Here and Now

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Here and Now

NPR, WBUR, Boston and public radio stations across the country are joining forces to bring listeners news and analysis in midday with Here & Now. Here & Now offers a distinctive mix of hard news and rich conversation featuring interesting players from across the spectrum of arts and culture, business, technology, science and politics. Here & Now, produced by WBUR since 1997, with co-hosts Robin Young and Jeremy Hobson.

News and analysis in midday.

More than half of all professors at American colleges and universities today are adjuncts. They’re the largely part-time educators excluded from the benefits, pay and privileges granted to full-time faculty.

Their numbers have dramatically increased in recent decades, but numbers don’t translate into clout. Many are struggling to attain union recognition – or any recognition at all – of their hard work, low pay and often ghastly commutes.

To mark the 74th anniversary of Pearl Harbor, the Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum is making all of the former president’s speeches available online for the first time.

The archive includes more than 46,000 pages of drafts, reading copies and transcripts. The library’s complete collection of audio recordings of FDR is also available online for the first time. The project was funded by AT&T and the library had technical assistance from Marist College in Poughkeepsie, New York.

The U.S. Senate is expected to approve an overhaul to America’s most important federal education law tomorrow. The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) is an update to the Bush administration’s No Child Left Behind law, which is often criticized for requiring too much testing.

The new legislation has bipartisan support in the House and is expected to be on the president’s desk by the end of the week. But will these changes help the populations that need it most – students of color, students with disabilities and low-income students?

Global climate talks continue today in Paris, the final week of the conference. One country that has dramatically changed its tune since the Copenhagen climate meeting six years ago is China.

China has gone from refusing to commit to action on climate change to what The Wall Street Journal describes as a cheerleader for action.

Kendrick Lamar Leads Grammy Nominations

Dec 7, 2015

The nominations for the 58th Grammy Awards were announced today. Rapper Kendrick Lamar got 11 nominations, including Song of the Year for his song “Alright.”


Back in 2014, Lamar was nominated for seven awards but did not win any, which critics said was a snub of genre that often gets overlooked.

This year, Lamar also received a nomination for his collaboration with Taylor Swift, “Bad Blood.”


An opposition coalition won an overwhelming victory in Venezuela’s legislative election yesterday. The coalition handed the leftist movement founded by the late Hugo Chavez its worst ever defeat since 1999. Economic issues dominated the campaign, including chronic food shortages of staples such as milk, rice, coffee and corn flour.

Cynthia Arnson, director of the Latin American Program at the Wilson International Center for Scholars, speaks with Here & Now’s Jeremy Hobson about what the election means for Venezuela going forward.

In the new film “Chi-Raq,” Spike Lee reinterprets Aristophanes’ “Lysistrata” by setting it in contemporary Chicago. A group of women, outraged by the toll of the war between two rival gangs, vow to withhold sex until the gangs talk peace.

NPR film critic Bob Mondello joins Here & Now‘s Eric Westervelt to talk about the film and its resonance to current events.

The FBI says it is investigating the deadly mass shooting in California as an “act of terrorism.”

David Bowdich, assistant director of the FBI’s Los Angeles office, made the declaration at a news conference Friday in California.

He also said the shooters attempted to destroy evidence, including crushing two cell phones and discarding them in a trash can. He said authorities continue to investigate the case to understand the motivations of the shooters and whether they were planning more attacks.

Earlier this week we visited Harvard Law School, where a group of students are calling for the removal of the school’s seal, which features parts of the Royall family crest. Isaac Royall, Jr. was a slave owner and son of a slave trader who played a key role in creating Harvard Law School.

No matter how many career fairs they’ve attended or mock interviews they’ve endured, college undergrads are no match for the consulting and finance recruiters that flood the elite college campuses each fall.

The finance and consulting industries are known as much for their glamour as for their ruthless work hours. But despite increased media scrutiny on several high-profile suicides by finance employees in the past two years, consulting and finance firms have long been poaching more college seniors than almost any other industry.

As the climate talks continue in Paris, Britain is taking a major step to reduce carbon emissions. U.K. Energy Secretary Amber Rudd says the nation’s last coal-fired power stations will close by the end of 2025.

The U.K. would be the first industrialized nation to eliminate coal-fired power generation and environmentalists say this sends a major signal to the rest of the world.

The mass shooting yesterday in San Bernardino, California turned our attention, again, to issues of public safety, causing many of us wonder what we would do if confronted by an active shooter at school, work or in a movie theater.

Natural gas is cheap this year, thanks to a warm autumn and new sources of gas. During Thanksgiving week, big swaths of the country enjoyed warm, sunny days and used very little natural gas.

Meanwhile, drillers in Pennsylvania are finding huge reserves of gas, which is driving the price down. Natural gas is trading at about $2.23 per million British thermal units (MBTU). Only a few years ago, it was trading at more than $13.

Police in the Southern California city of San Bernardino are responding to reports of an active shooter at a social services facility.

Police say there are reports of multiple victims.

Triage units are being set up in the area, and some people have been seen being wheeled away on gurneys. Others walked holding their hands in their air are being led away by authorities.

No arrests have been made.

San Bernardino is about 60 miles east of Los Angeles.


If you’re looking for gifts this holiday season that have a personal touch but don’t cost an arm and a leg, Here & Now resident chef Kathy Gunst suggests making your own food gifts. It can be easier than you think.

“There’re a lot of people thinking ‘I don’t have time to cook for my family, how can I make food gifts?’ But these are super-quick ideas, some of them I’ve been doing for 30 years and some of them are are brand new,” she told Jeremy Hobson.

The latest polls – and it seems like there are new ones almost every day – show Donald Trump ahead in the Republican Primary with 27 percent, which is one point lower than the Republican front-runner was polling a year before the last election. In that case, the candidate was Rick Perry, who was among those who lost the race to eventual nominee Mitt Romney.

New Dictionary Words For 2015

Dec 1, 2015

As the year draws to a close, it’s time for our annual look at words that have been added to the American Heritage Dictionary. This year, the words include humblebrag, cosleeping and bibimbap.

Steve Kleinedler, executive editor of the American Heritage Dictionary, looks at some of the words added with Here & Now‘s Indira Lakshmanan and explains why certain popular words don’t get into the dictionary right away.

11 New Words In The American Heritage Dictionary

Food terms

At the Paris climate talks today, President Obama met with leaders of some of the countries with the most to lose – the small island countries. The Bahamas, Tonga, Barbados, Haiti, Antigua and Barbuda are all part of the Alliance of Small Island States.

According to the U.N.’s intergovernmental panel on climate change, some of these islands could be almost completely covered in water by 2100.

DJ Session: Broadway's Hamilton And Beyond

Dec 1, 2015

Marion Hodges of KCRW in Los Angeles shares a range of new music, including the “post-punk meets dance” sound of the band Pale Blue. She also calls attention to “The Schuyler Sisters,” off the soundtrack for Broadway’s production of “Hamilton.”

Hodges says the song shows the power of the female leads in the musical. “It turns into this very En Vogue, TLC, Destiny’s Child kind of thing,” she tells Here & Now‘s Jeremy Hobson.

The number of people using bicycles to get to and from work has more than doubled since 2009. Take Washington D.C.’s Shaw neighborhood. Recent census data show one out of every 10 work trips originating in Shaw is on a bicycle, leading to calls for better bike lanes there.

Have you ever opened your closet and wondered why you bought that hideous sweater? Well, it turns out that maybe you weren’t responsible. Instead, the culprit may be science.

In a new article in The Atlantic, Eleanor Smith delves into the science behind many purchases, looking at 13 different scientific studies that add up to big bucks for retailers, particularly during the holiday season.

How The Holiday Shopping Season Is Changing

Nov 30, 2015

Cyber Monday may be giving way to Cyber Week, and Black Friday is losing its importance, as more retailers offer deals through the month of November and more shopping is being done online. Jill Schlesinger of CBS News speaks with Here & Now‘s Jeremy Hobson about the shift in the holiday shopping season.

Police say they are unsure about the location of a shooter in an attack near a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs that left three officers injured.

A witness says she heard as many as 20 shots in less than five minutes and saw an officer fall to the ground Friday during the shooting.

Denise Speller, manager of a nearby haircut salon, told The Gazette of Colorado Springs that she saw another officer kneel down to render aid to the officer who fell.

Books To Give As Gifts This Year

Nov 27, 2015

If you’re looking to give a book to a friend or family member this holiday, check out these recommendations from NPR Books editor Petra Mayer.

This year marks the centennial of the last log drives on the Connecticut River. From the late 1800s to the early 1900s, logs up to 30 feet long were floated 300 miles downriver to sawmills in Massachusetts and Connecticut to build the cities of 19th century New England.

Jon Kalish brought Here & Now this story about two Vermonters who are keeping the history alive by chronicling the history of the drives.

Friendship is unlike any other relationship in a person’s life. It can be difficult to define and may carry different meanings for different people. Two friends may describe the degree of their relationship in totally different ways.

While family bonds are typically considered unconditional, friendships are voluntary and thus subject to being set aside when people enter adulthood and “more important” events arise.

Here & Now’ Robin Young and her now-late uncle, Lachlan Maclachlan Field, take a trip to see the migrating snow geese in Vermont. Revisiting their pilgrimage has become a Thanksgiving tradition at Here & Now.

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Qirat Chappra, a terminally ill 18-year-old who has spent most of her life at a children’s hospital in Houston, will be granted what she calls her dying wish.

Chappra has not seen her parents, who live in Pakistan, for 13 years. They have been repeatedly denied travel visas, but after a social media campaign and some help from a congressman, their visas have been approved. The parents could be in the United States as early as next week.

National security analyst and author John Walcott argues that the conversation about how to fight ISIS – with more surveillance, restrictions on refugees and more military action – is all wrong. He speaks with Here & Now’s Indira Lakshmanan about the critical missing piece of the campaign against ISIS: human intelligence.

Lynn Fisher and Nick Crohn, two web designers from the Phoenix area, love airport codes. They launched the website in March that links hundreds of those three-letter codes with a pretty picture and a brief story about the airport – enough to keep you busy while you’re waiting in line at one of those airports this week.

This story originally aired on April 1, 2015.