over Special Ops Raids

Originally published on Tue October 8, 2013 4:37 pm

Accused al-Qaida leader Anas al-Libi is being questioned in U.S. military custody on a Navy Ship, even as questions rise about the laws under which he was captured and is being held.

The U.S. Army’s Delta Force conducted raids in Somalia and in the Libyan capital, Tripoli, over the weekend, capturing al-Libi, who is suspected of masterminding the 1998 bombings of U.S. embassies in East Africa.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has said al-Libi was a “legal target,” and added that the raids show that terrorists who attack American interests “can run but they can’t hide.”

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NPR Story
3:44 pm
Tue October 8, 2013

New $100 Bills Aimed At Stopping Counterfeiters

The new $100 bill has additional security features, and goes into circulation today. (newmoney.gov)

Originally published on Tue October 8, 2013 4:37 pm

Despite the government shutdown, the Federal Reserve starts distributing its brand new $100 bills to banks today.

The new $100 bill is the first redesign since 1996, and includes new features to thwart counterfeiters.

Jason Bellini of the Wall Street Journal joins Here & Now’s Jeremy Hobson to explain.

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NPR Story
3:11 pm
Mon October 7, 2013

Historian Reveals Ben Franklin's Not-So-Famous Sister

Here & Now's Alex Ashlock spoke to historian Jill Lepore at the Granary Burying Ground in Boston, where Benjamin and Jane Franklin's parents are buried. (aScratch/Flickr)

Originally published on Mon October 7, 2013 5:08 pm

Benjamin Franklin is arguably the most famous American ever. His youngest sister Jane is mostly lost to history. But Harvard historian Jill Lepore found her in the letters she and her brother exchanged over their long lives. They were called Benny and Jenny and Benny wrote more letters to Jenny than he did to anyone else. Most of his survive; many of hers do not.

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NPR Story
3:11 pm
Mon October 7, 2013

What Happens If The Debt Ceiling Isn't Raised?

Originally published on Mon October 7, 2013 5:08 pm

All eyes are on whether Congress will resolve the government shutdown, which has entered its seventh day.

But an even more serious concern is the debt ceiling.

If lawmakers on Capitol Hill fail to raise the nation’s debt ceiling by October 17th, the government will run out of money to pay all of its bills.

If this were to happen it hurt the economy and the country’s credit rating, and some people simply wouldn’t get paid.

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NPR Story
3:11 pm
Mon October 7, 2013

Rodriguez Sues MLB, Yankees' Doctor

Originally published on Mon October 7, 2013 5:08 pm

This weekend, the Oakland A’s beat the Detroit Tigers 1 to 0, and the Boston Red Sox bested the Tampa Bay Rays 7 to 4 in the American League. In the National League, the Dodgers won against the Braves 13 to 6 and the Pirates took the Cardinals 5 to 3.

But New York Yankees fans might have been paying more attention to Alex Rodriguez’s lawsuits.

On Thursday, the Yankee’s third baseman announced that he’s suing Major League Baseball and MLB commissioner Bud Selig over his 211-game suspension for taking performance enhancing drugs, claiming MLB is trying to ruin his career.

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