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NPR Story
12:24 pm
Fri May 15, 2015

States Push Back, As Insurers Push For Cheaper, Older Drugs

Firefighter Glenn Helverson says step therapy has caused him to lose work for weeks at a time. (Alex Smith/Heartland Health Monitor)

If you’ve ever been prescribed an expensive new medication, you may be familiar with step therapy.

Rather than pay for a costly new drug, many insurance companies now require patients to try cheaper alternatives first.

As drug prices have skyrocketed in recent years, step therapy has become increasingly common, but now many states legislatures are pushing back.

From the Here & Now Contributors Network, Alex Smith reports.

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NPR Story
12:24 pm
Fri May 15, 2015

NATO Carries Out Huge Anti-Submarine Warfare Exercise

A Russian nuclear submarine is pictured near the Sevmash factory in the northern city of Arkhangelsk, Russia, July 2, 2009. (Alexander Zemlianichenko/AP)

NATO has been carrying out its largest ever anti-submarine warfare exercise in the North Sea.

It’s seen as a response to increasing activity by Russian submarines. There have been recent reports of Russian submarines operating off the coast of Scotland, as well as Sweden and Finland.

The exercise has also highlighted a gaping hole in Britain’s own maritime defenses. The BBC’s Jonathan Beale reports.

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NPR Story
12:24 pm
Fri May 15, 2015

Workshop On How To Work With Female City Councilors Sparks Controversy

The sun sets on the Austin skyline and Congress Street Bridge. (Stuart Seeger/Flickr Creative Commons)

The City of Austin recently welcomed its first majority female city council, but what’s grabbing headlines is a recent workshop to train city staff on how to deal with the shift to a female-centered environment.

One of the speakers, Jonathan K. Allen – who has since been fired from his role as city manager of Lauderdale Lakes, Fla. for unrelated reasons – warned the group to expect more questions, and that women aren’t as interested in financial arguments.

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NPR Story
12:48 pm
Thu May 14, 2015

'Good Kill' Takes A Searching Look At Drone Warfare

Ethan Hawke (Tom Egan) in Andrew Niccol’s "Good Kill." (Courtesy of Lorey Sebastian. Copyright © 2014 Clear Skies Nevada LLC. An IFC Films release.)

Originally published on Fri May 15, 2015 8:18 am

In the new film “Good Kill,” Ethan Hawke plays Tom Egan, a former Air Force pilot who’s now a drone operator in Las Vegas. Egan longs to go back into combat, but instead is relegated to firing at suspected terrorist targets from thousands of miles away.

Writer-director Andrew Niccol told Here & Now’s Meghna Chakrabarti that he was drawn to make the film because he found drone operators to be an entirely new kind of solider.

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NPR Story
12:30 pm
Thu May 14, 2015

No Resume, No Interview, No Problem At Yonkers Bakery

Bakers pose for a photo at Greyston Bakery in Yonkers, N.Y. (Courtesy of Greyston)

The open hiring policy at Greyston Bakery in Yonkers, N.Y., invites local residents to apply for jobs, regardless of their immigration status, whether they have criminal or drug records, or even prior work experience.

It’s all part of the company’s social justice business model, based on the Buddhist philosophy of Bernie Glassman, who founded the industrial food facility in 1982.

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NPR Story
12:30 pm
Thu May 14, 2015

'Black Love Matters' Movement Takes To The Streets In Milwaukee

Members of the Black Love Matters Movement convene during a march through a north side neighborhood. (LaToya Dennis)

“Black Lives Matter” has become a rallying cry across the U.S. among people upset about cases of police brutality against black men. In Milwaukee, another movement is afoot. It aims to let people know that black love also matters. LaToya Dennis from Here & Now contributor Milwaukee Public Radio reports.

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NPR Story
12:57 pm
Wed May 13, 2015

What’s New Is Old At The TV Upfronts

Kermit the Frog speaks to Gonzo the Great in a scene from ABC's "The Muppets." (Eric McCandless/ABC)

NPR TV Critic Eric Deggans is in New York this week at the TV Upfronts and joins Here & Now’s Meghna Chakrabarti to talk about how next season, the hot thing seems to be reviving old shows.

NBC is bringing back “Coach” and “Heroes.” Meanwhile, Fox is doing a television version of “Minority Report” and “The X-Files.” Eric Deggans, though, is most excited about ABC bringing the Muppets to network television for the first time in nearly 20 years.

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NPR Story
12:57 pm
Wed May 13, 2015

New Cookbook Explores The Cuisine Of The Great Plains

Bison is lower in fat than regular cow beef. (Photo © Dana Damewood)

Cover of

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NPR Story
12:57 pm
Wed May 13, 2015

A 'Holodeck' May Be Getting Closer To Reality

It's still a ways off, but UT researchers say that their improved GPS technology coupled with a virtual reality headset could create a holodeck-like experience. (intel.com)

If you use a smartphone for directions, you know how annoying it can be when the tracking device gets your location wrong. A team of researchers at the University of Texas’ Cockrell School of Engineering say they may have fixed that problem.

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NPR Story
1:04 pm
Tue May 12, 2015

'Halal In The Family' Uses Sitcom Humor To Skewer Muslim Stereotypes

"Halal in the Family" is a web series about a Muslim family in America. (Sweet 180)

There’s a new series making waves on the web. “Halal in the Family” centers around the Qu’osbys, an all-American family who also happen to be Muslim.

It’s no coincidence that the family name sounds a lot like “Cosby.” Co-creator Miles Kahn tells Here & Now’s Robin Young that the idea first came from a comment that journalist Katie Couric made, that maybe what American Muslims needed to combat stereotypes was their own “Cosby Show.”

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NPR Story
1:00 pm
Tue May 12, 2015

Why Has It Taken 40 Years To Build A Tennessee Nuclear Power Plant?

In this April 29, 2015 photo, cooling towers for Unit 1, right, and Unit 2, left, are shown at the Watts Bar Nuclear Plant near Spring City, Tenn. (Mark Zaleski/AP)

A new nuclear power plant is nearing completion in Spring City, Tennessee, and it’s expected to be up and running by late summer.

It has taken about 40 years to complete the project.

Associated Press reporter Ray Henry tells Here & Now’s Meghna Chakrabarti that the Watts Bar plant serves as a cautionary tale for America’s nuclear power industry.

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NPR Story
1:00 pm
Tue May 12, 2015

Senior Stickball League Brings Retirees Back To Boyhood

Palm Beach Stickball League All Star Game at Village Park. (Luis Hernandez / WLRN)

At Village Park in Wellington, Florida, there’s a group of retirees who get together every week to relive their youth.

A dozen men are lined up in three rows in a parking lot. On one end, a 3-foot fence marks the end of the outfield. About 200 feet in the opposite direction, a square drawn in chalk marks home plate.

Every few seconds, a yellow rubber ball is launched up into the air, and the men laugh and joke as they call out for it. This is the Palm Beach Senior Stickball League.

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NPR Story
8:47 am
Tue May 12, 2015

New Hampshire Dems Hope Sanders Will Shake Up Presidential Race

Presidential hopeful Sen. Bernie Sanders reacts, as supports cheer him on, before speaking at a house party in Manchester, N.H., Saturday, May 2, 2015. Sanders discussed economic issues facing the country. (Cheryl Senter/AP)

The Democratic presidential primary season is officially underway in New Hampshire.

Hillary Clinton is now facing a challenge from U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, the self-described socialist from Vermont.

And, although he’s a familiar face in New Hampshire, Sanders is a long-shot in this election. But, he is a long-shot with the potential to shake up the race.

From the Here & Now Contributors Network, Asma Khalid reports.

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NPR Story
8:47 am
Tue May 12, 2015

Michelle Obama Delivers Tuskegee Commencement Speech

First lady Michelle Obama waves towards the crowd just before she delivers the commencement address at Tuskegee University on Saturday.(Brynn Anderson/AP)

This weekend, First lady Michelle Obama addressed the graduating class at Tuskegee University in Alabama – a historically black academic institution.

She recalled to the students how the media covered her during the early days of the Obama presidency.  She was described as “Obama’s baby mama” and one of her husband’s “cronies of color.”

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NPR Story
8:47 am
Tue May 12, 2015

Defense Rests In Penalty Phase Of Tsarnaev Trial

Today saw the final day of testimony from witnesses called on behalf of convicted Boston Marathon bomber Dzhozhar Tsarnaev.

His lawyers are trying to spare him from the death penalty and before wrapping up, the defense called to the stand Sister Helen Prejean.

She’s best known as the central character in the book and movie “Dead Man Walking” and for her long and impassioned opposition to the death penalty.

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NPR Story
12:47 pm
Fri May 8, 2015

NBC Tries Out Binge Viewing With 'Aquarius'

NBC will release the entire first season of "Aquarius" on May 29. (NBC)

Originally published on Fri May 8, 2015 1:06 pm

It’s 1967 in Los Angeles in NBC’s new show “Aquarius.” The crime drama, set in an era of free love, cheap drugs and “unparalleled music,” sets up a promising plot, which viewers will be able to watch in one long binge on NBC’s website or mobile app starting on May 29, 2015.

It is NBC’s first “binge-watching” show, which was popularized by media companies like Hulu, HBO and Netflix.

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NPR Story
12:47 pm
Fri May 8, 2015

Braving The Streets Of Shanghai With NPR's Frank Langfitt

NPR’s Frank Langfitt drove a Chinese couple 500 miles to their rural wedding. (Frank Langfitt/NPR)

In his free time, NPR correspondent Frank Langfitt likes to drive around Shanghai as a sort of free taxi cab, offering rides to strangers, to get to know the real lives of ordinary Chinese.

He sometimes records their stories, for his ongoing series Streets of Shanghai.

Here & Now’s Jeremy Hobson talks to Langfitt about what he’s been learning, and what it’s like driving in China.

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NPR Story
12:27 pm
Fri May 8, 2015

A Bad Day For Proofreading: Printing A Perilous Bible

A section of a page from the Wicked Bible of 1631. (Wikimedia Commons)

In the final installment of our “Bay Days in History” conversations, author Michael Farquhar Here & Now’s Robin Young take us back to 1632.

On May 8, 1632, an English court called upon the unfortunate printers of a King James Bible, who let more than a few spelling and grammar errors slip through the cracks such as, “Thou shalt commit adultery.”

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NPR Story
11:57 am
Fri May 8, 2015

How Private Is The Data Collected By Fitness Trackers?

Sunkwon Bush sets up his new Apple Watch after its arrival last Friday at the Center City Philadelphia offices of Think Brownstone. (Carolyn Beeler/WHYY)

As the use of health and fitness mobile apps and wearable activity trackers grow, so do questions about what happens to the sensitive data these devices collect – all those steps, calories and heart rate readings the devices measure. Carolyn Beeler from Here & Now contributor WHYY’s “The Pulse” reports.

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NPR Story
11:57 am
Fri May 8, 2015

5 Dessert Recipes For Mother’s Day

(mr_t_in_dc/Flickr)

Mother’s Day is Sunday, so Here & Now resident chef Kathy Gunst joined us with recipes that use fruits and even vegetables: a strawberry-rhubarb pie, a fresh-fruit Pavlova, carrot-parsnip cupcakes and even a strawberry-rhubarb drink for a festive Mother’s Day brunch.

These desserts aim to take advantage of the bounty of the spring season, without being too sweet.

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NPR Story
11:57 am
Fri May 8, 2015

Social Media Buzz: From 'Deflategate' The Met Ball

Rihanna attends the 'China: Through The Looking Glass' Costume Institute Benefit Gala at the Metropolitan Museum of Art on May 4, 2015 in New York City. (Larry Busacca/Getty Images)

Mike Barry of The Guardian joins Here & Now’s Robin Young to look at how the news is reverberating on social media. The stories include:

The NFL’s report on the controversy over whether the New England Patriots used deflated footballs during the AFC Championship game, dubbed “Deflategate.”

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NPR Story
1:03 pm
Wed May 6, 2015

Let's Have Dinner And Talk About Death

A San Francisco dinner party. From left to right: Tim Ferriss, Laura Deming, Luke Nosek, Eric Weinstein, Mason Hartman, and Max Hodak. (Lesley McClurg/Capital Public Radio)

The last time you went to a dinner party, you probably didn’t talk about death, but that’s the focus of conversation at a growing number of tables. It’s part of an international movement called “Death Over Dinner.” The goal is talk about important questions before it’s too late. In San Francisco, Lesley McClurg of Capital Public Radio joined a recent gathering of guests with ties to Silicon Valley.

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NPR Story
1:03 pm
Wed May 6, 2015

DJ Session: From Afro-Cuban Funk To A Michael Jackson Salsa Tribute

PALO! was formed in 2003 in Miami, Florida. The band is comprised of vocalist Leslie Cartaya, keyboardist and producer Steve Roitstein, saxophonist Ed Calle and percussionists and vocalists Philbert Armenteros and Raymer Olalde. (PALO!/Facebook)

For this week’s DJ Session, Here & Now’s Jeremy Hobson sits down with DJ Luis “Speedy” Gonzalez, who hosts “Latin Jazz and Salsa” on WMNF in Tampa, Florida. He shares new Latin and salsa sounds, including artist Tony Succar’s new tribute to Michael Jackson, and the Afro-Cuban funk group Palo.

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NPR Story
1:03 pm
Wed May 6, 2015

Freightliner To Begin Testing Self-Driving Tractor-Trailer

Daimler has introduced the world's first autonomous truck licensed to drive on public roads. (Daimler)

Originally published on Wed May 6, 2015 2:18 pm

Freightliner, a division of Daimler, has been given a license to test its self-driving tractor-trailer truck in Nevada. The trucks will have a driver in the driver’s seat to take control when the truck is in cities, but the idea is that on limited-access interstates it could self-drive. CNN’s Maggie Lake discusses the implications with Here & Now's Robin Young.

Guest

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NPR Story
12:16 pm
Tue May 5, 2015

The End Of An Era: Looking Back On Letterman's Legacy

US President Barack Obama tapes an appearance on the "Late Show with David Letterman" in New York on May 4, 2015. (Nicholas Kamm/AFP/Getty Images)

Originally published on Tue May 5, 2015 1:23 pm

When David Letterman makes his last wisecrack as host of the “Late Show” on May 20th, he’ll be concluding an accomplished 33-year career that included more than 6,000 late-night broadcasts and almost 20,000 guest appearances.

His shows received 16 Emmy Awards awards and a staggering 112 Emmy Award nominations.

NPR TV Critic Eric Deggans talks with Here & Now’s Jeremy Hobson about the host’s legacy and final weeks.

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NPR Story
12:16 pm
Tue May 5, 2015

What Is Cinco De Mayo?

Cinco de Mayo is a Mexican holiday, but more widely celebrated in the U.S. This parade celebration was in May 2012 on Central Park West in New York City. (Paul Stein/Flickr Creative Commons)

Today is Cinco de Mayo (the fifth of May), a Mexican holiday traditionally celebrated with colorful costumes, singing, dancing and lots of drinking.

The day is well known in U.S., but as we sip on margaritas, do we know exactly what we’re celebrating?

The holiday commemorates a Mexican victory over the French in Puebla on May 5, 1862.

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NPR Story
12:16 pm
Tue May 5, 2015

Reporter's Notebook: Veteran Baltimore Journalist Jayne Miller

The boarded CVS Pharmacy is seen at Pennsylvania and West North avenues in West Baltimore on May 4, 2015. (Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images)

U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch is visiting Baltimore today to meet with local leaders, as things are slowly getting back to normal in the city.

The city has lifted its curfew, National Guard Troops are pulling out and businesses, including CVS, are saying they will rebuild.

But tensions are still running high in parts of the city, as evidenced yesterday after police arrested a black man. Rumors were running rampant that police had shot the man in the back as he was running away.

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NPR Story
2:37 pm
Mon May 4, 2015

As U.S. Takes Reins Of Arctic Council, Climate Change Will Top Agenda

On July 12, 2011, crew from the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Healy retrieved a canister dropped by parachute from a C-130, which brought supplies for some mid-mission fixes. (Kathryn Hansen/NASA/Flickr Creative Commons)

The United States says climate change will be front and center on the agenda of the Arctic Council – the intergovernmental body made up of eight countries with territories in the region.

The U.S. is now chair of the council, which includes Russia, Canada, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden.

Founded in 1996, the council’s purpose is to promote cooperation in the region. They are not policymakers, but do advise governments on issues related to the Arctic.

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NPR Story
2:37 pm
Mon May 4, 2015

Damaged Art Memorializes Violent Vietnam Era

Each year, the bullet hole is the subject of chalk messages. (Steve Grant/ideastream)

Today is the 45th anniversary of the killing of four students by National Guard troops on the campus of Kent State University in Ohio during a rally to protest U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War.

The cultural divisions of those times have been examined in numerous books and documentaries, but sometimes history leaves its mark in other ways.

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NPR Story
2:37 pm
Mon May 4, 2015

Comcast Sees Rising Revenue, Even After Failed Merger

Comcast reported today that its total revenue rose 2.6 percent in the quarter that ended March 31, surpassing analyst expectations.

The earnings report comes after Comcast abandoned its plans to merge with Time Warner Cable, amid news of increased scrutiny from regulators over the deal.

Here & Now’s Jeremy Hobson takes a look at Comcast’s earnings with Jill Schlesinger of CBS News.

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