Here & Now

M-Th 1-3 PM
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
1:58 pm
Mon May 12, 2014

Web Series ‘Thug Notes’ Puts A Hip-Hop Spin On Classic Literature

Comedian Greg Edwards presents brief book reports of classic literature using a hip-hop vernacular in the popular web series "Thug Notes," created by Jared Bauer. (Screenshot)

Originally published on Mon May 12, 2014 3:20 pm

[Youtube]

Note: This video contains language that some viewers may find offensive.

Students of literature have long used SparkNotes and CliffsNotes to help them navigate the tricky plot-lines of the classics. Now, there’s a new web series that students can turn to for literary help: “Thug Notes.”

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NPR Story
1:58 pm
Mon May 12, 2014

Big Weekend In Sports: Sterling Apologizes, NFL Drafts First Openly Gay Player

Newly drafted NFL player Michael Sam, standing alongside his boyfriend Vito Cammisano, becomes emotional as he learns he will be playing for the St. Louis Rams. (Screenshot)

L.A. Clippers owner Donald Sterling apologized over the weekend in an interview with CNN’s Anderson Cooper. It’s the first time Sterling has spoken publicly since a recording of him making racist comments was leaked more than two weeks ago.

And in other big sports news, Michael Sam became the first openly gay player to be drafted by the NFL.

Here & Now sports analyst Mike Pesca joins Jeremy Hobson to talk about the significance of these events in the world of sports.

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NPR Story
1:58 pm
Mon May 12, 2014

FiveFingers Shoe Company Pays $3.5 Million For Misleading Customers

Vibram's FiveFinger running shoes have developed a strong following among runners who believe minimal cushioning in shoes provides a better running experience, but the company recently settled a lawsuit claiming there was no science backing up their claims. (Patrick Yodarus/Flickr)

Originally published on Fri May 16, 2014 4:05 pm

Vibram USA — the maker of those shoes that look more like rubber gloves with separate compartments for each toe — has agreed to pay $3.5 million settlement in a class action suit for allegedly misleading their customers.

The lawsuit was brought by a woman who says the shoe company claimed to decrease foot injuries and strengthen foot muscles, but had no scientific research to prove it.

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NPR Story
1:39 pm
Fri May 9, 2014

Video Chats With Mom Become Popular Web Series

Film director Joshua Seftel turned his FaceTime conversations with his mom Pat Seftel into a popular YouTube series called "My Mom On Movies." (Phillip Toledano)

Originally published on Sat May 10, 2014 9:34 am

In 2009, after filmmaker Joshua Seftel‘s father passed away, he and his sisters worried about staying in touch with their mom, so they bought her an iPad, and even though she was nervous about it at first, they convinced her to start using it.

First they sent emails back and forth, but soon Seftel and his mom started talking on FaceTime. Seftel says that around this time he remembered his mother said she had always wanted her own show. So he thought, why not?

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NPR Story
1:39 pm
Fri May 9, 2014

Speaking Exchange: Brazilian Students Connect With Elderly Americans

A Brazilian student speaks with an American senior in this screenshot from a video about the program. (Screenshot)

A language school in Brazil is connecting its students to the elderly in Chicago, so the students can practice their English online. The promotional video for the “Speaking Exchange” program has gone viral because the kids and seniors are developing relationships.

[Youtube]

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NPR Story
1:39 pm
Fri May 9, 2014

New Space Fence Could Prevent Real Life 'Gravity'

A computer image generated by NASA shows objects orbiting Earth, including those in geosynchronous orbit at a high altitude. The objects are not to scale. (NASA)

In the blockbuster film “Gravity,” astronauts became stranded, floating in orbit after “space junk” hit their mission at a heart-racing speed. While the film is more science fiction than fact, there are huge concerns about all the debris in the Earth’s orbit, and how that could affect satellite systems.

Sixty years of activity in space have resulted in about 500,000 pieces of space debris. The detritus ranges from left-over pieces of rockets to a glove that an astronaut dropped in 1965. All of that material has the potential to collide with the 1,100 satellites over the Earth.

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NPR Story
3:17 pm
Thu May 8, 2014

In Washington, Millennial Lawmakers Are Reaching Across The Aisle

The four youngest members of the Washington legislature are two Democrats and two Republicans who find generational common ground in spite of their political differences. (Austin Jenkins/Northwest News Network)

Nine of the 147 members of the state legislature in Washington are under 34 years old — putting them in the “millennial” generation.

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NPR Story
3:16 pm
Thu May 8, 2014

There's Something About Millennials — Or Is There?

Much has been written about the Millennial Generation -- a lot of it negative -- but what's the reality of 18-to-34-year-olds today? (Ali from Riyadh/Flickr)

Much has been written about the “millennial” generation — also known as Generation Y — who are currently between the ages of 18 and 34.

Studies show that their main focus is money, and while they’re the most educated generation, they may be deeper in debt than their parents. They also are cynical about most American institutions and are less likely to participate in midterms elections.

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NPR Story
2:35 pm
Thu May 8, 2014

Kevin Durant's Emotional NBA MVP Acceptance Speech

Originally published on Fri May 9, 2014 6:53 am

[Youtube]

In accepting his first MVP award, Oklahoma City’s Kevin Durant made a point of sharing the honor with those who made it possible.

In a soul-baring speech that lasted more than 25 minutes, Durant fought back tears several times while thanking each of his teammates, the coaches, support staff and team executives, and finally his family.

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NPR Story
1:55 pm
Wed May 7, 2014

Ruth Marcus: Lewinsky Did Hillary Clinton A Favor

Monica Lewinsky is pictured in a photograph by Mark Seliger on VanityFair.com. (Screenshot)

Vanity Fair magazine has published excerpts of a forthcoming piece by Monica Lewinsky, who had an affair with President Bill Clinton as a White House intern in the ’90s.

Clinton’s lies about the relationship contributed to the House impeaching him in 1998; the Senate acquitted him.

Excerpts of the piece are available on the Vanity Fair website. The preview reads in part:

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NPR Story
1:55 pm
Wed May 7, 2014

Lee Marshall, Voice Of Tony The Tiger, Dies At 64

You may not know his name, but you almost certainly know his voice. Lee Marshall was a sports broadcaster and a rock deejay, but he became a voiceover icon when he became the voice of Tony the Tiger in 1999, in commercials for Kellogg’s Frosted Flakes. Marshall died in late April of esophageal cancer. He was 64 years old.

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NPR Story
1:55 pm
Wed May 7, 2014

Millennial Daughter And Baby Boomer Mother Compare Notes

Millennial Zara Palmer (left) was born in 1992. Her mom, Julie, was born in 1959. (Jessica Robinson/Northwest News Network)

Originally published on Wed May 7, 2014 3:03 pm

More than 60 percent of Americans aged 18 to 34 have made an excuse to take an impromptu vacation day, according to the 2014 annual travel survey by Springhill Suites.

That could be attributed in part to a shifting concept of work-life values by so-called “millennials” — the generation that’s gotten a bit of a reputation for being plugged-in, tuned-out and perhaps overly indulged.

But is that reputation deserved?

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NPR Story
2:48 pm
Tue May 6, 2014

The Chunnel Celebrates 20th Birthday

French President François Mitterrand welcomes Queen Elizabeth II during the inauguration of the Channel Tunnel, on May 6, 1994, in Coquelles. (Jacques Demarthon/AFP/Getty Images)

Originally published on Wed May 21, 2014 12:44 pm

Twenty years ago today, Queen Elizabeth of Britain and French President François Mitterrand crossed the English Channel by train, inaugurating the Channel Tunnel, which would be the first land link between the two countries.

The tunnel, now branded the “Chunnel,” took seven years to build. It’s actually three 35-mile-long tunnels equipped for passenger trains and for shuttles that can carry cars and trucks.

We’ve reached back into NPR’s archives for this story about the Chunnel by reporter Michael Goldfarb.

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NPR Story
2:48 pm
Tue May 6, 2014

Presidential Campaigning Begins In Egypt

At the end of the month, Egypt will hold the first election since the military ousted former president Mohammed Morsi in July.

This week, campaigning for the presidential election officially kicked off between two candidates: leftist politician Hamdeen Sabahi and former army chief Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi.

Last night, el-Sissi, who is the frontrunner, appeared in his first television interview. If he’s elected, he has vowed to finish the Muslim Brotherhood movement in Egypt.

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NPR Story
2:48 pm
Tue May 6, 2014

Coca-Cola Removes Flame Retardant Chemical From Powerade

Mississippi teenager Sarah Kavanagh launched the Change.org petitions to remove BVO from Gatorade and Powerade. (Change.org)

Coca-Cola has decided to change the formula of several of its beverages by removing the controversial ingredient brominated vegetable oil (BVO).

The move comes after a petition on Change.org by Mississippi teenager Sarah Kavanagh, to have BVO removed from Pepsi’s Gatorade sports drink, garnered over 200,000 signatures.

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NPR Story
1:37 pm
Mon May 5, 2014

Eddie Izzard On Comedy, Drag And Being The 'Lost Python'

Comedian Eddie Izzard in WBUR’s studios. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)

The world has showered many accolades on British comedian Eddie Izzard. The New York Times claims that Izzard’s only competition for sheer comic genius is Chris Rock. John Cleese once said he’s “the lost Python.” Robin Williams called Izzard a “velvet razor… gentle cutting edge.”

But if you ask Izzard to describe himself, he opts for: ”star of stage and screen. Tireless supporter of charity. Runner. Political campaigner. Fashion icon. Human.”

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NPR Story
1:37 pm
Mon May 5, 2014

Radio Wars In Pakistan

Originally published on Mon May 5, 2014 1:53 pm

In Pakistan in recent years, tens of thousands of people have been killed in the conflict between the government and the Taliban. But there’s also a propaganda war taking place there, and it’s playing out over the radio airwaves.

For some time now, the Taliban has been using FM stations to deliver its message. Now, the state is hitting back with its own radio station.

There is programming in Urdu, Pashtu, Baloch and also a few hours each week in English, aimed at the big cities. The BBC’s Owen Bennett-Jones has been listening in and brings us this report.

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NPR Story
1:37 pm
Mon May 5, 2014

In Afghanistan, Families Keep Searching For Landslide Victims

The mud and rocks of the landslide are pictured in this aerial view of Aab Bareek village at Argo district in Badakhshan province on May 5, 2014. (Wakil Kohsar/AFP/Getty Images)

In in Badakhshan province, a very remote area of northern Afghanistan, people are still digging to try to find members of their families who have been missing since a massive landslide on Friday. The formal search for survivors ended Saturday.

At least 2,000 people were in their homes when a landslide covered the area in mud and rocks. Hundreds more are also missing after rushing to help with the rescue effort. They were caught in a second landslide.

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NPR Story
1:44 pm
Fri May 2, 2014

Taking The Plight Of Refugees To The White House

Sasha Chanoff, founder and executive director of RefugePoint, and Yar Ayuel, one of 89 girls who came to the U.S. with the 3,500 Lost Boys of Sudan, will meet with President Obama and the First Lady tomorrow. (Jesse Costa/Here & Now)

Originally published on Sat May 3, 2014 7:04 am

Families of the more than 200 Nigerian school girls who were abducted by the Islamism militant group Boko Haram are demanding the government do more, after reports that the girls may have been sold as brides for marriage.

It’s a situation that points to the particular vulnerabilities women face in conflict zones and as refugees.

That’s part of the message Yar Ayuel will bring to President Obama when she meets him and the First Lady on Saturday. Ayuel is one of only 89 girls who came to the U.S. with the 3,500 “Lost Boys” of Sudan.

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NPR Story
1:44 pm
Fri May 2, 2014

Kentucky Inducts Hunter S. Thompson Into Its Journalism Hall Of Fame

In this undated image, Hunter S. Thompson is shown in a promotional photo from the film, "Gonzo: The Life and Work of Dr. Hunter S. Thompson." (Magnolia Pictures via AP)

The Kentucky Derby will be run this Saturday in Louisville. The thoroughbred horse race, now 140 years old, is one of the country’s legendary sporting events, but it also played a major role in spawning a new kind writing style, created by another Louisville product, the late Hunter S. Thompson.

As Rick Howlett of Here & Now contributing station WFPL in Louisville reports, there’s a new appreciation for the founder of Gonzo journalism in his native city and state.

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NPR Story
1:44 pm
Fri May 2, 2014

Saddle Up For The 140th Kentucky Derby

Wicked Strong runs on the track during the morning training for the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs on May 1, 2014 in Louisville, Kentucky. (Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

The Kentucky Derby is the first jewel in horse racing’s Triple Crown. A field of 19 horses will take to the track at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky, on Saturday evening for the 140th edition of the Run for the Roses.

Joe Drape is there, as he is every year, for The New York Times. He discusses the field with Here & Now’s Sacha Pfeiffer. His picks are Wicked Strong, Intense Holiday and California Chrome.

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NPR Story
1:29 pm
Thu May 1, 2014

Kentucky Derby's Signature Drink Uses Locally Grown Mint

Dohn & Dohn Gardens, a small family farm in Jefferson County, Ky., grows all the mint used in the mint juleps served at the Kentucky Derby. (Alix Mattingly/WFPL News)

Originally published on Mon May 12, 2014 2:19 pm

The race isn’t until Saturday, but Kentucky Derby parties get underway today at Churchill Downs, and that means plenty of the event’s signature drink: the mint julep.

More than 120,000 mint juleps will be devoured, requiring lots of water, sugar, 10,000 bottles of bourbon, and 1,000 pounds of mint — all grown on a small family farm in southern Jefferson County.

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NPR Story
1:29 pm
Thu May 1, 2014

Burger King's Subservient Chicken Is Back

In 2004, Burger King had a hit with its interactive "Subservient Chicken" ad campaign for the TenderCrisp Chicken Sandwich. As the fast food giant introduces its new Chicken Big King Sandwich, it's brought back the famous ad character -- but he's no longer subservient. (Courtesy of YouTube)

Originally published on Mon May 12, 2014 2:19 pm

[Youtube]

After a 10-year hiatus, Burger King is bringing its Subservient Chicken ad campaign back.

The fast food chain struck advertisement gold when they introduced the Subservient Chicken character, a man dressed in a chicken costume who was featured in commercials and an interactive website. 

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NPR Story
1:29 pm
Thu May 1, 2014

Solving The Mystery Of A Black Activist's Disappearance

Tamara Kamara, Robinson's youngest child, and widow, Cheryl Buswell-Robinson. (Sarah Hulett/Michigan Radio)

Originally published on Mon May 12, 2014 2:19 pm

In the spring of 1973, Ray Robinson left his wife and three young children in Bogue Chitto, Alabama to support the occupation of Wounded Knee, South Dakota.

He never came home.

Now, more than 40 years after his disappearance, his widow and grown daughters, who live in Detroit, are closer to knowing what happened. Newly released FBI documents say Robinson was killed there, and suggest members of the American Indian Movement covered up the crime.

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NPR Story
3:51 pm
Wed April 30, 2014

Restarting Life Out From Under Polio's Shadow

Gail Caldwell's new memoir "New Life, No Instructions" tells the story of what it was like to change the preconceptions she'd had about her life and literally learn to walk again.

Polio has been a large part of author Gail Caldwell’s life, ever since she contracted the disease at the age of six months.

Though she was eventually able to walk, she couldn’t jump rope or play basketball. But Caldwell was able to swim, row and establish a distinguished career as a writer.

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NPR Story
3:51 pm
Wed April 30, 2014

U.S. Economic Growth Slows In First Quarter

The Commerce Department reports that GDP growth in this country — that’s the value of all goods and services produced in the economy — slowed to an annual rate of 0.1 percent for the first quarter of this year.

Diane Swonk, chief economist with Mesirow Financial in Chicago, tells Here & Now that the tough winter weather continues to affect the numbers.

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NPR Story
3:51 pm
Wed April 30, 2014

Pentagon To Review Army Hair Requirements After Controversy

This image provided by the U.S. Army shows new Army grooming regulations for females. The new regulations on how women may style their hair has drawn criticism from the Congressional Black Caucus and female African American soldiers. (U.S. Army via AP)

Originally published on Wed May 21, 2014 12:47 pm

Earlier this month, the Army issued new hair regulations that banned most twists, dreadlocks and large cornrows – styles used predominately by African-American women with natural hairstyles.

Sixteen female members of the Congressional Black Caucus wrote to Secretary Defense Chuck Hagel calling the changes “discriminatory rules targeting soldiers who are women of color.”

Now, in response to that criticism, the military is expected to review those standards. Pentagon spokesman Navy Rear Adm. John Kirby says Hagel will make whatever adjustments are appropriate after review.

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NPR Story
3:43 pm
Tue April 29, 2014

Sterling Banned For Life By The NBA

Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling has been banned for life by the NBA in response to racist comments the league says he made in a recorded conversation.

Commissioner Adam Silver said he will try to force the controversial owner to sell his franchise. Sterling has also been fined $2.5 million, and Silver made no effort to hide his outrage over the comments.

He said a league investigation found that the league’s longest-tenured owner was in fact the person on the audiotapes that were released over the weekend.

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NPR Story
3:43 pm
Tue April 29, 2014

NBA Bans Clippers Owner Donald Sterling For Life

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver says that after an investigation that verified it was Clippers owner Donald Sterling making racist comments in audio released over the weekend, the NBA will ban him for life.

Silver says the NBA will also fine Sterling $2.5 million — the maximum fine allowed — and pressure Sterling to sell the team.

Doug Tribou of NPR’s Only a Game joins Here & Now’s Jeremy Hobson to discuss the decision by the NBA.

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NPR Story
3:43 pm
Tue April 29, 2014

Craig Ferguson To Leave 'The Late Late Show'

After a ten year stretch with “The Late Late Show”, Craig Ferguson has announced his plans to step down as host. (Sonja Flemming/CBS)

CBS is losing yet another late-night host. After a 10-year stretch with “The Late Late Show,” Craig Ferguson has announced his plans to step down as host.

Ferguson’s announcement comes less than a month after David Letterman broke the news to his studio audience that he would be retiring from the “Late Show with David Letterman.”

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